Savage Worlds - Adventure Edition

Tom B

Legendary Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2017
Messages
367
Reaction score
567
So, one game that seems popular and has a lot of support...but yet that I see very little discussion for, is Savage Worlds.

I played and ran SW for a while when it first came out, but it had a few glitches that kept me from really enjoying it. Now they've released the newest version (SWADE), and after taking a look at it, it appears those glitches have been addressed.

So, what are people's experiences with SW, especially the new version? After nearly 20 years, are there any commonly known issues with it? Where does it work or not work well? Is it good for long-term campaigns?

I'd appreciate any thoughts and opinions.
 

TheophilusCarter

Milliner and Haberdasher
Joined
Aug 15, 2017
Messages
2,558
Reaction score
4,387
SW was my One True Game for a while, but I grew disillusioned with it after several years of running (and occasionally) playing it. I don't think there's anything terrible about it, and I'll still recommend it to certain people for certain things, but it had some some quirks that eventually made me look elsewhere. Let me take a look at it to refresh my memory a bit ...
 

E-Rocker

Not a goose
Joined
Mar 25, 2019
Messages
1,160
Reaction score
2,158
I ran a 2.5 year campaign using the previous edition, Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorer's Edition, and I am currently running a campaign using Savage Worlds Adventure Edition. That campaign will hit its one-year anniversary sometime this Fall. I'd be happy to go into detail about the system later this weekend. :smile:

When SWADE first came out, I didn't particularly feel a need to upgrade because I was happy with SWDEE; however, I ended up buying the SWADE .pdf out of curiosity, and liked the changes enough that I late-backed the Kickstarter and got the fancy box set.

My basic impression of Savage Worlds is that it's a good medium-crunch system for action-adventure games. I probably wouldn't use it for a low-violence/ no-violence campaign, but I've also never tried...

More later.
 

Trippy

Legendary Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2017
Messages
2,059
Reaction score
3,352
It’s a generic game, although it is more themed on “Fast, Furious, Fun’ than being fully universal in application. It has its own supplements and settings, but much of the support is third party. The signature mechanics are its card based Initiative, which seems to be entirely random but does work in play curiously enough, and keeps players actively engaged. It also makes use of all the polyhedral dice (although not D20s much), poker chips (used as ‘Bennies’ that buy re-rolls or other benefits) and you can also bring in miniatures optionally too. So a typical Savage Worlds game has a lot of action and bells and whistles at the table. It is great for games like Deadlands, pulp action or games like Flash Gordon, pretty good for Supers (although it doesn’t have quite the same number of customizable options as Champions or M&M), but not so great at personal drama or games that work on historical or academic detail.
 

Savage Schemer

Legendary Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2019
Messages
206
Reaction score
510
SW was my One True Game for a while, but I grew disillusioned with it after several years of running (and occasionally) playing it. I don't think there's anything terrible about it, and I'll still recommend it to certain people for certain things, but it had some some quirks that eventually made me look elsewhere. Let me take a look at it to refresh my memory a bit ...
Out of curiosity, which system took it's place as your "One True Game"? Assuming, of course, you've settled on one.
 

TheophilusCarter

Milliner and Haberdasher
Joined
Aug 15, 2017
Messages
2,558
Reaction score
4,387
Out of curiosity, which system took it's place as your "One True Game"? Assuming, of course, you've settled on one.
I have not. :smile: Actually, I came to the conclusion that it's okay for me to play more than one system! :grin: I've mostly been doing actual gaming over the last few years with Fate, ICONS, Vortex (mainly via the Doctor Who Roleplaying Game), and D&D of various kinds. I also like the BRP / d100 family, but it's not as good a fit for my current gaming opportunities.
 

TheophilusCarter

Milliner and Haberdasher
Joined
Aug 15, 2017
Messages
2,558
Reaction score
4,387
AH, back to SW. Lots of good stuff about it. Great support, a blank ton of settings and adventures, some of which are really creative. I found it fairly easy to prep when GMing. As a player, I dig the power curve: PCs go from competent to bad-ass which is my preferred range.

However, I decided I didn't really like the mechanics in various key ways that weren't really house-rule-able. The math behind it can be obscure, and it can be really swingy, so it was really hard to anticipate what was going to happen at the table. I didn't like the combat system in various was, esp. the Shaken result. On the whole, there was enough about it that I often found myself going "huh?" at the table, which didn't lend itself well to being in the moment, as it were.

