Sci-Fi interest check

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Re: Sci-Fi interest check

Postby Argo » Thu Apr 21, 2016 9:28 am

I'm also good with whatever is best for you, Calvin. Pathfinder is perfectly fine with me, especially since we have that conversion guide. But I'm open to other systems, or learning a new one.

Is it too early to start talking about our characters? I don't know what the setup is going to be like, but if we were sent to set up a colony on a distant world, presumably by some planetary government or coalition, we would probably have team consisting of something like:

The mission commander
Engineering specialist
Medical doctor/life scientist
Security specialist
Pilot?

Will NPCs fill slots we don't take up, or will it just be the three of us?
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Re: Sci-Fi interest check

Postby Calvin » Thu Apr 21, 2016 2:33 pm

Argo wrote:Is it too early to start talking about our characters? I don't know what the setup is going to be like, but if we were sent to set up a colony on a distant world, presumably by some planetary government or coalition, we would probably have team consisting of something like:

The mission commander
Engineering specialist
Medical doctor/life scientist
Security specialist
Pilot?

Yeah, something like that. The PCs will have purchased/received the rights to colonize an area of land on a distant planet from an intergalactic conglomerate known as the Rostec-Aldori Group. The planet itself is habitable, but dangerous, with a long history of lost expeditions and failed colonies. The team would either have some sort of prior connection to each other and jointly purchased colonization rights, or have been hired by the corporation itself.

As for team composition, some form of healer and frontline fighter are always useful, as would a character capable of manufacturing advanced technology (aka crafting magic items). Pilot, probably less so. A NPC pilot will bring the PCs to the planet at the beginning of the game, and though I'm open to the idea of using some sort or hover bike or futuristic dirt bike/ATV for exploration, a dedicated pilot won't be necessary for these forms of transportation and 1st-level characters probably won't be able to afford them. In addition, since exploration is a big part of the first module, having some sort of Ranger or a similar character could be useful.

A few other things to consider:
  • PCs will start at 1st level, with 15-point buy for ability score, 2 free traits, and max HP at 1st level (rolling for additional levels)
  • Ranged weapons will be more common than in standard Pathfinder, but melee weapons could still be viable
  • Bonus languages will likely have little utility, but abilities such as tongues, or items that duplicate that ability, could be.
  • Magic and Psionics will be allowed, though think Mass Effect/Borderlands/Star Wars in terms of flavor. The Sorcerer's Nanite, Protean or Starsoul bloodline, as well as the Oracle's Dark Tapestry, Solar and Heavens (minus Mantle of Moonlight) Mysteries and pretty much any of the Psionic classes could work well.
  • I'll probably completely get rid of alignment-based abilities if I can get away with it.
  • Classes and archetypes outside the conversion guide are allowed, but I'll probably have to take a look at them first. For example, the Alchemist's Chirurgeon (Surgeon) archetype could work well with the setting.

Will NPCs fill slots we don't take up, or will it just be the three of us?

I'll probably have an NPC accompany the party if necessary, though I may rotate them out based on the current objective instead of having one permanent NPC party member.
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Re: Sci-Fi interest check

Postby Herzog » Thu Apr 21, 2016 4:03 pm

ooo Borderlands...i like...

Off the top of my head, I think my truck out my gunslinger....though I'll need to take a look at the conversion guide...
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Re: Sci-Fi interest check

Postby Herzog » Thu Apr 21, 2016 5:20 pm

I guess it would help if i knew what conversion guide is being used....do you have a link or download?
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Re: Sci-Fi interest check

Postby Calvin » Thu Apr 21, 2016 6:18 pm

Herzog wrote:I guess it would help if i knew what conversion guide is being used....do you have a link or download?

I forwarded you the link. There doesn't seem to be many changes to gunslinger though. Gunsmith is replaced with License to Kill, Gun Training with Gun Expert, and Expert Reloading with Bleeding Wound.

