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I've been reading the basic manual on Allies and Extras, and it seems it's intended for such characters to work as non-wild card characters.

I'm playing a Super Powers game with friends, and they will be meeting other "supers" in the way and befriending them, however I'm left wondering if such allies are meant to be crafted as WCs, since there are even edges dedicated to giving the PCs Wild Cards as allies instead of Extras, making me think I might be doing something game breaking.

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

The decision as to whether to make an ally an Extra or Wild Card depends on a number of factors.

The first and most straightforward consideration is how tough you want them to be. Making an ally a Wild Card significantly increases their capabilities, and you need to make sure they don't end up overshadowing PCs and stealing the spotlight.

Another question to ask yourself is how important the ally is to the plot. Typically, there should be far fewer Wild Cards encountered than Extras, whether they be allies or enemies. Don't forget that Wild Cards are special, and a cut above the rest. The more you introduce into the campaign, the less this will come across.

You mention Edges that give PCs Wild Card allies. This is a different issue to the NPCs that the group will generally meet as they are adventuring. Those allies gained by Edges are considered to be far more loyal and unquestioning in their relationship with the PC with the Edge, whilst general allies think and look after themselves far more.

The last consideration is combat. The more Wild Cards you have in combat the longer and more complicated it tends to be, as you have more to track and those involved take longer to put down. Also, the advice in the core rules is that allied Extras should be given to players to control, whilst Wild Cards are retained by the GM. This is a good general guideline, but I have found that there are circumstances where it doesn't hurt to give a Wild Card to a player as long as you can trust them to behave responsibility and given them actions in keeping with the NPC they are controlling.

When it comes down to it, different GMs use different ratios of Extras to Wild Cards depending on their personal preferences. There is plenty of wiggle room, and going a little too far one way or the other is not going to break the game completely. My advice would be to start cautiously, only introducing a few Wild Cards initially until you get a sense of what feels right for you.

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@Thunderforge better? – Wibbs Aug 20 '14 at 15:23
Sure, that was just a small piece of advice and I'm glad you incorporated it. However, I also notice that you say that "the advice in the core rules is that allied Extras should be given to players to control, whilst Wild Cards are retained by the GM". The discussion of allies (pg. 125 in my hard copy SWD) just talks about giving control of allies to the players without distinguishing between Extras and Wild Cards. I think the intention is that both should be given to PCs. – Thunderforge Aug 20 '14 at 17:21
@Thunderforge the relevant section is on page 64 under Using Allies – Wibbs Aug 20 '14 at 22:18
Ah okay. Looks like they talked about this in two different sections of the book. – Thunderforge Aug 21 '14 at 3:07

There are no hard rules about it, but I would usually expect a unique and named super to be a Wild Card. If you've seen "X-Men: The Last Stand", the battle at the end would be a good example of Wild Card supers (the heroes) standing off against a horde of Extra supers (not including the various named villains, who put up much more of a fight, and would certainly be Wild Cards). The cops, guards, soldiers, civilians, scientists, etc, would also typically be Extras, with the exception of major characters like Trask and the president.

If you want to avoid having too many Wild Cards, you could instead introduce Competent Extras (an Extra who has a Wild Die). I sometimes use this approach when I want certain individuals who are more important than Extras, without overshadowing the PCs.

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In one of the many Savage world settings books that I have read (I don't remember which one) the author/s introduced a third type of character. A character type somewhere between Wild Cards and Extras in power and ability. (I think they called it a henchman or something like that.) From they way you asked the question you are looking for a way to make the allies powerful without stealing the player's thunder. I think this character type would fit the bill perfectly. They are easy to make, simply make a WC and then take away the "Wild Dice" in all other respects this new character type is like a WC.

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