Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Savage Idea

I not only missed that Joshua had more than just 3 pages on Savage Worlds, I also missed the coolest page. His specific, concrete advice on how to make Savage Worlds combat more exciting is very cool.

Italso just inspired an idea... Fights tend to be more exciting if there's stuff in the environment to interact with. A battle amidststeaming geysers is far more interesting than one that's set on afeatureless plain. Some games spend a lot of word count achieving this,with rules to govern every possible terrain type and improvised weapon.However, Savage Worlds doesn't have quite the complicated run-down ofterrain features that, say, D&D 3.5 has - and that's largely a goodthing, as it makes SW combat Faster and more Fun (though I suppose itdoesn't make it any more Furious). FFF is what it's all about.

Here'sa simple house-rule for Savage Worlds - it's not even a house-rule somuch as a philosophy or plan to use existing rules in specific ways.Basically, as a SW GM, you'd just commit to including in every fightscene one feature which you'll apply as a modifier to one specific typeof action/roll. Possible roll types include Agility Trick, SmartsTrick, Intimidation roll, Fighting roll, Shooting roll, Damage roll,etc. In the steaming geysers example, you might add +2 damage to anyattack that involves knocking or backing a foe into a geyser. You stillremain open to applying modifiers where appropriate when the playerscome up with something cool. The only difference is you're preplanning/ guaranteeing at least one such modifier is out there per encounter,and telling the PCs this at the start of the adventure. It's sort oflike there's a puzzle to figure out - a hidden bonus in every scene.

Theplayers already want to describe their actions colorfully, as the gameis more fun when they do. Sometimes, however, someone's having "writersblock" and keeps falling back on "I shoot them again!" Sometimeseverything's going so fast, people just jump at only the most obviousmoves. If they know, however, that there's a bonus out there waiting tobe discovered, and all they have to do is work it into the descriptionof their actions, I think it will jazz-up combat nicely. You'll want tovary it a lot, probably putting it on Tricks and the like slightly moreoften than straight-up attacks, so that you reward cleverness andexperimentation.

NPCs can use the bonuses too, by the way, but only once a PC has discovered / used it.

Update: An obvious alternate is to do it like Stunts in Scion. Anything coolthat uses the established terrain / setting gets +2 automatically. Thatmay be a little too powerful, but at least it doesn't require any prepwork on the GMs part.

1 comment:

digital_sextant said...

You should call this active use of environmental objects "Rumbling in the Bronx," ala the Jackie Chan film: