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  • Gatekeeper Edges and "Classes"

    I started this thought in a facebook post, I want to continue this here for discussion.

    A gatekeeper edge is an edge that locks off a part of the Savage Worlds System from players unless they take that edge. Savage worlds has two gatekeeper edges, Command and Arcane Background (which for the purposes of this post I will treat as one edge.)

    But, we can expand upon the concept of these gate-keeper edges and introduce new systems and essentially new "classes" into savage worlds. Given savage worlds is largely classless, I would reserve this for adding in the equivalent of "prestige classes" (to use a DND term) into the game. However, nothing is truly stopping you from re-organizing existing edges into gated groups and going classed from the outset.

    Looking at the two gated parts of the game we see that there is on essential part, and an optional part.

    The mandatory part of gating is that everything behind the gate still needs to be divided up into edge equivalent chunks. Some chunks can be efficiency chunks, some can be new capabilities. From a system standpoint they take the gated system and either add things you can do with it, or they make you more efficient at using the system.

    The optional part is the throttle. Throttles are your balancing factor for keeping the new system in check. With Arcane Backgrounds the throttle is spell points. With command, you could say there isn't one, or that it has a weak throttle of command range.


    Gatekeeping is good if you want to introduce new systems (such as hacking, astral projection, etc.) as they gate the added complexity off from the rest of the game and let players opt into it. The other thing I would keep in mind is if you add in a system, and you gate it off, then the outputs of the system (impacts to other players) should interact simply with the ungated parts. They should, in essence, be able to be understood without knowing the walled off section.

  • #2
    Interesting and I do agree.
    Could also be something cool for SWAG to create such gatekepper edges and abilities/Edges.

    Comment


    • #3
      I mentioned the same concept in Savage Abilities, although I refer to them as Edge Trees: "An “Edge Tree” is a group of Edges that are built around (and expand upon) a base Edge, so that you can’t unlock the later Edges until you’ve bought the first one. The obvious example from the core rules would be the Leadership Edges, which all branch from the Command Edge, however you could also use the same concept for other groups of Edges."
      My blog: Savage Stuff. I've also written some free tools and supplements.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Zadmar View Post
        I mentioned the same concept in Savage Abilities, although I refer to them as Edge Trees: "An “Edge Tree” is a group of Edges that are built around (and expand upon) a base Edge, so that you can’t unlock the later Edges until you’ve bought the first one. The obvious example from the core rules would be the Leadership Edges, which all branch from the Command Edge, however you could also use the same concept for other groups of Edges."
        I was pretty sure I wasn't the only one who recognized it. I just hadn't seen anything really describing the concept much. Everything seemed to revolve around new "arcane backgrounds", in fact until a few days ago, I hadn't really put the pieces together into a full realization.

        I believe the "edge tree" and command example, glosses over or misses the fact that you can place whole systems behind that starter edge. That may just have to do with how you were organizing your document. I don't believe that Edge trees are distinct from something like the arcane background concept, just a narrower application of a gatekeeper edge, one that doesn't have as much extra system behind it.
        Last edited by Robert4818; 03-13-2019, 02:13 PM.

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        • Zadmar
          Zadmar commented
          Editing a comment
          Nah, I mention others too, for example "Power Edges are another form of “Edge Tree”, much like Leadership Edges, except that these branch from Arcane Background" and "Racial Edges are yet another type of “Edge Tree”, but in this case they branch from a race."

      • #5
        Depends upon the tree.

        Whatever you call it, the idea of "Edge opens new options, more edges expand upon that" has been core to Savage Worlds from the get-go. You can see small versions of it all over the Combat Edges - notably Sweep and Frenzy - with the largest version in the Power Edges, accessed via the Background Edge Arcane Background.

        Most concepts don't need the levels of crunch that the powers system uses, unless they're just variants on the powers system.
        Most "classes" are just a combination of existing Edges - the Arcane Archer combines Marksman with AB Magic, the Mystic Theurge has both AB Magic and AB Miracles, the Hierophant spends a few advances grabbing odd-ball Edges, etc. They don't need a new subsystem with complexity similar to powers, they just need Trappings and possibly one or two new Edges.

        There is probably an unfilled design space for powers-level complexity gated behind Edges, but no one has successfully called it out yet. Implying that it fills a narrow niche and isn't encountered in the overwhelming majority of Savage Worlds games.
        Or it has been successfully identified and the finders are keeping it quiet while they prepare to monetize their solution.
        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.

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        • #6
          The gates are there because of differences between settings. In the various Weird Wars settings, having command over other soldiers isn't unusual at all. In a setting like ETU where everyone is a college student, it's not nearly as appropriate.

