Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Graduated Powers

This is a work in progress, and is in need of some review.

The Powers system in Savage Worlds is great because it is very versatile, allowing characters with spells, psionics, weird science, etc. to choose from a unified list. It makes sense and there is something very orderly about it. However, the lack of an ability to improve upon those powers is something I've always wished could be implemented.

Below is a document in rough draft form that takes the basic Powers and expands them so that each Power has an effect that grows more powerful as the caster increases in Rank. Thus, depending on what Rank you are, your use of (for example) Bolt will change, getting better as you gain experience.

To do this, I've expanded out all the Powers, including ones not normally available to Novices, so that someone of any Rank can take them and use them to some degree. Here's a quick example of what I mean:

Novice: Cost 1, Range Touch, Duration 3 (1/round). Allows character to hover in place. Cannot move in any direction under own volition, but can be blown or pushed.
Seasoned: Cost 2, Range Touch, Duration 3 (1/round). Allows character to levitate up or down at Pace. Cannot move laterally, but can be blown or pushed.
Veteran: Cost 3, Range Touch, Duration 3 (1/round). Allows character to fly at Pace, or Pace x2 for double Power Point cost.
Heroic: Cost 4, Range Touch, Duration 3 (1/round). Allows character to fly at Pace x2, or Pace x4 for double Power Point cost.
Legendary: Cost 5, Range Touch, Duration 3 (1/round). Allows character to fly at Pace x4, or Pace x8 for double Power Point cost.

It does make them a little more powerful, especially at Legendary, but here are a couple other things to consider:

• With this system, it becomes much easier for gamemasters to limit magic for low-magic worlds. Just say spells can't be cast beyond Novice or Seasoned.
• A graduated system like this solves one of the problems with superpowers, namely that they don't get better as the character gains experience. Now, a superhero with the ability to create fire (Elemental Manipulation) will see his potency, and what he can do with his Power, increase as time goes on.
• It collapses a couple spells together that should be together anyway, like Healing and Greater Healing, making the list a little cleaner.
• It gives more options for those who are taking Powers.
• It makes some Powers, like Elemental Manipulation, more useful.
• It doesn't require a new mechanic, new rule, or new Edge to work.

Since this document is still being tested, I especially welcome observations about Powers being balanced or the rate of advancement for them.


Island Magic

As a fan of mixtures of horror, magic, and pirates (such as Tim Powers' excellent novel, On Stranger Tides, soon to be made into the sequel to the Pirates of the Caribbean movies), the one thing I felt has been missing from the Pirates of the Spanish Main Savage Setting is some sort of dark magic. It was left out of the sourcebook intentionally, as traditional spellcasting doesn't fit the setting well. I agree, though when I found Clint Black's article on Rituals in Shark Bytes #2, I realized here was a great way of introducing the supernatural.

Island Magic takes a look at vodoun (voodoo, as it is commonly known) and obeah, a type of folk magic from the Caribbean, with a similar pedigree to voodoo and Santeria. These rules are designed specifically for Pirates of the Spanish Main, but they can work for any game that uses low-level magic focusing on curses and small effects, especially those that take place in the Caribbean or have characters from the West Indies.

More basic information on obeah can be found on Wikipedia.


Welcome to Get Savaged!

A "blog" to host material I've made for the Savage Worlds roleplaying game. I recommend anyone interested in the game check out the discussion boards to see the kind of community built around this solid game. Also, download the free Test Drive rules to see what this game is all about.