A few months back I posted a quick conversion guide to translate Savage Worlds critters to the Witch Hunter: The Invisible World game and vice versa. I thought it worked pretty well, assuming the GM was willing to eyeball the Edges:Talents translations. But then a SW fan called Cinncinatus dropped a bombshell on me in the comments section:
What about True Faith and Damnation?
Well, I have to admit I’d never really considered it. Solomon Kane really doesn’t use that sort of mechanic. And True Faith and Damnation are pretty wrapped up in Witch Hunter’s version of the benny economy. There really isn’t a clean translation. And since Savaging another game system is more about keeping to the spirit than the letter, I didn’t really give it a second thought.
But since Cinncinatus asked, I’ll try and give it a shot!
Now to do this, I have to give a quick run down of how True Faith and Damnation work. Anyone familiar with the old d6 Star Wars game can probably gloss over this section.
In Witch Hunter, damnation is a slippery slope and faith provides protection from some of the nightmarish abilities the servants of the Adversary can dish out. Characters begin each session with a small pool of hero points they can tap into, like bennies, to do cool things like roll extra dice, ignore wound penalties, even use Talents they don’t have. But here’s the deal, you can do the same thing with Damnation. Every point of damnation the character has can ALSO be used for the exact same purpose as hero points. The difference? The GM awards hero points. The player can tap into Damnation any time he or she wants.
Now True Faith does more than just indicate how many Hero Points a character starts each session with. It is an attribute that is rolled against to resist a lot of nasty demonic powers (think Saving Throw). Likewise, those same monsters can use a hero’s damnation to amplify some of their powers, making them even nastier.
So the way I see it, there are two ways one could handle True Faith and Damnation in your Savage Worlds game. One is quick and dirty. The other requires more book keeping.
The Quick and Dirty Method
You’ll need a second set of bennies of a different color. I recommend red or black beads or counting stones. Put these in a bowl in the center of the table. This is hereafter known as the Damnation Pool.
Play the game as normal, but be a stingier with the flow of bennies in your game. Any time during play, a player can draw a benny (or two, or three) from the Damnation Pool. Damnation stones can be used to soak damage as normal, make rerolls, or add +1d6 to any roll (yes, just like Red Fate Chips from Deadlands). When Damnation is used, the GM add’s it to his benny pool and can use it later for any one of those things. Players cannot share Damnation via the Common Bond Edge.
Joker Rule: For those of you who award bennies when the Joker comes up in Initiative. Whenever a Joker comes up in play, check the color. Red Joker? Everyone gets a benny as normal. Black Joker? Everyone gets a Damnation stone. They don’t have to spend it. But it’s there. Tempting them.
The Book Keeping Method
This one requires a bit more work. I have not play tested it, but it shouldn’t break the game.
Characters gain two new Derived Attributes: True Faith and Damnation. True Faith begins at 1, Damnation at 0. You’re True Faith score may never be higher than your Damnation. The maximum score either of these can be is 5.
As with the previous method, the players begin with a standard number of bennies. A Damnation pool of stones should be set out. Players are awarded a Damnation stone for each point of Damnation they possess at the beginning of play.
True Faith works like Grit in Deadlands. You add it to all Fear rolls. In addition, you may add it to your dice rolls whenever a villain (or critter) uses a magical power on you. However, each point of Damnation you possess cancels out 1 point of True Faith. So a character with a True Faith of 2 and a Damnation of 1 would only gain a +1 bonus against evil magical effects.
Activating Sins: At any time during the game, the GM can “activate” a player’s Major Hindrance. When they do this, the player has two choices. They may act appropriately and receive a damnation stone, or spend a benny to ignore the whole thing.
Wait! But don’t players usually get a Benny for playing up their Hindrance?
Yes. But there are times when those Hindrances are just damn inconvenient. This is when the GM should be activating it. Yes, it taxes the benny economy, but why not since the players have a nearly unlimited supply of Damnatio…err…bennies to draw from whenever they please?
Spending Damnation: The player may spend awarded Damnation stones, or stones drawn from the Damnation pool, at any time as described above. The GM takes the spent damnation and add it to his own benny pool.
Does drawing Damnation stones from the Pool add to your Damnation score?
No. But spending ANY Damnation stones in play, for whatever reason, immediately makes it impossible for you to buy off Damnation at the end of the game session. So it kind of balances out. In long term play, anyway.
So how drastically should I cut back on the bennies I hand out?
That is completely up to you. If you want a grittier game, hand out fewer bennies and direct your whining players to the Damnation pool for instant gratification. The more bennies you had out in play, the less temptation the Damnation pool will offer.
Corruption: Once your Damnation is higher than your True Faith +1 point, your character begins showing signs of corruption. If you are a magi and have undergone the tests, your hands begin to bleed. Otherwise, your GM will award cosmetic effects to suit the level of your corruption. These could be obvious (boils, sores, paled skin, etc) or behavioral (a desire for raw flesh). The character’s corruption should be associated with his or her Hindrances where applicable.
Buying off Damnation: At the end of a game session, a player may attempt to buy off a point of damnation. They can only do this if they have at least one benny left and have spent no damnation stones this session. The player spends a benny and rolls a d6. On a result of 5 or 6, the damnation point is removed. The player may spend multiple bennies on this, but no more than his or her True Faith score.
Raising True Faith: The player’s True Faith may be Raised as a Level Up option, but only once per Rank. Again, a character’s True Faith may never be higher than his or her Damnation score. If the character acquires Damnation during a session of play, and it is not successfully bought off at the end of the session, the point of True Faith is lost and may only be recovered through leveling up. Face it folks, Damnation is easy. Faith is hard!
Villains, Critters and Damnation: This is a tough one, but I think it fits and doesn’t require any big changes. When facing a character with a higher Damnation than True Faith score, a Villain or Monstrous Wild Card (or Henchman, if you are using those rules from Solomon Kane) receive a SECOND wild die to roll. They can swap any die with either wild die.
Jokers: Unlike the Quick and Dirty Method, Black Jokers do not award Damnation stones.
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