Game Mechanics


Making a New Character:

Player Races:
High Men

How to Play Savage Worlds

In a nutshell

Your characters’ are made up of a few things, called Traits:

  • Attributes (Agility, Smarts, Spirit, and Vigor)
  • and Skills (Shooting, Climbing, Science, etc.)

They are also composed of character-specific bonuses:

  • Edges (what they’re good at, and their specializations)
  • and Hindrances (their physical and characteristic weaknesses).

Your characters are what are known as Wild Cards. You are special, and the world ripples and revolves around the actions you take. Your major rivals, allies, and enemies are also Wild Cards, having the same approximate levels of influence you do. All other characters are called Extras, and serve to flesh out the game world and your environs.

When Wild Cards roll a Trait roll (an Attribute or a Skill), they also roll something called a Wild Die, which is a d6 of a differentiating colour than their normal character dice. The character may choose to use the result of either die (trait or wild) for their total result on their roll. If you roll the maximum number (such as a 10 on a d10), it is called an Ace, and you continue to roll and add the total up until you roll something other than an Ace. If you gain a result of +4 (or higher) than the Target Number (TN) you were trying to reach, it is a called a Raise, and usually has special results. You can Raise a maximum of twice on any trait- or skill-test. If both dice show 1 (one) it is a Critical Failure, and is usually bad.

Most of the time you’ll have Action Points, or Fate (called Bennies in the rulebook). You start every game session with 2 of them, and can gain more by being an awesome role-player, thinking up clever plans and plots, being funny and making bad puns, or advancing the plot of the game in a significant manner. There are also other ways to gain Fate. They can be spent to re-roll any Trait test, at any time, and you re-roll the entire test, including any multiples of dice for auto-firing, etc. You can also use Fate to make Soak Rolls, which are explained in the combat section of the game rules. Soak Rolls are Vigor trait tests, against a TN of 4.

Fate is not saved between game sessions, so smoke ’em if you got ’em.

That’s basically it! Just some other stuff: when you shoot people, the TN is always 4 (four), modified by range, cover, and other situation modifiers. When you fight someone in melee, the TN is equal to their Parry, and your roll may also be modified. Sometimes the rulebook will talk about things like, “only Wild Cards…”; you are a Wild Card and get those things.
Remember: All rolls have a basic Target Number of 4, modified by the circumstances of the roll.

Attacking Things
Other than Attacking
Taking Damage
Spending Fate

Things You Should be Familiar With

What follows is the most basic of information necessary for a player in a Savage Worlds game. I’m going to break it down into the following sections.

  • Basics
  • Aces
  • Raises
  • Wild Dice
  • About Characters
  • Traits
  • Skills
  • Combat
  • Initiative / Actions
  • Movement
  • Attacking / Damage
  • Magic and other Strangeness
  • Character Status – Shaken / Wounds

Simplicity is the primary objective

Pretty much everything in Savage Worlds is based around a die type. The higher the die type the better one’s chance of success at anything.

Concepts that the player must be familiar with.

An ace occurs any time a die roll results in the highest number possible for that die. On an ace the die is rolled again and the results added together. Aces are open ended and continue as long as the highest value on the die results.

For example, Darcy Valentine (a pulp action heroine) thwacks a cannibal over the head with a makeshift club (she picked up a stick). She’s not very good at fighting so she rolls a d6. On her first roll she gets a 6 (an ace) and so she rolls again and gets another 6 (another ace) and so rolls again and gets a 3. Adding the die rolls together results in an attack of 15 (really good). Any skill, trait or damage can ace. NOTE: Any bonuses are added on after the dice are added together.

A raise occurs any time a skill, trait or combat roll results in a value 4 or more above what is needed to succeed. Raises are cumulative. In the example of Darcy Valentine (above) Darcy’s result of 15 is 9 higher than the cannibal’s parry of 6 which results in two raises. (A really good result).

Bennies, or Fate
Bennies are a little bit of good luck or fate that is given to wild card characters to give them some additional control over their fate. Every wild card character starts the game with 3 bennies, and may receive more for good role playing, really fun or interesting things or anything that the GM decides is worth a bennie. Bennies can be used to: reroll any trait test (Any skill or trait roll can be rerolled from scratch); and make a vigor roll to soak (and avoid) taking a wound from damage in combat. WOUNDS ARE BAD! Be aware that the GM starts the game with bennies as well but he doesn’t get any additional ones in the course of play.

Wild Dice
All player characters are “Wild Card” characters which means that for any skill or trait test the player also rolls a d6 (the wild die) and uses whichever result is better. This represents a certain amount of “good luck.” that fate grants to heroes.

