[Savage Worlds] Best settings?

Discussion in 'Roleplaying Games' started by The Butcher, Sep 3, 2017.

  1. The Butcher

    The Butcher Legendary Member

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    I've been looking into running Savage Worlds again. It's a fun, unpretentious, get-shit-done little system, that I run exclusively for a couple of years.

    I already own quite a few settings for SW:
    • Solomon Kane. The one that got me into SW. Fun little toolkit. Only ran it a couple of times but used it (and the magic guidelines) as the basis for a Hyborian Age game that lasted a little longer.
    • Day After Ragnarok. Awesomeness. Pulpy, weird, quasi-dieselpunk post-apocalyptic action. I've described it as "Rifts: 1948 AD" in the past.
    • Hellfrost. Great spell list, fantastic support, okay setting. To be honest only picked up the Player's Guide because it had a Summon Demon spell, and the "resource management" (read: domain play) supplement. I might use bits f it if I ever run D&Desque fantasy with SW.
    • Deadlands Reloaded. It's Deadlands with all the good and bad it entails. Picked it up because Mrs. The Butcher showed interest at the idea of "cowboys vs. zombies" but, predictably, never ran it.
    • Necessary Evil. Love the premise but my group sucks at four-color superheroics. Maybe this will make the genre click for them? Not a priority right now.
    • Nova Praxis. I like how they took a hammer to the Sci-Fi Companion to get their transhuman on (and at a level that's less Eclipse Phase/Transhuman Space and more Altered Carbon, which I dig) but the setting has the whole White Wolf splat thing going on which I found super contrived.
    • Totems of the Dead. On CRKruger's recommendation. Sword & sorcery Precolumbian America. Looks fun, though I sometimes have a hard time parsing the real world equivalents of each nation, I have yet to run it — in fact, I really want to run this with Mythras some day.
    • Savage Rifts. How could I not get this? Love Rifts, like SW. I will run this but I suspect I will be disappointed — they could've tinkered a bit more with SW to better reflect the source material. Still, I like some of the ideas; I'll give it a shot.
    I am curious about other settings, specifically a couple from the more recent comic book crop — Fear Agent (looks like pulpy SF) and The Sixth Gun (looks like Deadlands minus the dumb parts).

    SW players and GMs, what settings do you like to use SW with?
     
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  2. HorusArisen

    HorusArisen Active Member

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    The only two to ever capture my imagination you've already mentioned. Hellfrost & Solomon Kane.

    The Slipstream book did catch my attention briefly and is a nice looking Buck Roger/Flash Gordon stand in.

    I'd be quite interested to hear about the lankhmar line since goodman games seems more vapourware than reality.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2017
  3. Tommy Brownell

    Tommy Brownell Active Member

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    I'm not sure which parts are the "dumb parts" of Deadlands, but sure, Sixth Gun covers a lot of the same ground.

    Necessary Evil is really more Suicide Squad than it is four color heroes. Maybe the single best campaign I've ever ran, but that's a combination of both friends and setting.

    I did a review of Fear Agent at my blog. The highlight for me is that the book was written in such a way that I feel like I could run it without reading the comics, but John Goff's a great writer like that.

    Lankhmar is good stuff, but I'd probably pick Beasts & Barbarians over it. Pinnacle is a top notch company, but everything has this neat and pretty shine to it that doesn't fit some settings, and this is one of them, IMO. GRAmel, publishers of Beasts & Barbarians, have no such issue. I know that sounds kinda vague and it's hard for me to explain, Pinnacle's stuff is more PC and mass market, I guess.

    East Texas University is a blast. Kind of a low-powered Redneck Buffy.

    Streets of Bedlam is, IMO, the single most underrated third party book ever released for Savage Worlds, basically being Sin City with serial numbers filed off.

    I've never ran it, but Accursed is, mechanically, one of the best Savage Worlds books ever made. The Witchmarked heroes are basically tormented half-human monsters who choose, over the course of the game, whether to embrace the monster within or reject it...and doing the former gives them power at the cost of their humanity, and the latter weakens them but saves them from their curse. It's kinda like fantasy World of Darkness in Savage Worlds.
     
