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Savage Worlds Adventure Edition—General Feedback

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  • Savage Worlds Adventure Edition—General Feedback

    Knowing us, we're all going to have thoughts on everything that PEG is going to start revealing leading up to the Kickstarter release of SWADE, which means a lot of forum posts are going to be popping up about this, so I wanted to create a thread consolidating general feedback over the next few weeks. This isn't a thread to talk about what you hope they do for the future—there's a ton of different posts talking about what you want to see across many aspects of the system. Rather, this is just to discuss specific mechanics that are being teased out.

    Below I'll list and link to specific mechanics as they're released for us to ponder. Do you like the new rules? (Probably.) Are there any issues you could see arising and how would you want to address them?

    I've also added information revealed in the recent SavageCast interview with Shane! A more in-depth overview of those specific changes are listed here!

    Kurt Wiegel released a review of Savage Worlds Adventure edition. Watch his review here.

    * Support Rules: This is a streamlining of Cooperative Rolls in the current edition of the rules, with an expanded scope that provides assistance through unrelated Skills and can be used in combat.

    * Test Rules: These are replacing Tricks and Tests of Will, which requires a Skill vs Attribute opposed roll; success allows you to inflict the Vulnerable or Distracted condition on the victim.

    * Core Skills: A rule that grants player characters a free d4 in five different Skills that "every reasonable character has at least a modicum of ability in." Starting Skill points are now based on setting; fantasy or "less educated" games (possibly including horror games) start with fewer Skill Points (12?), while modern or sci-fi games include 15 Skill Points (on top of Core Skills).

    * Multi-Actions: Characters can take up to three actions per turn, with a maximum Multi-Action Penalty of –4. You can now repeat actions. It is unclear how existing Edges have been changed to adapt to this change.

    * New Chase Rules: These have been released by PEG and are a total overhaul of the Chase Rules, as well as specialized rules for dogfights and duels. The goals are to make it simpler to pull out and use on the fly and make weapons with different range brackets relevant in chases (such as a driver with a pistol vs a helicopter with a chain gun). These also detail Vulnerable and Distracted.

    * Quick Encounters: This is an expansion of the Quick Combat rules that were released a while ago, allowing for the quick abstraction of almost any challenge or interactions (listed examples include Chases, Combats, Crises, Heists, Missions, and Treks).

    * Wealth System: A very common house rule around these parts that eschews money for a general idea of "wealth" that could be very useful to a large portion of Savage Worlds settings that don't place an emphasis on managing funds (Rifts, Flash Gordon, supers games, and so forth). Likely a Setting Rule. No information yet.

    * Distinction between "adventure gear" and setting-appropriate allowances—otherwise known as "how can I buy a motorcycle with $500 as a starting character?"

    * The Athletics Skill: A new Skill that combines Climbing, Swimming, Grappling, and Throwing into a single skill. It's linked to Agility, though there apparently will be an Edge to link it to Strength.

    Facebook Design Diaries: So the wonderful Shane Hensley has been posting smaller, micro-updates about SWADE on the Savage Worlds Facebook Group. I'll be posting all of them here alongside everything else we're seeing.
    * Grappling Rules: First appearing in Flashh Gordon, the Grappling rules have been updated slightly to focus on the established design paradigm of "Skills are active, Attributes are passive."
    * Further explanation as to fitting Athletics and Agility, and more of a deep-dive into design philosophy rather than a new mechanic. Interesting to note and possibly helpful to the "Athletics has to be Strength" detractors.
    * New Suppressive Fire rules: This is their attempt to fix Suppressive Fire in SWADE, along with making the maneuver available to any firearm instead of just those with RoF 2+.

    General Mechanics Adjustments: There are a lot of nuts and bolts to Savage Worlds, so this will cover a lot of the changes that are more confined than new rules or systems. This is more for Edge changes, new Encumbrance rules, and so on.

    * Benny Uses: The Saving Throw podcast has outlined all of the new uses for bennies:
    • Draw a new Action Card—you seem to be stuck with the new card unless you spend a second Benny, you don’t just keep the highest. Quick and Level Headed only apply to cards drawn normally, not to cards earned through Bennies
    • Reroll a damage roll (No Mercy adds a bonus to re-rolled damage, according to the Saving Throw ETU preview)
    • Regain 1d6 Power Points
    • "Influence the Story;" there are no details as to what this entails other than that it requires the GM to "okay" the idea.

