It’s been a long weekend but I haven’t been idle. Work continues on Stark Space. This week I want to talk about skills. A lot of folks don’t use a skill system with their OSR games. That’s cool. But for Stark Space I felt it needed one. Yes, it’s gritty and all but I also felt that characters should have a very broad range of abilities. While the classes are focused in particular area, I wanted it set up so a character could be a killing machine and still have an aptitude for talking their way out of fight. Like the classes, I wanted the skills to be very broad and flexible categories. So there’s only 12 and should cover most situations. And this system should be easily transferred to any other old school game or genre.
Here’s the very basics of it. Each skill is derived from adding together two ability scores then dividing by 3 and always rounding down. Roll 2d6 if it’s less than or equal to the character’s skill rating then success. Here’s the skills, their related abilities, and a brief description:
Athletics (Str+Dex): Jumping, climbing, acrobatics, and all that.
Detective (Wis+Cha): Avoiding surprise, noticing details, investigation, and detecting lies.
Education (Int+Wis): General education and knowledge.
Fast Talk (Int+Cha): Haggling, bluffing, and diplomacy.
Hacking (Dex+Int): Hacking, forgery, disabling security systems, and locks.
Medicine (Int+Wis): First aid, diagnosis, and surgery.
Pilot (Dex+Wis): Navigation, piloting 9duh), and driving.
Tech (Dex+Int): Repair and modify equipment including star ships.
Sex Appeal (Con+Cha): Seduction and making good on that innuendo.
Stealth (Dex+Cha): Sneaking, sleight of hand, and covert surveillance.
Survival (Con+Wis): Tracking and living off the land.
Zero-G (Dex+Con): Working safely in 0-G without loosing your lunch.
Muscles and Brains characters get a bonus on a skill that is their specialty. As far as improving goes, when a character gains a level they get a +1 to one skill rating. That’s it.
That’s the basic of skills. Stay tuned for more previews on Stark Space plus the other projects I’m working. Also, there may the occasional rant. It’s a New Year and things are going to fun around here.
Work continues on Stark Space. That’s my own little gritty dystopian supplement for White Star which is an awesome game in its own right. Stark Space takes it the gritty rough and tumble reaches of Blade Runner, Aliens, and Outland.
I wanted to make some core classes to better reflect the Stark Space universe. In general, these are meant to replace the existing classes but this the OSR GM’s should do what they want to make their games awesome. As I mentioned in my previous post, there three classes.
The Muscle: This one should be pretty obvious. This is the fighter, mercenary, soldier, thug, martial artist, and hot shot pilot. One thing I wanted to do is make them shine a little more in combat so they’ve got three class abilities. Combat Expert is a bonus applied to combat with a certain type of weapon like small arms, space weapons, melee weapons, or unarmed combat. Combat Sense provides the character with a bonus to Armor Class. And then there’s Combat Style. While Combat Expert reflects the character’s training. Combat Style reflects the character’s approach to combat by being a Brute(Damage bonus), precise (bonus To-hit), or mobile (bonus to AC).
The Brains: These are your tech’s, engineers, medics, hackers, and walking encyclopedias. They can jury rig equipment. Get a bonus to whatever skill they specialize in. Re-roll failed class skill rolls. That’s pretty much the standard stuff. Brains are also the planners. So I threw in couple more things. They gain a bonus to initiative and they can provide bonuses in combat to other characters by relaying crucial tactical information.
The Face: We got the Muscle and the Brains, now somebody needs to do the talking. Brains are con artists, detectives, and other social types. Like Brains, they gain a bonus to their specialized skill. They know where to find the right people and how to act around people. They can distract and demoralize opponents. They have a little bit of luck to help with those Saving Throws.
Now on to Races. Once again, I’ll refer back to my original post. I’m not using race in the real world sense but in the game mechanics sense. Since Stark Space is that Gritty dytopian future, I opted for no aliens as player characters. But once again, this is something that GM’s can change if they wish. There’s four options for “race”.
Human: That one is pretty obvious. I wanted to add a little punch for humans. So bonus to skills and saves. They’re humans so I don’t need to explain that much about them.
