Savage Worlds Explorer’s Edition is a pen & paper roleplaying system developed by the guys over at Great White Games – Pinnacle Entertainment Group.
Savage Worlds, from the very first page, is designed to be easy to run, easy to play, and easy to enjoy. It takes most of the bookkeeping out of the mix and allows the game master and his or her group to be creative without bogging them down in too much detail. However, if detail is what you like in your game, it’s in there as well. It’s very scalable.
A brief overview of Savage Worlds’ game mechanics:
Character attributes are represented by a die type. For example, strength would be a d8, so that if you needed to perform a function using your strength, you roll a d8 and check the result. Skills are also represented by a die type and are linked to an attribute.
There are no hit points to speak of; characters have wound levels so that if you are hit and take damage, that number is checked against your vigor and any modifiers that apply to see if you receive a wound. This makes combat move extremely quick and there is little or no down time for waiting players during a battle.
Along with skills, players have edges and hindrances which are physical or mental traits which balance out the character and give it a beginning personality.
Character creation is easy, with enough choices to make it interesting but not too much to make it confusing. The emphasis is on playability, pure and simple. Each player is given points with which to purchase attribute scores which will be represented by die types: d4, d6, d8, d10, and d12. Players then choose skills, edges and hindrances, starting equipment, and then round out their characters’ personalities to begin play.
The explorer’s edition gives rules and stats for running a game in just about any genre imaginable. After reading through the material once, I took my son through a practice scenario with him battling a few villains with guns and swords. Our short session went really well and I was running the combats without thumbing through the book during every encounter.
Initiative is done with a deck of standard playing cards with the Jokers left in as “Wild Cards”. Starting with the Ace down to the Deuce, action is resolved in order. The Jokers act as Wild Cards, allowing that player to go whenever they want during the round. joker also give some bonuses to rolls as well.
Also included in the mechanics of the game are something called “Bennies”. Bennies are handed out at the beginning of a game session and can be used to re-roll an attribute or skill test, and can also be used to soak up some damage in case a character takes a hard hit during combat. Bennies are also given out to the characters during a session for creative roleplaying, overcoming major obstacles, or even just entertaining the game group with a memorable moment during play.
There are many world settings for Savage Worlds that are already commercially available and more are being created all the time.
I have about 30 years of roleplaying experience having started during the summer of 1978. The Savage Worlds system is just about the best roleplaying system I’ve come across in all those years. It allows everyone at the table to concentrate on the gaming experience without worrying about which chart to look at or if they remembered to bring their calculator to role up a new character.