View Full Version : Savage worlds, can it be fixed?

2010-12-17, 11:18 PM
So my group and I are thinking about using the Savage Worlds system, but then we saw the HP and magic systems and found that we had some problems with it. Most notably the fact that they offended our delicate eyes with their existence. Are there any fixes to make the magic/HP system not suck so bad?

2010-12-17, 11:32 PM
Well, what's so bad about them? I mean, pointing out what you don't like might help in fixing it, as "HP and magic system" is a pretty broad range of things.

Otherwise, why not just use a different system? As I said before the HP and magic system are a pretty big part of the game. If you just don't like them wholesale, it may be easier to switch systems. There are other similar ones out there you may like better.

Otherwise, I just feel the need to say that, from personal experience, both the wound level and the magic system are fine. Sure, the magic system is generic and is only really differentiated by fluff. But really, it's surprising how fun and varied powers can feel if you get creative with them. I'd suggest just trying it out as is, maybe with one of the myriad small adventures offered on Pinnacle's website. It may help you narrow down what works for you and what doesn't, or maybe make you realize SW just isn't the system for you. Anyhow, I always advise people to try a system before making changes. Results are often surprising.

2010-12-17, 11:39 PM
We don't really like the whole "3 strikes your out" thing, but replacing it with an HP count gets rid of the "you take minuses with damage system"

The magic system just seemed generic and the selection of spells were just... boring.

we were recommended the system with the warning that it needs a little reworking, but we weren't told how to rework it.

2010-12-18, 12:06 AM
Hmmm. I agree that the "three strikes" thing is arbitrary. But honestly, it works better than it looks. Thing is, you don't always fall down at the fourth wound. If you succeed the Vigor rool, you can become maimed, but still conscious. In my opinion, it makes hard-boiled-types character more fun to play, as the higher their Vigor is, the more they can soldier on, even if they have a broken leg and metal inside their gut. Additonally, the way the health system works makes it hard to die, but each "down" brings more and more lasting injuries, which I think is interesting.

If you don't like it, though, maybe you could link the number of wound levels to Vigor. like, if three wound levels doesn't seem like enough, maybe make it equal to Vigor/2, or Vigor/2 +1. That way, three wound levels is the minimum you can have, with a base of a D4. The more you get, the more you can take you live. I warn you though, some ennemy wild cards can have impressive amounts of toughness, and more health levels will drag out combats significantly. Though you could only apply that change to PCs, if you want.

For the Magic system, though, there isn't much that can be changed. It's meant to be generic. If you don't like it, then maybe a game as generic as SW may not be for you. Though, once again, the trick is in the flavor. If you and your players are willing to suspend your disbelief and pay more attention to the flavor you make up than the actual mechanics, it can be very fun. For examples, I've seen uses of Smite ranging from a litteral Bible-thump on an ennemy to Predator claws. Similarly, the Curse power can be a vodoo curse just as easily as it can be a martial arts touch of death kind of thing.

However, if the lack of variety is what bothers you, I'd advise picking one of the setting supplements. The core SW is meant to be something incredibly generic that can be applied to a range of genres. In my opinion, the true strength of the system lies in the setting sourcebooks which provide an incredible amount of very good fluff as well as putting small mechanical changes on powers depending on whether they're magic, super-powers, mad science, etc... My personal favourite is Deadlands, which really makes the power systems feel very varied through said small changes. Of course, Supernatural Steampunk Westerns may not be your thing, so look around and you may find something to your liking. The SW website (http://www.peginc.com/downloads.html) carries excerpts and sample adventures for their settings which you could try out to see which one tickles you fancy.

2010-12-18, 01:46 AM
Regarding the wound system, there are other methods that work. An easy method is simply to have a certain success automatically take someone else, with varied penalties below it, essentially a hybrid threshold of death and HP system. Burning Wheel is close to this, in regards to function, and while it is a little complicated if poorly implemented, it can be almost as simple as the "three good strikes and you're out" method.

As for magic, pick one (http://savage.lythia.com/subpages/homebrew.html). Creating a new magic system from scratch is also well within reason, particularly with help.

Xuc Xac
2010-12-18, 02:37 AM
We don't really like the whole "3 strikes your out" thing, but replacing it with an HP count gets rid of the "you take minuses with damage system"

Stop thinking of it as hit points and it's fixed. In D&D, being tougher means you can lose more hit points before you fall. In Savage Worlds, being tougher means that it takes a more powerful hit to make you lose a "hit point". To use your baseball analogy, an 8-year-old Little League player and a professional Major League player are both out after 3 strikes but that doesn't mean it's equally easy to strike them out.

The magic system just seemed generic and the selection of spells were just... boring.

Those aren't spells. Those are just the effects of the spells. In D&D, you would have a long list of spells that deal damage with a blast of fire, lightning, acid, ice, etc. In Savage Worlds, those are all "cause Xd6 damage to an enemy". You get to add the trappings yourself. It makes it much easier to follow a theme with your spells.

The same "Blast" power could be used by an ice wizard from the frozen land of Nordor to summon a swirling blizzard of jagged ice crystals to strip flesh from bone, or by an elven druid from Arboria to summon a huge cloud of angry wasps the size of tangerines, or by a dragon-worshipping cultist to channel the dragon's breath to roast his enemies, or by a mad scientist to supercharge his electro-discombobulation pistol and set it on "wide beam", or by a crazy kung fu monk to represent his Buddha Palm technique that lets him punch a whole crowd of mooks without even touching them, or by a psionic warrior to represent his mental concussion wave. Or... Or... Or...

The specific trappings you choose will determine the secondary effects. Fighting a fire elemental? Your fire blast won't hurt it, but an ice blast will. Fighting a robot? Your mental attack doesn't work. Fighting in a lich's library? Your fire blast can wipe out shelves holding decades or centuries of his research.