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 Deadlands, Rippers, 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 Newer and Quicker-Paced Generic System [ edit ]
Savage Worlds is another generic RPG system, which means that (like GURPS) it's designed to work with a variety of RPG genres. Unlike GURPS however, Savage Worlds can not handle super heroes "out of the box", because the core system is only designed to handle "cinematic-powered" heroes (think Indiana Jones, or perhaps Batman) ... not truely super-powered ones.
That changed however with the release of the Savage Worlds Super Powers Companion, a supplement which introduced a large number of new character creation rules to support super powers in Savage Worlds ... in particular a new "edge" for gaining super powers. The companion also offers a variety of other (optional) new rules, for further making the system fit the superhero genre.
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).
A Great Super Hero Option for Savage Worlds Fans [ edit ]
At the time of writing Savage Worlds currently sits as the 24th most popular RPG ... of all RPGs ... on RPG Geek. For it's many fans Savage Worlds offers enough crunch and detailed rules to be satisfying, but no more, resulting in a system that feels somewhat similar to GURPS or Dungeons and Dragons, but plays noticeably faster.
When combined with the Super Powers Companion, this system becomes perfect for super hero adventures. Whether you're already a fan of Savage Worlds, and looking to start a new super-powered campaign, or whether you're looking for a new RPG system that can handle both super-powered and regular (or at least cinematic-)powered characters also, Savage Worlds is an excellent option.
Another Alternative: Play As Villains [ edit ]
Interestingly, you don't have to buy the Super Powers Companion to gain (most of) the super power rules within it. This is because Pinnacle (the maker of SW) also has another product called Necessary Evil, which includes most of the super-powered rules found in the Super Powers Companion.
However, Necessary Evil contains more than just some super power rules: it's also entire campaign setting. The premise of this setting is that aliens have invaded Earth, capturing all of its super hero defenders. That has just left all of the super villains as Earth's only champions to defend against the aliens, and in the campaign the players take on the roles of those super villain "good guys".
If you're a fan of comic books and/or movies like Venom, the Suicide Squad, etc. and want to try playing as super villains for a change, instead of super heroes, check out Necessary Evil instead. The only potential issue is that this product was released for the previous edition of SW (Explorer's Edition) ... but since very little changed between the two editions (largely just the handling of Charisma, and some other fine details), it's still very easy to use this supplement, even with the latest (Adventure) edition of Savage Worlds.