Friday, March 27, 2009

Lately I find Myself Obsessed with Savage Worlds.

So, I've been toying around with the possibility of actually running a Savage Worlds game. I've only played in a handful of role play campaigns—mostly D20—and I have never been the GM.
Scratch that, I did try to run a game back in. . . 2001 I think. The only book I owned at the time was a first printing of 3rd Edition GURPS. I had no idea what I was doing. I had never played in a game before, and although we had a pretty good time, I didn't know all the things that a GM should do—I was winging it and had no story in mind.

The only thing I remember about the campaign is that one of the characters was in his bathrobe; in his bathroom one minute and standing in the middle of a large field facing a cavalry charge.
But now that I've played in some actual games, and I know what a GM actually does, I look back on that experience and pretend it never happened.

I was introduced to a gaming podcast by P of Howdy!! about a year ago, and found myself obsessed with a little game called Savage Worlds.

Let me share a little something about myself. I have a tenancy to obsess and horde. If I enjoy something, I must have it all. This is what led me to GURPS so many years ago. It's that whole generic thing. To me that means that you can run any kind of game high fantasy to hard core sci-fi, historical drama to apocalyptic horror—this greatly appeals to me—one game to rule them all, mwahahahahah!!

The first real game I ever got to play in was a Dungeons & Dragons(D&D) [3.0 for those that care]campaign. Then I met another DM and got to play in another D&D game[3.25], we tried one session of Spy Craft, but that didn't pan out; and I am currently involved in a GURPS Supers campaign.
I like D&D for a fantasy setting, it has an epic, grandiose, feeling, and the idea that d20 could be used for any setting is a good one, essentially Wizards of the Coast (WotC) were trying to make their system as generic as GURPS. But the race/class thing kind of messes that up; that and the fact that there isn't a generic d20 rulebook with D&D as a campaign setting.

I like GURPS, but because it is so generic the rules are all inclusive, there are rules for everything. You don't have to play a super crunchy game (to the uninitiated crunchy comes from numbers crunching and is used to describe a game where a lot of numbers are used to determine the outcome of a given situation), but you do have to wade through all the rules to decide what you are and are not going to use.

Along comes Savage Worlds, I can play any kind of genre I want with the core rulebook, so it's just as generic as GURPS, but the rules are simpler—and it seems to have that same heroic feeling that D&D has.

Needless to say, I've become obsessed with this game. . . I bought the core rulebook; another big plus is that the core rules are only $10 vs. D&D at $67 [Amazon reduced price] or GURPS $50,  [also Amazon reduced price] that's a steal.

Which brings me to this site. I'm not quite ready to run a game—but I am mentally preparing myself to do so, and this site is part of that, and I didn't want the readers of my primary blog to get turned of by the sheer redundancy of these posts; they deserve to be put in their own place.

This is getting long, but bear with me. First let's talk about miniatures. The first role playing games are descended from historical war gaming; where small models or markers are placed on a grid to keep track of your. Using models on a grid has been a part of role playing since the beginning of the hobby, and yet they've never been required. I myself find myself in the no grid camp mentally. I don't want to have to buy and buy and buy, more and more stuff in order to play the game. I like that all you need to play is a pencil, some paper, dice and a rulebook. My $10 investment will last and last and last. Granted—for a gaming company to stay in business they need to continue to sell product—so I understand why miniatures, maps, and new editions are sold.

My mind has been changed a little by Pinnacle Entertainment Group (publisher of Savage Worlds). I am no longer 100% against miniatures. Fist of all, because Pinnacle does miniatures a little different. The figures they sell are paper. Here's a picture so I don't have to describe it.

This brings the cost down considerably. I thought that this was a good Idea for those that like figures, but I was still not sold on it, then I read The Making of Savage Worlds. Quoting Shane Lacy Hensley Now:

"Tools of the Trade

Miniatures, miniatures, miniatures. Use ‘em. Most of those who like Pinnacle’s kind of games already do. It doesn’t matter if your minis don’t look anything like what they’re supposed to be—just put something out on the tabletop so that everyone understands what’s going on. We make Cardstock Cowboys for our Deadlands and Hell on Earth lines for those who don’t want a ton of lead, and genuine sculpted minis for those who do. But even gaming stones, bottlecaps, or the always-convenient dice work just as well.

I know some of you out there are very esoteric gamers. You’re not looking for a role-playing wargame—you’re looking for deep character development and plot advancement. But using miniatures and a battle mat will help you do both. While it may look and feel like you’re being too technical, what you’re really doing is helping everyone understand the situation as you see it. How many times in a game have you described a room, and then, a few rounds later, realize your group doesn’t have a clue about their relative locations or where they’re at? The point, of course, is that the more everyone understands their environment, the more they can interact with it. Tell someone “There are four orcs in the room,” and he’ll probably say “I attack.” Show him where they are and he’ll start positioning himself, using teamwork with the other players, and perhaps use whatever else is in the room to help win the fight instead of just swinging their sword.

2009 Update: I’ve see many comments over the years about RPGs and miniatures, particularly from those who are turned off by them. I get that, and you definitely don’t have to use them to enjoy our game. But I’d recommend those of you who don’t try it next time, whether it’s with Savage Worlds or D&D or whatever else you’re playing. I’ve run literally thousands of games over the years with everyone from close friends to total strangers at conventions. In my experience, miniatures encourage more roleplaying and use of the environment. Communicating what’s in your head is really difficult, but show a player even the most basic sketch map and his hero’s position and he’ll start thinking up all kinds of clever ideas. He’ll also be less-confused and thus more interested in your game."
So, based on that, I'm willing to give minis a try; and those who know me, know there is one particular mini of which I have an abundance...

789 plastic zombies in all, plus 12 shotgun guys, 6 pistol guys and 60 "civillians." So I was thinking of running a zombie campaign. I picked up a game at the D.I. the other day that had one special undead mini in it—yes I bought it just for that mini (well that and the super cool gyroscopic d6—I mean d3 in the shape of a d6).
So I was thinking about what other cheap minis I could use—it's the obsession kicking in. I thought Dollar Store—they have army guys and cowboys and Indians and cops (I wonder if they come with robbers) and firemen (if the cops come with robbers, do the firemen come with pyromaniacs?)—cowboys and Indians would be perfect for Deadlands. Then I realized that my daughter has all kinds of minis and I thought it would be fun to make character sheets for them, and I figured if I was going to go to the trouble of creating such character sheets, I might as well share them. (I was inspired by TheRealTony of Savage Worlds: Pop Culture Character Conversions)

So now you know why I created a new blog.

Shortly I will post my first character sheet:  Disney's Snow White.

1 comment:

orangemily said...

You do have many minis!

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