May 16th, 2011 | 14 Comments
Here are the rules for my 4 attribute version of Savage Worlds.
Reasons for this house rule:
First of all, in a mechanical sense, I don’t think that it’s very balanced to make a character who is tough and brawny have to raise twice the number of attributes over a character who wants to be smart and witty (smarts), resolute and Inspiring (spirit), or fast and nimble (agility). Agility, smarts and Spirit are for some reason far more general than Vigor and Strength, and this seems to make a brawny character far less optimal than a character based on the more general attributes. Further more there is only one skill based on Strength and none based on vigor, meaning that if you choose to specialize in vigor and strength in character creation, your skills will be substantially less than other concepts as you will be paying much more for higher levels of skills than the other concepts (because strong people are naturally stupid/clumsy?). The gain from having a high strength and vigor is substantially less than having high skills , so that means that the concept as a whole is less effective than any other concept having to do with Agility, Smarts or Spirit.
Not even the concept of the brawny character as a combat monster holds up, as an agile combatant will be more able to deal more physical damage in both hand to hand and ranged combat due to higher hit percentages, as well as take less damage due to a higher probability of not being hit, the smarts based and spirit based characters with the intimidate and taunt skills will have more of an effect upon combat than the brawny character, who has a lower chance of doing anything. To add insult to injury, for the majority of enemies (extras), you only need to do one wound to put them down, meaning that for the most part the extra damage a strong character can do will be wasted.
This all adds up to a Strong tough character becoming a very poor mechanical choice.
In a fluff sense, Strong characters should be very viable combatants. That is why they have weight classes in the UFC and boxing, strong combatants tend to dominate. this is the exact opposite of that will happen mechanically in savage worlds, as the agile combatant has a huge advantage over the poor lumbering strongman. If this were the case, they would have weight classes just to make sure that the 105 lb fighters didn’t continually beat up the 345 lb guys! Now, I recognize that combat is very situational, and there are times when smaller guys have beaten larger guys, but in a general sense, the larger combatant has the advantage, rather than the other way around as we see in savage worlds.
Lets also look at what vigor and strength represent.
• Strength is raw physical power and general fitness. Strength is also used togenerate your warrior’s damage in hand-to-hand combat.
• Vigor represents endurance, resistance to disease, poison, or toxins, and how much pain and physical damage a hero can shakeoff.
Now, as a fitness instructor, I will tell you that endurance and resistance to disease/toxins is DIRECTLY linked to fitness. period. it is nigh impossible without someone being a genetic freak to have one without the other.
In order to back my self up, so I don’t look like a complete douchebag here is a good report on the matter with over 30 references to actual studies published in scientific and medical journals. I give this to you rather than the abstracts of 30 studies because it is written in a very readable way for the layman, and if you really feel like you want to, you can look up the abstracts yourself from the references.
I have read the abstracts of many of these that pertain to my work, notably U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. Leisure-time physical activity among adults: United States, 1997-98. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, 2002. and Kaplan GAA, Strawbridge WJ, Cohen RD, et al. Natural history of leisure-time physical activity and its correlates: Associations with mortality from all causes and cardiovascular diseases over 28 years. Am J Epid 144(8):793-97. 1996.
In a nutshell, the report says that resistance to disease and general heath is directly linked to physical fitness. This means that you would not reasonably have a d12 vigor and d4 of strength, or vice versa, without some form of supernatural or mechanical support, both of which would be edges, not attributes. So having the two concepts be unlinked attributes does not make any real sense in a physical/biological point of view.
Modifications to character creation:
Every character starts with a d4 in each attribute, and has 5 points with which to raise
them. Raising a d4 to a d6, for example, costs 1 point. You’re free to spend these points however you want with one exception: no attribute may be raised above a d12.
• Agility is your hero’s nimbleness, quickness, and dexterity.
• Smarts is a measure of how well your character knows his world and culture, how well he thinks on his feet, and mental agility.
• Spirit reflects inner wisdom and willpower. Spirit is very important as it helps your character recover from being rattled when injured.
