Varsovian
 member, 1419 posts
Mon 11 Dec 2017
at 21:56
Your thoughts on: Savage Worlds and Spycraft 2.0
So, acting on a Christmas whim (and because both of the books were being sold relatively cheap), I've purchased two new RPGs: Savage Worlds (Deluxe Edition) and Spycraft 2.0.

Any opinions on them? I wonder what you guys think...
swordchucks
 member, 1457 posts
Mon 11 Dec 2017
at 22:06
Your thoughts on: Savage Worlds and Spycraft 2.0
Savage Worlds is a solid game, though it can suffer a little from "everything is the same" after a while.  Like most generic systems, it works best in niches where there isn't already a better game system to use.  It excels at pulp and Victorian games, for instance.  I'd be more hesitant to use it for a D&D style dungeon crawl.

I've not messed with Spycraft.
rgrnwood
 member, 65 posts
Tue 12 Dec 2017
at 02:42
Your thoughts on: Savage Worlds and Spycraft 2.0
Savage worlds is all about rolling dice as often as possible and being very random. In my experience people have a hard time learning the dice step system and the amount of randomness is not everyone's cup of tea. I don't like it.

Haven't played spy craft.
drewalt
 member, 84 posts
Tue 12 Dec 2017
at 03:11
Your thoughts on: Savage Worlds and Spycraft 2.0
Man you guys must be playing a completely different game than me.  I fruiting love Savage Worlds.  It's really not so much a game as a system.

Now it can't do everything.  It doesn't "replace" games with a more specialized system, but it does a lot of things well.  Like I wouldn't use it to run epic level Pathfinder, but if you want a lower key fantasy game it works pretty well for that.  It operates at a "sweet spot" where you have a bit of crunch but not so much it requires more complexity.  It's a system that's kind to the GM, easy to run, easy prep.

I will say there is a tendency to try to "hack" everything into SW in the fandom, even when it doesn't fit (seriously stop trying to hack in Jedi...), and its reputation probably isn't helped by the fact it's mostly niche IPs, with Deadlands and I would argue the recent Rifts version being the two I can think of with any "star" power.  But there's some really good settings besides those:  Hellfrost is really good, 50 Fathoms is neat for something different, Weird Wars is good but niche, and some of the really obscure ones like Low Life have their own cult following.

I don't get the "sameness" argument at all unless you're just used to very crufty, very crunchy systems.  The Most Unread Blog Ever has a pretty good series on "Savage Worlds Characters Are All the Same" that debunks this, but I can make SW characters all day long and not repeat myself, it's actually got far more mechanical variety in characters than most rule systems that are more narrative driven.  I'd argue it's even got more viable character "builds" than some very complex games, where the mechanics may be dense and there may be more widgets to play with, but the actual number of viable characters is small.

Admittedly, playing with a setting book or a Companion helps increase variety.  I suppose if all you had was SWDX with no other materials it could look more limiting.

It's easy to explain in five minutes.  Remember that on a standard roll, a Wild Card with a d6 trait is expected to succeed (probability of success is 0.5+0.5, or 1).  The frequency of rolls has nothing to do with the mechanics and rather the way a particular game may be run.

Of course it's not for everybody.  If one game was for everybody, they'd stop making games and that'd just be terrible.

Didn't even know there was a Spycraft 2.0.  I'm glad that's still around, the original was popular for a while in my stomping grounds.
Brosuke
 member, 316 posts
 New Petitions Against Tax
Tue 12 Dec 2017
at 04:22
Your thoughts on: Savage Worlds and Spycraft 2.0
I love Spycraft 2.0. Everything about it is so detailed, but all in ways that make characters, missions, and so on unique, rather than gumming up the works with needless complexity. It's also really well built around the core concept of spy missions, like how characters receive item requisitions per mission rather than just accruing gear infinitely. It's too bad I've never seen a successful campaign here.

I haven't played much Savage Worlds at all, but what I saw of it did make things seem pretty samey.
Varsovian
 member, 1420 posts
Tue 12 Dec 2017
at 06:02
Your thoughts on: Savage Worlds and Spycraft 2.0
Hm. Could you guys explain what you by SW and "sameness"? I'm afraid I don't understand it...
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1243 posts
Tue 12 Dec 2017
at 07:20
Your thoughts on: Savage Worlds and Spycraft 2.0
The sameness issue generally comes from people who focus more on mechanics. SW tends towards mechanics that operate similarly and then get dressed up for differentian. For example, a bolg power might have a set damage and method of resolution, but it could be dressed up as a spell, a blaster pistol, a magic wand, a steampunk cannon, a trap effect, a monster's innate magic attack, etc.

