Thursday, January 13, 2011

Feng Shui: How to Savage an Archetype

Alongside writing up ideas for the super cool Gigacrawler project over at Playing D&D With Porn Stars, I've been working on translating Feng Shui's Archetypes to my weird hybrid system. Though the two systems are surprisingly similar (broad skills, Edges compared with Schticks, modular powers), I've been having one main issue with the process: how faithful should the Archetypes be to the originals? In the original Feng Shui, game balance was not a real issue between Archetypes. Somewhere on RPGnet, I remember someone who worked on Feng Shui saying that they basically assigned values that sounded good to each character type. As a result, some Archetypes were just better than others.

At first, I created each Archetype as a Novice level Savage Worlds character, complete with buying their items. This was all well and good, but the more I looked at them, the more they didn't seem right. I had always liked the abstract Wealth Levels and weapon choices that Feng Shui employed. It left all of the bookkeeping and gear crunching at the door and told you, "You're a Working Stiff. You've probably got a car and an apartment. You get three guns. Let's kick some ass." That was the first thing to be grafted on.

I also felt that the same Novice layout was making each Archetype look a little samey: not many Edges and too few Skill points to really make the character your own. So I decided to boost the level of each Archetype to Seasoned, which enabled for a lot more room for customization. Different Archetypes could put their Advances into Edges, Attributes or Skills as I saw fit. It gave me much more leeway in building these Savage Worlds characters like their Feng Shui counterparts. Take a look:

Everyman Hero

Agility d6
Smarts d6
Spirit d6
Strength d6
Vigor d6
+1 more

Charisma: 0
Speed: 30ft.
Parry: 5
Toughness: 5

Driving d6
Fighting d6
Knowledge (Classic Cars) d6
Knowledge (Sports) d6
Notice d6
Repair d4
Shooting d4
Streetwise d4
+3 more

  • Heroic (Major): Character always helps those in need


  • Combat Reflexes: +2 to recover from being Shaken
  • Improvisational Fighter: +1 to hit and damage with improvisational weapons
  • Lucky: +1 extra Bennie
  • Quick: Discard draw of 5 or less for new card
Weapons: None. You're just going to have to find one somewhere.
Wealth Level: Working Stiff


  1. I have been a big fan of Feng Shui (and the Shadowfist CCG) for ages. Neat to see the ideas being adapted and I think that SW should be a pretty good fit.

    I will be very interested to see how you adapt the transformed animals.

  2. For Transformed Animals, I've been using the race creation rules in the Slipstream campaign book and using each of the Transformed Animals Schticks as a guideline for what Edges or Powers to give them. It's worked out pretty well.