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  • Aspects of Fate in Savage Worlds

    I've been playing SW for several years now and it is my go to generic system and what my group is most comfortable with. Recently i got interested in Fate Core and i like lots of it but not sure enough to convert my stuff from SW. Looking at ways of incorporating certain elements of fate that I like without adding too much to SW or making things over complicated.

    What i like most about fate is the idea of Aspects,basically elements of a character, NPC, or adversary and also of a scene or place that describes it and can be drawn on in a narrative way. Basically everything has a series of descriptions ("Suave British Super Spy", "Adorably Cute Sidekick", Slavering beast of chaos" etc) and you can spend fate points to invoke them and get a bonus on a roll, discover something new, or do something that someone described that way could do even if its not officially on your character sheet etc. Or you can get fate points back if the GM or fellow players (or even you!) compel the Aspect so that bad stuff happens or there are side effects to what you do (you succeed in breaking in but because you are "The best Safecracker in the world" you are overconfident).

    As i see it fate points and bennies seem pretty similar and it seems like bennies could easily be spent and regained as fate points by invoking and compelling aspects. It also seems that most edges and hindrances could be easily turned into Aspects e.g. "Overconfidence might be "I can do anything better than you can" or Danger sense is "My spider sense is tingling" etc.

    Thinking about including Aspects into a future SW game and here's where I'm at. Would like some feedback:

    - Create character as normal for SW (attributes, skills, edges and hindrances etc.)
    - Add a High Concept Aspect - A general description of the character concept e.g. Lonely Time traveler in a Blue Box, Suave British Super spy, Adventuring archaeological professor, etc
    - Treat Edges and hindrances as aspects and have players write appropriate aspects to accompany them so they have their regular benefits or penalties but also have an aspect description
    - Bennies can be used as normal but can also be used to invoke aspects like Fate points and can be regained liked fate points
    - GM would add aspects to regular SW adversaries and scenes so they can be invoked by players


    Thoughts?

  • #2
    This is an idea that has come up several times before.
    http://archive.pegforum.com/viewtopi...325853#p325853
    http://archive.pegforum.com/viewtopi...303897#p303897
    http://archive.pegforum.com/viewtopi...384304#p384304
    http://archive.pegforum.com/viewtopi...220318#p220318

    I'll note that most Edges aren't Aspect equivalent - they're closer to Stunts in FATE. Cool special abilities that you can use at no cost. Admittedly, Edges can generally be used continuously and Stunts cannot, but I hope you see my point.

    Thinking about including Aspects into a future SW game and here's where I'm at. Would like some feedback:

    - Create character as normal for SW (attributes, skills, edges and hindrances etc.)
    - Add a High Concept Aspect - A general description of the character concept e.g. Lonely Time traveler in a Blue Box, Suave British Super spy, Adventuring archaeological professor, etc
    - Treat Edges and hindrances as aspects and have players write appropriate aspects to accompany them so they have their regular benefits or penalties but also have an aspect description
    - Bennies can be used as normal but can also be used to invoke aspects like Fate points and can be regained liked fate points
    - GM would add aspects to regular SW adversaries and scenes so they can be invoked by players

    Thoughts?
    The effect, I think, will be to make bennies a lot more powerful (able to grant +2 to any roll at any time).
    You'll also have some odd situations where a character (PC and NPC) does something both out of character and self destructive because of an invoked aspect (and they didn't have a benny to buy that off); something in keeping with the Aspect but not with the character's personality, history, current goals, or best interests.

    Probably some other stuff, but that's what I see.
    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
      This is an idea that has come up several times before.
      http://archive.pegforum.com/viewtopi...325853#p325853
      http://archive.pegforum.com/viewtopi...303897#p303897
      http://archive.pegforum.com/viewtopi...384304#p384304
      http://archive.pegforum.com/viewtopi...220318#p220318

      I'll note that most Edges aren't Aspect equivalent - they're closer to Stunts in FATE. Cool special abilities that you can use at no cost. Admittedly, Edges can generally be used continuously and Stunts cannot, but I hope you see my point.