So, yah, not a bad game, and a lot of folks like it quite a bit, but after years of running it, I just decided to look elsewhere.
 

tenbones

Grand Poobah of the D.O.N.G.
Joined
May 31, 2018
Messages
1,870
Reaction score
3,689
So, one game that seems popular and has a lot of support...but yet that I see very little discussion for, is Savage Worlds.
I suspect a lot of people have their current favorite systems and have little interest in investing in a new system. But I could be totally wrong.

I played and ran SW for a while when it first came out, but it had a few glitches that kept me from really enjoying it. Now they've released the newest version (SWADE), and after taking a look at it, it appears those glitches have been addressed.
It certainly has a few "weird" issues in the early editions, mainly having to do with Shaken rules (which some people still prefer). But aside from the crazy exploding dice which allowed pistols to shoot down the Death Star, those have been resolved. SWADE's unified a *lot* of the system (which wasn't too out of whack in the first place) but 11-years of beating this last edition to death has definitely fixed a lot of the bugs.

Without knowing what turned you off specifically, I can't really tell you if its been addressed. SWADE runs very clean, but has some *tiny* mathematical quirks (I mean REALLY tiny) relating to the d6 vs d8 explosion probability. But it's inconsequential.

So, what are people's experiences with SW, especially the new version? After nearly 20 years, are there any commonly known issues with it? Where does it work or not work well? Is it good for long-term campaigns?

I'd appreciate any thoughts and opinions.
Love it. Looking forward to running it for years to come. I'm not currently running it (I'm currently a player in a MSH game), but I plan on diving headlong into a SWADE Deadlands or Rifts game.

I used SWADE early on for a very detailed Forgotten Realms game - and it went very well. The beauty of SWADE is it is 99% compatible with older editions, so a lot of that content is perfectly convertible, so any of the sub-systems like magic-systems from other settings like Shaintar, or pre-SWADE Rifts edition, or any other setting can easily be retrofitted into the game on the fly.

That said - SWADE editions for most of these settings and the Fantasy splatbook are in the works. The most common issue that SWADE GM's should be wary of is (and I apply this to any toolkit system) to know *what* parameters they want in their game. SWADE gives you a lot of *options* to tune the setting up/down, to be more detailed or hand-wavy as you want. But if you're just using SWADE with no setting books, you have to have this stuff settled before you start rolling dice.

If your'e using an established setting - this stuff is done for you. Right now Savage Rifts SWADE Edition is the big PEG setting that is pretty fully realized, and SWADE Deadlands is about to drop. There are some other third-party settings out there too - Wiseguys (organized crime game). And more are on the way.
 

Mankcam

Inadvert Founder of Swo'
Joined
Sep 24, 2017
Messages
2,156
Reaction score
4,437
In many ways I echo the experience of @TheophilusCarter when it comes to Savage Worlds (and some other systems).

Savage Worlds was the game that got me back in tabletop RPGs, after being out of things for half a decade or so. I had actually put my tabletop RPG days behind me, spent my late 20s and early 30s in a different crowd, we were into clubbing and chasing girls, no one was into tabletop RPGs.

Eventually the pace slowed when I ended up married, and I started unpacking my old rpgs out of the storage boxes. This led to me returning to visit the comic & gaming stores, and convincing friends that tabletop gaming was a cool pursuit (which was not an easy feat back in those days before the geek hipness of Geek n Sundry and Critical Role).

The hobby shops shelves were full of D&D 3.5 and 4E books, and none of this appealed to me. I came across this then small-press game with a light set of rules, and a wide range of settings, and it was growing all the time.
That hooked me, and I wanted SW to be the new GURPS, thinking I would be content in having it as the main system to play.

I initially loved the approach of it, and it has great settings. I bought many setting books before we even returned to playing.

50 Fathoms, Necessary Evil, Rippers, RunePunk, Solomon Kane, Sundered Skies, Suzerain, Deadlands Reloaded, Slipstream, Pirates of the Spanish Main, Thrilling Tales, Realms of Cthulhu, Hellfrost, The Day After Ragnarok, Daring Tales, the list goes on, so many great settings for SW.

I eventually ran SW 2nd edition and then the SW Explorers edition, but then surprisingly became disenchanted with it. It certainly wasn’t for lack of trying.

Just didn’t seem to float the boat anymore. I am now more aware that I like systems that either have more meat-on-the-bone, or systems that are up the other end of the spectrum in regards to being rules-lite.

