Help or Hindrance?

Played a great sesh of Savage Worlds last night. It was a playtest of a sci fi scenario that’s getting run out at the Seven Hills Con soon, so no spoilers here.

I haven’t played Savage for absolutely ages. Back when it was all fresh and new I played and ran the heck out of it. It’s a system I have huge fondness for, and respect too. One of the things that really stood out for me last night was how uncomplicated it was to use our Hindrances, and get Bennies (for those who don’t know SW, Hindrances are your basic disadvantages, sometimes mechanically, sometimes roleplayey. Bennies are tokens for getting good stuff).

With all the head scratching I’ve been doing with Fate recently (and I know I’m not alone in that), especially around compels, it’s been very refreshing to see how it works under a more trad system. And why should it feel so different? After all, they’re essentially the same thing. A Hindrance is an Aspect when you look at it. As players we used them a lot, and suggested others use them too, just as Fate says you should for Compels. But, for some reason, it doesn’t flow as readily with Fate as it did with last nights Savage game.

So why? Couple of possible reasons. One, Hindrances are short, snappy, and do what they say on the tin. Often, Fate troubles are phrases, or suffer from being too poetic. One of the guys had “Curious” last night. That’s a perfectly good aspect too of course, it’s just that I don’t think it would ever get thought up in chargen. It’s almost too basic maybe?

Second, we’ve all been playing Fate recently, so maybe that got us more in the mood for playing up those characterful bits. Also, we were all very comfortable with Savage, so knew we weren’t going to be asked to carry much if any of the narrative weight that Fate would ask us to do.

Lessons for me and my WW2 game? I’m making the Trouble aspect way easier to invent in the first place, by providing lists of examples, presented in a similar way to that of trad games disadvantages. I’m also tying Troubles to the High Concept. I also want to make them easier to engage with too, by making the Fate Point flow much… flowier. I’ve got some mechanical ideas for that.

A good game last night, for dice rolling fun reasons as well as for game design rumination reasons. Go Savage!

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