      The effect, I think, will be to make bennies a lot more powerful (able to grant +2 to any roll at any time).
      You'll also have some odd situations where a character (PC and NPC) does something both out of character and self destructive because of an invoked aspect (and they didn't have a benny to buy that off); something in keeping with the Aspect but not with the character's personality, history, current goals, or best interests.

      Probably some other stuff, but that's what I see.
      Thanks for the feedback. Like I said, I am trying to incorporate Aspects without messing too much with the regular SW system. So, yes, in mechanical terms Edges are closer to Stunts but I think they can easily pull double duty as aspects. the way i see it feats, edges, hindrances, merits and flaws etc. are ways in which you mechanically describe elements of your character in most games and, in character creation, aspects do the same thing. When you pick the Alertness edge it could also be described as "Nothing gets past my keen senses". Fleet footed can be described as "Fast on my feet". Scholar could be "information is the most important thing." Hindrances are the same. Mean could be "I'm not mean, you're just stupid!" Elderly could be "Old as dirt". etc. It's not perfect but it works without having to add too many aspects on top of what you already have as a SW character.

      Yes, bennies will be more powerful and able to be used for more things. That works for me

      As for the question of having a character do something self-destructive or out of character because of a compel, fair point. But I think a lot of that depends on the group. A group with a lot of trust that likes narrative style play will do this well, but doesn't work for everyone. Also i agree that there is an issue with having to spend a fate point/bennie to not do a compel and probably wouldn't do that ie I would allow people to just say no to compel!

      Comment


      • #4
        I've been recently toying with this idea myself... my spin would be replacing the 'non crunch' hindrances with Aspects/Flaws... pared down to the simplest... Regular 'crunch' hindrances are always on, and work as written, giving you the build points at character creation... the 'RP' hindrances like Mean, Curious, ETC become aspects... if you invoke them, or they get compelled you get a bennie... You don't have to pay a bennie to avoid an invoke, simply not gaining a bennie is it's own cost... It just codifies 'getting bennies for good roleplaying' to a point where a GM doesn't have to memorize every RP hindrance each player has.

        I'm planning to incorporate this with 'Joker's Wild' and let the 'Flaws' generate the Bennie flow. You get to add the RP benefits of Aspects, with the minimal impact on RAW.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Titanhoss View Post
          my spin would be replacing the 'non crunch' hindrances with Aspects/Flaws... pared down to the simplest... Regular 'crunch' hindrances are always on, and work as written, giving you the build points at character creation... the 'RP' hindrances like Mean, Curious, ETC become aspects... if you invoke them, or they get compelled you get a bennie... You don't have to pay a bennie to avoid an invoke, simply not gaining a bennie is it's own cost...
          So "crunch" Hindrances would give you a mechanical penalty, and "RP" Hindrances would give you free Bennies?

          How about: You only gain build points from "crunch" Hindrances, but you can invoke any Hindrance to earn Bennies.

          In fact that's pretty much how I handle it in my system (I described how it could be applied to Savage Worlds in this post) and it works really well.
          My blog: Savage Stuff. I've also written some free tools and supplements.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Zadmar View Post
            So "crunch" Hindrances would give you a mechanical penalty, and "RP" Hindrances would give you free Bennies?

            How about: You only gain build points from "crunch" Hindrances, but you can invoke any Hindrance to earn Bennies.

            In fact that's pretty much how I handle it in my system (I described how it could be applied to Savage Worlds in this post) and it works really well.
            Well, the reason I phrased it the way I do is the 'crunch' hindrances (take 'blind' for example) always have an effect... you wouldn't get 'more blind' by invoking... if that makes any sense...
            or 'Lame'... you wouldn't get 'more lame' with an invoke...
            where as the 'RP' Hindrances, like 'Curious' can be invoked at proper dramatic times... GM or Player could invoke the 'RP' hindrances to earn a bennie... it makes for a controllable bennie flow, if the GM isn't giving them out as freely as could be... more of a framework that 'The GM should award bennies for good RP'... It has the players more involved in the bennie flow, and in keeping how their character would be using their flaws... instead of taking them at character creation, then more or less forgetting them the majority of the time...

