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Custom Setting Rules

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  • #16
    Cinematic Bleed Out: Savage Worlds is Fast, Furious, and Fun, but the system for Bleeding Out is so fast that it doesn't leave room for drama—or survival. Using this rule, rather than making a Vigor roll for Bleeding Out at the beginning of every round, the character must roll at the beginning of every other round after being Incapacitated. This allows for characters to have a precious few extra seconds to receive medical attention, without making them any more likely to survive if they're neglected (a d6–3 is still a d6–3 whether it's rolled now or later).

    While I really like the death and bleeding out system in Savage Worlds, sometimes it can feel like you're being gypped out of a tense moment or good drama because of bad luck. How often has it happened for your group where the bad guys go last, get a lucky shot on a party member who begins bleeding out, and then instantly fails his roll to survive before the healer or medic even has an Action Card, much less an opportunity stabilize his ally? At that point, the character might as well have died when he failed his Vigor roll to begin with. This rule aims to fit that, allowing one full round to act and potentially save a dying comrade before he makes his first Bleeding Out roll. This expanded window of opportunity for saving Bleeding Out characters should also increase the amount of Permanent Injuries in a campaign by a little bit as well, leading to some really cool character history instead of just losing the hero outright.

    One-Hit Wonders (SPC2): This Setting Rule can only be applied to games at the Pulp Hero Power Level. Some settings work best with super-powered characters with only one or two real powers that are on par with more powerful heroes, but are otherwise normal civilians. The Best There Is Edge increases the character's Power Limit to 10 with a single power, instead of 8.

    This was a rule I initially threw together for a conversion of Matt Forbeck's Brave New World, but I realized that this would actually be a fun Setting Rule for a lot of concepts. Weak supers that only have a small handful of powers—the most powerful among them only being able to match your average Street Fighter hero on a good day—could be fun in its own setting, but even better in the corners of, say, the Marvel or DC universes where the real supers are still out there. It also mildly bugs me that The Best There Is increases the Power Limit of heroes every other Power Level to at least the Power Limit of the next higher PL (10 –> 15, 15 –> 23, 20 –> 30), but Pulp Heroes get shafted out of those last two Power Points.
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    My thoughts, musings, and general character adaptations on Savage Everything.


    • #17
      One Against Many: Gang-up bonuses cannot exceed +2.

      The goal is to make extras a bit less lethal when ganging up on a character. This is appropriate for comic-book-style sword & sorcery, heroic fantasy, or super-hero genres. With the standard rules, a gang of extras wild-attacking a character could get up to +6 to hit and +2 to damage, which is extremely lethal since it gives a very good chance of a Raise.

      While primarily for gameplay purposes, this also has an element of realism to it: HEMA instructor Matt Easton discussed fighting off multiple opponents in a sword-fight, and noted that the benefits of ganging up have diminishing returns after 3 opponents IIRC (which corresponds to a +2 gang-up bonus), because the attackers tend to get in each others' way.

      With this rule, having more than 3 opponents ganging up still has its benefits (notably more attacks against the target), but is less overwhelming.


      • Deskepticon
        Deskepticon commented
        Editing a comment
        That's a sensible rule. (Nice shout-out to Matt and Scholagladiatoria, btw).

        But if "realism" is the goal, though, it might make sense to leave gang-up bonuses alone, but limit the number of opponents who can attack in a single round to 4. So you might be surrounded by 6 or 7 foes, but only 4 of them will be able to actually attack (because otherwise everyone will be getting in each others' way).

        To think of it in New Edition terms, the non-attacking foes are giving Support.

      • Shoggoth
        Shoggoth commented
        Editing a comment
        Realism is a partial goal, but I think slightly reducing gang up is more FFF than limiting max number if attackers in my opinion, just because I wouldn't like to remember who attacked who if I have a lot of guys in the combat.

