What I think about... The Wild Die Podcast

I am somewhat a podcast junkie. Sadly, since the end of The Game's the Thing and the somehow sporadic release schedule of Smiling Jack's Bar and Grill I am always on the lookout for more Savage Words content for my ears. Yes, there's the Savage Blogger Network Podcast, but it is a short form podcast focused mostly on the news. As for the Hangout on Air,  I prefer to watch it on a second screen of my desktop while I am working. So I was happy to find that a new Savage Worlds podcast has showed up...

The Wild Die

At the time of this post The Wild Die is only on its second episode. but I think it is important to acknowledge the good, the bad and the ugly, even that early in the podcasts life cycle. Afterall, you only have one chance to make the first impression.

The guys behind the Wild Die seem to be new to Savage Worlds, but not new to the hobby. It is interesting to see the perspective from someone who moved from a "certain popular d20 based system." This is both a good and a bad thing. Good because it introduces people with similar background to the system and lets them master the rules alongside the hosts. It is also simply interesting to listen to someone whose path to the System was such much different than my own, which can help me teach the system to others who are stepping outside their DnD boundaries. The same aspect that makes The Wild Die so intriguing is also "the bad and the ugly" of the show. Both of the hosts seem to still be learning the rules. It is most clearly seen (heard?) during the segment when they delve into particular mechanical aspect of the game (Powers episodes seems to be a big offender right now). What seems to be targeted at explaining the quirks of the system to people new to Savage Worlds can turn into a somewhat confusing, "off the cuff" chat riddled with inaccuracies and reading from the rules. I understand that the hosts are still wrapping their heads around it, but it can seem confusing to someone not familiar with the game. To remedy this there is a "listener mail" segment, in which some of the rules errors are addressed, but you need to wait until the next episode to find out about those. Nevertheless the hosts' enthusiasm for the system is contagious and I can see why they get emails from people who want to give Savage Worlds a try. Which is a great thing, as most of the other Savage Worlds podcasts that exist (and existed) were targeted at more hardcore fans who knew the system's ins and outs. I am curious to see what impact the Wild Die will have on the Savage fandom. It will definitely expand it, but I am also waiting to see what ideas the new players will bring to the table.

Going forward, I can see the show taking more of a mentor and a student approach, as one of the hosts (I cannot remember his name now, but he is a big fan of Deadlands Noir) seems to have more experience already. It would be a welcome change to the usual "everybody here is an expert" type of podcast, and from what I heard so far, it could be a very effective way of teaching new players. I would also like to see more humorous banter in the future, as right now it seems that it only shows up when the hosts forget they have to act professional. Maybe its just me, but podcasts hosts do not have to be business like.

The Wild Die is not perfect, but no podcast is. It is also a brand new show that is still finding its footing. There are some small mistakes, like talking at the same time and the music intermissions between segments being a tad too long for my liking. I am sure that the hosts will find the "sweet spot" for what they want to do. It probably will take some time to overcome those growing pains, but I am planning to stay and listen to the Wild Die. It might not teach me things I don't know about Savage Worlds for a while, but it will give me a look into the mindset of a new Savage player. And honestly, I want to see where the podcast is heading...

Right now, the Wild Die does not seem to have a website of its own (or one that my lazy midnight googling could find), but it is available on iTunes Stitcher and it has its own Google+ group. If you are interested in Savage Worlds (especially if you are new to, or thinking about trying this system) you should effeminately definitely check it out. Even if the podcast covers things you already know, you will be able to experience the system through the eyes of some new Savages.

Edit: Found their website.

Savage Hexcrawl - Part 4: Players' rules FAQ

My Savage Hexcrawl rules are almost two years old. Since then I have used them in few campaigns with different groups and with players new to the idea of hexcrawl. This post is a collection of answers for questions that kept popping out during those games.

How much time it takes to travel one move point?

Move points don't work that way. It is an abstraction that does not really take time into consideration. Think of move points as a combination of effort and skill in travel. People who are less suited for travel will have more trouble travelling the same path than a seasoned explorer does. Novices will get tired faster and they will get lost more often. So in general, it will take a character who receives 5 move points, twice as long to travel the same distance than a character who receives 10 move points. If you want an actual time required to travel one move point for for your character/party divide 8 hours by the amount of move points. So an average character with a Pace of 6 would spend around  1h 20min to travel one move point. I would advise you against translating everything into hours and minutes however. The system is abstracted and move points include things like stops for food and drink and getting lost and backtracking during travel and short encounters. If you spend 4h inside a hex doing normal "RPG adventuring" you don't loose any move points automatically. You are still able to travel as much, but now you risk travelling at night, as you wasted daytime. 

What move points do I get if I use different means of travel on the same day?

The system assumes that you will always use the fastest means of travel for the bulk of your journey. If you have a horse, you will ride it. If you have a car, you will drive it. But stuff happens. Horses might die and cars can run out of gas. There can also be terrain that does not allow different means of transport. A horse cannot climb a steep mountain and a car can't drive through a river. If you have to change means of travel your GM will need to do some math. Calculate roughly how many percent of your move points you have used. So if you spent 8 points while on a horse, you have spent 80% of your daily travel time. Take the remaining percentage and translate it to move points based on your new Pace. So if your horse died after 8 move points and you have to travel by foot you have (Pace x 100-80%, so 6x0.2) 1.2 move points left. Any fractions are rounded down as changing means of transport takes time - taking your equipment down etc. You are NOT getting a fresh set of move points based on your Pace (so 6 for Pace of 6) because the characters are already tired from the journey. Even riding in a car will tire you out. The same happens if you find a horse or a car in the midst of the day. You translate the remaining percentage. Your character is already tired from travelling this day.

What happens if I get Encumbered or Wounded?

If during your travels there is a negative change to character's Pace (Wounds, Tiredness and Encumbrance all affect Pace) and because of it you become the slowest in the party, the group automatically looses movement points. The amount you loose is equal to the difference between the original party Pace and the Pace of the character who just got Wounded, Tired or what have you. So if your party Pace was 5 and a character with Pace of 6 got two Wounds and got encumbered (making its new Pace 3), they loose (5-(6-3)=) 2 move points. This is why it is a better idea to setup a camp for the rest of the day to rest and heal before continuing the journey.

Why would I explore a Hex?

As mentioned in Part 1, you can spend a move point to explore a hex, but it is not explain what benefits does it give you. Exploring a hex makes the GM draw another card to check for Events. It lets the players seek more adventure, no Notice test, just card draw. Exploring is also used when trying to find something inside the hex if you don't know exactly where it is. GM might ask you to explore the hex and test Notice or you can explore it until a good event card shows up. So if you know that there is a small keep inside the hex, but don't know exactly where, you need to explore it, plain and simple. In metagaming it also adds to variety - you will add more entries to your notebook for that hex, which will make the world seem more alive.

Where am I inside the hex?

Short answer - doesn't matter. The system is abstract, it only matters that you are somewhere inside that six mile radius. Rest of it is not on the map, but in the minds of the GM and players. If you need some concrete info, you can travel to the middle of the hex by spending half of the point cost for the terrain type (so 2 for swamp or 1 for plains) and traverse it by paying all of it. If you enter a hex but don't have enough points to exit, or even a middle, just narrate where you are.Use your imagination  ;)

Those are all the questions that come to mind. If you have any more, feel free to ask them in comments and I will answer them here. I will eventually add some more GM advice and combine the hexcrawl info into a pdf.