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USFPutty
12-04-2008, 01:28 PM
By popular demand! (I know a hint to move the conversation to the appropriate forum when I read it).

So, the 'couple of things' I started working on with d20 Star Wars started as a couple small pieces of paper with variant healing rules (the default is terrible, as it generally puts an injured character out of action for too long for my tastes, and essentially makes Healing skills pretty marginal) and the like, and sort of evolved into a rather expansive project.

Let me preface all of this by saying: I like complex rules systems. I prefer a higher degree of realism and active play around the rules. That being said, I usually determine what I want the system to do, work out the math under the system to do it, then try to refine it down to a generally simple mechanic you can deploy in game without a slide rule.

The healing rules are actually still pretty small. It boiled down to using margin of success to determine additional efficacy of healing gear. I still stick with a limit to how many times medpacs (1/8 hours) or medkits (once per injury) can help, as you can only bandage so much, and overdosing on stims is exceptionally dangerous. I'm still in the process of working on a mechanic for accelerated medpac use, overdose, and system shock.

Basically, it was set up where use of the medkit (a portable first aid kit) did nothing but allow you to stabilize characters and perform a couple of other minor tasks. I adjusted this to: (DC 10, 1d4 VP + 1/2 MoS) or (DC 15, 1 WP + 1/4 MoS). Or something like that; I don't have it with me right here. But you get the point.

The single use, more expensive Medpac states that it's essentially automated, but I imagine a skilled medic could manually utilize its contents to greater effect. So, automated, you get (1d6+1 VP) or (1d2 WP). Operated by a medic, it's (DC 15, 1d8 VP + 1/MoS) or (DC 20, 1d4 WP + 1/4 MoS).

Again, medkits can only be used once per injury (or, to keep it simple, once per 24 hours / rest period) and medpacs once every 8 hours (more often possibly with severe consequences/side effects once I develop the overdose/shock system).

Another big one was the gimping many folks have noticed with the Force. I handled this in two ways.

First, addressing the skills issue (Jedi who can use the Force but do NOTHING ELSE are ridiculous; also, not all Jedi are geniuses just to have enough skill points to use the Force), I decided to divide the mechanic. Force using characters get a seperate pool of Force Skills based on the class' Force facility. It is generally well-documented that Consulars are more Force-heavy, Guardians are more combat heavy, and Sentinels (if you do that sort of thing) are in the middle. So, skills look like:
Jedi Consular: 8 + Wis Modifier / Level
Jedi Sentinel: 6 + Wis Modifier / Level
Jedi Guardian: 4 + Wis Modifier / Level
The Force is intuitive, not scholastic. INT should not have so critical a place in determining your connection to the fabric of the universe.

Second, the VP gimp. Guardians especially face a serious problem using Force skills in combat where losing VPs threatens them pretty substantially. So, Force Power pool. Based off of the VP pool, but working pretty much like the skills:
Jedi Consular: 1d8 + Wis Modifier / Level
Jedi Sentinel: 1d6 + Wis Modifier / Level
Jedi Guardian: 1d4 + Wis Modifier / Level
Again, Jedi Consulars may get the short end of the stick in straight combat, but their Force powers are superior. Likewise, the Guardian can engage in frontline lightsaber combat and still use Force powers, but they're still primarily to augment the battle capabilities of the class.

Then you just switch the VP cost to FP (Force Pool? Whatever.) and you're good to go. BUT. Sometimes the Force winds people. And I wanted to still work in a mechanic for using VP in Force use. So, it worked like this: In a low-rent version of Force Points, the Force character can sack VP to increase the result of a single Force skill use. They may only increase the result by 1, plus 1 for every 3 Force-User levels (to a maximum of 7 at level 18), and the costs become more demanding the more one tries to call the Force to their will:

1st Level - +1 Adjustment - 1 VP Cost
3rd Level - +2 Adjustment - 2 VP Cost
6th Level - +3 Adjustment - 4 VP Cost
9th Level - +4 Adjustment - 8 VP Cost
12th Level - +5 Adjustment - 16 VP Cost
15th Level - +6 Adjustment - 32 VP Cost
18th Level - +7 Adjustment - 64 VP Cost

This created an interesting balance, I felt. A Guardian fighting a Consular (for whatever reason) has more VP, and can 'push' more often having more endurance. However, the Consular's superior Force skill training means having to 'push' less often, and not as hard as the Guardian, protecting their inferior VP supply. It also makes the ability more 'powerful' as the character advances, but the costs mount dangerously at the most developed levels.

I'm still testing some of this, but so far, I've been able to put the characters in a hurt locker with the judicious use of Kath Hounds in a ruin on Dantooine.