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Titanhoss View Post

              Well, the reason I phrased it the way I do is the 'crunch' hindrances (take 'blind' for example) always have an effect... you wouldn't get 'more blind' by invoking... if that makes any sense...
              or 'Lame'... you wouldn't get 'more lame' with an invoke...
              True, but that's what the extra build points are for... to balance back the 'crunch' Hindrances so that both they and the RP Hindrances are at fairly equal starting points. The extra points make the 'crunch' Hindrance a net-0 affair, in much the same way taking an RP Hindrance earns you no extra points (under your proposal, that is).

              Invoking a crunch H. would be adding an additional effect not already covered by its text. So a Lame character might accidentally bump a table knocking over a lamp, which turns some of room into a SBT fire hazard for his allies. In return, he might say this has caused his foe to become distracted and adds a bonus to his Fighting roll. He doesn't become "more lame", but his lameness has resulted in an additional drawback.

              Comment


              • Zadmar
                Zadmar commented
                Editing a comment
                Exactly. As written, Lame just gives you a penalty to Pace and the running die. A player might invoke it for climbing, jumping, fighting, dancing, etc. The same with other Hindrances.

            • #8
              I already said I would be fine if all "permanent" penalties were removed from hindrances.

              Let's take Blind. Instead of a blanket -6 penalty to almost everything, you instead receive a benny when you or the GM de
              cideto fail in a dramatically appropriate fashion. It allows for concepts which compensate for their blindnessblindness with other senses/special abilities, like Daredevil.

              He cannot use computers, see colors and the like, and get a benny when it hinders him. Other concepts less capable than him (as in truly Blind) will simply fail (and get bennies) more often as determined by the story. it comes down to a matter of trappings and actually balance itself. The more problematic a hindrance is, the more bennies you get.

              Comment


              • Deskepticon
                Deskepticon commented
                Editing a comment
                In concept I like it. But I see this leaving too much room for interpretation. To begin with, you'd need to determine an appropriate penalty for each occasion. For a Blind character, that would more often than not still be a -6 (the penalty for total darkness).

                Secondly, how often can one earn a Benny? A blind character could conceivably earn one every round since literally anything they do is being hindered. If the standard is "failing at a roll", the -6 would almost guarantee that.
                ...Or say I wanted to play a double-amputee war vet in a wheelchair; I can't move and use my hands in the same turn. Would I earn a Benny each time I shoot my rifle, since my Pace would effectively be 0 for the round?

                Some rules would probably have to be attached. Like, you can't earn a second Benny for failing the same action twice in an encounter. So the blind guy who shoots (literally) aimlessly can't just rack'em up, and then "Benny-his-way" to success. Likewise, my war vet might just get a Benny in the first round by rote because it's just assumed he'll need to wheel his way around a few times, robbing him of any other action.

                Alternatively, the bonus points at chargen are a simple way to "pay for" such common crunchy drawbacks. The Benny is earned if their Hindrance causes an additional misfortune of some type.
                ...i.e., the Blind guy doesn't earn a Benny for fumbling around looking for the "deactivate" button on a missile console... but he does if he accidentally presses the "launch" button instead.
                Last edited by Deskepticon; 12-06-2018, 05:04 AM. Reason: Minor grammer issues

              • Deskepticon
                Deskepticon commented
                Editing a comment
                Completely as an aside...

                I would argue that the Devil of Hell's Kitchen doesn't actually have the Blind Hindrance (his synesthesia paints a pretty good picture of his surroundings). Even written word might be "legible" to him if he can feel the indentation left on the paper. In any case, he'd likely just have Quirk (can't distinguish colors and cannot read most print), and Gimmick for when he needs to pretend to be blind.
                Last edited by Deskepticon; 12-06-2018, 05:08 AM.

            • #9
              Originally posted by dentris View Post
              I already said I would be fine if all "permanent" penalties were removed from hindrances.
              I actually tried doing that, and it does work for most Hindrances -- which is pretty cool, because then you don't actually need a fixed list of Hindrances, you can just provide players with examples and encourage them to make up their own. This also allows you to drop the Minor/Major classification, which streamlines the process a bit.

              But I found it was just too much of a stretch for things like "Blind" and "Loner" (from SotGH, it means you have no gang, which is a huge drawback).
              My blog: Savage Stuff. I've also written some free tools and supplements.

