#Starfinder – Starfinder Month – Equipment

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June is going to be Starfinder Month here on the Postmortem Studios blog. I’ve been thinking of doing a Machinations of the Space Princess conversion and some rules modifications for the game and that’ll be the core of what I do this month. I’ll take some suggestions too though, so if you have a picture of a cool spaceship, alien or some sci-fi gear you’d like to see statted up for MotSP or Starfinder (or both), comment with a link to the image below!

This month’s content is going to be free for everyone, sometimes – however – I paywall what I write other than a preview. If you want to support me you can do so for as little as $1 a month on Patreon or 1 token a month on Minds.com.

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Starfinder has a believability problem when it comes to equipment. The level-limits on items make no goddamn sense and throw you out of your immersion. Why shouldn’t you be able to pick up that Caldarian Fusion Cannon and fire it just like anyone else? Now technically, you can, but this is used as a way to guide treasure, gear and everything else in the game. It’s certainly heavily implied that you shouldn’t go far outside these bounds, because of game balance.

The monetary limit goes a good way to controlling this as the more expensive items are beyond the reach of starting characters. Still, there has to be a better way to do this.

I think there is.

The kinks still need to be worked out, but modifying the bonuses available from certain gear seems to be the best way to about things. The way this would work is that when using gear at a level higher than yourself, you can, but you don’t have the full capability to use it that those of greater experience do – just like a layman might be nonplussed on what they’re supposed to do when handed any other piece of technical gear.

If you’re lower than the level of the equipment, say a weapon, you would get a lesser bonus or lower damage compared to someone of sufficient level. This also gives you a way to acclimatise and grow into weapons and devices – somewhat similar, if you will, to the way you acclimate to your cybernetics in Deus Ex, unlocking new capabilities as you develop.

Let’s take, by way of example, the Corona Laser Rifle from the corebook.

This ‘requires’ a level of 6, does 2d6 F damage, a burn of 1d6 and has a capacity of 40 charges.

If you’re lower than level 6 we could impose a -2 penalty to hit, and depending what level you were we could reduce the damage.

  • So, at level 6 you do 2d6 on a hit and 1d6 burn damage.
  • At level 5 you do 2d4 on a hit and 1d4 burn damage.
  • At level 4 you do 1d8 on a hit and 1d4 burn damage.
  • At level 3 you do 1d6 on a hit and 1d4 burn damage.
  • At level 2 you do 1d4 on a hit and 1d4 burn damage.
  • At level 1 you do 1d4 on a hit and 1d4 burn damage.

You’re better off using a n00b rifle (Azimuth) up until level 5, but you can use the higher level weapon – at a penalty – until you’re a more battle hardened veteran.

Armour, in a similar way, could retain any penalties but lose effectiveness until you learn how to wear it properly, higher level armour being more technical and requiring more involved wearing and set-up.

Taking Freebooter Armour II as an example,

At level 6 it is at full effectiveness providing +6 EAC and +8 KAC with a Max Dex bonus of +5

If we apply similar by-level reductions you end up with…

  • At level 5 +5 EAC, +7 KAC, +4 Max Dex
  • At level 4 +4 EAC, +5 KAC, +4 Max Dex
  • At level 3 +3 EAC, +4 KAC, +3 Max Dex
  • At level 2 +2 EAC, +3 KAC, +2 Max Dex
  • At level 1 +1 EAC, +1 KAC, +2 Max Dex

And so on.

Of course, this is maths heavy and involves a lot more record keeping, so simply tossing out the Level-limits wholesale, even as a guideline may work better.

When designing encounters it also seems like a good idea to stretch the equipment and gear of the enemy by an amount equal to the APL. So, if you’re in an Epic battle against CR 6 Stormtroopers (NPC troops across D&D compatible products tending to range from level 1-6 based on the old follower mechanics) they might be expected to have level 9, rather than level 6 gear.

EG: Plasma swords instead of duelling swords, Aphelion sidearms and rifles instead of Corona sidearms and rifles, and their heavy weapons trooper might have an advanced X-Gen in place of a tactical one and so on.

