Savage Worlds: I dreamt of it, and they created it!

Savage Worlds was created especially for me!

I played role-playing games for years with my friends of the “Ludonautes”, and we used various game systems (L5R editions 1-3, Chaosium D100 Elric or Delta Green, Amber, Cadwallon, Pathfinder …) and sometimes also explored home-made rule systems.

I had to face the facts: I am bad at remembering complicated rules and complex systems put me off. However, I enjoy the tactical battles and find the purely narrative systems difficult to manage as a GM (I like to let fate influence the outcomes of player actions).

Then Savage Worlds comes in. The system is simple, easy to remember and actions are very quick to solve for the GM, but it still offers interesting opportunities for tactical combat, which can be integrated gradually. The NPC creation is also very fast, the size of the die (finally a game where size matters) defining the power of the NPC, you do not need three pages of statistics for each monster.

It is a generic system, but pleasantly flexible – you might play in a sword and sorcery universe like Beasts and Barbarians where your players charge head first, their loincloths flying in the wind, or use the optional rules which make fighting and taking damage harder, motivating a more cautious approach to fighting (as in Deadlands Noir). The system allows to easily create adaptations of existing systems (Warhammer, Pathfinder, etc.) or to create your own game (extensions to help you craft your own world exist).

Incidentally, the SW product range is massive and supported by a very active community.

Finally, the strengths and weaknesses:

The greatest strength of the system is for me the combat management: I’m not afraid anymore during a game to confront my PCs with a fight at 11pm, because I know it will likely be resolved by 11:30pm. There will be no “Roll for initiative, the skeleton you face still has 234 hit points.” at 2am. The game is also pleasantly heroes oriented: they are clearly stronger than the average character which helps center the story around them and their main opponents. The rules also greatly simplify the management of small NPCs – you will be surprised about how easy it is to handle a massive (for roleplaying games) fight of 20 vs 20. And in what other games system can you scare an enemy to then put him down more easily?

SW Test Drive Rules

Savage Worlds greatest weakness is the same that affects all generic system: the lack of specific flavour special rules give to games. However, this can be easily amended using the optional rules mentioned above.

If you want to test the system, download the free Test Drive Rules.

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