    * Charisma: Charisma has been removed entirely. In its place, effects that previously affected Charisma have been given new mechanics (such as Attractive giving bonuses to Persuasion, and Charismatic allowing characters to reroll failed Persuasion rolls).

    * Critical Failure: This has been changed. It appears to occur when a majority of dice roll a 1, rather than only needing to roll a 1 on one Skill die and one Wild Die. If you reroll a Trait roll and end up with a Crit Fail, you don’t keep the highest—you’re stuck with the Crit Fail, but you can continue to reroll Critical Failures as a Setting Rule.

    * Defend Maneuver: This adds +4 to a character's Parry, but the character cannot take any additional actions while Defending (movement is allowed).

    * Edges: There are apparently a lot of changes to a lot of different Edges. Examples: Noble has become Aristocrat, and focuses on "networking/high society." Wizard is now Channeling, available to any Arcane Background. Marksman now negates 2 points of penalties for Called Shots, range, cover, or Size (not Multi-Actions or lighting penalties) instead of providing the Aim bonus. Streetwise is an Edge, not a Skill.

    * Experience: XP has been removed, instead telling GMs how often players should apply an Advance (once every other game for long campaigns, every session for short campaigns).

    * Fatigue: Bumps and Bruises now appears to be a specific variation of Fatigue, rather than the "default" Fatigue option, and only takes one hour to recover from Bumps and Bruises.

    * Hindrances: Driven is now a Hindrance, similar to Vow. Hesitant is a Minor Hindrance where characters must draw two cards for initiative and keep the worst.

    * Item Creation: There is a "large section" on creating "magic" items (for arcanists, alchemists, gadgeteers, and so on).

    * Joker’s Wild is now a core rule, not a Setting Rule; but if the GM draws a Joker for his NPCs, he gets a GM Benny and all enemy Wild Cards also get an extra Benny.

    * Power Modifiers: These were "first previewed in Flash Gordon™;" there are no Trappings-specific mechanics available.

    * Races: Races are mostly brought in from the Fantasy Companion and the Science Fiction Companion. The new race creation rules are "robust" and mostly similar to what was found in the SFC.

    * Skills: Thievery seems to combine Lockpicking with sleight of hand and pickpocketing. Performance is now an official Skill (it's unclear what exactly it entails). Hacking, Science, Electronics, Battle, and Academics are now distinct Skills, and it appears that generic "Knowledge" Skills are no longer available. All Arcane Skills (Spellcasting, Faith, etc) are explicitly included in the Skill List. You no longer need to spend a full Advance to purchase a new Skill.

    * Size and Wounds: Creatures and vehicles of a certain Size have additional wounds. Large grants one additional wound, Huge grants a second, and Gargantuan a third; that would mean a Huge Extra could have 2 wounds before being Incapacitated.

    * Wild Attacks: Wild Attacks now leave you Vulnerable, instead of simply lowering your Parry.

    I've reached the character limit, so I'm removing some of my notes (leaving up links when available).
    Last edited by DoctorBoson; 11-16-2018, 06:13 PM.
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  • #2
    I’ve been using my own abstract Wealth rules for quite some time. Where was it mentioned these would be in the new edition?


    • DoctorBoson
      DoctorBoson commented
      Editing a comment
      Read the Support Rules post that I linked to. At the bottom of the post, all of the currently listed changes are mentioned at least by name.

    • Oneiros
      Oneiros commented
      Editing a comment
      Teach me to come straight to the forums without checking the PEG home page first

  • #3
    So, Support Rules. In general, I like them, they're a good codification of house rules people had been using for a while, and introducing unhelpful assistance with a crit fail is pretty fun (though I might like to see something along the lines of 1 on the Skill Die provides no assistance as well, to mitigate stacking modifiers). The inclusion of the "if the GM thinks it makes sense" clause can be particularly helpful in avoiding situations where everyone and their mother decides to assist on any given task, fishing for the max +4 bonus, though it does leave it open to players weaseling the GM into allowing odd Support rolls.

    Criticisms: The one thing I really don't like about this is that Persuasion providing "general encouragement" feels like it can supplant the need for actual assistance on a lot of tasks, and one Face character suddenly makes almost any kind of tough situation or Dramatic Task easier by pure virtue of being there. For example, if someone is attempting to disarm a bomb, one character cheerleading the effort can be just as beneficial, if not moreso, as a trained ally with Knowledge (Demolitions) providing actual help. Similarly, a face providing "emotional support" for their sniper would be exactly as beneficial as having a dedicated spotter making Notice rolls to assist.