License to Kill | Show
At 1st level, a Gunslinger gains a firearm of her choice. She also has the appropriate license necessary to carry her firearm while in the Democracy and Democracy-controlled planets. The chosen weapon is customized and programmed to only work for the Gunslinger; only she can use it properly. All other creatures treat her gun as if it had the broken condition. If the weapon already has the broken condition, it does not work at all for anyone else trying to use it. This starting weapon can only be sold for scrap (it’s worth 4d10 credits when sold). The Gunslinger also gains Gunsmithing as a bonus feat.

Note: Ignore the license part

Gun Expert | Show
Starting at 5th level, whenever a Gunslinger attacks with a firearm, she gains a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls. Every four levels thereafter (9th, 13th, and 17th), a Gunslinger’s expertise improves, granting her an additional +1 bonus. For example, when a Gunslinger reaches 9th level, she receives a +2 bonus on attack and damage rolls with firearms. Bonuses granted from similar class features (such as a Soldier’s weapon training) stack.
A Gunslinger also adds this bonus to any combat maneuver checks made with firearms. This bonus also applies to the Gunslinger’s Combat Maneuver Defense when defending against disarm and sunder attempts made against firearms.

Bleeding Wound | Show
At 11th level, when the Gunslinger hits a living creature with a firearm attack, she can spend 1 grit point as a free action to have that attack deal extra bleed damage. The amount of bleed damage is equal to the Gunslinger’s Dexterity modifier. Alternatively, the Gunslinger can spend 2 grit points to deal 1 point of Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution bleed damage (Gunslinger’s choice) instead. Creatures that are immune to sneak attacks are also immune to these types of bleed damage.
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Re: Sci-Fi interest check

Postby Argo » Fri Apr 22, 2016 10:44 am

All of that sounds great, Calvin.

I think I would prefer the scenario of the characters working for a corporation rather than having jointly purchased colonization rights, as each one has a very different feel and would necessitate different character motivations, but we can discuss that down the line as well.

Does that mean you'd want to be the security specialist, Herzog? Should we nominate PMiller as our mission commander? :P

Let us know when you're ready for a forum, Calvin. :)
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Re: Sci-Fi interest check

Postby Herzog » Fri Apr 22, 2016 4:54 pm

Sure on the security specialist....or we can look at the Mysterious Stranger gunslinger archetype, and be like the captain of the Serenity.
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Re: Sci-Fi interest check

Postby PMiller » Sat Apr 23, 2016 3:54 pm

I have not looked at character ideas yet. :p

First, it might help if it is settled on the starting point. A corporate team with backing is much different than a handful of folks that only purchased some colonization rights. Is the expedition interstellar or just planetary since there are multiple expeditions. Is the feel supposed to be more Space Opera?

From what I know of Kingmaker, a handful of people starting on an empty planet would not work as well, where there are many colonization efforts instead, so our characters are just focused on one section of the planet.
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Re: Sci-Fi interest check

Postby Calvin » Sun Apr 24, 2016 4:45 pm

PMiller wrote:First, it might help if it is settled on the starting point. A corporate team with backing is much different than a handful of folks that only purchased some colonization rights.

Subcontractor is probably the most accurate description of the arrangement. The planet is very remote, and Rostec-Aldori is not willing to spend the time/resources to develop it, so they decided to farm out the job. The primary difference would be whether the team was handpicked by the corporation or whether they bid for the rights. There will be some difference in the relationship between the party and the corporation, but even if the party purchased colonization rights, Rostec-Aldori will still retain a considerable degree of control over the planet's resource rights, and even if they were sent by the corporation, they will still be expected to operate fairly autonomously.

Is the expedition interstellar or just planetary since there are multiple expeditions. Is the feel supposed to be more Space Opera?