Next Episode - Space Rules Retread: My Ball and Chain

Inquisitor Tremayne
12-04-2008, 07:40 PM
AHHHHHH! You are using the RCR! I thought you were using Saga edition rules!

Yes, I concur, the RCR was as broken as a used NES!

And here I was ready to get into some hot debate over Saga edition rules!

USFPutty
12-05-2008, 01:04 PM
AHHHHHH! You are using the RCR! I thought you were using Saga edition rules!

Yes, I concur, the RCR was as broken as a used NES!

And here I was ready to get into some hot debate over Saga edition rules!

Eh. I HAVE the Saga Edition rules book, but I read through it a bit, tried a couple things, and didn't like where it went. I also think the amount of work I put into upgrading / retrofitting the space system with RCR put me off completely redoing the rules and treating ships like creatures...

I think the framework is there, but what's IN the framework is alright in some places and tragic in others. So that's what I set about fixing.

Inquisitor Tremayne
12-05-2008, 10:58 PM
The only thing that is missing from Saga edition is the super finite detail overload that RCR has, which you like.

As a GM I am willing to wing those details enough to gloss over them and keep the action and story flowing without worrying about too much detail. Hence the reason I like Saga so much, because it is more conducive to that style of GMing.

canadiansatan
12-11-2008, 09:41 PM
There is a distinct problem with going for realistic is that IT'S A GAME. Life can't be represented through mechanics in entirety. That's why physics is hard.

As a GM and a player I much prefer the Saga Ed. rules set for the streamlined mechanics. I'd rather make judgement calls on the odd situations then look up some obscure rule on how much stress a lightsaber crystal can take.

Inquisitor Tremayne
12-11-2008, 10:58 PM
There is a distinct problem with going for realistic is that IT'S A GAME. Life can't be represented through mechanics in entirety. That's why physics is hard.

As a GM and a player I much prefer the Saga Ed. rules set for the streamlined mechanics. I'd rather make judgement calls on the odd situations then look up some obscure rule on how much stress a lightsaber crystal can take.

Agreed. We already know that Star Wars breaks all physics rules so every time something like that comes up I say it is Star Wars physics and move on.

Just like in D&D I will say, its magic!, and move on.

Or for Star Wars I will say, its the Force!

Webhead
12-11-2008, 11:16 PM
Agreed. We already know that Star Wars breaks all physics rules so every time something like that comes up I say it is Star Wars physics and move on.

Just like in D&D I will say, its magic!, and move on.

Or for Star Wars I will say, its the Force!

Yep. That's something you will get from GMing super hero games especially.

Player: "That's not realistic! Physics don't work that way!"

GM: "Dude...you can shoot lasers out of your fingers...we left "realism" behind a long time ago."

USFPutty
12-15-2008, 01:57 PM
There is a distinct problem with going for realistic is that IT'S A GAME. Life can't be represented through mechanics in entirety. That's why physics is hard.

I don't have a problem at all. Just takes time. Also, realizing it's a game, we're prepared to live with 'close is good enough' as opposed to throwing up the SEP field every time we run into a snag with it.


As a GM and a player I much prefer the Saga Ed. rules set for the streamlined mechanics. I'd rather make judgement calls on the odd situations then look up some obscure rule on how much stress a lightsaber crystal can take.

Good for you. I don't. I've had a fairly decent run of developing mechanics, refining them down, and making sure the 'front end' is clean enough for play.

Especially in terms of the space combat and starship rules, it's important to note that my players are big BattleTech fans, and a sort of shift into a detailed starfighter wargaming/rpg hybrid really works for them.

So when I develop a system where damaging specific ship components, and ship power output, are important, they like tinkering with the details. As do I.

USFPutty
12-15-2008, 02:04 PM
Agreed. We already know that Star Wars breaks all physics rules so every time something like that comes up I say it is Star Wars physics and move on.

Just like in D&D I will say, its magic!, and move on.

Or for Star Wars I will say, its the Force!

Actually, I don't remember mentioning physics as a major talking point. The medical system posits that the amount of therapeutic treatment a character can receive in a given 24-hour period is extremely limited. Having attended combat lifesaver training, a bit of nursing school, and seeing what can be done to improve the lot of a seriously injured person over a fairly short span of time, I disagree.

