Deprecated: Function create_function() is deprecated in /home/mygurpsc/public_html/pmwiki.php on line 512
MyGURPS - SWADE House Rules

SWADE House Rules

Return to Savage Worlds

The new Savage Worlds ADventure Edition improved the system in many ways, though it could still use a few minor adjustments. (For the old edition, see SWD General Rules.)

Anything marked with is actually a change from Savage Pathfinder that we've simply adopted across the board.

Official Clarifications

  • "Bleeding Out" doesn't require the subject to have actual blood. It's just an evocative term for "dying."
  • A character on Hold can't interrupt someone acting on a Joker, since the Joker lets them go "whenever they want in the round." Similarly, if you get a Joker and go On Hold, you can interrupt someone without rolling.
  • "Pace" refers solely to a character's normal ground movement. Anything that improves Pace never affects Flight speed (even for flying races), vehicular movement, etc. (It does improve swimming speed, but only because that's directly based on normal ground Pace.)
  • By default, summoned creatures may act on the same turn in which they're summoned.
  • You can cast smite on a being to enhance their natural/unarmed attacks.


Languages (Changed)

Languages are not skills. Either you know a language or you don't. Any skill requiring communication is at -2 or worse if you don't share a language.

Characters start knowing a number of languages equal to half their Smarts die. The Linguist Edge raises this to their full Smarts die. When you raise your Smarts, you can learn a new language (or two, with Linguist). If necessary, you can also spend one Skill Point to learn a language.

(In Savage Rifts, any Hero's Journey result that grants a language skill at d8 or higher actually grants two languages.)

Psychology (New)

This Smarts-linked skill allows you to judge whether someone is lying to you, gauge a person's motives, and so on. It is usually rolled as a contest against Spirit (actively) or Persuasion (reactively). It is not a core skill; if you don't have it, just hope that the deceiver misses their target number. It qualifies for Scholar.

If you successfully use the Empathy power on a subject, you may then roll Psychology (with the Empathy bonus) and use the higher of the two rolls to gauge the information above.

Research (Removed)

This skill has been folded into Academics. Heroes with another relevant skill (e.g., Healing when looking through medical records) may use that skill instead of Academics if they wish.

Edges (Changed)

We've made some simple updates to a few Edges in our games.

Beast Bond

Replace the text with the following:

You may spend Bennies on behalf of any animal under your control, including pets and your mount. This is redundant for animal companions acquired via Beast Master, below. In addition, normal animals will not attack you without reason; when in doubt, the GM should roll on the Reaction Table for the animal (modified as she sees fit), and allow you to use Survival as if it were Persuasion.

Beast Master

Delete the first paragraph completely; that ability is now part of Beast Bond. Instead, add the following to Beast Master: "You may spend your Bennies for your animal companion."

Change the last bullet point to: "Improve the survivability of one pet. If the hero is Seasoned, the pet is now Resilient. At Veteran, the pet is now Very Resilient. And at Heroic, the pet becomes a Wildcard (for all purposes, not just Wounds)."


As an action, you make attempt to succeed at a Smarts roll to go voluntarily berserk.

  • In highly cinematic settings (ask the GM!) a new edge exists: Wild Berserker (Veteran, Berserk). While berserk, you get +4 to Toughness instead of +2!

Followers and Sidekick

If these are somehow acquired before the PC is Legendary (e.g., due to Born a Hero), they advance once for every two of your advances — until you hit Legendary, at which point they advance normally.

Improved Dodge

In addition to its stated effects, you can attempt to evade area-effect attacks which cannot normally be evaded. However, you roll at -2 instead of +2.


Because Research is gone, the new prerequisites are, "Novice, Smarts d8+, Academics d8+."

Leadership Edges


These Edges apply only to those directly under your command; it benefits sergeants, not generals. As a rough guideline, your squad size should be no greater than your Battle skill die.

High-Tech Communication

The concept of a "command radius" makes sense in low-tech games -- but not when you have radios, telepathy, or any other means of easily (no action required) remaining in constant contact with no delay or lag. For any setting in which this applies, Leadership edges apply to any subordinate who (A) accepts you as their field commander, (B) you are in constant contact with, and (C) you have an unobstructed view of.

