Monday, September 7, 2009

True20 vs Savage Worlds

My interest in Top Secret/S.I. has faded for now. It burned hot for a long time and I've moved on to True20.

One of the many things that grounds me to True20 is a website project that I created. This latest obsession with True20 allows me to vent some of that obsession into this site, the Unofficial True20 Wiki, created almost exactly one year ago. It has seen an OK stream of traffic and I've seen it referenced as a somewhat reliable source of info on the Green Ronin, True20 forums. So True20 is reining strong right now for me (over Savage Worlds).

Here is an interesting article that's pretty relevant...
EXPERIMENTS WITH TRUE 20 AND SAVAGE WORLDS by Mark Shocklee
I recently played in a True 20 game run by a friend and I ran a Savage Worlds game using the Hellfrost setting at my friendly local game store, Dice House Games. I had an interesting observation from this experience, that mechanically there didn't seem to be that much difference is some aspects of the combat of these two systems. I also didn't feel that combat was that much faster than D&D 3.5, though I do appreciate the much simpler rules of both these systems.

I wanted to see how True 20 ran because I was worried that combat would take a character out of the game easily. The game that my friend ran was a pure combat adventure, so it was a good chance to see how the combat system worked. I am used to something like D&D where you roll to hit and normally roll damage if the hit is sucessful. While I thought that the True 20 system would simplify things, I noticed that all of the rolling to hit and the rolls to avoid damage seemed to make for more calculations that really didn't simplify combat all that much. I did learn that a 'dungeon crawl' is possible in True 20 and that it is just as difficult to take out a character as it would be in a standard D&D game.

I thought that Savage Worlds was going to be much faster and easier to run. I even invested in the set of tokens from Litko Aerosystems because I thought that I would like the system so much better. I have played in some Pulp games run by the aforementioned friend that ran the True 20 game and thought that the combat would be much simpler. I run the first Hellfrost module, available from Triple Ace Games, which turned out having a dungeon crawl at the end. This means that I was running the same sort of game in Savage Worlds as I played in in True 20. The Savage Worlds game may have had even more rolling, as the players make soak rolls, rolls to recover from shaken conditions, and spend bennies for effects.

I just had expectations of combat being speeded up by either or both of these systems, and in practice I didn't find that happening. Am I doing something wrong, or does your experience match mine?


He didn't say which system he preferred. For now I'll ride this True20 obsession.


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