Race Overhaul & Work in Progress

•January 28, 2015 • Leave a Comment

As seen on Monday night, I have finished the racial outlines for what I’m calling Savage Legends 3.0. At this time, due to the nature of the content, I will not be publishing this to the blog but any of my players can message me for a Dropbox link to the PDF.

Next to get “the treatment” will be Edges & Hindrances, and then Magic.

Stealing from the best

•January 22, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Some twenty years ago I was lucky enough to see an early draft of HERO System rules for the world of Shaintar, by Sean Patrick Fannon. At the time I was blown away by how the tools of HERO had been used to arrive at a unique and flexible magic system.

So I stole it.

Adapting the system to my own world led to some of our more memorable moments – Jason’s spellweaver tunneling out of the goblin caves is just one.

So now that I want to reforge the Savage Legends setting, I have once again turned to Shaintar. The ways in which Sean has adapted Savage Worlds to his vision of epic high fantasy are truly inspiring, but do not appreciably detract from the simplicity and elegance of the core rules.

So I’m going to steal it again.

I picked up both of the Player’s Guides from DriveThruRPG (available as Pay What You Want PDF) and I will be using them as inspiration for the upcoming revision. I highly recommend picking them up.

Shaintar: Legends Arise covers play from Novice to Veteran.
Shaintar: Legends Unleashed covers Heroic and Legendary play.


•January 21, 2015 • 2 Comments

Ha! Didn’t see this coming, did you?

While you all have been exploring the Ninth World of Numenera and enjoying the new system, I have been hard at work brainstorming what I want to do with the Three Pillars. I have big things planned. Big, earthshattering, important things.

Which I will not tell you about.

With that in mind, I think I need to move Savage Legends closer to the core rules with regards to spell casting. I can hear the cries of, “Noooooo! Not more changes. What will become of my character now?”

Trust me, I hear you. Your pain is invigorating to me.

So what does this mean? It means I am thinking of reorganising the magic system to use Power Points. This will entail a rewrite of the Grimoire (although most of the spells will remain the same); a change to the current affinity system that requires a new spell for each affinity’s version (eg: bolt (Fire) and bolt (Earth) will be two separate spells); some new Edges or changes to existing ones; and a change the racial advantages of Elves and Dwarves.

Before I embark on this endeavor, let me know what you think. Do you support this move or not, and why?

Savage Legends: Clarifications

•August 4, 2014 • 1 Comment

No new rules or tweaks today, just a clarification on a spell: Entangle.


I was correct about the roll to escape being unopposed. Further, the roll to cast is opposed by the target’s Agility.

The correct process is:

  • Cast spell, rolling Channel.
  • Target(s) roll Agility to resist spell.
  • Targets that fail by less than 4 have -2 to Strength & Agility linked skills (skills only, not the Attribute itself) and -2 Pace.
  • Targets that fail by 4 or more are fully restrained.
  • Targets may, as their action, roll Strength OR Agility to escape. This roll requires a 4 to succeed

Don’t forget that there is nothing preventing an affected target from taking multiple action penalties to act after they have broken out.

Example: A black blood beserk is partially restrained by the entangle spell. The storyteller declares that the beserk will attempt to break free, move 6″ and attack the caster. The roll to break free is at -2 (MAP). He rolls his Strength of d10 (+2 for being beserk, -2 for MAP), scoring a 6. He can now move his full pace and attack at -2 (MAP). If he had failed to escape, his Pace would only be 4 thus negating the attack even though he had already paid the MAP.

Any questions?

Savage Legends: Tweaks

•July 30, 2014 • 4 Comments

Point The First

I have been giving some thought to a player suggestion that the racial casting bonuses for Elves and Dwarves change to +2 versus penalties, rather than a straight +2 bonus. I think there is serious merit to this idea, not only from a balance viewpoint but also for mechanical simplicity (one of my design principles), since it then has the same effect as the Natural Power Edge (and stacks with it).

I am going to let the current part of the chapter play out – a few more sessions – before deciding whether to make this change or not. There may be implications beyond how effective a character is at casting spells – can anyone else think of any?

Point The Second

Bolt, in earlier versions of Savage Worlds, allowed the character to combine the extra damage option with the multiple bolt option. This is how it is currently in Savage Legends (at Veteran, an adept may cast 3 2d8 bolts for a -1 casting penalty and a greater chance of rolling a 1 on the casting die).

