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A "character funnel" for Savage Worlds

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  • A "character funnel" for Savage Worlds

    The Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG uses a "character funnel" to determine the character you play in a campaign. I don't have the game, but to the best of my knowledge, here's how it works:

    Each player makes three 0-level characters without classes and thus no class abilities.
    They run their three characters through a brutal introductory adventure.
    The one that survives advances to level 1, gets a class, and becomes your character in the game. (I guess that if all survive somehow, you pick one, or if all 3 die, the one that died last is your character and somehow survives... )

    How might something like this work in Savage Worlds?

    I think just having the players make up three Extras is a bit too brutal. The absence of a Wild Die and being only able to take 1 Wound is even worse than in DCC where you don't get class abilities, IMO.

    Thinking about it some, I came up with this:

    Each player makes three characters with no Edges or Hindrances and 10 skill points.
    Each of these characters gets a single Benny and a Wild Die of d4.
    They run their three characters through a brutal introductory adventure.
    The one that survives gets the remaining 5 skill points, a proper Wild Die, and its full compliment of Edges and Hindrances. You can use the events of the introductory adventure to inform you as to which Hindrances to take. (I lost my arm in that fight! I have the One Arm Hindrance, and so on).
    'But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked. 'Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: 'we're all mad here.'

    The Order of the Dice... OF DOOM!

  • #2
    Hmmm, interesting.

    What if the introductory adventure was the character generator?
    For example, you start with 3 Wild Cards, but they have no Edges, Hindrances, Skill ranks, and all attributes are d4.

    As you progress through the adventure, pose challenges to the players. They choose how to react and roll a Trait die. If they succeed, that Trait increases. If they fail, the Trait improves but they also take a wound. Start with 5 general challenges first to build the attributes, moving on to more specialized tasks later.

    For example, the characters come to a rushing river, bolstered by recent rainfall. "How do you cross?"
    Braving the rapids increases Strength. Hopping across the rocks increases Agility. Building a raft increases Smarts. Taking "the long way around" builds endurance, increasing Vigor. And waiting for the rapids to subside a bit increases Spirit.

    After these 5 preliminary tasks you can start building their skills, using a similar method. After each success the player writes down how many skill points it required, based on their attribute scores.

    Wounded characters can attempt to heal themselves (or each other) at any time, which would thereby increase their Healing skill, but only if successful. Wounds may also determine Hindrances, like you suggested, or Hindrances can just be informed by the narrative of the adventure (fell into a spider nest... gain Arachnaphobia. Or Lame).

    If the setting offers magic, characters can use it to complete challenges, simply rolling Spellcasting, Faith, Weird Science, etc. They gain the AB and choose powers at the end of the trials.

    Of the three initial recruits, the first to survive and hit 15 skill points becomes the player-character.


    • #3
      That's a neat idea as well, and is different enough to set it apart from the DCC RPG's version. It's its own thing.
      'But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked. 'Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: 'we're all mad here.'

      The Order of the Dice... OF DOOM!


      • #4
        Check out Gold & Glory: Seven Deadly Dungeons. They have a random character generator for old school dungeon crawling.


        • #5
          My first thought was: ''let's think of a setting that can explain this process in-universe''. I'm imagining a world where people are abducted and sent into a maze-like prison and challenged by a series of increasingly difficult tests until they finally find the exit. Unfortunatly for them, the world they discover is not their own, and must explore it to understand its mysteries and maybe one day find their way back home. The realm is populated by locals, of course, but also other challengers who passed the trials. Some will be rivals, other allies, either trying to escape this world or make the best of it.

          That being said, they idea of having the funnel act as the generator is good, but I would still leave some choice to the players. I would also spice things up concerning how the three characters are designed.

          First, each player draw one random pre-gen.
          Second, each player creates one character and keeps it.
          Third, each player creates one character and each player randomly draws one of them.

          Each character is created the same way: 2 attribute points, 7 skill points, one hindrance (they may spend the hindrance point(s) immediatly or keep it for later). Any Hindrances modifying the number of attribute and skill points are taken into consideration. For example, if a character takes the Young Hindrance, he instead recieves 0 attribute point and 2 skill points instead.They also have 250$ worth of gear.

          Finally, each character is taken through a series of challenges, in a way similar to how deskepticon described. Each challenge rewards the characters with specific trait increases or hindrances. By giving 3 attribute boosts, 4 skill boosts (2 points each) and 2 HIndrance options, you are looking at 9 challenges. I think it would also be interesting to take away some degree of control from the players. Maybe some challenges depends on the choice of other players, or the reward varies if the character succeeds or fails at the task.

          Here are a few examples:

          -The sadistic choice: In order for the group to survive, one character must stay behind, and who stays behind will be determined by a vote. Should the character vote for another player's character, he choose one of the following Hindrances: Mean, Bloodthirsty or Greedy (Minor or Major). Should the character vote for one of the player's character (including himself), he choose one of the following Hindrances (Loyal, Heroic, Code of Honor, Deathwish). Should the character decides to abstain from voting or propose an alternate method, choose one of the following Hindrance (Cautious, Phobia (minor or major), Pacifism (minor or major). The chosen character is left behind and treated as dead.

