The reason that my blog is called "Vagabond GM" is because I constantly move from game system to game system in search of the mythical "perfect game."
I have to give my players a metaphorical hat tip for never complaining about making that journey with me. For instance, the Wednesday night space game started with original LBB Traveller. It was fun, but a little too "old school" for them, so we migrated to GURPS. GURPS is a great system, but I feel there are too many skills and too many rules for my current style of play. I thought it would be a great idea to migrate the game again, this time to Savage Worlds. This way we'd be using the same rule-set for both campaigns. My players didn't complain once.
The characters converted pretty easily, and I invented stats for a blaster gun. I still need to work on some armor, but that's another story.
One of the things that became apparent, though, was that Savage World's skill set isn't really genre appropriate, at least not for my "Commonwealth of Man" campaign. Sometimes one size does not fit all, and skills designed for a "wild west" setting don't necessarily make sense in a space opera campaign. Rather than scrap the game, I decided to revamp the skills. My goal, though, was to touch as little as possible but to still make it feel right in my gaming world.
the rest of this blog post can be summed up in this simple table. If you have better things to than to read my blathering (and, really, who doesn't?), you can read this table and go on with your life.
The first thing I did was identified those skills that worked well in the setting with little or no modification. Those were:
- This is used for grav cars and tanks and stuff. I might even be tempted to include small shuttle craft as driving.
- I wanted to rename this as "Engineering", but I found that renaming skills that didn't change caused more confusion than it was worth.
- I wanted to rename this as "Medic".
- I was mightily tempted to combine this with Survival as one skill.
The next group of skills were those that worked well in the setting, but needed some changes. Those were:
- In vanilla Savage Worlds, the lock-picking skill is a twitch skill that covers both picking locks and disarming traps. In other words, it bypasses security systems. In my campaign it's still useful to bypass security systems, but in the high tech future, this is a Smarts skill, not Agility. I also rolled in the security systems of computers. To reflect this, I changed the name of the skill to Hacking.
- The only change I made to shooting was to de-link small arms and starship weapons, as these skills have nothing to do with each other. Shooting now covers only the small arms. There is a new skill ("Gunnery") for the ship-based weapon systems.
- I moved this to Spirit, because it "feels" right there. I also moved Gambling under this skill. I wanted to rename it as "Carousing" to match the old Traveller skill.
The next thing was to drop skills that I didn't see as having a general usage in the campaign. I defined "general usage" as "has this skill come up since the beginning of the campaign"? While these skills are "de-listed", they can be taken as a Knowledge type skill if a player really wants to fit some character concept. The dropped skills are:
- Climbing (but see "Athletics", below)
- Gambling (use Streetwise/Carousing)
- Swimming (but see "Athletics", below)
Lastly, there were a few skills that were so significant that I felt they needed to be added:
- Astrogation is an "old skill" in my campaign. Most ships have navi-comps. But if you're going outside the established trade routes, you need this skill.
- This is a generic skill that covers the old skills of Climbing and Swimming, as well as other physical tests like jumping and running.
- In my campaign, starships fight at distances that are measured in light-seconds. That means you're trying to hit something that you last saw three seconds and guessing where it will be three seconds from now. This requires zero-agility, but a whole lot of smarts.
Does anyone else have any custom Savage Worlds skill listing? I'd be especially interested in hearing about ones for a fantasy campaign.