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Savage Dark Souls

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  • Savage Dark Souls

    So, Dark Souls seems to have come to an end, but in a good way.

    Looking at it again, I was struck by how well Savage Worlds fits the world described by the games. Anything can kill anything, some attacks are overwhelming, the most powerful weapons tend to leave the wielder vulnerable, armor mitigates hits but you can still get one-shot killed in the best gear, encumbrance is a thing that matters, magic an archery seem unfair but can be mitigated by some simple tactical choices, and you've got to "git gud" if you want to succeed.

    The biggest problem I've seen people run into is the way hollows and ashen improve.
    The second problem seems to be the pervasive nature of despair and simply giving up.
    Finally, there is the minor problem of translating flavor-as-game mechanics into an entirely different system.

    Minor fix - characters no longer gain experience, instead they Absorb Souls. This is mostly a flavor change, driving home the theme that you are playing unnatural abominations powered by the life forces of multiple humans.

    My proposed solution to the first problem - uncapped Attribute increases. The various undead cannot increase Attributes any faster than living humans, but they no longer have a maximum Attribute. With enough advances, a hollow could have Strength d12+37.
    This doesn't change Skills, so Fighting, Shooting, and Spellcasting shouldn't get any more ridiculous than they currently do.

    I'm not sure how to handle the second problem. My current ideas are something like Dominion from Deadlands or Reason from Rippers. Neither feels quite right, but they do feel like the right direction.

    The final problem is mostly covered by trappings and descriptions. Powers should come with a specific name and Trapping and arcane skill, weapons should have a bit of lore, etc.
    Part of this is the different types of magic. They can be handled by having a single Arcane Background edge (10 Power Points, 1 power, No Backlash, multiple skills) that uses multiple arcane skills - Spellcasting (Smarts), Faith (Spirit), and Pyromancy (Smarts). Each spell comes with Trappings that include damage type, extra benefits, and the required skill.
    You can further tweak the various relevant Professional edges to require a specific Skill die type rather than a specific Arcane Background variant.

    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.

  • #2
    Looks like a really good start.
    Maybe the Sanity rules could be reconfigured to represent dispair? Maybe instead of "Sanity" it's called Hope, and failing tasks decreases it. Reach a certain point and the character gives up.

    I also think the magic system could work very well.


    • ValhallaGH
      ValhallaGH commented
      Editing a comment
      Interesting. I hadn't considered the Sanity rules, but re-reading the Horror Companion, they could be adapted. I'm torn between the names Humanity and Hope.

    • Deskepticon
      Deskepticon commented
      Editing a comment
      Originally posted by "ValhallaGH
      ... I'm torn between the names Humanity and Hope.
      Dunno, both work. I'll be unhelpful and leave the decision up to you.

      But I just had a thought... it could be a rising scale, starting in the negative, and each time the character loses hope they gain a point, rather than losing one. Fundamentally the mechanic remains the same, and it can then just be called Dispair.

  • #3
    This really sounds like an intressting Homebrew idea. Considering trappings and descriptions for powers have you tried taking a look at the Savage Spellbook? It already has alot of complete trappings for different Powers and is a great example of how to design your own Trappings.


    • ValhallaGH
      ValhallaGH commented
      Editing a comment
      I'm familiar with the work, but thank you for sharing the link.

  • #4
    I've had some ideas for character's Hollowing.
    Every time a character dies they make a spirit roll to not go completely hollow.
    When they revive after dying they get minuses to spirit until their humanity is restored, and these stack with each death making them have to balance dwindling reserves of humanity with the greater chance they will hollow on death.
    The minuses to spirit also show how the character is losing more and more of themselves as they get closer to hollowing completely.

    There are probably better ways to do this. The idea just popped into my head as I was going to sleep last night.
    "For the moment, the Earth is where we make our stand." - Carl Sagan