The Seven-Sided Die

Savage Elder Scrolls

Posted Monday December 29, 2008 at 11:37 PM

This old post has been getting more hits since Skyrim was released, but I'm not planning to update the document. TES fans might want to look at this conversion that appears to be complete and well-made, though: The Elder Scrolls: A Savage Worlds Conversion by the Journeyman GM.

I've seen a few hits in my logs from people looking to roleplay in Tamriel using Savage Worlds rules. The Elder Scrolls conversion I'm working on isn't finished, but it's finished-enough that I can use it to run games and I have other projects taking precedence. I figure even unfinished rules would be more useful than nothing to those people coming from Google, though.

So: Savage Elder Scrolls.

Note that my experience is mostly with Oblivion, so there's not much in there that reflects Morrowind or earlier games in the series. However, since I'm not interested in just playing Oblivion with the CPU replaced with a human GM, I tried to avoid re-creating Oblivion's game mechanics. That was my biggest objection to Advanced Dungeons & Savages, and I didn't want to make that mistake myself.

Note that there's a lot that's just skeleton, especially around the Edges and Hindrances, the Bestiary, factions, and non-combat Gear. Alchemy is only half done, but an enterprising GM can fill in the blanks. Restoration spells are barely touched as well, but Savage Worlds provides Healing and Greater Healing for now. Also note that the contact form referred to at the end doesn't yet exist here because I haven't had the time to test out the various contact form plugins.

Feedback and suggestions are more than welcome. This is only around the level of an alpha, so major rewrites might happen.

Comments (8)


Tuesday December 30, 2008 at 06:45 PM

Some initial thoughts:

Skills - The skill list seems large... and some skills (Fighting) are far more generally useful than others (Boating). This is a general issue I have had with SW, though.

Factions - Daedra cults? Plus, there are additional factions from Morrowind.

Alchemist - the Professional Edge lacks a prerequisite of the Alchemy skill. Also, it doesn't really track the use of Alchemy in TES. Thoughts: Remove power points from this Edge. Allow the use of the Alchemy skill to harvest power points from ingredients. The professional edge can then be used to store those power points toward a dedicated power in a potion. Instead of Powers, the edge could give Recipes (essentially, powers that can only be stored... and take more time/equipment to use).

Stuart’s last blog post: What I've been up to...


Tuesday December 30, 2008 at 08:39 PM

The skills list is longer due to the Magicka skills, but otherwise matches the core SW rules. I don't have a problem with some skills being more useful for certain kinds of play. Some players of the video game wished it was easier to play a non-combatant, and you can do that in SW. Similarly, playing a game along the lines of some of the political history of Tamriel would involve more Knowledge (Politics) and Persuasion than Fighting. Boating and such then becomes more useful for those kind of play than Fighting is.

Daedra cults are on my list of things to think about. I'm not sure if I even want Edges to represent the factions, so it's low on my todo list.

I'm pondering just including a d4 in the Alchemy skill in the Alchemist Edge. It's a pain to have to use Advances for a skill that's going to be useless before the Edge can be bought. However, depending on which direction I go with it, I might end up making it a Background edge, and then that consideration is moot.

For ingredients, I wanted to avoid having players keep track of an ingredient inventory. It's not really a very SW sort of thing to do, and I'd rather abstract it will rolls. What I was thinking was that if they just want to shop for the ingredients, then they can. Otherwise, they can use their Alchemy skill and a bunch of time to Gather, which will give them die sizes in Stock or something similarly named. A successful roll on Stock means they have the ingredients for X task. (I have to think about whether it's a quantity of potions, a whole potion, just a certain number of PP worth of Power, or what.) A failure means they have to go out and buy the ingredients. A success also means their Stock goes down a die size. On a Raise their Stock isn't depleted at all.

There's some more thoughts about bonuses to the gathering based on being in interesting places, and bonuses to the Stock roll based on having Mages Guild membership and having your workshop near to a headquarters.