    Off the cuff, I'd probably make two adjustments to this rule to really make it sing. 1) Make it clear that assisting combat skills should be extremely uncommon. There is very little one can do to help an ally swing a punch or toss a grenade better than they would be able to otherwise. 2) Make "general encouragement" less effective than actual dedicated help on a majority of tasks. The example listed in the post (the character encouraging his ally to keep moving and providing a +1 to her roll to recover from Shaken) is a good example of "general encouragement" since recovering from Shaken is an exertion of willpower, and encouraging them in that case can very much help them push past pain and keep fighting. To avoid cheerleading can supplanting actual assistance while still allowing the "help against Shaken" example, I might consider writing in "General encouragement is Persuasion, but in situations where simple encouragement isn't enough to get the job done (such as diffusing a bomb, performing surgery, or helping a sniper find his mark), the GM may impose a –4 penalty to the Support roll. Encouragement can help, but it might be better to bring in someone more qualified to assist." This allows a "cheerleader" character to help whenever he can, but requires a raise for +1 or two for +2 in circumstances where simply saying "You can do it!" just doesn't warrant an easy bonus.

    I realize that GM fiat allows for rejecting such assistance outright, but the post specifically states:
    Saying “You can do it!” or “Check your six!” are perfectly acceptable uses of Support.
    Explicitly allowing that as a method of helping your allies makes it hard for a GM to disallow such an action in Support of an attack or complex procedure.

    After writing this out, an alternative would be allowing Persuasion as "general encouragement" to negate one point of penalties, or two with a raise, rather than providing a flat bonus. It helps a wounded character recover from Shaken, it helps a the demolitions expert bypass a Dramatic Task complication, and it doesn't allow "You can do it!" to help a pilot maneuver his ship in a Chase, or a fighter to punch more accurately.
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    • Freemage
      Freemage commented
      Editing a comment
      I certainly agree that making Persuasion a catch-all support skill is not a good game mechanic, and would only allow it where an encouraging word is actually likely to help.

      I disagree about combat not permitting assistance, tho. Ranged combat is tougher, but certainly in melee, simply moving into position to hedge someone in makes it easier to hit them, for instance. As a GM, I'd just demand a suitable description. (Given that in most cases, the 'helper' isnt' going to be taking a direct action against the target, that's not necessarily the most efficient use of their time. A successful Trick/Test gives a +2 bonus, compared to the +1 you get from a Support success.

    • DoctorBoson
      DoctorBoson commented
      Editing a comment
      Hedging someone in is already covered through other mechanics, though—Tricks/Tests (or apparently just "Tests" now), as you said, as well as the Gang-Up bonus does that very nicely. I might allow it if someone has a very good, cinematic, awesome, and sensible idea for assistance, but that's why I said that it should be uncommon, not impossible.

  • #4
    Originally posted by DoctorBoson View Post
    * Support Rules: This is a streamlining of Cooperative Rolls in the current edition of the rules, with an expanded scope that provides assistance through unrelated Skills and can be used in combat.
    I really like +1 on a success, +2 on a raise or better (rather than per raise), with a penalty on a critical failure. In fact that's also how the Assistance Checks work in my Swift d12 system.

    I'm more hesitant about the idea of allowing players to use any skill they like, as it feels rather prone to metagaming (why not just choose your best skill every time?). In particular, the comment that "General encouragement" is "a Persuasion roll" would mean a (Charismatic + Very Attractive) face character could fairly reliably give their allies a +2 bonus to any roll. Two face characters would allow the party to smash through most Dramatic Tasks, give a significant edge in car Chases, etc.

    EDIT: I see you already covered some of this in your own post while I was still typing up my thoughts, but I'll leave my comments anyway.
    Last edited by Zadmar; 09-18-2018, 10:07 PM.
    My blog: Savage Stuff. I've also written some free tools and supplements.


    • DoctorBoson
      DoctorBoson commented
      Editing a comment
      Yeah, limiting the bonus to +2 per person max seems like a great change, and means that one person helping can't lead to a nearly guaranteed raise!

