Savage Worlds has been a fan-favorite setting-agnostic system for going on 15 years. But with a new edition and Kickstarter just around the corner things are a-changin’. We sat down with President Shane Hensley as well as COO and Managing Editor Jodi Black to talk about what’s new in Savage Worlds Adventure Edition.
Savage Worlds Deluxe has been out for six years. Why bring out a new edition now?
Jodi: Savage Worlds hasn't changed much since it was first released in 2003, but there have been changes, for example, to Shaken a couple years back. We had updated the PDF but needed to reprint the book to reflect that change, plus we wanted to redesign the layout for our Graphic Novel format. With any new printing we try to make things better, and the new Adventure Edition received the same treatment. We've been listening--literally--to thousands of Game Masters and paid attention to feedback in our official online communities now for more than a decade. Shane and Clint and the rest of the Pinnacle team have discussed rule tweaks for years, and held off because of the cascading effects such a change might make. The result is the Adventure Edition: updated to be Faster, more Furious in action, and more Fun to play!
Which of the rule changes are you most excited about and why?
Shane: Chases are pretty exciting, as are Quick Encounters, but my favorite by far is Tests (which replaces Tricks and Tests of Will) and Support (which replaces cooperative rolls). It seems subtle at first, but the way it actually plays means there's much more interaction between players, and it tends to be incredibly creative. We've had playtesters bamboozle a space pirate with her Science skill (Test with Science vs Smarts) and keep a teammate alive simply by telling them how much they admire their courage (Support with Persuasion while they were Bleeding Out). That's pretty cool.
How easy will it be to convert older content to Savage Worlds Adventure Edition, and will there be a conversion guide of some sort in the foreseeable future?
We'll release a simple conversion guide, but it's pretty easy. Mostly you'll just want to add a few new skills and ignore some old ones. If something points to an Edge or Hindrance, just use the one in the new edition rather than the old...that kind of thing. Of course a few things might need a bit more work...we've changed Chases completely, for example, so any book that has a special rule for Chases might not make sense in the new system
Why did you decide to break from your previous model and release GM tips separately from the core rules?
Shane: The Savage Worlds Adventure Edition focuses on the adventures our friends around the world are having...mostly as players. It takes a special kind of person to step up and agree to Game Master for her group, so we decided to keep those sections separate. While it's certainly beneficial for a player to read the Game Master section, odds are higher he will focus on the sections to create his character instead.
You recently unveiled a new licensing program called Savage Worlds Adventurer’s Guild. What makes this licensing program different from what you have previously done, and what sets it apart from what other companies are doing?
Jodi: Several other companies have created "Community Content" programs like DM's Guild is for Dungeons & Dragons, and each has essentially copied the setup and edited to their needs. We confess to doing largely the same, but with some very important changes.
Licensing is tricky, right? We cannot allow there to be any confusion about intellectual properties we have licensed for Savage Worlds such as Flash Gordon™, Rifts®, The Goon™, Fear Agent™, The Sixth Gun, Lankhmar, or Solomon Kane. We also need to retain the intellectual property rights for our own settings like Deadlands, The Last Parsec, East Texas University, Weird Wars, and Rippers. For these reasons and more, no setting IP is available for use by the Savage Worlds Adventurer's Guild. Guild licensing allows access to the core Savage Worlds game mechanics (only), so creators can make their own settings come alive!
We also decided creators should keep their own IP. This means anyone who publishes content in the Savage Worlds Adventurer's Guild retains the rights to that product. They can sell the rights, defend them, and if HBO comes calling (just as an example) to develop their cool story idea into a miniseries, Pinnacle doesn't have a place at the negotiation table. This is different from other Community Content programs.
Next, products published in any Community Content program pay royalties to OneBookShelf (who hosts the site) and the company who created the game system. Instead of the higher royalty fees others are collecting, Pinnacle's royalty is only 10%. This is largely to offset the development costs of templates, art, and other assets Guild members will have access to.
Finally, some Community Content programs limit the formats available. We're opening it up to everything. Cards, Fiction, Adventures, Maps, etc. ...all are allowed in our program!
We're pretty excited about the Savage Worlds Adventurer's Guild and can't wait to see what cool products our friends make to share. If everyone says your homebrew setting or campaign is epic, write it up! Got a cool science fiction character stat block, art, and backstory to share? Or maybe it's the diary of your campaign, written from the point of view of your bard character in iambic pentameter. Whatever it is, if you think others might like it too, the Savage Worlds Adventurer's Guild may be the place for it.
If you could bring in any new IP as an officially supported setting, what would it be?
Jodi: We've got a LOT we want to do after the release of the Adventure Edition, and a new Deadlands edition is near the top of the list! There are always a lot of cool settings which catch our eye, but we prefer to play those cards when the time is right. :)
Check out Pinnacle Entertainment’s whole line including plenty of Savage Worlds here, and the new Savage Worlds Adventure Kickstarter here.
Phil Pepin is a history-reading, science-loving, head-banging, river-running nerd, who would like nothing more than to cuddle with his pups and wife.
Picture Reference: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/545820095/savage-worlds-adventure-edition
All blog materials created and developed by the staff here at High Level Games