• Vigor represents endurance, resistance to disease, poison, or toxins, and general fitness. Vigor is also used to generate your warrior’s damage in hand-to- hand combat as well as how much pain and physical damage a hero can shake off.
Additional Derived Statistic
Strength is raw physical power and is equal to your vigor die type/2. This is used to determine damage in hand to hand combat, but it also used by certain edges.
For vigor such as d12+1, simply add the fixed modifier. For instance, a Vigor of d12+1 grants a Strength of 7, whereas a d12+2 gives a Strength of 8.
Modification to edges, hindrances and skills:
pg 8 Climbing is now linked with vigor. replace “During combat, characters ascend at half their Strength per round if using ropes or with decent hand- or footholds.” with “During combat, characters ascend at half their Vigor per round if using ropes or with decent hand- or footholds.”
Berserk pg 21
Replace “he adds +2 to all Fighting and Strength rolls (including melee damage)” with “he adds +2 to all Fighting rolls and gains a +1 bonus to strength”
Brawny pg 21 replace “In addition, your hero can carry more than most proportional to his Strength. He can carry 8 times his Strength in pounds without penalty instead of the usual 5 times his Strength.” with “In addition, your hero can carry more than most proportional to his Strength. He can carry 16 times his Strength in pounds without penalty instead of the usual 10 times his Strength.”
Sweep pg 25
Replace “Requirements: Novice, Strength d8+, Fighting d8+ ” with “Requirements: Novice, Vigor d8+, Fighting d8+”
Acrobat pg 28 Replace “Requirements: Novice, Agility d8+, Strength d6+” with “Requirements: Novice, Agility d8+, Vigor d6+”
Champion pg 29 Replace “Requirements: Novice, Arcane Background (Miracles), Spirit d8+, Strength d6+, Vigor d8+, Faith d6+, Fighting d8+” with “Requirements: Novice, Arcane Background (Miracles), Spirit d8+, Vigor d8+, Faith d6+, Fighting d8+”
Character Creation Summary: pg 38
Replace “Your hero starts with a d4 in each attribute, and has 5 points with which to raise them.” with “Your hero starts with a d4 in each attribute, and has 4 points with which to raise them.”
Replace Replace “Strength” with “Vigor” for the linked attribute to climbing
page 16 Elderly (Major)
Replace “his Strength and Vigor drop a die type to a minimum of d4, and cannot be raised thereafter.” with “his Strength is reduced by one and his Vigor drops a die type to a minimum of d4, and cannot be raised thereafter.”
Pg 38 Replace ” –1 to Strength and Vigor die types;” under the elderly hindrance to ” ” –1 to Strength and -1 to Vigor die type;”
Damage: Pg 42 replace the entire section with the following text
“Damage: Damage is listed in terms of dice. Projectile weapons have fixed damage (such as 2d6). Melee weapons have damage based on the wielder’s Strength plus another die, as listed under individual weapon entries. A dagger, for instance, inflicts Str+1d4 damage. (We’ll discuss this in detail later on.) A character whose Strength x 2 is lower than the weapon die can use the weapon, but there are penalties. First, the weapon die can’t be higher than his Strength x 2. So if a scrawny kid (2 Str) picks up a long sword (d8), he rolls 2+d4 damage, not 2+d8. A brawny hero with Str 5 rolls 5+d8 when using the same long sword. Second, if the Strength x 2 isn’t at least equal to the weapon die, the attacker doesn’t get any of the weapon’s inherent bonuses, such as +1 Parry or Reach. He still retains any penalties, however (like –1 Parry). If a weapon has a damage listed as Str+d8+2, for instance, then the minimum Strength the wielder must have is 4. The +2 or whatever, merely indicates the weapon is more lethal than other Str+d8 varieties (typically because it is magical or enhanced in some way).
