Savage Barrayar

This is a Savage Worlds setting based on the Lois McMaster Bujold Vorkosigan series (see or the associated Wikipedia page for details). It uses the Sci Fi Companion rules with some significant modifications. The Vorkosiverse is a galaxy of mercenaries, space fleets, spies, genetic engineering, and epic battle. Some key differences from conventional space opera are the complete lack of aliens and the absence of any dominant galactic powers. Faster than light travel is accomplished via wormhole jumps, which are effectively instantaneous; the speed of communications is limited to lightspeed within a solar system and interstellar communications must be jumped with a ship through wormholes. The dominant space weaponry are plasma weapons, although the gravitic imploder lance is an up and coming technology. Ground based weaponry tends to plasma as well, with nerve disrupters (stunner-like weapons that destroy nerves, killing by stopping the heart or frying the brain), stunners, and needle guns as alternatives. Technology varies world-to-world, but generally not to extreme levels unless a world was "lost" for a while, as was the case for Barrayar itself.

New Background Edges:
Eidetic Memory Biochip: This edge means you have survived (sane) the process of implanting an Illyrican eidetic memory biochip. You can recall literally anything you have ever seen or heard at will. All knowledge checks where you have the appropriate skill are at +4.

Jump Pilot: You have the neural wiring and training to jump a starship. Your Piloting checks are at +4 whenever you have a compatible ship command headset.

Telepath: If you have enough tyramine (purified or via foods), you can read surface thoughts on a successful Spirit roll at +2. Deeper thoughts or memories require a standard Spirit roll, or at -2 if the person is actively trying to hide their thoughts. If you fail to read a person on the first attempt, their mind is permanently closed and cannot be read.

Allowable SF Edges from Companion: Geared Up, Heavy G Worlder, Atmospheric Acclimation, Rocket Jock

Career Edges:
Barrayaran Armsman: Barrayar’s Vor Counts each maintain a personal bodyguard of 20 oath-sworn liegemen. Given their small number, the counts tend to pick the best. Requirements: Shooting d8+, Notice d8+, Loyal. Armsmen receive a +2 to Notice any threat because of their extensive training, and, when bodyguarding, have the Quick edge (discard and redraw any card 5 or lower).

Intelligence Analyst: Intelligence Analysts assess data from human and technological sources to identify patterns and threats. Most work for government agencies, but large corporations and mercenary fleets employ them as well. Requirements: Smarts d10+. Intelligence Analysts are never untrained in any knowledge skill check.

Bioengineer: Bioengineers develop new and modified life-forms by altering genomes and cloning or artificially gestating the resultant organisms. Local laws on acceptable forms of bioengineering vary wildly across the wormhole nexus, ranging from complete bans to anything goes. Requirements: Knowledge (Biotechnology-Genetics) d8+, Smarts d8+. Bioengineers have a +2 on all Knowledge (Biotechnology-Genetics) rolls, and can identify the work of a specific bioengineer or company with a successful roll, assuming they have access to a lab.

New Hindrances:
Outsider - Hermaphrodite: Anywhere other than Beta Colony.

Suppressed Memory: The character has undergone memory suppression therapy at some point in the past; under the right conditions, this memory may resurface, with consequences only the GM can specify. (Minor)

Allowable SF Hindrances from Companion: FTL Sickness, Low Tech, Low G Worlder, Zero G Sickness

Knowledge Areas:
Five-Space Navigation
Physical Science


Quaddies: Quaddies are genetically engineered humans designed for free fall. Among other advantages, they have a second set of arms instead of legs.
Outsider: Quaddies are rare outside their habitats, and viewed as freaks on many worlds. -2 Charisma to non-quaddies.
Small: Quaddies have less mass than a comparably-sized human - -1 Toughness.
Gravitic Acclimation: Quaddies are accustomed to variable G and do not incur penalties for operating in low, no, or standard gravity.
No Legs: Quaddies have a Pace of 2 (crawling) outside of Zero G. In Zero G they have a +2 to all Agility checks. Quaddies can operate vehicle controls with their lower arms and typically have custom float pods for maneuvering in gravity.
Radiation Resistant: Quaddies have a +4 to resist radiation because of their engineered genes.
Designed for Brilliance: Quaddies were designed for high intelligence - all quaddies start with a d6 in Smarts.

Genengineered Humans: A wide range of engineered humans have been created; a character who wishes to play one can design a custom race using the SF companion rules. Genegineered humans will generally be Outsiders and may be Wanted, depending on their world of origin (e.g. escaped Jackson’s Whole clones).

Ghem: Ghem are the warrior class of Cetaganda; they are also part of a massive genetic engineering project conducted by the Haut. The Ghem are the source of random variation, and having their genes called up by the Haut is their highest honor.
Ghem Honor: The Ghem have a strict code of honor, rigorously enforced by social norms.
Cetagandan Loyalists: The Ghem are also utterly loyal to Cetaganda and the Haut.
Engineered for Battle: Ghem start with a d6 in both Vigor and Spirit.

