March 28, 2014
Games Yet Played: Savage Worlds
There was a time when I preferred generic games to setting-specific ones. I felt that I could tell a more personal, complete story when I was not facing down all of the pre-generated campaign material that just seemed to get in the way. This was when I got into G.U.R.P.S., and for a while that was the only game I played. Since then, I have found that having a setting already in place can be a huge boon to a game, giving players and Gamemasters alike a much better understanding of the world and a feeling of being a part of something much bigger. I have since rarely played in any generic game systems, but there has always been one that continually raises my interest.
Savage Worlds is a generic role-playing game from Pinnacle Entertainment Group that focuses on “Fast! Furious! Fun!” role-playing. Compared to G.U.R.P.S., it is relatively rules light, but not so much that characters feel standardized. By being light on the rules, it allows for much more fast-paced gaming than more complex rules systems are able to handle. Idolizing the pulp area of adventure tales and gaming, Savage Worlds games are typically high action/adventure stories. While they certainly can be played more seriously, Savage Worlds leaves the drama to the players, focusing its mechanics on the action.
Savage Worlds uses yum-yums, or “bennies,” as a core mechanic to the game, unlike many others. As only heroes and major NPCs have these “bennies,” the game creates a striking difference between major characters and anyone else. This is done so that the player characters feel awesome as they are able to fight through mobs of lesser bad-guys without too many issues. Single hits are enough to take down these “lesser characters” while the player characters are much more durable. Death is also made into something of a rarity, at least among player characters, unless it is deemed dramatically appropriate. Thus further pushes the “high action/adventure” feel of the game, as characters are able to bounce back from any failings or defeats rather quickly.
One of the more interesting factors of the game is in how they handle Initiative. Rather than it being based on the player character, Initiative is handled by drawing from a deck of cards. Once every player and NPC (or group of NPCs) has a card, the Gamemaster begins counting down from the Ace to the Deuce, with players acting when their card is called. Ties are resolved by the suite, going in order of Spades, then Hearts, then Diamonds, and finally Clubs. Lastly, if someone draws the Joker, then they receive special bonuses. Namely, they can go whenever they wish, interrupt other actions, and receive a +2 to all tests done on that turn. Once the Joker has been revealed, all cards are shuffled back into the deck, that way there is always the chance of the Joker making an appearance each round.
So many games, so little time. I would love the opportunity to try this rather fun-sounding game out for myself. If you and your group has had the pleasure of running a game in Savage Worlds, let me know. I would love to hear how it plays out.
As always, thanks for reading and I wish you all good gaming.
Image Credit: Pinnacle Entertainment Group