Sunday, July 23, 2017

Savage Worlds: Dark Sun - The Races of the Tablelands

The Burnt World of Athas
Dark Sun

A Savage Worlds Addendum

B.W. Mathers
Precis: This addendum are some quick notes for running Savage Worlds games on the burnt world of Athas.

What You Need: Savage Worlds Deluxe, Dark Sun Campaign Guide, Savage Worlds: Fantasy Companion

Conspectus: Through constant use of the powerful, but corruptive defiler magic, the once blue world of Athas has turned to a brown world, a dying world, a war world. It is a time when city states of sorcerer-kings sacrifice slaves to fuel their magic, where oases are guarded more feverishly than silver pieces. Water is so scarce that even the most noblest man will succumb to his base instincts when he is thirsty. In this time, mercenary companies and city-states fight constant wars over resources. It is in these desperate times that heroes are needed, but many a hero falls short to become yet another warmonger over Athas.


Brief: Aarakocra, also known as the bird people are a race of avians that live in the common realm known as The Tablelands. They stand at average size as a Human with a lanky build. Most Aarakocra resemble that of large carrion birds, such as vultures, buzzards, or black birds. There are a few nolbe Aarakocra that take the form of hawks. These birds are often held in awe and respect by their fellow birdmen.


Flight: Can fly at normal pace and can also 'run' by rolling a d6. Climb +1

Hollow Bones: -1 Toughness

Keen Eyes: +2 Notice when using Sight.

Talons: This natural attack deals Str+d6. Their talons also give them +2 on Climb checks, very useful when an Aarakocra has to climb due to damaged wings.

Odd Anatomy: Armor has to be custom made for an Aarakocra. This increases the price of said armor by 25% and decreases the sale of armor by 25%. Factors such as specialty buyers (such as Aarakocra merchants) can also modify the final price of an item.

Low Light Vision: Can see in low light conditions. They halve penalties due to bad lighting by half (rounded down).


Brief: Dray are breed of draconic warriors created in the image of a sorcerer-king who did not live long to see his creation. Now let loose upon the world, Dray fight as mercenaries, thugs, and scourges of the tablelands. Dray scale colors tend towards shades of bronze, brass, and gold. They have sharp teeth, claws, and foreclaws on their large feet.


Armor Scales: +2 Armor

Darkvision: Can see in total darkness up to 60 ft. albeit in gray scale.

Claws: This natural attack deals Str+d6. Their claws also give them +2 on Climb checks.

Savage: Dray are savage warriors who are rarely known to take prisoners when the lust has them in thrall. They begin play with the Bloodthirsty hindrance. A Dray must make a -2 Smarts (-4 if a Dray has been wounded or insulted) to halt their bloodthirst. This hindrance can be countered if the Dray is under the supervision of a superior officer.


Brief: Dwarves are a squat, hairless people with deep tanned skin that inhabit the Tablelands. The idea of them having hair is looked upon with disgust, as well as the idea of marring their skin with tattoos (though some Dwarves are more willing to break the tattoo taboo over the hair part). Dwarves believe in clan honor, family blood, and will fight to defend both. The only time they deviate from such codes is the in the pursuit of their focus. The Focus is a quest or cause that is given to a Dwarf. When given said act, they must do all they can to achieve what sometimes are impossible tasks, less they wish to die and haunt the world as a banshee over a failed mission. The pursuit of the focus is often the reason Dwarves interact with other races.


Tough: begins play with d6 Vigor

Darkvision: Can see in the dark up to 60 ft. albeit in a grayscale.

Slow: Dwarves have pace 5.

Focus: Dwarves are given a life quest to fulfill. They begin play with Vow (Major). A GM and player are encouraged to work together to come up with a focus that suits the campaign. A Dwarf that dies before fulfilling his vow returns as a banshee, perhaps to haunt the party that failed them.

Resistance: Dwarves are naturally suspicious of all forms of magic. Part of what leaves them unimpressed is their natural resistance to it. Dwarves begin play with the Arcane Resistance edge.

Elf and Half-Giant

Brief: Elves are a tribal race that maintain a credo of keep up, or die. Elves are known for their tall, lean figures and angular faces. Their clothes emphasize protection from the heat, as they tend to be nomadic wanderers who lack long term shelters to survive in. Elves are known to be impressive runners and follow strict taboos about riding animals (it's viewed as dishonorable, only outcasts ride beasts). Elves that cannot keep up with their tribe are left to die.


