Alpha Dawn 2.0

jedion357's picture
April 27, 2011 - 10:59am
Rethinking AD rules

general discussion:
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
April 27, 2011 - 11:34am
Racial abilities

with the exception of humans the basic pattern is 1 thing that is always "on" (ambidexterity, gliding, or elasticity) and one thing that is diced for (battle rage, lie detection,  and comprehension)

humans are listed in the Remasterd AD rules as having nothing but this is not true they get +5pts to any one ability score- I suppose this qualifies as the always on ability

The yazirians get a -15% to DEX/RS in bright sunlight if not wearing sungoggles due to their night vision- its not usually a factor; in fact I've never seen it be a factor in game. the vrusk and dralasites also get a bonus to 1 Physcho-social sub-skill due to lie detection or comprehension as the case maybe.

but since it carries a negative I guess you could codify a rule for special abilities as 1 always on ability, 1 diced for ability and if there is any other ability then there is an appropriate penalty connected to the 3rd ability.

My beef is the 5% chance for Battle rage and Lie detection but 15% for comprehension; I'd like to equalize them all at 15 or 20% or make them like a skill that levels are purchased in for better capabilities. Treating it as  a skill would mean that the % chance is 10%/level + 1/2 the modifying ability score- example: at dralasite with level 2 lie detection and 40 INT would test at 40% for lie detection or a yazirian with level 3 battle rage and 30 Per would test at 45% for battle rage.

In addition higher levels could unlock new sub abilities (this is still an idea I'm kicking around but it would require stuff for each racial ability)- level 4 battle rage could allow for an intimidation display basically at the start of combat when the yazirian's side has initiative he could attempt an intimidation display based on the fearsome reputation of yazirians that will stun his opponents into inaction for that round of combat (basically the hezitate) failure for the yazirian means that he cedes initiative to the opponents.

Humans, still a popular character race despite not having any real racial ability aught to get something more IMO but have it be a choice:
PC could choose to be a tech wienie which confers a +% to 1 tech skill (robotics or computers or technician) with a -% to reaction checks with NPCs basically PER or LDR checks.
Other choices could be instituted besides tech wienie its just that that is what came to mind
The issue here is that under the original system I'd say a +5%/-5% bonus penalty would work but since I'd prefer to up all racial diced for abilities to 15% then it should be 15%

I suppose a range of choices could be offered where a player could pick 15% bonus/penalty pair or a modest +5% bonus with no penalty like: Naturally stealthy +5%, Natural Shot +5% with one class of weapons rifle or pistol but not both, Doctor in the House +5% to all diagnosis rolls, Hands of a Healer +1d5 pts to First Aid sub skill, Florence Nightingale Effect -1/2 the normal healing time to resting patients under PC's care
Primidona Doctor: +15% to surgical roles (or to curing infections & poisons) and -15% to PER checks due arrogance and bed side manor
I guess most of the above really is just a bit of the edge and flaw system from the remastered rules though.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

rattraveller's picture
May 4, 2011 - 2:16pm
Humans have been popular since most players are just a little lazy and don't want to do the work of role playing an alien (me included).

However your other point of the starting level for battle rage and lie detection being to low is valid. They are not really useful until the character gets a few levels and then only if they invest all their experience into them. By then the player has either forgotten they ever had it or found ways to cope without it.

I always pictured the skill choices as being general to make them like movie character skills. The kind where the scientist knows everything about biology even though they are said to be a geologist or a pilot who can fly a helicopter, a biplane and a jet. The whole subskill thing can get out of hand such as what happened with D&D 3.5.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

thespiritcoyote's picture
May 5, 2011 - 12:57am
I don't know, I just never seem to get The Human right, I tend to lack some perspective, maybe I should try and get to know more and see what they are really like, then I could apply that to my Human characters.

I concur with the other too points, as stated, rattraveller. In fact I don't even see anything to clarify... Surprised

...walks away speechless... Laughing

... stalks back  ranting ... Yell
I'm not real big on enforcing mechanic-balance on species, it often agitates me that a race with an obvious advantage, or limitation, is given none because of a concern that people will never play them, or will always play them to the exclusion of anything else.

I play Rifts and don't always play a dragon... Foot in mouth
I play WoD and don't always play a mage... SurprisedFoot in mouth

  Why do designers think that I am going to choose a Vrusk or Dralasite over a Human just because they are alien with alien abilities?
  Sometimes I just want a simple Jet Flash Starrodgers Human with the Archetype Heroic persona, and sometimes I want a Half-blind Walking Amorphous Sack of Sapient Jelly with as many GrotesqueStarfishBlue and OrangeXenofiction aspects as I can pile on them, and I want the rules to support what the setting claims them to be without prejudice.

I fully understand game-balance, but sometimes it just isn't.

...wanders off blathering... Foot in mouth
Oh humans!! Innocent We discover a galactic community filled with multiple species of aliens, and the first thing we think about is "how can we have sex with them?".
~ anymoose, somewhere on the net...

if you square a square it becomes a cube...
if you square a cube does it become an octoid?

thespiritcoyote's picture
May 5, 2011 - 2:30am
Back to be fair, since I kinda ranted out of turn...

Yeah, over all your take on the structure of a the construction looks about right...
If you break it down to a point buy cost of 1pt per 5% and 2 per "always on", Humans are flat out about 3 or 4 under in points to any other. (quick math, could be off a point or two myself, and some always on abilities might be considered a two point.)

Aren't those special abilities supposed to be treated as skills like that though? If not I have been doing something wrong, for along time....Undecided

ok... I studied my math a little more, and I came out with: 0pt Humans, and 4pts for everyone else including the Sathar(surprising me), and a Yazirian with Sun-Goggles (don't leave home without 'em) is technically at 5pts.... not counting anything outside of AD:EGR. When including other sapients, and write-ups, it may skew those numbers a little, but probably not much. Seems about typical for the games of the time.
so... I suppose it would make sense if you wanted to bring the Humans up a bit, to let them pick up to 20% in rolled abilities, or up to two or three minor static abilities, in some combination....
  But I personally would rather give that kind of character customization advantage across-the-board, and let the superior/inferior biologic potentials stand. As I mentioned, I don't care much for forcing balances in species, not even in wargaming. Let the evolution of a species stand on its own merit, advantages and shortcomings in total. Humans are easier to play without giving them a boost-up, Vrusk are hard as heck to surprise physically and socially, Yazirians (as established elsewhere) can possibly fall off a 100ft building and walk away without wrinkling their tuxedo, Dralasites should be able to alter-form and grow a 'head full of cilia' in minutes not hours. [a-imho-oc] It isn't going to effect the way I decide on which one I want to play, or likely even which ones I would alow, to many other factors involved.

Still, I applaud your ideas, and your evaluation.Cool Well thought out, and pretty close to what I thought too. Everything else is just nit-picking-paradigms. Innocent
Oh humans!! Innocent We discover a galactic community filled with multiple species of aliens, and the first thing we think about is "how can we have sex with them?".
~ anymoose, somewhere on the net...

if you square a square it becomes a cube...
if you square a cube does it become an octoid?