Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Why Savage Worlds is Awesome

 A bullet list of why Savage Worlds Rocks:
  • I’ll put it this way – there is $1000 of lovin’ in a $10 package.
  • The core book is $10, AND there is a free Test Drive document (now two of them! One is Lankhmar!!). Now, I am not cheap when it comes to the gaming habit. But its nice to say “hey, give this a try, at most your out $10.” And the $10 is a complete toolkit. Everything else is just extra spend because you like to spend money on gaming.
  • The system plays in a tighter power range. Some will hate this, but for many people the old “Level 3 to Level 10” game is what they played in D&D anyway. This allows the system to play well across genres.
  • If someone has range weapon, get your butt to Cover! This game grew out of a western setting. So you are not just going to stroll across an open field, shrugging off piddly 1d6 damage arrows.
  • The combo of Bennies (used to roll or soak damage) and Hindrances are fantastic. Roleplaying your hindrances can get you more Bennies. I love telling a player who is low on Bennies “you better start roleplaying better!”
  • Although I love combat, you do not have to be a combat monster to be useful in combat. Tricks and Test of Wills are build into the game. You can play an old, forgetful scientist or a plucky young kid and not feel useless when a fight breaks out
  • Its opened up new genres to me. I am a system mastery guy. In reality, that held me back from running/playing in other genres. Yes, d20 claimed to be able to do it, but each required heavy rewrite to make it work. Players can switched between genres with little learning curve in SW.
  • Magic rocks. Trappings makes your spellcasters unique, and good players will extend them to skills and attributes. For example, my psionist does not just Notice (Perception) what is going on, he senses it through picking up on surface emotions and thoughts.
  • Prep time is nothing. Once you are comfortable, you can almost convert on the fly. So adventures from other systems are still useful to you.
  • Bang for the Buck. When I buy any SW book, I get ideas, and tons of them. I am not buying the latest player options, I am getting Day After Ragnarok, Space 1889, Deadlands, and Weird War II. Even if I got sick of SW and did something else, those books would still have value to me due to the ideas. All my Complete X books from 3rd edition are useless to me (but Eberron and FR still have value).
  • The system is easy to adjudicate. I still value my 3rd edition GMing experience as that experience combined with SW system makes rulings a breeze.
  • No tracking HPs! The Wound/Shaken system is very smooth and allows me to spend my time working the table, not being a screen jockey tracking HPs. This is huge, in my opinion. Having more time with your eyes up allows you to read the table, get reactions, and modify your pace as needed.
  • Acing/Exploding dice are fun. Yes, the game has more “swing” than many are used to, but the Bennies help the players stave off the worst of it most of the time. There is a shared excitement when you see a player continue to roll the dice and know that something really cool is about to happen.
  • I can tell just about any story with the system. Its sweet spot is Pulp, but settings like Realms of Cthulu show you how with minor adjustments you can change the tone of the game without having a stack of rule changes.
  • A wide number of playstyles is supported. As an example, I personally like 4e, but it did not fit with a couple of groups I hang with so I do not play it. I have seen players that have been perplexed by 3.x and 4e take to SW very quickly. I have also seen system mastery guys (like me) squeeze a ton out of the game. Roleplayers have both a great hooks (hindrances) and mechanics to support them (Test of Wills, Tricks, plus some additional tools in the new Expanded edition). The occassional dice tosser to the hard core gamer can get a lot out of this system.
  • Chase scenes and mass combat open all kinds of stories (chase rules work much like skill challenges and can be adapted to cover many of the same types of scenarios).
  • The Explorer’s Edition is a fun read. The writting style is layed back and it made me want to play it. I’m not looking to be mean or bashing anyone, but I got the 4e PHB about the same time as I got SW. One was fun, the other was exciting as sandpaper.
  • You get to call yourself a Savage. That’s worth the $10 right there.
  • Easy to learn – Just played with a buddy of mine that has played at most 5 times in the last year (and not for 6 months). He is a long lapsed gamer. With little guidance, he had the mechanics down and could focus on what we wanted his character to do (and roleplay)
  • Scalable, both player numbers and combat scale
    • For players – you can run with only one or two players. Just give the players Extras. The beauty is that Extras are so easy to manage that the players WANT to run them vs. them being a burden to the group or the GM. Again, my buddy, a n00b to the game, had no problem running his character and 4 extras
    • For combat – you can run from individual PCs, to a squad (PC with a few extras), to decent sized skirmish (where unit size fig is still 1:1), to Mass Combat (note that Mass Combat is abstract and NOT a wargame).
  • As a player, I do try to map out a good number of the advances to flesh out the character concept over time. What I have found by doing that is Savage Worlds has so many character build options. There is always another Edge/Attribute/Skill advance that will enhance your character concept. You will be well into Legendary before you even think of running out of options. And you can change direction without losing pace on your build. For example, I ran/built a pure psionist up to 100xp. I then mapped out the next couple hundred xp. Up to 200xp was shoring up some of his weaknesses. Up to 300xp was focusing on using Telekinsis as a true fighting style. There is just so much you can do that the options are almost limitless.

    So there it is!


  1. Not much to comment - great list! I was a hater of Savage Worlds like 2 years ago...and then I read it. ;) My advice for newbies - read the fucking book from A to Z. It helps a lot.

  2. And play it as is for a bit - one has to unlearn what they have learned elsewhere.