          -One tool each: The dangers of the maze appears to calm down for a moment, giving the hero some respite. They also discover a cache of useful items they can take. Only one copy of each item is available and they have time to grab only one item before the maze force them forward, so each character must select something different. Each item gives +2 attribute points to a specific skill. While some can be quite obvious, the players do not know which item gives which bonus until they finalize their choices.
          Spyglass: Boating
          Ninja Claws: Climbing (also serves as a back-up weapon)
          Bicycle: Driving
          Sword: Fighting
          25$: Gambling
          Medkit: Healing
          War Paint: Intimidation
          Old Tome: Investigation
          Lockpick set: Lockpicking
          Glasses: Notice
          Nice Gloves and Boots: Persuasion
          Googles: Piloting
          Hammer: Repair
          Rope: Riding
          Crossbow: Shooting
          Cloak: Stealth
          2 bottles of alcool: Streetwise
          2 days of rations: Survival
          Snorkel: Swimming
          Hat: Taunt
          Knives: Throwing
          ????: Tracking

          Should the character tries to take two items, he fails to get either of them miserably, but receives two skill points for a Knowledge skill of his choice instead.

          -The Wolf Pack: A group of hungry and dangerous wolves are hunting the characters. Each character must choose one option. The rewards depend on whether the roll is a success or not.
          Face the Wolves (Roll Strength. +1 die step in strength if succesful, +1 die step in Vigor if unsuccesful, you have to soak some attacks)
          Evade the Wolves (Roll Smarts. +1 die step in Smarts if succesful, +1 die step in Agility if unsuccesful, you have to jump out of the way of some attacks before loosing them)
          Outrun the Wolves (Roll Vigor. +1 die step in Vigor if succesful, +1 die step in Spirit if unsuccessful, your body can no longer go on, but your mind gets you through the last mile)
          Hide from the Wolves (Roll Agility. +1 die step in Agility if succesful. +1 die step in Strength if unsuccesful. You hide from most of them, but must fight one who managed to find you)
          Try to frighten the Wolves (Roll Spirit. +1 die step in Spirit if succesful, +1 die step in Smarts if unsuccesful. Your initial attempt do not work, but finally discovered a way to make it work after a while)

          -The Five Doors: In order to continue, one of five doors must be crossed. Only one character may go through at a time, and it is impossible to know what lies beyond. The first character into each door must go blind (not knowing what to expect, therefore not knowing the rewards), although he can warn the others afterwards.
          Door 1: Strength Test: Roll Strength, +1 die step in Strength regardless of success.
          Door 2: Agility Test: Roll Agility, +1 die step in Agility regardless of success.
          Door 3: Smarts Test: Roll Smarts, +1 die step in Smarts regardless of success.
          Door 4: Spirit Test: Roll Spirit, +1 die step in Spirit regardless of success.
          Door 5: Vigor Test: Roll Vigor, +1 die step in Vigor regardless of success.
          Last edited by dentris; 01-03-2018, 09:13 PM.


          • dentris
            dentris commented
            Editing a comment
            I slept on it and got a few other ideas:

            Power nap: The characters find a secure location and can take a few hours of rest before moving forward. Depending on the character's choice, gain two skill points in the following skills, without having to roll:
            -Combat training: Fighting, Shooting, Throwing or an arcane skill. If they have available Hindrance points, they can also use them to learn one combat or Power Edge.
            -Patching up: Healing. In addition, they are allowed a single Healing roll to heal wounds (theirs or someone else's)
            -Rest: Taunt or Intimidate. In addition, the much-needed sleep awards them a benny.
            -Scrounging for valuables: Notice, Investigation, Survival or Tracking. In addition, they find an item worth up to 100$.
            -Carousing: Persuasion, Streetwise or Gambling. If they have available Hindrance points, they can also use them to learn one social or professional Edge.

            At the end of the maze, the surviving characters may spend any remaining Hindrance points they have. In addition, it is possible they have some skill points they cannot use since their skill is above the linked attribute. They may redistribute these extra points as desired.

            The players then select one surviving character and one of the following option, as a reward for surviving the maze. (This is in addition of the normal character creation rules and ignore all requirements except other Edges)

            1. If the player has more than one surviving character, one of them become a close friend. Gain either the Connections or Sidekick Edge. If the Connections Edge is selected, discuss what kind of organization the other character joins or creates with the GM.
            2. If the player has no surviving character, one of his dead character crawls from the maze, barely alive. He may distribute as he wish any attribute or skill points that wasn't awarded, and gain the Hard to Kill Edge.
            3. If the player has no surviving character, he may select another player's surviving character that wasn't selected. That character is revealed to be not exactly what he appeared to be in the first place. Select one Weird or Background Edge.
            4. If the selected character managed to exit the maze without any wounds, his companions and the locals are inpressed with his talents. He gain the Followers Edge (respawning every month) or a Leadership Edge.
            5. If the player has only one surviving character and he escapes the maze with three wounds, he dies shortly after, but not before telling his story to one of the locals. That local swears to follow in his footstep. This new character has exactly the same Traits, Hindrances and Edges, but you may change his race as desired. In addition, you may improve one of his attribute by one die step.
            6. If the player has at least one surviving character and can't or won't choose any of the previous options, he receives 2 skills points, distributed as he wishes.