Dylan's Savage Worlds Nerdery

Geek life and custom content for Savage Worlds

A few Fallout creatures

I’m well into the processing of getting ready for my next game, a Savage Worlds conversion of Fallout set in Texas. I’ll be posting a more detailed conversion later, once I’ve got it laid out in a more pretty fashion, but for now here’s a sample or two of some iconic Fallout creatures, as well as one of my own.



The most common mirelurk is a large arthropod with a thick, dome-like shell and a pair of vicious pincers. It spends most of its time in the water or buried in the mud; while dug in it tends to look like a large rock protruding from the ground. When roused, it bursts forth from the ground and charges at any threats or prey it sees, letting loose a clattering shriek to alert others nearby.

Attributes: Agility d4, Smarts d4 (A), Spirit d6, Strength d8, Vigor d8

Skills: Fighting d6, Notice d6, Stealth d4

Charisma: 0; Pace: 5; Parry: 5; Rad Resist: –; Toughness: 12 (6)

Special Abilities:

  • Aquatic: Mirelurks can breathe both air and water equally. They are too heavy to swim effectively; instead they walk along the bottom of the water at their normal pace.
  • Armor +6: The carapace of a mirelurk can shrug off most gunfire without much effect. The legs (called shot at -2) and head (-4) are considerably less armored at Armor +2.
  • Bloodrage: A few mirelurks are maddened by the scent of blood. They have the Frenzy edge, and whenever a living creature within 10” of them takes a Wound, they go Berserk, as the edge. They gain +2 to Fighting attacks, melee damage rolls, and Toughness, but suffer a -2 penalty to their Parry. Additionally, if they roll a 1 on a melee attack they may hit any adjacent target, as the Innocent Bystander rules.
  • Dig In: A mirelurk can dig into the mud or sand, gaining Heavy Cover (+4 to Stealth rolls and -4 to attacks against it, and preventing called shots against any of its more vulnerable points). In this state, it can see without any issues, though it takes a turn for the mirelurk to dig itself free before it can attack or move. Most of the time several mirelurks will wait until prey is close or even amongst the creatures before they start bursting out of the ground.
  • Immune to Radiation: Mirelurks are immune to radiation.



Rattlers are large, two-headed rattlesnakes native to the central and western wastes. They are over twenty feet long, and when threatened they coil up, their two heads weaving to find a good position to strike while their tail rattle hisses a final warning. They are large enough to hunt humans, but tend to prefer easier prey like molerats and radstags unless food has been scarce. They are prized for their poison, fangs, and leather, which are marks of honor among tribals and some raider gangs.

Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d4 (A), Spirit d8, Strength d10, Vigor d8

Skills: Fighting d8, Intimidate d8, Notice d8

Charisma: 0; Pace: 6; Parry: 6; Rad Resist: 6; Toughness: 10 (2)

Special Abilities:

  • Armor +2: The scaled hide of a rattler is tough.
  • Bite: Str+d4, Reach 2” and poison. A creature shaken by a rattler’s bite must make a Vigor roll each round or suffer a wound; a raise on the Vigor roll ends this.
  • Extra Action: The two heads of a rattler can act somewhat independently, allowing them to take an extra action each turn without a multi-action penalty.
  • Infravision: As pit vipers, rattlers can sense the heat of living creatures. They ignore all darkness penalties.
  • Rattle: When roused to anger, the tail that gives the rattler its name lets out a loud buzz. This functions as an Intimidate Test of Will against all creatures within 6” of the rattler as an action.
  • Size +2: Rattlers are large creatures, around twenty feet long and weighing hundreds of pounds. When coiled to fight, they occupy a 2” square on the battlefield.


Deathclaw (Wild Card)

This terror of the wasteland is a deadly beast, capable of tearing apart even power armor soldiers with its armor-piercing claws. It was created as a shocktrooper by the pre-War US government, but has since spread across the wasteland as a deadly apex predator. It’s roughly humanoid, with scaled skin and a horned head. A long tail extends behind it as it walks with a hunched posture, though it can also move comfortably on all fours. In combat, it mostly tears into its prey with its claws, though it’s more than clever enough to surprise with its tactical cunning.