Max-Gene: Take a normal human and do some genetic manipulation and attempt to turn them into a super soldier or hard labor drone. These characters have good physical stats but terrible mental stats. They prone to all sorts of add psychological behaviors. The basic mechanic around them is reduce mental ability scores and improve physical scores at character generation.
Simulants: You’ve seen Blade Runner, right? There you go. As they level, there’s a chance that they’ll start to degrade and lose points from their ability scores. It can be repaired but that’s very expensive and illegal.
Psi: There had to some sort of mental abilities. The powers of these characters have much less effect than the Gifts or Meditations from the core White Star rules. While these powers could be considered minor, they’re the only type of power in the implied setting. It works off the skill system but more on that later.
There you go some more rants on the classes and races. I’ll have more rants in the future about skills and inspiration. So stay tuned.
So mundane life has been really taking its toll on my time and me in general. But things keep moving ahead, just not quite at as fast a pace as I wanted. Heck, I’ve posted anything on the good old blogs and social media has barely been glanced at. With all that, I haven’t been idle. My little brain and weathered fingers have been grinding away on a couple of projects.
I’ve talked about this one a bit on line. Roughly I’d say that it’s 70% to 80% done. That last bit is the hardest. So just what is Gary Vs The Monsters. It’s is a roleplaying game of cinematic campy schlock horror based around the White Box rules. It’s normal people fighting monsters in the modern day. It’s boom sticks and chainsaws. Here’s some of the basics. It uses the Skills as Saves mechanic. The player characters get a bonus based on their “day jobs” which usually have nothing to do with hunting monsters. Think along the lines of the Occupations from Dungeon Crawl Classics. All characters have a +1 bonus to-hit. It doesn’t get better. But they do get a bonus to Armor Class. Monsters are tough and really nasty. The monsters always “win” the initiative. And I’ve come up with a slightly different Fear mechanic. Characters make a Save. On a failure, the monster gains random bonuses. Yeah, the characters should run away but they don’t have to.
I’ve written a bunch of stuff for White Star under my Outer Space Raiders label. All of that stuff is gonzo and pulpy and just a little tongue-in-cheek. It’s Star Wars, Flash Gordon, and Farscape. It’s fun and it’s weird. But science fiction is a very broad genre with lots of sub-genres.
Enter Stark Space. This is the gritty dystopian science fiction of Aliens, Outland, Killjoys, and Dark Matter. It’s humancentric with a few quirks worked in to make things interesting. It’s not really going to be a “setting” but of a simple genre toolkit. GM’s can choose on their own if they want to do an interplanetary or interstellar campaign. Not much changes as far as game mechanics go. There will be a simple skill system to flesh things out. Classes are going to be distilled down to three choices. Brains (Techs, engineers, scientists, medics, pilots), Face (con artists, gamblers, bounty hunters, entertainers) and Muscle (thugs, mercenaries, soldiers, bodyguards). Characters would be differentiated by their class and their skill choices (which will be influenced by class).
Stark Space is a human setting. But there still are “races”. Not in real world sense but in the RPG mechanics sense. There’s, of course, plain old humans. Then there’s the Max-Genes, humans who have genetically altered for better physical performance at the cost of mental stability. They may have volunteered for the treatments or not. Either way, they still owe some mega-corporation for the treatments and are on the run. Simulants are bio-mechanical androids. Does a Simulants have a soul? Are they “real”? Doesn’t matter. The law says they are property. So yeah. They’ll be on the run from their original owners or something else. Finally, there’s Psychics. These are normal humans that have suffered a mutation giving them psychic powers. (Duh.) Keeping with the less fantastic genre tropes, these powers will not be any where near as powerful as Gifts and Meditations. But in universe where most people don’t have or understand such powers then they can offer up many advantages. Until some black ops team from megacorp kidnaps you, hauls you off to secret lab and dissects your brain.
So that’s what I’m working on. When will this stuff be done? Soonish? I really don’t have a solid time table for either right now. But I will keep you good folks posted.