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theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



JcDent posted:

What is MAD?

Also, since you see like a knowledgeble lot, what are Legit Good Modern Game mechanics that Starfinger is ignoring? And what sacred cows remain way past their expiration date?

E: sad that the game has so many flaws, the art looks super lovely. Then again, it's still set in Pathfinder's world-as-prison-for-world-ending-monster setting, right? I hate that.

Multiple Attribute Dependence. Describes classes that need a wide variety of good stats to be useful. Doesn't pop up as an issue unless the same game has classes that specifically don't. So like if wizards can get by on Int alone, while monks need Dex, Con, Str, and Wis, then monks suffer from MAD.

You're probably also looking at stuff like ability scores as a sacred cow that Starfinder could stand to do away with. They don't do anything anymore. They generate a bonus that is used in every situation instead of the stat itself, and so might as well be replaced by the bonus. But you can't do that because players are too used to bragging about having an 18 strength, and would go bugfuck if they had to say they just have a +4.

theironjef fucked around with this message at 05:29 on Oct 2, 2017

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wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




Attribute scores, at least the way Pathfinder still insists on doing them to keep from making baby cry, are a dead horse. When I can get everything I need to know about a character with "technosorcery +6" or "former thane 1W19" and have it be more expressive and better for the story and game, I immediately begin reacting to Dex 17 and 8 ranks in Jump like a vampire does to a strongly presented cross.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




JcDent posted:

Also, what game started the "Richard Dawkins might play our game, best make paladins and clerics gain their power from non-godly sources, guys" trend? I remember Spoony getting frustrated over that when 4e DnD (I think) was introduced...

Please, call him Dick Dorkins.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


wiegieman posted:

Attribute scores, at least the way Pathfinder still insists on doing them to keep from making baby cry, are a dead horse. When I can get everything I need to know about a character with "technosorcery +6" or "former thane 1W19" and have it be more expressive and better for the story and game, I immediately begin reacting to Dex 17 and 8 ranks in Jump like a vampire does to a strongly presented cross.

So... Apocalypse World?

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


There's nothing fundamentally wrong with ability scores, but, yeah, the way Starfinder, Pathfinder and 5E use them is stupid. The scores themselves don't do anything, the straight numbers aren't used for any roll-unders or anything similar, they're only used to generate modifiers. I think a bit of extra maths is probably one of the less offensive things about it, though.

It's more that third edition D&D was full of a lot of terrible design choices, and by and large what Paizo makes either ignores those bad design choices or celebrates them as features rather than bugs.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




JcDent posted:

So... Apocalypse World?

Well, those are Fate (specifically Atomic Robo's weird skills) and HeroQuest used as examples, but *World works too. I think I'm on record as not liking DW as much as other new-style rpgs though, I never feel like I know what Move to use outside of rigidly defined constraints (like combat.)

DNA Cowboys
Feb 22, 2012

BOYS I KNOW


JcDent posted:

Also, what game started the "Richard Dawkins might play our game, best make paladins and clerics gain their power from non-godly sources, guys" trend? I remember Spoony getting frustrated over that when 4e DnD (I think) was introduced...

There was reference to it as far back as the D&D Rules Cyclopedia, which deserves its untouchable status, being one of the first D&D books I read. I don't have the exact wording, but it was along the lines of, "If it makes you uncomfortable to portray religion in your game, turn clerics into philosophers of different factions." The Satanic Panic was powerful stuff.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010

Ask me about mapping out all the best limousine routes in Moscow for you and the little miss ;)

Lipstick Apathy

Leraika posted:

Speaking of, does Jedi solarian fix the monk's biggest problems (ie: MAD as gently caress and being presumably a mobility-focused class that needs to full attack all the time?)

The Solarian is at least a full BAB class, so that's one thing they learned from the original Monk that they've since fixed (and recognizing that the Unchained Monk is also a full BAB class)

They still need at least high Strength for melee attacks, and then their special ability saving throws are based on Charisma.

And even if you didn't really care about those or only used the ones that key off-of attack rolls, you'll start to get into this problem of your Resolve Points being based on Charisma, which means you'll have less compared to a SAD class, or someone like the Soldier, where the primary ability score is the same as their expected-to-be-highest ability score.

It's worth noting that Starfinder modifiers full attacks (again, apologies to ARB for skipping ahead of their coverage). A Full Attack is still a full-round action, but it's always only "make 2 attacks, with both at a -4 penalty".

