Savage Worlds

From Wikipedia (Source of All Truth):

Savage Worlds is an award-winning, universal, generic role-playing game and miniatures wargame, written by Shane Lacy Hensley, and published by Great White Games doing business as Pinnacle Entertainment Group. The game emphasizes speed of play and reduced preparation over realism or detail.

For ease of reference, then Savage Worlds Test Drive rules might be helpful. This is my restatement of the rules.

Savage Worlds is…

  • Fast, Furious & Fun…Quick character generation & action resolution
  • Crunchy & Combat Oriented…King of pulp adventuring, rooted in shadow running & dungeon crawling games.
  • Made to be Skinned…Think game console, not the game.

Savage Worlds is not

  • A story game…it’s not brief, just easier.
  • Turnkey…Because it’s skinnable, you’ll want to tune it to your campaign’s milieu.
  • Option-Minded Friendly…Because it’s skinnable, the terms are generic, limiting options, but enabling flavoring.

Table of Contents




Character Attribute Definition
Attribute Definition Example
Agility (assigned by card)  
Smarts (assigned by card)  
Spirit (assigned by card)  
Strength (assigned by card)  
Vigor (assigned by card)  
Pace 6"  
Parry 2 + 1/2 Fighting die. Fighting d6: 2 + 3 = 5
Toughness 2 + 1/2 Vigor [+ Armor] Vigor d8: 2 + 3 + 2 (chain armor) = Toughness 7


The Skills list


Characters power points are determined by card draw during creation. Points are expended when using powers, and recovered at a rate of one-per-hour (game play?).


This approach uses a deck of standard playing cards, Jokers included. Deal seven cards. Toss one of the cards except for a Joker or a two. Five of the remaining cards are applied to stats, one is applied to your skill pool. If playing with Powers, add a card.

Deck-Driven Character Generation
Card 🃟
🂱 🂾
Ace … King
🂽 🂺
Queen … Ten
🃉 🃈 🃇 🃆 🃅 🃄
Nine … Four
🃃 🃂
Three … Two
Attribute d12 d10 d8 d6 d4
Skill Points 20 18 16 15 13
Power Points 18 15 12 10 6


Each Character receives 1-3 XP per game session. Every five points is an advance (4 advances per Rank). Advances can be spent to:

  • Gain edge
  • Skill Increase
    • One skill if below linked Attribute
    • Two skills if equal or above linked Attribute
    • New skill at d4.
  • Increase Attribute by one die (once per Rank)
Rank by Experience
Rank Novice Seasoned Veteran Heroic Legendary
XPs 0–19 20–39 40–59 60–79 80+

Task Resolution / Combat

Savage Worlds uses dice to determine the outcome, the number of sides depending on the appropriate skill or attribute level. Wild Card (Player, Special Villian) characters roll the appropriate skill die plus one “Wild Die (d6)” per action, and takes the better of the two rolls.

Raise. For four points above the target number, it is a “raise.”

Unskilled Checks. When a character lacks skill for a task, the roll is d4-2.

Unopposed Checks. A player typically rolls “4” or higher on the die for Success in Unopposed checks (after modifier adjustments). (Target Number 4)

Opposed Checks. The target number in an opposed check is the die roll of the opposing character. So, when a defender’s Parry roll is 5, the Target Number is 5.

Acing. Skill checks are open-ended. When a player rolls the highest number possible on a given die (such as an 8 on an eight-sided die), the die may be re-rolled and its result added to the initial roll. A die may continue to Ace as long as the highest die number is rolled.

Bennies. Characters start with three Bennies per session, which allows trait-check re-rolls (not damage, etc.). These are poker chips or other marker as identified by the GM. The GM may reward exceptional player gameplay with a Benny. The GM gets one Benny per session for each PC. Each GM Wild Cards receive 2 Bennies.

Initiative. A standard 54-deck of playing cards determines initiative. Each Wild Card Character receives a card per round, which determines his initiative and those of allies in his control. Each “Troop” (e.g. all zombies, all crickets) receives one card. Geographically separated troops receive different cards. A hero may Hold or wait to see what happens and can act later when he wants. A Held character can interrupt another’s action by winning an Opposed Agility roll.

Initiative order is Ace…Two; Ties broken by Spades (♠), Hearts (♥), Diamonds (♦), Clubs (♣) [SHDC] (reverse alphabetical order)

Melee Combat is an opposed action (Fighting v. Parry). A raise generates d6 more damage. Other characters get a free action against any character withdrawing from melee.

Ranged Combat is an unopposed action (Shooting v. TN-4). Range Adjustment: -2 Medium, -4 Long. Cover: -2 minor/half, -4 for substantial (2/3s) cover. Prone provides minor cover, and costs 2” movement to stand.

Damage is determined by weapon (e.g. Pistol = 2d6 +1). Melee damage adds the Strength die (e.g., Strength + Sword = d8 + d6). Toughness soaks damage, with no effect if Toughness exceeds damage. A character is Shaken when wounded. Each Raise (4pts) above Toughness yields a Wound. Extras are Incapacitated on a Wound, Wild Card Characters (WCC) can take 3 wounds before they risk death. Each Wound is -1 for the injured character’s trait tests.

On the third (and additional) wound, the WCC rolls Vigor unopposed per the Mortal Wound Test table.

Shaken (Spirit v. TN-4 to recover) Characters shaken may only move up to 1/2 their move and perform no other action until they recover

Soaking. Players expending a Benny may soak a Wound on a Vigor roll (v. TN-4) and remain shaken upon success. A player can expend a Benny to recover from being Shaken, even if he just failed a recovery roll.

Mortal Wound Test
Result Effect
Raise Stunned & Shaken
Success Unconscious for 1hr or healed
Failure Bleeding Out and unconscious until healed. Vigor (-3) test per round death on 1- result.

Movement Option: Zones

Lifted from Wil Wheaton’s First Impression of Savage Worlds

An area is broken up into zones, and it costs one movement to go from one to another. If you’re in a zone with an enemy, you can melee, and you figure close/medium/long by counting zones between you and your target. Rogers told me that he puts each zone on an index card, and encourages his players to describe what each zone looks like (for example: in a nightclub, the stage is one zone, the tables another, then the bar, and the balcony. The players describe the area, so they’re building it in their imaginations and making it come to life). This lets you keep track of combat and gives a sense of spatial awareness without making it about minis on a map and counting squares….
Range Melee Thrown Firearms

Ranges are as follows:

  • Melee
  • Close: within the same zone, short range for thrown weapons
  • Short: One zone over. Medium range for thrown weapons, short for things like flintlock pistols and sawed-off shotguns.
  • Medium: 2 zones away. Short range for Pistols
  • Long: 4 zones, short range for rifles.
© 2013 Ben Wilson. All Rights Reserved