Encumbrance: Pg 43 Replace the entire encumbrance sidebar with the following
A character can carry ten times his Strength in pounds without incurring any penalties. This is called his “Load Limit.” A character with a Strength of 4, for example, can comfortably carry 40 pounds. (Ignore normal clothes when figuring weight.) Carrying too much weight inflicts a –1 penalty for every additional multiple of your Load Limit. The penalty applies to all Agility and Vigor totals, as well as skills linked to either of those two attributes. A hero with 4 Strength, for example, has a Load Limit of 40 pounds. He can carry 41-80 pounds at a –1 penalty to his Strength, Agility, and related skill rolls. He could also carry 81-120 pounds at –2, or 121-160 pounds at –3. Characters cannot regularly carry weight that inflicts a penalty of more than –3. They may be able to lift greater weights (up to a –4 penalty) for a few short steps at the discretion of the GM, however.
Minimum Strength: pg 49, 53
Replace all references to a die type for weapon minimum strength to a number equal to half the die type. (d6=3)
Battle suit pg 44
Replace “It increases Strength by one die type, adds +2 to Pace” With “It adds +1 to Strength and +2 to Pace”
Heavy suit: Pg 45
Replace “They subtract 2 from Pace and boost Strength by two die types.” with “They subtract 2 from Pace and boost Strength by +2.”
Opposed rolls Pg 57 “Replace “Strength” with “Vigor”
Cooperative rolls PG. 57 Replace “Strength” with “Vigor”
Jumping Pg. 62 Replace “A successful Strength roll grants one extra inch of distance.” with “A successful Vigor roll grants one extra inch of distance.”
Fighting pg 63 Replace “Example: Buck slices at a croc with his machete and hits with a raise. He makes a Strength roll and adds +d6 for the machete. Then he adds +1d6 to the total for his raise.” With “Example: Buck slices at a croc with his machete and hits with a raise. He rolls d6 for the machete and adds his Strength. Then he adds +1d6 to the total for his raise.”
Breaking Things Pg 65 Replace “don’t count bonuses from raises on the attack roll, nor Aces (even on Strength rolls in melee).” with “don’t count bonuses from raises on the attack roll, nor Aces (even on damage rolls in melee).”
Replace “This keeps characters from shattering swords with a feather and a lucky Strength roll.” with “This keeps characters from shattering swords with a feather and a lucky damage roll.”
Disarm pg 67 Replace “The defender must then make a Strength roll. If the roll is less than the damage, he drops his weapon. ” with “The defender must then make a Vigor roll. If the roll is less than the damage, he drops his weapon. “
Grappling pg 68 Replace “Both the defender and attacker pick either their Strength or Agility and then an opposed roll
is made. ” with “Both the defender and attacker pick either their Vigor or Agility and then an opposed roll
is made. “
Damage: pg 74 Replace “Hand weapons do damage equal to the attacker’s Strength die plus a second die, which depends on the weapon (a long sword, for instance, is a d8) and whether the wielder meets the minimum Strength requirement. An unarmed combatant rolls only his Strength die. ” with “Hand weapons do damage equal to the attacker’s Strength plus a die, which depends on the weapon (a long sword, for instance, is a d8) and whether the wielder meets the minimum Strength requirement. An unarmed combatant applies his Strength+2. “
TAPPY’S NOTE: This may seem like it will make unarmed combat between someone with a strength lower than an opponents toughness an automatic loss, but I don’t really think so. First of all, relative strength to toughness rations SHOULD have an monumental effect on unarmed combat. That is why a knife fight is SO much more deadly than a fist fight. second of all, There are two options for the weaker combatant verses a stronger combatant. First, there are called shots to the head or vitals, giving you a +4 to damage, and then you can get a raise on your attack roll, giving you +d6 to your damage. So a very skilled str 2 combatant has the ability to do 8+d6 damage, which should be able to beat the toughness of even the burliest of enemies (if not, RUN!). This does mean that if the PC has a Strength lower than the opponents toughness the PC must be an exceptionally skilled unarmed fighter, but that is the desired effect. I have mentioned my annoyance several times in the podcast about how in RPG’s smaller, faster combatants wipe the floor with larger stronger opponents, and I that this rule helps balance out that discrepancy without completely hosing the fast fighter.