              Comment


              • #10
                That's why I was saying the 'crunch' hindrances get you build points, but no Bennies... it's an 'always on' kind of thing... I want the 'RP' Hindrances to be the things that generate Bennies. That way you don't 'have to remember' that you have a hindrance, and don't just get free build points for things that may never come up... I'll probably have a fairly small set of 'crunch' bennies for my setting... (I do like how in the SPC there is the hindrance 'handicapped'... that could consolidate things like Lame, Blind, One leg, One Arm, One Eye, etc to one core Hindrance... What I'm thinking is a good example for a 'crunch' Hindrance that I'll be using is from Lovecraft and Tesla... where the PC with that hindrance can't cross into 'the upsidedown' 'the mist' type thing... Limiting their characters from taking on the baddies on their home turf...

                Comment


                • Deskepticon
                  Deskepticon commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I completely understand the concept of not allowing build points for RP Hindrances (I had a particularly frustrating experience once with a new player that completely soured me to Hindrances for a while). But the question is: why not allow crunch Hindrances to earn Bennies?

                  As noted, the extra build points already "pay for" the mechanical handicap. If the Hindrance is then invoked to apply to a roll or situation it normally wouldn't affect, that is worth the Benny.

                  Don't forget, Bennies are meant to award players for doing awesome things, or for adding to the narrative in a meaningful way. A fighter surrounded by six foes that uses Sweep to take them all out is certainly Benny-worthy... as is the one-armed man who takes a penalty on his Taunt roll as he lifts his stump and says, "This is me giving you the finger."

                  By disallowing a subset of Hindrances from earning Bennies you are limiting players from implementing this type of creativity, because they'll have no incentive to play them outside of their normal RAW perimeters. They essentially just become background. It would be like saying the fighter with Sweep doesn't get a Benny for cutting down 6 foes because that's what the Edge was designed to do. To me, that's a fundamental misunderstanding of the concept of Bennies, and not an issue with the nature of any particular Hindrance.

              • #11
                Originally posted by Deskepticon View Post

                True, but that's what the extra build points are for... to balance back the 'crunch' Hindrances so that both they and the RP Hindrances are at fairly equal starting points. The extra points make the 'crunch' Hindrance a net-0 affair, in much the same way taking an RP Hindrance earns you no extra points (under your proposal, that is).

                Invoking a crunch H. would be adding an additional effect not already covered by its text. So a Lame character might accidentally bump a table knocking over a lamp, which turns some of room into a SBT fire hazard for his allies. In return, he might say this has caused his foe to become distracted and adds a bonus to his Fighting roll. He doesn't become "more lame", but his lameness has resulted in an additional drawback.

                Don't forget, Bennies are meant to award players for doing awesome things, or for adding to the narrative in a meaningful way. A fighter surrounded by six foes that uses Sweep to take them all out is certainly Benny-worthy... as is the one-armed man who takes a penalty on his Taunt roll as he lifts his stump and says, "This is me giving you the finger."
                The point I'm making is that I'm not wanting the RP only hindrances to add to build points... you can't decide to 'not act' Lame, or Blind, etc and make the penalties go away.. you don't -have- to act on curious to know what's in that pandora's box... so far the example you have given don't really click... A lame character isn't 'clumsy'.. so how would them just being lame make them knock over a table, starting a fire???
                I don't see how 'one arm' would imply a penalty to taunt... and do you really want to start handing out bennies every time a character uses an edge as intended??? The sweep example you use, I don't see how 'using my ability to attack multiple foes to attack multiple foes' really counts as 'bennie worthy'...

                Comment


                • #12
                  Originally posted by Titanhoss View Post
                  That's why I was saying the 'crunch' hindrances get you build points, but no Bennies... it's an 'always on' kind of thing... I want the 'RP' Hindrances to be the things that generate Bennies.
                  That still leaves the problem of your crunchy Hindrances being zero-sum, while your fluffy/RP Hindrances are technically advantages (you mentioned earlier that "you don't have to pay a bennie to avoid an invoke, simply not gaining a bennie is it's own cost", so these Hindrances would effectively be player-controlled Benny generators).