SW just felt like it didn’t know what it wanted to be.
Of course this is incorrect, as it now sits exactly where it wants to be.
But just not the system mechanics for me.

Later I bought the SW Deluxe edition out of interest, but by then I had moved out of it. It was a nice edition, but it didn’t drag me back in.

I still admire many of the SW settings that I bought, and would consider running them with another system. I still love reading my SW books, and many settings seem perfectly suited for adapting to Fate Core, which is why I have been keeping them.

I haven’t bought any recent titles, although I saw that SW did a great reboot for Space 1889, and Flash Gordon also looked really well done. I recently saw they were rebooting Rifts in a major way as well.

I don’t follow SW as a rule set these days, so I haven’t even taken a peek at the latest edition. I cannot see myself returning to it, but the latest edition does seem to be well received by those who are into SW.

Despite this, I definitely do admire the fun creativity that has gone into their many settings, and still occasionally watch out for what setting they come up with next.
 
Last edited:

Spellslinging Sellsword

Legendary Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2018
Messages
269
Reaction score
641
I have SW Deluxe edition and all the Hellfrost books. Is the new version a must buy upgrade or more like Runequest 6 to Mythras type difference?
 

The Butcher

horrible cunt
Joined
Apr 29, 2017
Messages
3,415
Reaction score
6,910
Came to SWEE in the late 2000s as a d20 refugee.

Got a ton of mileage from it, too; a Hyborian Age game, then Solomon Kane, then the glory that is Day After Ragnarok (still one of my favorite settings ever).

Bought, but never got around to playing, Deadlands Reloaded, SW Deluxe and Deluxe EE, and more recently Savage Rifts.

Never did quite burn out from it either. All the games I did run were more short lived than I intended, as my games are wont to be. Really wish I could run Deadlands (with my own twists), or Necessary Evil (or anything supers, really), Savage Rifts (this one would be a major vindication for me), or an original setting of my own creation (fat chance of that happening anytime soon).
 

tenbones

Grand Poobah of the D.O.N.G.
Joined
May 31, 2018
Messages
1,870
Reaction score
3,689
If you're looking for a system with heavy crunch - SW is probably not going to do it for you. SW is medium-lite in crunch in the current SWADE edition, but it still has very low-end numbers and is abtracted to those small numbers leaving the GM to do a lot of the extrapolation.

It's medium-crunch because now they've sewn in a lot of the "loose"ends into their task resolution mechanics that were always kinda janky. Automatic weapons, Suppressive fire, Chase Rules, cleaned up vehicle combat etc.

There is a lot of consolidation which adds more "crunch" but it's not what I'd call granular mechanics.
 

Chris Brady

Legendary Member
Joined
May 3, 2019
Messages
1,884
Reaction score
1,559
I've got two games I'm running in SWADE, one is a Space Opera mashup of all my favourite media and another is an Urban Fantasy/Cyberpunk game I JUST started.
 

EmperorNorton

Legendary Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2018
Messages
2,003
Reaction score
4,528
We're running Golarion (the Pathfinder setting) in SWADE. I've been pretty much on the fly converting stuff from an Adventure Path. It's so smooth to run if it matches your style.
 

Tom B

Legendary Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2017
Messages
367
Reaction score
567
If you're looking for a system with heavy crunch - SW is probably not going to do it for you. SW is medium-lite in crunch in the current SWADE edition, but it still has very low-end numbers and is abtracted to those small numbers leaving the GM to do a lot of the extrapolation.

It's medium-crunch because now they've sewn in a lot of the "loose"ends into their task resolution mechanics that were always kinda janky. Automatic weapons, Suppressive fire, Chase Rules, cleaned up vehicle combat etc.

There is a lot of consolidation which adds more "crunch" but it's not what I'd call granular mechanics.
Definitely not looking for heavy crunch. As I said, I've played the original SW. It has a bit more crunch than is ideal, but the tradeoff could be worth it.
 

