Skip navigation

Category Archives: Savage Worlds

Today we were supposed to start the Achtung! Cthulhu/Dust campaign but the session turned into more clarification on Walker combat – plus a lot of history on the settings of both Achtung! Cthulhu and Dust. So, it wasn’t a complete waste of time. In fact, because someone had the Rifts core books, we were able to further refine Walker combat. So here is version 2 which is much better having read The Tomorrow Legion Player’s Guide and having played through various situations with four Walkers.

Savage Worlds Walker Rules for A!C Dust v3

Basically, Rifts (which calls Walkers Robot Armor) does away with Top Speed and replaces it with the option to run using 2d6. This is much simpler and it is what we used for our test skirmish with T-Rex!

The stats for this T-Rex comes from here, page 39: Free SW Bestiary

Our battle began with the Mickey pilot, Lt. Percy, doing a Death from Above maneuver. It was highly successful and way cool! T-Rex didn’t go down without a fight, though. He was stomped on and suffered 3 wounds. He Soaked 1 wound and I spent another Benny to remove the Shaken status. He still had 2 wounds but he has the Improved Nerves of Steel Edge, which just so happens to eliminate 2 points of wound penalty. T-Rex tore into the Mickey and actually left Lt Percy Shaken.

Unfortunately, the battle did’t last long enough for me to attempt to swallow either Captain Miner (who is a Major select, so he is technically Major Miner, ha ha) or Bodine, who were on foot. It was still a fun battle and everyone is completely up to speed on how we are going to be running Walker battles.

We also came to a consensus on how the Blood and Guts Benny will work. It can be used for one of four benefits:

  1. It can be spent as a normal Benny, or
  2. It can be spent to re-roll one Damage roll, or
  3. It can be spent to roll 1d6 to add to either a Trait or Damage roll in addition to other rolls (not replacing a die, but adding to), or
  4. It can be spent to gain one completely free additional Action (doesn’t incur a Multi Action Penalty but other penalties still apply).

Finally, I created a spreadsheet with three new Walkers for use with Savage Worlds. They were made to match the exact Walkers and their configurations that I have miniatures for.

Dust Walker Specs SW

So, I ran the skirmish with the Eldrazi Ruiner and I quickly realized that using walkers in combat requires a little bit of rules clarification. Thanks to the Savages on Facebook and Google+ for steering me in the right direction. Specifically, Rich Spainhour and Jon Mullenax for citing sources.

To begin with, you’ll need to fully read the section on Vehicles on pages 113-117 in the Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorer’s Edition (SWDE) and the section on Walkers on page 58-59 of the Science Fiction Companion (SFC). Walkers are considered Vehicles and use Piloting instead of Driving. The pregenerated characters in Secrets of the Dust (SotD) use Driving, so I simply changed their skill to Piloting.

Parry for a Walker is not exactly explained in the SWDE or the SFC but the consensus with citations from Savage Rifts is that it is half of the driver’s Piloting or Fighting skill +2, whichever trait is lower. I’m not sure why it has to be the person’s Fighting skill, though. For A!C/Dust, I will be using Piloting to calculate the Walker’s Parry because it’s much simpler. Besides, I feel like a Walker Pilot in this setting would be consumed with piloting the Walker in an effort to avoid the melee attack. I could see in a futuristic setting where the Walker is piloted more like a giant exoskeleton (e.g., like in the movies Aliens and Avatar). Then their Fighting prowess translates more directly to the action of the battle and the Walker’s movements.