It'll probably be closer to Science Fantasy or Planetary Romance. The expedition itself will be interstellar, with the initial encounter taking place aboard a starship, but after that the game will be centred around a single planet. It'll probably be closest to Borderlands in terms of setting (with a bit less of a post-apocalyptic vibe), since that was the starting point for the discussion in the breakroom thread that initially sparked the idea. Fertile but isolated planet with dangerous wildlife, lost alien technology, and the main exposure the wider universe being the machinations of mega-corporations (namely the Rostec-Aldori Group and the Pitax Corporation).

From what I know of Kingmaker, a handful of people starting on an empty planet would not work as well, where there are many colonization efforts instead, so our characters are just focused on one section of the planet.

Correct. Like in the original Kingmaker AP, the PCs' party will be one of four groups sent to the planet by Rostec-Aldori, and they will be joined two other colonies as well as a group of mercenaries on an unspecified mission. Rostec-Aldori controls the rights to the entire planet, but parcels it off in order to: a) make the task more manageable and affordable for colonists who do not have the full resources of an intergalactic corporation, and b) prevent any one colony from growing strong enough to challenge the corporation's authority.

In addition, the remnants of other attempts to colonize or explore the planet may still be present.
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Re: Sci-Fi interest check

Postby PMiller » Mon Apr 25, 2016 5:39 am

Okay, I think I am grokking it. Initially we are more like explorers and need to find a place to establish a colony for follow-on people.

I am not still not sure what to make yet, because much would depend on the party role to try filling.

I get why Herzog is looking at gunslinger, but not sure what role that fills in a small exploration party where everyone will be toting firearms. Gonna be sheriff, Herz? :mrgreen:

Anyway, I talked with LMiller and he is interested in joining (which means the game has to stay PG-13). Initially he is thinking he could play a medic... but that could prove harder than he thinks.
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Re: Sci-Fi interest check

Postby Argo » Mon Apr 25, 2016 9:18 am

It strikes me that the dissonance we're experiencing might be between the Santiago rules and the vision of the PCs being subcontractors from the Rostec-Aldori corporation. Santiago is a story about bounty hunters, ultimately, so the character archetypes are scoundrely sorts. A gunslinger fits right into that setting, but not necessarily as being part of a exploration team.

It strikes me that a corporation would choose some characters to fill specific roles, or ensure that the group they hired had the people who could do the job.

Since this is an alien planet, I imagine you'd need a xenobiologist in addition to a medic, or maybe they are the same person. Is the food/water safe? Is that native species' bite toxic? How can we control that native plant that grows invasively around structures and could cause trouble with a more permanent colony. How can we cut into this super-hard rock? You'd also need an engineer/mechanic, in case your equipment breaks in the field. It's not like you can just go to the store if you need something or get an immediate re-supply from Rostec-Aldori.

In terms of combat skills, everyone would need to be in good shape and be fit for the field, and everyone would need to be competent in combat. A sniper would be super-useful; you'd have a lot of times you'd want someone watching your back from a distance, and snipers in a modern/future setting can do that in a way that archers in a fantasy setting cannot. You'd also want a sneaky type with good observational skills who can scout around, and you'd want that person and the sniper to be two different people. Maybe a heavy weapons specialist, and someone who can make and plant bombs - maybe the scout could be a demolition specialist, so that person could sneak up, plant bombs, and sneak back.

I wonder how we can resolve this? I poked around, and there is a Modern conversion of the Pathfinder rules:

http://www.d20modernpf.com/

It looks like there is basically one class, which is very modular to allow you to customize it how you want:

(From the intro)

The following are class features of the Modern Hero. Each Modern Hero is unique and custom-made. This base class is the foundation and like transparency layers, Difficulties and Archetypes are added to fill the hero with depth and richness. The possible combinations are vast and the player is sure to find just the right build to fit nearly any character concept.


Modern can be adapted pretty easily to a futuristic setting, usually just by changing the names of things but keeping the mechanics. Anyway, I just wanted to throw that out there as another option that we could look into, if it would help with figuring out our character roles.
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Re: Sci-Fi interest check

Postby Calvin » Tue Apr 26, 2016 2:27 pm

PMiller wrote:Okay, I think I am grokking it. Initially we are more like explorers and need to find a place to establish a colony for follow-on people.

