Developer’s Journal 3: Creating a Race for Savage Worlds

Construct Race for Savage Worlds – Terracotta

My gaming history started many years ago when I was just a young tentacle sitting around a table playing, if I recall: Vampire the Masquerade, but it also could have been Rifts While others might say D&D or AD&D or any other classic sword and sorcery game, my first introduction was modern day or post-apoc sci-fi tech fun. Now I make mention of this vague memory because within the last year, Savage Rifts was released using the Savage Worlds system. Which as a Pathfinder publisher, this is almost blasphemy for me to say. But I blasphemously say, I love Savage Worlds.

I always loved the d6 Star Wars game by West End Games, for it was an open ruleset to create the character you wanted. It had books and books and books of races from a 100 different planets spread across the galaxy. The openness of this ruleset reminds me of Savage Worlds.

So this week the tentacle sat down to try the race creation rules found in the Savage Worlds Science Fiction Companion. What I wanted to do with the playable race was to have statues that contained the ancestral spirits of the humans that had been brought to animated life. So starting with a little flavor of the above I delved into the book and followed the suggested rules and examples. Using the Construct template as the base, and adapting the flavor and a savage worlds ruleset for the upcoming Art of War , we have the Terracotta (First Draft)

Terracotta

The souls of ancestors of great reverance are entomb in the monasteries of the great cities throughout the land. Royal guards that have served an Imperial Family for at least 30 years or great leaders of rural communities can petition a secret sect of spiritual monks who hold the secrets of reincarnation. These monks guard the sacred ritual of bringing back life of those who have past, rebirthing them into statues of clay and stone. The Heavens do not always answer those who call, but if they are deemed worthy and the offerings are plentiful, the soul of the dead are pushed to animate the statues of their former likeness giving new life to the fabled fallen. These are the Terracota.
Preserved from oblivion at great cost, the terracotta are given a second chance at life. They must knowingly volunteer (or request) to an individual that must serve as a witness during the ritual. With the blessing of Heaven they return to full fill the duty they were unable to accomplish in life. Many terracotta remain in the service of the those that they served in life. Others have stood guard watching over the tombs of long enshrined Emperors they protected for centuries. Upon being brought back, terracottas negotiate their existence before the heavens and with those that bring them back. If terms are not agreed upon, the Heavens withhold their blessings and the soul passes to the afterlife.
Terracottas retain most of the memories of former lives and continue to perform their task. Many have been known to petrify in place where they stand or turn to dust upon failing in their duty. These souls are cursed and unable to pass on, leaving them to haunt the area where they failed. Those that succeed and fulfilled their contract, are given the second chance at life to explore and learn new things that they had missed out on previously.

Racial Concepts:

Immortal Soldier
Terracottas sometimes receive bodies carved from the strongest stone and hardened clay. The new bodies allowing them to take up weapons heavier than any mortal could swing. Going forth to fight again as undying soldiers in the rank and file of a Clan. Dying once only to learned from their flaws of battle and again to stand alongside the living to wage war.

Wise Hermit
After fulfilling their terms, they seek to continue to learn and research the things they were not able to do. Terracottas that play it safe live long and out last many generations of life to pass on the previous teachings to the next. Holding up in libraries and studying the lost arts or applying past techniques to new technologies, they are scholars willing to teach their skills to anyone that will listen.

Racial Traits:

Chi Dependent-2: Terracottas must align their chi for one hour out of every 24 hours to maintain the proper balance of control over their new form with a successful Meditation check. Failing to do so results in Fatigue each day that can lead to Incapacitation. Each level is  recovered with an hour of meditation. At Incapacitation the spirit separates the spirit from the husk and they perish. Alternatively, a terracotta can spend 2 chi points to skip this hour of meditation.
Created: Terracottas are constructs created of stone and clay. They receive +2 to recover from being Shaken, ignore one level of wound modifiers, don’t breathe, and are immune to disease and poison. They cannot heal naturally but must be Repaired (and ignore the “Golden Hour”).
Extreme Weather Sensitivity-2: Terracottas suffers a –4 penalty to resist a extreme heat and cold environmental conditions. It causes their skin to dry out, freeze and crack. If they suffer damage from an attack of these sources, this penalty acts as a bonus to damage.
Flesh of Stone: Their hardened material make up grant Terracottas a +2 Toughness at creation.
Heavenly Mandate-1: Terracottas are still bond to the heavens to serve a purpose after being freed from their initial reasons for rebirth. The being that agreed to fulfill their contract also gains a pawn on the material plane. This divine pact varies, but the terracotta must fulfill this duty. When there’s a chance to complete this goal, they’ll do anything, and take any risk to achieve it.
Inflexible & Heavy-3: Being made of hardened minerals makes it difficult for the terracota to move quickly. They suffer a -1 penalty to all Agility rolls. Their Pace is reduced by 2” and have a run d4 run die.
Unnatural-1: Death should be final for the soul so they can complete the cycle. Those that are rebirthed are seen as an interruption in this process. Not everyone favors the presence of the Terracottas and many view them as outside that natural order. They have the Outsider Hindrance suffer a -2 modifier to Charisma when dealing with those unaccustomed to Terracottas.

 

Overall: The concept of design when using SW is fairly easy for this race. The hardest part was the decision making on the translation of idea to mechanics. I’ll try to go over that next Wednesday for the Developer’s Journal.

Author: Tentacle Greg

Game Designer. Watcher of Anime. Lover of Kung-fu Movies.

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