Pitfalls of GMing Savage Worlds

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HawaiiSteveO
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Re: Pitfalls of GMing Savage Worlds

#41 Postby HawaiiSteveO » Tue Apr 25, 2017 3:12 pm

JamesG wrote:
Freemage wrote:Okay, so just to give you an idea--I took those Edges, added them to the Goblin Stat Block, and then typed up the following: <Snip>

Just wanted to say that stat block was pretty sweet. Great example!


meant to reply earlier - I concur! One change is I'd indicate 2d4 for damage, not STR+d4.

Donner adventure was pretty good Sunday night - although they were hesitant to fully investigate for reasons passing understanding. We really had to rush the ending which I wasn't happy about. Still lots of laughs and everyone was talking in southern cowboy accents by the end.

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Maps we dont need no stinking maps LOL

#42 Postby GM MEGALODONJC » Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:58 pm

Hello Savages
I wanted to spend a moment to address an element of modern gaming compared to old school rpgs.

My first experience with a tabletop RPG was the first ever edition basic set of Dungeons and Dragons. 2 books and basic classes and combat.

Mechanics for d20 in that genesis era were quite straight forward. Back then the only maps needed were the DMs layout secret to the players and the one PC who was responsible for drawing the progression map through the dungeon. The rest was all imagination if it was a 10x10 room you may have one round before it is melee if there were any ranged attackers in the party.

Then it was initiative.
Each player would move up to a target
Roll d20 add modifiers compare to target AC
if hit roll dmg and apply to hp.
Rinse and repeat till all combatants party and enemies were done.
Then combat was over as soon as your enemies were dispatched.

The rulebook dmg for the dm back then was about 60 pages. Now there are seperate books for nearly all aspects of the game. Magic combat and so forth the hobby lost massive interest for me when AD&D first arrived. This is when the time scale of combat took significantly longer than it needed to. Rules upon rules and stats for specific activities began to be the norm and only the devoted passionate gamers and Gms revelled in this glory. Everyone expected a long session at the table.

This made it immensely difficult to introduce new players to the hobby. The Gm prep time increased exponentially which made it longer to prepare and frustrated players as the typical routine of every week went to every 2 weeks then sometimes a month.

I noticed this trend continued for many years complexities thrown on to severely complicated mechanics. And as the years went by it seemed that the life responsibility turned a very loved social hobby into a time management nightmare.

I recently got into pathfinder this is about up to 4 years ago the core of classic D&D was in mind. What were they thinking in 4e D&D it was like relearning everything all over again. I was spending all free time to come up with a cool adventure I ended up needing a computer to handle the repetitive calculations and reminders to choose certain things. I had a player double their attack bonuses when a 1st level character has over a +10 to hit I'm like how come the level 1 adversaries are lucky to have a +2 if that at all.

I said there is no way in Hades a 1st level character would ever have a to hit bonus like that so I put his character to the character editor and it showed nope. After I discovered this I said from now on characters must be checked through the character program. Of course He didnt like it, and it was all about combat.

I was like I won't run a game of just combat. Writing a basic adventure hook with interesting plots is why I love being a Gm seeing how my players react to the dramatic and cinematic elements of the basic plot and seeing how they choose to achieve the objective is what is most fascinating and of course the players acting in character. Many people I have met who like these games are very meta and have no concept of roleplaying not even a little.

Savage Worlds is phenomenal and I love some of the elements that encourage roleplaying to their character disadvantages portray their imagination of the persona of the characters personalities is really held to high importance in Savage worlds. Focusing on roleplaying is the essential fun and excitement of this wonderful hobby.

I said to the combat hungry player if you want combat go play warhammer fantasy or 40k because story means nothing to someone who just wants to conquer and eliminate with no story. As far as Im concerned all of us savages want a proportionate mix of story roleplaying intraction and some high octane action and Savage worlds delivers all of this on all the levels that matter.

Maps are helpful in setting the scene, but it clutters up table space and in a small way makes imagination of players suffer. Tactical maps are heavy focus which can be both important and at times encumbering of the action. Gms and players are to work together in helping the direction of cinematic flow and excitement in their imagination. Mechanics in Sw are there to help address issues of flanking and cover with imagination or someway of setting a tactical perspective..

In my vast experience of running many games and many systems. I like to use a story telling approach to setting the flavour and aspects of setting during a conflict in game or interesting drama in my games and I hope this helps everyone too.

Thank you for letting me share and ....
May your dice always ACE :)

HawaiiSteveO
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Re: Maps we dont need no stinking maps LOL

#43 Postby HawaiiSteveO » Wed Apr 26, 2017 2:06 pm

GM MEGALODONJC wrote:I noticed this trend continued for many years complexities thrown on to severely complicated mechanics. And as the years went by it seemed that the life responsibility turned a very loved social hobby into a time management nightmare.


