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Savage Conan for SWADE

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  • Savage Conan for SWADE

    Savage Conan for Savage Worlds Adventure Edition.
    If you want to play in the first and still defining sword and sorcery world.
    The world of Conan the Cimmerian.
    Using SWADE rules.

    Download version 0.3
    It contains the Players Booklet, Game Masters Booklet and a new map copied from the originals drawn by Robert E. Howard himself.

    This is the test version yet, any advice is welcomed.
    Last edited by Zoltan; 01-31-2021, 08:48 PM.

  • #2
    Welcome to the forum!

    Player's Guide:
    Font: Please choose a different font. The current font and spacing make my eyes hurt if I read for very long.
    Layout: I recommend reorganizing along two lines - rules content and world information. Move the tribal descriptions, national character, and gods out of the middle of the character rules. It makes it easier to find the desired information and maintains a more natural flow of information.
    For your archetypes, it is noteworthy that Adventure Edition allows characters to get full Hindrance points from four (4) minor hindrances, two (2) major hindrances, or any other combination of four points.
    Also, starting characters only get twelve (12) skill points, not the fourteen to fifteen your archetypes seem to have been built with.
    The gear tables appear to be simple copy-paste of the core rules armor and weapons; that's outside the scope of the Fan License. You've got a few name changes (pike to spear, long), a couple bizarre new entries, and a few nonsensical entries, but the rest appears the same. You could just delete those three tables and save a few pages.
    The Restart rule is mildly interesting, but presented from the least-fun angle I can imagine. For a fun example of the same thing, look at the Carousing rules in Gold & Glory, Beasts & Barbarians, or Lankhmar.

    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.


    • #3

      I gave the books a quick scan and have a few suggestions /critiques. I might give them a deeper delve later though.

      First things first... great bones! Although I personally think some text can trimmed out (particularly the minutea on character design), it's a great start for an alpha draft.
      Though I need to agree with ValhallaGH that the layout could use a revamp. Chapter One is usually reserved for Character Creation and Setting Rules (new Hindrances, Edges, and skill changes). Providing details about the world should probably be introduced in a separate chapter.

      Literacy isn’t universal but well spread. City
      folk and everyone else with d6 or more Common Knowledge and appropriate upbringing know how to read and write. But any hero can learn it during the game without spending points.

      Strong heroes with d8 or more attribute and any barbaric hero may change the automatic Persuasion skill to Intimidation if you want so at the beginning of the campaign.

      For heroes of mixed race choose a language where your hero was raised.
      Rather that listing these paragraphs under "Race," they'd be better served as Setting Rules... one on Languages and one on swapping Persuasion for Intimidation.


      Torturer (Minor): instead of finishing their
      enemies, this character likes to capture and torture them causing eternal pain and suffering whenever possible.
      This is thematically the same as Bloodthirsty, a Major Hindrance. Essentially, it could just be a Trapping on Bloodthirsty. A character known for torturing prisoners is likely to be the victim of torture himself when the tables are turned. Rather than facing torture, prisoners might attempt to end their own lives, which can potentially complicate things for the party.

      Focus-Fixed Magic (Major): the sorcery of
      the hero is tied to an arcane focus for some reason. He can cast spells only when wearing or holding this specific item which can never be replaced when lost. The focus might be a holy symbol like the Serpent Ring of Set or another fancy talisman. Available only for heroes with Arcane Background (Magic).
      The only change I'd make is allowing the focus to be replaced if lost, stolen, or destroyed. The character might be unable to access magoc for two or three sessions, but permanent loss is pretty rough.


      Granted, I'm not too privy on Conan lore, but I'm a little confused on why Scholar is forbidden. Is no one a learned Occultist or natural philosopher? Is no one a savvy Battle-lord?

      Also, I think you could probably keep Holy/Unholy Warrior; just change the requirement from AB Miracles /Faith to AB Magic /Spellcasting, with a Special requirement that the character must be a priest.

      Inventing Powers is a possible but quite
      dangerous way of development. You need a successful Smarts roll with a raise to invent a New Power. Regardless of the result, the player must then roll Spellcasting Skill to avoid the consequences of the research in the demonic dimensions. In case of success the hero survives, otherwise demons rip out the very soul of the reckless wizard out of his body. If this second roll isn’t a raise he gets a suitable major Hindrance chosen by the GM. Bennies cannot be used to either rolls.
      I'm very unclear on this. Does a mage need to make a Smarts roll before choosing the New Powers Edge, or is this intended for creating a power not listed in SWADE? If the latter, how do you ensure proper balance? Additionally, requiring a second roll that might outright kill the character (or permanently cripple them) means this will probably NEVER be used, especially since Bennies are not allowed.