I also felt a need to make the space combat/starship operation system more detailed. I had a number of good examples/references to draw from, and knew where I wanted to go. It IS, however, a large project. But no different from any other RPG expansion, and it's something I and my players want in their gaming. An errant ion cannon blast hits the main reactor, reducing its efficiency by half. The pilot (or engineer/copilot if a crewed vessel) must now prioritize power distribution or jury rig several systems in order to keep the ship operating in the middle of an intense firefight. That's what I'm talking about. In the current system, doing so is a little slapdash. In mine, it's changing a couple fields on the ship sheet.

Again, it's what you're trying to get out of the game. I say "this space combat system sucks". The inevitable response is "well, make a better one if you know so much". So I am.

Inquisitor Tremayne
12-15-2008, 02:51 PM
Actually, I don't remember mentioning physics as a major talking point. The medical system posits that the amount of therapeutic treatment a character can receive in a given 24-hour period is extremely limited. Having attended combat lifesaver training, a bit of nursing school, and seeing what can be done to improve the lot of a seriously injured person over a fairly short span of time, I disagree.

I also felt a need to make the space combat/starship operation system more detailed. I had a number of good examples/references to draw from, and knew where I wanted to go. It IS, however, a large project. But no different from any other RPG expansion, and it's something I and my players want in their gaming. An errant ion cannon blast hits the main reactor, reducing its efficiency by half. The pilot (or engineer/copilot if a crewed vessel) must now prioritize power distribution or jury rig several systems in order to keep the ship operating in the middle of an intense firefight. That's what I'm talking about. In the current system, doing so is a little slapdash. In mine, it's changing a couple fields on the ship sheet.

Again, it's what you're trying to get out of the game. I say "this space combat system sucks". The inevitable response is "well, make a better one if you know so much". So I am.

Well regardless I am interested in seeing what you came up with.

Personally it already seems a bit too detailed for my tastes, but i want to read what you have before passing final judgment.

USFPutty
12-16-2008, 11:42 AM
Well regardless I am interested in seeing what you came up with.

Personally it already seems a bit too detailed for my tastes, but i want to read what you have before passing final judgment.

Well, I don't have the whole thing in front of me, which is probably for the best. Keep in mind, one of the key components of making this work well was a detailed record sheet. Also, this isn't designed for throwaway ships. You'd probably still do something simpler like shields/hull with them in much the same way as lame NPCs don't get VP.

The "reader's digest" version is:

PART 1

1) Completely retooled the missile weapons. Added differing stats based on the 4 noted weapon quality levels. Differed missile weapon types based on function (concussion missiles are faster than protops, but do less damage). Also included changes in defense (based on speed) and durability (based on weapon construction). Added Capital Ship missiles and Space Bombs (a la TIE Fighter) and gave them similarly stepped statistics. Retooled launcher systems' costs and stats based on payload (launchers in different ships carry different amounts of ammo, yet apparently cost the same...huh?) and added conventions for multiple warhead launcher systems.

2) Changed the damage system SUBSTANTIALLY. Instead of straight shields > hull, I've branched it off to the more commonly used shield > armor > structure model.

a) Shields: Shields functioning at all confer DR on their ship. When collapsed, damage hits the armor, which again confers DR. Shields recharge a number of points per round based on their ship's size, modified by equipment and the actions of PCs. Shields damaged by ion cannons are subject to special considerations.

b) Armor: Armor functions almost exactly like shields, in that they have a 'hit point total' and confer DR. Unlike shields, they do not regenerate. Armor is also not affected by ion cannons, though it offers limited resistance to the disabling effects of the weapon on ship components.

c) Structure: The framework of the ship. When this is taking damage, you have problems. I'm still working on balancing the mechanics of this, but the structure defaults to having no form of DR, and a number of 'structure points' determined by ship size and a percentage of armor (armor and structure collectively part of the 'hull integrity', a factor controlling velocity changes, landing, and FTL travel). Hits to structure always grant the possibility of component-level damage.

d) Components: All major ship systems have component information. For the purposes of damage, they have Integrity Points (HP against physical damage and ion damage, two seperate tracks), and a Hardening Value (HV counts as DR against both physical and ion damage at full value). Each system also has a game function (i.e., a weapon might do 4d10x2 points of damage). When the component is reduced to half its IP by any combination of physical or ion damage, its effectiveness is halved. Shield generators generate half the SPs. Weapons do half the damage (halve rolled results). Reactor systems generate half the power. And so on. It's not 100% realistic, but it does a sufficient job of presenting component-level damage or malfunction, and immediately calculable effects on ship performance.

e) Criticals: Simple. Criticals achieved against shields bypass shield hardness. Criticals against armor bypass armor hardness and grant a potential structure hit. Criticals against structure guarantee a component hit, as well as other extremely crippling effects.

NEXT: Power Systems: Generation and Distribution; Computers.