Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Humanspace Empires, tweaks and twitters

Humanspace empires strikes all the right chords with me and I’m very excited about it.  I have never been satisfied with any of the sci fi rpg games I’ve seen.  I played a fair amount of Star Frontiers and a bit of Traveller back in the day.  They were okay, but I’ve kept on looking and hoping for something that captures the weird and the vast, the way a good GRR Martin short story does or the way any number of movies do.  EPT has all the right qualities, kinda, but in a very myopic way - one world, technologically backward and isolated.  Humanspace empires frees EPT from that bounded ness and opens it up into the weird vastness of space.  I love it.  I also love that HE draws closely on what is historically one of the very first rulesets (EPT was written before Greyhawk was published) and comes straight out of the Twin Cities gaming circles where fantasy roleplay games were birthed.   I’m loving HE, but I’m also feeling a need to tweak and add.  Mostly I’m talking about a relatively small number of things, that are in no way game breakers.  
The abilty scores modifiers, for one don’t feel right.  What I mean is, given that the whole thing revolves around Tekumel and MAR Barkers creative vision, I’m not seeing the sense in replacing Barkers EPT ability score mechanics with Gygax Greyhawk and 3lbb.  Feels misplaced, or inappropriate or something.  Particularly considering, at least as far as the 3lbb modifiers go, Barker had them and replaced them when creating EPT., so why switch them back to D&D style?
Note that I’m a little bit of a hypocrite here in that I’m perfectly cool with using the polyhedral dice in stead of EPT’s percentiles.  I think we all like that better.
I’m not at all opposed to drawing on OD&D and the supplements for additions and ideas to add to HE, but I much prefer those “outside” influences to be in the form of supplemental rule information, not substitutionary when a rule for it already exists in EPT.
So Here’s what I would do: Changes to HE to bring it in to line with EPT.
·         Revert All Attribut tables except psychic table, but add back the comeliness reaction modifiers.
·         Add the reaction table (its missing from the HE rules)
  • Add in AiF’s chance to learn pass/fail rule and interrupted study rule to the section on learning new background skills. (okay, I have a soft spot for the AiF rules, which codified a lot of the ideas preferred by the Twin Cities gamers from earlier years.  Given the skill system in HE, these two rules seem a natural fit, and given the close gaming relationship between Arneson and Barker, I don’t think it’s out of context to include them.)
  • Add the one attack per arm rule “multiple-limbed beings could attack with each weapon held in a limb; it's what made Ahoggya and Pe Choi so deadly in individual combat, as they'd get twice the number of strike per turn as any humans. "
  • Combat rounds occur in pairs such that each 'combat round' consisted of one dice roll per person or creature engaged in the combat; each player would roll to see if they hit their target and do damage. Usually, they'd do it with the 'attacker' in the melee striking first, with the 'defender' then rolling; both Dave and Phil would allow the defender to choose between attacking back or trying to parry the blow. The 'round' would consist of a set of dice rolls for each attacker and defender, as well as any other actions by parties not engaged in the actual melee.”  Thus a defender always gets a counter attack in a round.
  • Add the Parry rule to Melee combat“If a player opted to parry an opponent's blow, the to-hit number from the tables in Section 720 would be used; if the parry was successful, i.e., the 'to hit' number or better was rolled, then this would negate any hits or damage scored by the opponent in that combat round.” (quotes from Jeff Berry)
  • rules for aerial combat really need to be added.  They should be something like the Flight in the Skies Rules and the OD&D rules but both are proprietary and neither are quite right.
  • Divine intervention rules p95 EPT.
  • Inheritance rules (OD&D, CoZ). 
  • Calendar time (EPT).
  • For fun and completeness, I’d also add Zenopus (ODD74 forum) oil throwing rules (via Holmes) for area damage thrown weapons and some grenade info from Tracy Hickman’s Pharaoh – both date from the mid ‘70’s after all.
I’ll create these “tweaks” as a series of house rules and post ‘em when I got ‘em.
But lets start with the Basic Attribute scores: 
STRENGTH

Score
Modifier to Hit, and Force rolls
Modifier to Melee Damage
3-8
Weak
- 1
0
9-12
Average
0
0
13-15
Strong
+1
0
16,17
Powerful
+1
+1
18
Superb
+2
+2

 
INTELLIGENCE

Score
Modifier to Hit
Modifier to Melee Damage
Other Effects
3-4
Stupid
- 1
-1
No spells greater than Level 1 and Cannot use psytech devices
5-8
Slow
0
-1
No spells greater than Level 2 and Cannot use psytech devices
9-12
Average
0
0
none
13-15
Smart
+1
+1
none
16,17
Brilliant
+1
+1
+3 chance to detect secret and concealed objects
18
Genius
+2
+2
+4  chance to detect secret and concealed objects, +3 to detect traps.

 
CONSTITUTION

Score
Modifier to Hit
Modifier to Melee Damage
Other Effects
3-4
Weak
- 2
0
40% chance psychic healing will not work
5-8
Slow
-1
0
20% chance psychic healing will not work
9-12
Average
0
0
none
13-15
Smart
+1
0
none
16,17
Brilliant
+1
+1
+3 chance to detect secret and concealed objects
18
Genius
+2
+1
+4  chance to detect secret and concealed objects, +3 to detect traps.




DEXTERITY

Score
Modifier to Hit and Initiative
Modifier to Melee Damage
Other Effects
3-4
Clutz
- 1
-1
20% chance of fumble on every attack
5-8
Clumsy
-1
0
10% chance of fumble on every attack
9-12
Average
0
0
none
13-15
Smooth
+1
0
none
16,17
Dexterous
+1
+1
none
18
Agile
+2
+1
Never Fumbles



COMELINESS

Score
Reaction Adjustment
3
Hideous
-3
4-7
Ugly
-2
8-10
Average
0
11 – 13
Pretty
+1
14, 15
Very Pretty
+1
16
Beautiful, very minor flaws
+2
17
Outstanding Beauty, flawless
+2
18
God like perfection
+3


No comments:

Post a Comment