Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Savage Worlds: some House Rules

I was thinking that the only real issue I have with Savage Worlds is the fact that the core game emphasizes skills in action, but at the expense of points in Knowledge and languages. In many of my games language is a big deal....it's hard for me to create a setting without thinking about linguistic issues. Anyway, these two house rules I think will cover it nicely:

Languages Known: adventurers can learn a number of languages equal to their Smarts die (i.e. D6 means 6 language slots). The GM can let the player start with as many "empty" language slots as he/she wants and fill them during play, through training, or as desired. Alternatively: roll the Smarts die; this is the number of languages the adventurers starts play knowing, and the rest must be learned in-game.

Knowledge Specializations: In the core rules you spend points on different Knowledge skills, picking a focus each time. For games where lots of knowledge skills is a better idea (such as hard SF or investigative horror) I propose that the adventurer get a number of additional skill points just for knowledge skills equal to his Smarts score. This is in addition to Smarts granting language slots.



6 comments:

  1. Definitely think roll the Smarts die. D6 is average, correct? 6 languages for the average person seems high, even for a "European" model were there are a lot of languages in a smaller area. Some will, some won't. 1d6 makes more sense to me. Allow in-campaign learning of new languages to a Smarts die maximum.

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    1. Totally...although it was handy, I recall the old AD&D days where INT 18 magic users regularly had 7 languages. It seemed very odd in retrospect.

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  2. You could always include a new skill Languages (Smarts) with a number of such languages known by dice (d4: native + 1, d6: 4 lang, and so) and use the skill to fake accents, being able to read lost languages, you know how it works!

    But, in my opinion, if you give away those points to spend on languages, you're telling your players that there is something in your game that it's very important to you but they don't care enough so you have to give it for free. Otherwise, they wouldn't mind to spend some points in languages, or you could have some sort of linguistic character already in your group!

    Or maybe... I just lack the information to make an informed advice like this, if that's the case, I'm sorry!

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    1. That's a good idea--it's really more a problem with Savage Worlds providing such a modest number of skill points. Since the game is so stingy with skill points ( by design) the idea is to figure out a good metric for adding skill points for languages that doesn't punish people by forcing them to choose between information skills and survival skills for their points.

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    2. Have you considered getting rid of the languages at all?

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    3. Ironically I sort of do that with the SF campaign since it's easy to hand wave "unjversal language translation"--thanks Roddenbery! But for fantasy the anthropologist in me gets in the way and I end up evusing some fairly complex language relationships. My players are quite used to this and expect lots of language lists to choose from now. Very easy in D&D 5E but not quite the system theme or focus in SW lol

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