Savage Moons - Vara Campaign - Houserules I am considering

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Utgardloki
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Savage Moons - Vara Campaign - Houserules I am considering

#1 Postby Utgardloki » Sun Oct 14, 2012 1:25 am

I am considering a few changes to the Savage Worlds rules for a homebrew fantasy setting I'm working on, and would like some feedback.

Backgrounds

This is a bit like the Archetypes, but tailored to the campaign. Every PC has a background, which defines who they were at the campaign start and where they fit in the society. Attributes are not defined, but some skills and edges are assigned to ensure the character has a good start.

Background Dice

I am considering a rule I call Background Dice. A PC's Background Die is D4 at Novice level, D6 at Seasoned level, D8 at Veteran, D10 at Heroic, and D12 at Legendary level. If a character botches while attempting a roll related to the background (e.g. crafting someting for a Hantverkar, or looking for shelter for a Vaidmen), the player can roll the Background Die and use that for his roll. If the Background Die comes up a '1', then it is still a botch.

This represents that a character who is expert in a certain field is not likely to make a stupid mistake, and deserves a second chance. Also characters who make a lot of rolls for a certain thing are going to botch more often, but using the Background Die prevents some of these botches, so it works out.

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Another houserule: Skill Acquisition and Usage

#2 Postby Utgardloki » Sun Oct 14, 2012 1:29 am

According to the book, a skill costs twice as much to improve if it is above the key attribute than it does if it is below the key attribute. For example, if a PC has a Smarts of D6, it takes two points at character creation to build a skill like Gambling from D8 to D10, but only one point to build it up from D4 to D6.

This makes sense, but I think I'd like to try something a little simpler.

Skills take the same amount to build up no matter what your attribute, but if your skill level is higher than your key attribute for the skill, you take a -1 penalty.

This seems simpler in that it does not require keeping track of when skill points were bought and when attributes were raised and which skill points were bought at double price. It also makes attributes more valuable because unless you get your attribute up, you're taking that -1 penalty to all those skills keyed to that attribute that are at a higher level.

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Re: Another houserule: Skill Acquisition and Usage

#3 Postby Takeda » Sun Oct 14, 2012 2:39 am

Utgardloki wrote:According to the book, a skill costs twice as much to improve if it is above the key attribute than it does if it is below the key attribute. For example, if a PC has a Smarts of D6, it takes two points at character creation to build a skill like Gambling from D8 to D10, but only one point to build it up from D4 to D6.

This makes sense, but I think I'd like to try something a little simpler.

Skills take the same amount to build up no matter what your attribute, but if your skill level is higher than your key attribute for the skill, you take a -1 penalty.

This seems simpler in that it does not require keeping track of when skill points were bought and when attributes were raised and which skill points were bought at double price. It also makes attributes more valuable because unless you get your attribute up, you're taking that -1 penalty to all those skills keyed to that attribute that are at a higher level.


Having skills cost more as you exceed your linked stat is an example of how powerful having a high stat can be. Your version makes buying up the stat almost useless.
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#4 Postby VonDan » Sun Oct 14, 2012 2:55 am

I my epic pulp game that was set in 1937 I had each PC write be a PC background and from that I picked a fed feats that fit the background

Examples

The construction Worker got Drive big rigs

The researcher got deerenger

The Pilot who grew up on a farm got rifle

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#5 Postby Enno » Sun Oct 14, 2012 7:36 am

Isn't the background the definition what is considered Common Knowledge in the core rules? Why do you need an extra rule here?
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Re: Another houserule: Skill Acquisition and Usage

#6 Postby kronovan » Sun Oct 14, 2012 11:25 am

Utgardloki wrote:This seems simpler in that it does not require keeping track of when skill points were bought and when attributes were raised and which skill points were bought at double price. It also makes attributes more valuable because unless you get your attribute up, you're taking that -1 penalty to all those skills keyed to that attribute that are at a higher level.


