Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Savage Scrolls: Elder Scrolls Savage Worlds Hack

I've been playing around with a few things, and, while I've managed to land a freelance job converting some material to Savage Worlds, I've also done my own thing. In this case, a Savage Worlds hack of the Elder Scrolls series of games, below the cut.

For the most part, I have based this on Skyrim and, to a lesser extent, Oblivion and Morrowind, as these are the best known of the games these days. I did hearken back to Daggerfall for some things, and relied heavily on the Unofficial Elder Scrolls Pages and Elder Scrolls Wiki to create useful and usable PnP rules. They don't slavishly reproduce Skyrim, but seek to make Tamriel work like a PnP game world.

Economy: The base unit of currency is the Septim, or gold. “Septims” have been produced by the Empire and its predecessors for centuries, if not millennia, and generally have a fairly standard value; some rare coins might be overweight, but most don’t bother, unless the coin shows signs of having been modified. For simplicity’s sake, prices are largely as outlined in the Savage Worlds Deluxe Edition for medieval weapons, armor, and mundane items.
Special materials and construction are very common in the world of Tamriel. These materials affect the cost and usefulness of the item, but are much harder to work; they increase the Target Number of any Repair checks to create or modify the item.

Target Number
Weapon Effect
Armor Effect
May hit creatures unaffected by normal weapons.
+1 to Fighting and Shooting Skills
+1 to Parry

+1 to AP
-1 to AP
+1 to Damage
-1 to AP
+1 to Fighting and Shooting skills, +1 to damage
+1 to parry
+1 to AP and Damage
-2 to AP
+1 to Fighting and Shooting skills, +1 to AP and Damage
+2 to Parry, -2 to AP
+1 to Fighting and Shooting skills, +1 to AP and Damage
+1 to Parry, -2 to AP
*35 (if dragons are active)

Magic: Savage Scrolls has no Arcane Backgrounds; everyone is capable of learning and using magical skills if they wish. There are three magical skills: Spellcasting, Alchemy, and Enchanting. Enchanting and Alchemy are based on Smarts, while Spellcasting is based on Spirit. These skills must be trained in order to be used.
Everyone has Magicka (power points) for Spellcasting equal to their Spirit die size, plus any bonuses from edges; neither Alchemy nor Enchanting rely on one’s innate Magicka. Magicka returns at a rate of 1 point per 10 minutes when active, or 1 point per five minutes when resting.
Powers must be learned for Enchanting and Spellcasting, while effects for Alchemy are based on available components. Learning new powers for Enchanting or Spellcasting requires having at least a d4 in that skill, and is equivalent to spending a skill point, not acquiring an edge. There is no limit to the number of spells that may be learned. Powers learned for Spellcasting are not automatically available for Enchanting, and vice versa; they are separate effects.

Spellcasting is largely unchanged from the standard Savage World use of Arcane spells. Spellcasting is rolled, Magicka is spent, and spells may be maintained as per normal. Spells with different trappings are counted as different spells; Acid Blast is a different spell than Lightning Blast, for example.

