Last night, amid much negotiation and impassioned discussion, our group hit upon a cool new house rule for our Savage Worlds game.
We’re calling it the Benny Economy, and it expands upon an existing mechanic in SW that gives each player three “bennies” at the outset of the game. These are tokens, stones, glass beads, whatever, and they can be “spent” for rerolls and damage soaks, kind of like hero points in Mutants & Masterminds or fate chips points in Deadlands. And since the GM is encouraged to give out extra bennies during the session for good roleplaying or problem solving, these resources are meant to be spent, not hoarded.
The GM gets bennies too, to be spent by his minions and NPCs, usually one per PC at the table, plus a couple more for each big monster or villain.
Last night, though, we hit upon a much more dynamic way of spending bennies: When a PC spends a benny, it’s added to the GM’s stock. Likewise, when the GM spends a benny, it’s passed on to the PC most directly involved with the action.
So we’ve established a free-flowing metagame economy whereby the GM can inject a little fiat into the game — but only by passing on a minor advantage to the characters. And when the players need a hail-mary roll, they can try for it — but next time they might not be so lucky. Plus, the players around the table can watch the GM’s benny pile wax and wane throughout the game, so they’ll know at a glance how many resources the referee can bring to bear on a particular scenario.
Admittedly, this mechanic has virtually no grounding in the story or plot. It’s just a cool metagame notion that, for us, seems more engaging than the rules as written in the SW book. What do you think?