The next issue I encountered was how to handle deceleration. The SWDE explains that a vehicle can decelerate at twice its acceleration speed with normal braking and three times its acceleration if doing a hard stop. This doesn’t really make much sense. I think it should be that a vehicle brakes twice as fast as it accelerates, which would actually be half the distance of its acceleration speed, not double. For example, a Walker that accelerates 7 on its first turn could brake to a stop in a move of 3.5 (we’ll round to 4) on its next turn. Why would it take 14 squares to brake if it was moving at 7, yet a hard stop would take 21 spaces. The wording is confusing. This is important because Walkers might use a tactic of running, stopping, and firing from a stand-still in order to prevent the Unstable Platform penalty that firing while moving incurs. So, for the Light Assault Walker (LAW), which has an acceleration of 7, it can brake at 4 (half acceleration rounded up) and hard stop at 3 (a third of acceleration rounded up). The LAW has a Top Speed of 15; what happens if you want to apply the brakes normally to slow down? Then it seems like our numbers don’t quite work. But the principle of halving the speed does work. We’re moving along at 15 and want to brake on our next move, halving 15 and rounding up gives us 8. I have to move at least 8 spaces on my turn. I can’s choose to only move 3 or 4 yet because I have too much momentum. Then, on the subsequent turn, I can stop in 4 spaces as that is my half acceleration number. Otherwise, if you keep halving each turn, you’ll encounter one form of Zeno’s Paradox and never stop.

For the campaign presented in SotD we’ll only be using Light and Medium Walkers. Even though the Walkers aren’t Heavy class Walkers, they are all still Large as regards rules that use the term “Large”. This means that where the SFC talks about Large Walkers can never take more than 2 wounds from a single attack, this applies to the Walkers in SotD.

When a walker is struck, the attack has the potential to knock the Walker over. When a Walker suffers a hit that meets or exceeds its Toughness, the first thing a Pilot does is make a Piloting roll. If they fail this roll then they have to roll on the Out of Control table (SWDE pg 117). Even if the Pilot succeeds, this still qualifies as a Shaken result. The Pilot is momentarily stunned from the attack and has to make their Spirit roll. Technically, though, the Shaken is applied to the Walker.

If the attack entails wounds, then the Pilot must make a Piloting roll for each wound or else the Walker falls over. In addition, each wound entails a roll on the Critical Hits table (SWDE pg 117). Each wound also inflicts a -1 penalty to the Piloting rolls so long as the Walker is still upright and functional (much like the penalties for wounds affect Pace and Trait rolls).

Also in the SFC is an entry on Ejection Systems. For our WWII Walkers, we’ll be ignoring this futuristic feature. The Light Walkers are open cockpit and are ridden more like a motorcycle than being in an enclosed cockpit. For our purposes we’ll be having the Pilot take falling damage when one of the Walkers goes down. But, there are two types of falling damage: high speed (1d6 per 5” of speed, SWDE pg 115) and low speed falling damage (1d6+1 per 10”, SWDE pg 101). To make this easy to use we’ll be using the Walkers Top Speed. If the Walker is moving more than half of its Top Speed up to its Top Speed, use high speed; if it’s moving at or below half of its Top Speed, the damage is low speed. This should take into account the height of the Walker too. For all of the Light and Medium Dust Walkers it’s much simpler to just use 2d6+2 for all of their low speed falls. When a Walker does fall, use a d12 and read it like a clock face to determine which direction it topples. A Walker also suffers Xd6 damage to itself (where the X is its size) when it falls over.

Some common modifiers that come into play with Walkers includes:

  • Walkers in motion are Unstable Platforms and incur a -2 Attack penalty (Firing a machine gun from a moving Walker incurs a -4 penalty. The Edges of Steady Hands and Rock and Roll would offset these penalties).
  • Moving targets incur a -1 penalty per 10” of speed.
  • The LAW has a Top Speed of 15 which incurs a -2 handling penalty (none of the other Walkers in SotD can go fast enough to incur this penalty.
  • Driving through rough terrain at over half of Top Speed requires a Piloting roll at -2 per round.
  • A Walker can move up to half its Top Speed in reverse. Driving rolls while in reverse suffers a -2 penalty.
  • Every difference of 2 in Size between Attacker and Target affects the Attack rolls by 2.

