Tuesday, April 5, 2011

From Swords & Wizardry To Savage Worlds

Last night would have been our thirty-fourth Swords & Wizardry session. As some of you may know, we've taken a break from our campaign to branch out into some other RPGs (as a GM, it's nice to get a break from behind the screen a become a player for a while). Some of the games on deck are DC Heroes, Paranoia and Traveller. Last night we dove into our first non-S&W game, well it still had SW in the title - Savage Worlds!

Savage Worlds is a generic and loose rule-set that is adaptable to various genres. Anything from Swords and Fantasy, to space opera, to wild west (with zombies) to weird war pretty much whatever you want to play can be played with SW. We're playing a Thrilling Tales pulp adventure staring the Tesla League, a group of adventures that hover around Nikola Tesla and his University around Wardenclyffe Tower in the year 1919.

Clay (Gedlesmote and Televon, Priest of Morpheus) is running these sessions and he's put a nice twist on the campaign adventures. He has some of his RPG buddies from out of state playing the villains who are coming up with plots and deeds to foil The Tesla League. They are not part of the actual sessions but are part of the game itself.

The game mechanics are loose and different than the usual D&D style dice throwing and keeps the game moving. It's a skill based game which doesn't hinder the role-playing.

You build a character as opposed to rolling on up. The process is pretty easy but the first time is always a challenge to get things built quickly. You have your typical Attributes (Strength, Spirit, Smarts etc), round these out with attribute based skills and then add some Hindrances (negative traits such as Outsider or blindness) and some Edges (powers/extra abilities). We all had character concepts to begin with which helped with the builds. As usual we have some entertaining characters; Bernhard Von Kapivar (German explosives expert) and Ralph E. Madison, Worlds Tallest Cowboy with Tinymite the worlds smallest horse (this is based on a real life person of that era) to name a few.

No doubt, good times ahead.

We played a brief game as the characters came together and discovered a mysterious glowing green crystal beneath the Wardenclyffe Tower and with the help of Tesla himself pointed us in our upcoming world spanning adventures.

I'll try to post a Tesla League session recap later this week.

Oh, don't think I'll be forgetting about our lost companions beneath the Tower of Zenopus! On the contrary, I'll be running mini S&W sessions to determine the outcome of our doomed party in the coming weeks and months.


  1. Wow Thrilling Tales totally recycled that great cover from Justice Inc.

  2. Holy crap, you're right! I knew it looked familiar but couldn't place it.

  3. Savage Worlds is a fun little system and I've quite enjoyed it. Also, if you're into Sword & Planet style gaming, Adament's Mars setting book.

  4. I found Savage Worlds really excellent for two-fisted 1920s gaming (and it would probably work well for Victorian/Western as well), but it really fell flat for me in the fantasy genre. Which really quite surprised me, because it really seemed like it would create a neat swords & sorcery vibe to it. Somehow that didn't work out in actual play, though.

  5. Adding - still, unless you're aiming for a Lovecraftian vibe (in which case use CoC), Savage Worlds is the best 1920s era game I've seen, bar none.

  6. @School Master - I've looked into Icons and thought it was interesting but I didn't see Mars. I'll have to check that out too.

    @Matt - I've heard that Savage Worlds doesn't quite cut it for fantasy. Our choice for Fantasy is S&W - that goes without saying. Still, I'm having fun with a different system.