Savage Doo: Scooby Doo for Savage Worlds!

Scooby Doo is, I reckon, the greatest untapped role-playing game setting of all. It’s got the lot; fun characters, horror, a ready-made team setup, chases, comedy, great locations, awesome traps, episode-based design, investigation and geek sex appeal. Heck, it’s even got a talking dog. What more do you want?

When it came to picking a setting for my first Savage Worlds trial session, Scooby Doo was a no-brainer. After all, I didn’t want fantasy (that’s what 4e D&D is for), and didn’t want superheroes (Mutants & Masterminds!) – at least, not yet. I wanted a setting and genre that doesn’t invite comparison with either, but is still familiar enough that the players can dive right and and understand the tropes of the setting.

So, Scooby Doo.

I remember playing the Hi-Jinx mini-game from Polyhedron/Dungeon #158 back in the day. This followed a similar premise to Scooby Doo, but with the heroes as crime-fighting pop band. No, really. Damn, I loved those mini-games, but unfortunately my group was firmly in the minority and they eventually died a death. Shame, that.

I’m considering expanding this further to create an unholy mashup of Scooby Doo, Harry Potter and Torchwood where the heroes are Gifted schoolkids (and a talking dog) who defend Earth from Alien invasion, but that’s a little ambitious for a first scenario. More on that (and thanks and kudos to my twitter followers for ideas!) another time.

For this trial session, the characters are all starting Novices and are either human or highly intelligent pets. We’re just using Savage Worlds Explorer’s Edition so winging it is the order of the day. I have a few pre-generated characters prepared, but they’ll be there more as a guideline of what I expect; I’d rather the players get a feel for chargen right from the start. It is, after all, extremely quick to do in Savage Worlds.

Here’s a couple of examples.

Kevin Schempp the Geeky clumsy bookworm
Agility d4, Smarts d8, Spirit d6, Strength d4, Vigor d6
Pace 6, Parry 4, Toughness 5, Charisma 0
Driving d4, Fighting d4, Investigation d8, KS:Occult Lore d8, KS:History d10, Notice d8, Stealth d4, Taunt d8
Luck, Bad Eyes:Minor, Quirk:Whistles, Delusional: Major (Believes in everything)

Tibbler the Talking Cat
Agility d12, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d4, Vigor d4
Pace 6, Parry 4, Toughness 3, Charisma 0
Climbing d8, Fighting d4, Guts d6, Notice d6, Stealth d8, Survival d6
Danger Sense, Quick, Small, Cautious, Quirk:Must Chase Mice

Matilda Vayne the gorgeous martial artist
Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Pace 6, Parry 6, Toughness 5, Charisma 2
Driving d8, Fighting d8, Guts d6, Investigation d6, KS:Occult Lore d4, Persuasion d8, Swimming d6
Attractive, Doubting Thomas, Loyal, Overconfident

From a GM’s perspective, Scooby Doo has a ready-made adventure framework that looks something like this:

  1. Arrival at weird location
  2. Initial combat, discover clue
  3. Chase (or be chased), new location
  4. Second combat, villain’s escape, new clue
  5. Preparation, final combat
  6. Unmasking and resolution!

Tweak a little according to taste, but this is a tried-and-true plot framework. Don’t mess with the Doo unless you really have to!

Scooby Doo is full of weird locations: old fairgrounds, abandoned mines, creepy castles and shopping malls. Ok, I lied about the shopping malls. This session is going to be set in a crumbling US Civil War-era mansion and our heroes (proud franchisees of Mystery Inc.) have been invited to stay the night. It’s been said that no one has slept in the house since 1834 when the last surviving occupant – Colonel Alda Cur – disappeared. The current owner is Mary Cur, and she’s hoping to break the curse so she can finally sell the relic.

So, that’s the setup. I’ll let you know how we get on. Here’s the Write-up!

UPDATE: Just to prove that all great ideas have already been thought at least once before: here’s the Savage Worlds stats for Scooby, Shaggy and the gang!

8 Comments on “Savage Doo: Scooby Doo for Savage Worlds!”

  1. Sounds like a hell of an adventure Grey! That has actually inspired me to do a muder/mystery comedy for SW at some point! I ran a muder/mystery that was really fun a little bit ago with my 3.5 group, the only thing that is annoying with that is the arcane/divine classes always have spells that can possibly ruin everything unless you can be two steps ahead o’ em..

    I also want to def try Deadlands Reloaded once I get my new SWEX book, since my other new one was defective.. Sigh..
    .-= wrathofzombie´s last blog ..A Little Miss Sunshine Inspired Adventure =-.

  2. A couple of years ago I tried running a Scooby Doo-like campaign using Savage Worlds but was really dissatisfied by the system because the emphasis on combat and skills (the vast majority of which kids wouldn’t have) made it feel wrong. I ended up developing my own Kidz RPG (which is based upon PDQ) to use instead because it emphasized what I wanted in the setting and eliminated what I didn’t.

    @Greywulf – if you’re interested I can send you a copy of the playtest rules. If all goes as planned the book itself will be coming out this winter.
    .-= MJ Harnish´s last blog ..Want to inject more roleplaying in to your 4E game? =-.

  3. @MJ Hamish I’d love to see that, yes please! My email address is greywulf(at)

    I’ll be posting about our experiences with Scooby Doo (Savage Worlds style), soon!

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