Some maneuvers of note that come in handy:

  • Hard Stop: No penalty but Piloting roll must be made in order to stop at a third of the current speed.
  • Bootlegger Reverse (-4): Stopping while pivoting the Walker around 90-180 degrees.
  • Avoiding an obstacle (-2 or -4 for difficult turns or pivots).
  • Stomping: Any creature or vehicle half a Walker’s size or smaller can be stomped upon. This is an opposed roll using the Attacker’s Piloting skill versus either Agility, Piloting, or Driving. If the Walker Pilot wins, the damage is Str+2d6. (Size and strength are given in the SFC as Light is Size 6 with a Strength of d12+4 and Medium is Size 8 with a Strength of d12+6).
  • Death from Above: The Allied Medium Walker (Mickey) is the only Walker in SotD that can perform this maneuver since it can jump. This, again, is an Opposed roll. A success equals damage to the target but a failure means the Walker suffers damage (see SFC pg 59).

Using this quick sheet in conjunction with the tables on page 117 of the SWDE should be sufficient to run the Walkers in SotD.

After reading through “Secrets of the Dust” (SotD), I couldn’t wait to jump in and start playing. Before that, however, I need to talk about prepping the campaign. To begin with, there are a couple of issues that pale in comparison to how cool and pulpy the first adventure “Perchance to Dream” is. There is another adventure called “Destroyer of Worlds”, but I doubt my group will play it. The reason is because the setting goes back in time to before WWII and I really want to get from the Dreamlands in the first part back into the happenings and intrigues of WWII. But this will largely depend on which direction the players wish to go. Plus, SotD doesn’t present any of the Dust baddies like Frank von Stein and the Blutkreuz monsters and I will likely start statting out some of those guys.

Blutkreuz

The even more minor issue is that there is one plot hole. At the beginning of the adventure, the A!C investigators are supposed to go to the Dust universe and then into the Dreamlands, but the book also says that the only connection between the Dust and A!C worlds is through the Dreamlands. That’s okay, though. We’ll correct this in our plot.

For a fuller review see this: A!C Dust Review

In my campaign I’m having my players have two different characters at the outset of the game – one in each universe (A!C and Dust). Play sessions will go back and forth until the two groups meet up in the Dreamlands at which time the players will have to decide whether or not to continue this or mix the groups somehow. For the Dust characters, players will choose from the six pre-generated Ranger characters that are presented in the SotD appendix.

The A!C investigators are going to be German double agents that are recruited to help Majestic. For this first couple of sessions for these characters, I will be running the A!C supplement called Kontamination. It is an interesting adventure that requires very little alteration for our purposes and also presents pre-generated investigators that the players can choose to run.

The plot includes a Nachtwolfe plot using the machine invented by Crawford Tillinghast in the Lovecraft story “From Beyond” to drive Allied soldiers mad. The only change we’re making is to have the visions of the Beyond be of the happenings of a future as presented in the portion of SotD called “Congratulations! You’ve Brought on the Apocalypse!”. This should clue the investigators into a reason to warn the A!C version of Dr. Lowbeer. We’ll cover this again later on, though.

To begin things, I wanted to give the players a test of the world and show them the vibe that using Dust miniatures on Lovecraftian-type horrors brings. In order to do this, I created an encounter with an Eldrazi Ruiner from the Magic the Gathering universe. This actually comes from the miniatures board game called “Arena of the Planeswalker” expansion “Battle for Zendikar”. This can be used within the Dreamlands as a random encounter if the Keeper wishes. Here is the set-up with four Rangers (2 on foot and 2 in walkers). They are ready to roll their Spirit dice as they first behold the Eldrazi Ruiner.

And here are the stats for the Eldrazi Ruiner and the spawn Eldrazi Scions.

