Lily sure loves a detailed background description, huh?

Adding details to your description is a cornerstone of RPGs in general and an important player skill in particular. In order to encourage it, most systems allow for some form of mechanical reward for doing so. I love the way Exalted uses what they call Stunts: You get +1 if you describe the action, +2 if the action also involves the environment, and +3 if you made everyone at the table say “Wow”. It’s a good general guideline in most systems, though not in Savage Worlds, where cool descriptions should give you Bennies, not bonuses.

However, I see three main ways to add a colourful description to an action: Detailing the results of what’s happening; detailing the way it’s happening; and detailing why it’s happening. This last one doesn’t tend to get enough focus, methinks, which is why we had Lily use it on this page.

This page is cool not because Lily described how sleek her throw is, or how accurately it hits this or that vein on the beast. Nor is it cool because of a description of her sneaking in the bushes, or using the element of surprise (which she did have, btw). It’s cool because she’s monologuing about her character’s inner world, using a flashback and revealing some of her motivation in life (which can be summarised as “I wanna be the very best, like no one ever was”).

This might not be to everyone’s taste, but it also shouldn’t be completely eclipsed by the default “I’m describing the physical aspect of my action”; and I believe it can also be reflected in the same three-tier system from Exalted: +1 for explaining your inner world as you make the action, +2 if it includes something relating to the general story arc of your character (or campaign), +3 if you made everyone at the table say “Wow”. Or cry, if they cry, that works as well. Have a Benny.

On this page…

We haven’t shown it, but when Lily landed after her fall she suffered 2d6 of damage that made her Shaken, but on her turn managed to pass the required Spirit roll to overcome it (with a Benny, if you must know).

She then continued to sneak through the bushes, which would normally require a skill check, but Nadav decided to forgo it, seeing how the beast was obviously occupied, Raffaella had excellent cover, it was night, and her Stealth skill is high anyway. No point in rolling, he could see in Lily’s eyes it won’t be fun at all if she fails this upcoming “revenge attack” because of a very unlikely roll on a skill she’s good at.

Her attack is pretty straightforward, with her Throwing skill of d8, against a target number of 4 – because when you attack at range, the target’s Parry doesn’t matter, you just need the normal 4. So a 7 is enough, with no Raise.

The knife’s (tiny) damage die explodes once (that’s the good thing with d4s, they tend to explode a lot), and the d6 is Raffaela’s Strength, since knives do Str+d4 damage. The Edge she took during character creation is Assassin (P. 39, Savage Worlds Deluxe), which adds +2 damage when the defender doesn’t notice you. Now you also see why she tried to hide as her first combat action.

The beast was already Shaken, so even a regular hit through its Thougness of 8 would be enough to defeat it. With Raf’s final result of 14 she even got a Raise, so she would have even dealt a 2nd wound. Good for you, Raf! That deserves an unsound effect.

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