      • Deskepticon
        Deskepticon commented
        Editing a comment
        Fair point. +1

    • #18
      I've been using this trapping in an Agents of Oblivion campaign for a few years now, and it seems reasonably balanced. I'm not above modifying it after peer review (i.e. making it a robotic mod/edge/racial trait), though. It's specifically for robots, but I'd imagine it will work for cybernetic systems as well.

      System Redirect: As a standard action, a successful Knowledge (Electronics), Repair, or Tech Ops roll either restores a damaged system to operational status or gives a +2 bonus to trait tests involving the targeted system (Attributes, Skills or Robotic Mods) for a maximum of the character's Vigor in rounds (+1 round per raise). This redirect causes the system from which power is rerouted (as dictated by the scenario) to operate at a -2 penalty.

      A critical failure on the skill check means that the system being modified has short-circuited and will not function until a standard Repair attempt (Science Fiction Companion, p. 36) is made. Restored systems still must be Repaired when the opportunity presents itself.


      • #19
        It's About Balance - To be used in conjunction with Born a Hero. If a PC takes an edge higher than their current level, they draw one card for each level it is above (ie. Novice taking a Heroic edge would draw three cards). If any of those cards are face cards they must take a minor hindrance per face card. If the card is an ace or a joker, they must take a major hindrance per ace or joker. These hindrances do not count towards the hindrance/edge balance


        • ValhallaGH
          ValhallaGH commented
          Editing a comment
          What is the goal of this Setting Rule? What problem does it address or tone does it support?

      • #20
        Limited Raises
        Getting multiple raises on a damage roll is a little harder. Getting the first and second raises still requires beating the target number by 4 or 8 points, respectively. Getting the third raise, however, requires beating the target number by 16 points, and the fourth raise requires beating it by 32 points.
        Purpose: Makes combat less swingy. A lucky damage roll is unlikely to kill a wild card in one hit.


        • Soulliard
          Soulliard commented
          Editing a comment
          Wound Cap means you can't die in one hit if you soak, but you can still just as easily be left at 3 wounds, and basically out of the combat (and the adventure). This rule reduces the chances of taking 3-4 wounds in one hit, so you probably won't get crippled from a single lucky shot in the first round of combat (and it also gives villains more of a chance to do something cool before being taken out).
          Last edited by Soulliard; 01-05-2019, 01:22 AM.

        • Deskepticon
          Deskepticon commented
          Editing a comment
          So it is more difficult to one-shot a WC. I think that takes away from some of what makes SW cool and fun, but if that's what you're going for, have at it. However, if the goal is to give players a chance to do something before getting knocked out, maybe a setting rule that gives them an automatic action before going Incap would be less... disruptive to the game.

        • Soulliard
          Soulliard commented
          Editing a comment
          This has been a popular house rule with players when I've run Savage Worlds. Some of them like Savage Worlds more than others, and the number one complaint about the system is how swingy it is (in particular, there are negative comments about how attacks either do nothing or instantly eviscerate someone). They prefer to feel like, if something goes very right or very wrong, it was due to their decisions, and not just dumb luck.

      • #21
        Sepcifically designed for a 'teen superheroes in training' game:

        Pubescent Power Problems: At the start of each session, all Bennies are 'Locked'--they may only be used to Soak. A player can unlock their bennies for other purposes by having a Power 'misfire' at an inopportune moment. The player picks the Power that malfunctions, and the GM determines the exact consequences. The player may suggest possibilities, but the final call is the GM's. Typical consequences include social setbacks, potential exposure (in a setting with secret identities as the norm), loss of non-superpower gear, academic problems, and so forth. Injury should be pretty much unheard of, though a single level of Fatigue might make sense.

        This is to emulate all those scenes in the genre of 'nascent heroes' where the super-strong character accidentally rips their locker door off the hinges, or the pyrokinetic burns their math assignment, or a telekinetic who was going to meet with their crush to ask them to the dance ends up stuck to the ceiling for an hour. Characters with super-reliable control over their Powers also tend to not have really phenomenal outbursts during action scenes; the guy who constantly gets into difficulty because his Powers are always misfiring is also the one who pulls off truly phenomenal stunts ala Extra Effort.