Pretty much, the first task would be for the party to survey their section of the planet, though it will soon become clear that their are a few 'issues' (which Rostec-Aldori neglected to mention) that need to be resolved before the area is safe for colonization.

Anyway, I talked with LMiller and he is interested in joining (which means the game has to stay PG-13). Initially he is thinking he could play a medic... but that could prove harder than he thinks.

PG-13 should be fine for what I have planned - I don’t have anything in mind that would be worse than what’s in the original Kingmaker modules. The worst would probably be my twist on my version of the Stag Lord’s backstory, but most of that will be implied instead of graphically depicted. I can provide more information if necessary.

Argo wrote:It strikes me that the dissonance we're experiencing might be between the Santiago rules and the vision of the PCs being subcontractors from the Rostec-Aldori corporation. Santiago is a story about bounty hunters, ultimately, so the character archetypes are scoundrely sorts. A gunslinger fits right into that setting, but not necessarily as being part of a exploration team.

Rostec-Aldori wouldn't be above hiring subcontractors who are a bit 'shady', though, of course, the PCs don't have to be, and it is a good idea to think about what kind of roles the PCs will take up once the colony is up and running. I’m open to tweaking existing archetypes or looking at new rulesets if the current system is inadequate.

Since this is an alien planet, I imagine you'd need a xenobiologist in addition to a medic, or maybe they are the same person. Is the food/water safe? Is that native species' bite toxic? How can we control that native plant that grows invasively around structures and could cause trouble with a more permanent colony. How can we cut into this super-hard rock? You'd also need an engineer/mechanic, in case your equipment breaks in the field. It's not like you can just go to the store if you need something or get an immediate re-supply from Rostec-Aldori.

The PCs will have a method of re-supply, but it’ll take at least a day to get anything specific, so it’s definitely a good idea if the party can handle field repairs and the like on their own. Gunslingers get Gunsmithing as a bonus feat and Craft as a class skill, so that class could fill the role of armorer/weapons expert. The only problem would be the inability to craft weapons and armor with an enchantment bonus, since the PF version of the creation feat is restricted to spellcasters, but since the 'enchantment' will be technological in nature (such as smart pistols and military-grade laser rifles with advanced targeting systems) instead of magical, it might make sense to substitute the caster level requirement with a skill rank requirement, possibly knowledge (engineering), which the Gunslinger does have as a class skill.

In terms of combat skills, everyone would need to be in good shape and be fit for the field, and everyone would need to be competent in combat. A sniper would be super-useful; you'd have a lot of times you'd want someone watching your back from a distance, and snipers in a modern/future setting can do that in a way that archers in a fantasy setting cannot. You'd also want a sneaky type with good observational skills who can scout around, and you'd want that person and the sniper to be two different people. Maybe a heavy weapons specialist, and someone who can make and plant bombs - maybe the scout could be a demolition specialist, so that person could sneak up, plant bombs, and sneak back.

All of these could definitely add some interesting combat options. The Demolitions Expert archetype for the Engineer or the Alchemist’s Alchemical Sapper archetype are probably the most obvious options for the demolition specialist, but neither have Stealth as a class skills and the Engineer also lacks Survival, so they wouldn’t make very good scouts. They do, however, have crafting abilities, and the Engineer in particular could fill that role effectively instead.

An unconventional option would be to remove the racial requirement from the Alchemist’s Saboteur archetype (which is normally restricted to Gnomes), which has bomb-making and stealth abilities, as well as Survival as a class skill. If the primary use of the bombs would be as mines instead of to demolish structures, the Ranger’s Trapper archetype could work too if some of the flavour for the traps are changed and a grenade launcher is allowed as a method for launching traps.

For the sniper, the Fighter’s Crossbowman archetype has abilities that could mesh well with the overwatch combat maneuver in the conversion guide, especially with the targeted overwatch feat. Provided “crossbow” was swapped for “rifle”, it could make for an interesting sniper.

