Friday, February 6, 2015

Musings! - The Flexibility of Arcane Backgrounds

My Mojo is in overdrive for some reason.

An interesting thought occurred to me on the way to work that involved Arcane Backgrounds and starships.

So far I am using ABs for Psionics, cyberware, and robot upgrades. The reason is simple, an AB is the catch-all for abilities that enhance the person as opposed to external enhancements like gear. In the Sci-Fi Companion, starship upgrades are handled as "external gear" that just get bolted into place on the starship where the only limiting factor is the available space of the superstructure. That didn't make much sense to me. A starship's superstructure isn't really affected when you add in systems because you don't have to worry about aerodynamics (unless your an aerospace ship). You could bolt 100 plasma guns to the outside of an x-wing and it will still fly (in space) provided it's powerplant is strong enough.

And there is the real limiting factor, the powerplant. At least for me in my setting where aerodynamics are secondary thanks to anti-grav engines and starship shields.

Now suppose we use ABs and Powers to outfit our starship. It makes more sense to me since they are integrated systems. I don't need to make any separate combat rules and then try to teach them to my players. Plus "power management" becomes something that all the crew must keep aware of.

So, Power Points! This represents the amount of power a ship has for its combat systems each round. Upgrading the ship with the Power Points edge represents modifications that increases the output of the power plant. Each round, the ship can expend this much energy for combat.

The powers all remain the same, except that they specifically affect starships. If multiple crew-members want to use the same power in the same turn, multiple versions of the same power will need to be purchased.

Armor = Ship's shields. Uses Piloting skill
Blast = Ship battery. Uses Shooting skill
Blind = Anti-ship hacking/ "overload their sensors". Uses Knowledge: Computers skill
Bolt = Ship cannons. Uses Shooting skill
Deflection = Jammers. Uses Knowledge: Computers skill
Detect/ Conceal would be split into two different powers, one for sensors and one for stealth technology. Uses Knowledge: Computers skill
Disguise = A type of jamming that passes the ship off as an ally. Uses Knowledge: Computers skill
Divination = Sensors that give detailed information. Uses Knowledge: Computers skill
Entangle = Tractor Beam. Uses Knowledge: Computers skill
Farsight = Long Range scanners. Uses Piloting skill
Healing = Automatic damage control systems. Uses Repair skill
Invisibility = Cloaking. Uses Uses Knowledge: Computers skill
Puppet = Anti-ship hacking. Uses Uses Knowledge: Computers skill
Speed = Warp boost. Uses Piloting skill
Stun = EMP cannons used for disabling a ship. Uses Shooting skill
Succor = Anti-EMP damage control. Uses Repair skill
Teleport = Mini-warp jumps in case you need to perform a Picard Maneuver. Uses Piloting skill

Each crew-member may activate one power on their turn, but the crew must stay withing the total amount of power points available for the ship. So not only am I getting a very Star Trek feel to combat, I make sure that the crew has to work together during combat. And I do it with only minor rules tweaking from the core book. I also create a tangible method of handling ship upgrades so that players can modify their vessel.

Now granted I haven't play-tested this concept at all. I just post whatever falls out of my brain-pan. Still, what do you think?

1 comment:

  1. I find your ideas intriguing, and would like to subscribe to your newsletter