The great thing about it is that it makes the mechanics easier to learn, balance, amd work with while maintaining large flexibility.

But if all you look at is mechanical effects, then it naturally looks samey, but looking holistically at mechanics and narrative, it allows great variety of charactwrs that feel very different.
rgrnwood
 member, 66 posts
Tue 12 Dec 2017
at 13:32
Your thoughts on: Savage Worlds and Spycraft 2.0
I like the settings that savage worlds has, I just hate that I can't count on my character being able to successfully pick his own nose should a roll be required. I only made it four sessions before calling it quits.

My character with d8s in a lot of skills spent an entire combat rolling around on the floor in a grapple because an npc with d6s consistently rolled higher than me. Meanwhile a team mate was dealing 38 damage to an extra and 12 damage to other extras. My next character was a specialized sniper but kept rolling twos and threes for two sessions in a row while teammates would deal damage in the 20s and 30s (again, to extras that go down from a single point of damage).

My main issues with SW are:
1) it is very swingy with no guarantees of anything, ever. A dragon biting toy could deal 5 damage while you poking the Dragon on the eye with a toothpick could deal 30 damage. It just breaks my suspension of disbelief. The action was furious for some people, bit not for others.
2) gameplay is drastically slower with so many different types of dice being used in determining success or failure. A game with the word "fast" in its tagline was slower than any other game I played.
3) New players have a hard time deciding on what they want tho be when the games doesn't tell them their limits. A player wants to play a half giant with max strength? Well how do you make their strength higher than d12 without making them over powered (especially with exploding dice)? Some one wants to be a necromancer? Sorry, not available until a higher rank/level.

Summary:
I found savage worlds to be slow, bland, and boring rather than fast, fun, and furious. It's great as long as no one at the table wants to be serious or gritty with the story; as soon as one player wants that then the system will keeps getting in the way.
swordchucks
 member, 1458 posts
Tue 12 Dec 2017
at 14:35
Re: Your thoughts on: Savage Worlds and Spycraft 2.0
I mostly only played with the core book.  It might be better in the other books and settings, but I won't venture to comment on them.

DarkLightHitomi:
But if all you look at is mechanical effects, then it naturally looks samey

That's a lot of it, because as a player that's the side you keep interacting with.  You pick up the same dice and roll against the same numbers and deal the same damage over and over again.  It's also part of why I dislike 5e so much.

If I have to rely on narrative fluff to make the mechanics not be boring, that's not a design I enjoy.
GreenTongue
 member, 820 posts
 Game Archaeologist
Tue 12 Dec 2017
at 18:34
Re: Your thoughts on: Savage Worlds and Spycraft 2.0
rgrnwood:
I like the settings that savage worlds has, I just hate that I can't count on my character being able to successfully pick his own nose should a roll be required. I only made it four sessions before calling it quits.

While I don't want to sidetrack this topic too far, I must say that the person running your game has done a disservice to Savage Worlds (and maybe gaming in general).

A character should ONLY roll when the results of an action is in question.
"Picking you nose" is not such an action unless you are up to your neck in Brain Leaches and removing one from your nose is life or death.

Because of the Wild Die, even the average character has a favorable chance at success on a _valid_ roll.
=
NowhereMan
 member, 169 posts
Tue 12 Dec 2017
at 18:43
Re: Your thoughts on: Savage Worlds and Spycraft 2.0
Not to mention that there's quite a few things you can do to get an edge on a roll in combat, from a Wild Attack to a Trick to all sorts of other things.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1244 posts
Wed 13 Dec 2017
at 18:01
Re: Your thoughts on: Savage Worlds and Spycraft 2.0
swordchucks:
I mostly only played with the core book.  It might be better in the other books and settings, but I won't venture to comment on them.

DarkLightHitomi:
But if all you look at is mechanical effects, then it naturally looks samey

That's a lot of it, because as a player that's the side you keep interacting with.  You pick up the same dice and roll against the same numbers and deal the same damage over and over again.  It's also part of why I dislike 5e so much.

