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Jeff's Gameblog
Wednesday, 24 March 2004

I've got some indigestion that's keeping me awake, so I thought I'd blog some more about Savage Worlds while waiting for the pepto to kick in. TMI perhaps, but a full explanation seemed better than my first idea of titling this post "Waiting for the Meds to Kick In".

Anyway, I took a good look at the SW character advancement rules tonight. It looks like you ought to gain a new goodie every 2 or 3 sessions, which seems to keep in line with D&D 3E player expectations. One of the features of Savage Worlds is a class of game mechanic called "edges". These are analogous to d20 feats, but since the system is classless edges encompass a lot more conceptual ground. I think I like edges, despite not liking feats. Maybe I just couldn't quite handle this particular game mechanic being welded onto good ol' D&D. I dunno. In addition to providing mechanical crunch and munch like feats, edges also have similar development trees. If optimum character builds are your thing, then you need to plan out your advancement picks and edge selections well ahead of schedule. For my PC Rondoo I am working on a chart plotting out a possible line of development for every advance from zero to 80 xps. That's approximately thirty to forty sessions of play. Not many campaigns I've participated in have gone thirty sessions. Still, I don't want to find myself in session 35 cursing a poor advancement choice made back in session 10. Planning this out reveals the fun and/or frustration of the SW advancement system; like any good resource management game you can't do everything you want with what you got. Even with a reasonably tight concept like "Rondoo will be a potent magic guy someday" there's still too many things to choose from. I think my solution will be to set aside any D&D notions I retain about generalist wizards and instead pick a specialty. You can't build a generalist wizard in baseline Savage Worlds without spending nearly all your advances on learning new spells. (Basically, each new spell costs you a whole edge. Can you imagine a D&D 3E campaign where learning a spell cost a feat? I don't know if the concept is crazy or brilliant.) And then you are left with a character who lacks both the power points to cast them all and the spellcasting skill to cast them effectively. I think my solution will be to try to concentrate on healing magics and the healing skill. I just have to figure out a way to wrap my head around the idea that this basically nonviolent white magic type wizard is hanging out with three other PCs. You know how typical PCs act, right? Violence and PCs go together like peanut butter and jelly. I've seen PCs do things to people that would make pirates wince.

One other quick observation about Savage Worlds and then I'm off to bed. The spell list is abbreviated, as one would expect from a generic universal type rulebook. What I find interesting is that because of the emphasis on miniature compatibility, the spells list ends up looking remarkably like it was cribbed from the original Chainmail fantasy supplement! Basically, with a couple notable exceptions, the spell list is limited to things that would be useful in a tabletop fantasy encounter: bolts and balls for zapping the enemy, heal spells, protection magics, fly spells, a spell to whip up zombies, etc. I don't know if these resemblance to Chainmail and Boot Hill(mentioned in the previous blog entry) are the result of Mr. Hensley reinventing the wheel or if he was familiar with these games and drawing upon mostly forgotten source material. I know he wouldn't be the first designer of his generation to look back that far. Jonathan Tweet is awfully found of the Chainmail combat resolution chart, and Ron Edwards has nearly started a Tunnels & Trolls revival over at the forge.

Well, my digestive track has put down the picket signs and ended the protest speeches, so I'm off to bed.

Posted by jrients at 12:38 AM CST

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