The Secret of the Key Islands – Bennies
Bennies are something that Savage Worlds uses to allow players to twist the cruel chance of dice in their favor. At least that’s the hope. At the beginning of every gaming session each player starts with three of these Bennies, often represented by poker chips or the like. Each can be spent to re-roll all the dice for one action. You can spend as many Bennies as you want, and take the highest roll you achieve of all of them. It can be very powerful.
There are some exceptions, of course, to what kinds of things you can use your Bennies on. You can’t spend them when rolling from a table, for damage rolls (unless you have a specific edge), or anything else that isn’t a roll of a skill or attribute.
For The Secret of the Key Islands, I’ve made my own set of Bennies, and I’ll show you how to do the same.
My Thoughts on Bennies
My first thought, every time I come back to Savage Worlds is: “Why in the world did they go with ‘Benny’? It’s such a stupid name.” I really hate the term Benny or Bennies. It just sounds dumb. The underlying idea, however, is one that I really, really like. It’s a concept I first encountered when I started playing the Serenity RPG. In Serenity, they’re called Plot Points and they allow for a lot more nuanced use. While Savage Worlds Bennies permit players to reroll all dice in a single trait roll, Serenity’s Plot Points increase the die type you roll, introduce a new plot element, add more dice, or a number of other factors.
In short, I think that Bennies are a stupid name for a powerful, though limited, meta-game element. It’s a great idea that needs only a minor adjustment to encourage even more creativity on the part of the players. And maybe a name change.
What’s Different About These Bennies?
The Bennies I’ve created for The Secret of the Key Islands are not poker-chip size. In fact, they’re much smaller. I wanted to create hexagonal Bennies for use with this game, but due to the fact that I was creating a Borderlands spinoff game the printing services I wanted to use would not permit me to print using their services. It’s understandable, though unfortunate. After all, even a fan-made campaign like this one is walking the line.
Instead, I ordered a bunch of blank 1-inch circular cardboard chits (like the ones used in many board games) and a sticker sheet of 1-inch circular labels. I created the front and backs for the bennies and printed them on the labels. I then applied the labels to the chits and pressed down.
The biggest worry I had while making these, and it’s still a concern now, is that the stickers aren’t always perfectly applied. There are sometimes small errors in how the stickers were applied and sometimes the sticker isn’t perfectly centered. It’s obnoxious, and could probably have been done better by someone who doesn’t have my sausage fingers.
How to Make These Bennies
I’ll provide you with a couple of PDFs below that you can print onto 1-inch labels. Really, it’s just that simple. You should print the PDFs at “Actual Size” and ensure that your printer is set up with the labels in the tray (obviously). They should print like a charm, assuming everything is well with your printer. Then simply peel and stick. I would recommend sticking the “Backs” consistently to one side of the Benny.
Yes, cardboard punch outs often have sides. One side is rounded downward from where the die-cutting blade pressed down, that is the top. I would recommend placing the “Back” on the flat side and the “Front” on the rounded. You can choose to do otherwise, you’ll just be wrong.
When I the circle chits I ordered arrived, it turns out they had been laser cut. That means that there was no pesky curve from the die cutting procedure. I was actually really excited because I didn’t have to be as careful to ensure that the “front” was consistently applied to the same side. The issue was that by the time I was done stickering them, my fingers were all sooty.
These sticker sheets were made specifically on the template for the labels listed below. If you would like to use y your own, ask and I can send you the raw images I used.
You can also go to The Game Crafter to get the cardboard punches at a slightly lower price. Or find a local place that does die or laser cutting.
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