PDA

View Full Version : A brief review of Savage Worlds from someone with a d20 background



longarms
September 27th, 2007, 18:55
I, like many of you I suspect, was apprehensive to try a "rules light" RPG because I was concerned that it would be "dumbed down." I like the tactical options of familiar d20 and other rules heavy systems, and I was concerned that a rules light system would go back to the days of AD&D where non-spellcasters had very little choice other than to "attack" every round.

After studying the rules and playing my first game, I can say that my concerns about savage worlds were unfounded. This game actually has more tactical options than d20 (if not in sheer number, then by number of *practical* options that the average character actually regularly uses... yes I am contrasting with bullrush and overrun)! As a player, every turn I had to consider multiple practical options. Aim this round? Attack with a called shot? Wild attack? Agility trick to set up my allies? Work on a gang up bonus? Defend? Grapple? Use a reach weapon? Attack in melee or use ranged weapons (its much easier to hit some opponents with ranged weapons than melee attacks)?

You can see more of the tactical options here: http://www.peginc.com/Games/Savage%20Worlds/Downloads/SW%20Rev/Combat%20Survival%20Guide.pdf

Moreover, notice how I said practical tactical options? You don't need to be high level or focus in a specific area, the above tactical options are extremely important right off the turnip farm. This means that even in a "level 1" game, you are going to do much better if you fight thoughtfully.

So in conclusion, even though the sytem is "rules light" and easy to learn, it is not "dumbed down." It is my hope that any of you sharing the hesitations that I did will give savage worlds a chance. Its not much risk if you don't like it, because the "player's handbook" is only ten bucks and an easy read. The title of the "player's handbook" for savage worlds is Savage Worlds Exporer's Edition.

PS - I didn't spend time on the other strengths of savage worlds (e.g. it plays fast/smooth, its unquestionablly easier to DM successfully with FG than d20, etc.), because I feel that these points have been adequately covered in other threads.

Kalan
September 27th, 2007, 20:09
That is a well thought out, concise overview of some of the biggest strengths in Savage Worlds! Good job LA!

Having GM'd a fair number of LARGE combats with relatively low level characters (one combat has the PCs outnumbered 2-1, another had 12 opponents against 2 PCs, and some adventure scenarios (especially in the Necropolis setting), have on average 30+ combatants on the field at any given moment), the simple mechanics involved allow everyone to be part of the battle (making even non-combat characters useful in combat).

Anyhow...enough rambling on...back to cake and coffee ;)

Sorontar
September 27th, 2007, 20:23
Anyhow...enough rambling on...back to cake and coffee ;)

Bah I've got the coffee but not the cake .....I'm hungry now and it's your fault ;)

*wonders off to find the chocolate fudge cake he knows is somewhere downstairs*

Sgain
September 27th, 2007, 22:13
The only problem that I found as a DM was that all my monsters were not sharing the same initiative card like they would in a PnP game so my initiative tracker was full of critters (I usually break monsters/npc's into groups of 5 for initiative purposes to make it easier to track). Also, a Shaken marker or something to indicate on the map when a player is shaken would really help (I think next game I'll just plop a S or a skull token beside folks who are shaken).

Tactically SW is far superior to 3.5, a bit of thinking really pays off in combat (as you noticed), and missile troops are much more feared than in 3.5 (where frankly they are pretty much useless after about 4th level). Aiming and holding attacks sometimes makes the difference between winning and loosing a fight as much as blowing a Benny does.

As a DM I also do a lot of 'smarts' rolls for my NPC's/monsters - do they hold their attack? Do they aim? Do they rush in to knock over opponents? Its a lot of fun actually and isn't all that hard to do once you get the hang of it.

In last nights game your trick with the oil fire really paid off as I didn't penalize the crossbow shots from the tower with any light penalties (I forgot to give you some credit for that trick). Things like a -2 penalty in SW can really affect things and that fight in the dark was a great example of that.

longarms
September 27th, 2007, 23:31
"The only problem that I found as a DM was that all my monsters were not sharing the same initiative card like they would in a PnP game so my initiative tracker was full of critters (I usually break monsters/npc's into groups of 5 for initiative purposes to make it easier to track). "

You might want to do some reading in the armory section. I think I read a solution to this issue either there, or possibly somewhere else. Maybe someone else can chime in, but I think there is a way to let a single monster entry to represent a group of monsters. I think I remember some kind of subwindow lets you track shaken effects for all the monsters.


"Also, a Shaken marker or something to indicate on the map when a player is shaken would really help (I think next game I'll just plop a S or a skull token beside folks who are shaken)."

