Category Archives: JourneymanGM Creations

The Elder Scrolls: A Savage Worlds Conversion

The Elder Scrolls: A Savage Worlds Conversion

I’m very pleased to announce the completion of several months labor: The Elder Scrolls: A Savage Worlds Conversion. This is a massive, 50-page conversion to bring the world of The Elder Scrolls video games into Savage Worlds.

Why Savage Worlds? Although it is mechanically quite different from The Elder Scrolls video games, I think it does a great job of telling the fantastic stories of heroes who make a difference in the land. My goal is to not replicate the feel of the games, but the feel of the world and what it would be like to have adventures there. I’ve taken elements from all the games, Arena through Skyrim, and created this awesome conversion.

This conversion includes everything you could ever want in an Elder Scrolls conversion:

  • All ten races
  • All thirteen birthsigns
  • A revised magic system that replicates the feel of magic in the video games
  • At least one Racial Edge for each race (including one that allows Nords to do dragon shouts)
  • Sinning tables for all of the Nine Divines
  • Rules for having gear made of a variety of materials
  • Four new Professional Edges
  • A bestiary with everything from Mudcrabs to Dremora Lords
  • Two dozen artifacts
  • Vampirism and lycanthropy

The current version is The Elder Scrolls for Savage Worlds v1.1 (600 KB PDF). I greatly encourage feedback, so put any suggestions you have below in the comments or contact me!

This work is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 and the Savage Worlds fan license. The Elder Scrolls and all related trademarks are the property of Bethesda Softworks.

Changelog

Version 1.1 (31 March 2012)

New Features

  • Created a new “Necromancer” Professional Edge, which provides a cheaper way of summoning Skeletons, allows the use of the zombie power, and allows the creation of Black Soul Gems
  • Created a new “Wizard of War” Professional Edge, which allows an individual to make both a Destruction and Fighting attack in the same round and apply a –2 penalty to just one of them
  • Added the jump power originally printed as the leap power in SharkBytes Vol. 1, Issue 3, pg. 36

Gameplay Changes

  • The Alteration, Destruction, and Restoration skills are linked with Spirit, rather than Smarts
  • In order to better replicate the games, additional Powers are now purchased with money, rather than learned as part of the New Power Edge.
  • Altmer take a –2 Toughness versus Fire, Cold, and Electric attacks
  • Khajiit now have a d6 Stealth at character creation
  • The Steed birthsign now grants a bonus when running
  • Scrolls with ranged spells target with a Smarts roll, rather than a Shooting roll
  • The zombie power is now limited to those who have the Necromancer Professional Edge
  • Slightly improved the Scamp’s Pace and bite/claw attack and fixed an error in calculating its Toughness
  • The Mace of Molag Bal now actually has its damage listed (Str+d8+2)
  • A duplicate entry for Volendrug (with different statistics!) has been removed

Textual Changes

  • Clarified text of Dunmer’s “Grim Demeanor” racial feature to make it clearer that the Mean hindrance does not apply to other Dunmer
  • Made the Khajiit climbing bonus listed separately from the Natural Claws racial feature.
  • Clarified the Redguard Adrenaline Rush text to make it more obvious that Mighty Blow and other Wild Card Edges cannot be used
  • Clarified the text of The Warrior birthsign to indicate that it can’t be used to boost damage
  • Made it clearer that most, but not all, attack powers bottled in a potion will require a Throwing roll to activate
  • Added a missing “not” to the Enchantment text
  • Added mark to note that Bless/Curse is found in the Fantasy Companion
  • Gave the falling rate in game inches for the Slowfall power
  • Clarified text of Azura’s Star to make it clear that a creature must have the soul trap spell active upon it for it to be trapped

Version 1.0 (5 March 2012)

  • Initial Release

The Quick and Easy Character Background

Characters aren’t just people who suddenly poofed into existence at the start of the campaign. They have a past, secrets, and dreams. A good GM will try to incorporate these aspects of a character into the campaign, usually by asking for the players to write up a character backstory which they will use to develop character-specific plot hooks. Sometimes that doesn’t work so well though. Either a player doesn’t know what to write about or the player writes a short novella about the character’s past which, while interesting, doesn’t always provide the GM with useful information to create plot hooks for the character’s future in the campaign.

So I’ve developed “The Quick and Easy Character Background,” a system-neutral, double-sided paper with five steps to help a player create a character backstory that makes it easy to create good adventure hooks that the GM can use. You can download the complete PDF here. The questions are simple and ask about:

  • The character’s background and concept
  • A goal the character has and the goal the player has for the character
  • Two secrets about the character: one the character knows and one that involves the character, but they do not know (and there’s a note that the GM may be creating a third secret that neither the player nor the character know)
  • Three people tied to the character, two friendly, one unfriendly, and an optional nemesis
  • Three memories that the character has in order to provide some context and flavor

I’ve had my players use this for several campaigns, especially Savage Worlds and Dungeons & Dragons campaigns and I’ve had good results with it. For instance, I once ran an Indiana-Jones style pulp campaign and one of the players had written that they had a mother was traveling the world. So I had a session where his mother guest starred as a companion character. Momma Laros didn’t have any combat skills, but she could taunt and intimidate like only an old lady can and she instantly became a hit among the players.

The “secrets” section is especially fun for the GM. In a Star Wars game I ran, a player wrote that his character’s secret was that his character was a Jedi. He also wrote that the character didn’t know that his father, who was a Jedi too, was killed by Darth Vader. So the secret that I created that neither the character nor the player knew was that Darth Vader had recruited his father as a potential apprentice. The player’s reaction when it was revealed was priceless!

This handout is useful for any setting, but sometimes you need one that is more focused. Last spring I ran Daring Entertainment’s War of the Dead, a zombie apocalypse campaign, and created a simplified version for that campaign, which you can download here. This one removes the “secrets” section because there wasn’t much opportunity to explore them in the premade campaign, and I asked questions that were more specific to a zombie apocalypse, like who your character would miss.

I’d like to give credit where it’s due and say that this handout was based off of questions created by D&D forums user “The_Stray” in this topic, which in turn was adapted from the Minimus RPG. To keep the sharing going, I’m releasing both documents under the Creative Commons Share-Alike License 3.0, which allows you to freely distribute and adapt them, so long as you make it clear that any revision is based on my work and those who came before it.

I hope you all find this useful. Please let me know well it works for you and your campaigns!

Here are the file links again:

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