Dec 282008

I was working on a dark fantasy Savage Worlds campaign for my gaming group the other day and I had an epiphany. I already knew this but it just hadn’t quite clicked in my caffeine empowered brain. One of the reoccurring themes that makes Savage Worlds so easy and fun to run and play is the concept of “Same Game Mechanics, Different Role Playing”.
Let me explain. I was working on the Arcane Backgrounds for the setting and I decided that the arcane and divine casters would suffer the same effects from Backlash. Basically, they would be Shaken if they rolled a 1 on their spell casting check. For the arcane casters, they’d be bleeding out of their eyes, ears or nose or doubled over in pain from channeling arcane energies too powerful for their bodies to handle. Divine casters would would be shocked that their powers didn’t work. They would have a momentary crisis of faith believing that they had some how offended the gods. See, same game mechanic, different role playing.
This holds true for the best mechanic in Savage Worlds (IMHO) and the most misunderstood by folks new to the system. And that would be Shaken. Aside from bad British nanny jokes, this one mechanic means so much. Unlike “the World’s Most Popular Fantasy RPG” which has dozens of minor conditions with nearly identical game mechanics, Savage Worlds has one. Shaken can mean just about anything; dazed, confused, stunned, slightly injured, fascinated, demoralized, shocked, amazed, tired and the list goes on and on. It’s one simple mechanic applicable to so many situations each with its own potential for a little more RP.
Combat Tricks continue this trend. You have one simple game mechanic that encourages players to be creative in combat rather than just run up and swing. No matter the specific trick, when successful the end result is the same simple mechanic on the target. Especially creative tricks or ones that fit really well with a character’s concept would also be a good reason for GM’s to reward players with Bennies.
This holds true for Trappings and Powers too. Whether it’s a priest calling down divine retribution on nonbelievers or a necromancer summoning hungry spirits to tear apart his enemies. It would still use the Blast Power but different Trappings means different role playing.
Savage Worlds holds up the idea of “invisible” game mechanics pretty darned well. You have simple mechanics that are applicable to huge variety of situations. Each one encourages the players to be creative and role play their characters with having to worry about gaming the system. Yet another reason Savage Worlds has become my game of choice.

 Posted by at 11:53 am
Dec 162008

Make no mistake about it, I hate rules lawyers. I also hate flipping through books to look up some obscure rule for a specific situation. When I GM, I just fly by pants. Yes, I read the rules but I don’t memorize them. When a strange situation comes up, I just make a ruling right there. I’ll tell the players here’s the deal take it or look it up. The first few times they’ll look it up. Pretty soon they start to realize that I’m usually giving them a slightly better deal than rules.
I don’t mean to say that I’m some sort of uber-skilled GM. It’s just the way I am. I want to keep the action and the story moving. A joke or an out of character comment. I can deal with that. Remember, gaming is supposed to be a social event. But sitting for 15 minutes while somebody flips through book just check the rules for underwater drunken sea monkey wrestling. Nah. Just wrestle the damned sea monkey and move on. It’s more important that you faced the monkey and win or lose that’s what it’s about. Not a -2 or a +4.

 Posted by at 7:12 pm
Dec 112008

Late last night while perusing the Pinnacle Forums, I ran across a discussion of Litko and their products and they’re perfect stocking stuffers for your gamer who has everything. I’ve probably walked right passed their stuff at my FLGS and didn’t even realize it.
They make pretty neat plastic tokens, counters and other gaming aids. While most of their is for mini’s wargamers, there’s plenty for us RPG types (OK, yeah. I’ve been known to do the occasional mini’s wargame).
The main topic was templates for Savage Worlds (Scroll down the page). But that’s not all they have some condition makers for 4th Edition. Heck even a grognard like me can use them for 3.5. Flying is still flying and prone is still prone. The other wound/status markers can easily be used in just about any game. I just got to get me some skulls.
And best and neatest of all, they will do custom tokens. Pick your shape, color and text. Pretty darned cool and not that expensive.
On a final note: I have absolutely no financial interest in this company. This is just stuff that I thought was neat and decided to pass on.

 Posted by at 6:48 pm
Dec 092008

If you’ve been gaming a while you’ve probably met him. I call Dick. He’s the butch cousin to Cat Piss Man. He’s an expert on weapons and ninjas. He’s a history buff especially military history and how it will applies to each and every gaming situations. He uses the “secret tricks” of the Green Berets to take out a camp of Orcs. He knows that a katana can slice through anything. He knows that Wolverine was based on a real secret government experiment because he met the real “Wolverine” late one night at Denny’s. Every game system has unrealistic stats for every weapon every made. He’s more than willing to explain how the ballistics, damage potential and armor values are wrong. He’s not afraid to share his opinions and his expertise.
I hate him and he’s a fun killer.

 Posted by at 8:11 pm