Character creation in Savage Worlds is pretty darn quick and easy. And yet, it’s crunchy enough that it may take a new player quite a bit of time to digest all the options. This is especially true when it comes to Edges and how they affect the game.
During the Covid-19 quarantine, my friends and I have played a couple of virtual pickup games. For these we simply found some pre-gens to use and created a story on the fly. But it got me to thinking about how we could make character creation even quicker and easier than it already is, so it could be done at the table. One thing I love about systems like QAGS and Lester Smith’s D6xD6, is that a character can be created, and understood, in just minutes. Part of this is because both of those systems use intuitive natural language to describe a character’s attributes. Further, the systems are rules-light, so there’s no need to know the rules to create a good character. The system here re-creates that with Savage Worlds
First, you have to understand my intent. These rules are specifically intended to allow you to create a character in minutes, without flipping through rule books, or even worrying that your character will work within the rules. This requires a certain type of roleplaying that is story-driven and rules-light. Savage Worlds’ mechanics are, at their core, very basic. There is not a lot of granularity needed to run a game if you’re willing to adopt a relaxed, cinematic playing style. Fortunately, this sums up my group. Savage World can be played using the most basic set of rules, as laid out in the Test Drive Rules, which are just 14 pages long.
This system is mostly designed for pick-up games, one-offs, and con games. It also assumes that you are willing to forget about character balance in exchange for a simple system that is easy to use.
This will also work best if you adopt the following setting rules as laid out in the “Adventure Toolkit” section of the book:
- BORN A HERO. We’re going to take this one step further, however, in that we are going to ignore any prerequisites for Edges. In exchange, the list of available edges is greatly reduced, limiting it to those that aren’t so advanced, and don’t require players to make lots of calculations or additional decisions during character generation.
- NO POWER POINTS. Remember, this is meant to be furiously fast, so having to worry about power points, especially when choosing an Arcane Background and powers will only slow things down.
Here’s the proposed process:
- INCREASE YOUR ATTRIBUTES: SPEND 5 POINTS, 1 POINT PER INCREASED DIE LEVEL INCREASE.
- CALCULATE STATISTICS.
- CHOOSE YOUR SKILLS: SPEND 12 POINTS, 1 POINT PER DIE LEVEL INCREASE. NOTE STARTING SKILLS IN RED ARE AT D4.
- HINDRANCES: SELECT TWO MAJORS OR ONE MAJOR AND TWO MINORS FROM THE APPROVED LIST.
- EDGES: CHOOSE 2 EDGES FROM THE APPROVED LIST
- POWERS: CHOOSE 1 ARCANE BACKGROUND EDGE FOR POWERS
- ARMOR: PICK 1 ARMOR FROM THE LIST. ADD TO YOUR TOUGHNESS.
- WEAPONS: PICK 2 WEAPONS FROM THE LIST.
- GEAR: WRITE DOWN UP TO 4 KEY THINGS YOU OWN.
- CASH: ROLL 2D4, SUBTRACT THE QTY OF GEAR YOU HAVE AND MULTIPLY BY $100.
- FINISH HER: NAME, DESCRIPTION, RACE, ETC.
You’ll notice that the speed comes mostly from limiting the options a bit, and helping the player not worry about how things affect the rules. To aid that I’ve also created a character sheet that lists all skills, and has some other helpful tweaks.
That’s it. Furiously fast character generation.