      That's about all I have time for now.
      ​​​​​​​Will post more when I can.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Savage Conan
        Languages could be handwaved in theory similarly like Conan knows all languages. However, it would cause some awkward situations in the case of distant languages. In my experience when a system has many levels for language skills, groups tend to ignore them. Sometimes it’s fun to use limited speech intentionally but other times – usually when it would be important – it’s not fun to restrain yourself. So we need a simplified system for languages. There are two degrees of competence: basic and fluent. Any hero can pick languages on a basic degree when exposed to it for 2 months.

        The basic level is enough for speaking with mistakes and a heavy accent of course. It doesn’t cost anything. For fluency, the players must take the modified Language skill. It has no levels. For every skill point you spend you may upgrade a basic language skill to fluent level. On this degree, your hero may use social skills in that language and may talk about complex subjects. He still has some accents. If you spend 2 skill points, your hero may speak like a native. Your hero knows a number of languages
        equal to half her Smarts on a basic level at the beginning. So in the case of d6, they may learn 3 languages. One of them is the language spoken at the location your
        first game takes place. So your GM will tell you this one. If your hero knows it anyway, pick another one instead.
        Forgive my bluntness, but this is awfully convoluted. It apparently uses skill points /Advances, but doesn't follow the typical SW model. Why don't you just cap Language skills at d8? That way, the "levels" are:
        • Doesn't know language (untrained)
        • Can speak enough to get by (d4)
        • Can speak about complex issues (d6)
        • Can speak fluently (d8)
        You can still allow a character a free Smarts roll to "pick up" a Language at d4 without spending points after they hang around a region for a couple months. But they need to dedicate Advances (i.e., "points") to get it higher.


        Alternatively, you might want to simply abstract languages entirely. In other words, characters can more or less function normally in foreign lands (they know enough to get by). Only when it becomes important to convey information, the character can make a Smarts roll. On a Success, the recipient understands the general concept, but gets a few details wrong. On a raise, the message was conveyed perfectly. Failure is a failure; you might try again, but at a penalty since you'll now need to describe things differently. However, a Critical Failure means the recipient misunderstood the message entirely (he does the complete opposite of what you want, he harms rather than helps, or just complicates matters horribly).

        In this method, no one has ANY Language skills. They simply roll when language would matter and their Smarts roll "abstracts" their knowledge base. Conversely, buying an apple from a vender doesn't require much communication beyond waving a shiny coin and pointing.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Savage Conan

          Although there is only a single Edge for magic, the source of the power can be different. Black magi get their power (points) from the black gulf while white magi draw it from the sea of light. The source of power limits the use of magic. Certain powers can be cast only by white magic, others by black magic while most powers may be used by both. But any magus may learn any power, knowledge itself isn’t restricted. When using powers, the magic source they used to draw power points decides which types can be cast.

          Starting heroes know only a single source of power and may learn about the other one during the play if they want so. They don’t need to spend points on this learning. When changing the source of magic, erase all of the current Power Points of your hero. After a short ceremony, your hero starts to draw Power Points from the chosen source. White magic is limited in a sense, heroes may draw power from it only when they didn’t get power from the black gulf for a week or more. After extensive use of black magic, the sea of light may become harder and harder to reach and finally unavailable for the evil wizards forever. Some sorcerers change the source of their power sometimes as it fits their goals. But sooner or later most turn to black magic permanently.
          This sounds like the character loses any Power Points Edges they may have taken and starts over at 10 PP (??) for the other source. Considering you are already limiting the number of Power Edges that can be taken to just one per Rank, this is just adding insult to injury. Why would anyone ever want to play a mage if a) they can't learn new powers without risking death, b) have their progression as a mage hampered to a crawl, and c) are severely penalized for making interesting character-design decisions?

          My suggestion:
          Split all available powers into White, Black, and Gray categories. Any mage can pick from Gray, but depending on deity or "alignment" they are stronger in either White or Black. Casting a power from an opposing source suffers a -4 penalty. If the character continually draws from the opposite source (i.e., attempts a casting, whether successful or not) the GM may lower the penalty to -2. However, this also imparts a penalty of -2 on their initial source.

