Realistic Low to No Fantasy Settings

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Would you recommend Savage Worlds as a system to fuel these types of realistic campaigns?

Yes
20
87%
No
2
9%
Other
1
4%
 
Total votes: 23

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Hub
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Realistic Low to No Fantasy Settings

#1 Postby Hub » Tue May 12, 2015 2:38 am

I'm considering using Savage Worlds to run a realistic historic Anglo Saxon campaign. Or even a Harn campaign.

So little to no magic, little to no fantasy type monsters, and an emphasis on gritty dark themes.

Would you recommend Savage Worlds as a system to fuel these types of realistic campaigns?

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#2 Postby Seeker Jon » Tue May 12, 2015 8:30 am

I would totally use Savage Worlds for this, but it really depends on what the campaign will be focused on. SW is best at high action and adventure games.That's not to say it can't be used for more social heavy games of politicking and the like, just that it doesn't really provide a lot of tools for that. If you want to run a game where the players are a warrior band fighting against an invasion, or the crew of ship traveling the seas fighting pirates, the rulers of a holdfast, and the like, Savage Worlds will be perfect. But if you plan on a game of intrigue and courtly backstabbing, you might look to another system.

Oh, and if you do go with Savage Worlds, you might want to check out TAG's setting Hellfrost. Its a fantasy setting with a strong dose of Viking and Anglo-Saxon culture. Especially great are their rules for managing a resource for the players. This can be a small town, a fort, a temple, or really anything. Very nice for giving your players freedom and giving you TONS of ways to hook them into adventures.

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#3 Postby Hub » Tue May 12, 2015 9:50 am

I keep asking myself why SW rarely gets the nod for political backstabbing type settings (Game of Thrones for one example). It seems to get a good press for action but not so much for social.

I've gone through the Edges and skills and there's nothing there that's not in other games but for some reason all I hear is better at some genres (pulp action) than others (intrigue).

Can't even be said to be the wild dice because it's just a solitary d6. Even the combat can be very deadly if you tweak the right dials. Wounds, Shaken, etc is just another form of combat.

I'm not convinced SW is not a good fit for a more slow paced political intrigue setting, but then, there is something there I can't put my finger on. All I can come up with is that there's not enough social skills but then, Intimidation and Persuasion seem to cover all the bases required.

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#4 Postby imperialdan » Tue May 12, 2015 12:15 pm

On a more social related setting, there could be homemade skills such as Sense Motive (know if a person lie or is hostile) and/or Deception (to bluff or act as someone else), instead of putting everything social-related in Persuasion.

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#5 Postby Wibbs » Tue May 12, 2015 12:22 pm

Actually, Sense Motive would normally be covered by Notice with the rules as written.

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#6 Postby Legate71 » Tue May 12, 2015 12:57 pm

I think SW would work just fine for the idea as presented.

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#7 Postby ogbendog » Tue May 12, 2015 1:43 pm

I don't think it's that SW is bad at intrigue, it's just that it really shines at pulp action. And there may well be other systems that really shine at intrigue.
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#8 Postby SeeleyOne » Tue May 12, 2015 1:56 pm

Intrigue is essentially a plot. I do not understand how there has to be special game mechanics for it. I can see edges giving well, an edge, in certain types of things. While some skills could be added, but they are not needed. As mentioned above, Sense Motive might be a good one.

Another might be some sort of High Society skill that helps the character to say things in a way that does not offend others. But that would basically be a band-aid for when a player says "My character says this, but in a non-offensive way". Still, that could just be lumped into Persuasion. Better tet is just an edge and leave it at that.

I have seen many attempts at diplomacy and intrigue in other games but to be honest when it came down to it I found that game mechanically speaking there was very little in the way of crunch.

Please explain to us why Savage Worlds would not, or could not, be a valid system for intrigue. Is not Lankhmar based on such a premise? That is an now an official setting. Really I am baffled why this topic came up.
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#9 Postby Lord Inar » Tue May 12, 2015 2:06 pm

imperialdan wrote:Deception (to bluff or act as someone else),


A number of people reskin Gambling as Deception, but then it might be a Spirit roll.

