It’s not like the Savage Rifts® Kickstarter needs my help to meet its goals, but there may very well be other Savage Worlds fans (and licensees) out there who are – as I was – skeptical about the use they might get out of the books. To them I simply say, this is the most beautifully hackable version of Savage Worlds yet.
It’s not exactly a secret that I’ve always chafed at the relatively low power of Savage Worlds characters. Most normal Savage Worlds characters at Legendary Rank feel more like “name level” AD&D 1st Edition characters in terms of powers and capabilities than they do “epic level” D&D 5e or Pathfinder characters. This works well for some kinds of games, but it’s always bugged me that you’d have to be 100 experience points beyond Legendary for your hero to catch up with Fafhrd or the Gray Mouser. Savage Rifts® not only brings the mega-damage, it brings eminently theft-worthy options for ways to front-load Savage Worlds characters into less pulpy, more cinematic heroes.
I’ve been friends with Sean Patrick Fannon since last year’s Chupacabracon (though I have apparently utterly forgotten to blog about his work), so it was a delight to join Robin, fellow blogger and Pendragon writer David Larkins, Dungeonesque Red Box developer Stan Shinn, and several SW super fans in playing one of Fannon’s Savage Rifts® games.
Yes, the one that was filmed and is up on YouTube now.
Rod Grit’s Horatius-like attempt to hold the bridge singlehanded was actually not so much a brilliant tactic as it was a failed attempt to get my character killed so I could try out the Blaze of Glory setting rule. It worked pretty well for the team, though.
Making myself a target also gave me time to study the character sheet in greater detail. There’s lots of neat stuff on there for fans of both Savage Worlds and Rifts®, but the most intriguing thing to me was one of the results on the Heroic Journey Rolls (a way of adding some of the old Rifts® randomness into Savage Worlds). It’s a result called “Underworld” that grants the Thief Edge and three Skill Points to distribute amongst Climbing, Lockpicking, and Stealth. A bonus Edge and bonus Skills all wrapped up as a present for a Novice hero – just like I’m trying to do with The King is Dead.
In fact, most viewers watching the game probably don’t realize that all of those characters slaughtering hordes of Coalition Deadboys and blowing up mechs were all NOVICE RANK CHARACTERS! Well, technically Robin’s character wasn’t, but that’s only because she got a boost to Seasoned as part of the character creation rules for relatively normal humans like Seras Byrd.
It’s been hinted that some of the new mechanics developed for Savage Rifts® will affect Savage Worlds moving forwards; I can say definitively that they will affect The King is Dead. Sean Patrick Fannon has also solved a design problem for a Savage Worlds anime setting that’s been kicking my butt, and I can’t wait to get my hands on Savage Rifts® to try it out. I am going to hack the heck out of these books.
Shoot, I’m pretty stoked for Rifts® itself now. It has Vampire Hunter D-style vampire kingdoms and a crazy-ass Japanese setting. Maybe it’s right up my alley after all.