                  Originally posted by Titanhoss View Post
                  That way you don't 'have to remember' that you have a hindrance, and don't just get free build points for things that may never come up...
                  With your solution you'd have to remember which Hindrances could be invoked. It would be easier for the players if they could just look at the Hindrances on their character sheet and invoke any of them.

                  Originally posted by Titanhoss View Post
                  The point I'm making is that I'm not wanting the RP only hindrances to add to build points... you can't decide to 'not act' Lame, or Blind, etc and make the penalties go away.. you don't -have- to act on curious to know what's in that pandora's box... so far the example you have given don't really click... A lame character isn't 'clumsy'.. so how would them just being lame make them knock over a table, starting a fire???
                  The point is that mechanical penalties don't cover every situation where a Hindrance might impact the story. As written, Lame just gives a penalty to Pace and the running die. But there are many other situations where a bad or prosthetic leg might impact your character, whether it's jumping across rooftops, climbing a ladder, fighting a duel, dancing in a tavern, etc.

                  Furthermore, invoking Hindrances is a metagame concept. It's not the character who decides to open Pandora's box because they're curious, or trip over because they're lame. It's the player who decides.

                  Allowing players to invoke any Hindrance means they can weave all of their character's Hindrances into the narrative of the story, instead of just using them as a source of extra points during character creation.
                  My blog: Savage Stuff. I've also written some free tools and supplements.

                  Comment


                  • #13
                    Originally posted by Titanhoss View Post

                    The point I'm making is that I'm not wanting the RP only hindrances to add to build points... you can't decide to 'not act' Lame, or Blind, etc and make the penalties go away.. you don't -have- to act on curious to know what's in that pandora's box...
                    To be clear, I fully understand the premise:
                    Crunch Hindrances provide bonus points while fluff Hindrances don't. It's actually a house rule I'm considering implementing when I decide to start GMing again.

                    But what Zadmar has suggested (and what I agree with) is that all Hindrances should still be able to generate Bennies.

                    Think of it strictly as a numbers-game... the crunch Hindrance bestows a mechanical penalty of some sort and provides an equivalent amount of bonus points to compensate. That means the Hindrance is now effectively zero-sum; it's main drawback has already been paid for. But it can still become a burden in other ways, as determined by the player. Ways that aren't described in its text. They might add a penalty to another die roll or affect the narrative in some way (i.e., changing the field of battle for the worse, angering some townsfolk, etc).

                    Essentially, the player decides to use the Hindrance to make things tougher for themself (or their allies) in exchange for a Benny.

                    ...so far the example you have given don't really click... A lame character isn't 'clumsy'.. so how would them just being lame make them knock over a table, starting a fire???
                    I don't see how 'one arm' would imply a penalty to taunt... and do you really want to start handing out bennies every time a character uses an edge as intended??? The sweep example you use, I don't see how 'using my ability to attack multiple foes to attack multiple foes' really counts as 'bennie worthy'...
                    These are fair points. The awarding of Bennies will differ from table to table. I enjoy a moderately high Benny economy. I encourage the players to spend Bennies by being fairly liberal in doling them out. YMMV

                    The Lame character doesn't need to be "clumsy" to bump a table. A perfectly able-bodied person might do the same. The point is that their lameness is being used as the reason they bump the table; maybe they are pigeon-toed and their foot snagged on their other pant cuff, or they have a poorly-mended ankle and it "rolled" when they stepped down... the specific effect will vary depending on the exact nature of their lameness.
                    ...Maybe the Lame Hindrance is actually Trapped as being clumsy! Whatever provides a penalty to Pace is perfectly fair game.
                    ...Bumping a table and knocking over an oil lamp is the narrative element the player choose to provide when they invoked their Hindrance. The actual Hindrance is less important than the penalty it invokes; it is merely the justification for the effect (and by extension, earning the Benny). A Blind character, or even a Clueless one, may just as reasonably bump the same table.

                    In the "One Arm" example I gave, the player is choosing to give themself a penalty to Taunt by performing a gesture that requires the target to infer the meaning. In this case, raising his stump and "inferring" flipping the bird... it's a less powerful gesture than if the finger were both present and explicit.