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#10 Postby Legate71 » Tue May 12, 2015 2:44 pm

Yeah, I've never really understood games that include a social warfare mechanic (ie ASOIF). Politics and intrigue should be dealt with strictly as RP IMO. Perhaps, it could be modified by a mechanic on whether a person is friendly or hostile to wards your character, but the player should be doing most of the talking in this case. So, I really don't see why that would be a consideration for which system to use for a game.

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#11 Postby sablemage » Tue May 12, 2015 3:05 pm

Yes, I would totally use SW for that - but I would use SW for almost anything RPG-flavoured, and I suspect because this is a forum focused on SW, you would get most people answering "Yes". :)

That said, turn on Critical Failures and Gritty Damage, and remove Arcane Backgrounds, and it gets very dark and gritty. If you want to go really hardcore, remove bennies as well - Zed or Alive does this if I recall correctly.

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#12 Postby Hub » Tue May 12, 2015 3:28 pm

SeeleyOne wrote:Please explain to us why Savage Worlds would not, or could not, be a valid system for intrigue.

Savage Worlds might not be the best fit for a socially fuelled political intrigue backstabbing campaign because it tends to fit high action pulp type genres best and that's how it sells itself (FFF). What social skills it does have might seem to certain players and GMs to be a bit thin on the ground. You have to admit there's a general thinking that SW is not known for its social interaction dials.

That said, and as I mentioned above, I actually believe SW can do political intrigue; at least that's mostly my thinking. I was more enquiring as to why I keep hearing/reading that SW cannot do this or that (read: anything that's not strictly action pulp) because I believe it can.

As it goes, I'm about to use SW for my Anglo-Saxon campaign and maybe Harn (if I can sort out how to accommodate the magic).

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#13 Postby galu » Wed May 13, 2015 1:00 pm

Hub wrote:That said, and as I mentioned above, I actually believe SW can do political intrigue; at least that's mostly my thinking.



Intrigue is very easy, and doesn't need a subsection on rules.

What is intrigue in my opinion:

1. the game takes place where violence cannot be used to solve problems. (think of the french court: the king collected all noblemen there, so they stopped warring each other. Murderers were hanged or locked in the Bastille. They HAD TO use other means then violence)

2. The PCs must have some aims, which someone else wants or wants to not allow. This is very important, real aims, real wants of PCs and players.


If you mix these two, you have a game with intrigue, looking for patrons, allies, not slaying the enemy, but making a clown out of him.


(In 10 years later the king wants to remove a minister from it's position, and - IIRC - D'Artagnan provides him proof that the guy is fortifying an island. What Aramis advises to the minister is brilliant, and saves his life. After the fortification is finished, the minister presents it to king, saying his intention was to strengthen the rule of the crown.)



As it goes, I'm about to use SW for my Anglo-Saxon campaign and maybe Harn (if I can sort out how to accommodate the magic).


I think SW will work with low fantasy-gritty-semi-historical scenarios. You should take a look at damage and healing tho.
(I would use the "roll on the table on every wound" rule from russian connection, and decrease the frequency of healing rolls)

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#14 Postby kronovan » Wed May 13, 2015 1:25 pm

One of SW's strongest calling cards is its ability to run Historical Fantasy and Military themed campaigns. With that in mind, it'll work very well for running the campaign idea you stated in the OP. There are other systems out there that do that genre as well, but they often come with much more crunch - GURPS immediately comes to mind.

As to SW not being a good system for social intrigue; it's probably worth keeping in mind that some of those opinions were formed before SW Deluxe was on the market. That meant no social conflict rules and some other features that up the ante with the social side of RP'ing.

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#15 Postby galu » Wed May 13, 2015 1:41 pm

kronovan wrote:One of SW's strongest calling cards is its ability to run Historical Fantasy and Military themed campaigns. With that in mind, it'll work very well for running the campaign idea you stated in the OP. There are other systems out there that do that genre as well, but they often come with much more crunch - GURPS immediately comes to mind.



Yep, one more thing!

Not many games can handle more then a few extras, or mass battles well. SW is very good in this, and this can come handy if one wants PCs who become warlords in command of troops (anglo saxon PCs command the fyrd, right?).

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#16 Postby Hub » Wed May 13, 2015 2:36 pm

Great advice

Thanks all!


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