The King is Dead

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Savage Swordsmen: Zorro (Part One)

Before I get started building Zorro as a Savage Worlds Super Powers Companion character, I'd be remiss if I didn't acknowledge the existence of a perfectly functional Savage Zorro build possible with just a Novice Savage Worlds Explorer's Edition character.  It hits all the high points of the character in a few broad strokes and would be perfect for a normal, adventuring party-type game where there were multiple players (or at least, where the Zorro had a few henchmen along on his adventure).

The reason I don't feel that a character like this is acceptable as the solo star of a one-player game is for two reasons:
  1. The dice probabilities of Savage Worlds are totally crazy.  It is completely possible for a single Savage Worlds low-level goon to kill a highly-experienced character with a single attack if the dice explode in his favor.  This is fine if you want to fudge the dice, but I've really gotten bored with that over my approximately twenty years of game mastering.  This is also one of the reasons why the use of NPC allies is central to the tenets of Savage Worlds as written (a similarity to old school D&D that I would love to blog about someday).
  2. It still leaves the character short on skills for unusual situations -- and unusual situations are what fuel the most exciting adventures (plus, he's just flat-out missing climbing and after watching a whole DVD's worth of Disney Zorro episodes last weekend, I can assure you that Zorro does a lot of wall-climbing).


For the purposes of these Savage Swordsmen experiments, I'm going to restrict myself to just the Savage Worlds Deluxe Edition and the Savage Worlds Super Powers CompanionPirates of the Spanish Main has a number of colorful swashbuckling edges that would be perfect for a Zorro, but I want to draw the line somewhere on what sources I'll use.  For this Zorro, we'll be using the original -- Don Diego Vega -- as described in Johnston McCulley's original novel The Mark of Zorro (AKA The Curse of Capistrano) with occasional interpolations from later sources (specifically Disney's Zorro TV series, Isabel Allende's novel, and Matt Wagner's Dynamite Comics series -- in all of which the name was changed to de la Vega).

Let's go in the order laid out for character creation:


1).  Race --  Human.

2).  Traits -- The average solo hero has to be at least average in everything, so we divide our five points evenly across all five attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, and Vigor d6.

3).  Skills -- Since purchasing skills above their linked attribute costs extra points, it makes no sense at this stage to raise any of Zorro's skills above d6.  The only argument I have with Bazin's list is the lack of Climbing, so his starting skill list is therefore Climbing (Str) - d4, Fighting (Ag) - d6, Notice (Sm) - d6, Riding (Ag) - d6, Taunt (Sm) - d6, Streetwise (Sm) - d6, (Sm) Stealth (Ag) - d6, and Persuasion (Sp) - d6.

4).  Derived Statistics -- Are obviously going to change, so let's just skip that.

5).  Edges & Hindrances -- Zorro's mute companion Bernardo is a actually a post-Mark of Zorro addition to the canon, so I'm ambivalent on adding him to our Zorro's build.  Sidekick is a Legendary Edge, so Dependent (Major Hindrance, Super Powers Companion) would have to substitute, as it gives you a Novice rank companion NPC -- who frequently needs rescuing.  (That almost sounds more like Lolita Pulido.)  I think I'd rather go with Code of Honor, as McCulley's Zorro is fiercely proud of his caballero blood.  Zorro is obviously also Heroic, so he's stuck with two Major Hindrances and only gets the full points from one of them.  Quirk is also obvious, though it should be noted that Zorro likes to sign his work after completing the job, not at the start of a fight.  The "z"-shaped scars he leaves behind often win him more enemies, so it really is a hindrance.

His free edge for being human is obviously Arcane Background (Super Powers) [Super Powers Companion version], while the two edges purchased by his hindrances are Noble (duh) and Power Points.  This gives him fifteen power points to spend toward attributes, skills, and edges using the super powers Super Attribute, Super Edge, and Super Skill.

Unfortunately, I've run out of time for today so I'll have to get into the distribution of those points -- and how they really separate a standard Novice character from a Novice super hero -- at a later time.  Dammit.

Oh well...

Salut!





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