If I have to rely on narrative fluff to make the mechanics not be boring, that's not a design I enjoy.



I think this is more your perspective rather than the system. The mechanics to an rpg are like the language used to write a book.

No one calls a book bad because it was written in a particular language, nor do people read a book focusing more on the language than the content.

An rpg is the same. The mechanics are not intended as the thing to focus on, rather, the mechanics are just the language used to tell the story.

Savage Worlds was created with this concept taken to heart. 4e was created the opposite way, trying to focus on mechanics at the expense of everything else, thus resulting in the issue fhat it grants no support what-so-ever to the actual narrative.

Nothing wrong with preference but understanding the different places and roles the mechanics can occupy in a game can really make them far more enjoyable even when it isn't your favorite style.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1245 posts
Wed 13 Dec 2017
at 18:21
Re: Your thoughts on: Savage Worlds and Spycraft 2.0
@rgrnwood

I don't know what was going on with that game session but rolling even 12+ consistantly is seriously breaking things. Dealing damage in the 20s and 30s is far beyond the scope of the rules. Either those players were seriously misunderstanding how to play the game or they were playing with a set of heavy houserules and not steering you to using them correctly. (Or maybe a totally broken supplement?)

Properly played, SW is far less swingy than d20. Further, unless some penalties are applied, your minimum chance of success is 25% for an npc, add the wild die for players and your chances go up immensely.

Different die types will take getting used to if you haven't played anything that rolls different sizes a lot, but once familiarity sets in it really does go away completely and become quite quite fast. In the meantime, there are plenty of tricks that can reduce this to manageanle levels from the very firsy session.

quote:
New players have a hard time deciding on what they want tho be when the games doesn't tell them their limits. A player wants to play a half giant with max strength? Well how do you make their strength higher than d12 without making them over powered (especially with exploding dice)? Some one wants to be a necromancer? Sorry, not available until a higher rank/level.


What limits? Since when is there a max on strength?

The issue is not a system issue, is a style issue. Take someone who has never played sandbox and drop them in a game with no limits and no clues, just pure freedom, and they will not have any clue what to do even though they could do anything.

Primarily this issue comes from players being used to limits and thus using those limits as a foundation upon which to build, much like how a vine grows up a wall. A sandbox game however is not for vines, it is for trees that build upon themselves and are hindered by walls rather than helped.

Getting a player who is used to being a vine should not be expected to figure out how to be a tree just by dropping them in a sandbox. It is far better to have such players play with limits slowly removed until they are comfortable with a lack of limits.

======
I don't think you got a look at what SW is really like amd should discount that experience as players who didn't know what they were doing in terms of system and were simply enjoying themselves outside the rules.

This message was last edited by the user at 18:24, Wed 13 Dec 2017.

NowhereMan
 member, 170 posts
Wed 13 Dec 2017
at 19:47
Re: Your thoughts on: Savage Worlds and Spycraft 2.0
Incoming tangent! But also worth mentioning to the OP:

@rgrnwood/DarkLightHitomi

Theoretically, the situation rgrnwood describes could happen, but it'd be phenomenally rare. I've seen rolls of 30+ damage before, but they're definitely statistically insignificant. To put it in d20 perspective, it'd be like the fighter rolling natural 1s for an entire combat while both the rogue and wizard rolled criticals over and over and over, except with even less chance of happening.

Assuming a weapon does 2d6 damage (like a 9mm pistol), you'd have to ace (roll max) on those d6s at least once. Rolling a 6 twice in a row being a 1/36, which would still leave you at a maximum of 16 damage from those two dice unless you ace again. So, at minimum you'd have to ace five times to hit 30. That's pretty dang improbable. Happening to more that one person, repeatedly, over the course of a single combat seems unlikely in the extreme.

