The same conversation that got yesterday’s post going also started another discussion regarding the importance of gear to a character. Tim Hannon (@theloremaster) suggested that gear in Savage Worlds was overrated and the real character choices are in the Edges. Sean argued that many well known characters (King Arthur, Elric, Indiana Jones), their gear are integral parts of the characters.
Here’s the thing: they’re both right. In Savage Worlds, if you have a piece of gear that is iconic to the character, you’re most likely going to use the “Trademark Weapon” edge and through that selection, define the circumstances of that relationship. In the case of other gear (such as Indy’s hat, for example) one could handle that through the Quirk hindrance – he’s always got to have his hat. While I feel this covers most cases, it does have some problems.
Now, I feel that there two situations here: where the gear actually is SIGNIFICANTLY better when being used by a particular character (ie. Excalibur); and gear that has sentimental value to the character (ie. Indy’s Hat).
In the former category, this is going to cover weapons that are magically tied to the user in some way. For my understanding of the Arthurian legend, Excalibur proved that Arthur was the rightful king of England and could only be wielded by the rightful king. So, in this case, I’d actually suggest that the weapon would have a stat block as follows:
If rightful king, Excalibur grants the Trademark Weapon Edge, even if prerequisites are not met. Additionally, Excalibur grants +2 to social based trait-tests when dealing with subjects of the realm. Str+d8
If not rightful king, Str+d6
Similarly, if you look at a weapon such as the Sword of Truth or Sword of Shannara, I’d say similar treatments would need to be made. These weapons are magically tied to the user and are more than just a preference of the character.
Now, on the flipside, let’s look at Indy’s whip and hat. I’d say that neither piece of gear grants any real benefit to Indy (other than he’s used having them around), so for Indy’s stats, I’d say that the Whip is a Trademark Weapon and the Hat is a Quirk, as above. They define the character, but they are (in my view) a preference of the character, rather than a mystical object.
Obviously, there’s major game implications for the magical weapon angle. It really hangs a hat on one particular character as the ‘main character’. With that said, look at the fiction that my examples draw upon – there is an incredible cast of supporting (and equally important characters) that don’t have or need a piece of gear that is tied to the fate of their character. So maybe, in game terms, it isn’t so bad.
This sort of discussion has been mostly focused on Savage Worlds, but I think does have some general application to other games.
Anyway, that’s some thoughts on gear and characters. I’d love to hear what you think.