Alchemy requires alchemical reagents, gathered from the wild or from opponents. Knowing what constitutes an alchemical ingredient requires an Alchemy check. Each Raise on the check reveals an additional Alchemical property of an item. However, these raises are not cumulative; while success will reveal that it is, indeed, suitable for use in alchemy, it would require either a single check with 4 raises or significant experimentation to learn all properties of an item with four properties.
Once alchemical reagents have been identified, they must be harvested, requiring a second alchemy check. A single raise on this check means that no supplies were expended, but a second raise allows a second reagent to be harvested from a single source. This harvesting requires an alchemical kit; not only to gather the reagent, but to have someplace to store the reagents once harvested (you didn’t think you could walk around indefinitely with a pocket full of raw giant toes, did you?). Harvesting may take one to ten minutes. Harvested ingredients can be used for “wortcraft”, providing a bonus to activities involving their most basic effects; while a healing potion is far more effective, wortcraft with a healing herb can add +1 to Healing skill, provided a successful Alchemy skill roll is made; each raise on the Alchemy roll adds another +1.
Lastly, creating an alchemical mixture requires an alchemical lab, including such tools as a mortar and pestle, a retort, a calcinator, scales, calipers, and an alembic, as well as an array of potion bottles and pouches for powders. A final Alchemy check creates the potion, oil, or dust, with each raise adding one power point, acting as a raise on the spellcasting roll, or allowing the potion to be created without sacrificing a use of the lab. Exactly how the power manifests is decided at the creation of the item; if your Invisibility potion is made with a single raise, it can provide another round of duration, or it can produce enough for a two potions (an additional target), or it did not require any expendable materials from your lab. If it were made with two raises, then two of those effects might be chosen. A Smite oil made with a raise might produce a single vial of +4 damage, or two vials of +2 damage oil. A single alchemy check requires ten minutes per point of power required by the base spell (before bonus points for raises are considered).
An alchemical kit costs 50 septims, with a weight of 2. Each kit has 10 “uses”, but a raise on the gathering Alchemy check means no use is expended. When a kit is fully expended, it must be replenished, for 10 septims; it can be replenished early for 1 septim per use, of course, and additional uses can be purchased in advance. Each use above the base 10 weighs and additional 1/10.
An alchemical lab requires 200 septims, with a weight of 5. A typical lab has 10 “uses”, with each use requiring 4 septims to replace. Some alchemists will purchase “uses” in bulk, allowing them to go longer between replenishing. Each use above the base 10 has a weight of ⅕.

Enchanting is based on Soul Gems. Soul Gems are filled through the Soul Trap spell. When an object is enchanted, it must be provided with a single soul gem with enough Magicka to enact its power. The souls of most creatures yield the total Magicka of their dice for Agility, Vigor, Strength, Smarts, Spirit, and Spellcasting, as well as the creature’s own reserve of Magicka. The more common White Soul Gems may contain any soul of those Animal Intelligence, as well as undead, daedra, and atronach (elementals). Black Soul Gems are needed to contain any other sentient. Black Soul gems are also frequently illegal, or at least viewed with suspicion.
Enchanted items consume Magicka when used, as required the spells they produce. Those spells are precisely defined at creation; if a ring provides invisibility, it provides invisibility for a certain number of turns per activation. This number of turns cannot be changed after the item is created. The Magicka for the item comes from the soul that empowers it. When an enchanted item is out of charge, it may be recharged using a full Soul Gem. The transfer requires an Enchanting check; on a raise, the donating soul gem can be reused. However, a soul gem is used in its entirety, regardless of how much was required… if originally enchanted with a 10 Magicka soul gem, that is the most the item will ever hold. Refilling it with a 100 Magicka soul gem will refill it and exhaust the 100 magicka soul gem.
Most enchanted items do not require a skill check to use; activating a Silence spell on your boots is usually a matter of simply willing it to happen (requiring an action, but nothing more). Most weapon-based enchantments simply activate as part of striking with the weapon; if you hit with your Smite-enchanted sword, the Smite activates in that moment; your damage will be increased for however many rounds the enchantment is active, so long as the soul gem has enough Magicka to empower the spell. Items that create a touch-range combat effect are activated by Fighting. Ranged combat spells (such as wands and staves) are activated with Shooting. Any raises on activation skills do not affect the efficacy of their associated powers.
Enchanting is not simply a matter of smushing a soul gem onto an item; it requires careful preparation, which requires various reagents, inks, powders, and other materials. Producing an enchanted item requires 50 septims per point of the associated power; it is just as expensive to enchant a 1 point power with a 50 point magicka reserve as it is to enchant a 1 point power with a 10 point magicka reserve. Many enchanters prefer to create an enchanting altar, at a cost of 1000 septims, allowing them to forgo some of the reagents. This reduces the cost of enchanting an item to 40 septims per point of the associated power. Enchanting also requires one hour per point of the associated power (including its full cost), or thirty minutes per point of power if using a prepared altar. “Loose” enchanting reagents (not associated with an altar) weigh 1 per point of power. An altar itself weighs 70, so not too many people haul one with them.
Enchanted items usually sell for 100 septims per point of the associated power, plus the base cost of the item, plus 2 septims per Magicka in the item. Empty soul gems cost 10 septims for Petty, 25 for lesser, 50 for common, 100 for Greater, and 200 for Grand. Filled soul gems are double that, plus 1 septim per contained power point.

