Bennies… what are they good for?
If you’ve played Savage Worlds for any length of time you know the answer. If not, here is a quick and dirty breakdown.
Players start each new game session with three Bennies, unless they have an Edge or Hindrance that affects starting Bennies. Anytime during the game, the character may spend a Benny to:
- Re-roll: Spend one (or all of them) to roll again and keep the best result better. Note: You can’t do “worse” on a re-roll.
- Recover from Shaken: You get a free Spirit roll to recover on your turn, but timing matters.
A Benny has the same effect as a Raise on the Spirit roll and let’s you take full action immediately.If you want to avoid a Wound from a second Shaken before you get the chance to roll, spend a Benny.
- Soak damage: Wounds suck! You can spend a Benny to make a Vigor roll and reduce the number of wounds you take from a single attack.
- Avoid death: You may want to hold one Benny aside incase you fail to Soak all those Wounds! Why? If you are Incapacitated from Wounds, you make a free Vigor roll that can lead to anything from a temporary injury or an instant case of “the deads”.
Game Master Bennies
As a Savage Worlds Game Master, I like to think of Bennies as Scooby-Snacks. They are rewards that I give to player to reinforce the behavior I want at my table. I often say, “There’s no such thing as a bad accent in roleplaying.” Who cares if the player’s spanish accent comes out as a strange mix of Irish and Italian? THe point is: they tried to roleplay in an accent! Give ’em a Benny if you want the other players at your table to take the same chances.
Of course, a player character with the Heroic Hindrance gets a Benny when he decides to rush into a busy street in the middle of a gun fight to save a baby in a runaway stroller.
So, here are three new ways to use Bennies in your Savage Worlds games:
- Encourage Failure: If a failed roll moves the story forward in an interesting way, offer the player a Benny to not use one of theirs to re-roll.
- Invoke A Hindrance: Players often forget about Hindrances in high risk situations. Offer them a Game Master Benny if they play that Hindrance to detriment of themselves or the group . They are free to decline, but it cost them a Benny. Accepting your ‘bribe’ weakens the GM’s Wild Card NPCs, while declining the bribe adds to the GM’s pot at the player’s expense.
- Interludes: This isn’t necessarily new, but performing a roleplaying interlude during down time (long travel, around a campfire, etc) is a way to encourage roleplaying and earn a Benny.
If you’re looking for more new and exciting uses of Bennies in your games, you should also check out some of the Setting Rules presented in the variety of Savage Worlds’ Licensed Settings.
Until Next Time…
Keep Rolling and Stay Savage!