      As to the concerns about Persuasion, I agree (as noted above :P), but I have a pretty strong feeling that the Charisma mechanics are going to be overhauled... especially with all of the emphasis on more "open" skill usage with Support and probably Tests (considering how they worked in Flash Gordon). They know the system well enough to realize the the current Charisma system is already extremely powerful, and taken outside of a purely social context would be borked as all hell.

      With regards to metagaming potential, the line about it being GM fiat as to whether or not a skill could help in certain situations seems to be enough for me, for the most part. I think most GMs would know that the big bruiser shouldn't be able to use Fighting or Intimidation to help out their getaway driver, and that regardless of someone's Shooting they won't be able to use that to patch up a fallen comrade.
      Last edited by DoctorBoson; 09-18-2018, 10:24 PM.

  • #5
    My question regarding Support is a bit more direct: Is it an action? From the sounds of it you can do all your normal stuff (Shoot, Fight, activate a Power) and when the sniper is ready to take his shot just yell "Put it between his eyes!" and he gets a +1/2. Even if the "General Support" is limited (or removed) it can still be a really powerful assist. I am over here whacking the orcs trying to interrupt the ceremony (dramatic task) to banish the demon and when the mage makes his check quick reference to demon lore (Knowledge: Demons) and now he gets a +1/2.
    I have way too much time but do not always edit myself properly. Please do not take offense.


    • DoctorBoson
      DoctorBoson commented
      Editing a comment
      According to the article, "If so, and the GM decides it’s possible, supporting characters roll whatever skill they feel is relevant (as an action if the game is in rounds)."

      So, it's considered an action, yes.

    • Erolat
      Erolat commented
      Editing a comment
      I guess I missed that line, thanks.

  • #6
    I‘m looking forward to the new Support rules. I had the situation quite a few times that someone wanted to help in a totally fitting, reasonable way – like spotting for a sniper – but had to roll on the skill of the person he wanted to help, which often made only little sense in that situation. Especially if you don‘t have the corresponding skill and you can‘t (by RAW, at least) even attempt to help. Come to think of it, that might‘ve even been the biggest and most frequent disconnect between fiction and rules in our games. We also have a player in our group who likes to support as a „cheerleader“ of some sorts, but apart from Common Bomd, there isn‘t much you can do in that department if you aren‘t the leader of the group.
    The danger of players trying to weasel the GM is definitely higher, as it always is when it‘s up to the GM. I sometimes play with some people of that sort and I‘m definitely not looking forward to having a discussion instead of pointing to a page of the rulebook so we can get on with the game, but I must admit that I can‘t blame the game for that. After all, a lot of things are setting specific and might be totally cool in one game while it‘s completely unfitting for others, so I assume we should be able to trust the players that they leave their Nakama powers at home when we all get insane from reading forbidden lore.
    Side note: „But players can just fast-talk the GM all the time!“ is a complaint that I hear a lot about Fate due to its aspect system, but I never saw someone actually do it in games that I played. It always pays to play with great people.


    • #7
      I'm hopeful for the Wealth System being usable for most settings. I think it could be used even for Deadlands Noir and ETU though the OP has some doubts about this. I think a Wealth System could be used in any setting where characters could be assumed to have some level of at least semi-regular income, whether it's from a trust fund, working day by day as a private investigator (the work tracking down wayward spouses could be assumed as occurring in the "background") or just barely getting by pan-handling. To treat Wealth in every System the same as is done in D&D (which I play and enjoy) would be very tedious.

      Player: "I search the hitman sent by the mob."
      GM: "You find 5 $20 bills, 3 $10 bills, 1 $5 bill, 7 $1 bills, a Chase VISA card, a Bank of America ATM card, a driver's license, a dental insurance card, a Social Security Card..."

      It'd be much smoother to tell the player he gets a +2 he can apply to a later Wealth roll, or some similar mechanic.


      • #8
        One thing I've done with open calls for skills (in 4e D&D's skill challenges, and the way I run dramatic tasks) is either disallow using the same skill multiple times when it isn't absolutely applicable, or else to put on increasing penalties. This encourages players to move to other skills as the challenge goes on. Yes, they still try to come up with wild plans to justify using this or that skill to help the team, but that's really just a form of roleplaying. They're thinking of ways their character could help the team out with their skillset, and by encouraging them to change up their skills, it keeps the scene dynamic instead of the characters doing the same thing over and over again.


        • #9
          My bards can finally inspire competence!