Slow hand clap... I totally agree. Been thinking about this, I switched over to SW from D&D 5E. Still hobbled by maps, pawns, fussy attention to detail and so on. Next time, just going to let it all go and try really old school, dice, pencils & paper etc. Maybe a quick sketch for tricky encounter or to explain something but no counting out squares etc.

It's really tough to get grognards to try new game! Super frustrated as we've only played SW 3 times in the last 3 months. I'd really like to take the ruleset out for a good rip and really get familiar with it. I think there is some really great stuff there. At the rate we're going I'm not hopeful, and D&D / Pathfinder are pretty much the big boys of the playground.

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Re: Pitfalls of GMing Savage Worlds

#44 Postby JackMann » Wed Apr 26, 2017 3:51 pm

To be fair, D&D has always assumed you were using maps and grids. Even in AD&D (or even in OD&D) the rules assumed you were going to use maps, and not using them meant ignoring a lot of the rules. You can do theater of the mind in any edition (even 4e), but none of them support it very well.

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Re: Pitfalls of GMing Savage Worlds

#45 Postby GM MEGALODONJC » Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:22 pm

I respectfully disagree as I said earlier the only maps in the original was the dungeon map that was the layout world map the battles took place in our mind. Sometimes i would say ok building before the game any chance of cover ? If yes I would either do a random room table on a die or say make a wisdom check vs a variable d20 if they beat me I would say ok theres light cover so -2 to hit or whatever.

Wanna flank dex check opposed vs target if the PC beat the monster or NPC then theyd get a +1 or 2 to hit. Very easy to do with a little thought.

I dont need a map to figure out tactics heck if the room is 10×10 roll a d10 to see how far away you are from something there are always ways for a GM to figure the little things out.

Gm best friend does an entity PC/NPC has an advantage disadvantage over the other give a +2/-2 based on that simple done and on to the next combatant in the encou ter it truthfully isnt rocket science. I think videogames has added to the slight laziness to see what somethibg may look like in your imaginative eye and of course videogames have helped inspire the imagination as well. A perverbial double edged sword that can work with or against you.

Truthfully you dont need a map to do a tactocal combat innovation either by way of random table generator or just think about what you would think to see say in an industrial refinery or factory. Explosive barrels hmmm possibly are their enemies near the blast if per chance a stray happens to hit it.

Well heres what I would do. Lets say the enemies might be short to medium lets just roll a d8 12 or something thats close to double the blast radius of an explosive barrel. How many are there. Lets say d4. Could it be d6 sure why not. I say d4 not alot of space in this stretch of this structure. I roll its a 1. Ok lets put it half way betwen pcs and npcs. Now how far away are the enemies. Lets go d6. If its 1-2 then the enemies are within blast radius distance lets say 2 of the six are and a pc shoots and misses roll a shooting die for each bullet that missed if theres the target near the barrel a 4 means it hits and put the blast template small near how many it affects.

Roll an agility check say -1 cause theyre focused on pcs reaction time is lessened and check any who fail take the damage. Any who succeed dont get the blast damage.

Boom done we would have done those rolls and checks in like 5 to 10 seconds.

Now just to be thourough if u rolled 2 3 or 4 maybe youd see how far the pcs would be to start the encounter.

Then the gm goes to work.

I say you turn the girder strewn corridor leading into a tunnel like passage approx 30 meters feet light years whatever unit is relevant and know youre in a hazardous materials processing heat surges from the industrial forge barrels with flammable or toxic explosive markings label 4 cylindrical drums 2 at the far end and a couple approximately d10 rolls 7 meters away from u. Now I have given the scene its up to the players to make sure theyre nowhere near these incase of fire.

I add reflecting lightbeams flicker against the concrete and metal and voices. Your pupils dialate as their light hits your face they yell out your in a restricted area stand down or we will use lethal force.

Inititave cards dealt. And we pretty much have an idea about the rest. If the pcs are close to a barrel when it gets struck by a stray round ill say the barrel erupts in a fireball and your pushed from its nearby blast make a vigor roll. If they pass theyre not shaken....

There you go a simple aspect of tactical environment that could be lethal to both sides but i did it in my head used some dice to help facilitate the tactical elements done and done. Is there other ways this same situation could be figured simply sure your limit is only your imagination hope this helps.
Thank u
Forgive my auto correct I miss a couple of words I try to catch it all.

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Re: Pitfalls of GMing Savage Worlds

#46 Postby JackMann » Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:55 pm

Right. But at that point, you're essentially playing a different system. You've had to toss a bunch of the normal melee rules and add in a bunch of new ones which change the balance of the game.