Attributes: Agility d10, Smarts d8 (A), Spirit d10, Strength d12+4, Vigor d12+2

Skills: Athletics d8, Fighting d10, Intimidation d8, Notice d6

Charisma: 0; Pace: 8; Parry: 7; Rad Resist: –; Toughness: 16 (4)

Special Abilities:

  • Armor +4: The scaly hide of a deathclaw is highly resistant to weapons.
  • Claws: The claws of a deathclaw are Str+d8 Reach 1” AP6 heavy weapons.
  • Combat Reflexes: Engineered for battle, deathclaws get a +2 bonus to recover from shaken.
  • Hardy: Deathclaws ignore additional shaken results if they’re already shaken.
  • Immune to Radiation: Deathclaws are creatures of the wastes, and are immune to radiation.
  • Improved Frenzy: The claws of a deathclaw move with terrifying speed – they can make two Fighting attacks each round without penalty, rolling a single wild die.
  • Infravision: Deathclaws can detect the heat of living creatures, and halve the penalties for bad lighting when attacking living targets.
  • Quick: Deathclaws are fast creatures, discarding and redrawing any action card of a 5 or less.
  • Size +3: On a battlemap, a deathclaw occupies a 2” square.
  • Tail Sweep: A deathclaw can sweep with its whiplike tail as an action. Make a Fighting roll against all adjacent enemies. A success deals Str damage; a raise deals the same damage and knocks the target prone.

Savage Iron Kingdoms!

So I’ve been running my Savage Iron Kingdoms game for several years now. I think the end is now in sight – I’ve given them a bunch of clues about the final battle’s locations, and they’re starting to gather allies for the big finish. Should be a good time.

I’ve not been using this blog for some time, but I do want to have this content available, so I’m posting my Savage Iron Kingdoms material that I’ve been using.

Here’s the link to the download.

Lots of changes!

Quite a few things have changed since my last post on this blog. A few of note…

1. I moved from Kansas to Alaska. Big change. New people, new home, new job, etc. I like it quite a bit – we’ve been here about a year now. This did mean I’ve had to give up my gaming group of… what, twelve years? Thirteen? I started gaming with them in college in about 2000, and moved in July of 2013. That’s a long, long time, and I miss them. Still, I like gaming, so that led to…

2. I’ve been running Pathfinder Society games for about eight months now in Anchorage. It’s pretty enjoyable – we’ve got a solid core group of players, maybe about eight or so people we see in and out regularly, and several more that come and go. It’s an interesting way to game, and I find that I rather like the way things are more or less reset after every session to a known state. I’ve found that I’m more satisfied with it as a gaming outlet than I expected to be.

3. I started writing for a Pathfinder 3rd Party Publisher called Flying Pincushion. I don’t have a lot of stuff out yet (an archetype in Into the Breach: Witches is all that’s out so far) but I’ve got stuff in the upcoming Alchemist book as well, and am working on things in a few other products. I’m a fan of the way the writing process works there – we use a Google Drive to collaborate, commenting on other people’s work and receiving feedback from the whole community on our own. I think it strengthens the output quite a bit.

4. I ran a two or three month Savage Worlds Dark Sun game that, unfortunately, didn’t work out. Kids are rough on games, especially 1.5 year old kids. We were gaming at the home of the parents, and I found that we didn’t regularly get started until 9 or 9:30, which makes it tough to get much gaming in.

I’m starting to consider my next attempt at a long-form campaign, now that we’ve got two or three other people stepping up to GM Pathfinder Society games in town. I’m thinking I’ll invite some of my favorite players that I’ve met to a Savage Worlds game. Right now I’m thinking about an Iron Kingdoms conversion to the Savage Worlds rules – I’ll likely be posting some of that here as I develop it.

Well darn.

I didn’t make it into the RPG Superstar Top 32. Always next year.

Congratulations to those that did!

RPG Superstar Top 32 to be announced today!

Paizo will be announcing the Top 32 (the first cut) from their annual RPG Superstar contest today. I have an entry that I thought was pretty good, so I’m waiting with some nerves jangling. A new Wayfinder should come out soon with my second article in it, so I feel like I’m starting to dip my toes into the freelancing thing – getting chosen for RPG Superstar would help that quite a bit, I think. Here’s to hoping!

Learning Warmachine

I picked up a new game a few months ago – Warmachine, by Privateer Press. Normally I’m not one for wargames, but a friend of mine was pretty excited about it, so I thought I’d try it, and I had a good time. I’ve been picking things up here and there for it for a while, and have now started to amass a reasonable little force, though it’s not really playing to the strengths of my faction very well.

I’m playing a faction called Khador, themed around the Russian military with a bit of Hammer horror thrown in. So far I’ve just been playing with Kommander Sorscha, their starting warcaster (the leaders of the game, spellcaster-generals), but I’ve picked up a few more (Karchev and the first two versions of Vlad Tepeczi). I played in my first tournament last night at Tabletop Games in Overland Park. Had a pretty good time, and went 2-1 (won against a Trollkin and Cryx player, and lost against a Legion of Everblight player). There’s a league starting that will have players at both Hometown Games in Lawrence and Tabletop in Kansas City, so I’d be able to get some games in with some regularity, which would be nice.

