“Front-Loading and You,” or, “If it makes Sense, Throw your players a Fricken’ Bone.”

So, a while back I bought the Savage Rifts books and took a gander through them. Yeah, not gonna lie, after randomly rolling up some characters in those rules (a Cyber-Knight, a M.A.R.S. – Mercenary, Adventurer, Rogue, and Scholar- and a Techno-Wizard) I came to the conclusion that other Savage Worlds GMs have: Holy !@#!%@ on a !#@!@ Sandwich, they’ve front-loaded a lot of power onto some Novice Rank (well, seasoned in the case of the M.A.R.S. Framework) characters.

And you know what? That’s totally okay, because it makes sense in the Setting for such high-powered characters to be running around. Of course, Rifts thrives on cranking High-Powered, over-the-top Action up to 11. Putting a Rifts character in your typical Savage Worlds game would be a Boom Gun-laden catastrophe.

That being said, it’s still a great idea to start your players off some extra oomph, even a Hindrance or two (with adequate compensation), as long as it’s thematic to the setting you’re running.

-If you’re running a Martial Arts game, it makes perfect sense for PCs to start with a free d6 in Fighting and the Martial Artist Edge.

-If you’re running something akin to Final Fantasy or Borderlands (high-power characters, Job/Class system), design a few ‘Frameworks’ a la Rifts- except not as high powered- with Starting Skills, Edges, and even a Hindrance or two… basically, stuff that’s considered common for each Template (ie, White Mages always have Arcane Background (Miracles) and Faith d6, while a Gunzerker always has Shooting d6 and Two-Fisted- or rework the Berserk Edge; come on… you know you want to).

-Running a Mecha game? Give everyone Piloting d6 and have a few Mecha Templates (Weapons, Armor, Features/Edges, and Glitches/Hindrances) for characters to pick from.

Now, in all reality, you don’t HAVE to do this. It’s totally acceptable to just design a game and run it without any front-loading. That being said, if you notice that there’s a common element or three in your Setting… it might be a good idea to give them some abilities they’re going to have to get anyway for the story to make sense.


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