Agile: Begins play with d6 Agility.

Frail: Do to their lack of body mass, Elves begin play with a -1 Toughness.

Low Light Vision: Can see in low light conditions. They halve penalties due to bad lighting by half (rounded down).

Keen Sense: Begins play with d6 Notice due to all-around keen senses.

Reputation: Begins play with the Outsider hindrance. Not that other races are particularly welcoming of each other, but Elves have a reputation of being untrustworthy and sly that dogs them among non-Elven communities.

Vow: Run or Die (Minor): Elves believe it is a mark of grave dishonor to ride an animal and have slated a vow not to do so. This is considered minor as outcasts more readily break this taboo than others. Those who do so are warned, if they are seen by Elves as riding a beast, word may or has already spread to other tribes, hurting the individual Elf's standing when dealing with these tribes.

Run: Begins play with the Fleet-Footed Edge.


Brief: Half-Elves are the result of a union between Elves and Men. Typically when Elves and Humans have met in mutual barter towns, only for one party to be seduced by the other. The resulting progeny is never truly accepted by either community. Half-Elves, regardless of which parent they may favor, share the same traits.


Agile: d6 Agility

Low Light Vision: Can see in low light conditions. Halves penalties (rounded down) due to bad lighting.

Outcast: Half-Elves are born to suspicion and hostility. Half-Elves typically grow up in Human villages, as Elves will leave such weak offspring to die in the sand. While their home village may eventually (if begrudgingly) accept the offspring, other villages will be wary when they see the ears and build. Half-Elves begin play with the Outsider hindrance.


Brief: Created by a sorcerer-queen, Half-Giants begin life as part of a warrior-slave race. They are a massive race, taller than any others who either dwell on the Tablelands or on the shores of the Silt Sea. Half-Giants lack any true custom or culture due to their artificial origin. Instead, they imitate the culture of whoever they happen to live near (such as Human or Dwarf communities that take them in).


Dull: Smarts costs 2 points to raise at Character Creation.

Scale: Due to their great size and build Half-Giants begin play with the Brawny edge.

Strong: Begins play with d6 Strength.

Darkvision: Can see in total darkness up to 60 ft.

Outcast: Created by a sorcerer-queen to be a powerful warrior-slave. Half-Giants past is one of magic and is seen with suspicion and dislike by most of the populace (except for their starting location). Half-Giants begin play with the Outsider hindrance.


Brief: Dwelling in the few jungles that ring the northern mountains of Athas, Halflings are rightfully feared when encountered in the jungle. Though they are small, their diets include a great emphasis on raw meat either taken from each other as a form of cannibalism or from the bodies of trespassers into their forest. Halflings paint their flesh in shades of red and green and allow their hair to grow into wild manes. Halflings are organized along tribal lines and the few that join non-Halflings are curiosity seekers.


Small: -1 Toughness due to size.

Agile: Begins play with d6 Agility.

Eating Habits: Halflings penchant towards consuming humanoid flesh and cannibalism does not endear it with fellow humanoids. Halflings begin play with -2 Charisma.

Stealthy: Begins play with a free d6 in Stealth due to size.


Brief: Humans are still the most numerous race on Athas. The major city-states of the tableland are Human in origin. The Sorcerer Kings who helped cleanse the land of various races and defile the world into dirt is due to Humanity. Humanity on Athas is typically tan, favoring brown hair, though a few with shades of blonde, red, or black have been found too.


Talent: Begins play with a free Novice edge.

Skilled: Begins play with 16 Skill points instead of 15.


Brief: Muls are the off-spring between Dwarves and Humans. This relationship is unlikely, but typically occurs due to slave-sellers force breeding the two races to create this warrior-slave offspring used for gladiatorial games, combat, or labor. Muls maintain the size and speed of a Human, the Toughness and Darkvision of a Dwarf.


Tough: Begins play with d6 Vigor.

Darkvision: Can see in total darkness up to 60 ft. (albeit in grayscale).

Slaveborn: Muls begin life in captivity and even those that escape have a combination of reputation, look, and composure that inspires little respect from others. They begin play with -2 Charisma.


Brief: Pterran are a slender built Saurian race that dwell on the Tablelands. They are convinced they are the chosen, having survived the cleansing wars. Pterran scale colors range from shades of brown or bronze with dark stripes or black with orange stripes. Their backs typically have two hard stumps where their wings were originally located.