My point isn't that you can't play D&D without maps. You can do so with any edition of the game. It's just that no matter which edition you're playing, you're going to have to change up the rules to make it work.

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Re: Pitfalls of GMing Savage Worlds

#47 Postby GM MEGALODONJC » Wed Apr 26, 2017 8:55 pm

I dont see how Im playing a different system it is the GMs right to utilize random number generation to take some of the guesswork out of the equations and situations the core mechanics were not being altered I was utilizing what made sense to determine onteresting aspects within a situation needing random elements so that players could find it beloevable and unbiased. If I have enemies and theres a possible decision a npc may make one of differrent targets i will always use random methods so that it adds a unique drama midst the obvious and so that a player doesnt create the oh i am ganging up on one character in particular. These always can lead to some really epic battles elements always make it interesting. Any method could be used again I stress I used my knowledge of existing mechanics to answer questions to me this is not a different system this is a system to generate unique elements I may not have thought of lf the situation arises.

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Re: Pitfalls of GMing Savage Worlds

#48 Postby Freemage » Wed Apr 26, 2017 8:57 pm

In particular, many of the D&D rules, especially the range rules, were explicitly imported from miniatures wargaming. (To the point that for spells, 1" was ten feet in a dungeon or ten yards outdoors, for everything but spells (where it was always ten feet.) Now, we never used the map until much, much later on (really not before 3.x), but it was not like the rules weren't written with maps and minis in mind; it's been a part of the hobby from the very start.

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Re: Pitfalls of GMing Savage Worlds

#49 Postby GM MEGALODONJC » Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:02 pm

I dont think these methods imbalance its a question of what could happen. Who said fights had to be fair. There is a calculation of a CR measurement that is often used in d20 to determine if an encounter is going to out class the players.

Savage worlds has something similar but most Gms i have heard on you tube dont even use it.

Besides if theyre not wildcards against pcs there is most likely going to be a case of PCS winning. I am aware of an extra exploding their die to cause lethal damage in one shot...

Running session zero for a local group this friday and I may have to add adversaries to balance the party size. It is a teaching game but will help get us started it should be a blast

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There were no minis when i played available

#50 Postby GM MEGALODONJC » Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:05 pm

At my earliest introduction to rpgs D&D there were no minis in the basic set like now. I am talking when D&D was brand new they came latwr but not when I started and if that were the case how come the original 70s set didnt come with them???

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Re: Pitfalls of GMing Savage Worlds

#51 Postby Snate56 » Wed Apr 26, 2017 11:23 pm

Because of the cost and weight they would have added. And the game companies didn't have the resources they have today; there just weren't the number of figure manufacturers in existence yet and most figures were of rather poor quality. They were mainly wargames (Napolionics, etc.) manufacturers. I remember games we played using a bunch of six sided dice for the orcs or wolves and such.
Aaanndd, :lol: for the most part, the figures even supplied today are limited; you could play a few games, but you'd eventually have to get more anyway just so you could run more and different adventures. All the maps, paper figures, paper models, limitless variety of printable props & charts & reference materials didn't exist back then, either.


...Ahhhhhh, the old days.... (sigh...)


SteveN
"Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reasons."
>Mark Twain<

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Indeed miniatures are more mainstream

#52 Postby GM MEGALODONJC » Wed Apr 26, 2017 11:50 pm

LOL i remember using coloured d6s or d4s depending on what wasnt used or glass beads when I reconnected with 4e. There is alot of space needed and some game tables just dont have enough roommy second Rpg I played Gmd was STAR FRONTIERS and they used cardboard chits Im sure alot remembered those. D100 d10s were the onl dice of that system. I liked what they did with zebulon and am impressed with the fan conversion to savage worlds. I have no idea why that game wasnt popular. I mean I cant beloeve I didn't know about Traveller until recently 4 yrs recently.

I was like where have you been all this time. A really good classic

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Re: Pitfalls of GMing Savage Worlds

#53 Postby JackMann » Thu Apr 27, 2017 3:37 am

The original D&D literally told you to use miniature wargaming rules (it told you to use the Chainmail rules for all combat).

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Re: Maps we dont need no stinking maps LOL

#54 Postby kronovan » Thu Apr 27, 2017 1:49 pm

@GM MEGALONDONJC

To each their own, but having read through your post I have some disagreements, especially when it comes to GMing Savage Worlds. I hope I read the gist of your words correctly, but I have to admit I found it difficult at times to follow your logic due to your writing style - so my apologies if I didn't read your words correctly.

What you describe as old school D&D game play (I started in 1980 with the original rules) doesn't completely jive with my recollections and experiences. I should probably mention that at least every other month I play with those rules at a monthly gaming meet - so it's not like they aren't fairly fresh in my mind. I agree that maps weren't as prevalent in the early days and what you describe as the GM source map and a mapper among the players is what I remember too. However, that wasn't a given and there was a lot of variety in how encounters were handled. As well, I can hardly remember a table where a good helping of Ral Partha (or 1 of the other popular tabletop brands) miniatures weren't present - some skillfully painted.