Soul Trap
Rank: Seasoned
Power Points: 3
Range: Touch
Duration: 3 (1/round)
Trappings: Slight glow, ethereal mists
Soul Trap creates a link between a target and a soul gem in the hand of the caster. On a success, the target must make a successful Spirit roll to resist the spell; for each raise on the Spellcasting roll, the roll is at -2. If enchanted into a weapon, raises on Fighting or Shooting roll may be applied to either the physical attack, or the effect of the Soul Trap; multiple raises may be split up as the wielder desires. If the target is killed during the duration of the spell, then their soul will be drawn into the Soul Gem.
Souls may only be contained in gems of sufficient strength to contain them. Petty Soul gems are capable of containing 20 Magicka. Lesser soul gems can contain 30, common may contain 40, greater soul gems may contain 50, and grand soul gems may contain any number of power points. The spellcaster must be holding, in their hand, a soul gem capable of containing the soul at the time of casting. If the gem is too small, the spell will work, but the gem will fail to contain the soul. If the gem is larger than normal, the soul gem will contain it, but the unused space cannot be filled with additional power.
There is a separate variation of this spell; it has a base cost of 4 Magicka, and functions at a range of up to Spellcasting or Enchantment.

Races: I tried to limit the number of racial disadvantages I gave out. I also reduced the number of outwardly magical abilities available... Dunmer lost their sheath of fire, for example, and Argonians don't have rapid regeneration. This somewhat hearkens back to older games.

Altmer: Free d6 in Spellcasting, Alchemy, or Enchanting (choose one) (+1), +5 Power Points for use with Spellcasting (+1)

Argonians: Aquatic (+2), +4 to Resist Disease (+1), Natural Weapons (Str+d6), -4 to resist cold (-1), Outsider (-2 Charisma to most non-Argonians, -1)

Bosmer: +3 to resist disease and poison (+1), Free Beast Master Edge (+2), d6 shooting (+1), -1 Toughness (due to size) (-2)

Bretons: Bretons have 2 points of armor against magical effects, and gain a +2 to opposed rolls when resisting magical effects. Spells they cast themselves do not suffer this penalty. (+2; similar to Arcane Resistance Edge)

Dunmer: Dunmer have 4 points of armor against any fire attacks, and gain +4 to opposed rolls when resisting fire attacks. (+2; based on the Arcane Resistance edge, but improved since Fire is a lot narrower than Magic)

Imperials: +2 to Charisma (+2)

Khajiit: Low-light vision (+1), Natural Weapons (claws, Str+d6, +1), begin with a d6 Agility, and Outsider (-2). This represents the “Cathay” breed of Khajiit.
There are also the smaller suthay-raht, who have the same features as the Cathay, but also begin with the Small hindrance (-2), and with d6 in Climbing and Stealth (+1 each).
Other Khajiit breeds may differ significantly from this baseline.

Nords: Nords have 4 points of armor against any cold attacks, and gain +4 to opposed rolls when resisting cold attacks. (+2; based on the Arcane Resistance edge, but improved since Cold is a lot narrower than Magic)

Orc: Free Brawny Edge (+2) (Berserker fits better with their racials in all the games, but Brawny does the job better, IMO, leaving them free to be berserkers if they want)

Reguard: d6 Fighting (+1), +4 to resist poison (+1).