Painting is different – I’m finding that I enjoy the assembly and modification process more than I enjoy the painting. Still, I’m trying to do something a little different with my models – they look more like winter stormtroopers than the normal “red and bronze” color of the faction. I’ll post some pictures when I have some more things painted up.

Extra Life and One-Shot Thoughts

The Extra Life fundraiser was last weekend, and I participated through a local group called Table Talk Games. Had a pretty decent time, though I didn’t end up playing as many new games as I expected to while we were there. I played…

  • Pandemic, twice. Didn’t survive either attempt, though we did get fairly close on the second one – we had two diseases cured, then hit a triple-outbreak that wiped us out. That’s a very difficult game, but V wanted to keep playing until we won. She got frustrated enough that we stopped after the second game, though.
  • Tsuro, which was a fun little game, though I’m not sure how well it would hold up to a lot of repeat plays. You try and navigate a series of tiles placed on the board without getting forced off the playing area. It’s quite a neat little game, but I doubt I’ll ever buy it.
  • Family Business, a Guillotine-like elimination game where you control a crime organization. I didn’t like it as much as V did – I much prefer Guillotine.
  • Cargo Noir, another crime game where you try and build up a crime family through purchasing resources around the world and building a fleet of ships to enact your will. It’s a flawed little game, or at least it was explained to us poorly. The order of play seems kind of off, making it difficult to keep track of who’s turn it’s supposed to be.
  • Last Night on Earth, a zombie apocalypse game where some players control zombies and some control heroes trying to escape. I was a zombie player. We were supposed to invade a manor house, but they managed to hold us off.

I also ran a Pathfinder one-shot that took several hours. Had a decent time with it – I think the pre-generated characters I put together can work pretty well for a variety of games, depending on what kind of stuff I want to throw against the PCs – in this case, the big bad was a goblin alchemist who was transforming creatures into monsters. I can see running a variety of games based on the same premise and setting.

I tried to do some of the things that I’d have liked to see in other one-shots I’ve played in.

For one thing, I kept the character sheets simple. Pathfinder is a complicated game, but I tried to keep things relatively easy. I was helped with this by a friend who does the organization for our Wednesday game, and also does character sheets for the game she runs with her kids. She’s got a simplified Pathfinder sheet that looks a lot less intimidating than the more complicated ones that we grown-ups use.

Second thing I did was give everyone a name card. I didn’t give the pregens names, just a description. The name card had that description – say, “Half Orc Ranger”, and then a blank for the PC’s name and the player’s name. This makes it easier for everybody at the table.

Third thing was an index-card sized synopsis of the character and their background, along with a complexity rating. It included:

  1. Race and Class
  2. Good At: A brief synopsis of what the PC is good at.
  3. Complexity: Ranked from one to five, telling the prospective player how hard that PC would be to play. The big fighter-types (fighter and ranger) got 1 star, while the casters (like the magus and the witch) were up a lot higher on the scale.
  4. Background: A brief paragraph or so on who the PC is and what their role is in the adventure.

Here’s a link to all the material I prepared for the one-shot.
Anybody else have any thoughts about how to run one-shots at conventions or game days? What do you try and do to make things easier for your players? For yourself?

Dominion is awesome!

I played my first two games of Dominion last night, and already plan on picking it up. It’s a fantastic game so far – looks like it has a lot of depth to it, and a number of expansions. I see now why I’ve been hearing about it for quite some time.

KantCon 2012

Went to KantCon this Saturday with my girlfriend and a gamer friend of ours, and thought I’d mention how it went.

I made the mistake of not preregistering for anything, since I didn’t think we’d be able to make it. My mistake – I didn’t realize Vernie would have time to go, so I hadn’t really made much in the way of plans for it. I hopped on ConPlanner and signed up for some events the night before. I thought the site was just a pain in the rear to use, but it turns out it was supposed to be down, and I had accidentally figured out a back door into the beta software (oops). So the events that we had signed up for online (a pair of Savage Worlds games – one a pulp Africa game set in the 1920s, and the other a Scooby Doo Cthulhu game set on a ghost ship) were both full when we got there.

The staff at KantCon was very helpful about finding us another game, and the three of us signed up for two games on Saturday – a zombie horror game set during the Civil War using the AEther system, and a fantasy dungeon crawl using the Ingenium system.

I was not impressed with the AEther system (I disliked it enough that I’m not going to look for the ae symbol) or that game of it. For one thing, there were no pregenerated characters for a con game in which we played a unit of Union soldiers. We had to make characters for a game that only one of the other players had ever played, and even that was just once earlier in the day. Pregens for such a group would be EASY – the different roles are right there, just slap together a half-dozen or so pregens and you’re good to go. The game started with each of us rolling percentiles to see if our characters were ambidextrous or had an eidetic memory – that should have been a sign right there.

