Tokens (or chips for casinos) are used everywhere, in gambling, tabletop games, roleplaying games, and many other non-gaming areas.
But when do these little monsters came in our lives?
A long time ago, even before the Roman Empire.
Tokens are also different from coins, the latter are made by governments and are used as money, while the first are made by private companies or groups and have a more limited use.
There were paper tokens used in the US army as gift certificates because metal coins were too heavy to transport to Iraq or Afghanistan:
There were also tokens used in brothels like this one from the Red Dog Saloon:
Or there are still tokens used for gambling:
You can also be led to use tokens when you go to the car wash center, use public toilets, play video arcade games, buy commemorative coins…
Tokens are everywhere and for me the reasons are obvious: they are light, small, can contain images and text, are very relevant to trade or gamble, and you can put them in your pocket.
They have value in themselves and like money this value is based upon confidence and belief. You know when you put a token to wash your car that you will have a certain amount of time to do it.
Tokens are also a good mean to retain customers.
You buy 10 tokens for 10$ but these tokens are only able to get you the service the company provides to you, so you can’t go to a rival company and ask for the same service, they have no value.
So tokens, dice and cards are the three pillars of many many many games.
They are the angels/devils (it depends if you win or lose) of the God of Fortune: Fortuna
Bennies (tokens) are in the core of the Savage Worlds mechanics. The GM feeds the players with them, it is the fuel for great actions and memorable scenes.
But, there is a but, could it be different?
Normally, at the beginning of a game each player gets 3 bennies, or 2 (Bad Luck), or 4 (Luck), or even 5 (Great Luck).
But we could imagine that each player gets the right to pick 2, 3, or 4 bennies.
Of course these bennies are different, so you have to deal with what you pick in order to act wisely and efficiently.
- Reroll benny: the first and foremost, the authentic benny of the core rules. It should represent 50% of the total of bennies in the bag.
- Attribute boost: your attribute die goes one rank higher for one roll, so d10 instead of d8 for example. 10% of the total.
- Skill boost: the same as attribute boost. 10% of the total.
- Damage boost: you add 1d6 to your damage roll. 10% of the total.
- Healing benny: you recover instantly from 1 wound or 2 fatigue points. 5% of the total.
- Edge benny: You take an edge (if you have the requirements) which last for the scene/combat. 5% of the total.
- Game assistant benny: in agreement with the GM, you can modify one element of the current scene/combat. 5% of the total.
- Evil benny: the GM can use your benny to make you roll twice and keep the worse score. 5% of the total.
We can also think of a rule where the players will spend experience points to buy bennies.
Since the ranks are from 5 to 5, you can buy 1 benny, or 1 right to pick a benny, with 2 experience points.
For example, if your character is veteran, when you reach 42XP, you can spend it to buy a benny and get back to 40XP.
However, you can’t spend used XP. Once you reach 45XP, you have to wait 47XP to spend again 2XP and get a benny.
This rule will make your players think twice before wanting a benny since it slows a character advancement in the long term, but sometimes you have to do what has to be done in order to survive.
And to conclude this article, you also can use a rule like this:
- For 3 bennies used by the players, the GM gets 1.
It is a little bit cruel, but the idea is that the players are pushing fate when using bennies, so like karma, it is coming back like a boomerang.
You can modify this ratio, 1 benny for the GM with 2 bennies used by the players, of for 4-5 bennies…
I don’t advice 1 to 1 because your players will just stop using bennies, too risky.