Friday, July 22, 2011

[Savage Worlds] 7 House Rules

When I run a Savage Worlds game, I usually implement the following house rules:

1. Free Common Bond edge. Everyone has Common Bond as a free edge. In fact, they don't have to even write it down or have the minimum requirements for the edge. They can share bennies as they wish, following the rules of the Common Bond edge. Previously, I had used a pool of "team bennies" that the players had access to but realized that giving the players an opportunity to engage in each others' PCs was more direct when they handed their own bennies out, rather than taking one from a common pile.

2. Changing Soak Rule. Normally, the Soak Rule has the player spend a bennie to remove the shaken conditoin and it allows a roll v. Vigor to recover from wounds. However, a side effect of that is if the player doesn't remove all the wounds and the shaken with the roll, then the shaken condition still remains.

So, for example, a PC received a shaken and 2 wounds and the player spends a bennie to remove the shaken, rolls to soak, requires a minimum roll of 8 (one standard success at TN 4 and 1 raise at TN 8) to remove the wounds. A roll less than 8 but greater than 3 leaves the PC still shaken.

With this rule change, a roll of less than 8 but greater than 3 removes at the minimum the Shaken condition and whatever wound recovery was rolled.

3. Changing Notice rolls. In order to add some player agency to the game, when I have the players roll v. Notice, I describe the scene they see and if the player gets a raise, they get to define a fact about the scene. I limit it to two facts for the player that received the highest roll with raises and one fact for the two other players that receive the second and third highest rolls with raises.

The fact can be about anything and I reserve the right to veto the fact, but I try not to do that unless it really is going to mess things up for me. This has provided my players with the ability to add props or characters or even landmarks and buildings to a scene and I figure that I should be flexible enough to roll with the changes they make to the game.

4. Requesting scenes from the players. I've started doing this to get an idea what the players are interested in seeing in a game. I hand out 3x5 cards and ask them to write a scene down and hand it back. I try to incorporate the scene into the game at some point. I've received many different possible scenes, including farcical ones and they generate great ideas to run.

5. Spending bennies on facts in the game. Normally, the bennie used to reroll or to recover from wounds. Not so in my game. I've instituted a rule where players can use bennies to define info about the setting or situation. I reserve the right to veto but, as I mentioned above, I rarely do unless there's a real problem. I won't let the players simply resolve conflicts with a bennie but I do allow them to add info that could (and often is) used to gain an advantage for the players.

6.Adding questions to the game. I've lately tried a new technique - allowing the players to spend a bennie on a question about the upcoming situation (e.g. in an upcoming battle, do you have a plan? Does the enemy captain have any vulnerabilities? Is surprise on your side?).

Each player gives me a question and a bennie and I write it down. Once I have them all, I turn to another player and ask him one of the questions (one he didn't ask) and offer him a bennie if it inconveniences the player characters. If he wants to define the answer that doesn't cause the PCs any problems, he doesn't get the bennie. But if he does, and defines the problem added, he gets the bennie. If several players don't accept the bennie, I usually try to bribe the players who receive the last questions (sometimes the harder ones) with more bennies. So far, it's worked pretty good.

7. Hand out lots of bennies. It's necessary to prime the pump and keep it primed. I try to get bennies out there all the time. After each conflict, I toss out more. I bribe players to do things against their PCs (and the rest of the party's) best interest. I use them to push players in scenes and play their PCs off one another (in a good natured way). I have found that by doing this, the players are more than willing to spend bennies on themselves and each other and add to the game, sometimes for foolish reasons because they know that more bennies are going to be available soon (though there are usually points in the game where people are scrimping and saving those precious bennies, rest assure).

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