Quick Encounters and the Plan

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We’re starting to see previews of the new Savage Worlds Adventure Edition – Quick Encounters here and revised chase rules as part of the Return to Sleepy Hollow adventure.

Chase rules are obviously problematic in Savage Worlds as they have changed more often than anything else in the game that I am aware of; I think they are currently on their fourth (maybe fifth) incarnation, so I’m backing away slowly without making eye contact. We’ll see what they’re like in the final cut.

Quick Encounters made my ears prick up though; they extend the earlier Quick Combat freebie – if you think of your Savage Worlds session as an action-adventure movie, Quick Encounters are the montages. They attract my attention because I have long wanted a viable set of solitaire rules for Savage Worlds, and Quick Encounters come very close to being that – they remind me of The Plan in Solo, which I’ve used extensively this year for solitaire play.

Both approaches compress a lengthy scene into a couple of dice rolls and some narrative.

When using The Plan, you roll 2d6 and apply modifiers if the group has skills or gear that will be a significant help or hindrance, with the result determining success or failure, and then roll 2d6 again for the outcome, which can be good or bad regardless of whether you succeeded.

When using Quick Encounters, each party member makes a suitable skill roll, with the GM assigning modifiers depending on circumstances. As the consequences for an individual depend on his or her dice rolls, it is possible for the team to succeed as a whole while one or more members suffer injuries or setbacks.

Both approaches allow the group to succeed but at a cost; The Plan also allows them to fail but in a lucky way, which I don’t think Quick Encounters supports. It would be easy enough to add; maybe if the team fails but an individual succeeds with a raise they could get a benefit relating to that skill. The Savage Worlds version requires a roll for each participating team member, while Solo looks at the team as a whole.

As well as solitaire play, I can see a lot of other uses for Quick Encounters. They might serve me better for dogfights, dramatic tasks and social conflict than the rules intended for those situations, which I generally resolve by narrative roleplaying and a couple of quick dice rolls anyway – exactly what QE is intended for.

Further, the hobby seems to be shifting towards dungeon crawls which are a series of set-piece encounters separated by vaguely-defined montages of minor rooms and corridors; but, the resource management aspects of dungeon crawling require some sort of “hit point tax” for traversing the empty bits. Enter Quick Encounters… “OK, after leaving the Temple of the Serpent God you track the escaping saurian priests through a maze of caverns for several hours before finding their lair, let’s use an encounter card and a Quick Encounter to see what happens on the way.”

Quick Encounters are a good addition to the rules, and are definitely going to see use at my table.

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