FURTHER TAPPY NOTE: The reason that unarmed combat is Str+2 is to put it on a general parity with Toughness when attacking unarmed, but weapon damage isn’t increased to a level that is too high.
Injury table pg 76 under “guts 5-9” replace “5-6 Busted: Strength reduced a die type (min d4).” with “5-6 Busted: Strength reduced by 1”
Attack options: pg 79 under “grappling” Replace “Defender makes opposed Strength or Agility to break free (any other action made at –4); ” with “Defender makes opposed Vigor or Agility to break free (any other action made at –4);”
Entangle: Pg 80 Under “trappings” replace all references to Strength with Vigor.
Shape Change pg 93 replace “He gains the animal’s Agility and Strength and linked skills” With “”He gains the animal’s Strength, Agility and Vigor and linked skills”
Telekinesis pg 94 under “Lifting Creatures” Replace “Occasionally a victim might manage to grab onto something solid to prevent itself from being lifted. When this happens, the victim may make an opposed Strength roll versus the caster’s arcane skill.” with ” “Occasionally a victim might manage to grab onto something solid to prevent itself from being lifted. When this happens, the victim may make an opposed Vigor roll versus the caster’s arcane skill.”
Under “Telekinetic Weapons” replace “A caster can use telekinesis to wield a weapon. When this occurs, the weapon’s Fighting is equal to his arcane skill, and its damage is based on the caster’s Spirit instead of his Strength. A sword that does Strength+d6 damage, for example, does Spirit+d6 when wielded by telekinesis. The weapon otherwise functions normally, including granting bonus damage when it strikes with a raise.” with “A caster can use telekinesis to wield a weapon. When this occurs, the weapon’s Fighting is equal to his arcane skill, the caster uses his (Spirit/2) in place of strength. A sword that does Strength+d6 damage, for example, does (Spirit/2)+d6 when wielded by telekinesis. The caster’s (Spirit/2) must meet the minimum strength requirements for the weapon or else suffer the usual penalties. The weapon otherwise functions normally, including granting bonus damage when it strikes with a raise.”
Under “Dropping Things” replace “Victims who are bashed into walls or other solid objects suffer the caster’s Spirit+d6 as damage. If a caster with a d12 Spirit smashes an orc into a wall, for example, the orc suffers d12+d6 damage.” with “Victims who are bashed into walls or other solid objects suffer the caster’s (Spirit/2)+d6 as damage. If a caster with a d12 Spirit smashes an orc into a wall, for example, the orc suffers 6+d6 damage.”
Horse, Riding pg 97 Remove “Strength d12” from the attributes line and add “Strength 6” after Toughness 8
Horse, War Pg 97 Remove “Strength d12+2” from the attributes line and add “Strength 8” after Toughness 10
Soldiers Pg 99 Remove “Strength d6” from the attributes line and add “Strength 3” after Toughness 5
Experienced soldiers Pg 99 Remove “Strength d8” from the attributes line and add “Strength 4” after Toughness 6
Heat pg 106 Replace “An Incapacitated character suffers heat stroke, and may suffer brain damage. Make a second Vigor roll when the character becomes Incapacitated. If that roll is failed, the victim’s Smarts and Strength decrease by one step permanently (to a minimum of d4).” with “An Incapacitated character suffers heat stroke, and may suffer brain damage. Make a second Vigor roll when the character becomes Incapacitated. If that roll is failed, the victim’s Smarts and Vigor decrease by one step permanently (to a minimum of d4).”
Gargantuan Pg 141 Replace “These creatures can also bring their immense weight to bear when moving over creatures or obstacles. Add their Size to their Strength roll when doing so, but subtract the Size of their foe as well.” With “”These creatures can also bring their immense weight to bear when moving over creatures or obstacles. Add their Size to their Strength when doing so, but subtract the Size of their foe as well.”
