[RPG] How long does “Joker” initiative in Savage Worlds apply


I'm trying to learn enough Savage Worlds to start running a little experimental game. I keep feeling like the rules are explained poorly, but it may just be that my brain is not ready to learn.

The current bit I'm stuck on is initiative. I'd normally assume that initiative is computed once per combat. That's fairly typical, and would make sense. At the start of combat, each combatant or group is dealt in, then each round turns occur in order. This text is confusing, though:

In addition, the hero adds +2 to all trait tests made this round, and +2 to damage!
Reshuffle the deck after a Joker is dealt to any character.

Why is "this round" specified, if it lasts for the entire combat? Does it only last the first round?

Best Answer

Good question; upon reviewing my Savage Worlds Explorer's Edition, I note it doesn't explicitly say that cards are re-dealt at the beginning of each round. That's how we've always played it, though, because of the implications of the Joker section no doubt. In the Revised Rules, it notes you should reshuffle the deck any round in which a Joker is dealt too.

As a result, I think it's their clear intent that cards be drawn every round, though like many parts of Savage Worlds, they don't bother to state it explicitly.

If you wanted to go to a "one time draw" initiative system, you could just give that person all the Joker benefits for the whole combat, and treat it as a big spotlight time for them. Alternately, if someone gets a Joker, they get it for one round and then they and only they get a new initiative card after. Why? Because Jokers are WILD!