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  4. Tommy Brownell

    Tommy Brownell Active Member

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    I want a straight up "cop" book for Savage Worlds. If I were a better writer, I'd write it. Something that encompasses playing games based on stuff like The Shield, Justified and maybe hong kong action movies (I've been playing Sleeping Dogs on PS4)...but with absolutely zero zombies, magic, demons, monsters or superpowers.
     
  5. Simon Hogwood

    Simon Hogwood New Member

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    I clicked on the thread to plug Day After Ragnarok, which I see you've already attended to. I'm also fond of Rippers, which is about monster-hunting in the 19th century, with heavy influence from The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and a bio-punk* twist.

    And speaking of historical alternate-history horror settings, the Musketeers vs Vampires setting All for One is also available for Savage Worlds, although I think it was originally developed for Ubiquity.

    *I actually dislike this term, but can't really think of anything better to describe the concept of surgically swapping out your limbs and organs with that of conquered monsters, even without the secretly-eating-your-soul thing.
     
  6. K_Peterson

    K_Peterson Active Member

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    I've been tempted for a while to pick up SWoSK but just haven't shelled out the cash. I'm not a Savage Worlds fan, so that would mean a lot of conversion work. But, it's still tempting. (Space 1889: Red Sands is another interesting Peg game line, too).
     
  7. TheophilusCarter

    TheophilusCarter Active Member

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    Check out Wellstone City. It's a modern noir setting in a nice concise package. It's not specifically for cops, but there's no reason your players could play cops. There's info for various gangs and such that could serve as the bad guys for police investigations.
     
  8. Tommy Brownell

    Tommy Brownell Active Member

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    I have Wellstone, and it's a good setting, but I'd still love something geared towards cops. Streets of Bedlam actually has a couple of options for doing that as well (and also leaves out the supernatural).

    I dunno, I'll probably kitbash something together and pitch it to the group after Curse of Strahd.
     
  9. Tommy Brownell

    Tommy Brownell Active Member

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    It's a great, all-encompassing book but, yeah, if you don't like SW, that's a lot of work.

    I think Space: 1889 has a couple of other versions out there, including the Ubiquity system.
     
  10. Dalekdad

    Dalekdad New Member

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    I'd also recommend picking up Beasts & Barbarians. Its a great sword and sorcery adaptation that is worth the price of admission just for their Loincloth Hero/Bikini Heroine edge and the mercenary company rules found in their Tattered Banners supplement. I did wince at some of their art and setting fluff choices because I tend to run games for a pretty diverse set of players (and people who are new to the hobby that I don't know that well).

    I'm still a huge fan of running straight up pulp adventure using Thrilling Tales or the Pulp GM tool kits. I also ran a great campaign using their Space: 1889 adaptation.

    Interface Zero 2.0 looks good if you are going for a contemporary cyberpunk setting.

    What I'd really like to see, but doesn't seem to be out there, is a solid mecha setting for Savage Worlds.
     
  11. noman

    noman Well-Known Member

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    Some of my favorites:

    • East Texas University: What Tommy said upthread; college Buffy...in Texas.*
    • Marchland: One of the best, single-book settings for urban horror I've seen. A more serious version of ETU. This was my gateway drug into SW, I dug the setting so much.
    • Savage Suzerain: Picked this up and plan on running it eventually. Rules for higher level characters as well as dimension hopping. Supplemental settings include: noir monster hunting (Noir Knights), back-against-the wall, fight for your life fantasy warfare (Caladon Fals), Dune meets Classical Greece in a sci-fi fantasy hybrid political galactic conquest setting (Dogs of Hades), and my personal favorite,
      Shanghai Vampocalypse**. Just to name a few.

    * Which means you have have your monster hunting with extra firearms and a side of good barbecue.

    ** It's exactly what it sounds like.
     
  12. daniel_ream

    daniel_ream Active Member

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    You could probably port Aaron Allston's Crime Fighter. It even uses a tactical grid map for action scenes.
     