Haut: Haut are the ruling class of Cetaganda, engineered for exceptional beauty and intelligence. GMs should exercise caution with Haut characters, as their disadvantages are bound up in their social structure and therefore difficult to role-play properly.
Haut Beauty: All Haut were designed for aesthetics and have a +2 to Charisma.
Haut Intelligence: All Haut have a d6 in Smarts and a d6 in Knowledge(Biotechnology-Genetics)
Rich: As the ruling class of Cetaganda, Haut are extremely wealthy.
Haut Loyalty: The Haut class is dedicated to the long-term evolution of the haut genome above all, and will never take action against that project.
Haut Class Constraints: Haut are considered the property of their clan (“constellation” in Cetagandan terms) and will only act in accordance with the guidance of their constellation leaders (one male, one female). Haut females do not generally appear in person to any non-haut, conducting their business from force-screened float-chairs.

Ba: Ba are experimental constructs used by the Haut to test new genetic modifications. As such, like genengineered humans, they are effectively custom races; however, Ba will never be aesthetically unpleasing. Ba between 30-50 years of age will typically be completely hairless, as that was fashionable at the time.

Curative Implant - minimum $500, allows buying off a Hindrance as part of an advance (e.g. artificial limb, eye)
Portable Cryo-Pod - $20000, allows for Cryosuspension of an incapacitated character on a Healing-2 roll. See Cryo-Suspension Rules.
Military Antibiotics - $5/10 doses, adds +2 to Healing rolls to recover from incapacitation or cure infection.
Military Analgesic - $50 (Military). Eliminates all wound penalties for Vigor hours; however, if a character is incapacitated while using the drug, injuries are permanent automatically.
Military Stimulant - $25 (Military or illegal on most worlds). Eliminates all fatigue penalties for 16 hours; however, the user is incapacitated at the end of the 16 hours.
Clarium - $15 (Military or civilian). When injected with Clarium, a subject becomes docile for 2d6+6 minutes. All actions are at -2; violent actions are at an additional -4. Spirit rolls to resist interrogation are at -4. Pace is reduced by 2. The subject must make a Spirit roll at -2 after the drug wears off to avoid forgetting everything that happened while on the drug.
Fast-Penta - $50 (Military or illegal); antagonist $50 (Military or illegal). When injected with fast-penta, the subject is powerless to resist interrogation. Because the subject is babbling, answering any question takes 1 minute. Any successful Persuasion roll results in a truthful answer; a failure results in a misinterpretation. A critical fail indicates the subject has a natural allergy and goes into anaphalactic shock; the subject is immediately incapacitated and must be treated with the antagonist within 5 minutes or die. The same effect occurs if the individual has an induced allergy. Allergy test kits cost $20/10. During fast penta interrogation, all checks by the subject are at -2; the user gets a level of fatigue after the interrogation unless the antagonist is used. The effects last for 1D6+1 hours.
Synergine - $5. A dose of synergine removes one level of fatigue.
Medkit - $1500. A medkit includes a diagnostic viewer, medical stunner, liquid bandage, plastiskin and assorted medications. It provides a +4 on all Healing checks.
Portable Uterine Replicator - $45000, allows for gestation in an artificial environment.

Ranged Weapons from SF Companion - Laser Rifle, Laser Pistol, Stun Gun, Grenade Launcher

Nerve Disrupter
Heavy Plasma Arc
3d10(H) AP5
Plasma Arc
2d10+2(H) AP2
Light Stunner
Plasma Cannon
5d10 (H) AP10
$35000 (M)
Needle Gun
Autoneed- ler
Tangle Field Generator
$50/sq foot
.5/sq foot

Weapon Notes:
Lasers: These weapons are obsolete except for hunters and impoverished military forces. The stats can be used for improvised energy weapons created from laser solderers or welding systems, but at some range penalty as the improvised weapon will likely not have proper sights.

Needle Guns: Needlers fire tiny projectiles that fragment into multiple needles after penetrating a target. They are nearly soundless - -4 to Notice checks to detect firing.

Nerve Disruptors: These lethal weapons produce a blue energy bolt that destroys nerves. Any hit on an unshielded or unarmored person must roll on the injury table as though incapacitated. All nerve disruptor injuries are permanent; however, artificial nerve replacements are available to surgically replace function. The cost of replacement is $10000, and a Vigor roll is required; otherwise the affected limb has a permanent -2 for action, or the affected stat has a permanent -2. Characters hit with nerve disruptors are automatically shaken, but may spend a bennie to override the pain of the hit and become unshaken.

Plasma Arcs: Plasma arcs ignite flammable objects automatically on a hit. They can be powered down for use in lighting fires, and can also vaporize dirt, digging 1” per minute.

