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Savage Worlds

Adventure Edition


Publisher Description

Savage Worlds is a Fast! Furious! and Fun! rules system for any genre of roleplaying game.

Create your own setting, convert an existing one, or pick up one of our amazing settings like DeadlandsRippers, or 50 Fathoms. The rules give players plenty of depth to create their characters and keep bookkeeping to a minimum for the Game Master. If you’re looking for a game that’s fast and easy to set up, run, and play, Savage Worlds is for you!


A Faster but Less Universal Generic System [ edit ]

Savage Worlds, like GURPS, is a generic role-playing game system.  Unlike GURPS however, Savage Worlds focuses more on less detailed, but faster, character creation and gameplay.  As such Savage Worlds has far less "tools" with which to customize animal-based characters.

The main mechanism is simply the character's race, and the game does provide some rules for custom race generation.  However, these rules are far more sparse: there's only a single page of race-creation rules, compared to many, many more pages of advantages and disadvantages in GURPS.

Savage Worlds, Adventure Edition - Rules SummaryCollapse

Character Creation [ edit ]

As with most games, Savage Worlds characters have attributes, in this case five of them (essentially the D&D attributes, without Charisma).  Attributes are measured as a die type, so a weak character would have a d4 Strength, while an incredibly strong one would have a d12.

Players can also select a race for their character (or remain human to get an extra edge), and a number of skills.  Just as with attributes, skills have die-type-based ranks.  Raising skills higher than their associated attribute costs double, but otherwise there are no restrictions, so you can make a cowboy/hacker/biologist if you so desire: there are no class limitations.

Finally a player selects Edges, which provide special benefits to the character, similar to feats in Dungeons and Dragons or advantages in GURPS .  To gain edges characters can take on hindrances (similar to GURPS disadvantages).  Every edge costs the same in Savage Worlds (no varying point costs like in GURPS), and there are only two levels of hindrances (Major and Minor; one major or two minor provides an Edge).

There are also a somewhat limited number of hindrances and edges compared to some other generic systems, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing.  While it does mean less customization options, it also means new players can review their options much quicker, speeding up character creation overall.

Core Mechanics [ edit ]

To succeed at an action in Savage Worlds, you roll a die based on the associated skill, and then also roll a separate "wild die" (a d6).  Either dice can "ace" ("explode"), which means that if you roll the maximum number on the die, you get to re-roll it, and add the result of all the rolls together.  You can then choose to keep either your original die or the "wild" one (whichever rolled higher), and if that die's result is 4 or greater (after any penalties), you succeed.

Players also start with "Bennies", and can earn more during play through good role-playing.  These "Bennies" can be used to re-roll any roll, giving characters another chance to succeed at critical actions.

Combat [ edit ]

When it comes to combat, Savage Worlds uses a deck of regular playing cards to determine who goes in what order.  The higher the player's card, the sooner they go in initiative, and if a player gets a joker as their card they can go at any point (and also get a bonus to their rolls that turn).

Between it's wild dice, "aceing" (ie. exploding) dice, bennies, and jokers, and various other factors, there are a lot of ways to succeed even when your skills are low, although of course higher skills are clearly a benefit.  All of this leads to a system that's more "fun" and cinematic, but also a bit less realistic, and also potentially more "swingy" (compared to, for instance, a system like GURPS).

Although Savage Worlds doesn't have as many rules for creating animal characters as a game like GURPS, it is more popular in general, with a position more than 50 ranks better than GURPS.  And by looking at various Savage World supplements, it can also be possible to get some added rule support.

For instance, the Savage Rifts setting offers a "Dogboy" race that could work as a dog in any campaign.  And the Big Apple, Sewer Samurai supplement, meant to support games styled after Saturday morning cartoons like Gargoyles and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, also provides options.  Those options include both new races, and 25 new racial variation options.

If you're looking for a faster-paced and more modern RPG, that still has plenty of tactical combat rules ... and is generic enough to support an anthropomorphic campaign, Savage Worlds can be an excellent option ... especially with support from supplements like Big Apple, Sewer Samurai.