I and a few others at my college D&D group around the mid 80's, initiated a hobby of creating nicely illustrated and colored small scale location maps (like cities, town and portions of wilderness) and large scale encounter maps. Our campaign table was by far the most popular of the 5 or so tables running at our college. We had many a player that came to our table and commented that they really liked they didn't have to 2nd guess scene details, or worry about NPC positions, Monster positions and room dimensions dynamically shifting to the GMs benefit. For sure there were some good GMs that came prepared and could do nice job of conveying scene details entirely via narration, but IME they were more the exception that the norm and by the mid 80s many players were interested in moving away from that.

Sometimes i would say ok building before the game any chance of cover ? If yes I would either do a random room table on a die or say make a wisdom check vs a variable d20 if they beat me I would say ok theres light cover so -2 to hit or whatever.

Wanna flank dex check opposed vs target if the PC beat the monster or NPC then theyd get a +1 or 2 to hit. Very easy to do with a little thought.

I dont need a map to figure out tactics heck if the room is 10×10 roll a d10 to see how far away you are from something there are always ways for a GM to figure the little things out.

Sorry, but I have to say if I played in a session where a GM ran things in such a scattered or random way, I'd be frustrated to say the least. Leaving such encounter dimensions and elements up to the randomness of a dice roll, when players are concentrating -some even struggling- to visualize and comprehend an encounter scene, is IMO abuse of the role of GM.

GM MEGALODONJC wrote:I said to the combat hungry player if you want combat go play warhammer fantasy or 40k because story means nothing to someone who just wants to conquer and eliminate with no story. As far as Im concerned all of us savages want a proportionate mix of story roleplaying intraction and some high octane action and Savage worlds delivers all of this on all the levels that matter.

I'd say you're making quite an assumption there. While playing with a nice mix of story might very well be true for the majority of SWD campaigns (certainly is for almost all of mine) there are some GMs and players that are looking for much more combat-focused experiences. In fact Pinnacle produces the Savage Showdown rules for such players that want to play their PCs in something much closer to a tactical miniatures experience. I can speak first hand from experiences at my monthly miniatures club, where military-themed campaigns using the SWD rules are at times run. IMO there's nothing wrong with running such narrative-light campaigns, if that's what the audience of players wants. And I'd disagree it isn't roleplaying, considering players are still playing PC's that have their own personal shortcomings and strengths.

Maps are helpful in setting the scene, but it clutters up table space and in a small way makes imagination of players suffer. Tactical maps are heavy focus which can be both important and at times encumbering of the action. Gms and players are to work together in helping the direction of cinematic flow and excitement in their imagination. Mechanics in Sw are there to help address issues of flanking and cover with imagination or someway of setting a tactical perspective..

To which I'd say nonsense; a skillfully crafted map in a good gaming environment doesn't clutter table space at all. If all you've got to game on is a small, flimsy, fold-down card playing table, I could see that. I run things on a decent sized table and use 20x30 or 24x34" maps for about half my encounters. All of those maps go under a sheet of plexiglass on which players are free to roll dice and place their character sheets, pencils, erasers, etc around the edges. There's hardly any clutter at all, just a much cooler looking tabletop. I also sometimes run with 3d scenery and props, which looks even cooler. 8) As to making the "imagination of players suffer"; not IMO if the maps are crafted and presented correctly. You just need your assortment of scraps of cardstock, or other decent covering material, to conceal those locations that will be revealed. Folding the concealed map areas underneath on maps such as Paizo's neutral terrain maps, is easy and works well too. Don't get me wrong, I've seen some bad mapping and at times can't help but think the GM would be better off not having them. But for every bad one I see as many good.

Sure you can run SWD completely in narrative/Theater of the Mind by multiplying distance by 2 to get yards, or by 6 for feet (do it a lot myself) but the default of inches for distances says to me that the intent of Pinnacle is that the rules be played on a tabletop. Then there's the fact that some people are simply not able to visualize the details of an encounter where gang up positions or free attacks when moving away from being adjacent, or other more precision game elements are factors. While other players may be boardgamers (very common at D&D Adventure League play in my area) and not at all accustomed to visualizing locations. Personally, I don't think such players should be left out, when it's so easy to put down a map or combat grid.

I have to admit, the whole "it's not RPing unless you're running Theater of the Mind" argument is getting annoying to me. If you want to make that case for highly narrative systems like FATE or Dungeon World, fine, but don't assume every other RPG must be run that way. I say run to the desires and abilities of your audience and do your damn best at doing it. :)


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