Rocks Scissors Paper

seventhwarlord's picture
seventhwarlord
November 18, 2014 - 6:23pm
Alright...SF player and fan since '84 here.  To preface my question, I gotta let ya know that we play mostly d20 Cthulhu rules nowadays (simplicity of system) in a modern/future era, with tons of SF stuff in the mix (I throw in Vrusks and SEU alien tech every chance I get!).  I've also run complete SF games and modules over the last few years for my players, and have purchased reprints of the remastered rules for everyone in the group...

I was gearing up for a straight SF game recently, and one of my players says "yeah, Star Frontiers is like 'rocks-scissors-paper' with the skein suit/albedo screen combo"

What do you all do about this with house rules?  Anything you do with the Albedo Suit/Screen to make it more deadly (1/2 damage or something?), or do you just run with it as the wonders of SF?

As you can tell, the Rocks-Scissors-Paper thing really botheredm me.  Not to mention the -20 dodge bonus completely unrelated to stats...still my favorite system of all time!

-Jay
Comments:

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
November 18, 2014 - 8:37pm
A couple of thoughts:

1) Some people make the albedo suit/screen work similar to the inertia suit screen and only have it absorb half damage.

2) Don't forget that the screen uses power just to be on and it glows slightly.  So unless they are draining their belt packs at a fast rate and glowing in the dark, they probably don't have the screen on all the time.  If the PCs are surprised, the bad guys can get a shot off before the screen comes on and the next round they'll be turning it on.  I simulate that by reducing them to a single shot in that turn and no careful aim bonus or bursts allowed.

3) Otherwise I play it straight up as the rules say.  Since lasers are expensive, I typically have the bad guys have gyrojet or projectile weapons and grenades.  Since the inertia defenses only block half damage, some gets through.  It takes a little while but even a couple good frag grenades and the party is going to be hurting.  If it makes sense for the bad guys to have lasers, after a first shot that hits an albedo screen, I have them crank up the damage setting and fire away.  A few good hits and you'll be draining that power pack pretty quickly.  If the bad guys do use lasers, I always make sure they have plenty of ammo because they would know that that defense exists and would be prepared to burn through it.

4) The albedo screen/skein suit combo doesn't do anything against electro stunners, sonic stunners, and sonic distruptors.  Kiss  Just make sure some of those weapons are in the mix as well.

5) You can always add in a RS check to get the dodge bonus.  That would actually be a reasonable idea if you wanted to base it somewhat on the stats.  Say -10 if you fail and -20 if you make it.  And if you're dodging you have that -20 penalty applied to your shots as well.  So you can make it hard to hit you but you also make it hard for you to hit them.  That kind of makes it even out so the dependence on stats isn't as important in my opinion.  Plus if dodging or running, I rule you can't take an aimed shot.  You basically have to be stationary or barely moving for that.
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Abub's picture
Abub
November 18, 2014 - 9:40pm
YES... your player is correct.  It is alot like Rock Paper Sissors.  It is not a bad thing really.

I've only run a adventure with three players (three sessions) and a solo (one session)

And in the first adventure, they were up against a single town's "army" which had some heavy armored vehicles and jetcopters.  I figure the "standard" for a military is the Abedo screen/Skien suit combo... and my PC's mostly are decked out in lasers... which like TO said... are only effective at cutting down the defenses of the target.

You HAVE absolutely got to track SEU supplies in SF.  Many people play systems where you don't really track bullets but with abedo you totally need to track it.  

Don't give everybody unlimited supplies of power, so what TO said is a good suggestion.  If the shooter can't see the abedo screen shimmering or whatever, don't have then fire more than like 2 SEU shots.  In general people hit by a 2d10 hit shouldn't be anxious to get hit again.  Laser burns... like any burn... hurt like hell.  If they see the shimmer... then they know they are gonna need to crank up the settings which SEU power for most people is expensive... your typical goons aren't going to want to spend all thier credits refilling thier clips/beltpacks/backpacks.

Lastly... I don't believe it says it in the rules... but I play that when your abedo screen goes down you DO NOT get hurt by the excess damage... just the screen failed on that shot, or more precicely that round of combat (so if you get blasted three times and the first damage roll was enough to kill your screen -- it stays up until all three shots are dealt).

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Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
November 18, 2014 - 11:54pm
Tripod mounted heavy weapons will take out any screen in short order. More so if it's a screen that doesn't protect against it. The last thing you want while firing up an albedo screen is to take a full machine gun burst or a rocket hit.
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

jedion357's picture
jedion357
November 19, 2014 - 10:16am
I think the rock paper scissors is a good thing: PCs should prepare for it, lead PC shouts back "Albedo Screen" and another PC pulls out the rocket launcher. It requires some planning and tactical maneuvering and  but I think its a good thing. However, I'm not in favor of how Zeb's guide complicates things with more weapon types and defenses- maser mesh and so on- to me that makes the rock paper scissors thing too complicated.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Abub's picture
Abub
November 19, 2014 - 10:37am
zeb makes it into rock paper scissors lizard spock
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Rum Rogue's picture
Rum Rogue
November 19, 2014 - 1:31pm
jedion357 wrote:
However, I'm not in favor of how Zeb's guide complicates things with more weapon types and defenses- maser mesh and so on- to me that makes the rock paper scissors thing too complicated.

Abub wrote:
zeb makes it into rock paper scissors lizard spock

LOL too true.
The other day I had thought about this and almost started looking at some of the Zebs defense's to see what could maybe double up. For instance maser mesh is a form of chainmaille, so why couldnt it act as a skiensuit as well?  But then i have slept since then and forgotten about it.
Time flies when your having rum.

Im a government employee, I dont goof-off. I constructively abuse my time.

Abub's picture
Abub
November 19, 2014 - 2:24pm
Drunk last night?
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Rum Rogue's picture
Rum Rogue
November 19, 2014 - 6:50pm
Abub wrote:
Drunk last night?

HA!  Nope. had the idea a few weeks ago when I was drinking!!
Time flies when your having rum.

Im a government employee, I dont goof-off. I constructively abuse my time.

jedion357's picture
jedion357
November 19, 2014 - 9:32pm
Rum Rogue wrote:
jedion357 wrote:
However, I'm not in favor of how Zeb's guide complicates things with more weapon types and defenses- maser mesh and so on- to me that makes the rock paper scissors thing too complicated.

Abub wrote:
zeb makes it into rock paper scissors lizard spock

LOL too true.
The other day I had thought about this and almost started looking at some of the Zebs defense's to see what could maybe double up. For instance maser mesh is a form of chainmaille, so why couldnt it act as a skiensuit as well?  But then i have slept since then and forgotten about it.


Chain mail required thick cloth padding underneath (what a D&D rule book might call cloth armor) it to help blunt the blow of weapons or else the chain might simply prevent cutting from an edged weapon while the kinetic energy of the blow from a sword (or better yet a mace) broke bones underneath. So at best I would give Maser mesh a 15 pt skein suit rating and thats probably generous.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

seventhwarlord's picture
seventhwarlord
November 30, 2014 - 4:35pm
Alright, thanks for the idea and discussion folks!  I'm happy with the RS check to determine dodge bonus...that's a perfect idea too. 

And you know what?  Rock Scissors Paper ain't the worst thing.  I ran a long D20 Future game with the Star Frontiers background ideas, and handed out a bunch 'o power screens that had basically a hardness of DR5 or DR 10.  You'd have to shoot a dude and hit 3 times at 2d8 damage just to get 6 points through the screen...guess it's in all systems, the 'chose your weapon carefully' thing!

Rock Scissors Pizza...I'm out.
-Jay