                    As for Sweep, the player isn't getting a Benny simply for using their Edge; they're getting one for using their Edge to it's maximum effect (cutting down all the foes that surround them). If you aren't handing out Bennies when players do spectacular things, that's you're prerogative, but in my opinion doing awesome things is "Benny-worthy."
                    (Heck, some GMs even give a Benny to the player that shuffles the spare deck. )

                    Comment


                    • #14
                      Originally posted by Deskepticon View Post


                      As for Sweep, the player isn't getting a Benny simply for using their Edge; they're getting one for using their Edge to it's maximum effect (cutting down all the foes that surround them). If you aren't handing out Bennies when players do spectacular things, that's you're prerogative, but in my opinion doing awesome things is "Benny-worthy."
                      (Heck, some GMs even give a Benny to the player that shuffles the spare deck. )
                      My reaction to that was the slippery slope problem... "hey, Fred got a Bennie for using sweep, How come i didn't get one for improved first strike?" type thing...

                      Comment


                      • Deskepticon
                        Deskepticon commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Depends on whether they did something spectacular with First Strike. Dropping an advancing Extra is expected; beheading the enemy's Wild Card commander before he can even make a single attack is the stuff stories are made of.

                    • #15
                      In Fate, Aspects step in as a way to evoke things in your character that otherwise aren't simple to evoke mechanically. While sometimes they double-dip into things that are covered by other mechanics like Stunts, what they really offer to the game is the ability to put a mechanic to any aspect of a character, regardless of how obscure it is.

                      A lot of RP Hindrances work this way in Savage Worlds, but they don't carry any mechanical aspect to them. This, I think, is where you can bring in a lite version of Aspects to SW in a way that feels like Fate, but doesn't override the mechanics of Savage Worlds.

                      I did something similar with D&D 5e. There, I took the Ideals, Flaws, Bonds, and Personality Traits section of the character sheet and made those into Aspects. If a character had an Aspect they wanted to invoke, they could spend a Fate Point and add a d6 to that roll. If I wanted to invoke an Aspect in a negative way, they could either spend a Fate Point to avoid it, or take a Fate Point for doing it. Sometimes, I would just give them the Fate Point if the story moved in a negative way due to their Aspect. If they RPed an Aspect in a way that negatively impacted themselves or the party, they could ask for a Fate Point. And of course, I would distribute Fate Points for normal things like awesome RP, good jokes, really cool scenes (in or out of combat), or doing my GM work for me when I was busy doing something else (often "can you look up that rule for me," but in SW shuffling a deck would certainly count).

                      I would approach Aspects very similarly in Savage Worlds. Each player could define a certain number of traits on their character, and I'd say that number should be no more than 5, maybe less. In 5e, it was 1 Flaw, 1 Bond (connection to the setting, be it a person, place, or thing), 1 Ideal, and 2 Personality Traits. This helped ensure that the Aspects weren't entirely used to double up on things already in the game. The rogue being "sneaky" is already depicted on the character sheet by a high Stealth score, so that would make a bad Aspect from a mechanical standpoint in either system. However, the Aspect "I don't like being identified" could be invoked whenever the group goes to meet with a quest giver, and give a bonus to Stealth rolls as the rogue hides in the shadows during the meeting. But this could also go towards him giving a false name to the town guard, scaling the castle wall right after a heist, or quickly changing outfits behind a shrub before leaving a party. The GM could invoke it negatively whenever his reputation or allegiances comes into question, since his name and face are not well known.

                      Not every Aspect has to have a clear positive and negative side, but most do if you look hard enough. Even something like a cowboy with the Aspect "I am known for my trick shots" who can invoke his Aspect whenever he goes to make a Called Shot can have the Aspect invoked on him negatively, such as telling him that he had recently been practicing his trick shots on the way to town, and is actually down two rounds in his revolver when the combat starts.

                      Anyways, bringing Aspects into another system works best, in my opinion, if you limit those Aspects to a small number. You can still give enemies and scenes Aspects, but keep those to one or two and either spell it out clearly to the players when it's available or make them work in-game to find the Aspect, such as the BBEG's Aspect of "eternally lonely" that could be used against him if discovered by manipulative characters. Just remember to keep it light, because Fate Core is designed entirely around Aspects, and these other games aren't. Even with Bennies, it's still going to feel like a tacked-on mechanic. But that's better than being unbalancing.

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