Saturday, August 6, 2016

Preparing a Savage Worlds campaign: 50 Fathoms

I've already played through a 50 Fathoms game to completion. However, I have never ran it as a Game Master. I also have a player who has never played it and three who have never played a RPG let alone Savage Worlds game ever. So 50 Fathoms is an excellent choice for me due to my familiarity with the setting already. It also helps that it is a fairly treasure heavy setting, so it has a D&D looting vibe to it that might help the new players get into Savage Worlds since one of the players has mentioned DnD several times.

It all begins here. 50 Fathoms is all you need + the Core Savage Worlds for play.

From the 50 Fathoms book, I use PagePlus Serif Starter Edition to make cards of the encounters and ships throughout the book.The program is free but limited to one per e-mail address. Its got better word art and text boxing than MS Word does.The red sleeved cards are from the whole book with the blue sleeved cards being reprints of the stats in the player section (which will be commonly used by both players and myself such as ships and the Sailor stat block.)

I purchased the 50 Fathoms Figure Flats that are available on DriveThruRPG. There is a lot of value to this with 20 pages of tri-folds, figure flats, and top downs.

I printed out all the pages and two pages each of the really huge figures of The Walking God Donga and the Hags. I messed up the first hag by not leaving a hanging bit of the page off to the left to act as a tri-fold glue line, so it ended up pinched in the back. But by gluing one page to the identical page (take the shadow side and glue the image side of the second page on top of it, making the shadow side of the second page the back), I created a tri-fold as planned and I fixed the error to make Donga and the other two hags work really well (Leave the white space to the left of the first page, this you'll use as a glue line to glue it in the back to the shadow side). I made the Walking God Spiders into Figure Flats by keeping the top part of the page so it would act as a fold to glue to the base. 

As usual I use a tackle box for the smaller figures to organize them. You can buy these at Walmart for pretty cheap. I like the taller ones because they can fit in more figures. They also have a brand of bags called Okeechobee FATS that come with 4 tackle boxes + the bag for 40 bucks (So you get a game or travel bag and 4 of the tackle boxes too).

CREATURES NOT APPEARING IN THIS PICTURE: Sharks because the Great White fell on top of the smaller ones (The big white square).

SETTING RULES: As per 50 Fathoms + Deuce's Wild + High Adventure (Core) + Nomination Chips (Shaintar).

Deuce's Wild: When dealt an Action Card of 2 in combat or a chase, the character (or captain of the ship) gains 2 Bennies. The character can give 1 Bennie to any other allied character (but must keep 1). Character's with Quick and Level-Headed and like Powers gain this effect once per round, regardless of how many Deuces they are dealt. I encountered this concept in the Official Savage Worlds Group on Facebook. This setting rule helps relieve the sting of going dead last in a round rather than just making the Joker go from good to really good.

Overall, this sets up the game with a Heroic vibe, similar to my run of Shaintar. 

The final piece is a Session 1 script. In this case it is pretty easy. At this point beware of


Start of session: Character creation for four characters. The big note here is the setting rule of Heroism (Can take a Seasoned Edge in character creation if they meet the other requirements), which the players need to know about in chargen. We actually set aside a whole night to do this July 30th because Chessie had to make her Deadlands character, then everyone playing showed up so we made 50 Fathoms characters too.

Next is an Interlude for the four characters as per Plot Point 1: Maiden Voyage to introduce themselves to one another.

Scene 2: Torath-Ka Beachhead

Opposition: 1 Yellowback

Opposition Motivation: The Yellowback is hungry so it attacks the group for food.

Location: Beachhead near Torath-Ka jungle line.

A battlemap isn't necessary for this fight as its 1 opponent and four characters, so its very easy to do in a theater of the mind. If I were to use a battlemap, I would look through DramaScape's library. The one map that really would work well here is The Landing, as it has a beach and a forest/jungle. It even has a sort of rocky shoal that works well as the island of Torath-Ka has a sort of rocky border all around the island's edge on the map. The three dinghies on the map could even be used as three different places the Player Characters could start on the map.   

The Landing

Scene 3: Torath-Ka The Red Pool

Opposition: As per Plot Point 1

Opposition Motivation: The enemies are sacrificing the survivors of the crew to their Dark Gods.

Location: The Red Pool. I print off DramaScape's Sacrificial Pool for this encounter as the map and mount it on foam core in three sections. This particular battlemap is excellent for this purpose for this initial encounter and other encounters of its type in Torath-Ka. For more of a jungle pool, our Jungle Temple also work well as it has a couple of small pools in the middle of a jungle temple that could also work for more of an interior temple within Torath-Ka.

Sacrificial Pool

 Jungle Temple

Scene 4: At Sea


Assuming the group leaves Torath-Ka, they find a Scurillian being harassed by sharks.

Opposition: 4 sharks

Opposition Motivation: Sharks are hungry trying to eat the Scurillian.

Location: At sea + ship (Skiff). For a map I can use one of the small River Barge boats for the Skiff and some of the River Barge sea sections if necessary. This is again another fight I think can be handled easy enough with theater of the mind though.

In the end, I decided to print out the small Fishing Barge from the River Barge set and use it as the Skiff. I print off cannons from our Western Keep in case they find a way to salvage some.  (The add-on page with the drawbridges has two cannons and a catapult, making this set fantastic for 50 Fathoms as a potential three floor castle or fort location, but also to add cannons to ships, as well as the page of castle soldier Figure Flats in the set. You can also cut the vegetation off the outside of the map and use the drawbridge up cutout so that instead of a moat its a castle or fort surrounded by sea which could make for an interesting location for an adventure in 50 Fathoms.) This ship can be used until they upgrade to something bigger. 

River Barge

Western Keep

And with that the first session is ready to rock and the campaign prepped!

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