Sep 062010

This really isn’t about evangelizing Savage Worlds. This is about some key philosophies of the game. Mainly, don’t sweat the little stuff.
Here’s one of the things that just bug about d20 in all it’s iterations, the amazing number of conditions. You’ve got things like Dazed, Dazzled, Fascinated, Frightened, Fatigued, Shaken, Staggered and the list goes on. To put it bluntly, there isn’t really that much difference between most of them. Most of the time these conditions only manage to eat up time (Someone just has to look the exact wording of the condition.) and it ends up limiting the GM’s ability to describe a scent. It’s happened more than once in our games that the GM describes the scene and someone dives for the rulebook because the GM used a one of the key words in his description. In Savage Worlds, there’s basically just Shaken for just about any disadvantageous condition. Simple, quick and easy. It’s just not worth the effort delve through all this minutiae for a minor and temporary modifier.
The other thing is Powers. These provide the crunchy bits for spells and the like for Savage Worlds. So many games have a long list of spells or similar abilities that when really start comparing them aren’t that much different other than some flavor text. While a rigid definition of what a spell can and can’t do as well how it may be avoided add some mechanical fluff and add a tactical aspect to an encounter. But when the dice meet the table, you’re still doing X amount of damage. Depending on the setting and style of game, these things can be important. But common sense and simple system to adjudicate game balance should take care of the little stuff. You know just like Powers in Savage Worlds.
And while I’m on this rant, I am so sick of games feeling they have to clarify that dead characters can take no actions and the like. If a player really wants to debate the point, I think it might time for that person to look for another group.
Maybe it’s just my good old grognard sensibilites but I just want games where the action and story keep moving without worrying about the little shit.

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  6 Responses to “Everything I needed to know about gaming I learned from Savage Worlds”

  1. *clap* bravo. I was actually just thinking about this the other day, which I was discussing savage settings with a friend of mine who was asking “well, what happens if” and I got to tell him, it shakes you, which makes you easier to kill. “Well what about” No, it shakes you, which makes it easier to kill you. That’s about it.

    Mind you, I’ve noted this with a whole lot of the stuff in 4e as well, that most of it ends up granting combat advantage, as well as applying something else, like taking a penalty to perception checks. And then a lot of things latch on to combat advantage. Gone are the days of “Now what is flat footed again, and when are they considered to be so?”

  2. “…don’t sweat the little stuff…”
    And because Savage Worlds doesn’t waste (book) space with all this minutiae, you get all the rules you need in 1 book (160 pages, including players, DMs & monster info) for $10…!!!

    ~ IMHO: While I also like a single condition (Shaken), I don’t like the “you can’t perform any actions” effect. Basically, ‘skipping a turn’ just isn’t fun for players (or DMs). I know the designers of 4e purposely avoided this; even their ‘dazed’ condition allows you to do something (albeit limited).

  3. Shaken can be pretty tough and no fun for players. But that’s pretty darned easy to house rule. Wild Cards take a -2 penalty until they make their Spirit roll or something like that.

  4. Amen brudda! I love my Pathfinder, but I also love the sweet simple elegance of Savage Worlds.

    @Banesfinger- One thing I have done for Shaken is say a player burns a benny to soak damage and goes from incap to -2 wounds. I have them automatically recover from Shaken when burning the benny for the soak roll. They are still in danger of dying and have lost one of their precious resources to take the damage I am sending at them, but I don’t see the point (and my players love me for this) of having them stand around taking half actions until they burn a benny just to recover from shaken or make the successful Spirit roll.


  5. “…So many games have a long list of spells or similar abilities that when really start comparing them aren’t that much different other than some flavor text…”

    I completely agree with this statement…especially against 4e. Take a look at the powers for, say, a ranger vs. a wizard. If you get rid of the fluff, they are both very similiar ranged attacks.
    At least with Savage Worlds (and earlier versions of D&D inc. Pathfinder), magic at least “feels” different than normal melee/ranged attacks.

    To the replies about my Shaken comment – they echo many of the comments on the Pinnacle boards. With that much feedback, I would say Shaken (and maybe the wounding system) should be looked at for the next version of the game.

  6. @banesfinger I highly agree. The Wounds system for Savage Worlds really needs some tweaking.

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