View Full Version : Savage Worlds Vs Unisystem

03-02-2010, 07:27 PM
Hey all,

After a bunch of consideration I have come down to Savage Worlds vs Unisystems to run a SpaceWestern game.

My concern right now is what system will handle normals with tech.

My concern is that the troupe is coming off of a DnD 4.0 game with lots of flash and combat dynamics. Although I want to run a much more story driven game.. i dont want it to seem flat for the troupe because of dnd 4.0 flashy combat.

Also ive never really ran a normals game so Im looking for input on how to reward players. Im guessing tech or contacts are the way to give players something to shoot for without new abilities or spells or such.

So my troupe is of low to moderate experience. I am running a normals in space game and i need to be exciting and dynamic.

Which of the 2 systems is best?


03-02-2010, 08:44 PM
As a fan of both Savage Worlds and Unisystem, it's sounding like Savage Worlds might be the direction you'd want to go. Here's why:

1) A group of former D&D players will appreciate some of the extra combat crunch and advancement options (Savage Worlds' Edges are kinda like D&D Feats in a lot of ways).

2) The players will appreciate getting to make use of all of their fancy polyhedrals.

3) The "Powers" rules in Savage Worlds are available and easily inserted if you want to introduce "Psionics" or even just fancy, hyper-tech gadgets.

4) Savage Worlds is built for fast, flashy, action-y types of game which seems to match the style you're looking for.

5) Savage Worlds system is very similar in many ways to the system behind the Serenity and Battlestar Galactica RPGs which means they can make excellent soure material that is easy to convert (if you're not familiar with it for some reason, the show Firefly/Serenity is a "Spacewestern" and a very good one at that).

All of this is not to say that Unisystem wouldn't work but it does seem like Savage Worlds would be an easier starting point. If you were to try using Unisystem, you'd at least need the All Tomorrow's Zombies book in addition to the core rules so that you would have the sci-fi toolkits that you need.

03-02-2010, 08:52 PM
Not really having played either, I'll mention that Savage Worlds has far more Western and Space material, notably Deadlands and the PDF-only "Sci-Fi" toolkits on RPGNow. The rules explicitly have a thumb on the scales in the PC's favor, between "bennies" and the Wild Card die.

Typical Unisystem seems fairly gritty to me. If you want more cinematic combat, you'll probably want Cinematic Unisystem as implemented in Army of Darkness or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Those games have fewer skills and less bookkeeping (also a feature of D&D 4). You could then adapt parts of the AFMBE supplements All Tomorrow's Zombies and Fistful o' Zombies for necessary bits of technology and livestock ... or with a little more work grab bits out of any GURPS or d20 books you have lying around.

03-15-2011, 10:26 AM
Personally, I don't like the step die system used in savage worlds and cortex. (Wonky Probability) - I prefer either a linear probability, or a bell curve (Chicago Rules for unisystem does this: 3d4-2 (I'd suggest 8 sided or 12 sided d4s, as rolling caltrops is no fun)) or another one I saw recently (3d10 take middle.)

I'd suggest use of cinematic unisystem.

You can use Eden Presents 1 (Space Farers and Prairie Folk), along with the Firefly conversion netbook that's floating around by Cory Stanish - it's no longer on his site though..

If you're interested I can list the new qualities his netbook adds and the character Generation stat builds, and you'd be good to go. that's all it really has over the article in eden presents.

So: In short: Buffy Revised/Angel core (Grab the errata online), Grab the article for spaceship rules (Point-build+qualities), and I can give you the other two point-builds from the free netbook and the handful more qualities it offers if you'd like them.

Then if you want detailed campaign setting info, I'd suggest one of these two things: Firefly wiki; or the Serenity RPG (which by all accounts sucks for mechanics) - and I'd only use it for the setting.

03-16-2011, 07:59 AM
I will only say this. A complete book of deadtree rules for $9.99 is not a bad deal (Savage Worlds Explorers Edition) it's an easy read and combat goes quick. If you are good role players and are looking for quick resolution on "crunch" Savage Worlds may be for you. There is source material for both games and both genera and most of Savage Worlds is player created so you won't be thiefing PDF's. I am not sure about game support in forums for uni-system but Savage Worlds 'Pinnacle' have 'official' answers to posted questions and usually the very day you ask them. Either I am sure will suit your needs and yes you can always steal from one to beef up the other.

06-29-2012, 02:05 PM
i use savage worlds rules for all my games
i like lots of settings by other pubs but find it easier to use 1 system to play them all
after all, the rules should just make the game easier to flow- the setting (any of gurps, d&d, rq, et al) provides the fun part.