Replace “Example: Donga, the giant ape of the Red Men in 50 Fathoms, steps on a giant spider (Size 5). His Strength is d12+12, and his Size is 12, so his base damage when stepping on the spider is d12+24 damage. Subtracting the spider’s Size of 5 gives him Str+19 damage. The spider has a Toughness of 11, so it’s very likely squished.” with “Example: Donga, the giant ape of the Red Men in 50 Fathoms, steps on a giant spider (Size 5). His Strength is 20, and his Size is 12, so his base damage when stepping on the spider is 34 damage. Subtracting the spider’s Size of 5 gives him 29 damage. The spider has a Toughness of 11, so it’s squished.”
Strength pg 143-144 Replace the entire section with “Strength is a Derived Trait, not a special ability, but because very large creatures exceed the normal human range of (Vigor/2), you might need a little more information when creating your own creatures. Creatures of human or lesser Strength should be expressed as their (Vigor/2), as you think appropriate. Stronger creatures, such as gorillas, ogres, and so on, have (vigor/2) plus a bonus. The bonus depends on how strong the creature is and how well it can use that strength in combat. Just as with humans, there is variation within each species, however. A mother gorilla may have a Strength 7 (Vigor d12/2+1), while its much larger mate has a Strength of 9(Vigor d12/2+3). Here’s a quick comparison to help you figure out what strength creatures of your own creation should have.
Creature Bonus to Strength
Gorilla, bear, ogre +1 to +3
Rhino, Great White +3 to +6
Elephant, drake, T-rex +5 to +8
Dragon +9 to +12
Bestiary Pg, 145-159 Remove the Strength Attribute of each creature and add a Strength Derived Statistic of (Vigor/2) after the Toughness Derived Statistic. If the creature has a Strength Attribute of d12+x where x is a positive integer, the creatures Strength Derived Statistic is equal to (Vigor/2)+X.
Bear,Large pg 145 under Bear Hug replace “The opponent may only attempt to escape the “hug” on his action, which requires a raise on an opposed Strength roll.” with “The opponent may only attempt to escape the “hug” on his action, which requires a raise on an opposed vigor roll.”
You are Large for your race, for humans this would mean that you might be somewhere between 6’3” to 6’8” tall and weigh in between 230 and 300 lbs. Add +1 to your size.
Requirements: Agility d6, Vigor d6 Novice
You are composed of almost no fat, but instead sinewy ropes of muscle. Your improved Strength to mass ratio gives you an extra +1 to strength and +2 to your running die
Requirements: Novice, Vigor d8
You are genetically predisposed to a higher ratio of fast twitch muscle to slow twitch muscle. This grants you a +1 to strength, and +2 to vigor rolls to jump.
Requirements: Novice, Large,
You are Frikken HUGE! For humans this would put you somewhere in the realm of 6’6” and 7’6” and weigh somewhere in the realm of 350-400 lbs. add an additional +1 to your size
Requirements, Fighting d8, Smarts d6, Vigor d6, Seasoned
You know the ins and outs of dirty fighting, and can easily target the weakest parts of the body when fighting barehanded. When making an unarmed attack, targeting the head or Vitals only levies a -2 penatly to your roll rather than a -4.
Requirements – Fighting d10, Agility d10, Vigor d6, Veteran
Your bare hands are lethal weapons. This may be due to your special fist strengthening Regimen, a secret Chi technique, or just goo, old fashioned fighting ability. Your unarmed strikes to Str+d4 damage, instead of str+2, and you are never considered to be unarmed for the purposes of melee combat.
TAPPY’S NOTE: This may seem like this edge isn’t too good, but it significantly increases your chance to stun or damage a foe with your unarmed combat. in normal unarmed combat, without a raise or a called shot you cannot damage a foe with the same vigor as yours or higher (basically increasing the opponent’s defense by 4). With this edge, you can threaten a foe with the same vigor, as you can now ace with unarmed combat, which is a huge advantage, even though 25% of the time, your damage will be lower than without this edge.
Written by Tappy
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