I do think Power Points are necessary for Alchemists. I've been looking at how Shaintar and how Freeport handles SW alchemy, and they do use Power Points. The Alchemist has to invest their points and they only start to recover at the usual rate when the potion is done. It acts as a limiter on 1) how powerful a single potion can be without investing an Edge in more PPs, and 2) how quickly they can make potions. Since SW Powers are much more potent than the potion effects in Oblivion, I don't want Alchemists in SW TES to be creating the masses of potions that TES4 alchemists make. Also, the (1) reason slightly tracks the need for alchemists in the video game to get to higher levels before they can make the really powerful potions.

As a gimme, though, I think I'll let Alchemists make poisons without having to purchase a Power to do it. I'll leave the morally-questionable nature of poison use as a limiter. I'll probably base it on Smite in terms of Power Points and effects.

If I make Alchemy an Edge that doesn't piggyback off Magicka Powers, then they'll have separate Formulae (Powers) that aren't mixed. That'll let me give them different effects, too.


Tuesday December 30, 2008 at 10:39 PM

re: Alchemy

I'm not sure why Alchemy needs power points. In general, I'd see potion-making taking a while and mostly happening off-screen/during downtime. As such, power points would be recovered pretty quickly. Here's a more detailed version of what I was thinking:

1) An alchemy roll can harvest PP from ingredients. The number of PP depends on the quality (price/difficulty attaining) those ingredients. Some ingredients have an affinity for a certain type of magic and gain a bonus toward that.

2) An alchemy roll can harvest ingredients from natural surrounding or dead creatures. This takes some time. If you want to avoid all ingredient tracking, this might be an issue, but I was thinking that it would be tracked along the lines of Decent Ingredients x 5, Great Ingredients x 2 or whatever.

3) Making a potion takes a long time - usually a full day. Maybe one of the tools - say a calcinator - could reduce this somewhat.

Stuart’s last blog post: Year-end evaluation and thoughts for the future


Tuesday December 30, 2008 at 11:13 PM

That would still be too fiddly. Not that it's a bad idea. I just don't want to spend time thinking about or having players track the quality of ingredients, or seeking specific things out unless it's for story reasons. I want to avoid purely resource-management play. That's fun and interesting in the video game, but it goes against the grain of Savage Worlds to get into that nitty-gritty.

For an idea of what I'm basing this on, look at the section on Allies' ammo in combat in the core rules, and my post Bookkeeping-free provisions and torches in AD&D.


Wednesday December 31, 2008 at 12:45 AM

Those are goals I can totally respect... and understand. I like Alchemy a lot in TES, but the computer does all the ingredient tracking for me...

Stuart’s last blog post: Year-end evaluation and thoughts for the future


Friday November 27, 2009 at 04:50 AM

So, just out of curiosity.. After having stumbled across this blog, any plans on fleshing out your Savage Scrolls? I'm asking as a certified TES-nut, with a tabletop-conversion on my own:-)


Friday November 27, 2009 at 08:43 AM

I haven't been playing enough Savage Worlds and Oblivion/Morrowind to do the conversion justice, so it's languishing for now.

There's a lot that's already useful there, though, and I did manage to run one session with the document in its current form. Preparing for that session is why everything necessary for character creation is more-or-less done, but the more GM-facing stuff like the bestiary is still skeletal.

If you wanted to take it for a spin and fill in some of the blanks as you went, I'd love to hear it! I'd also be interested in taking a look at the conversion you've come up with. Is it standalone, or a conversion to a published system?


Friday November 27, 2009 at 11:55 PM

I still think it is interesting, nontheless. From what I can read out of it, it looks like a pretty solid base. SW is popular, so it's a good thing, even if it's not my thing. I'm more old school BRP:-)

My BRP-stuff is here if you want a looksie: On a bit of a break now, but it works, I've run a few scenarios with it.

And you're on the Geek as well. Neat:-) Enjoy J