Spirited: D6 Spirit

Poor Hearing: Begins play with 'Hard of Hearing' (Minor) Hindrance.

Natural Weapons: Combines a combination of claws and teeth that deal Str+d4 damage.

Clumsy: Agility Costs 2 points to raise at character creation.

Missive: Begins play with 5 power points and the Telepathy power. This power is specialized, allowing the Pterran to send only send messages to others and enabling them to communicate back-and-forth with other Pterran. These power points are kept separate from any power pool a Pterran may have.


Brief: Said to be one of the original inhabitants when the world was young and blue, Thri-Kreen are an insectoid race that dwell in the Tablelands. Their chitinous covering is typically a faded yellow or dark orange and strong enough to deflect blows. They have multiple limbs, making them deadly combatants on the battlefield.


Armored: +2 Armor due to chitinous flesh.

Appearance: Due to their alien looks and mindset, Thri-Kreen suffer a -2 Charisma.

Dull: Smarts costs 2 points to raise at character creation.

Natural Weapons: Has a combination of claws and pincers that deal Str+d6 damage. They also gain +2 to Climb.

Darkvision: Can see in total darkness up to 60 ft. albeit in grayscale.

Multi-Limb: Has an extra limb that allows them to make two non-movement actions without penalty.

Odd Anatomy: Due to their size, shape, and scale, equipment has to be custom made for a Thri-Kreen. All items costs 25% more and sell for 25% less. Certain aspects, such as working with Thri-Kreen traders can counteract these penalties, but that is not always the case.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Power Word: Armor

So, you have the Armor power but you're kind of yawning that all it does is the core concept. Savage Worlds is a game that encourages the use of trappings and making tiny tweaks to make things unique and interesting. Perhaps you want a little help with that? Or perhaps you have stuff in mind, and this could serve as a jumping off point for your own material. Let's take a look at a few versions of the Armor power.

House Rule: Longevity

Using this house rule spells now last longer based on the rank of the character who casted or created the the spell or magical item. The duration bonus is shown below.

# of Bonus Rounds

Example: A Novice mage casts the 'Armor' spell. The base Duration is 3 rounds (with +1 duration increase for each 1 point spent). However, under this rule, he gains a bonus +1 round due to his rank. His spell, without bonus points used, will now last 4 rounds.

Not every mage casting unit should gain this bonus. It should be reserved for wild card types that are either player or non-player wildcards. 

Mage Armor
Points: 2
Range: Touch
Duration: 3 (1/round)

Effect: Mage Armor is considered something of the standard armor of the spell. Masters teach their apprentice this power early on when a student is learning the basics of protection magic, also known as Abjuration. This power grants +2 Armor or +4 Armor with a raise.

Bone Armor
Points: 2
Range: Touch
Duration: 3 (1/round)

Effect: A carapace of bone surrounds the target which is typically a necrotic type. The armor adds +2/+4 Armor depending on the caster's result. The armor upgrades to 3/5 (normal success and raised success respectively) when targeted by a necrotic spell. Bone armor tends to exude a bluish aura when in the presence of necrotic energy, such as a desecrated graveyard or a plane of dread.

Points: 2
Range: Touch
Duration: 3 (1/round)

Effect: A suit of tough ash wood armor appears around the character, protecting them against most attacks at a rate of +2/+4  (depending on caster's results). Fire spells and effects have +1 AP against the target. On a raise, the wood has a chameleon effect that grants a +2 Equipment bonus on Stealth rolls in natural settings (does not grant help in an urban environment)

Points: 2
Range: Touch
Duration: 3 (1/round)

Effect: This spell creates what appears to be a type of chain male that alternates depending on energy chosen at the spell's creation. Typically the name 'Elemental' is replaced by whatever that element is, such as Firechain, Frosthauberk, or Acidchain. The effect is the same. The spell adds +2 or +4 Armor due the character's success rate. It also negates either 2 or 4 armor piercing of that spell if it is a matching energy type (thus, Firechain negates up to 2 AP from a Firespell). 

Also, on a raise, the character may sacrifice the bonus +2 AP negation (this leaves the base 2 AP negation from a success) for a different effect, such as Firechain damaging a target from heat with d4 points of damage. Other examples include: Cold possibly fatiguing a target, acid dealing d4 damage, electricity allowing the target to cling to walls due to magnetism and others.