A better solution may be to just right click on the monster's token and rotate it slightly. It will be very easy for the players to recognize the "tipped" bad guys as shaken, and it won't require more tokens and is faster. All the way tipped over (horizontal) can represent incapacitated.

Sgain
September 27th, 2007, 23:38
I was thinking next game to do groups (5 npc's per initiative slot), I like the idea of tilting the token though...I was using top down tokens and its hard to say what their facing is (I think we'll just flip them heads down for shaken). I'll doublecheck the armory for that grouping information.

MurghBpurn
September 27th, 2007, 23:44
You could also use the red, green and yellow backgrounds to depict shaken results.

As people usually know who are the good guys and who are the bad guys are, I've used the colours for other things: shaken, prone, crouching...

:)
MB

Sgain
September 28th, 2007, 00:30
backgrounds? errr...what/where are these?

joshuha
September 28th, 2007, 00:42
I was thinking next game to do groups (5 npc's per initiative slot), I like the idea of tilting the token though...I was using top down tokens and its hard to say what their facing is (I think we'll just flip them heads down for shaken). I'll doublecheck the armory for that grouping information.

For now, this sort of works if you double click on the wounds thing. It will bring up a seperate window you can add Orc1, Orc2, etc and keep track of wounds there. The only bad thing is no seperate token control so I just make copies of whatever tokens I use for the main one. However look for improvements on this in the future.

Griogre
September 28th, 2007, 01:13
backgrounds? errr...what/where are these?
At the bottom middle of the combat tracker is are green, yellow and red squares. You can drag them up from the bottom of the tracker to the square next to the shield to change the colors.

They are meant to seperate PCs, Enemies or Nuetrals but really aren't that useful that way because usually everyone knows which is which.

Like Kalan said you could use green for unhurt, yellow for shaken and red for wounded for the PCs.

Sgain
September 28th, 2007, 06:03
its only a small area (in fact the area immediately under the character token) so its not really obvious to folks. If it washed out the token with the color it would be awesome, but it isn't as obvious as I'd want. I'm looking forward to some 'updates' to the SW ruleset in the future, I really think a 'right click' shaken modifier would really help (say a / through the token) that the DM could apply and remove quickly and easily would be best.

joshuha
September 28th, 2007, 12:29
Overlays on top of tokens are not really possible at the moment. We have experimented with trying to add bitmapwidgets and textwidgets to a tokeninstance with no luck. Its a limitation of FG.

Sgain
September 28th, 2007, 15:01
how about changing the color of the 'reach' area to one of the colors?

joshuha
September 28th, 2007, 15:53
That may be possible. IIRC though the reach areas for hostiles (the red color) are limited to just the GM seeing it but that can easily be changed. We can also add more colors/underlay possibilities though. Come up with another system of colors.

Griogre
September 28th, 2007, 18:36
its only a small area (in fact the area immediately under the character token) so its not really obvious to folks. If it washed out the token with the color it would be awesome, but it isn't as obvious as I'd want. I'm looking forward to some 'updates' to the SW ruleset in the future, I really think a 'right click' shaken modifier would really help (say a / through the token) that the DM could apply and remove quickly and easily would be best.
If you shrink the token to slightly smaller than the square, the color becomes much more obvious. I have played around with using the colors to show how wounded monsters and players are and the trick I found was to shrink the monsters/PCs just a bit more than I would normally.

Sgain
September 28th, 2007, 19:13
well I don't wanna hijack this thread any further...so I think I'll start a new one in the Armory about tokens and such...

Oh, and back on topic; I was very pleased with how fast everyone got into the style of SW, its much more flexible than d20 (that much is obvious), but it was also fun for me as a DM to observe how the group quickly formed up and worked together even though 1/2 of them had just met. The advantages of 'ganging' up on opponents means that most smart players will attempt to co-operate together a lot more than in other RPG's. In my real life fighting, it makes it not only easier to hit someone when your ganged up, but with a bit of practice, your defence gets better too. I've been thinking a lot about that of late and was thinking of a 3 vs 1 advantage gives a +1 parry to everyone on the 3 side (as well as the gang bonus).

Anyhow, great game (especially as it was a first form me using FG and first for a couple of the players to try SW).

andro1d
September 29th, 2007, 22:26
Joshuha-is it possible to make copies of tokens that all connect back to the same imbedded character in the init tracker?

For example - Main Orc in init tracker, 6 other orcs in sub window. Wild cards select any of the 6 sub orcs and it will show up under Main Orc in tracker.

If not, what do you mean by making copies? Or do you just mean dragging matching tokens out of token bag?

Thanks,
Andro1d