Stunners: Stunners fire a buzzing pale blue energy bolt that numbs nerves. Any hit on an unshielded or unarmored person must roll on the injury table as though incapacitated. A hit on the torso or head renders the target unconscious. A hit on a limb numbs the limb (making it useless) and renders the target shaken; a vigor roll can avoid the shaken effect but not the temporary loss of the limb. Heavy stunner effects wear off in 5+d6 hours hours, light stun in 10+d10 minutes. Synergine causes the target to waken immediately. If the target does not received synergine, the target wakes with a level of Fatigue from “stunner hangover”.

Tangle-Field Generator: Tangle-field generators come in net or rope forms, and use the same neural field technology as stunners and nerve disruptors. Contact with a tangler results in automatic entangling, as well as having the same effect as a stunner hit, with the exception of the hangover effects.

Grenades: Thermal (Plasma), Smoke, and Fragmentation from SF Companion

Burst Template
6d8 (H)
8d8/round for 3 rounds
3d6, 10d6 if impact on unarmored target
Toxin (no effect on sealed environment suits)
2d6/round for 10 rounds
Stun Gas (no effect on sealed environment suits)

Melee Weapons:

Shock Stick
Hit has the effect of a stunner hit on a raise; 20 charges

Melee Weapon Notes:

Vibrablades: Vibrablades, when activated, emit a high-pitched whine. Their vibration is not perceptible to the eye, however. The whine of an active vibroblade provides a +2 to notice checks.

Shock Stick: Shock sticks are intended as non-lethal weapons; their primary purpose is to disable opponents. Treat a hit with a raise as though the target had been hit by a stunner.


Combat Fatigues
Torso, limbs
If camoflaged for local terrain, -2 to Notice
Torso, head
10 lb.
Nerve Disruptor Shield Net
0 (immunity to nerve disruptors and stunners)
$15000 (Military)
Must be fitted to the wearer
Anti-Stun Suit
+2 (immunity to stunners)
20 lb.
Personal Plasma Mirror
+20 versus Plasma only
$25000 (Military)
20 lb.
Space Armor
+20, immune to stunners and nerve disruptors
ST increases 2 dice; must be fitted to the wearer.
Command Armor
+20, immune to stunners and nerve disruptors
ST increases 2 dice; must be fitted to the wearer; +4 to Knowledge (Battle) rolls
Armor Notes:
Half-Armor: A command headset version of half-armor is available for an additional $25000; this adds the +4 bonus to Knowledge (Battle)
Personal Plasma Mirror: The plasma mirror can absorb the equivalent of 6 Wounds before burning out.

Setting Rules:
Cryo-Suspension: Cryo-suspension preserves a character who has died, allowing for medical treatment at a cryo-recovery facility. Cryo-suspension requires an accessible cryo-chamber and must be done as soon after death as possible. Each minute after death results in a -1 on the Healing roll for suspension and on the character’s recovery roll.

To suspend a character, a player or extra makes a Healing roll to prep the character for suspension. Each raise on this roll provides a +1 for the character’s recovery roll later. The character is then preserved as long as the cryo-chamber retains power; if the chamber loses power before the character is revived, the character dies within 1 hour, and takes a -1 on the recover roll for every 10 minutes without power.

The physician managing the recovery must make a Knowledge (Medicine) check to revive the character. Every raise on the Knowledge (Medicine) check provides a +1 to the character’s recovery roll. The character makes a Vigor roll to recover, at a base penalty of -2. This penalty is eliminated if the character was cryopreserved before dying. Success on this roll means that the character has avoided any negative consequences from the cryo-process; failure means a permanent injury.

Recovery from the revival process takes 4 weeks, and memory is not fully recovered until recovery is complete (-2 on all Smarts-based skills). A raise on the recovery roll reduces this time to two weeks and eliminates the memory penalty.

Cloning: Cloned limbs and organs are available to repair Injuries, even permanent ones. The cost of the organ plus the transplant is $15,000. Full-body clones are available for $20,000.

Memory Suppression Therapy: At a cost of $5000, a trained specialist can suppress memories using a combination of hypnosis and drug therapy with a successful Knowledge(Medicine) versus Spirit roll. The therapy is not perfect; subjects may recall memories after the fact on a raise on a Spirit roll. A roll to recall should happen once after 6 months and once after a year, and any other time when the GM deems that something might trigger the suppressed memory.

Currency: Prices are in Betan Dollars, but local planets will typically have their own currencies.

SF Companion Rules Changes:
No Psionics or other Arcane Backgrounds
Armor and Weapons per these rules, not SF Companion rules
No cyberware unless specified in these rules
No robots
No starship AI, teleporters, or missiles/torpedoes - plasma weapons and gravitic imploder lances only. Use the Lasers rules for plasma weapons. Imploder lances are shorter ranged (24/48/96), do 10d10 damage, and ignore shields. Ship sizes are limited to Giant.
Vehicle weapons are identical to weapon tables above. No AI.
No walkers.
No intelligent aliens; some worlds may boast local fauna and/or genetically-altered animals and plants.

Core Rules Changes:
No Arcane Backgrounds and related Edges/Hindrances