Saturday, April 25, 2015

Trappings (Savage Worlds)

Trappings is one of the concepts in Savage Worlds that most people don't take to right away. They take a little bit of work to get the hang of. It was a concept I had trouble fully grasping at first. As a matter of fact it was a major hurdle for me, the one thing I didnt like about Savage Worlds at first glance. I felt powers were too generic. Once I got a good grasp on how trappings work I found that I prefer to use them in everything.

It's easy to think of trappings as differences between types of powers like psionics or magic. That its the source of the power that adds the flavor. When in fact they are just the root of the trapping.

Trappings should not just embody the type of powers, but also accent or flavor the power based on your character concept.

As an example lets take the power Entangle. Entangle cost two power points and targets a single enemy to restrain. For two extra points it targets everyone in a medium area. Depending on the power source Entangle can be a mages hold monster spell, a super heroes web slinging, a mad scientists glue bombes, or even a psychics force field encasing someone. Taking it a bit further trappings can have effects beyond just being reskinned powers.
For example, one of my players is a Druid. As a matter of fact he is a Druid in every game I run. His Druid has Entangle. His trapping for the spell is roots and vines that shoot from the ground grabbing its target.
In one game the party was trying to escape from a castle while being unseen. The players had his druid climb to the wall and look over the edge and ask. "Could I cast Entangle on the ramparts? Have the vines attach to them and the rest the party can climb down?" Not just could he..he got a bennie for his cool idea. After all it fit the trapping so why not.

I've taken it a bit further and allowed a more freeform use of trappings as well. In another game the Druids players had entangled a theif who was trying to get away with an artifact. The Druids player asked "instead of using the 2power points to area effect can I instead spend the 2 to pull the target to me?" I allowed it....why not?

Same as entangle as a glue grenade could be used by other characters. Or even rigged to trapps or rolled into a room. Basically any maneuver that one could pull with a hand grenade.

Trappings are not just a reskinning of a power. But rather think of powers as liquids. And trappings are different shapped bottles.  If you pour the power into the shape of a grenade, treat it like a grenade. Not just a grenade in name only. If its shaped like a gun use aiming and cover rules. If its a jet of flames use the flame thrower special rules to light targets on fire. Give trapping substance. Give them effect.

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