Tag Archives: savage worlds

Savage Worlds Rifts and Unknown Armies 3rd

Finally the gonzo world of Rifts is not tied to the criminally stupid Palladium system. Savage Rifts is coming and you can get in on the Kickstarter now!

Also, the third edition of the great RPG Unknown Armies is in the offing, also on Kickstarter.

Games That Really Disappointed Me

A thread on TheRPGSite about “Games You Really Wanted To Like But Couldn’t” struck a chord with me.  Here’s some of the games I really, really wanted to like but was sadly crushed by. Chime in with yours!

Rune. After Feng Shui, which I loved with an intense love, I was really looking forward to Robin Laws’ next game, and Vikings are cool, so it seemed like a shoo-in. Then when I got it, it was a weird budget-driven thing that I couldn’t even begin to attempt to run. You can’t put in a trap, you have to take the trap out of the budget for opposing elements…  Spreadsheet time! To create a Rune adventure you’d have to do days of prep and math, there is no “winging it.” A warning shot of what has mostly gone wrong with RPGs since in many ways. Recently I saw the 2e clone Myth & Magic trying to put in an “XP budget” thing in their scenario building and it gave me post-traumatic stress disorder flashbacks to Rune, I said “Rip that out POST HASTE boys!”

Savage Worlds. With Savage Worlds there isn’t enough meat there unless the GM is willing to be off-the-cuffing stuff, and ours wasn’t. “I’m sorry, that seems like a valid Strength trick but the game only defines Smarts and Agility tricks.” “Oh well then this system is boring as all get out as written.” Also probably the GM’s style is to blame, he’d just suddenly take 15 minutes to build a big HeroClix battle mat and put the exact same generic goblin and dwarf minis down on it (we never fought dwarves or goblins, they were just stand-ins) and look at us and say “What do you want to do?” “To what? Where are we? What do those goblins represent? Are they attacking us or something?” But we gave it two campaigns. Once the final one ended with us getting killed by the traditional SW “guy you can’t hit ever except on super lucky dice explosions” we boycotted.

With FATE, I’ve tried Spirit of the Century and Dresden Files. Spirit of the Century was just too big.  411 pages for a “pick-up” RPG?  There was no way to bootstrap a group into playing it.  With Dresden Files, it wasn’t really the core mechanics that got us. Well, maybe it was. I just remember the wizard continually outshining other people in their specialty, and then us taking an egregiously long time to cast some detection spell. “Do we have enough juju to make it work? No? OK, we put in… Some grass, because he was on grass when he was abducted! Still not enough? We put in… A phone book with his name in it! How about now?” We stole Aspects and just added them to our Pathfinder characters in some campaigns, that works well enough. Might give FATE a try in another circumstance, but it’s operating at “two strikes.”

D&D 4e, because I actually liked D&D in Basic, 1e, 2e, and 3e; then 4e took a big steaming dump on everything the game stood for.

M&M 2e and Spycraft 2e. I loved 1e of both, and I was fine with upgrading and bought the books for both new editions sight unseen. And with both, they took a fine RPG and ladled on big levels of complexity and made it read like an encyclopedia full of definitions and not a game. They were completely un-charming and in both cases after reading some, even with my previous understanding from the earlier edition, I didn’t really want to power through reading the rest of the weighty tome. There’s a game design philosophy that sometimes comes into vogue that says “Make it read like a big ol’ dictionary, and they can just piece it together from all the individual definitions!”  And that’s about as easy as learning a foreign language from a dictionary. Game designers, stop being lazy. Write a game.

I think it’s at this point I decided giant complex games were not for me any more and started eyeballing lighter approaches (though sadly Savage Worlds was supposed to be the lead candidate there).

Those are the games that I really, really wanted to like, that many people told me I should like, but that in the end I like so little that if our group was like “Let’s play X” I, who generally go along with whatever game system without comment, would have to say “Uh… I don’t know if I’d really enjoy that.”

Sinister Adventures Adds Savage Worlds Support!

Nick Logue’s RPG imprint, Sinister Adventures, has put out some good lil’ PDF tidbits and is about ready to put out their first large, blood-soaked adventure, Razor Coast.  They have a couple more things in the pipeline.  They had already announced that their products would support both D&D 3.5e and Pathfinder – when  you buy, you get to pick which print copy you want, and you get both PDFs for your trouble.

This was cool enough, but today they announced that their stuff will also support Savage Worlds!  SW is an increasingly popular alternative for groups (including ours) who want a game without the huge rule weight of modern D&D and don’t like retroclones.

I’ve been waiting for Razor Coast eagerly, and being able to run it in either system will be a big draw for me because it means more potential for reuse.  So props to Sinister for this big move!

Final Savage Worlds “Legends of Steel” Session Summary Posted

In Legends of Steel Part IX, our brave heroes take on the invading Yarite army all by themselves, and are laid low by the invulnerable boss riding a demon wyvern.  But first, Manoj’s girlfriend poisons half the party; we strangle that elder from last time for the crime of “douchiness,” and Singh and Manoj are told by the Witch-Queen to “dance for me my little monkeys!”  Enjoy.

