Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Archetypes based on D&D Classes


Last month I completed the Savage Vancian Magic fan supplement, which is designed to capture the flavour of the D&D magic system in a way that still feels and plays like Savage Worlds - or as I like to think of it, Savage Vancian Magic is to D&D settings as the Super Powers Companion is to superhero settings.

In this blog post I'd like to show how Savage Vancian Magic can be used to help design character archetypes that are based thematically on the D&D base classes.

My current campaign (Savage War of the Burning Sky) includes a similar set of archetypes. One player just wanted to play a wizard, so she picked the wizard archetype and used it as written. Another player wanted to create an aggressive warrior, so he picked the barbarian archetype and swapped a few things around. The third player wasn't interested in the archetypes at all, so she ignored them and created a rather unique acrobatic carpenter with a fondness for brawling. Everyone was able to invest as much (or as little) effort as they wished into character creation, and they all ended up with the characters they wanted.

Classes as Archetypes

I'm not personally a fan of classes, as I find them confining, and I certainly wouldn't want to add classes to Savage Worlds. However I find archetypes an excellent compromise - they provide a quick and easy way to create new characters that fit the setting, without limiting players who want to build less orthodox characters.

D&D settings are obviously designed with the D&D game system in mind, which means they usually include the same selection of common classes. When converting such settings to Savage Worlds, it can therefore be beneficial to offer archetypes that reflect the base classes:

Barbarian
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d4, Spirit d4, Strength d8, Vigor d8
Skills: Climbing d4, Evading d6, Fighting d6, Healing d4, Intimidation d4, Notice d4, Riding d4, Shooting d4, Survival d4, Swimming d4, Throwing d6, Tracking d4
Charisma: –; Pace: 8; Parry: 6 (1); Toughness: 7 (1)
Hindrances: One Major, Illiterate, one additional Minor
Edges: Berserk, Fleet-Footed
Gear: Battle axe (Str+d8), target shield (+1 Parry), throwing axe (Str+d6; range 3/6/12), thick furs (+1)

Bard
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d4
Skills: Climbing d4, Evading d4, Fighting d4, Knowledge (Bardic Lore) d6, Lockpicking d4, Notice d4, Persuasion d6, Riding d4, Shooting d4, Spellsinging d6, Stealth d4, Streetwise d4
Charisma: +2; Pace: 6; Parry: 6 (2); Toughness: 5 (1)
Hindrances: One Major, two Minor
Edges: Charismatic, Novice Spellsinger
Gear: Rapier (Str+d4; +1 Parry), buckler (+1 Parry), bow (2d6; range 12/24/48), padded vest (+1)

Cleric
Attributes: Agility d4, Smarts d6, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Evading d4, Faith d8, Fighting d4, Healing d6, Knowledge (Planes) d4, Knowledge (Religion) d6, Notice d4, Persuasion d6, Riding d4, Throwing d4
Charisma: –; Pace: 6; Parry: 5 (1); Toughness: 7 (2)
Hindrances: One Major, two Minor
Edges: Novice Cleric, Turn Undead
Gear: Warhammer (Str+d6), target shield (+1 Parry), sling, chainmail vest (+2)

Druid
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d8, Strength d4, Vigor d6
Skills: Druidry d8, Evading d4, Fighting d4, Healing d4, Knowledge (Nature) d6, Notice d4, Riding d4, Survival d6, Swimming d4, Throwing d4, Tracking d4
Charisma: –; Pace: 6; Parry: 5 (1); Toughness: 6 (1)
Hindrances: One Major, two Minor
Edges: Beast Master, Novice Druid
Gear: Staff (Str+d4; +1 Parry), sling, hide shirt (+1)

Fighter
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d4, Spirit d6, Strength d8, Vigor d6
Skills: Climbing d4, Evading d8, Fighting d8, Intimidation d4, Knowledge (Battle) d4, Notice d4, Riding d4, Shooting d8, Throwing d4
Charisma: –; Pace: 6; Parry: 7 (1); Toughness: 9 (3)
Hindrances: One Major, two Minor
Edges: Brawny
Gear: Longsword (Str+d8), target shield (+1 Parry), dagger (Str+d4; range 3/6/12), bow (2d6; range 12/24/48), breastplate (+3)

Monk
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Climbing d6, Evading d8, Fighting d8, Healing d6, Knowledge (Religion) d6, Notice d6, Stealth d4
Charisma: –; Pace: 6; Parry: 6; Toughness: 5
Hindrances: One Major, two Minor
Edges: Martial Artist
Gear: Robes

Paladin
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d4, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Evading d8, Fighting d8, Intimidation d6, Knowledge (Religion) d4, Notice d4, Persuasion d4, Riding d6, Shooting d6
Charisma: –; Pace: 6; Parry: 7 (1); Toughness: 7 (2)
Hindrances: One Major, two Minor
Edges: Paladin
Gear: Shortsword (Str+d6), target shield (+1 Parry), chainmail vest (+2)

Ranger
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d8, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d4
Skills: Evading d6, Fighting d6, Healing d4, Notice d4, Shooting d6, Stealth d4, Survival d8, Tracking d8
Charisma: –; Pace: 6; Parry: 6 (1); Toughness: 5 (1)
Hindrances: One Major, two Minor
Edges: Woodsman, Ranger Fighting Style
Gear: Shortsword (Str+d6), main gauche* (Str+d4; +1 Parry), bow (2d6; range 12/24/48), leather jerkin (+1)

Rogue
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d4
Skills: Climbing d6, Evading d8, Fighting d6, Lockpicking d6, Notice d4, Repair d4, Stealth d8, Streetwise d4
Charisma: –; Pace: 6; Parry: 7 (1); Toughness: 5 (1)
Hindrances: One Major, two Minor
Edges: Thief, Sneak Attack
Gear: Shortsword (Str+d6), main gauche* (Str+d4; +1 Parry), dagger (Str+d4; range 3/6/12), padded vest (+1)

Sorcerer
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d4
Skills: Evading d4, Fighting d4, Intimidation d8, Notice d4, Persuasion d8, Sorcery d8, Streetwise d6, Throwing d4
Charisma: –; Pace: 6; Parry: 5 (1); Toughness: 4
Hindrances: One Major, two Minor
Edges: Familiar Bond, Novice Sorcerer
Gear: Spear (Str+d6; +1 Parry)

Wizard
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d10, Spirit d6, Strength d4, Vigor d4
Skills: Evading d4, Fighting d4, Investigation d6, Knowledge (Arcana) d8, Notice d6, Persuasion d4, Throwing d4, Wizardry d10
Charisma: –; Pace: 6; Parry: 5 (1); Toughness: 4
Hindrances: One Major, two Minor
Edges: Familiar Bond, Novice Wizard
Gear: Staff (Str+d4; +1 Parry)

* Use the same stats as a rapier if you're just using the core weapon list.

Note that these archetypes do not include race bonuses. So if you're playing a human, for example, then you would also add another Edge of your choice.

Setting Rules

These archetypes are designed with two setting rules in mind:
  • Evading: In addition to Fighting, Shooting and Throwing, there is also an Evading combat skill. Parry is based on Evading (rather than Fighting), and Evading is also used in place of Agility for avoiding area-effect attacks, diving for cover, etc. The reason for this rule is explained in more detail here, if you don't wish to use it then just let the player reallocate the skill points as they see fit.
  • Magical Training: If you start play with a spellcasting skill, you cannot raise any of your combat skills higher than d4 during character creation.