It's an interesting idea, but not something I'd personally consider for a houserule. The player and GM only have to worry about the discrepancy between the skill dice and linked attribute at the time of an advancement, which isn't very often. Whereas, they'll have to figure in that -1 penalty every time a skill higher than a linked attribute is used, which could be quite often. Also bare in mind that it's possible to already have a number of penalties (wounds, fatigue, MAP, etc) to add to a skill roll, which means doing the math on multiple penalties and potentially slowing down the roll process . Perhaps other GM's handle the dealing out of XP differently, but my players often don't achieve an advancement in a given gaming session, so they're not increasing skills or attributes very often.

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#7 Postby Utgardloki » Sun Oct 14, 2012 2:18 pm

VonDan wrote:I my epic pulp game that was set in 1937 I had each PC write be a PC background and from that I picked a fed feats that fit the background

Examples

The construction Worker got Drive big rigs

The researcher got deerenger

The Pilot who grew up on a farm got rifle


I found that when running modern games, it works well to have the players make their own occupations because there are many possibilities and the players know what they are.

In fantasy games, players won't really know what the options are, except by bringing in ideas from that other RPG. On the other hand, there are not very many occupations, and having a writeup of what someone like a Shaman does helps the players know where their characters fit in the society.

One thing that I have found in games that don't have classes, is that sometimes a player will create character who really is not capable of filling his role due to lacking essential skills or talents. So I've come up with a list that assigns enough of the PC's starting skill points to meet the bare minimum for the class, and indicates how many points are left over.

Of course, this does lead to the possibility of two characters with the Trader background, one with 1D4 smarts, one with 1D10 smarts, and both get 1D8 for Survival from the background and have the same number of additional skill points, because the 1D4 smarts character didn't pay double to advance his Survival skill.

But I suppose that is alright. The Trader with 1D4 smarts gets a couple extra points for raising skills compared to his smarter brother, but he probably got more careful instruction on how to get from one place to another without using the wrong leaves for the wrong purposes.

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Why the Background Die?

#8 Postby Utgardloki » Sun Oct 14, 2012 2:46 pm

Enno wrote:Isn't the background the definition what is considered Common Knowledge in the core rules? Why do you need an extra rule here?


The difference between Background Knowledge and Common Knowledge is that Common Knowledge is common, while Background Knowledge is specialized.

For example, anybody might know whether or not a certain monster is vulnerable to silver weapons. But they aren't likely to know that a princess two kingdoms over is getting married. That is the sort of thing a Trader might know, however.

I've also had experiences where a PC who is supposed to be an expert at something ends up looking like a complete idiot just because of a bad die roll. Since the chance of a botch doesn't change much, especially if a player uses her Advances to build up other areas of the character, I figure the Background Die helps avoid this sort of thing, while still making it possible to have a bad axe day.

I will, of course, be taking Background into account when determining the effects of a Botch. A Warrior, for example, might simply break his sword, while a Shaman might accidentally throw it eight yards away in a random direction.

But I like things to be spelled out, however. It can result in hurt feelings if a player feels he is being picked on. But if the dice do it, that's just bad luck.

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Re: Why the Background Die?

#9 Postby cpk666 » Sun Oct 14, 2012 4:22 pm

Utgardloki wrote:The difference between Background Knowledge and Common Knowledge is that Common Knowledge is common, while Background Knowledge is specialized.

For example, anybody might know whether or not a certain monster is vulnerable to silver weapons. But they aren't likely to know that a princess two kingdoms over is getting married. That is the sort of thing a Trader might know, however.

I've also had experiences where a PC who is supposed to be an expert at something ends up looking like a complete idiot just because of a bad die roll.


I don't think you're using Common Knowledge properly. Characters get a +2 bonus to a CK roll if it fits their background. And for questions that don't fit their background they get a -2. So the PC trader would know about the upcoming marriage unless he rolls a critical failure.

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