Thursday, July 22, 2010

Some Savage Guidelines

Many of the players in my current Savage Worlds campaign are used to systems with far more - and more specific - skills than what are provided for in the rulebook. Even with a number of expanded and additional skills that we use in Future Perfect, it is a small fraction of what we used often in other game systems. Now, there is no problem with a more generalist skill system. The concern is only over how some players have adapted, or had trouble adapting, to one of the core design conceits of Savage World.

Having played through several sessions, I can see now where some of the problems - disconnects, really - have arisen. The trouble lies not so much in how Skills themselves function, but in how and when certain Skills should be used as opposed to other Skill rolls or even Attribute rolls. In a game where skill lists are exhaustive, their general context and necessity can be readily apparent. However, a more general skill list, coupled with a system that encourages simple attribute tests for activities that fall outside the purview of a skill, can be off-putting simply due to its comparable ambiguity. I've no doubt that with continued play, the FFF assumptions of Savage Worlds will become second nature, just as reasoning from effect became increasingly easier as our previous Hero System games progressed.

The help out my players I've written a simple set of guidelines, shown below:

[Guidelines for Making Attribute Rolls]

AGILITY should be rolled for matters of general dexterity, fast-twitch reaction, acrobatics, or contortionism.

SMARTS should be rolled to reflect Background/General/Common Knowledge, Mental Quickness and Accuity, and general deductive reasoning and insight.

SPIRIT should be rolled for matters of Willpower, personal magnetism, courage, and keeping one's cool under pressure.

STRENGTH is rolled for any concern involving brute force, such as HTH damage, heavy lifting/hoisting/pushing/dragging, and breaking things.

VIGOR is rolled for general matters of health or stamina, including the potential resistance of damage or fatigue, toxins, disease, etc.

[Guidelines for Social Skills]

INTIMIDATION is rolled when you want to make someone do something they might not want to do, for fear of something worse happening.

PERSUASION is rolled when you want to make someone act in accordance with your point of view, even if they may not agree with it.

TAUNT is rolled when you want to make someone do something they may not want to do by compelling a reaction to your own actions.

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