I'm planning to run a one-shot (with the possibility of a segue into a short campaign), set in a version of the modern world (in which, of course, there's something not quite the way you learned it in school). I don't want magic (at least on the PC side of the table), but I do want to introduce non-human sapients; I also want to include approximately current (government funded science) technology.

All PCs will be human, unaware of anything outside 21st century "real world". The mission will be to explore a newly discovered phenomenon of unknown origin and condition, known only from limited "real world" science instrument data. I'll be using partial pregen characters, to ensure a proper suite of skills and edges, but allowing the players to choose other skills, edges and hindrances.

I have limited prep time and familiarity with the Savage Worlds system, so the more material I can find already statted up, the better. Equipment seems to be just a matter of writing suitable "fluff", I can handle that (though it'd be easier if someone else has already written it). How do I go about statting up a non-human, primitive or semi-primitive NPC race?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Do your players have any agency in the world building and setup, such as creating races or are you planning to do that all yourself? \$\endgroup\$
    – rStyskel
    Dec 20, 2017 at 14:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ All players will be human and unaware of the "special" stuff they're getting into (though some setting information may hint that something isn't "normal"). Explore where no one has ever been, you may encounter things no one has ever met... \$\endgroup\$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Dec 20, 2017 at 14:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ With the edit in mind, what elements you are looking for in a source book. Are you looking for any specific elements (races, items, etc)? \$\endgroup\$
    – rStyskel
    Dec 20, 2017 at 15:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Looking for modern weapon stats (ideally covering something other than the most common assault rifles and shotguns), modern scientific and exploration supporting edges, and I wouldn't turn down a non-human primitive or semi-primitive race. I can reskin the non-humans if needed, but I don't know the system well enough to stat up a lot of stuff wholesale. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Dec 20, 2017 at 15:55
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Asking directly for how to stat up the things you're looking for would be more directly addressing the problem you have (needing some things & not having exp. enough to stat them), rather the solution to it you're imagining (a worldbook recommendation). The answer might still be a book or might not be. But whether that other question works here or not (not too broad, mostly) depends on how it's written, so this is hypothetical still. Regardless, asking for a book rec is solidly off topic regardless of narrowness, so some other question (or asking on a forum) is the way forward. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 20, 2017 at 16:11

2 Answers 2


Savage Worlds has a solid set of guidelines for creating PC races. The most up-to-date version of these is in the Sci-Fi Companion, although there is a slightly older version in the Deluxe Explorer Edition core rules. It’s worth noting though that Savage Worlds explicitly encourages you not to use these rules to create ‘balanced’ NPCs or NPC races. Basically you can cheat - just choose whatever abilities, Edges, Traits etc make sense and don’t worry about how many points they are worth. For a GM new to Savage Worlds though the points balance you end up with once you've chosen the race's positive and negative traits can be a useful way of gauging how it will stack up against a human.

For a good range of creatures and races to take ideas from, I always start with Savagepedia, because its free. The core rules has a decent number of critters in too, and each of the genre-specific settings and guides adds to these. For what you’re doing though I wouldn’t have thought it was necessary to splash out any hard cash just yet. Have a look at what’s freely available and then go from there.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I just ordered the Print + PDF Deluxe rules (needed that anyway), haven't looked at the PDF in much depth yet, and the book will arrive later (presumably well before my game on Jan. 14). Sounds like that and Savagepedia might well solve my problem. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Dec 20, 2017 at 18:05

Just Do It.

An NPC only race is shockingly easy to create. Just create it. No special rules are required, no balance needs to be maintained. Since the race will not be playable, it does not need to be balanced against the player characters.

As an example, let's create the primitive race "DumDums".

DumDums are similar to humans, but have significantly reduced mental ability, improved physiques, and are less adaptable.

  • Weak Minds: DumDums have -2 to all Smarts rolls.
  • Strong Arms: DumDums have +1 die type of Strength.
  • Hale Bodies: DumDums have +1 die type of Vigor.
  • New Arrivals: DumDums have the Clueless hindrance.

Done. Just apply that template to an appropriate stat block for the NPC in question (bystander, soldier, veteran solider, etc.) and you're done.

Aside: From a player race perspective, DumDums are virtually unplayable. They have +4 positive abilities and -5 drawbacks for a total value of -1; the standard value of a player race is +2.

Good luck, and I hope this was helpful.


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