M. Jared Swenson Productions

This blog chronicles my projects, developments, and all things related to tabletop gaming. I will try to avoid rants and reviews. Mostly games I'm developing, and progresses from my campaigns.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Wartech Campaign: Experimental Rules (Part 1)

My brothers and I, and one of Jarom's friends (who's first experience roleplaying this was) ran a game set in our Wartech setting. We plan on making our own RPG system for it, but for now we just wanted to run a game that explored and developed the setting and events more than anything. And it worked quite well. Jarom's story arc he ran for us we can see as being a great Intro-to-Wartech module we would release for the game, and it would do well of establishing the setting, and the players therein.

So I thought I would write a couple small articles on what game and experimental rules we played it in. Again, this didn't use our planned game system, but instead we used Rogue Space. A quick and dirty simple system that would get the work done. But we wanted to go ahead and throw in a few hacks to try to emulate the feel of Wartech. I gave a brief description of those new rules in this post here. I will extrapolate on them in a few posts on which ones worked and which ones didn't.

Skill System
This was to be done in lieu of Backgrounds found in the Rogue Space rulebook. Once you got your FASER attributes distributed, you had some points to spend on skills. We did something like 10 points. We felt that worked for starting heroes that had some experience under their belt. (Younger upstart heroes could have something like 6 points, while seasoned veteran heroes had upwards of 16) Using a point, you could buy a skill and have a +1 in that skill. Then if you wanted to spend another point, you could raise that skill to a +2. Starting heroes could not have more than a +2 in a skill. Skills were grouped under the different FASER scores, so when it came time to do an action, you checked if you had a skill that covered that action, and for the roll you add the appropriate FASER score + that skill score. If you do not have a skill for the action, then you just roll the appropriate FASER score.
Example: Gra' was going to fire his gun on the pirates of the ship he was invading. This action would normally add just your Fighting score (+2), but since Gra' is skilled in Range Weapons (+2), he adds that as well. So he gets to add a+4 to his active test.
The idea behind this system was to be a little more specific than defining your character's career. So instead of just being a 'Ship Pilot' for the GM to decide what exactly that encompassed, you could specify what kind of Ship Pilot he was, and what other little things he was good at. Here is the list of skills we used for Wartech, and a brief description of what they covered:

  • Strategy = Understanding and executing tactics and tactical situations.
  • Athletics = Physical strength and prowess. Also deals with sports and throwing objects.
  • Acrobatics = Physical nimbility. Gymnastics and balance.
  • Endurance = Resisting pain and fatigue. Enduring punishment and damage.
  • Heavy Weapons = Use of large mounted or held weapons. Indirect fire weapons.
  • Range Weapons = Use of most firearms and portable ballistic weapons.
  • Melee Weapons = Use of bladed or bludgeoning weapons.
  • Martial Arts * = Skilled hand to hand fighting styles. Highly disciplined. (Your unarmed attacks can deal L(ph) damage and you gain a +1 to defense roll vs. melee attacks when in a fighting stance)
  • Brawling = Brutal hand to hand fighting. Unarmed fighting. Grappling. (Your unarmed attacks deal L(ph) damage or M(ph) stun damage)
  • Intimidate = Threatening and striking fear into the target for cooperation.
  • Survival = Ability to survive with low food and water and hostile conditions.
  • Manipulation = Manual dexterity and control. Sleight of hand.
  • Stealth = Art of sneaking, hiding, and moving unheard and unseen.
  • Vehicles = Standard surface or low altitude vehicle piloting/driving.
  • Aircraft * = High altitude or low orbit vehicle piloting.
  • Spacecraft * = High orbit or interplanetary vehicle piloting.
  • Perception = Alertness, awareness, observation, and intuition.
  • Investigation = Searching, tracking, interrogation, and noticing details.
  • Business = Knowledge of existing businesses and business protocols and operations.
  • Archaeology * = Any history dealing with pre-known time. Usually before the existing calendar.
  • History = Recorded history of the factions and recent planetary records.
  • Law = General galactic law knowledge, and protocols.
  • Biology * = Knowledge of life science. Botany, genetics, zoology, etc.
  • Physics * = Knowledge of physical science. Chemistry, astronomy, planetology, etc.
  • Medicine * = Diagnosing and treating medical issues. Surgery and advanced first aid.
  • Navigation * = Procedure of navigating on the surface and in a star system.
  • Subspace * = Anything dealing with Tourin lanes or subspace knowledge and navigation. (Note: Tourin lanes are the Wartech setting's form of FTL, more on that in a later post.)
  • Religion = Knowledge of current religions and their beliefs and practices.
  • Streetwise = Know-how and protocols of underground or street culture.
  • Charm = Interacting with others to change attitudes and even seduction.
  • Bluff = Lying or convincing of falsehoods or avoiding information leaks.
  • Diplomacy = Reaching agreements or understandings with same or different cultures.
  • Command = Leading others and inspiring courage and communicating in combat.
  • Insight = Reading mannerisms or sensing moods or motives in someone.
  • Resolve = Inner strength to deal with mental attacks or stress. Used in keeping yourself from dying when at 0 hit points, and to keep yourself from getting knocked out when at 0 stun points.
  • Entertainment = Performing arts. Singing, dancing, comedy, drama, etc.
  • Meditation * = Enhance focus and concentration for healing and checks. Used for negative effects from psionics and for recovering stun points.
  • Technology = Repairing and technical use checks. Deals with mechanics and electronics.
  • Computers = Computer operation and advanced use. Deals with hacking.
  • Demolitions = Setting explosives and creating them.
  • Security = Knowledge of security systems and protocols.
  • Systems = Knowledge of ship and large vehicle systems and operation.
  • Creativity = Talent or aptitude in creating anything convincing or immersive.
  • Armor = Operating features of advanced power armor. Such as CAFs.
Note 1: Any skill listed with an asterisk* cannot be used untrained. Meaning someone not trained in Physics cannot attempt any checks that Physics may cover.
Note 2: You really do not have to list all the above skills on your character sheet, or memorize them all. Only the ones that you purchased for your character. With the exception of the * skills, you are assumed to have a +0 score in the ones you did not buy.
Note 3: In some cases, just having the skill may not require a check. If a character is trained in Vehicles, he can drive the car casually to their destination without any issue, but if a character were not so trained, then he would probably need to do Acquiring attribute checks to make sure he doesn't make a mistake!

This system worked very well, and we loved the feel of it. The list of skills can be easily altered to fit the feel of any campaign.

More experimental rules in a later post next week.

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