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  #1  
Old 10-17-2003, 04:42 PM
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So why is SW better than d20?

I personally have my own view here, but I'd like for some of you dedicated SW fans to post here for those fans that have not had the opportunity to see, read, or hear about Savage World. Sell em on it!
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Old 10-17-2003, 06:57 PM
UltharCat UltharCat is offline
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SW vs. d20 - FIGHT!

I'm a huge SW fan so this might be a bit biased, but here goes...

Character Generation -
With SW my group can get their characters ready to play in under an hour and probably much sooner than that. Its easy to conceptualize a character and create it. The PC gen rules are easy enough to explain to new players quickly and have them under way. With d20 each player must have some solid d20 knowledge to get characters created quickly. On top of that, d20 pigeon-holes characters with classes. Some would argue that Prestige Classes help but I don't want to have to wait for 6th or 7th level to play the character I want. With SW I get that character from the start. SW does have Professional Edge packages, which may look similar to a "class", that a player may opt to take but they can be acquired at character generation. It beats playing just to qualify for what you wanted from the beginning.

Arcane Backgrounds-
Being a generic system, SW needed a mechanic to represent things like magic, weird science, psionics and the like. This is done through the Arcane Background edge. You then buy abilities as normal and pay Power Points to use them. There are only 24 powers. The power is named after the end result. The only thing that changes in any setting is the Trappings under which the powers are used. For example: In a fantasy setting my Wizard can get the Arcane Background (Wizard) edge. He then buys the Bolt power. The trapping for this power is a bolt of electricity he shoots from his fingertips. In a pulp setting I can give my gadgeteer Arcane Background (Weird Science). He then buys the Bolt power like the Wizard and pays power points to use it. Only this time the trapping for the power is his Experimental Ray Gun.
With d20 I'm stuck with massive spell lists for mages where many of the spells have similar end results. This is a matter of taste for players however. Some people like spells lists and memorization. I don't like the concept of memorization at all (its just plain dated) and much prefer Power Points. Its also much easier to create new powers for SW and have them balanced out.

Combat-
This is another matter of personal preference. Let me just state for the record that I dislike Hit Points a great deal. They work o.k. for fantasy but once you add a gun into the equation the concept of hit points becomes extremely abstract. You can get hit from a 50cal. MG and still function just like you did before the hit. Hrm? SW uses Wounds. When you are hit and take a certain amount of damage over your Toughness (to which armor is added) you take a wound. On the 4th wound your character is Incapacited. You take the damage result from the hit that took you to that level and check a chart to see exactly what is happening to your character. There are hit locations included in the damage results which I like quite a bit. I like to know exactly how my character is injured. This forces the player to sort of roleplay the wound. Also, each wound taken subtracts a cumulative -1 to your rolls. Your character will actually suffer from damage in SW as opposed to d20 where you can perform at peak conditions until something knocks you unconscious or dead. If a damage roll doesn't beat the Toughness by 4 then the character is Shaken instead of wounded and must make Spirit rolls every round until they get rid of the Shaken.
The damage system also works in such a way that there is literally no bookkeeping for the GM. A non-Wild Card (your pc's are Wild Cards) can only ever be Ok,Shaken, or Out. The only bookkeeping you'll do is use hash marks to track an enemy Wild Cards wounds occasionally. It sure beats tracking the hit point totals for a bunch of orcs and goblins.
There are also a number of combat maneuvers that characters can perform. Some enemies may even require the use these special maneuvers to take out. They include things like Aim, Called Shots,Defend, Disarm, Double Tap, Three round burst, Ganging up, suppressive fire, tricks based on agility or smarts, wild attacks, etc. In most d20 games its only really necessary to swing/shoot and roll damage if necessary. In a typical SW game you will use a variety of attack options to dispatch your foes quickly.

These are just a few points where I prefer SW over d20. Shane Hensley made a promise to his customers that they would only ever be required to own ONE book. Each setting book released will only require the SW Core Book. There will never be a reference to another book. Lord only knows how many different books you'll see at a d20 table with each player picking out little things from each one that'll make their characters better. SW doesn't cater very well to the Munchkin With Many Books. You can min/max if you really want to but it doesn't feel like an exploited loophole in the rules.

All in all SW is an easy to learn, GM-friendly, fast-paced set of rules that can cover any genre. The only thing it won't do is Supers. For this I use Mutants and Masterminds which to my mind is d20 done right. Of course, this may all change when Necessary Evil is released for SW which is a Supers game with a twist.

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P.S. So Jackson, whats your opinion??
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Old 10-18-2003, 12:46 AM
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Kergillian Kergillian is offline
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Savage Worlds isn't Better Than d20. It's different.
d20 and Savage Worlds are both great games, and each game system has areas where it shines.
Savage Worlds is easier, faster, and better suited for my style of play. It takes only seconds to come up with a fully defined NPC and allows the GM far more leway for playing on the fly.
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Old 10-18-2003, 03:26 AM
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UltharCat
aka Count Zero wrote:

"P.S. So Jackson, whats your opinion?"