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#RPG Granular FATE

3359095-twd1FATE is a very adaptable and useful system but it does lack some aspects (ha, ha) that limit its usefulness in some regards. As a pick-up-and-play system it’s accessibility is worth a great deal but for more experienced players or those who enjoy a bit more system granularity or grittiness it has a few issues.

Here’s some idle thoughts on how to possibly address some of these issues.

Granularity
In order to increase granularity in the system, it’s necessary to increase its ‘range’. As standard, FATE rolls four FATE dice (or 2d6 one taking away from the other) giving a range of +/-4 (or 5) from your starting point. Doubling this range simply means doubling the amount of dice rolled, eight FATE dice or, if you prefer 2d10 (one taking away from the other) giving a range of +/-8 (or 9).

Difficulty on The Ladder would range from +15 to -4.

Granular games tend to be aiming for a more ‘realistic’ or ‘simulationist’ approach and as such bonuses and rules for FATE points and Aspects should remain the same, rather than being doubled. As such, Refresh, number of Stunts and so forth should also remain the same.

Characters
Characters have the usual Aspects and Stunts. They get double the normal number of skill points (40) and if you use the pyramid it would break down like this.

One +8 Skill.
Two +6 Skills.
Three +4 Skills.
Four +2 Skills.

Stress (Physical and Mental) starts at 4 with the usual number of consequences, though their value is doubled.

Each two points in Will of Physique adds one point of Stress to its appropriate Stress track, at 10 an additional Mild Consequence is added.

Shifts  & Style
Succeeding with style (five or more shifts) has all the usual benefits, but additionally can be used to smack enemies with temporary negative aspects or to do two points of damage (filling in the next lowest available stress box, if there is one, next highest otherwise).

Weapons & Gear
Typical weapons range from 1-8, which allows for a greater range of effect. Where, for example, in normal FATE a dagger and a shortsword might both be rated at 2, with the extended range you can split this between 3 for the dagger and four for the shortsword. Since weapon Aspects aren’t as powerful, they should also be more standard and should get a free activation each combat scene, perhaps on index cards with little tick-boxes marked on them.

FANBOI RELEASE! Pacific Rim for FATE

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CLICK Pacrim

MotSP: Character Creation and Gear Alpha Draft

MotSPLogo

‘ere, download this crap and ‘ave a butchers.

MotSP Character Creation α Draft

Lamentations of the Flame Princess: Hroth’s Axe

The Legend:

A copper for the tale of a skald great shieldmaid?

*Clink*

May your horn never be empty of mead and your bed never bereft of men. Your tale for your coin…

In years before when this was still a virgin land, pure as the peaks of ice, fresh as a new-caught bondsmaid, the great pine forests in the foothills of the Worgstead mountains were haunt to a terrible beast. Eich Halgarr, hetman of Shadhalla sent many of his huscarls to slay the beast that was preying on the farmers and steaders but none prevailed. Their bodies found crushed and caged in the roots of the ancient pines.

Soon no man would venture into the woods and no hero would take up the cause. Shadhalla fell into despair and poverty and the people began to leave. Only the Eich and his most faithful remained, tilling their own soil like common folk.

From the east came a ship, seeking new lands of their own but finding the place occupied and being men of honour they took up the Eich’s hospitality and neither the Eich nor his closest told the tale of the beast in the forest. Instead, hoping for a hero they offered a hero’s price if one from the ship would fetch them wood from the forest, to repair their ailing hall.

Hroth, the one who cut the wood for the ships, a woodcutter of note back in his home, took up the challenge and with his axe he took to the forest to cut the wood that the Eich demanded.

It was not long until the beast found him. A great, trollish thing of sap and bark, of stone and wood. The pain of the forest made flesh in vengeance against those who would cut its ancient trees. It bellowed and Hroth bellowed back at it. It reached for him and he hew at it. He was not a warrior, he did not seek to fight it. Rather he sought to fell it, and therein stood his victory.

Even as it smashed at him and bloodied him. He picked himself up and he cut and cut and cut, hewing at the same spot on its great leg until it was cut clean through and the beast fell, fell long enough for him to bury the axe between the beast’s eyes.