  • The Command Presence edge removes that last requirement, allowing you to advise even an unseen subordinate.


Because Research is gone, the new prerequisites are, "Novice, Smarts d8+."

Edges (New)

In addition to these, many of the normal Edges from specific sourcebooks are available with GM permission (e.g., if you want to know Overrun and Charge from Savage Rifts, go for it).


Requirements: Seasoned, Healing d8+, Science d6+ or Survival d6+
(PDF Quick Reference)

You can create potent medicine for good or ill. For simplicity these are divided into drinks (internal use; teas, powders, etc.) and ointments (external use). Decide if you're a Chemist (uses Healing and Science) or Herbalist (uses Healing and Survival). You have an "Herbal Capacity" (HC) equal to the die type of the higher skill; e.g., an Herbalist with Healing d8 and Survival d10 has HC 10.

To brew the drugs, a chemist requires a pharmaceutical lab ($200, 5 lbs.) and 30 minutes per dose or batch. An herbalist just needs access to the wilderness along with 60 minutes per dose or batch. Creating multiple doses of the same medicine takes no extra time, just uses extra HC. Each dose can reproduce the effects of one of the following powers: blind, bolt (as a damaging poison), boost/lower trait (Attributes and Notice only), confusion, healing, relief, sloth/speed, slumber, stun, or warrior's gift. Limited Power Modifiers are available (see the PDF). The total PP cost of each dose counts against the Apothecary's HC maximum.

Anyone may use the medicine as an action. For subjects who don't want to be affected:

  • Drinks can be hidden in food or beverage. Subject gets a Notice roll to detect it before consuming.
  • Drinks can be thrown into the subject's face using Athletics at -4 (Called Shot), assuming no sealed environmental armor, etc.
  • Ointments can be smeared on an unarmored location via a Touch Attack.
  • Drinks can be delivered via blowgun or dart rifle and ointments can be applied to most melee weapons. If the weapons' damage exceeds Toughness, the dose is also delivered.

Once delivered, the Apothecary rolls against the lower of the two skills to see how effective it was. Critical Failure inflicts the opposite effect (GM's call) instead of Backlash. Ignore any modifiers affecting the Apothecary now; this skill check is to see how they did back when they brewed the concoction. Inhuman Physiology penalties apply for helpful drugs, but not harmful ones. The HC is available immediately afterward.

If different drugs are mixed together (for use as a single action or attack), the Apothecary makes a single activation roll at -2 per drug past the first. Combining multiple doses of the same drug has no effect; treat it as one dose.

Expert Apothecary
Requirements: Veteran, Apothecary, Smarts d8+

The Apothecary’s Herbal Capacity now equals the sum of their two skills' die types.
Crafty Apothecary
Requirements: Legendary, Apothecary, Smarts d10+, Healing d10+, Science d10+ or Survival d10+

The Apothecary can spend a Benny and take a full round (no other actions) to improvise a concoction — assuming they have the HC free. The activation roll for this dose (or batch) is at -2.

Combat Slinger

Requirements: Novice, Fighting or Shooting at d6+

For the purpose of throwing weapons at a foe in combat, and meeting any Edge requirements for that purpose, you may use Fighting instead of Athletics. When throwing grenades (or any other attack where landing it at someone's feet is as good as hitting their body), you may instead use Shooting if better.

Fleet Flyer

Requirements: Novice, Agility d6+, racial flight

This is a variant of Fleet-Footed (which applies only to ground Pace) for characters with the innate ability to fly. Your flight speed increases by +2" for each full 6" of flight speed (minimum +2"). Your "run" die while flying improves by a die type. This never applies to flight granted or enhanced by a power, device, etc.

Improved Rock and Roll!

Requirements: Veteran, Strength d6+

You may use the benefits of Rock and Roll! when moving, but not when running.

Law Dog

Requirements: Novice, appropriate Hindrance

You're recognized and respected as The Law in your campaign setting. This gives you +1 to Persuasion with law-abiding types, +1 to Intimidation with outlaws and criminals, and +2 to Common Knowledge to answer questions about the law, criminal gangs, etc. In addition, when in your jurisdiction, you have the legal authority to bring people in on charges or for questioning — though if you often do this spuriously, expect consequences.

