Monday, January 9, 2017

Savage Eberron: PC Classes, Wild Cards, NPC Classes, and Extras


I'm diving deep into converting some stat blocks from the v3.5 Eberron Campaign Setting to Savage Worlds. It's something I plan to share publicly for reference. As I'm looking at each stat block, I'm remembering the important role of NPC classes in Eberron and how I've always associated them with Savage Worlds' concept of Extras. I wanted to share my short (and obvious) reasons on this with both fans of Eberron and Savage Worlds.

As any good Savage Worlds GM, I usually assess the role of a character to determine whether it will be a Wild Card or Extra, but Eberron makes it a bit easier as the Eberron Campaign Setting and other v3.5 Eberron supplements make heavy use of the D&D v3.5 NPC classes, noting that only important or powerful characters have actual PC classes; everyone else is an NPC class. There's even an Eberron Under the Glass article that explores this topic in depth. In fact, that article notes the following (emphasis mine):
People with character classes are larger than life, even early in their career. PC-class characters are the Amelia Earharts, Wyatt Earps, and Thomas Edisons of their day -- famous and capable of things no normal man or woman could accomplish. Ask anyone who knew one of these people in their younger years and they'll tell you they were destined for something great. Of course, most people believed they were crazy, too, so being a person who is "special" in this way is a mixed blessing. Nonetheless, PC-class characters are the rare exception to the unwashed masses. In Eberron, a true cleric or wizard is someone to respect or even fear, and a paladin isn't someone you take for granted.
That's pretty important to keep in mind, and it's very much in alignment with the concept of Wild Cards in Savage Worlds as stated in the following excerpt (again, emphasis mine):
Your hero (a player character), and unique allies, villains, and monsters are collectively called “Wild Cards.” These beings have a little better chance at doing things, are a little tougher to put down, and are generally more detailed than common guards, minions, or lackeys—collectively called “Extras.”
This is why I'm defaulting to making a character with a PC class into a Wild Card and a character with an NPC class into an Extras. That means an Elite Watch Guard with levels in the Warrior NPC class will be an Extra whereas a Watch Captain or Sergeant with levels of Fighter will be a Wild Card. (See Sharn: City of Towers, p. 136-137 for example stat blocks.)

"Whoa, whoa, whoa!" you exclaim. "What about this excerpt from the Savage Worlds core rules?"
The sergeant of the City Watch probably isn’t a Wild Card, but Sergeant Grimlock of the City Watch, a veteran of many wars and an important character in your campaign, certainly is.
Yeah, I get that, but I think this is an exception. Or maybe it isn't. After all, D&D isn't Savage Worlds, and Savage Worlds isn't D&D. Maybe any character with a PC class isn't the same as a Wild Card. Maybe only named characters, like Sgt. Dolom in "The Forgotten Forge", are Wild Cards, but random Watch Sergeant isn't. That's the one piece with which I'm still struggling, and I'd love to hear your opinions on the matter.


This game references the Savage Worlds game system, available from Pinnacle Entertainment Group at www.peginc.com. Savage Worlds and all associated logos and trademarks are copyrights of Pinnacle Entertainment Group. Used with permission. Pinnacle makes no representation or warranty as to the quality, viability, or suitability for purpose of this product.

Eberron is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., in the U.S.A. and other countries. All Wizards characters, character names, and the distinctive likenesses thereof are property of Wizards of the Coast, Inc.