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Savage Worlds RPG Overview
Good universal roleplaying systems that can be used for a variety of genres are hard to come by. There have been many attempts over the years to create the perfect system that combines such things as flexibility and realism. Some have failed. Others have prospered. Savage Worlds is one such system that has prospered. Savage Worlds was created by Shane Lacy Hensley and published by Pinnacle Entertainment. The company uses this system in all of their game lines such as the popular Deadlands: The Weird West and the Pirates of the Spanish Main, which was adapted from the collectible card game by Wizkids.
Savage Worlds emphasizes speed and easy start-up. There is little to no preparation needed if a Game Master wants to start up a game at the last minute. It is pretty much a quick pick-up game. The rules sacrifice realism and details to make it easier to set up. But don’t let that fool you into thinking the game doesn’t have long-lasting playability. With the number of supplements out there that use this system, plus the number of genre option available, there is plenty of playability that is still untapped.
Character Creation and Mechanics
The rule system for creating characters works well for just about any genre. Characters in Savage Worlds are composed of a variety of statistics and the system uses a point allocation system. The statistics include things like Race, Traits, Edges, Hindrances and sometimes Powers if the genre calls for it. Race refers to a characters species such as human, elf, dwarf, or whatever. But that is only in games where there is more than one dominant species. In games where only humans are the dominant race, this stat referes to nationality. Race stats can give your character modifiers to many of their characteristics.
There are five character traits used in Savage Worlds. These are Agility, Smarts, Spirit, Strength and Vigor. All of these traits are rated by a single type of die. The larger the number of sides to a die, the stronger the character is in that particular trait. For example, a character with Smarts of d10 is more intelligent than a character with Smarts of a d6. Furthermore, a character’s traits are divided into two sets of stats: attributes, which are inherent and skills, which are learned.
Characters created using the Savage Worlds system can also choose Edges and Hindrances. Edges are advantages to help characters out in certain situations. Hindrances are disadvantages that do the exact opposite. Taking an Edge costs allotment points while choosing a Hindrance can give you extra points to spend. Unlike the character traits, neither of these characteristics are rated using dice. Besdies all of these attributes, characters also have the following statistics. Characters have Pace, which is their top speed on the ground; Parry, which is the ability to dodge attacks and defend yourself; Toughness, that is used to resist the amount of damage done to you; and Charisma, which determines your character’s level of chamr and likeability. There are other statistics that can be used in different game settings if they are appropriate for the genre. They are Grit, Reason, and Sanity.
Savage World System
The basic premise of the rulkes is that characters use a trait dice to roll against a difficulty number, which his usually the number four. If the dice roll equals or exceeds the difficulty number then the action succeeds. If the roll is lower than the target number, the action fails. This is used fo r combat or to perform some task using a skill. Players can also “Ace” a task. This happens if they roll the highest number possible on the dice. If this happens, the dice may be re-rolled and its result added to the initial roll. If the player rolls the highest number again, they keep rolling until they get any number but the highest.
Combat is different from other rpg systems. First of all, initiative is determined using a standard deck of playing cards. Characters act in sequence according to the cards ranked from highest to lowest suites. Jokers beat all other cards. Characters that get the Joker card can move at any time during the combat round and get a +2 bonus to all tests. All ties are broken by suites. The GM and characters that are Wild Cards (explained in a moment) only get one card. At the end of every round in which a joker was dealt the deck is reshuffled.
Player characters and important NPC’s are known as "Wild Cards". They are treated differently from an ordinary NPC. Wild Cards get multiple wound levels and get to roll a second d6 die, known as a "Wild Die", along with their normal trait rolls. The character can then take the highest of their two rolls and use that to determine the success of an action.
Plot Point Settings
Most of the supplements that use the Savage Worlds system utilize a Plot Point system in their adventures. Plot Points are designed to allow more flexibility in how characters perform or complete an adventure. It makes the adventure less linear and gives the players more freedom. Plot Points are events that can help a character to complete the main storyline but also provides side stories that the characters can go on. The purpose of Plot Points is to help GM’s quickly set up a game without a lot of preparation ahead of time. Plot Point supplements use the following format: Introduction to the game and setting, Characters and special rules on creating them, Setting rules, Gazetteer which lists the different settings and locations, Savage Tales which are all the adventures players can go in, and Bestiary which lists all the monsters in the various areas.
Games That Use The Savage World System
There are a number of games that use the Savage Worlds system. Here are just a few:
Deadlands: Reloaded – The popular rpg set in the old west that combines the western genre with magic and sorcery.
The Savage World of Solomon Kane – Based on Robert E. Howard’s Puritan witch hunter, Solomon Kane, this game is about hunting down evil all throughout the corners of the dark world.
Pirates of the Spanish Main – Adapted from the collectible card game developed by the company Wizkids, this game is all about seeking fame and fortune on the high seas during the great age of piracy.
50 Fathoms – Set in a fantasy world that is mostly water, you get to explore what is left of the continents that make up the Thousand Isles. It is a world full of pirates and mythical sea creatures.
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