Sunday, 31 January 2016

Savage Frost Giants: Updated Witchbreed PDF

Over the last few months I've been working on my presentations skills, and I've already applied them to the creation of a One Sheet adventure. But I also plan to update my older PDFs and make them look more professional, expanding each supplement as I do so.

With the success of the recent Accursed: World of Morden Kickstarter, and the interest some backers showed in further Witchbreeds, I thought it might be a good time to update my Savage Frost Giants supplement (as it provides rules for a new Witchbreed).

You can download it here:

As a bonus, the updated document now contains five Banes at the end.

Note that the old version of the document is still available from here, if you're interested in comparing the two.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Using Intimidation Outside of Combat

The Intimidation skill in Savage Worlds provides some clearly defined mechanics for combat situations, but the rules state only that "more subjective effects are determined by the Game Master in roleplaying situations". That is a very open ended statement, and I've yet to see anything more clearly defined, so for inspiration I decided to take a look at the Intimidate skill in D&D, as it works in a roughly similar sort of way during combat (you make an opposed roll against your foe, if you win they become shaken for a round).

When used outside of combat, the D&D Intimidate skill requires 1 minute of interaction as well as a successful opposed roll. If you win, your target's attitude is treated as "Friendly" while they remain in your presence and for d6*10 minutes afterwards, but their default attitude shifts to Unfriendly (or Hostile, if they were already Unfriendly).

Note that the five D&D attitudes are "Hostile", "Unfriendly", "Indifferent", "Friendly" and "Helpful", and they are very close parallels with the five Savage Worlds attitudes of "Hostile", "Uncooperative", "Neutral", "Friendly" and "Helpful". These attitudes can normally be increased in D&D by way of the Diplomacy skill, which works very much like Persuasion in Savage Worlds. Although the two systems are obviously different in many ways, and great care should be taken with direct comparisons, these particular skills work similarly enough to provide a good frame of reference.

Situational Modifiers

Savage Worlds encourages the GM to apply situational modifiers to Intimidation rolls, giving the example of "waving a gun in someone's face" as being "definitely worth a +2 bonus" unless they have a bigger gun of their own. From there one could extrapolate that waving a knife in someone's face might be worth a +1 bonus, while resorting to extreme methods (such as torture, or threatening to kill a loved one) might be worth +4.

That same bonus could be turned into a penalty if the situation were reversed, for example threatening someone who is holding a knife while you're unarmed might incur a -1 penalty. Similarly, forcing someone to give you their credit card and PIN might incur a -1 or -2 penalty, while forcing them to tell you the safe house where their family members are hidden (when they know you mean their family harm) would probably incur a -4 penalty.

Proposed Usage Guidelines

Based on my above observations, my suggestion for handling Intimidation outside of combat is as follows:

It requires at least 10 rounds (1 minute) of interaction to intimidate your target into cooperating. Make an Intimidation roll, they may attempt to resist with an opposed Spirit roll. If you beat them, they cooperate as if their attitude were "Friendly" for as long as they remain in your presence, and for up to half an hour afterwards, increased to an hour if you beat them with a raise. However their default attitude towards you becomes Uncooperative, or Hostile if they were already Uncooperative. Modifiers should be applied by the GM based on the methods you use and the services or information you require from your target.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Accursed: World of Morden

Back in 2013 Melior Via ran their first Kickstarter for Accursed, a dark fantasy setting in which the players take on the role of monstrous antiheroes, seeking atonement by fighting back against the forces of darkness that spawned them.

Since then, several additional adventures have been released, but only one supplement (Sand and Stone) that expands on the world itself. However Melior Via's second Kickstarter attempts to remedy the situation with a set of three new PDFs covering the remaining major nations as well as the Outlands and the Discordian Sea.

So far funding has been reached for the first two PDFs, but they haven't yet reached the $9000 goal for the third supplement (Bone and Barrow). There are only a couple of days left, so if you're a fan of Accursed, or just of the genre, then now is time to jump on board.

Kickstarter project: Accursed: World of Morden


Although I'm not associated with the project, I am a backer - and as is standard with Melior Via's Kickstarter projects, the draft versions of the documents have been made available immediately to the backers. So I will give a very brief overview of what you can expect from the first two supplements.

Frost and Fang

This is the main supplement, and it focuses on the two nations of Valkenholm and Steppengrad. The majority of the text focuses on culture, geography, history and legends, although there is also some crunch - six new Edges, three new Hindrances, and eight new monsters.

Science and Sea

This smaller supplement focuses the Discordian Sea. It gives an overview of naval history, but mainly focuses on areas and dangers. There are four new Edges, two new Hindrances, four new monsters, and a load of new gear (including ships and weapons).

Friday, 8 January 2016

Supplement Pricing

I've previously written about supplement presentation, section and page count, and section breakdown and word count. But now I'd like to take a quick look at something else: pricing. How much do Savage Worlds PDFs sell for?

Obviously it's very difficult to generalise, as I imagine the answer will depend on many different factors - the reputation of the author and company, public interest in the particular theme and genre, the quality of the finished product, and so on, and so forth.

But I just wanted to get an approximate ballpark figure. So for a very rough idea of what different companies charge (and therefore - presumably - how much people are willing to pay), I took a look at 100 randomly selected Savage Worlds PDFs from DriveThruRPG, and calculated their average cost per page.

Note that I've intentionally left out the names, as I don't want to make this about specific products.

Most Savage Worlds books use US Letter sized pages, although the newer Pinnacle settings use a graphic novel size. Despite their smaller dimensions, the graphic novel sized books still seem to have a similar word count to the US Letter sized books (typically an average of around 500 words per page after taking into account layout and artwork).


The PDFs I looked at had prices ranging from 3 to 66 cents per page, with an average of around 19-20 cents per page, although those with a higher page count (typically setting books) tended to have a lower cost per page, while the smaller PDFs (typically splat books) tended to have a higher cost per page.

I don't know how successful the various products are, although based on the Kickstarter projects I've seen and backed in the past, the official Pinnacle products seem to sell extremely well. Pinnacle's newer setting and campaign books usually cost around 10 cents per page, while their smaller adventures and splats are typically in the range of 15-25 cents per page. Is that the sweet spot for pricing? I've no idea, but they're obviously doing something right.