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More flexible Arcane Backgrounds at extra cost

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  • More flexible Arcane Backgrounds at extra cost

    I'm fine for the most part with the Powers system in Savage Worlds but sometimes it just breaks my immersion a little bit how inflexible and limiting it can be, because many Powers seem like they should overlap in many ways. Just for fun and curiousity I want to throw this idea of a Setting Rule out there for you to criticize:

    More flexible Powers
    Characters with Arcane Background have the possibility to (at the GM's discretion) cast Powers they do not have on their sheet if A) they fulfill the Rank Requirement, B) can give a good narrative justification for how they use what Powers they have in a new way and C) spend an additional 5 Power Points on top of the default cost for the Power (if using the No Power Points rule, they take an additional -2 penalty on top of the original penalty for the power). Of course, the GM has veto power over this rule if a new usage of a Power is too absurd or far-fetched.

    Example (no Power Points):
    A normally non-combative telepathic character with the powers Mind Reading, Empathy and Mind Link is forced into a situation where more offensive capabilities are required. The player reasons that because their character knows how to read and subtly influence another's mind then maybe they can extend this capability to momentarily daze or confuse another? The GM agrees and the telepathic character must not only manage a -1 default penalty for the Confusion Power but also an additional -2 to represent how this is a new and unknown technique for the character and therefore extremely difficult.

    Another example (Power Points:
    An alchemist character has the Arcane Background (Weird Science) with the powers Elemental Manipulation, Environmental Protection and Protection (all of them with alchemical trappings). The character needs to heal a friend and uses their expertise in alchemical potions to brew a potion that perfectly balances the elements inside their friend's body to harmonize it. The GM agrees to this and has the character spend 3 Power Points for the Healing Power as usual but also an additional 5 Power Points to represent how the alchemist character mostly just experiments and has to expend a lot of resources for their healing potion to work.
    Last edited by Aristarkos; 11-08-2019, 03:43 PM.

  • #2
    I'd suggest modeling this setting rule on the High Adventure setting rule.
    Meet the Rank requirements, spend a benny, use a power with a Trapping that matches one of your known powers.
    I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by ValhallaGH View Post
      I'd suggest modeling this setting rule on the High Adventure setting rule.
      Meet the Rank requirements, spend a benny, use a power with a Trapping that matches one of your known powers.
      I thought about that as well, but spending a meta-game currency for that just seemed a bit off somehow, I'm not sure why.

      Why would you say spending a Benny is better than 5 extra Power Points?

      Comment


      • #4
        Bennies are the currency of story alterations. You can use bennies to add or remove details from a scene, alter the outcomes of dice resolution, negate damage, have more power points, and other "No, no, no, that's not how it went" changes.
        Thematically they are perfect for this kind of "I can do more than you realize" moment.

        For the normal rules, Shorting. Being able to use new powers by Shorting doesn't seem like it fits your intent.

        For NPP, it keeps the penalties reasonable, while still having a cost that players really care about.

        Plus, the GM can subtly encourage using this setting rule by handing out more bennies - or discourage it by withholding bennies, especially for a scene that could be ruined by just the right power (resurrection or object reading are prime examples).
        I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Aristarkos View Post
          I'm fine for the most part with the Powers system in Savage Worlds but sometimes it just breaks my immersion a little bit how inflexible and limiting it can be,
          That's the first time I've ever heard the Savage Worlds Powers described that way. A lot of people have tried to make Powers more flexible than they already are, but saying they are inflexible...no, that's the first time. However, your table, your rules. If you fell they are limiting, then by all means houserule away.

          Originally posted by Aristarkos View Post
          More flexible Powers
          Characters with Arcane Background have the possibility to (at the GM's discretion) cast Powers they do not have on their sheet if A) they fulfill the Rank Requirement, B) can give a good narrative justification for how they use what Powers they have in a new way and C) spend an additional 5 Power Points on top of the default cost for the Power (if using the No Power Points rule, they take an additional -2 penalty on top of the original penalty for the power). Of course, the GM has veto power over this rule if a new usage of a Power is too absurd or far-fetched.

          Example (no Power Points):
          A normally non-combative telepathic character with the powers Mind Reading, Empathy and Mind Link is forced into a situation where more offensive capabilities are required. The player reasons that because their character knows how to read and subtly influence another's mind then maybe they can extend this capability to momentarily daze or confuse another? The GM agrees and the telepathic character must not only manage a -1 default penalty for the Confusion Power but also an additional -2 to represent how this is a new and unknown technique for the character and therefore extremely difficult.

          Another example (Power Points:
          An alchemist character has the Arcane Background (Weird Science) with the powers Elemental Manipulation, Environmental Protection and Protection (all of them with alchemical trappings). The character needs to heal a friend and uses their expertise in alchemical potions to brew a potion that perfectly balances the elements inside their friend's body to harmonize it. The GM agrees to this and has the character spend 3 Power Points for the Healing Power as usual but also an additional 5 Power Points to represent how the alchemist character mostly just experiments and has to expend a lot of resources for their healing potion to work.
          Seems cool enough. I would build this Setting Rule the other way around, however.

          AB (Intuitive Channelers)
          Channelers can activate every Power in their Power list, as long as they fulfill the rank requirements. However, all activation rolls are made at -2. The New Power Edge is replaced with the Power Familiarity Edge, which negates up to 2 points of activation penalty for a single Power chosen when selecting the Edge.

          I feel having no starting Powers would be a good balancing factor for such an AB, allowing it to coexist with other ABs without stealing the spotlight too much.

          Comment


          • #6
            There definitely is some "power overlap" in Savage Worlds. The concept behind assigning Trappings inherently creates such situations. For instance, boost Stealth can be Trapped as a low-rent form of invisibility long before the character hits Veteran Rank.

            That said, I think your Setting Rule is fine. The Super Powers Companion has a similar one. I would go with spending Benny to activate it though. After all, a Benny can be spent to instantly recover 5 PP, so unless there is a good reason to make the player juggle their Power Points, spending a Benny is just a cleaner approach. But ultimately, either way is fine.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by dentris View Post

              That's the first time I've ever heard the Savage Worlds Powers described that way. A lot of people have tried to make Powers more flexible than they already are, but saying they are inflexible...no, that's the first time. However, your table, your rules. If you fell they are limiting, then by all means houserule away.
              The limiting part for me is when you per rules as written choose 1-3 Powers and can only do these things. I'm fine with it, as I said, but was curious for a way to enable a little bit more flexibility at a greater cost for those moments where it should be reasonable and cool for the story.


              Originally posted by dentris View Post
              Seems cool enough. I would build this Setting Rule the other way around, however.

              AB (Intuitive Channelers)
              Channelers can activate every Power in their Power list, as long as they fulfill the rank requirements. However, all activation rolls are made at -2. The New Power Edge is replaced with the Power Familiarity Edge, which negates up to 2 points of activation penalty for a single Power chosen when selecting the Edge.

              I feel having no starting Powers would be a good balancing factor for such an AB, allowing it to coexist with other ABs without stealing the spotlight too much.
              THat's not what I was looking for but it's a cool idea which I will consider if I try to adapt Mage the Awakening to Savage Worlds!

              Comment


              • dentris
                dentris commented
                Editing a comment
                What about the Gadgeteer Edge? Allowing any AB to select this Edge would create an opportunity to do something very similar to what you want without creating new rules.
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