Using Genesys story points for bennies in Savage Worlds

I’ve dug through FFG’s Genesys rules for a while now and like them. There is still that hump of learning the rules where I’m not sure if I will run it any time soon. It’s not quite a streamlined system like Dungeon World or other PbtA games. However as much as I waver on running a game, I still find cool stuff to use from the system.

One thing in particular I’ve ported over to my Savage Worlds game are story points, and tweaked it for how I disperse bennies. In Genesys, both the PCs and GM can use story points to boost dice rolls or alter the narration some (say a PC spends a point so their thief character has some equipment which could quickly open a door). The catch is that the number of points is static, they just pass between the GM and the PCs. So as PCs use them to their advantage, they transfer over to the GM which can use them to crank up the difficulty for the players.

I love it. One thing that consistently hampers me is the passing out of additional bennies. I tend to get wrapped up with running the game, I overlook some opportunities to distribute more bennies. I do award some around during a game, but I typically look back over a session afterwards and realize there were missed chances. So I started using a similar story point system in Genesys.

For Savage Worlds I use bennies of two different colors. One is for common bennies (white) and the others are wildcard bennies (blue). The common bennies will always have the same total in play, but the wildcard bennies are removed from the game when used.

A. Assemble the pools: Both the PCs and the GM each have their pools for common (white) bennies. For each player, a common bennie is placed in a shared pool for the PCs. The GM gets 2 common bennies in their pool. Every player gets an additional wildcard bennie of a different color (blue). If the player has edges which give them additional bennies, this will be the a wildcard bennie. For each wildcard NPC run by the GM, that NPC will have 1 wildcard bennie.

B: Common bennie use: Common bennies once used are passed to the other pool. So if players use a white bennie, that is passed over to the GM for them to add to their pool of common bennies. Likewise if the GM uses one, it is passed over to the players. The total number of the common bennies will never change but instead pass between the players and GM. Note that for players, their common bennies are in a single pool shared among all the players. Any PC can use them freely. Otherwise the bennies function as per Savage Worlds rules.

C: Wildcard bennie use: Wildcard bennies are used as per the Savage Worlds rules. Once used appropriately they are removed from the game. In addition, a player can freely give their wildcard bennie to another player. If there are situations where the GM feels that a bennie should be awarded to a player during the game, they will give them a wildcard bennie (blue).

D: GM and common bennie use: It is their final discretion, but the GM is encouraged to use common bennies over GM wildcard bennies. As the common bennies pass between the players and GM, it makes for a more dynamic game to only use GM wildcard bennies as a last resort for that NPC.

This has worked wonderfully for my game. My players at times agonize using those common bennies. However I’ve been using my common bennies more to throw wrenches into the PC plans. More so because in the end I am giving them resources to get those clutch rolls when needed.

The ability to grant wildcard (blue) bennies to other PCs is also a nice touch. Sometimes a PC pulls off a great feat during a game that I want to reward. Having them turn around and give that bennie to another player when needed just adds to the camaraderie at the table.

If you occasionally struggle getting the bennies flowing at your game, I highly suggest using these rules. I never fret now if I’ve awarded enough bennies. And as the pool of common bennies begins to grow on my side of the screen, it’s a reminder to use them for opposition rolls, new action cards, or pull the story into another direction, so that the players can get those back into their side of the table to use. Hope folks find this useful for their games.