  13. Simon Hogwood

    Simon Hogwood New Member

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    Sorry to revive a dormant thread, but I just remembered the existence of Heroes of Terra, a nascent setting by Blackwing Productions that promises a pulp-fantasy version of everybody's favorite mushroom-themed video game franchise. Sadly the promised full setting book never materialized, but between the "rough cut" player's guide, the bestiary preview, and the two adventures there's plenty to work with.

    Also of possible interest, especially to East Texas University fans, there's a current Kickstarter for a Savage Worlds adaptation of Larry Correia's Monster Hunter International novels. Now with Old West and 1980s setting booklets!
     
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  14. Mankcam

    Mankcam Active Member

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    I think that The Day After Ragnarock probably would have been better with more gritty mechanics, like BRP or something like that.

    Some of the earlier Savage Worlds settings were a lot of fun. Both Fifty Fathoms and Necessary Evil spring to mind for me
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017 at 12:17 AM
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  15. The Butcher

    The Butcher Legendary Member

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    Mythras can do DAR in a pinch. But if I was running it again I’d just crank up the grit within SW — give out less bennies, use “each Wound is a roll on the Injury table” etc.
     
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  16. Brand55

    Brand55 New Member

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    I'm so disappointed in you guys. How can you have a "best settings" thread for Savage Worlds and not mention Low Life? I've never had the pleasure of running it but I enjoyed just reading through that book more than any other gaming book I own.
     
  17. Baulderstone

    Baulderstone Legendary Member

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    Savage Worlds is one of my go-to games, but I somehow missed this thread before. I'll blame visiting relatives over Labor Day weekend.

    For a system I like, I have bought surprising few supplements for it. I think it is just so easy to make and convert material for that I feel less need than with some other systems.

    I think the last setting I actually bought for it Day After Ragnarok, shortly after its release. I'm putting money down on Monster Hunters Club now partly because it is doing something different enough with the system that I am curious about the approach it takes, and I want to read, and ideally run, Tommy's campaign.

    I'm backing Mankcam on 50 Fathoms. That was a campaign that really reinvigorated my love of sandbox play back before the OSR really got rolling with it. I don't think Savage Worlds gets enough credit for bringing it back in style. SW is a particularly good system for sandbox as is has a smaller power curve than D&D. It make it easier to populate the sandbox without having encounters that are automatic death if the players hit them early. Using Tricks to slow opponents also gives PCs a good way to get away when they do hit something they can't beat as well.

    Some elements of 50 Fathoms are pretty cartoony, but it is trivial to modify those. I strongly recommend the 50 Fathoms Companion as well. It is mostly just more sidequests within the sandbox, but they do a good job of making the sandbox feel more dynamic as well as letting the players trigger significant setting changes.

    Every other campaign I have run was either homebrewed or ported from another game.

    On that note, here are non-Savage Worlds settings that are great for Savage Worlds:

    • Eberron. At the time I bought Savage worlds, I was running an increasingly tiresome game of Eberron using 3.5. Before the next session, I made up versions of everyone's character using the Savage Rules instead. I showed up and warily suggested the idea of trying another game that was lighter and easier this week. The players all eagerly agreed, and the session was the most fun we had in months. We never played 3.5 again. My campaign was pulp masked heroes game set mostly in Sharn. Here are my elaborate conversion rules using Eberron with Savage Worlds.
    -Artificers use the Weird Science rules.
    -Dragonmarked use the Super Hero rules.

    That's it. ​

    • Masks of Nyartlathotep. This is a particularly pulpy CoC campaign, and I upped the pulpiness even more as the campaign went on. The Horror Toolkit was out by that time, so it gave me the sanity rules I needed, and the Martial Arts rules from Deadlands gave me what I needed to really put the Shanghai chapter over the top.
    I haven't actually run Savage Worlds in a while. It's a game I prefer to run in person with the playing cards, minis and bennies all as physical artifacts. It loses some of its charm in the videochat format that I rely on now.
     
