Savage Worlds Powers

I've had limited success explaining trappings and encouraging use of trappings with powers in Savage Worlds.   When used to counter the "Powers in Savage Worlds is bland" argument, it is often passed off. 

Granted, my experience with other systems that used a more "player's create their spells" framework have been met with resistance as well.  I don't know know if it's common for others as well, but  giving some thought to it, I thought rephrasing powers might help.

Re-Phrased Powers

You gain powers (see powers list in SWD) per the normal rules, spending an edge (i.e. bolt, blast, etc.)   This gives you the underlying principle to cast spells of that nature.    You need to then learn a spell, ability, or design to utilize the power.   Rewriting the rules becomes:

Learn New Spell
  Requirements:  Novice, Arcane Background
  An arcane character may learn a new spell by choosing this edge (which may be taken multiple times).   He may choose a trapping for any Power already known.

New Power
  Requirements: Novice, Arcane Background
  An arcane character may learn a new power by choosing this edge (which may be taken multiple times.)   She may choose from any powers normally available to her particular Arcane Background.   With this edge, you also get the Learn New Spell Edge each time taken.

Now you can tack on Zadmar's most excellent Savage Spell Book,  or create a bunch of spells for the casters to find/use.


I have often found that many don't bother with taking a power for each trapping and barely bother much with the trapping.   In part, I think there's a disconnect with the Savage Worlds Powers system that been somewhat hard to get buy-in for.    While the above restatement makes it more clear in my eyes, it doesn't address the problem.

One alternative to "Learn New Spell" would be to detach the trapping/spell from the power (i.e. lose the Learn New Spell Edge) and make the Spell/Trapping tied to more flavor, such as:

You need a spell book, prayer book, ability, or journal (Magic, Miracles, Psionics, Weird Science respectively)  to put your learned spells, psionic ability, or gadget design.    You get a number of initial spells, ability, or designs equal to the number of powers you get. (These equate to the trappings.)

You can learn new spells by buying or finding a spell, training, or creating them, spending a set amount of time,  and making a successful arcane skill roll.    Something like a day/rank of power would probably work well.

For buying/finding, such as a Tome of Learning, scroll, spellbook, and so on.   A failure on the skill roll indicates you didn't learn/copy it, snake eyes means you destroyed the source of the spell.

For training, a failure means you got nothing from the training and have to retrain.   Optionally, you can have the trainer make an arcane skill roll or intelligence, and add +1 for every success to the learner's arcane skill roll.

For creating, a failure means you wasted the time, and snake eyes mean something more terrible happens (summon wild card hostile entity). 

Your initial spellbook (at character creation) contains a number of spells equal to the number of powers you have.

This allows both the player and GM to create spells and encourages the use of more trappings per power.   A suggestion to make ease of character creation, especially with new players, is to create a default spell that can be taken when the power is chosen.   The default would be optional, serving only to give an idea, give an example, and so on.


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