So last night on our weekly Nerds-International Happy Hour, we had a great discussion about various systems doing various settings justice. That may be the wrong word, but you get the idea.
So, we started out about talking about Savage Worlds and how it does so many settings so well, but it just didn’t seem like it did fantasy so well. Now, let me make sure to put this out there- THIS WAS NOT THE OPINION OF EVERYONE! What I’m about to write will strictly reflect MY views on different systems for different settings.
So, I will say (once again) that Savage Worlds is easily my “go-to” system. The “low-prep, can do just about anything” ability of that system is fantastic! But, I will say, it doesn’t work for me when we talk about a few different settings. For example (and I know I will get a lot of pushback on this, as I have many times already) I don’t think that core, out of the box handles fantasy magic well. There, I said it. Let the hate mail begin.
Call me old-school, but I prefer a more robust magic system for my fantasy games. For this, my vote still goes to Dungeons and Dragons (especially 5th edition) and Pathfinder. To me, those systems just “feel” right for a fantasy setting. Now, I will fully admit that I haven’t shopped all the resources for third party when it comes to fantasy for Savage Worlds. But, I have been told that something like Shaintar does high fantasy VERY WELL. But, I hold my opinion to wanting my D&D and Pathfinder for the magic systems. To me, there actually is something cool to the wizard going through a spellbook and preparing those spells. A wizard taking the time to do his research to uncover old arcane secrets. Now, I will say that in the traditional sense, Savage Worlds would handle something like spells for a sorcerer just fine. When you take it from a D&D class, anyhow. And I really have to say that I enjoy the diversity in “roll to hit” or “roll to save” or “it just hits” that the D&D and Pathfinder system uses.
Now let’s talk about Star Wars. I’ve heard this quite a few times too- “Savage Worlds does Star Wars just fine”. And I’m sure for a lot of people, it does! I don’t deny that. But for me, I feel that Fantasy Flight Games NAILED a true Star Wars feel with their narrative dice system. I can very easily see Star Wars being done in Savage Worlds to feel just like that- Savage Worlds. That’s not a bad thing! I just prefer the FFG system BIG TIME for Star Wars.
This has become kind of a new “hot topic” over at the N-I community. I know I have a part in getting this controversy going, but why lie, I thrive on it. I really thing that by having these discussions, we all can learn something from it. For everyone to get together and speak their opinions, we all get to maybe hear a new side of the take we hadn’t thought of before.
And something else I don’t deny at all is that when I first found out about Savage Worlds and starting playing/understanding it, I jumped right on the “THERE’S SAVAGE WORLDS AND NOTHING ELSE!” train. I did that for quite a while. But when I started to yearn for more “feel” out of my games, I went back to look at old and new systems. In the end, I learned one thing for sure- each system does it’s own “thing”. Whether you like that “thing” or not is up to you. I don’t think there is one “all encompassing system to rule them all”, but Savage Worlds comes pretty damn close.
I also hope that folks don’t take this as “Savage Worlds” bashing, as some people have taken it that way before. This is just a way of me getting myself out there to say “Hey, there’s lots of systems out there! Find out which works best for what you’re trying to get out of it!” I love Savage Worlds… A lot! But does it do everything I want a system to do? No. Is that bad? Hell no. They have done a fantastic job with it and continue to do so.
What do you think? I’d love to hear what you have to say about the topic!