Machinations: It’s the Little Differences…

People keep asking about cross-compatibility with LotFP and while I’m working from the same basic stock there are going to be a few key differences to make it work with the SF ‘thing’ and because I can’t help but fiddle with things anyway.

The main places where there need to be – or will be – some differences are:

1. Saving Throws – Something more general, more broadly applicable to the vast array of situations in which Sci-Fi/Sci-Fantasy characters can find themselves. Saving throws based from the characteristics seems to be the obvious choice, broader than 3rd Ed’s Ref/Fort/Will and capable of handling a broader array of situations.

2. Skills – The LotFP skill system is simple and robust. Too simple for some but with a huge amount of potential for all sorts of applications. Skills will be expanded out for all character classes, though experts/specialists will still have the edge – other character types can access more skills. Fighter-type characters in particular will have access to combat bonus abilities and will be the best capable of using alternative tactics.

3. Armour – To allow for both force fields and protective armour there needs to be a differentiation between preventing damage and avoiding damage.  Agility, deflection and avoidance on the one hand (Armour Class) with some sort of damage reduction (perhaps randomised?).

All of this stuff will be optional – of course – and I’ll put in sidebars and alternatives so that people can do without them but I do think they’ll make for a better game with its own feel.

Machinations: Guns, Blades, Armour and Force Fields

Switching from fantasy to science fiction/science fantasy you run into issues with deadliness, firearms, automatic weapons and the whole panoply of high tech gizmoes, gadgets, sights, bullets and so on and so forth.

You also have to account for more advanced forms of protection while not overdoing the whiff factor or making it too easy to hurt someone the other way.

This ain’t easy.

I haven’t quite decided yet but I’m leaning towards damage reduction for armour and armour class boosting for force-shields/agility. Force shields won’t apply to melee attacks and ranged attacks should find it easier to hit,

I want to keep things as simple as possible but I also want combat to have plenty of options  and to have a universal guideline so players can easily decide what they want to try. Sticking with LotFPs attack guidelines, mostly, this also gives fighters (soldiers) a much greater capacity to pull special attack moves.

Something like a universal -5 penalty no matter if you’re tripping, headshotting, disarming or any other environmental or competency issues. You could then offset that penalty – and even turn it into a bonus – by taking lots of skill levels.

The spirit of ‘old school’ is heavy on the improvisation but by providing a framework you can enable a lot of improvisation from that.

“What’s the penalty for fighting in zero gee?”


“When I levelled last time, I took Zero gee combat once.”

“-4 then.”

Bosh, sorted and fighters/soldiers become a damn sight more interesting all of a sudden 🙂