Eldrazi

The road map for the first several sessions of the campaign are as follows:

  1. Begin in medias res with players using the Ranger team from Dust up until where the group enters Celephais (Episodes 1 -3 in SotD).
  2. Plot shifts to A!C universe in 1944 in the early days of the Battle of the Bulge with players using their A!C investigators (Kontamination entire adventure). At the end, the characters will be recruited by Sergeant Miller (Majestic agent) which leads to Dr. Lowbeer sending the investigators into the Dreamlands to meet up with the Dust Rangers in Celephais.
  3. After the 2 teams meet, the NPC Mironim-Mer will be encountered in Celephais in order to add more sandbox-style opportunities for the group to choose from. This encounter is called “Lemon Sails” and is included in Call of Cthulhu’s Dreamlands supplement. The group could very well split back into two groups: one group helping Mironim-Mer and the other group continuing to search for the USS Eldridge elsewhere.

Coming up next will be the summary of play through these initial stages of the campaign.

Having finished a rather long campaign and design project called “Call of Kungfulhu”, which is a Wuxia adaptation of High Fantasy and Cthulhu Mythos mash-up, I found myself looking for my next campaign design. I picked up the A!C/Dust mash-up and was pleasantly surprised to see that a large part of the plot takes place in the Dreamlands – a setting that I have been completely immersed in with Call of Kungfulhu. This allows me to further utilize the amazing map created by Jason Thompson which I had posted about previously.

Dreamlands Map

For the next several weeks I will be posting my campaign design notes and game play sessions in case there is anyone looking for ideas and tips on running this rockin’ campaign!

Let’s begin with the resources that I have compiled to launch this campaign:

  • Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorer’s Edition
  • Achtung! Cthulhu Investigators Guide
  • Achtung! Cthulhu Keeper’s Guide
  • Achtung! Cthulhu Secrets of the Dust
  • H.P. Lovecraft’s The Dreamlands (Call of Cthulhu product)
  • Achtung! Cthulhu Kontamination
  • Lovecraftian Horrors, 7th Edition

 

The Dreamlands resource book contains an adventure called “Lemon Sails” that I used as a side adventure in Call of Kungfulhu. It’s such a weird, bizarre adventure that I wanted to add it to this campaign to make it more sandboxy. Plus, I want to see how differently it plays out in this setting versus how it played out in Call of Kungfulhu.

I also printed out both world maps as there are two different timelines that will be interacting with each other. The A!C map is pretty close to actual history (top middle), but the Dust map radically changes WWII (lower right).

For Bennies I will be using regular poker chips for standard Bennies, but I created what I call “Blood & Guts Bennies”. They are plastic dog tags. These Bennies can be spent to re-roll Trait or Damage rolls. The player also has the option of spending this Benny to add a d6 to either Trait or Damage rolls.

I will be using a set of military Tactical Field playing cards for my Action Deck.

And here are the Dust figures I’ve purchased so far to get things rolling. More are on their way. The Dust minis are just awesome products!

Mickey Walker with Rangers.

I will be using the Pre-Generated characters included in Secrets of the Dust for the Rangers coming from the Dust universe. For the investigators coming from the A!C universe, I will be using investigators from Kontamination (more on incorporating this next post).

And, just as a warm-up for the campaign, I decided to create a quick skirmish with my squad against an Eldrazi Ruiner and 3 Eldrazi Scions from the Magic the Gather universe.

These figures came out of the “Magic the Gathering Arena of the Planeswalkers” expansion “Battle for Zendikar”. I’ll be providing the Savage Worlds stats for these creatures next post.

Stay tuned for more details on turning this adventure into a sandbox campaign that journeys through some exotic locales in the Dreamlands.

This serves as the first adventure for the four Elven heroes who must eventually sneak into the Shadowfell on a secret operation. The first four missions are not in the Shadowfell. They are designed as missions to retrieve four magic items that each Elf will find beneficial on their future missions inside the Shadowfell.

This first mission utilizes Dyson Logos’ map and background called “Wygralak’s Hole”.

