SWADE General Rules

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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."
  • "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.)


Languages (Changed)

Languages are acquired with skill points, but are not normal skills; they don't have a die type and you don't roll them. For the cost of a skill point, you know the language fluently; make a note of it. The Linguist Edge grants you (Smarts/2) fluent languages, which is a better deal if you have Smarts d6+; it may be taken repeatedly.

Any time you would add actual fluency in any one language to your character sheet, you may instead add bare-bones understanding of two languages. Note this by appending "(Broken)" to the language. With a Broken language, you can communicate and grasp simple concepts, with lots of repeating yourself (or rereading the text) and frustration. Anything technical or complicated is right out.

Record your languages on one line: "Languages: English, Japanese, Spanish, German (Broken), Elvish (Broken)."

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.


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: Novice, Healing d6+, Science d6+
(PDF Quick Reference)

You can create potent drugs — single-use ingestibles (e.g., pills, pastes) or injectables (e.g., syringes, filled thorns). Each dose is capable of reproducing the effects of one of the following powers: blind, bolt (as a damaging poison), boost/lower trait, confusion, healing, relief, sloth/speed, slumber, stun, or warrior's gift. You have a pool of Power Points (PP) equal to the sum of your Healing and Science die types, but these are just "meta-game currency" to track how many drugs you can have prepared at once; you cannot use these PP to cast spells, activate arcane devices, etc.

Preparation: Setting up to brew medicine requires either an apothecary's kit ($200, 5 lbs.) or an hour outdoors and a successful Survival roll to gather ingredients and prepare a space. Choose a power, a specific effect (like "Boost Vigor") if necessary, and modifiers (see below). The process takes one hour per PP; those PP are then invested into the medicine, unavailable until the drug is used or destroyed. If you want to create a batch of identical drugs, it takes the same time as making a single dose.

Modifiers must befit a drug (GM's call) and may include the Range (Touch) limitation (-1 PP, except for Healing which is already Touch) and extra PP to extend a non-Instant duration. Multi-targeting, area effects, and mega-modifiers (in Savage Rifts) are disallowed; the GM may make exceptions for unusual circumstances.

Using Helpful Medicine: Take an action to swallow it, inject it, etc. The apothecary rolls the lower of Healing or Science, treating that as the arcane skill roll for all purposes. There's no Backlash; Critical Failure means the power has the opposite effect (GM's call).

Using Hostile Drugs: Ingestibles can be mixed into food/drink; the subject gets a Notice roll to detect it before consuming. Any injectable can be delivered as a touch attack (Fighting at +2), while one without Range (Touch) can be shot from a blowgun (Rng 6/12/24, $20, 1 lb.) or modern dart rifle (Rng 20/40/80, $1,000, 6 lbs.). Injectables cannot penetrate Armor without the Armor Piercing modifier. Once successfully delivered, roll for the power as above; if the subject has poison resistance, it applies here.

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. If your flight speed is 17" or less, it increases by +2". If faster, it increases by +1" for each full 6" of flight speed. Your "run" die while flying improves by a die type. This never applies to flight granted or enhanced by a power, device, etc.

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, you have the legal authority to bring people in on charges or for questioning, though if you do it spuriously too often, 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.

Practiced Power

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.

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).


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.


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 a mental image of a small fishing community, along with the sense that it's 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.)

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