Hroth returned and was heralded as a champion. What remained of the wealth of Shadhalla was given to him and the Eich’s daughter was promised him to wed.

Hroth was angered by the trickery. He took the girl and the gold aye, and the Eich’s head too. Claiming for himself the lordship of Shadhalla. They say his axe remains there, all these years later, in the lost treasury of Shadhalla the Great, the City Hroth built until the ice came. It bears the scars of his battle with the beast of the forest… and that deed remains a part of the metal’s soul… so they say. A rare weapon, made great by a rare man.

The Weapon:

Hroth’s axe is a simple woodcutting axe, but the blood and sap of the creature that he slew has indelibly left its mark upon the blade. The axe cleaves through wood, stone – and metal – as easily as it cuts through flesh.

Hroth’s Axe: Great Axe 1d10+1 Damage, +1 bonus to attack. Anyone and anything attacked with Hroth’s Axe is considered to be unarmoured. That is, they only get an AC of 12+Dex Bonus. For monster, remove half of whatever AC they have over 12 rounding up.

EG: AC12=12, 13=12, 14=13, 15=13, 16=14, 17=14, 18=14

@ctiv8 – Social Networking

I’m writing this with @ctiv8 in mind but you could easily adapt what I have here to any 1-5 or 1-10 scale. One thing to keep in mind though is that ‘3’ in @ctiv8 is considered average for a stat or ‘professional’ for a skill, while other games lean towards ‘2’ as an average, to allow the higher level to be truly exceptional.

I’ve been reading a lot lately about how the internet is supposedly changing human behaviour. Of particular interest in articles that have come up lately is how unless one’s an expert, one doesn’t seem to memorise details that can be found easily on the internet. In the same way that people drifted from doing mental arithmetic once calculators became ubiquitous, so people have stopped memorising details that can be found easily on the internet.

Gaming hasn’t particularly cottoned onto this, still favouring strong characters with particular fields of expertise but, frankly, if a character in a modern game has access to a smartphone they can grab whatever they need from Wikipedia or – and this is where this article comes in – they can ask people. We can only hold personal relationships with so many people, but our social networks, especially if they cover friends of friends, can get information from a trusted source and allow you to ask follow up questions.

When it comes to @ctiv8, where characters are often battling against the status-quo, using crowdsourcing for funding or information needs to be weighed against the risk of exposure. The larger the group you go to for information the more risk of exposure there is.

A roll to use crowdsourcing for information should be rolled in secret by the Games Master so that they can supply misinformation or account for security services and others being aware of the character that’s asking.

A roll for crowdsourcing is based on computer familiarity and foci that might be useful would be ‘social networking’ and particular social networks. It’s based on social capability rather than intelligence though, it’s more about relationship and public perception of who you are, rather than how clever you are per se.

The difficulty is moderated by two factors. How large of a group you’re asking and how relevant their knowledge is likely to be.

  • Small social circle – 10s of people – +3 difficulty. 1/6 chance of detection.
  • Medium social circle – 100s of people – +2 difficulty. 2/6 chance of detection.
  • Large social circle – 1000s of people – +1 difficulty. 3/6 chance of detection.
  • Huge social circle – 10,000s of people – +0 difficulty. 4/6 chance of detection.
  • Enormous social circle – 100,000s of people -1 Difficulty. 5/6 chance of detection.
  • Stephen Fry – 1,000,000’s of  people -2 Difficulty
  • Specialist Community -2 difficulty
  • Intelligent Community -1 difficulty
  • General Community – +0 difficulty

Using the @ctiv8 network is a medium social circle and full of specialists, so ends up as normal, unaltered difficulty. @ctiv8 has NO chance of being detected. Further difficulties are applied if the information being asked for is rare or specialised, or if you’re being dishonest in any way, something that is likely to be reacted to poorly when it is inevitably found out.

Crowdsourcing funds rapidly raises 10s, 100s, 1000s, 10,000s or 100,000s of pounds with additional successes multiplying the 100s. Penalties and bonuses are applied for sob stories and dishonesty and there’s an inherent -1 penalty before you even start due to people’s wariness of scams, rising to -5 if you’re Nigerian.