Seems to me like something real hinky was happening in the fight you describe, or there were some house rules in play, like DarkLightHitomi suggested. Like DLH said, I'd chalk that one up to player/GM error, rather than you experiencing an event with less likelihood than running Jesus over in your Maserati you won in the lottery while your windshield was obscured by a low-flying UFO piloted by Elvis. :)
swordchucks
 member, 1459 posts
Wed 13 Dec 2017
at 20:00
Re: Your thoughts on: Savage Worlds and Spycraft 2.0
NowhereMan:
they're definitely statistically insignificant

The problem with statistics, is that they're really only true for very large sample sizes.  It's perfectly possible for weird stuff to happen on the scale of one or two game sessions.  For instance, I've listened to actual plays where critical failures occurred for 75% of all rolls (it was Red Markets, a game where that is a 5% chance on each die roll).  Screwy stuff does happen and it can color someone's perspective on a game system.

The best game systems provide some sort of backstop against the dice being evil, and Savage Worlds does.  The bennie system should keep you from being stuck in a failure spiral by letting you score points for good RP and things that don't involve dice.  Savage Worlds may not have been the first to use a system like that, but they certainly popularized it and wove it heavily into the rules better than most games I can think of.

Like I said from the start, it's a solid system.  It works well for games that aren't served by a more focused system and for games that have a certain "feel" to them.  I still say it can feel like the lack of mechanical distinction between things gives me a feeling of "same" to it, but that's just my personal opinion.
Varsovian
 member, 1421 posts
Wed 13 Dec 2017
at 21:39
Re: Your thoughts on: Savage Worlds and Spycraft 2.0
Okay, so what games does this system work best for? I mean, my personal feeling is that - for example - GURPS works better for realistic stuff because of detailed rules, deadliness etc. So, what does SW work for best? Could you do - say - gritty espionage game with it, or is it more on the cinematic side?
NowhereMan
 member, 171 posts
Wed 13 Dec 2017
at 21:48
Re: Your thoughts on: Savage Worlds and Spycraft 2.0
Savage Worlds has a feature called "Setting Rules" that allow it to be adapted to a whole range of options, from "pulp adventure" to "survival horror". I've found it works best with modern/sci-fi, but there are a lot of people who'd argue that.

For your specific example, yes. I've done it/am doing it. I use the Gritty Damage setting rule for any game that I want to add an extra layer of grittiness to.
PCO.Spvnky
 member, 343 posts
Wed 13 Dec 2017
at 22:24
Re: Your thoughts on: Savage Worlds and Spycraft 2.0
My only experience with Savage Worlds is their SLA knockoff and I have to say I am thoroughly unimpressed.  They took an awesome game concept and made it a bland shadow of the original.  I get the impression they are attempting to be the next GURPS system (which I also despised).
Mad Mick
 member, 923 posts
 GURPS beyond measure,
 outlander
Thu 14 Dec 2017
at 02:22
Re: Your thoughts on: Savage Worlds and Spycraft 2.0
I played in a Savage World Aliens game once.  I enjoyed the game, but my Traveller buddy who was also playing wasn't impressed.
The Stray
 member, 105 posts
 When the Cat's a Stray
 the Mice will Pray
Fri 15 Dec 2017
at 18:48
Re: Your thoughts on: Savage Worlds and Spycraft 2.0
Savage Worlds GM here: Savage Worlds is a very good system that can emulate a number of genres very well, but shines particularly well when being used for pulp action sorts of games. It's not perfect, but it's fairly easy to learn, fairly light on the rules, and really easy to hack. The power level between low-level and high-level characters is great enough that you feel it, but not so great that it's impossible to challenge the party with lower-level mooks.

It is not a perfect system (it can have its bland parts, and some things just don't work well) but it's a good enough generic system that you can get very enjoyable sessions out of it with little work.
swordchucks
 member, 1460 posts
Fri 15 Dec 2017
at 19:08
Re: Your thoughts on: Savage Worlds and Spycraft 2.0
The Stray:
shines particularly well when being used for pulp action sorts of games.

I'll second this.  Any sort of "high adventure" or "pulp" sort of game is right in the Savage Worlds wheelhouse.  When the heroes are larger than life and the action is meant to go quickly, it works best.

I don't particularly like it for more gritty games or games that beg for a ton of granularity in skills, weapons, etc.
HardcoreCasual
 member, 74 posts
Sat 13 Jan 2018
at 07:07
Re: Your thoughts on: Savage Worlds and Spycraft 2.0
For me Savage Worlds is one of the best system I've used in my 20+ years of gaming- the best being D6. Again just my opinion. if you have never tried it I highly recommend the East Texas University game setting. It's basically Buffy mixed with Scooby Doo, in college.