The system itself didn’t impress me that much – it’s a percentile-based, roll-high system, where you add effectively your stat modifier and skill for everything you do. Percentile math is unnecessary, in my opinion. The detail of random numbers ranging from 1 to 100 just doesn’t add anything, and the way the game worked the actual skill didn’t mean much – you got a much higher modifier from the basic stat used.

Additionally, it was frustratingly lethal for a convention game. The first enemy contact we had incapacitated one of our squadmates, and she was effectively useless for the rest of game – she could just limp along for the rest of the session, rolling everything at a huge penalty. I can see the appeal of lethality for a con game, but it should be FUN about it, not just “there was a trap in what you were obviously supposed to investigate, now you’re out of the session”. The system uses d10s for all damage, and the average character has 3-5 hit points. I wasn’t told that negative hit points wasn’t unconscious, so I said I was out at one point when apparently I was just at -10% to everything and wounded – apparently the system doesn’t have a “knocked out but alive” rule unless you spend a luck point to survive something that should have killed you.

The other players in the game were okay. We had a young girl who had fun playing a soldier and laughed at my bad Kentucky accent and profanity, a guy who did a good job but wasn’t super memorable, and a guy who whispered a lot and wanted to be off by himself doing the sneaky thing. We decided early on that Stealthy Guy was going to be the lieutenant (since had had actually played the system before) and it was kind of funny to realize that our lieutenant abandoned us almost immediately to sneak off and investigate this creepy house by himself. He was either eaten by zombies or burned down when I made a moonshine Molotov cocktail and burned the place to the ground, but either way he didn’t make it.

After that game, we went off to get ice cream at a place Jarrod knew about in Overland Park (Glace Artisan Ice Cream, it was tasty). We had a nice cathartic bitch session about the previous game, and then headed back to try our luck again.

Ingenium was, on the whole, a much better experience. The system was dead simple – roll a d10, add your stat modifier plus maybe a +1 from a talent, and that’s your roll. Exploding die on the d10, so you could get pretty high totals. We had a good selection of pregens (though oddly no spellcaster, and the GM said that somebody had taken the rogue-type pregen home, so we just had warrior-types and social-types). I played an agility-focused catfolk warrior, Vernie played a gargoyle warrior who was more toughness-based, and Jarrod played a human merchant with social skills. We had two other players who were new to gaming, and they did a good job (another catfolk warrior and a human bard, as I recall). The table was a 50-50 split on gender, too, which was unusual for a con game. I actually noticed that there were more women than I expected to see at the gaming convention; it was rare for a table to not have at least two women.

The plot was pretty simple – there’s a new cult in town and people are disappearing. We went off into the woods toward their lair, ambushed some cultists, and stole their gear. The first combat was amazingly quick – the game gives you multiple actions each turn, so we dropped three people in just a moment.

The rest of the dungeon crawly portion was pretty slow. That encounter with the cultists was the only thing that happened for a while – we walked through an abandoned dungeon for most of the session. There was a puzzle that would have been vastly improved by a handout. If there’s a riddle that hinges on a visual cue, LET US SEE IT. At least DRAW the darned thing so we know what’s going on, and give us a copy of the little poem so we can figure it out without you having to read it over and over. We actually just went around it because none of us could figure out what was supposed to be going on, but as soon as we got a visual, it was obvious. (The puzzle lowered a bridge to cross a chasm, we eventually just called for cultists from the next room and the social guy got them to lower it, since he was disguised as a cultist).

In the end, we got to the cult’s central chamber where they were trying to summon DemonBadGod. There were apparently over a hundred cultists, along with a pair of priests and some monster-thing tied to an altar. We didn’t see any indication of what to do at this point, which was kind of frustrating. I didn’t know the system well enough to know if were were supposed to just slaughter the cultists or if that would be suicide. Turns out that’s what we were supposed to do, essentially, so we spent some time figuring that out that was mostly just wasted. When we eventually just said “Screw it!” and attacked the cult leaders with ranged weapons, the cultists… didn’t do anything. I found that odd – the fight was just with the two cult leaders, the high priest and the guy with the sacrificial knife. Both were pretty much pushovers – none of our PCs even got hurt appreciably the entire game except me, and that was because I was screwing around with a trapped pedestal to figure out the puzzle earlier.

Still, the game was much more fun than the Civil War zombie game. Vernie liked the system for fantasy games much better than Pathfinder. I thought it was okay, but nothing special – all our characters seemed a little too similar for my tastes, but that might have been a lack of variety in the pregens. I picked up the core Ingenium PDF yesterday, since it was cheap. I’ll look it over sometime.

The table of contents for Wayfinder #7 was just released, and my article’s in it! Yay!