For the full keyed dungeon as well as a Random Encounter table for the surrounding lands, see here:

Wygralak’s Hole Revisited v2

The Mad Mage Maurice is back with his stunning art and awesome research.

Here is a handy conversion of many D&D magic items to Savage Worlds:

Magic Items

This character creation turned into a little project of its own and needs a little explanation. I began with creating the four Elves in D&D 5e as it’s more robust. Even though D&D breaks down levels into four broad categories, it actually makes more sense to group them by the Proficiency Bonus increase and that creates 5 tiers of levels. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to create off-shoots from the core classes, so I chose a party consisting of Bard, Druid, Paladin, and Ranger and chose paths for them that emphasized nature. I also wanted them to begin with a certain level of skill, so I chose to create 7th level characters and then try to emulate the same build in Savage Worlds with Veteran characters.

The biggest hurdle turned out to be how to handle the magic. Druids and Paladins have Prepared spell lists from all available spells, and Bards and Rangers have Spontaneous spells that are a smaller set of spells they learn. D&D and Savage Worlds have Arcane systems that are markedly different from each other – D&D being “Vancian”, cast and forget type spells using Spell Slots from a large spell repertoire and Savage Worlds using Power Points that fuel a small amount of spells. This was a challenge.

I had seen Richard Woolcock’s document on his Zadmar site entitled Savage Vancian Magic, but had never taken the time to read it. This seemed like a good time to check it out. And boy, am I glad I did. It maps the D&D spell system to Savage Worlds effortlessly. Not only that, it also includes new Edges that have the D&D feel to the classes. You could still use the Power Points method if you were adamant about keeping your Savage Worlds play grounded in the familiar Arcane system of SW, but I believe that SVM is worthy of a test run.

When I got to the point of creating the same characters in Savage Worlds, I had to make a decision, did I want to convert them exactly or create the character from scratch leaving most of the background the same, but potentially wind up with a character of the same name but different skills. I wanted to try and emulate the character’s skills from D&D, but parse it down to a faster playing style that is the SW feel. Honestly, using SVM was very helpful in this. I chose a mix of Edges from the core book and SVM that I feel emulates each character very well at a comparable rank in SW.

I also wanted to use fillable character sheets so people can use these characters and advance them in rank in both systems. The SWFC fillable sheet turned out to be too limited, but I persevered and used it anyway. I like my sheets to have as much information for the player as possible to limit having to look things up in books or on computers, so I went ahead and created an additional SW sheet for each character.

The real prep work for both systems will be the spells. On the D&D sheets I listed spells that I thought would be a good list of starter spells for an adventure, but feel free to change them as you see fit. For my own printed versions, I went into SVM and printed off the spell lists for Shaman (Druid), Spellsinger (Bard), Warden (Ranger), and Champion (Paladin) and attached them to the SW sheets.

To use these characters, you’ll need:

D&D: Players Handbook, Dungeon Masters Guide, and the Monster Manual

SW: Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorers Edition, Savage Worlds Fantasy Companion, and Savage Vancian Magic

I will be releasing a series of adventures for a High Fantasy setting using both D&D 5e and SW. These characters are presented as pregenerated characters that may be used in the forthcoming adventures, or you’re certainly free to create your own should you want to use those adventures.

BACKGROUND

The Material Plane is bounded by two worlds and the three worlds overlap each other. These worlds are the Feywild where everything is in either perpetual dawn or perpetual dusk and the other is the Shadowfell where everything is dark, saturnine, and eerie. The Feywild is home to many fairytale creatures and is a world with much beauty. Two fey courts rule in the Feywild. Both courts are ruled by Queens. The Seelie Fey is called the Summer Court and is ruled by Queen Titania. The Queen of Air and Darkness rules the Unseelie Fey in what is called the Gloaming Court. [see the DMG for more details.]

Our adventure party are four Elven members of the Gloaming Court who have been chosen to create an elite team with specialized skills for their upcoming missions. They were inserted as diplomats from the Gloaming Court into the organization called the Emerald Enclave on the Material Plane. Within the Emerald Enclave, they have a Renown level of Winterstalkers.