Baeraad

Delicate Snowflake
Joined
Oct 4, 2017
Messages
1,110
Reaction score
2,252
I'm fond of SW, though it's definitely a system for games that are very clear that they are games, that you effectively control a game piece on a board and that the roleplaying is just a bit of gravy on the side. It's not something I'd turn to for deep-immersion, high-concept games. On the other hand, sometimes it's nice to play a game where you get constant reminders to stop pretending to be an arteest and just shoot something already. :grin:

I've played the new edition, though not run it. I don't know, it seems to be running pretty well and got rid of some of the dumber rules from the previous ones.

but aside from the crazy exploding dice which allowed pistols to shoot down the Death Star, those have been resolved.
That one has been resolved too, I think. Damage dice don't ace when used against inanimate objects. I think the Death Star counts. :wink: Even if it just counts as a vehicle it would reasonably have Heavy armour, meaning you'd need a Heavy weapon to even make a dent - which would admittedly mean that you can't shoot it down with a pistol, but you can shoot it down with a rocket launcher... But, all in all, there are some patches that work reasonably well.
 

E-Rocker

Not a goose
Joined
Mar 25, 2019
Messages
1,160
Reaction score
2,158
I mentioned that I liked most of the rules changes in SWADE, so I thought I'd take a moment to talk about them:

Climbing, throwing, and swimming are no longer separate skills. Those activities all fall under the new "Athletics" skill.

All PCs now start with a d4 in the skills Athletics, Common Knowledge, Notice, Persuasion, and Stealth. I really like this.
 

E-Rocker

Not a goose
Joined
Mar 25, 2019
Messages
1,160
Reaction score
2,158
All the old uses for bennies still apply, but there are also some new ones:

Draw a new Action card. I like this one, but my players rarely use it.

Reroll damage. This used to require a specific Edge, but now it's something anyone can do.

Influence the story. This one I do not like and have not used. I prefer my players try to influence the story the old-fashioned way, by asking me lots of leading questions :smile: .
 

E-Rocker

Not a goose
Joined
Mar 25, 2019
Messages
1,160
Reaction score
2,158
Nah, we never used miniatures or battlemaps and it works just fine. So, it was no more "gamey" than any other system we've used. YMMV, of course.
Likewise. I've occasionally used maps and minis, but the vast majority of my sessions have been ToTM. SW seems no more or less "gamey" than D&D 5e to me.
 

E-Rocker

Not a goose
Joined
Mar 25, 2019
Messages
1,160
Reaction score
2,158
They also changed the skill list a bit to clarify the meaning of some skills, such as changing "Investigation" to "Research." The description says, in part, "A character skilled in Research knows how to make good use of libraries, newspaper morgues, the internet, or other written sources of information."

I love this change. In my old campaign, my players would try to use "Investigation" for just about everything, lol.
 

Tom B

Legendary Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2017
Messages
367
Reaction score
567
All the old uses for bennies still apply, but there are also some new ones:

Draw a new Action card. I like this one, but my players rarely use it.

Reroll damage. This used to require a specific Edge, but now it's something anyone can do.

Influence the story. This one I do not like and have not used. I prefer my players try to influence the story the old-fashioned way, by asking me lots of leading questions :smile: .
It depends on how they influence the story. If it's something that's plausible but I haven't specifically mentioned, I've had no problems.

Such as, "Hey, do I know the bartender here? It's near my apartment," or, "Did I remember to put the spare gun in the trunk?" Things like that.
 

E-Rocker

Not a goose
Joined
Mar 25, 2019
Messages
1,160
Reaction score
2,158
A change I'm pretty neutral on is that they did away with the numerical XP scale, and recommend granting an advance after every second or third session. I still use the numerical XP scale, but my players level up at roughly the same rate they would with the new rules, so I guess I didn't need to hold onto that.
 

E-Rocker

Not a goose
Joined
Mar 25, 2019
Messages
1,160
Reaction score
2,158
A new rule I thought I didn't like, but ended up changing my mind about after discussing it with my players, is that an Advance can now be used to permanently buy off a Minor Hindrance, and two Advances can be saved up to buy off a Major Hindrance.

It sounded dumb to me, but my players pointed out that, if a character had character-growth in-story, such as becoming less cowardly, this new rule provides a way to reflect it mechanically. I decided they had a good point.

Of course, none of my players have used this rule and they actually want to get more Hindrances as they level up, not less, haha. Even when I remind them that there is no mechanical benefit to taking extra Hindrances, they still want to, so I allow it.
 

E-Rocker

Not a goose
Joined
Mar 25, 2019
Messages
1,160
Reaction score
2,158
They significantly revamped the Chase rules, but I rarely used the old Chase rules and have yet to use the new Chase rules, so I can't really speak to that.
 

