System for Player-Created Arcane Backgrounds

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Velox121
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System for Player-Created Arcane Backgrounds

#1 Postby Velox121 » Fri Mar 31, 2017 2:49 pm

Greetings and Salutations! I'm going to be running a Savage Worlds Planescape game soon, and with so many planes, I want to encourage player ideas for new kinds of magic. Savage worlds is great at flexible magic, but I wanted to implement a system to guide players through making Arcane Backgrounds to accommodate their ideas, while keeping it fair. It basically treats arcane backgrounds sort of like a starting character - all are equal, but you can customize them with edges and hindrances.

I'd appreciate it if you could take a look at this proposed system and let me know if you think it's sufficiently fast, furious, and fun. Thanks!

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1fL0 ... sp=sharing

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Zadmar
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Re: System for Player-Created Arcane Backgrounds

#2 Postby Zadmar » Fri Mar 31, 2017 3:13 pm

I created a similar system here, you might find some ideas you can use.
My blog: Savage Stuff. I've also written some free tools and supplements.

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Velox121
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Re: System for Player-Created Arcane Backgrounds

#3 Postby Velox121 » Sat Apr 01, 2017 10:59 am

Awesome! This is exactly the kind of system I want... how has it worked out in your games? How often have players taken the reigns and made their own ABs, and how does that work out? I'm going to dig through the forums to find out if anyone else is using your system. Thanks!

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Re: System for Player-Created Arcane Backgrounds

#4 Postby ValhallaGH » Sat Apr 01, 2017 1:23 pm

Velox121 wrote:Awesome! This is exactly the kind of system I want... how has it worked out in your games? How often have players taken the reigns and made their own ABs, and how does that work out? I'm going to dig through the forums to find out if anyone else is using your system. Thanks!

A lot of folks have used Zadmar's system. It's widely considered the Gold Standard for custom Arcane Backgrounds. Honestly, if more people used it then I would have fewer negative things to say about their custom Arcane Backgrounds.

You'll want to have a few guidelines in place for how magical powers work in your campaign. Because even in Planescape, there are a few rules that only have unique exceptions. Make sure you figure out what those are and then communicate those limits to your players; it will save a lot of argument and frustration.
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Velox121
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Re: System for Player-Created Arcane Backgrounds

#5 Postby Velox121 » Sat Apr 01, 2017 5:04 pm

Yeah Savage Arcanum looks solid. I think I may just playtest it and see how it fits as is.

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Zadmar
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Re: System for Player-Created Arcane Backgrounds

#6 Postby Zadmar » Sun Apr 02, 2017 5:40 am

Velox121 wrote:Awesome! This is exactly the kind of system I want... how has it worked out in your games? How often have players taken the reigns and made their own ABs, and how does that work out?

It's really intended for GMs (and setting designers) rather than players. Much like the race creation rules, it's vulnerable to min-maxing if you give players free reign.

I used it a bit for some of my settings, but not extensively. It was useful for giving me a better understanding of the official Arcane Backgrounds though, and the relative value of their various components.

On a related note, you might also find Savage Abilities worth a look, as it provides detailed guidelines for creating new powers.

ValhallaGH wrote:A lot of folks have used Zadmar's system. It's widely considered the Gold Standard for custom Arcane Backgrounds. Honestly, if more people used it then I would have fewer negative things to say about their custom Arcane Backgrounds.

Thanks for the kind words!
My blog: Savage Stuff. I've also written some free tools and supplements.

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paladintodd
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Re: System for Player-Created Arcane Backgrounds

#7 Postby paladintodd » Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:31 am

My experience, giving players free reign to it, was that it's ripe for abuse. Consider whether your players can handle the great responsibility that comes with great power. (Specifically, I had a player come up with a no power point, no restrictions on multiple castings, extra powers, and his backlash hurt his fellow players AB).

It's a great system for tweaking ABs though. I'd definitely use it if I wanted to design something with a little different flavor. I don't think I'd hand it over to my players ever again.

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Re: System for Player-Created Arcane Backgrounds

#8 Postby Deskepticon » Tue Apr 04, 2017 1:28 am

Velox121 wrote:Awesome! This is exactly the kind of system I want... how has it worked out in your games? How often have players taken the reigns and made their own ABs, and how does that work out? I'm going to dig through the forums to find out if anyone else is using your system. Thanks!


I've used it about half a dozen times to "rebalance" the existing ABs to fit within my homebrew campaigns, or just mess around with concepts. As I understand it, even some licensees have used it to check their custom ABs.

While extensive, it's not comprehensive, and your Replenishing ability might be a welcome fit. I might price it as a +2 ability to regain 1pp as a Standard Action or 2pp as a Full Action.

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Velox121
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Re: System for Player-Created Arcane Backgrounds

#9 Postby Velox121 » Thu Apr 06, 2017 4:06 pm

Zadmar wrote:I used it a bit for some of my settings, but not extensively. It was useful for giving me a better understanding of the official Arcane Backgrounds though, and the relative value of their various components.

On a related note, you might also find Savage Abilities worth a look, as it provides detailed guidelines for creating new powers.

Cool, I'll take a look at that as well. I feel foolish for not researching if a system like this already existed, but it's great to keep finding more material to work from. Thanks for the info, chummer!

paladintodd wrote:My experience, giving players free reign to it, was that it's ripe for abuse. Consider whether your players can handle the great responsibility that comes with great power. (Specifically, I had a player come up with a no power point, no restrictions on multiple castings, extra powers, and his backlash hurt his fellow players AB).

It's a great system for tweaking ABs though. I'd definitely use it if I wanted to design something with a little different flavor. I don't think I'd hand it over to my players ever again.

It sucks when players cause problems like that - it's sensible to avoid enabling that kind of behavior whenever possible.

For my part, though, I'd like to see how that player's custom AB plays out in game. If his character is harming the other characters, will they tolerate him? If he's more dangerous than their proper foes, why don't they stick a sword in him, or put him on the front lines so that the enemy bears the brunt of his backlash? Could make for fun roleplaying with the right people.


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