Well, first let me state that while I've played and read Deadlands over the years, I had not really seen SW until Shane contacted us. I'm delving deeply into the game system now, and I really like what I am seeing. I like the ease of the system and the fact that there are many ways to play with it, rpg or mini. I also like the open roll concept, where you can get really lucky and keep on rolling. I'm buying the Evernight campaign and gonna run it for us to get better familiarization with the game.

I must give Wizards their due also. They revitalized the industry with 3.0, and I think they made DnD better. I played my first rpg back in 1979. The basic set of DnD. I still think the best GM book ever written was the original DMs guide. Just full of ideas and charts and fun stuff.

As a member of the RPGA in Texas, I have run a few special games using 1st edition rules and throwback modules that have been a blast! I ran the original Tomb of Horrors last year for many, many youngsters who never had the fun of reaching into a sphere of annihilation (misspelled I'm sure, but it's late, so be forgiving), or getting aced by a floating skull lich, or finding their sex changed by walking through a door...but I digress.

I am VERY excited about SW as a player, GM and writer.

I also believe that any system can work with a good gm, plot and good players. My mantra has always been, "The Plays the Thing."

In fact, my favorite adventures that I have run for home games took place in the Revolutionary War. That was FUN! I also ran Lance's character recently through the settlement of Jamestown through the massacre of 1622. (I'm an avid historian, genealogist, gamer, cat-fisherman, writer, and reader!)

And yes, it drives my wife crazy! hehe
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  #5  
Old 10-18-2003, 09:50 AM
UltharCat UltharCat is offline
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I agree that 3.0 revitalized the industry. The OGL is a mixed bag IMO. Its given a license for anyone to do anything (up to recently). The problem is that a lot of terrific products get lost amongst the garbage. I don't know how many more Complete Whatever books I can stand to look at. ;)
Meanwhile, companys like 12 to Midnight aren't getting looked at enough. Last Rites is one of the freshest horror modules I've seen in a long time and the future looks bright. Because of the fact that a lot of people are 'strictly d20' means that the bar isn't getting raised as high as it should.
On top of that I think the buy-in is too high for most d20 games. The amount of rules often means that everyone needs a copy of the book which means everyone in the group has to shell out $30 - $40 every time someone runs a new setting. Not to mention the $20 'expansion' books. I do like some d20 stuff...namely Mutants and Masterminds and Spycraft but the prices for the rest of my players can be off-putting. With SW I get a great set of rules that are easy to manipulate.
Keep in mind this is coming from someone who's been gaming for a little over 20 years and who has a wife and baby. At this point I just want to get to the gaming without extensive prep work and study. This came about trying to make challenging NPCs for my old groups 15th level DnD characters. Oy!
In the end it comes down to whats best for you and your group. For me, right now, SW is a perfect fit for me.
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Old 10-19-2003, 03:30 AM
flatfriedrabbit flatfriedrabbit is offline
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They are just different games for different styles of gaming.

d20 is like going to a business meeting with a bunch of lawyers. You must plan what you say before you act. You must have done some research into the intricasies of the rules to get the most out of your character's options. How many times has a DM or player gone back through a book and read aloud exactly what it says in an effort to CHANGE a ruling that's already been made?

Savage Worlds is like a good ole mid-western BBQ. People getting rowdy and having a good time. The primary concern of the guy running the party is that everyone is havin' a good time. The rules of logic and inspiration can keep the rule book closed.

Oh and something else...

d20 Prep time: 3hrs prep = one hour game time
SW Prep time: 1hr prep = 3hrs game time

Just my thoughts.
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Old 10-27-2003, 09:58 PM
PEGShane PEGShane is offline
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Yikes! A thread best avoided, I think. D20 is a flavor, Savage Worlds is a flavor. I obviously like SW best, but have no interest in beating up on those who love D20.

That said, I like SW because I have very little time and don't like to handle a lot of bookeeping in the middle of my game. (Yes, I game every week--running 50 Fathoms right now.) But I still want cool characters with lots of advancement options--both game wise and in roleplaying terms.

Thanks for the kind words from everyone!

Shane
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Old 11-03-2003, 01:29 PM
Dave Blewer Dave Blewer is offline
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Sundered Skies the Plot Point setting book I am writing for Savage Worlds originally started life as a D20 campaign...

Whilst I agree that no game system is really better than another, SW suits the Skies a lot more than D20 ever did... I am certrainly experiencing much more creative freedom writing it for SW than I ever did when I was playing in the D20 sandpit.

