I like podcasts to make my commute more entertaining, and one of my favorites is the Secret Cabal Gaming podcast. On a recent episode of their Lords of the Dungeon RPG podcast, they talked about having become tired of Savage Worlds because a combat-optimized character was basically always the same. This is not an original criticism of Savage Worlds - I've seen it before cited as one of the key defects of the system. And I don't buy it.
Let's take the harder case first - a ranged combat specialist. How can we build distinctive ranged fighters, each of which is combat effective, with just the core book? OK, easy one - Shooting is going to be high. But what else can we add in? How about a gunslinger? Quick Draw is obvious, but Quick would also be a great choice, and Two Fisted/Ambidextrous to allow shooting with both hands. Add in Danger Sense for that classic move of spinning around and shooting the enemy sneaking up behind you.
Let's go the other direction - sniper. Marksman, obviously, and Stealth and Climbing skills to make him more effective. No Mercy to spend bennies on damage for that "Boom - Head Shot" feeling. Trademark Weapon for the custom rifle tuned to his specifications.
Now let's go full-on Rambo. Rock-and-Roll and Steady Hands so you can spew out rapid fire anytime. Brawny to carry the really big guns. Throw in Edges like Hard to Kill to reflect that ability to take punishment and keep on coming.
There you go - three completely different ranged combat specialists, all combat-effective in different ways, just with a different mix of Edges and Skills. Next time, I'll tackle the much easier case of melee fighters.