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I'm running War of the Dead, a post apocalyptic zombie campaign and one of my player's backgrounds is that they were experimented on by scientists who were responsible for emergence of a monster very similar to the monsters in I am Legend.

The character has very gradually been taking on characteristics that are less than human, but so far these have not been sufficiently strong to have a mechanical effect on the way the character plays.

However, we've started talking about where to take the character next, and one of the suggestions the player has is that he might eventually develop the fast regeneration ability, as this is seen in some of the zombie variants they have encountered. This allows a Vigour roll at the end of each round to heal wounds, even if they are 'dead'. His suggestion is that he might take this instead of a Legendary Edge, but I have no idea whether this is fair/balanced.

So my question is, what rank would the Fast Regeneration ability be equivalent to if it was an Edge, and what prerequisites would you give it?

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3 Answers 3

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There is nothing at the Legendary level that can really compare to this Regeneration edge you are proposing. (There is a monstrous ability called Regeneration that is very similar, but monstrous abilities follow different design goals so I skip it for now and talk about it below.) The most similar edges (on all ranks) in the core rules are:

  • Fast Healer (Novice, Vigor d8): +2 to natural healing
  • Hard to Kill (WC, Novice, Spirit d8): ignore wound penalties for "death roll"
  • Harder to Kill (Veteran, Hard to Kill): 50% chance of "not dying"

An edge that allows you to roll Vigor each turn to heal wounds is more powerful of any of these, so it should be at least Heroic. If it does not stop working after the character is dead (making the character effectively immortal), it is way more powerful than any of these edges, or any other edge in the core rules for that matter.

The way you wrote it, there is no way you can balance that edge with the other Legendary edges in the core rules: it is much better than any of them, or even several of them put together. I can only think of two strategies to balance it a bit (not much), hopefully one of them will be OK for your campaign.

Make it expensive

The first way of balancing a powerful edge is splitting the edge into several edges, so that it is expensive to get. For example, having four steps of "regeneration" could look like this:

  • Basic Regeneration (WC, Legendary, DM´s call): If the character has one wound but no more, she can do a Vigor roll every round. If the roll is successful, the character heals the wound; if the character has two or more wounds, the regeneration stops working until the character has one wound only. Additionally, the character makes natural healing rolls every three days (instead of five) regardless of her number of wounds.
  • Advanced Regeneration (WC, Legendary, Basic Regeneration, DM´s call): Same as Basic Regeneration, but it does not stop working unless the character has three wounds or is incapacitated. Additionally, the character gains a +2 on natural healing rolls, regardless of her number of wounds (this does not stack with Fast Healer).
  • Enhanced Regeneration (WC, Legendary, Advanced Regeneration, DM´s call): Same as Advanced Regeneration, but it does not stop working unless the character is incapacitated. Additionally, the character makes natural healing rolls every day (instead of every three) regardless of her number of wounds.
  • Full Regeneration (WC, Legendary, Enhanced Regeneration, DM´s call): Same as Enhanced Regeneration, but it never stops working, not even if the character is dead. As soon as they heal at least one wound, they stop being dead / incapacitated and come back to life.

Some of these steps share ideas from the monstrous ability Regeneration. Even if these are four edges instead of one, any of them is still clearly better than any other Legendary edge, which brings me to my second option.

Weaknesses

A common trope in most stories is that very powerful beings have some terrible vulnerability. Most vampires die horribly under sunlight, many types of zombies (and in particular those in Savage Worlds) are most vulnerable in the head, werewolves cannot regenerate wounds made by silver bullets, some trolls regenerate unless wounded by fire and acid, Smaug had a tiny hole in his armour, etc.

Your character looks like she is effectively becoming one of the most powerful characters in the story, so in return of regeneration she may gain some special vulnerability. Maybe her head becomes especially brittle (+4 to damage on head shots), or she cannot regenerate some kinds of wounds (e.g. silver weapons, fire, acid, salt, wounds on the head, wounds done in the dark), or any other vulnerability that fits the theme and the campaign.

For comparison, this possibility is explicitly included in the monstrous ability Fast Regeneration: "Most creatures with this ability also have a Weakness or Vulnerability, such as fire. Wounds from the creature’s Weakness or Vulnerability do not regenerate, but may still heal naturally".

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+1 Another option is to make Fast Healer, Hard to Kill and Harder to Kill prerequisites, and still include Enhanced Regeneration and Full Regeneration as the two legendary regeneration edges. –  Hand-E-Food Jul 7 '13 at 22:21
    
If that fits your campaign, sure! But I think that Hard to Kill and Regeneration are mostly independent in general. One common thing about many zombie stories is that they are easy to kill... but not for long! –  sergut Jul 7 '13 at 22:53
    
Note that balance is less important for heavily story-hooked Edges like this. SW discourages letting anyone just take Edges without fitting the character concept, and this one has very hefty story requirements that simply won't be justifiable by most PCs: becoming a zombie-thing! –  SevenSidedDie Jul 8 '13 at 1:12
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I agree, but the OP had balance as one of their concerns ("I have no idea whether this is fair/balanced"), and that is why I tried to address that. Although balance is not the main goal in the design of Savage Worlds, it may be an important factor for some groups of players ("why do I get just a +1 to parry but he gets regeneration!?"). –  sergut Jul 8 '13 at 10:24
    
Other penalization option, he has 1 wound and most spend 1 turn dead before regenerating back to life. Basically he should not become the Juggernaut and be able to knock through enemies without any repercussion. –  Joshua Aslan Smith Jul 9 '13 at 14:01

The Fast Regeneration ability describe in the Monster section of the Savage World Deluxe book his an innate ability of some monsters, personnaly it will be an edge with a requirement of : GM approval. And no rank requirement, unless you know for how long your campaign will run ... Just Tell him when it's story appropriate to get that edge or event better hand him as a reward.

No need to cet complicated, keep it fun, fast and furious. If you want your player to feel like theres some progression, give him first slow regeneration than allows him to take the fast.

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+1 Good comment about the monstruous ability. I have added some notes on it on my answer. :-) –  sergut Jul 9 '13 at 10:40

Are you familiar with Necessary Evil? If not, I highly recommend it.

NE has rules for creating super heroes. It completely rewrites how powers work, replacing them all with NE specific powers. Characters start with 10 power points, and can get an additional 10 at character creation IIRC.

What does this have to do with your question? NE has a power called Regenration. For 5 pp, you can heal a wound every hour. For 10 pp, you heal every minute, and for 15 pp, you heal every round. By comparison, 2 PP gives you practically any edge in the game regardless of if you qualify. A starting character would have to spend 3/4 of the max amount of starting PP to gain true regeneration.

Going off this very rough guide, I would suggest 6-7 edges that are required to get true regeneration. Ex: Fast Healer, Hard to Kill, Harder to Kill, Regeneration, Fast Regeneration, True Regeneration.

Remember that once you give this player true regeneration, they will become almost impossible to kill. On second though, making Hard to Kill a requirement may not be the best idea...

tl;dr: This ability is extremely powerful, and should be the result of investing a lot of experience into feats or other prereqs. I would suggest splitting regeneration into 3 feats that requires 3-4 prequisite feats.

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