The first member is the Bard. Paelias Moonwhisper. Paelias loves lore from any culture he encounters and is a master lute player. He is also a good swordsman.

Bard 7

Bard Vet

Paelias SW

Our next member is the Druid Quarion Amastacia. Quarion is the eldest of the group and acts as the leader of the team. His early life was spent in seclusion, but he has since become an adventurer of renown.

Druid 7

Druid Vet

Quarion SW

Next, we have the Paladin of the group. His name is Ivellios Naïlo. He is a close relative of the Queen and has a noble background. He is young by Elf standards and is passionate about proving himself to his family.

Paladin 7

Paladin Vet

Ivellios SW

Finally, we come to the Ranger and lone female of the group. Her name is Anastrianna Sionnodel. Anastrianna served in the Ghoul Wars where she learned her Ranger craft. She is now ready to put her skills to the test outside of the Feywild.

Ranger 7

Ranger Vet

Anastrianna SW

The Warlock Maurice isn’t the best artist, but he sure is good at cataloguing the bizarre monsters he’s encountered.

This is a master file of all of the monsters I’ve created, acquired, modified, or straight up used outright from my brain, books, and my browser. [USE WITH CAUTION!]

Beasts v2

I started playing D&D in 6th Grade. That would be 1981 when I was 11 years old. The person who exposed me to D&D was my older cousin Trace. He still runs his weekly D&D game with his friends to this day in Huntsville, Alabama. For a long time he was a key event planner for the gaming convention in Huntsville. While doing this, he was able to coordinate the guests of honor that came to the Con to help draw more participants. This would have been in the early 90’s. My uncle worked for NASA at the time (he’s now retired) and Trace was able to get Bob Salvatore to attend the Con with the promise that a full-access tour of the NASA facilities would be included in the trip. We’re talking visiting areas that the general public weren’t able to visit with the standard tour.

An unexpected, but cool, outcome to this was that Trace and Bob became friends at a time when Bob’s career was just beginning to take off. Trace even went and spent one Thanksgiving with Bob and his family one year! One day when I was at Trace’s house visiting he got a call from Bob and I was able to talk to Bob for 30 or 40 minutes on the phone. It was so cool!

Another cool thing that Trace did for me was to get my first edition of The Crystal Shard signed by Bob!

What does this have to do with the topic at hand? Good question. Not a whole lot other than I thought about all this while I was scouring the internet for stats on Drizzt and thought it would help add to my RPG street cred!

Now to the real point of the post. When I created the Pulp Hero Team that accompanied my last post, I thought it would be cool to create a team of High Fantasy/Swords & Sorcery heroes to use as Player Characters. I mean, how fun would it be to go through a One Shot using Gray Mouser, Aragorn, and Gandalf as PC’s! Or to play through one of the dungeon crawls just released in Tales from the Yawning Portal using Elric, Drizzt, and Conan!

My research around the net has uncovered the following trove of characters for both D&D 5e and Savage Worlds.

Lord of the Rings characters for Savage Worlds

Another version of Aragorn for Savage Worlds

Drizzt Do’Urden for D&D 5e

Statting out Conan for D&D 5e

Another version of Conan for D&D 5e

Statting out Elric for D&D 5e

Fafhrd & Gray Mouser for Savage Worlds (There’s also more versions of them in the Savage Worlds product called Lankhmar: City of Thieves)

Harry Potter characters for D&D 5e

Finally, here are links to fillable character sheets for both systems so that you can use the links above to craft your own all-star adventure group for your home-brew games.

Savage Worlds Fantasy Companion Fillable Character Sheet

D&D 5e Fillable Characters Sheets

 

Here are the character sheets for the Pulp Hero super team presented in individual files:

Indiana Jones

The Phantom

Lara Croft

Doc Savage