          Basically, it's a tug-of-war between White and Black, and hovering in the middle is not the ideal place to be.

          Black magic provides power about people or
          eternal youth but blackens the soul of the wizard with cosmic sins. Not many seem to care about it. In addition to this esoteric drawback, black magic has some more direct consequences. After extensive use of black magic, the wizard loses a hindrance associated with weaklings like Mild Mannered, Loyal, Pacifist, Yellow, Code of Honor and replaces it with another which suits better to a powerful magus like Overconfident, Proud, Arrogant, Torturer. This character change might involve more steps, its timing depends on the GM.
          This sounds like a personality shift is happening to the character. I'm not entirely sure that should be determined solely by the GM. I think the GM can talk to the player and say, "hey, the void is twisting your mind," but the decision to alter the character's Hindrances should always be the player's decision.

          SWADE allows mages to change the Trapping of a power when they gain an Advance (see p150), so I don't see a problem allowing them to swap Hindrances. Although, I think the two should have some sort of commonality. For instance, a Loyal character might swap it for Greedy... he used to hang around because he liked the company of the others, but now he hangs around to get something out of them. It's more of a subtle shift, rather than light switch being flipped.


          • #6
            Thank you. I certainly will pay attention to them when making the next version.

            This sounds like the character loses any Power Points Edges they may have taken and starts over at 10 PP (??) for the other source.
            Why do you think that? I'd like to know to not confuse readers.
            I thought "erase all of the current Power Points of your hero" explicitly tells you lost your current PPs but nothing else. Edges aren't mentioned. So if you have 4 PPs of 10, you lose your 4 PPs and start to regenerate from 0.

            This sounds like a personality shift is happening to the character. I'm not entirely sure that should be determined solely by the GM. I think the GM can talk to the player and say, "hey, the void is twisting your mind," but the decision to alter the character's Hindrances should always be the player's decision.
            Why do you think the GM changes the Hindrances?
            "its timing depends on the GM"
            I thought this would be obvious, the GM tells the player WHEN he is required to make such a step in the personality change of the hero.
            Last edited by Zoltan; 01-06-2021, 10:14 AM.


            • Zoltan
              Zoltan commented
              Editing a comment
              I checked how PP spending is worded in the book and used that terminology. How does this sound?
              When changing the source of magic, the hero prepares a short ceremony. During this attunement, he spends all of his Power Points and starts to recharge them from the chosen new source.

            • ValhallaGH
              ValhallaGH commented
              Editing a comment
              Zoltan That is a lot clearer.

            • Deskepticon
              Deskepticon commented
              Editing a comment
              Zoltan I like the new wording. Spending all your PP on the ritual is an intuitive approach and ties in nicely with core game mechanics. Well Done!

          • #7
            A few more things, this time on the Edges.

            With only one Arcane Background in the setting, this would lean a bit toward being too good. However, precluding the ability to then take Wizard (and vice-versa) is a good balancing point. I think this should be fine.

            Lightning Reflexes
            This is mechanically the same as Level Headed. I suspect that's intentional because of the oddly worded clause at end about only drawing two additional cards. Honestly, I was thoroughly confused until I realised that sentence was describing what happens if a player also has Level Headed. Consider rephrasing the sentence so it explicitly describes how the two Edges interact.

            The issue here, however, is that SWADE already has the Quick Edge. Adding Lightning Reflexes would give a character with d8 Agility access to all the "initiative boosting" mechanics that, by RAW, would have required a d8 in both Agility and Smarts. So you (perhaps unintentionally) have upset some game balance here. If you're okay with that, that's cool, but personally I would remove this Edge if I were to run the setting.

            As I mentioned in a previous post, I'd stick with die-based Language skills, just for simplicity's sake. If using my suggestion of capping Language at d8, this Edge would provide three languages at d6 and three at d4... or one at d8, one at d6, and three at d4.

            Loincloth/Bikini Hero
            "It grants Parry +1 and Dodge +1 against all attacks when wearing the named clothing type only."

            First, "Dodge" is not a game mechanic. What you want to say is: "This Edge increases Parry by 1 and opponents subtract 1 from all ranged attacks..."