This option has been removed in the current version of Savage Worlds – 1 bolt at 2d8 or up to 3 bolts at 2d6. We will be following suit. Since this does not affect any current character the change is effective immediately. Casters who wish to inflict higher damage on multiple targets will need to invest in burst, blast or prolonged blast.

Point The Third

Remind me when you feel you have effectively played your Hindrances. I’ll give you a Fate Token (benny). The Hindrance must, at the very least, have caused inconvenience to your character or the party to count.

Example: Being greedy and looting the bodies before helping injured comrades probably does not count, although that is playing your Hindrance. Jealously stealing the gold ring (the one that whispers to you about setting fire to the ship) and refusing to let anyone else look at it because it’s yours (your precioussss…) – that would probably get you a token.

I have a lot on my plate when I’m running a game and will often forget this kind of thing – so speak up.

No you don’t get to keep those from session to session.

Savage Legends: Errata coming.

•July 16, 2014 • 6 Comments

Some minor changes will take place before we start up the campaign in earnest, due to player feedback last week.


Elemental Form: Casting penalty increased to -2, bringing it into line with most other Veteran level spells. While the caster does retain their own Traits, Edges, etc, they do not have the ability to cast their own spells while in elemental form. Why? Mainly because it makes the spell rather more powerful than it should be, although a case can be made that a character in elemental form would not have the proper connection to his companion spirits and could not summon their aid (cast spells) until his normal form is restored.

Elemental Manipulation: When used to perform a Trick, the casting roll replaces the Agility or Smarts roll. It is subject to all appropriate casting penalties and will not benefit from Edges that enhance Agility or Smarts based rolls. Why? Making two rolls for an action that normally requires one is clunky. This gives the spell, which is basically a cantrip, some more utility


Sling: Increased range to match a bow, which is much closer to being historically accurate. Damage remains the same, although using lead bullets gives the sling AP 1. Bullets are generally only available in town size settlements or larger. Although this makes slings a much more viable choice for a ranged fighter, they are only culturally appropriate for Surayans or the natives of the Savage Coast.

Short Spear / Javelin: Research has given me a more appropriate set of range brackets of 5/10/15. The weapon, as written, represents a weighted spear that can be thrown at close range to disrupt an enemy formation before closing to melee range. The medium range bracket is more than the normal pace for an attacker, and the long range is more than running distance without an ace, so this allows for stand off skirmish tactics. While I am aware that longer ranges are possible using specialised javelins or spear-throwing devices, I do not intend to include them in the game.


That is it for now, but stay posted. Amended documents, where needed, will be up by the end of the week.

Grimoire Balance

•July 10, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I have found time to make a balance pass on the spell lists. Here is a new version of the Savage Grimoire (PDF)

Here are the details:


  • Changed: Entangle now has a fixed duration.
  • Changed: Banish to remove the limitations on what can be affected by each Sphere.


  • New spell: By Pain Reforged (Novice) that increases the character’s Wild Die as they become wounded.
  • New spell: Haze (Seasoned) that causes the terrain near the caster to become difficult.
  • Added: Deflection
  • Added: Fatigue
  • Added: Negate Arcana
  • Added: Banish
  • Added: Glyph


  • New Spell: Warp (Seasoned) that lowers the Toughness of inanimate objects, buildings or vehicles.
  • Changed: Boost/Lower Trait is now At Will for Chaos casters.
  • Changed: Precognition is now At Will.
  • Added: Prolonged Blast
  • Added: Becalm
  • Added: Luck/Jinx


  • Removed: Fatigue
  • Removed: Banish
  • Removed: Bladebreaker
  • Removed: Animate War Tree
  • Removed: Bridge
  • Removed: Glyph
  • Removed: Voice on the Wind


The Affinities are not all equal – some are more populated than others – and are likely to remain that way.

The breakdown of spells by Sphere is much closer to being equal:

  • Arcane has 37 spells. 14 At Will, 13 Encounter and 10 Daily (Up from 30, with a 14/9/7 split).
  • Chaos has 37 spells. 12 At Will, 15 Encounter and 10 Daily (Up from 32, with a 10/16/6 split).
  • Creation has 40 spells. 14 At Will, 12 Encounter and 14 Daily (Down from 47, with a 15/14/18 split)
  • Order has 37 spells. 13 At Will, 11 Encounter and 13 Daily (Unchanged).



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