Well just so happens we might be embarking on a Savage Worlds game in the not to distant future. On first look at both the Revised and Deluxe editions of the core book, the system strikes one initially as ‘odd’ – further reading though does help to clarify it a lot and simplifies the system.
First the Odd Bits
At the system’s core is the fact that each trait – whether attribute or skill – potentially has different die types. For instance the default is d4 – with points gained at creation phase you can increase the die type up to a maximum of d12. All in all thats ok – the default TN is only 4 plus modifiers.
So my character example had d6 for all five stats (wont list them here as dont want to give away too much) and shooting at d8. This mean that to shoot someone I rolled a single 8 sided dice vs a TN of 4 for short range plus any modifiers such as cover or lighting conditions.
So have about a 55% chance to hit someone. There is also the concept that main characters (player characters and major villains) have a wild die. a d6 that is rolled for all tests and if higher than your primary die, you take it instead.
Not so odd bit: dice explode, called Acing. What ever the dice is it can go boom and you can end up doing something nuts like 26 points of damage to some poor bugger (yes I did that using an online dice roller. one d6 came up 3 times as a 6!)
Last odd bit – it uses playing cards for initiative – that is your attributes don’t effect initiative its purely luck (there are some edges though ;))
Some Good Bits
System is fast! For smaller scale skirmishes battles can be over in a few minutes of real time. Ranged battles can be over faster (example above lasts about 6 rounds of game time, 36 seconds) with only two opponents.
System can be lethal – but main characters do have some ‘luck’ in the system that they have points (like Fate Points if you will) that can be used to soak lethal damage etc. Only a limited amount per session of course.
Advancement is pretty straight forward – although I had to read it twice to figure it. You earn a certain amount of XP (single digits) and gain an Advancement (kind of like a level up if you will) and at each advancement you have some options in terms of gaining or improving skills, edges or attributes.
At certain XP totals you also increase Ranks and can gain better Edges (and spells / powers if those are used)
The System is Genre independent although it feels very close to a western / cowboy style game (wouldn’t mind using the system for Firefly though!)
Lots of user generated content out there too and conversions (Stalker for one)
PDF is cheap! only 10USD from the source or RPG-Now/Drive Through.
This is only a “pre play test” if you will – I am yet to sit down and make a proper character from scratch and actually play the game…