E-Rocker

Not a goose
Joined
Mar 25, 2019
Messages
1,160
Reaction score
2,158
One thing that I would say is not a strength of Savage Worlds is fights of a PC team versus just one Big Bad and no other enemies. There are Edges and setting rules and etc. that can make it more likely to be an intense fight, but on those rare occasions when I convince myself, "Okay, I can make an all-versus-one fight work this time," my Big Bad literally gets one-shotted on the first player's first action of the combat.
 

E-Rocker

Not a goose
Joined
Mar 25, 2019
Messages
1,160
Reaction score
2,158
In general, exploding dice make combat quite swingy. Whether this is a feature, a bug, or just a thing that is, depends on what you find fun. In general I love the swinginess and find the unpredictability exciting.

Ya know, except for those times when my players roll 64 damage on their first attack against the Big Bad :crossed::clown::smile:.
 

E-Rocker

Not a goose
Joined
Mar 25, 2019
Messages
1,160
Reaction score
2,158
And although I've been playing (well, mostly running) Savage Worlds for more than 4 years, I will still never not be disappointed that exploding dice don't literally explode. :grin:
 

Tom B

Legendary Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2017
Messages
367
Reaction score
567
I've had something similar happen in nearly every game I've run in regard to one-shotting the big bad early in the combat, so that's okay. I'm a fan of open-ended rolls as well, first in Rolemaster and later in Savage Worlds. I like that chance to succeed against the odds. (Was it anti-climactic when the mage's ferret familiar got an incredible open-ended roll in Rolemaster and took out the big-bad all by himself? Maybe...but the group LOVED it. That story got told for years.)
 

E-Rocker

Not a goose
Joined
Mar 25, 2019
Messages
1,160
Reaction score
2,158
Another rule change that I like is that drawing a weapon is now a free action. That was already a house rule in my Deluxe Explorer's Edition game. Now it's an official rule in Adventure Edition.
 

dbm

AFK
Joined
Aug 21, 2017
Messages
1,107
Reaction score
2,146
One of our frustrations with earlier editions was that the niche skills when combined with, actually, a small number of chances to increase skill, and the higher cost for starting a skill, then it could be really tricky to cover the basics.

SWADE’s skills changes addresses all of those niggles for us.
 

E-Rocker

Not a goose
Joined
Mar 25, 2019
Messages
1,160
Reaction score
2,158
That's a good change although I was already doing that. I also consolidated Streetwise and Lockpicking into "Larceny"
That's cool. Lockpicking now falls under the broader "Thievery" skill. Partial description: "Lockpicking, safecracking, picking pockets, sleight of hand, setting and disabling traps and similar acts of misdirection, sabotage, subterfuge, and manipulation are called Thievery."
 

dbm

AFK
Joined
Aug 21, 2017
Messages
1,107
Reaction score
2,146
I even allow our Thief expert to use it to ‘case the joint’ which is perhaps a stretch. But I’ve seen too many thieves with rubbish Perception / Notice and it gets very old, really quick...
 

E-Rocker

Not a goose
Joined
Mar 25, 2019
Messages
1,160
Reaction score
2,158
Bit of trivia for those who don't know: a number of the Adventure Edition rules were first introduced as setting rules in the Savage Worlds Flash Gordon game.
 

E-Rocker

Not a goose
Joined
Mar 25, 2019
Messages
1,160
Reaction score
2,158
One product for Savage Worlds that I've been quite impressed with is Savage Daddy's One Shot Wonders. It includes five different one-shot adventures, and does a really good job of demonstrating how setting rules can be used to create adventures in a wide variety of styles and tones, from Futurama-style hijinks in 30 Parsecs or Less, to Romero-style zombie dread in No More Room in Hell. I've run four of the five adventures from this release for my public game.
 

Brock Savage

Cosmic Barbarian
Joined
Jun 17, 2019
Messages
1,664
Reaction score
3,308
SWADE is a substantial upgrade over previous editions.

I was pretty skeptical about many of the changes, but once I saw how it all fit, it silenced most of my objections.
After reading this thread it sounds like I need to check out the new edition and break out SW once more. This time around I will reserve SW for shorter campaigns, say 6 sessions or less.
 

Tommy Brownell

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2017
Messages
2,180
Reaction score
4,534
After reading this thread it sounds like I need to check out the new edition and break out SW once more. This time around I will reserve SW for shorter campaigns, say 6 sessions or less.
Fair enough. I think it holds up to long term play better than any other system I’ve ran, though. Your mileage may vary.
 
Top