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  18. Brand55

    Brand55 New Member

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    I actually ran Masks of Nyarlathotep using Realms of Cthulhu for some married friends of mine a few years ago, and they still think it's the best campaign they've ever played. RoC is especially good because of the way you can dial injury/sanity up or down to play a more pulpy game or one where insanity and death are almost certain.

    Oh, and for anyone who likes the resource management stuff for Hellfrost, there's supposed to be an expanded set of rules releasing soon from Triple Ace Games. I've played around with the thought of transferring those rules to other games before so I'm looking forward to a more robust system.
     
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  19. Baulderstone

    Baulderstone Legendary Member

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    RoC didn't exist at the time I ran it, but I agree that is a nice, flexible translation. I would have used it if it had been around.
     
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  20. Jan Paparazzi

    Jan Paparazzi New Member

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    Maybe this one? Even though the Thin Blue Line has psychic powers and ghosts and spirits, it's still very usable with a detailed cast of policemen and a thorough view of Detroit.
     
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  21. Jan Paparazzi

    Jan Paparazzi New Member

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    I don't really like the SW system that much, but I love the settings.
    My favorites are:
    • Hellfrost
    • Rippers
    • 50 Fathoms
    • Slipstream
    • Day after Ragnarok
    • East Texas University
    • Deadlands Noir
    • Tropicana
    • Streets of Bedlam
    Yeah, they have a lot of good settings and I like the way the books are written. They are clear and concise and they give you all the info you need without crowding out the ideas in your mind.
     
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  22. Tommy Brownell

    Tommy Brownell Active Member

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    I'm sure way too much of the book would be devoted to stuff I have no interest in to make it worthwhile for what I'd like to see. I'd want something closer to Wellstone City, but focused on the badge side of things than the "freelance troubleshooter" side of things.
     
  23. TheophilusCarter

    TheophilusCarter Active Member

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    That book gives me a tummy-ache ... ;)
     
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  24. Mankcam

    Mankcam Active Member

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    Same here. So many great settings, and easy to convert into my preferred systems. Savage Worlds really is top of the list for the sheer amount of settings it has to offer
     
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  25. noman

    noman Well-Known Member

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  26. Trippy

    Trippy New Member

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    My favourite is Low Life, actually, but generally I tend to use Savage Worlds for Deadlands mainly.
     
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  27. Baeraad

    Baeraad Member

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    I'm very fond of Slipstream, which I once ran one of my all-time favourite short campaigns in. I keep meaning to go back to it, but I've never managed to find the right inspiration... Regardless, it's a wonderfully cheesy and ridiculous Flash Gordon-style pulpy space opera, with clanking robots, giant alien slugs, amazonian spaceship pilots and a vampy evil Queen of the Universe as a setting uber-villain.
     
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  28. Baulderstone

    Baulderstone Legendary Member

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    I'm just going to throw in a random observation about Savage Worlds. I've found it to be surprisingly good as an investigative game when I was running Masks of Nyarlathotep with it. One reason for this is the fast combat. Long combats can cause players to lose the thread of the investigation and forget leads. The other reason is that players can spend bennies on clue rolls that really matter to them. It's one of those cases where a game does something really well that it wasn't explicitly designed to do.
     
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  29. Mankcam

    Mankcam Active Member

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    I think this is a great idea. I guess CoC 7E does this with Idea Rolls, but I do like the fact that there is some game balance to it if you have a 'point economy' to work with. I think CoC 7E needs to have a Luck Pt cost associated to the Idea Roll to stop misuse from a rules point of view. I guess that is up to GMs to regulate themselves, but the Bennies of SW is also perfect for this, or the Luck Pt economy of MRQ2/Legend.
    Before CoC 7E was published, I used the BGB Fate Points option, and requested for CoC characters to spend PP on pivotal Idea or Luck rolls, it really helped providing some balance to bread-crumbing clues for them.
    I think SW Realms Of Cthulhu actually does something like this. From memory it was a surprisingly good take on Lovecraftian gaming.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017 at 7:26 PM
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