Monday, January 25, 2016

Savage Dungeons: Classes, Archetypes, and Quickdraw Wildcards



In Basic D&D a character's capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses are largely defined by his or her chosen class. Basic D&D included seven classes: Cleric, Fighter, Magic User, Thief, Dwarf, Elf, and Halfling.  While Savage Worlds doesn't have classes, I want to keep Savage Dungeons characters simple and attempt to emulate each of the class capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses by using archetype templates.

I want to make Savage Dungeons simple and easy to get started and since my target audience is new-to-Savage Worlds players between the ages of 8 and 98 character generation needs to be simple, and fun—not a completely custom wildcard, but not exactly a pre-gen either.

I think a menu style approach may work well where an archetype begins play with a given set of attributes and skills and then chooses  Edges and Hindrances from prescribed lists of possible character background options. 

Example:
Archetype: Fighter
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d4, Spirit d6, Strength d8, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d10, Throwing d4, Notice d4, Shooting d8
Charisma: –, Pace: 6, Parry: 7, Toughness: 5
While the stats will most likely remain the same for every basic wildcard, there will be an opportunity for character customization by picking Edges and Hindrances from a prescribed list similar to character creation in Dungeon World or Beyond the Wall. If you wanted to add to the old school feel you could randomly determine Edges and Hindrances with a dice roll.

I'm thinking it might look something like this:
Edges (choose one):
1.  As a runaway slave you have learned to be on your toes and ready for anything, capture would mean certain death. Gain the Alertness Edge
2. Some say its because you were born under the sign of the bear, but only the fates know why in battle you are often overcome with an uncontrollable rage that can be woeful to both friend and foe. Take the Berserk Edge.
3. Working on the family farm has made you freakishly strong. Your feats of strength are well known. Take the Brawny Edge.

Hindrances will be a bit more complex. With each hindrance the player will have two additional choices to make:

Major Hindrances (Choose one):
1. More is never enough. Growing up poor and never knowing where your next meal was coming from has made you constantly hungry for your fair share. You have the Greedy Hindrance.
Choose one:
1. Raise Spirit to d8
2. Raise Agility to d10
3. Choose an additional Edge

Minor Hindrances (Choose two):
1. The world has dumped nothing but misery on you, at least that's how you see it, so why does anyone else deserve better?  You have the Mean Hindrance
Choose one:
1. Gain the Survival Skill d4
2. Double your starting money
Hopefully this will create some interesting characters quickly. I'm calling them Quickdraw Wildcards, they are a nice middle ground between pre-generated characters and Wildcards created from scratch. It will also help control the mood and setting of the game to help give it that old school flavor. As I refine each archetype template I'll begin posting complete character generation menus and finished record sheets.