For example, Buzz Carmichael (pulp action hero) wants to shoot a cannibal with his Colt 1911. Buzz is good at shooting he rolls a d10, but being a wild card character he also rolls a wild die. His d10 result is 4 (not so good), but his wild die rolls a 6 (an ace) so he rolls it again and gets a 5 for a result of 11.

Characters have several traits that define them 4 basic attributes plus 5 derived traits.

Agility (dexterity, balance, etc)
Smarts (intelligence and ability to think, knowledge etc.)
Vigor (endurance, resistance to disease and so forth)
Spirit (inner wisdom and willpower)

Derived traits
Pace (how fast you move in a combat round, humans move 6” or an additional d6” when they run)
Parry (2+(1/2 of fighting) plus bonuses for shields or certain weapons) ability to avoid getting hit)
Charisma (measure of character’s appearance, manner and general likability. Usually 0 unless hindrances or edges modify it. Added to persuasion and streetwise rolls)
Toughness (damage threshold (2 + ½ Vigor plus armor)
Strength (physical strength and power, ½ Vigor)

Skills are learned trades such as shooting, knowledge about most anything, tracking, etc. They are also represented by a die type and as always that die type is used for skills challenges. No skill may be higher than a d12. Skill challenges can also ace and can also get raises, and are also considered Traits of your character.

Initiative / Actions
Every round of combat the GM will deal a card for every wild card character (PC/NPC) and for every group of extras (mooks and monsters). The characters and extras will go in the order of highest card to lowest. Aces are low. Ties (same face value) are resolved by suit in reverse alphabetical order (spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs)

The joker is wild, which means that a character with a joker action card can go whenever they want (including interrupting any other character’s action).

On the character’s action they may perform a minor action, move, and/or attack / defend.

In any combat round a character can move up to their pace. They may also run up to an additional 1d6 inches in a round. Other movement rates apply to different sorts of movement such as crouching, crawling, climbing, etc.

Combat Actions
Characters may make one hand attack per round. If the attack hits with a raise add 1d6 damage to the normal damage roll.

Sir Wilfred swings with his broadsword at a zombie and rolls his fighting skill (d10) against the zombie’s parry of 6. He gets a 10 (an ace) and rolls again getting a 2 for a total of 12. At 6 over the zombie’s parry he gets 1 raise so he rolls an additional 1d6 damage so he rolls his strength + 2d6 for the sword (4 + 2d6 + 1d6). It sounds more complicated than it actually is.

Characters may shoot at an enemy a number of times equal to the rate of fire of their weapon.

A Tommy Gun has a rate of fire of 3 which means that the character with a Tommy gun rolls 3 of whatever his shooting skill is plus 1 wild die. NOTE: He may fire at as many targets as the weapon has rate of fire.

Guns (and other such weapons) do not add the strength die to their damage rolls, though each ace on an attack roll adds an additional d6 damage.

Grenades and thrown weapons operate similarly to shooting weapons except that the character throwing the grenade places the appropriate sized template on the map and rolls their throwing (or shooting if appropriate) skill. If the attack succeeds the weapon lands where they wanted, if not it can land somewhere else (determined by the GM)

A quick word about cover. As one would expect, falling prone or taking cover will provide various amounts of protection (improved parry) depending on the nature of the cover in question.

Magic and other strangeness
Magic works the same way everything else does in Savage Worlds, roll your magical skill and if you exceed the target number (it’s usually 4) set by the GM you succeed. The exact effect is a matter left to the descriptive capability of the player and the exact mechanics of the spell or ability in question.

Damage Effects
On a successful attack, damage is compared to the opponent’s Toughness. If the damage roll is less than the target’s Toughness, the victim is beaten up a bit but there is no game effect. With a success the victim is shaken. If the victim is already shaken, he suffers a wound instead. On a raise above the victim’s Toughness the victim suffers a wound.

A character can become shaken by any number of causes most commonly by a test of will result or by taking damage. A shaken character may only move ½ their pace and can perform no other actions (including running). If a shaken character is shaken again they take a wound instead. Shaken characters can make a spirit roll at the beginning of the next round to recover from being shaken.

Each raise on a damage roll above the character’s toughness indicates a wound. A wild card character can take 3 wounds before being incapacitated. Wounds cause penalties (cumulative) which make life harder for the character and increase the likelihood that they will be injured even more. NOTE: A wounded character can spend a benny/fate (if they have one) to try to soak a wound in the same round that they take the wound.

That’s pretty much it in terms of play.

I hope this helps.


These are the specific game mechanics of our own Savage Worlds game, that differ from basic games. All of these are supplied from the rulebook.



Oh, and no Katanas by the book. That shit is more powerful than a Colt .45 at current stats, and that is ridikerous. You can just use the Longsword stats.

Game Mechanics

The Endless Wilds Kilbourne