Stock Portfolios (Savage)
It's invaluable to GMs to have an assortment of ready-made NPCs and villains to populate an unplanned encounter. The rulebooks for most game systems define a variety of such characters for exactly this purpose. You can create one or more portfolios of these characters and distribute them with your data files, providing GMs instant access to the character within HL. Portfolios containing these "stock" characters are accordingly referred to as "stock" portfolios.
Stock portfolios are standard portfolios. They contain one or more characters that the user is expected to import into his current portfolio. The key difference between stock portfolios and user-created portfolios is their placement and filename. Stock portfolios must reside in the data folder along with all the data files for the game system. They must also possess a ".stock" file extension.
This distinction accomplishes two goals. First of all, the files are kept separate from normal user-created portfolios, both based on filename and location. Secondly, the files can be readily identified and included when packaging up your data files for sharing with others.
You can use HL to create a stock portfolio. The default file extension used for portfolios is ".por", but you can simply specify a file extension of ".stock" when saving the file. After that, you can open it and manipulate it normally within HL.
The core rulebook for Savage Worlds only defines two stock NPCs for use within games. As such, there are only these two characters that we can add to a stock portfolio. These are the basic soldier and experienced soldiers.
Since the Savage Worlds rulebook covers some disparate time periods, the gear assigned to these stock NPCs needs to vary across time periods. So we'll create two separate stock portfolios, one for each of the major time periods (medieval and modern). Within each portfolio, we'll create two NPCs corresponding to the two soldier entries in the rulebook. We'll outfit each of the soldiers with pretty basic equipment for the time period, giving the experienced soldiers better equipment than the basic soldiers.
In many game systems, the creation of creatures requires a bit of effort. Consequently, it is usually advantageous to create a stock portfolio containing a wide assortment of monsters that GMs can quickly drop into encounters. Savage Worlds is a bit different, though.
Based on the way we setup creatures, a GM can add any creature he wants with a few mouse clicks. He can create a new character, make it a creature, then go to the chooser at the top and pick the desired creature. The total number of mouse clicks is about the same as importing creatures from a stock portfolio. As a result, there's no real benefit to having a stock portfolio for creatures, so we won't bother creating one.
In the rulebook for most game systems, at least one sample character is created that illustrates the overall character creation process. These characters are ideal for inclusion as sample portfolios with your data files. You can readily include these portfolios with your data files when distributing them (cover a little bit later).
Unfortunately, the Savage Worlds rulebook elects not to provide a detailed sample character. Since it's a good idea to always include at least one sample portfolio with your data files, we're left to concoct one of our own. For maximum benefit as an example, the character should show off a variety of facets of character creation, so we'll make sure to give him an arcane background and at least one hindrance.
We'll create our character in a folder beneath the "portfolios" folder used by HL. We'll name the folder the same as the one used for the data files (i.e. "savage"). This way, our sample character will appear in a suitable location when the user imports the data files into HL.