          Arcane Backgrounds vary the most from setting to setting. The very first Savage Setting, Evernight, specifically offered both Arcane Background (Magic) and two Professional Edges that replaced Arcane Background (Miracles). No Savage Setting permits all of the Arcane Backgrounds in the main rulebook. Most Savage Settings, with the notable exception of Deadlands, have no more than three. A lot of Savage Settings have unique ABs.

          The difference with these "gatekeeper" edges and, say, Combat Reflexes, is that Combat Reflexes is something that is expected that anyone in any setting can learn with a little training. Magic is something that's really easy to learn in some settings and literally does not exist in others. Command is something that likely exists for some characters somewhere in every world, but isn't necessarily an option for player characters. Even though military leaders exist in the world, if the player characters aren't part of a military hierarchy, they simply can't be military leaders.

          With that said, you could use the Command Edge in a setting like Necromunda, where violent street gangs are just a super common thing. It's also appropriate for a police captain, pirate captain, 1930s Chicago gangster, or ninja master. Command implies some kind of organization within which the character has authority. If being a leader within an organization is an option, then the Edge is an option. If not, then not.

          EDIT: Another thing to consider is that Arcane Backgrounds as a concept first appeared in Deadlands Classic and Rail Wars before being adapted to Savage Worlds. The idea was twofold: they were background Edges, each being essential to the back story of a character. They were also mutually exclusive, which is why they are written as "Arcane Background (something)". The mutually exclusive thing is no longer enforced by the rules, but mostly something that players do anyway. As for taking the Edge after character creation, the unskilled Arcane Skill die prevents most players from doing that.
          Last edited by MadTinkerer; 03-13-2019, 03:34 PM.

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          • #7
            Generally speaking, the concept is pretty neat. A setting with a focus on racecars or fighter jets, for example, could have a series of Trick Edges hidden behind Ace.

            The concept is not just restricted to Edges though. You can have gatekeeper gear as well. A cyberpunk game might have a "virtual world" locked away from anyone without a particular piece of cyberwear. You can design clusters of Edges---or Hindrances!---around how the character interacts with this virtual world, but they're all useless without the gear (and hence, access to the V-world).

            Originally posted by Robert4818
            However, nothing is truly stopping you from re-organizing existing edges into gated groups and going classed from the outset.
            I'd advise against this. If the idea is to emulate distinct classes, I think you might be better served by implementing Iconic Frameworks. Otherwise, you inadvertantly stifle certain character concepts by putting up "Edge-walls".
            ... I.e., Let's say you tuck Sweep behind a Warrior gate-Edge. Now every lizardman that wants to expand his tail attack must "multiclass" as a warrior, picking up an Edge or two that he doesn't want or need.

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            • #8
              Originally posted by ValhallaGH View Post
              There is probably an unfilled design space for powers-level complexity gated behind Edges, but no one has successfully called it out yet. Implying that it fills a narrow niche and isn't encountered in the overwhelming majority of Savage Worlds games.

              Or it has been successfully identified and the finders are keeping it quiet while they prepare to monetize their solution.
              General thoughts here. I think there are 3 reasons why we don't see much being done with this idea.

              First, ease of use. The Arcane Background design is flexible enough to carry alot of weight. So, why re-invent the wheel when it's possible to adapt the wheel to fit your needs. I think it's a good and a bad thing. It's good because it allows for designers to do what they want with less effort. But I also think it is bad because it can cause parts of an idea to be shaved down in order to fit into the mold of Arcane Backgrounds.

              Second, Design Philosophy. This part of the design scape doesn't get touched because a designer may feel that it does not fit well with the FFF design of the game. Instead of developing an entirely new system that players have to learn, they stay close to the AB system instead.

              Third, paradigms. This is where I was at. I was thinking inside the box for an idea I was playing with. I kept trying to fit an idea into the box that is Arcane Backgrounds. Trying to figure out how to get the flavor I wanted by playing with PP, Powers, etc. I knew I wanted my idea to be walled off (like AB's are), but I kept running into the walls of the power system. I stepped back and I realized that I was missing the forest for the trees.

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              • #9
                Originally posted by Deskepticon View Post
                Generally speaking, the concept is pretty neat. A setting with a focus on racecars or fighter jets, for example, could have a series of Trick Edges hidden behind Ace.

                The concept is not just restricted to Edges though. You can have gatekeeper gear as well. A cyberpunk game might have a "virtual world" locked away from anyone without a particular piece of cyberwear. You can design clusters of Edges---or Hindrances!---around how the character interacts with this virtual world, but they're all useless without the gear (and hence, access to the V-world).
                Absolutely agree.