Points: 2
Range: Touch
Duration: 3 (1/round)

Effect: The target is surrounded by a protective lair of time. This armor grants +2/+4 depending on success rate. Targets who fail to damage often find a disconcerting effect of their blades suddenly dodging out of the way, or the target moving super fast as if they had foreseen the blade coming at them. An attacker who rolls a Snake Eyes allows the caster to move up to 2 squares away. Time has literally moved the victim out of reach and has possibly altered the timeline.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Scarabae: The Hanged Man, Death, & Temperance

The Hanged One
The Oracle, Foresight

-The Hanged One is one of the duo Powers dealing with the subject of Knowledge. Where as the Hermit is the master of study, the Hanged One is considered the patron of seers, oracles, and diviners. Those who wish to use some form of esoteric means to look into the future and provide insight either to themselves or others.

-The Hanged One is often known as the 'The Hanged Man' and is typically depicted as a male. Cultures such as Dwarves and Gnomes, creatures that believe in practicality revere the Hanged One, but depict the figure as a Dwarf or Gnome who divines by other methods (such as water divination) - this figure is known as the Diviner. Few races seem to acknowledge the act of hanging oneself, they consider it a human thing.

-Despite the iconography of the true Hanged Man in upside-down suspension, there are cults that literally hang themselves around the neck. Using those moments of near death by strangulation to gain some form of intense foresight. The practice of neck hanging has been banned by Scarabae's main temple, equating the practice of dealing with black magic. That hasn't stopped heretical sects from dealing in such power. The truly evil practitioners grab other people, hang them, and divine secrets based off the contortions and looks in death.

-The Hanged One temples are generally serviced by Clerics who double as oracles and seers. They offer services from a true hanging divination session to scrying in the many pools they maintain. The Hanged One lacks Paladins or any enforcement, though a sect of Monks do provide security for anyone who attempt to invade the temple. Not only do these Monks fight with martial arts, they also are proficient in the use of ropes and lashes.

The End, The White Rider, Black Knight

-Death does not simply mean the physical death of a living thing. Death also stands for the end of all things. Relationships that draw have fallen under the sight of Death are doomed to fail, seasons of green and plenty must end for a period of winter. While Death is typically associated with graveyards, he is also considered an element of change.

-Having said that, Death's temples are often located near and around graveyards. One could say that Death's first concern is the taking and keeping of souls that have passed beyond and preventing the perversion of necromancy from corrupting the process. All other matters of change are more periphery due to Death's presence bringing things to an end.

-Death is known to be a slow, patient Power most of the time. After all, things must end, and he will gather all to his realm and send them on their way. There are times that Death becomes greedy and wishes to take more than necessary. Times of war or natural catastrophes are said to represent when Death is more hungry for the souls of the living.

-Clerics of Death are often used in burials of body. They are masters of preservation and can use their touch to keep the body in a pristine state for funerals. The sale of these magics are often used to maintain their temples. They are known to send their agents out to deal with any surge in Undead reports. Death loathes such creatures and commands his followers to put down such beings.

-The Order of the Bone White Rose (aka Order of the White Rose) are a group of Knights dedicated to the service of Death. They are the broadsword used by the Power to deal with the most severe threats. Rumors persist that the Knights and their agents are scouring the Western Frontier, fighting the forces of a Lich rising in the west.

The Crafter of Spirits, The Healer, The Divine Change

-Temperance is something of an odd Power, such as her (she is often depicted as a she) Power companion the Hanged One. Her iconography typically depicts a winged woman who transmutes water into wine. She is typically associated with change but unlike Death, represents change for a positive purpose.

-She is the patron of healers, crafters, and alchemists - all of which deal with the prospect of changing something into something else. Healers change the sick into the healthy, crafters turn plain objects into goods, and alchemists, her most ardent worshipers believe in their sacred duty in transmuting one thing into another.

-Her temples are typically found in working class neighborhoods that provide some form of healing to the poor and working classes of the Realm (especially in Scarabae's Redgutter Ward where the Homeley House is as temple to the Power). Clerics can call upon resident alchemists for assistance in the creation of drugs or potions to serve the needs of patrons. Money the temple takes in is used for upkeep and living expenses, leaving the temples plain but a welcomed sight.


Scarabae - My Other Scarabae material you might like to read.

J. Shear's Scarabae - Jack Shear's Material

Setting - The original setting post for Scarabae by Jack Shear.