I don’t know why the final battle scene only is one page in the summary, it took about 182 hours of real time.

Penultimate Savage Worlds “Legends of Steel” Session Summary Posted

In Legends of Steel Part VIII (10 page pdf), some wyvern-riding moo-rons show up and convince the local yokels that pass as the government in this farm town that they should hand us over to the evil empire.  In retaliation, we murder three wyverns and everyone who dares open their bitch mouth to us.  And Manoj gets a crazy psycho stalker girlfriend!

We were pretty confused and frustrated by the RP session after that.  So the hapless city, now that we’ve murdered their prospective new overlords, feels they are probably going to be razed to the ground in retaliation by the bad guys’ army.  This is probably accurate; from what we can see a bunch of Catholic schoolgirls could raze them to the ground.

So then they want someone to take a message asking for help to their King.  We volunteer, if only because it will get us out of this dunghole.  They go to have an Important Council Meeting that they try to get us to come to.  Being averse to boredom, we go get drunk instead.  Then this local elder shows up and makes the following pitch “behind the back” of the local baron.

1.  Some people don’t like kicking taxes upstairs to the king.  But everyone’s scared of acting on this.  And the Baron is scared of asking for help.

2.  So we should delay the King’s forces in getting here.

3.  Because they will then throw off the invading army by themselves, and have enough mojo left over to throw off the King’s army too.  Freedom!

4.  And we should do this because we “owe them” for provoking the bad guys’ wrath.

My rebuttal, admittedly somewhat obscenity-laced, was:

1.  “Sounds like you’re a bunch of scared motherf***ers all the
way up the chain of command. What do you need us for?”

2.  …

3.  “But your farm town here couldn’t fight off a dozen drunken goblins on a good day.  You’re asking for help to fight the one army, but now you think you can take two?”

4.  “I’m sure you mean to say there’s something else in it for us…  Because if we owe anyone for the impending violence, which you brought on yourselves in the first place, you’d think we’d owe the Baron, the actual legitimate ruler of this place, and the King.  And not some random fat f**k like you.”

But no, that was his best offer.  I tried to help what appeared to be the railroad plot out.  “If only you were to offer us positions of power in this new regime…  Or money or booze or something…”  But no.  So I told him he’s better f**k off or else he was going to get three feet of steel rammed through his guts real soon.  The rest of the players all nodded sagely in agreement. He scuttled off.

The elder, and the GM, seemed somewhat taken aback.  But we were getting grumpy and don’t like nonsensical adventure hooks – come to a party with an offer that has an up side.  If we just want to kill people there are a lot of takers – why should we kill for you?

It’s one thing if the hook is what “good” or “heroic” characters should do, which is a mistake in a game where most characters are amoral mercenaries, but in this case it isn’t even the good, or brave and glory-filled, option. It’s the craven and bad option for zero compensation. Huh?

More Legends of Steel Session Summaries

Here’s a double helping of Savage Worlds goodness.  We have completed two  more sessions of our “Legends of Steel” swords & sorcery campaign and I’m getting caught up with publishing the summaries.

In Part VI, we rally and kill the contingent of bad guys trying to get the Green Sorcerous Rock of Unholy Death or whatever it is.  The main problem is that they have two werewolves with them.  The first one we end up having to kill with a sling juryrigged from an Indian chick’s halter top and silver pieces.  We prep a little better for the second one, and wipe out the rest of the baddies.  As I always like to say, “Wolfman has nards!!!”

In Part VII, the “Witch-Queen of Yar” sends some folks through a gate to ask for the stone too.  Some of the party wants to just hand it over.  But I, having just read Robert E. Howard’s “The Black Stranger,” decided to pull a daring double-cross.  As we were conducting the exchange, I asked “You know, the last group of guys gave us two werewolves to fight. What’s your offer?” and attacked!  Sadly, they got the stone anyway, but we got to fight a bunch of undead thingys and actually see the Witch-Queen in person.

Legends of Steel – Two New Session Summaries Up!

Our gaming group has been playing a Savage Worlds campaign set in the “Legends of Steel” swords & sorcery milieu.  Our brave heroes – well, at least we’re definitely batting more than .500.  We only lose less than half 0f our fights.  Mainly, we consort with Indians and pirates – it’s like some demented Never-Never Land, with us as the Lost Boys.  You get to decide who’s Tinkerbell.

Anyway, we’re up to five sessions completed.  Read all about it!

Here’s a bonus sample:

Baba Ali explains to the others that Radu is the Dark City, inhabited by sorcerers, beastmen, pirates, priests of forbidden gods, mortgage agents, same-sex couples and other monsters. They recently went to war against the city of Albana, summoning dragons to scorch the towers and merchant fleet. The city is one of the few where sorcery is openly practiced, among other perversions. Baba Ali lowers his voice when he tells the others that the city retransmits Major League baseball games with implicit oral permission, not explicit written permission! The others are horrified.