                I'd advise against this. If the idea is to emulate distinct classes, I think you might be better served by implementing Iconic Frameworks. Otherwise, you inadvertantly stifle certain character concepts by putting up "Edge-walls".
                ... I.e., Let's say you tuck Sweep behind a Warrior gate-Edge. Now every lizardman that wants to expand his tail attack must "multiclass" as a warrior, picking up an Edge or two that he doesn't want or need.
                I also don't really think it's a good idea. As I said, there's nothing stopping you from doing it. It would be alot of work, and I expect there would be a number of edges that end up being "universal" or duplicated within walls. That is why I said I would reserve this for more "prestige class" styles of concepts.

                My only experience with Iconic Frameworks has been Rifts. I really like SPF's work, but I found that the Iconic Frame works don't really jive with me. (To each their own). I think my issue with them is that they are too front-loaded, and with Rifts, still felt unbalanced (Though, it was rifts).

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                • #10
                  Originally posted by Robert4818 View Post
                  I also don't really think it's a good idea. As I said, there's nothing stopping you from doing it. It would be alot of work, and I expect there would be a number of edges that end up being "universal" or duplicated within walls. That is why I said I would reserve this for more "prestige class" styles of concepts.
                  Agreed.
                  But practically speaking, you probably only need a handful of new Edges to Savage-ize all the unique abilities covered by prestige classes. The rest is just unique Trappings on existing Edges.

                  ---- For example, the Rage Mage: take AB Magic + Berserk, except instead of Wild Attacking every turn, you gain 2 free Power Points each time you cast a spell; they can only be spent on modifiers (so you must spend something from your pool) and you must use your action to cast a spell. As usual for Berserk, you are also Vulnerable for the duration of the rage.

                  The point is, I don't necessarily see these abilities being "walled off"... they just have different criteria or requirements for their use.

                  I think the concept works best for cloistering away entire game mechanics, or even game locations: without the Planar Traveler Edge, the character can't enter the Fae Realm, or the "Shadow-well", for instance.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Originally posted by Deskepticon View Post

                    Agreed.
                    But practically speaking, you probably only need a handful of new Edges to Savage-ize all the unique abilities covered by prestige classes. The rest is just unique Trappings on existing Edges.

                    ---- For example, the Rage Mage: take AB Magic + Berserk, except instead of Wild Attacking every turn, you gain 2 free Power Points each time you cast a spell; they can only be spent on modifiers (so you must spend something from your pool) and you must use your action to cast a spell. As usual for Berserk, you are also Vulnerable for the duration of the rage.

                    The point is, I don't necessarily see these abilities being "walled off"... they just have different criteria or requirements for their use.

                    I think the concept works best for cloistering away entire game mechanics, or even game locations: without the Planar Traveler Edge, the character can't enter the Fae Realm, or the "Shadow-well", for instance.
                    I used the term "Prestige classes" as a descriptor of the concept. Not necessarily a direct translation of D&D/PF prestige classes. I.E. A focus gained later in the game play that comes with certain unique abilities. (Often, but not necessarily through membership in an organization).

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                    • #12
                      The first thing this idea reminded me of was Expanded Professions by Misfit Studios. Essentially Edge "trees" for Thief, Woodsman, Investigator, etc. Though I could see trees based on Race, or some new setting rule, like "Corruption" for example.

                      Perhaps even an AB that doesn't rely extensively on having Powers, but has Edges with very unique abilities. Similar to the Harrowed from Deadlands. I've created a Dhampir Race Edge for my own campaign which was a prereq for several other Edges the player could take.
                      Last edited by Oneiros; 03-15-2019, 08:14 PM.

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                      • #13
                        One thing I've noticed is that Savage Worlds seems to intentionally avoid Edges with more than one other Edge as requirements. Trait and Rank requirements are much more common. I seem to recall a conversation (podcast, maybe?) with Shane and Clint about intentionally avoiding deeper trees because it forces people to build too much toward the Edge that the really want to take.

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                        • #14
                          That makes sense. And, in general, that holds true for gate-keeper edges. (Though, not quite, as technically Improved Rapid Recharge was 2 edges deep on a tree).

                          A gate-keeper edge generally unlocks access to a system, and from there many other edges open up. Rarely do they require other edges to go deeper. It's more of an edge bush with a single trunk.

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                          • ValhallaGH
                            ValhallaGH commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Improved Rapid Recharge, Master Tactician, Chi, and Master all require two previous edges in a chain.

                          • Erolat
                            Erolat commented
                            Editing a comment
                            But all of those are logical progressions, not opening branches.
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