The GM has final say over what counts as an "appropriate Hindrance" for this Edge — usually a "justice-loving" version of Code of Honor, Driven, Heroism, Obligation, or Vow.

In Deadlands: The Weird West specifically, you're a town marshal or sheriff and earn $75/month from salary and fees.

Practiced Powers

Requirements: Seasoned, Arcane Background (any), "No Power Points" setting rule in effect

When casting a power, ignore -1 in penalties from (A) the power itself or (B) having multiple powers active. Other penalties (such as for being Distracted, Fatigued, or Wounded) cannot be reduced. The effects of this Edge are cumulative with the standard ability to obviate 2 more points in penalties by focusing.

You may take this Edge multiple times to ignore even greater penalties, but it may be taken only once per Rank. It fills the niche of the Power Points Edge in a game without PP.

Quick Draw*

Requirements: Novice, Agility d8+

When spending a Benny for an additional Action Card at the beginning of a round, the hero draws two cards instead. They also add +2 to Athletics rolls made to interrupt others' actions or to resist their own being interrupted. (For Savage Rifts Gunslingers, that Athletics bonus also applies to their Agility roll to use The Quick and the Dead ability).

Fast Draw*
Requirements: Seasoned, Quick Draw, Agility d10+

Increase the Athletics bonus on interrupted actions to +4. In addition, the hero can ready up to four items per turn as a free action (instead of just two).
* These Edges are canonical (from Deadlands and Savage Rifts), but are spelled out here to resolve discrepancies between the different versions. The versions above are the newest ones.


New Limitations

Evadable: For bolt or burst. Your power allows the targets an Evasion check.

Focused: For boost/lower Trait. Choose three Traits that you can affect. If they are closely related (e.g., Agility and three Agility-linked Skills), you may choose four. You may take this Limitation twice, which restricts you to one Trait.

Other Rules

Big and Small Races

With GM permission, races can have non-Normal sizes. This is complex enough to need its own page.

Carrying Capacity and Pack Animals

The encumbrance rules are meant for humanoid PCs. For large, four-legged animals, multiply Carrying Capacity and Max Load by (Size + 1): double for Size 1, triple for Size 2, and so on.

This does benefit centaurs, etc., but only for loads carried directly on their back (e.g., riders or saddlebags).

Critical Hits

When an attack roll succeeds with multiple raises, each raise past the first improves the critical damage die type by one. In other words, one raise = +d6, two raises = +d8, three raises = +d10 and so on.

If the weapon's critical damage is multiple dice, each extra raise improves one die. For example, +2d6 becomes +d6+d8, then +2d8, then +d8+d10, and so on.

Desperate Attack

This combat option was added (in the 5.0 printing) with the intent of letting large creatures offset scale penalties, but was generalized in a way that makes it feel very "gamey" and unrealistic. As such, the following rule applies:

Desperate Attack: Your melee attack ignores up to 4 points of Cover or Scale penalties, obviates up to +4 Parry from a shield, or some combination of the two. It inflicts -4 damage. Cannot be combined with Touch Attack or Wild Attack.


Evasion rolls are at an extra -1 for every full inch between a subject and the edge of the blast template. Similarly, an attempt to pick up and throw a grenade is at an extra -1 for every full inch between the subject and the center of the blast template. (Ignore this when not using a battle map.)


The mentalist has control of the subject's body, not their mind. Thus they can put words in the subject's mouth to repeat, but cannot make the subject answer questions. (For interrogation, use Mind Reading, not Puppet.)

Telepathy and Language

The powers Mind Link and Mind Reading both work even if you don't share a language with the target. However, they do not actually translate anything (use Speak Language for that). Instead, they convey basic concepts only; e.g., "When you ask her where the safe house is, you get the impression of a small fishing community, about a day's travel north."

Touch-Limited Powers

Any power which takes the limitation Range (Touch) is limited to being cast on one subject at a time. If you're getting that -1 PP reduction for (e.g.) Zombie, you cannot just lie atop a pile of corpses and animate them all. (This may be the canonical intent, but stating it clearly here just to be clear.)

Return to Savage Worlds