          • #10
            Speaking of competence: I didn't read anything about not being allowed to make unskilled rolls for Support. That's surprising, given that you can't make unskilled cooperative rolls now where you can't choose the skill. The new Support rules sound like everyone should help with using the skills he or she is great at.
            We're definitely going to try out the Support rules this weekend, but not with unskilled rolls.

            Edit: Oh, and penalties don't apply to the support rolls either, right?
            Last edited by Vasant; 09-19-2018, 12:27 PM.


            • #11
              I made a passing mention of this on the FB thread, but after thinking on it, I'd like to see Intimidate (in addition to Persuastion) used as a way to help with unshaking at least NPCs or subordinates. If it's not in core, it'd be a nice Setting Rule or an option under Leadership. It's common (at least in the movies) for a drill sergeant to use intimidate to have his subordinates 'get the lead out.' That tactic is certainly not (IMHO) a Persuasion test
              Last edited by Gordon; 09-19-2018, 02:34 PM. Reason: clarity
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              • ValhallaGH
                ValhallaGH commented
                Editing a comment
                Already covered by the Support rules we've seen.
                "You think you're afraid of the enemy, boy! They're nothing next to what I'll do if you don't GET OVER THAT WALL AND KILL THEM!" Roll 11, +2 for good RP, grants +3 to Spirit to recover from Shaken.

              • Vasant
                Vasant commented
                Editing a comment
                ValhallaGH The Support Action maxes out on +2 for a single person, though. (It looks like you counted two raises -> +3. If you, however, got the +3 by adding the raise on the support action to the bonus of the Command edge, that should work)

            • #12
              I'm liking what I see with the new Support rules, in part because it would have come in handy in last week's session, but that's another story. I don't expect it to be a huge problem because in addition to GM fiat, anytime you are in rounds, it counts as an action. So a player wanting to roll Persuasion while shouting, "Check your six" to an ally has to choose to forego taking another action that turn in favor of supporting or gets the multi-action penalty applied to both rolls. It gives yet another way for non-combat oriented characters to participate in combat rather than sit out, but I don't think it will lead to everyone trying to provide support for everyone else all the time either.
              Last edited by mac40k; 09-19-2018, 04:58 PM.


              • #13
                I'm liking how "we streamlined things" actually means "we are covering more things than we ever did before with simpler mechanics".


                • #14
                  I like the support rules, though with a large group, the hard +4 cap can often make other players feel redundant. "Okay, so John and Sara both got Raises to Support. The rest of you can twiddle your thumbs while Patrick picks the lock." I might tinker with a house rule that lets bonuses after +4 apply at a two-for-one level, so if you've got 8 players, and the seven supporters score a total of 12 Successes, the lead gets +8 to their roll. Or even just eliminate the cap entirely. Clint almost never bursts into people's homes with a copy of the rules and a flamethrower these days.

                  Wealth rules I'm indifferent to. What I've found in other systems is that you end up with one player who throws down and plays 'Col. Moneybags' for the rest of the table. And honestly, in a supers game, that's actually pretty fitting. In some, though, the rich/poor divide should actually be a potential roleplaying opportunity.

                  We've done a lot of tinkering with the idea of "Quick Encounters" over at Many of the GMs opt to combine it with Interludes, letting everyone match a more in-depth character post to whatever it was they rolled.
                  Last edited by Freemage; 09-19-2018, 07:26 PM.


                  • Deskepticon
                    Deskepticon commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Wealth rules I'm indifferent to. What I've found in other systems is that you end up with one player who throws down and plays 'Col. Moneybags' for the rest of the table. And honestly, in a supers game, that's actually pretty fitting. In some, though, the rich/poor divide should actually be a potential roleplaying opportunity.
                    I'd be interested to see something that blends aspects of the way 5e handles Lifestyles... where you could pay to "live large" and that presents oportunities for making high-profile connections. Living in squallor costs nothing but you have degenerates to deal with.

                • #15
                  Well I think it's a good addition. The main takeaway of the rule is, "and the GM decides it’s possible." Ultimately, like much of SW, it's up for interpretation. Certainly, the "no limit" on Strength Support is restricted to other players using Strength as well. Five dudes chanting "Do it! Do it!" isn't going to help someone flip a car... the five dudes lined up along the side helping to lift it will.

                  The fact that Support rolls requires an action seems to mitigate any potential abuse.