Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Quick Savage House Rule

Sometimes, players want a little bit of narrative control... they reason that their character should have access to something, be carrying something, or have a pre-established relationship with an NPC based on background and circumstance. Often, I find myself hesitant to arbitrarily say yes or no...I like a little chance.

During tonight's steampunk Savage Worlds game, a player asked if her father (a member of the upper class and a physician) could have possibly known the ailing husband of an NPC the players were trying to pump for information, thus giving them an "in" to the situation. Lots of little things come up like this.... could I know him, or could I be carrying this, etc.

In the spirit of "say yes or roll the dice," I present a simple resolution system for Savage Worlds using the deck of cards you have on hand to play. If the GM thinks the situation is feasible, let the player draw. Obviously, questions like "can my dad be Emperor of the universe?" or whatnot can be ignored by the GM.

Draw a card from the initiative deck. Look at the suite.

Spades: The circumstance works in your favor.
Hearts: The circumstance works in your favor, but only if you spend a bennie.
Diamonds: Sorry, better luck next time.
Clubs: Doesn't work out, and a Complication is introduced.

Optional: If a Joker is drawn, the situation is extremely advantageous for the player, but also carries an interesting Complication.

I will allow players to spend bennies to re-draw in any event except a Joker; draw a Joker and fate has your number today...

I think I'm also going to work out a simple random encounter system using the deck of cards. We'll see about piloting that next week.

...oh, and on the subject of my Savage Worlds game: my players gushed over my ability to "be" several different characters. They really love one of my NPCs. One of them told me that I should act. (She's in theatre professionally, so I take this as high compliment!) Savage Worlds continues to go extremely well, though I need to keep up with editing the campaign wiki.


  1. we want to see these personalities!

  2. not a bad idea definitely in keeping with the poker roots that sw has I may use that in future deadlands games

  3. Mick- Typically this only comes out when I DM. The last time I DMed for the group, I don't think I was quite comfortable enough to really open up with the NPC personalities.