        • dentris
          dentris commented
          Editing a comment
          I think it would be better as an Hindrance. It serves the same purpose, and opens up the possibility of gaining more bennies when it hinders you.

          Control Issue (Minor/Major)

          Your character has trouble controlling his powers and gets into all sort of trouble, activating them at the wrong time or with too much strength. As a Minor effect, the effect are more than often purely comical and hinders only when trying to hide your powers or stay out of trouble from the authorities, but the effects can be dangerous to you or bystanders as a Major Hindrace. Whenever he rolls a 1 one a Trait Die, regardless of the Wild Die, one of his power activates when it shouldn't or not the way they were supposed to, as deemed fit by the GM.

        • Freemage
          Freemage commented
          Editing a comment
          It could work as a Hindrance for some settings, too, particularly those with a mixture of levels. This was specifically to emulate a series where almost everyone has some control issues, because they're all still developing their powers (The New Mutants would be an archetypal example, here; there've been cartoons set in a similar fashion since then). At the same time, the function here leaves it entirely up to player control whether or not they want to deal with the consequences.

          Of course, you could arguably combine both--start with the Setting Rule, then state that someone with the Hindrance gets not only a benny for triggering their Hindrance, but also unlocks their existing bennies when it pops (in exchange for not having narrative control over when it pops, due to the Hindrance).

      • #22
        For games where equipment, especially armor, is destroyed in normal use.

        Wear & Tear
        Armor only protects for so long between repairs. After any combat in which the wearer suffered a Wound, the armor is damaged and its protection is halved (round down). If the armor value would be reduced below +1 then the armor is destroyed, and is only useful for scraps to repair other armor.
        Repairing armor can be done in fifteen minutes with a simple Repair roll and some appropriate supplies. Success restores one level of damage, a raise restores two, and critical failure damages the armor further.
        Example: Trevor wears his new chain mail into a battle, and suffers two Wounds. After the battle, and visiting the surgeon, Trevor inspects his damaged armor. The damaged mail only provides +1 armor and needs to be repaired lest it break in the next battle.
        Example: Trevor wears his standard issue Infantry Battle Suit into a rough battle, taking one Wound. After the battle the armor is damaged, reducing the +6 armor to only +3. Further damage would reduce it to only +1 protection, and a third level of damage would destroy the armor.

        Purpose: Lets armor get shot to pieces over the course of an adventure. Makes repairing armor a meaningful, and necessary, action.
        Notes: I finally settled on halving armor, instead of a flat reduction. Steel plate is tough enough to last one battle longer, and light leather is fragile enough to be destroyed in a single combat. Halving does create some odd break points: +2 and +3 have the same durability, while +4 to +7 share durability. I'm not happy about that but I concluded it was better than a flat -1 per damage, and miles better than a flat -2.
        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.


        • Erolat
          Erolat commented
          Editing a comment
          Let's see. I am in a biker gang so I have the classic Leather Jacket and Chaps. If (when?) we get in a shootout if I take any wound, even if only shot once, my leathers are now just scraps? I have to say I don't care for it.

          On the other hand, The After (Jumpstart pack 2), has a nice framework for degrading equipment. If the user crit-fails a check while using it (for armor this is a Vigor check to resist damage) the item receives a "stress tag". In the setting it can be a variety of things but for other settings perhaps a simple -1 when using the item until repaired. (-1 armor value or -1 to the appropriate check) If an item receives three stress tags before being repaired it is considered destroyed.
          The setting has no info on making repairs but I would think an appropriate skill roll with a penalty equal to the number of tags would be about right.

          If you are wanting things to degrade faster then tie the tags to a 1 on the trait die.