Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Savage Links

A few interesting links that a google search for Savage Worlds turned up:

On some guy's blog from a month ago, he talks about 3 things he hates about Savage Worlds. In adjacent posts he also discusses things he likes about it, and things the GM should avoid, but the "Three Bad Things" post is most interesting to me. Not because I want to bag on the game, but because his 3 nits are different from the nits I pick. I love bennies, and hadn't yet noticed the character generation issues he belabors. He considers the damage system (which I dislike) to be one of the best features of the game. The three consecutive posts make for an interesting read.

This Savage Worlds probability analysis pretty much confirms what I'd felt: the odds in Savage Worlds are a little strange. If the difficulty is 6, you're better off with a d4 than a d6. If the difficulty is 12, you're better off with a d10 than a d12. That much I'd begun to suspect, but I'm glad to see that once the numbers are crunched out further, the differences are only a percent or so off. I was a little worried the mathematical paradox would be far greater. Just the same, I still see little point in taking anything above a d8.

What every new Savage Worlds GM needs to know, according to the Pinnacle Forums. The most useful to me is the "balanced encounters" system. "System" may be too generous a term for it, but it's a step in the right direction. I've been playing Scion for the past year and change, so I'm sick and tired of RPGs that give you no clues how long a fight will last and whether the PCs will slaughter, be slaughtered, or just spin their wheels ineffectively till the GM improvs a solution. In a nutshell, the "almost a system" presented on the forum is this: determine average damage for the heroes. Set the Toughness of the foes at 0-1 points above that average damage. For every PC, add 2 extras or 1 wild card villain, or increase the toughness of an existing villain by 1. Roughly. YMMV.

Savagepedia is a wiki, so anything I say about it could be completely invalidated at the drop of a hat.

Combat Survival Guide is technically just a table of modifiers, but it's organized as a problem-solving tool, so you can figure out what you need to do depending on the situation. Even traditionally "non-combat" characters will find something in that PDF that they can do to help the group win the fight. Tricks and Tests of Will are some of my favorite parts of the Savage Worlds system.


Joshua Macy said...

Ouch. Belabors? Well, I'm glad you found it interesting anyway.

rbbergstrom said...

no offense intended. You obviously put alot of thought into the topic.

rbbergstrom said...

P.S.: I't not like I have any right accusing someone else of being wordy.

Joshua Macy said...

BTW, I'd be interested to hear what your three nits would be.

rbbergstrom said...

I’ve already spent some serious word count on exactly that (there’s several fairly bitchy Savage Worlds posts in the past couple weeks of my blog) but I’ll summarize:

1) Damage Rolls. I like the one big roll instead of lots of little record keeping, but I hate how big some of those rolls get. Grenades, rockets, blunderbusses and lasers have you rolling 3 or more dice and adding them together. A LAW with a Raise is 5d6+2, and chances are a couple of those 5 dice will ace. Then you subtract toughness, and divide the remainder by 4. Then they can spend bennies to make soak rolls. Yuck. There’s a chance the target might survive if their Vigor’s good enough, so you can’t just fiat it to “he’s blown to bits, lets skip those 10 dice.”

2) Vagueness about number of actions, and how that stacks with the Edges that remove multi action penalties or grant extra actions (like First Strike). Some PCs just get a ton of actions. This is overwhelming for new players, and can make other people’s turns seem long and boring. I think this will go away with more experience with the system, but it turned me off pretty badly on my first session. The rest of the group had been running it for a while, and really liked SW, which is good ‘cause without them I would have given up.

3) Diminishing returns on larger dice. Each increase in die type gives slightly less of a bonus than the increase before it. Getting the d4 in some skill is always worth it, and upgrading to d6 is always worth it. D8 still gives a decent benefit, but the drawbacks start to get pronounced – in order to have a d8 on an attribute, you must have a d4 on a different attribute – so your d8 skill either costs twice as many skill points or is accompanied by the drawback of having a weakness in your attributes. Those drawbacks get steeper at d10 and d12, but the corresponding increase in average die roll (and in percentage chance of getting the baseline success of a 4) is less with each increase in die type.