Thursday, June 7, 2018

Curbing the Lethality

Savage Worlds is brutal. Any character, regardless of rank, can be one-shotted by a novice or extra. Dice explode, death happens. For some people, this is a feature. The players should be thinking twice before jumping into a toe-to-toe fight.

But there is also the common complaint from people used to attrition based games like d&d that combat is too quick. They don’t like the idea that their wild cards can drop like flies. I have one such friend. He loves Savage Worlds with this one exception. His rationality is that he wants heroes and villains to have time to switch tactics when they start to get hammered. I offered up this as a setting rule:

No character (Wild Card or Extra) can deal more than 1 wound in a single attack. If the attacker’s damage roll would have caused two or more wounds (>target’s toughness +8) then the attacker receives a benny. Bennies cannot be spent on soak rolls.

This guarantees that it takes at least 4 successful attacks to down a wild card. However with only dealing one wound, soaking would only kill the Fast!. The ruling doesn’t affect the ease of dropping extras. It also keeps players from hoarding bennies for soak rolls.

So far he has liked the new rule.

All that said, I prefer the unpredictability of Savage Worlds combat as written. It’s faster and more dramatic when you know you can be dropped in a single attack. I think that D&D and later videogames have reinforced the idea of long drawn out slugfests as the norm. It takes a reshaping of expectations to enjoy SW combat. Oddly, you need to set your expectations toward realism a bit more.

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