            Second, I'd change "when wearing the named clothing type only" to "when the character is scantily clad." Otherwise, a literal interpretation would suggest a female warrior MUST wear a bikini to gain the benefit; no shifts or onesies allowed.

            Put it all together:
            This Edge increases Parry by 1 and opponents subtract 1 from all ranged attacks when the character is scantily clad.

            Consider replacing Common Knowledge d6+ with Occult d6+. Occult is the skill that governs mystical, magical, and religious knowledge.

            Rich (Modified)
            This is less of a modification and more of a complete rewrite. I would just make this it's own Edge. Call it Resourceful or something. Also, you'll probably want to keep Rich more or less intact (just alter the earned amount to match the setting's economy), unless no character can be an affluent noble or traveling merchant, etc.


            • #8
              Good points. I will make a new version at the weekend.


              • #9
                Here you are the new version, thanks for the critiques.

                Okay, Arial


                twelve (12) skill points for archetypes
                plus the free skills

                The gear tables appear to be simple copy-paste
                They might appear so but they aren't

                Scholar forbidden
                Its req, the Research skill is not used so it seems unnecessary. Unimportant edge, but it's not rocket science to allow it for any GM if a player wants it desperately.

                Holy/Unholy Warrior
                Hm, actually why not?

                I'm still hesitating

                Inventing powers
                It's not about for the players to use this option but rather to explain why magic is dangerous through rules.

                personality shift of black magi
                It's intended to be even harder explained in the GM's section. Hey, he's completely immersed in black magic, what did he expect? Rainbow and ponies?

                Lightning Reflexes
                Conan hits swiftly. Conan isn't clever.

                Loincloth/Bikini Hero
                Dodge-> Evasion. I might have copied the text from somewhere.
                scantily clad is a good expression, I stole it.

                Cool, occult req added

                Rich (Modified)
                clarified. its desc is an addition

                +Wizard hero new chapter in GMs' section.
                +small additions and fixes


                • paladin2019
                  paladin2019 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Point of order. Conan is quite clever. That's a common feature of pulp heroes. He's just not very book smart until later in his career.

                • ValhallaGH
                  ValhallaGH commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Thank you for the font change. It makes a huge difference.
                  Good layout changes.

                  I'll take a look at the rest and get back to you.

              • #10
                Hi, new to the forum and new to the Savage Worlds game! A big fan of Red Sonja, does anyone have any thoughts as to what the stats for her for Savage Worlds (Beasts and Barbarians) might look like? I know there are many versions of her, but I am thinking of her as more of the classic Marvel version or the novels that were published in the the 50's. Thanks for any help!


                • ValhallaGH
                  ValhallaGH commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Welcome to the forum and to Savage Worlds!

              • #11
                Version 0.3
                -Languages are ignored, the Linguist Edge is rewritten
                -Scholar and Investigator Edges allowed with modified requirements (I got bored to explain repeatedly why they are needless in an action fantasy).
                -Gear ideas for NPC warriors.
                Link in the opening post.


                • Deskepticon
                  Deskepticon commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Cool! I grabbed v3 and will look over it tonite.
                  Additionally, this topic reminded me that I haven't actually read any Robert Howard, and that that really hampered my ability to provide good feedback. So earlier this week I picked up an anthology of Howard's Conan writings (the ones printed in Weird Tales). I read a few stories so far and didn't realise what I was missing; they're pretty good. The essay on the history of the Hyborian Age was particularly interesting. Very rich world building!

                • Zoltan
                  Zoltan commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I re-read them after 20 years and still found them cool. That was my inspiration to write this setting two years ago. I'm glad you liked it as well.

                • Deskepticon
                  Deskepticon commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Zoltan Sounds like me with Wheel of Time. I first started the series 19 years ago, but only got three books in. About a year and half ago I restarted and got to book 10 (out of 15) before my interest waned.

                  I am enjoying Conan, beginning with the one Kull story (Shadow Kingdom) featured as a prelude. The book's foreword claims that Howard's "middle works" are fairly formulaic, but I haven't gotten that far yet. A big blizzard is expected to hit my area tomorrow, so I'll probably just spend most the day reading. That includes your setting guide.

              • #12
                Most of this is obviously covered in the superlative books Beasts and Barbarians on Drivethru. It has everything you need, leaving the minimum amount of heavy lifting.