The extended English version of Packs! we want to fund with Kickstarter can be played in two different ways: Using either the minimalistic original rules or the well-known mechanics of Savage Worlds. Today we would like to talk about those two options.
The original rules are designed for a fast-paced adventure style of gaming, but also help to represent the sophisticated hierarchy of rat culture, assuming you want to call anything rat-related “sophisticated”. They are centered around the four traits Strong, Quick, Social and Clever, as well as some accordlingly straight-forward-named Talents and Tricks like “Out of the Way” or “Wound Licking”. In the end, you roll a number of six-sided dice dependent on your traits and add up the two highest scores. If you beat a difficulty, congratulations! You live to see another day, or whatever your goal was. The numbers involved are small enough to be appropriate for schoolboys and -girls (the throat-biting and extensive procreating, on the other hand, might not). There is also a dirty and dangerous combat system without extensive tactical rules, but with extensive wrestling around on the floor and biting things. If you bite things successfully, or do whatever fits you horde best, you can also collect songs, tales other rats might have heard about you. Which is just great if you want them to do something for you, or just impress your rat-friends. If you are especially brave, cunning or stupid (but in a martyr-like way), you might get a new name fitting your deed. Some rats have three names or more. And yes, they will use every single one of them. Always.
Nevertheless, at every con at least one Fan asks us to publish a Savage Worlds conversion for Packs! It’s not that there are any problems with the original rules, but a lot of people love Savage Worlds for good reasons and want to play just about everything with their favorite system. As the German publisher of SW, we kind of agree (naturally), and so we will use Kickstarter to extend the book with a decidedly fast, furious and fun chapter of the savage kind. Some of the best German designers are working on the conversion right now.
Both systems will allow you to explore the Ratlair in different ways, depending on your personal taste for rules. We don’t care, the monsters will be dangerous and the traps deadly either way. So take your pick!