Another possibility would be to combine the scout and sniper roles in one character (like the USMC does), since the smaller small team size may not allow for that degree of specialization. The Ranger’s Guide archetype could work well as a Scout Sniper, with the Archery Combat Style being replaced with firearms. A couple of the feats (like Crossbow Mastery) may have to be swapped out, but most should still work.

I wonder how we can resolve this? I poked around, and there is a Modern conversion of the Pathfinder rules:

http://www.d20modernpf.com/

[...]

Modern can be adapted pretty easily to a futuristic setting, usually just by changing the names of things but keeping the mechanics. Anyway, I just wanted to throw that out there as another option that we could look into, if it would help with figuring out our character roles.

Some of the mechanics there are quite interesting. I really like the “Kick” added to certain firearms, it could be an interesting replacement for composite longbows, and prevent Strength just being a dump stat for most characters in ranged weapon heavy setting. However, I’m less keen on the idea of modern/futuristic firearms still having a 5% chance of misfire.

The way in which they handle firearm attacks is a bit odd too. The weapons page mentions that firearms resolve their attacks against touch AC when the target is within the first five range increments, but the armor page states that armor can provide a defence bonus to touch AC against firearm attacks, which seems like it sort of defeats the purpose. Personally, I prefer having firearms act as normal ranged weapons (not using touch AC) in a modern/futuristic setting that doesn’t mix firearms with medieval armor like regular PF. The alternative would turn large creatures into either pushovers or bullet sponges, neither of which would be very fun.
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Re: Sci-Fi interest check

Postby Argo » Wed Apr 27, 2016 8:39 pm

Wow, lots of good ideas, Calvin.

Ultimately, I'm all for what works best. I didn't read through thoroughly enough to realize about the 5% misfire chance on that Modern PF conversion, or the other weirdness with touch AC and such. Good catch. :)

It sounds like if we have some flexibility, we can make Santiago work for our group. And it's not like any of the ideas I threw out there are what we have to follow. I'm sure we could make anything work, really, so if someone wants to make a concept that is different, it could be fun.

Do you guys want to do something different with the group, like, we're all related/family members/siblings? That way we could have a logical explanation as to why we purchased the rights together. Or should we all be from different family backgrounds?
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Re: Sci-Fi interest check

Postby Herzog » Thu Apr 28, 2016 4:01 am

I think the modern pfsrd is trying to capture d20 modern, where armor provides a defense bonus instead of a Armor class. D20 Modern does not have a thing such as penetration (hitting touch AC).

In regular PF, firearms hit touch AC, either 1st range increment or 1st 5 depending on how advance they are, and their reasoning is that armor does little to stop a bullet from punching through it. Which kinda makes sense. At least for armor in the traditional PF sense. I can't speak much from experience, but I imagine modern day Kevlar might be at least a little bit effective. Perhaps not at close range and high caliber, but most certainly against small arms.

Whatever we decide, just need to make sure some feats and class features still make sense. IE, gunslingers deadeye deed.

I keep thinking that this setting is a bit like a Wild West/Borderlands. Which is why I think the scoundrel type characters would be perfect. I mean, look at the rush west in the 1800s. Sure, there were a lot of honest people trying to settle, but there were also a lot of crooks and unsavory types. Not saying that we should be criminals, but I don't see why shady backgrounds and the skills sets to go with them would be a problem. Especially, if the corp is subcontracting out...

PMiller wrote:I get why Herzog is looking at gunslinger, but not sure what role that fills in a small exploration party where everyone will be toting firearms. Gonna be sheriff, Herz?


More like enforcer/peacekeeper. With survival as a class skill, perhaps a survivalist...
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Re: Sci-Fi interest check

Postby Argo » Thu Apr 28, 2016 1:05 pm

Oh okay, I get it. I was thinking more in terms of Mass Effect. Borderlands does have that wild west-ish feeling.
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