Sunday, July 19, 2009

Savage Worlds

Savage Worlds is a generic rules set from Pinnacle Entertainment Group, designed to be light and easy to play and capable of supporting any number of settings and genres. It is descended from the publisher’s Deadlands RPG via the Rail Wars miniatures skirmish game and is much simpler than either. Most factors are described by die type, so d8 Strength is better than d4 Strength. Skills are broad, so the Drive skill covers all vehicles, Shooting covers guns and bows, and Fighting armed and unarmed combat. To do anything, the appropriate die is rolled, the target usually being 4 or more. Dice rolls are open ended, so higher targets are possible, and a result of 4 over the target is a raise and gives better results. Player characters are Wild Cards or heroes (as are some villains) and get to roll an extra d6 with any action. The highest die rolled counts. Characters also have Edges and Hindrances (advantages and disadvantages) that add flavour. Character progression adds more Edges and improved die types. Combat is fast, with initiative determined by ordinary playing cards.

Savage Worlds is supported by numerous campaigns from aerial fantasy (Sundered Skies) to post-apocalyptic post-WW2 Howardian horror (The Day After Ragnarok). Many have Plot Point campaigns that allow the heroes to explore the campaign’s setting and story. The inexpensive Explorer’s Edition is very compact with a pirate adventure, but lacks rules for playable non-humans. Savage Worlds offers fast, pulpy, uncomplicated fun and access to some great settings.

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