But that probably says a lot more about me than it does either of the systems... ;)
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Old 11-20-2003, 04:16 AM
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With only a few exceptions, I've dropped d20 altogether.

- Mutants & Masterminds: This is the biggie. I love the hell out of M&M, but mostly because it's so DIFFERENT from vanilla d20.

- d20 Modern: I prefer classless systems, but d20M has classes done RIGHT, IMO. Flexible and open to interpretation.

- Babylon 5 RPG: 'Cause I'm big ol' B5 fan, and this is a damned good book.

But I dropped my D&D campaign some time ago, for one simple reason: it was taking more time to actually set up the game than the time we spent playing it.

Not so for SW; I can have a full evenings fun up and ready to go in an hour (less if I'm in a pinch). Sure, there are a LOT of other things I like about it, but this one is at the top of the list when it comes to a d20 vs. SW comparison.
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Old 01-25-2004, 01:45 PM
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First off, let me say that I don't actually have SW ... I've considered it, mainly because it reminds me of classic d6 gaming from West End Games ... but I have yet to snag it. I've looked over the info on PEG's site and I lurk on the SW mailing list.

That said, I agree that SW & d20 are different flavors. I run a d20 game every Saturday night ... we enjoy 3.5, as well as Mutants and Masterminds, d20 Modern, Star Wars and many many others (even some of the cool Polyhedron mini-games). I've considered converting over to SW in the past, but I'm reluctant to for 2 reasons:
1) Investment. I have a lot of d20 books ... and I mean a LOT! ;) I'm not sure if diving into the pool of SW is a good idea when I can't envision running the gamut of stuff that I can with d20. For example, I run a lot of superhero stuff and, while SW's Necessary Evil looks neat, I have nothing that's convinced me that it has a solid super hero capability.
2) Loyalty & Fan Base. My group enjoys d20. I've considered changing to other rules systems in the past ... but my group likes to stay on the d20 rails for the time being. I'd love to explore a few new venues from time to time ... but the group likes d20 for the time being. Personally, if I had more of my choice, I'd be running Hero ;)
Now, don't get me wrong ... I'd love to take a look at SW ... Unfortunatly, I don't have the income at the moment for snagging a new system to play with ... I'm already supporting 3 (d20, Hero & Unisystem/AFMBE), so unless someone wants to donate a SW book to my collection or it hits PDF (which I wish most companies would do), I find it unlikely that I'll be able to get involved with SW:(
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Old 01-26-2004, 09:12 AM
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As a suggestion you could download the demo rules and one of the free adventures and see if your group will mind if you run it one night to see if they like it.

That way you and your friends know if you all like the rules etc and you have barely had to lay out a cent,

Also from memory the website even has a d20 to SW conversion guide so you would still be able to use your d20 stuff as well.

Hopefully this helps you out a bit.

Garry

P.S. (you could also buy quite cheaply either of the adventures the guys here have for sale as well.
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Old 01-26-2004, 10:34 AM
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Hey Sketchpad,

I agree with Durak on using the Test Drive rules and giving SW a whirl. It is a clean streamlined set of rules. They a fun mod you can download and try with your players. The only way it will hit your pocket book trying it out this way is if you print the mod and Test Drive Rules. They are not very long. You will also need some cards and markers to use for bennies and I use some to note if character is Shaken or Wounded.

If you do pick up SW, all you really need is the book. It can cover any era or genre that you can imagine. Conversion is simple. I have done some and they are really quick. Savage Worlds is designed for the busy gamer, that has a job and family. It lets you focus on the story and not have to lose sleep over mechanics.

Give the Test Drive a whirl. Then come back and tell us how it went. Hope ya have fun. :D
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Old 01-26-2004, 11:56 AM
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I have the test drive rules (as well as every other download I could snag) ... unfortunatly, the group wasn't all that interested in playing (believe me, I've propped the idea a few times). Someday I may snag the rules ... but unfortunatly I'm currently deadlocked into d20 as that's what the group likes to play.
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Old 01-29-2004, 05:04 PM
UltharCat UltharCat is offline
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SW is the ultimate one-shot system. I play d20 games as well as Unisystem and a bunch of others (gaming 20+ years) and I have to say that SW is my first choice for running one-nighters or one-off adventures. Character creation is simple and I can get the group up and running in under 30 minutes. d20 is crunchier and takes more time which suits it well for campaign play.
I've finally found my comfort zone and use d20 and SW. One system for crunch and one system for fast action.
SW is the perfect system for running the 12 to Midnight modules, which I like to do in between longer running games or if I'm short someone.
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Old 01-29-2004, 11:04 PM
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If anybody really wants an opportunity to compare the two systems, then come on down to Houston Feb 5-6. We are running Innanna's Kiss in d20 and SW. We will let you play them both if you want. See which experience you enjoy more.

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