Savage Worls is easy to learn, simple to play and it can be adjusted to almost any type of setting you desire.


The system can be lethal for player characters, and many of the games that were first released like Rippers are now out of print.

Full Review

Anyone who's been an avid player of role playing games knows that there are two, basic systems that dominate tabletop rpg's. The first is the d20 system, used popularly by Wizards of the Coast's "Dungeons and Dragons" and the upstart "Pathfinder Chronicles" by Paizo Publishing. The other popular system is the d10 White Wolf system used throughout the World of Darkness for games like "Vampire: the Requiem" and "Changeling: the Lost." However, gamers can quickly tire of the same old same old, and one gamer got so tired that he created his own, simplified gaming system that you can use to play any type of game your heart desires while at the same time keeping the action fast and the rules easy. This is the Savage Worlds roleplaying system.

Like any good role playing game, Savage Worlds has a self-titled base book. It's small, thin and an easy read. All you need to play any Savage Worlds game is a single set of usual dice, minus the 20 sided dodecahedron most commonly used in fantasy gaming. The system, simply explained, is that you have a set of attributes and a set of skills. Each ability or skill is tied to a single die type, and the higher that die type, the better you are. For instance, someone with a d4 strength is fairly weak, while someone with a d10 or d12 strength is a colossus of physical might. The scale is the same for every skill and attribute, a d4 to a d12. Whenever you need to make a check you roll the level of die that skill or attribute is tied to and violla, you have your result. Average success is a 4, though that can change depending on rules.

Now, the system also has a mechanic for extraordinary successes and failures. You, as a player, will always roll a 6 sided die along with whatever attribute or skill die you're rolling to represent that your character, as a player character is special (it's called a Wild Card in game terms). So you roll your dice, and you take the best result. However, if any die comes up at it's maximum number (4 for a d4, 6 for a d6, etc.) then that die explodes. That means you roll it again, adding the next number to your roll. You keep rolling every time you roll the maximum, and you do it for either die that you're rolling (though you don't add them together). This allows for moments of heroic triumph that anyone can have in these games. However, if both dice come up a 1, commonly called Snake Eyes, then you have critically fumbled, and thus screwed up so bad that the storyteller will inflict negative circumstances upon you.

There you have it, the basics of the entire system explained in 2 paragraphs! This system is simple, and it can be used to run games of almost any feel. For instance, there's a horror-themed Wild West game called Deadlands Reloaded(see a review at, a Super Villain themed game called Necessary Evil, and a Victorian dark fantasy game called Rippers. All of them use the same rules with only minor, cosmetic changes. It's simple, fun and easy, though Savage Worlds can also be a very lethal game for player characters.

In Closing

No matter how great a role playing game system is, or how amazing the setting, what will make or break the game is the players. Great players can save a horrible game, and horrible players can ruin even the best game.