Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Starships as Characters

After my post about The Flexibility of Arcane Backgrounds, a few people suggested making starships as characters. I've looked into it and I'm afraid that imho it just doesn't work (for Savage Worlds). 

I used to be a fan of the Cortex System (Serenity and Battlestar Galactica rpgs). In that system they used die types for attributes and built their starships like characters. It worked because players rolled Attribute and Skill dice then added them together. When piloting a ship, the player merely had to roll the vehicle's Attribute die and the pilot's Skill die to make the system work. But in Savage Worlds there is no die-add.

The die ratings I have seen in some SW homebrews are mostly just representational and only seem to have a bearing on the game when you buy ship skills or calculate ship Toughness. I'm not a fan of ship skills as it potential negates the special qualities of the PCs. The consistency between calculating ship and character Toughness is nice, but if there is nothing else that truly shares the same methodology then there is little reason to do it.

Ideas that I have considered:

  • Starship Trait die used for Cooperative rolls - The idea is that every time the pilot makes a roll he can use the relevant ship attribute die for a Cooperative roll. Unfortunately it slows down the game more than just using flat bonuses from Handling.
  • Starship's Trait die as the Wild die - That mechanic of variable wild die isn't present at character level so I am adding a new mechanic. If I can't make starship characters and combat closely resemble player characters and combat, then the gimmick looses its worth.  
So neither idea seems worth it. Still, maybe someone has a better idea? 

Edit: I should have noted that this is from the play-style point of characters piloting starships, not starships as actual, individual characters.

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