Playing Daggerfall, Savage Worlds Style
The Elder Scrolls conversion for Savage Worlds that I made several months ago has been very well received! I’ve heard that several people have already been using it to run campaigns and I figure it’s high time that I let you all know about mine. I’ve taken the ambitious task of taking The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall and turning it into a full Savage Worlds Plot Point Campaign.
First, a quick background of Daggerfall. After the modest success of The Elder Scrolls: Arena, Bethesda Softworks created an incredibly ambitious sequel with a non-linear main quest and a game world equal to twice the size of Great Britain (although it was randomly generated). Taking place in the provinces of High Rock and Hammerfell, the player is sent on a mission initially to exorcise the spirit of King Lysandus that haunts the streets of Daggerfall, but it eventually develops into something much more. The game also started off with an awesome live-action cutscene (embedded below). Interestingly, it’s also the only game in the series where you don’t start out as a prisoner.
The majority of the Elder Scrolls lore that we know and love today was introduced in Daggerfall, including the Fighters and Thieves guilds, the Dark Brotherhood, the Aedric gods, the Daedric princes, vampirism, and lycanthropy (in two different flavors: werewolf and wereboar). This was also the first game that allowed Orcs as a playable race and included lore books to read, many of which were reused in later games as well.
The nice thing about doing a retelling of the Daggerfall is that all the quests are already written with full descriptions of them available online. Basically, I’ve been adapting them for use as part of a multi-party campagin (and in many cases expounding on them to provide a more interesting situation that wasn’t possible with the original game engine). The open-ended nature and non-linear main plot also provide a structure that works well with Pinnacle Entertainment’s Plot Point Campaigns in which the players decide to go to a certain location and the GM can flip to the information about that area and see what adventures are available.
There are two main challenges I’ve been having with running Daggerfall as a campaign. The first has been unraveling Daggerfall‘s somewhat messy plot line. It’s a fascinating story, but there are a lot of subtleties in it and “mandatory” quests that don’t really do much in the way of advancing the storyline. There’s also some things that flat out don’t make any sense. So I’ve been simplifying the main quest and making it clearer what things actually lead to others.
The second is creating a good balance between politics and combat. Make no mistake, Daggerfall involves more court intrigue than any other Elder Scrolls game. Some players find drawn out debates with the nobles interesting, others find it boring. Right now I’m struggling a little bit with players who would rather be out fighting. I’m also struggling with the fact that most of the missions in the original game involved crawling through a random dungeon to find some quest item, which can get very monotonous very quickly.
Still, the plot point campaign is working out well overall. I’m typing up my notes and copying information from The Unoffical Elder Scrolls Pages to create a document with a cohesive plot point campaign (or at least a bare bones one) that I hope to release on this site at some point.
If you’re wondering, the following characters are in the group:
- Sir Alabane T. Mordore, Breton Battlemage (from the court of Northpoint in High Rock)
- Elaroth Oakenbow, Bosmer Archer
- Hrothgar Ice-Veins, Nord Battlemage
- Ri’saad Alakbar, Khajiit Nightstalker
To keep things together, they are all part of the Blades and nobody is allowed to join the Dark Brotherhood. So far, the group has had mixed results in social situations where they either wind up beloved or reviled, but not in the middle. This will probably make some later parts of the main quest more difficult, but we’ll see. Most recently, they also pulled off “The Great Moonsugar Heist” in which they broke into a greenhouse, stole moonsugar cane, and made it look as though animals had broken in. They later ground it up into moonsugar and sold it in a different city. Not bad for several hours; work and I’m sure the local Thieves Guild will have taken notice of it.
I imagine that the campaign will continue until the end of the summer, so I’ll be sure to let you all know how that turns out.