You can start doing this at level 1, and you never gain any additional attacks (as in iterative attacks) at higher levels. This makes full attacks faster to run and less complicated to execute.

To "compensate", full-attack-type classes are supposed to get a special ability at higher/later levels that makes their full attacks better.

Soldiers, for example, gain the Soldier's Onslaught ability, which turns their full attacks from
"two attacks, with a -4 penalty to both"
into
"three attacks, with a -6 penalty to all three"

Solarians get the Flashing Strikes ability at level 7 which turns their full attacks from
"two attacks, with a -4 penalty to both"
into
"two attacks, with a -3 penalty to both"

and then they later get the Solarian's Onslaught ability at level 13 which turns their full attacks from
"two attacks, with a -3 penalty to both"
into
"three attacks, with a -5 penalty to both"

It's my understanding that Solarians are still as "full attack dependent" to realize their damage potential as Monks (and other fighty classes) are, but they've dropped the Flurry of Blows mechanic so that it's no longer as much of a mess to try and do.

Comrade Gorbash
Jul 12, 2011

My paper soldiers form a wall, five paces thick and twice as tall.


JcDent posted:

"Monks have to be all vaguely spiritual in the Yin-Yang sense, and we're in space, what can we do... oooh, I have an idea?"

Also, what game started the "Richard Dawkins might play our game, best make paladins and clerics gain their power from non-godly sources, guys" trend? I remember Spoony getting frustrated over that when 4e DnD (I think) was introduced...
4E paladins were pretty explicitly holy warriors and their powers were god granted, so that doesn't sound quite right.

What 4E did differently is allow paladins to be of any alignment, and to champion any god, right from day one. There was some discussion of them championing whole pantheons as well.

There was a similar note to the D&D Cyclopedia one about philosophical paladins or paladins of non-deities, but that had mostly to do with Dark Sun, where one of the setting conceits is that there are no gods/the gods are dead. Even that was a semi-optional rule, a way to justify Divine power source classes if you didn't want to ban them as the setting defaulted to.

Eberron, where the gods are distant and uninvolved, had a bit of it as well. But even in Eberron the power is explicitly divine - it's more that the gods aren't persons you could actually meet in the sense of Greek or Norse deities like in most D&D settings.

There wasn't a whole lot of rule support for it other than declaring it possible if you thought it was a cool concept, and it was brought in with pre-4E settings.

Comrade Koba
Jul 2, 2007



DNA Cowboys posted:

I don't have the exact wording, but it was along the lines of, "If it makes you uncomfortable to portray religion in your game, turn clerics into philosophers of different factions."

Turn/rebuke existentialist is really OP.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




My main objection to the passage was simply "these things aren't opposites—they're part of a cyclical duality." Like, gently caress, what do words mean? It's seriously bottom tier mystical-sounding pablum, even for Pathfinder's little brother.

I really don't give a poo poo if someone wants to put a sorta-Jedi rip-off in their Space!rip-off D&D game. Just, loving do better with your picked-over ~Eastern philosophy~ than "*huge inhale, squinty-eyed* opposites can't exist on a spectrum I guess!?"

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Starfinger Core Rules Part #07: "But, why do you want to become a wizard and devote years of your life to learning a light spell when you can just buy a flashlight?"
(James Sutter, Starfinger Creative Director, Game Informer interview.)



Technomancer

Oh, like on Babylon 5...? Wait, I already linked that. How about "Once you become a Technomancer, there's no going back." That'll do for my requisite vapid reference.

So these are wizards with a vague technology theme, based on Intelligence. (You can tell they're wizards because they have 1 less SP and HP per level than other classes.) Spellcasting is their chief thing, and like Mystics, they can swap spells as they level up. They get a special device they lets them cast an additional spell per day of any level they can cast, and as they level up, they get Spell Focus, a bonus on Computers and Mysticism rolls, or be able to have the following spells up for 24 hours (but only one at a time): detect radiation, disguise self, keen senses, or unseen servant. Once again like Mystics, they don't have to prepare spells, they can just cast anything they know as long as they have a slot to cast it with. Though we're told that the arcane / divine divide between spell types doesn't exist, but these are pretty clearly modeled after arcane casters.

They also get "Magic Hacks" every 2 levels, such as:
  • Countertech: Expend spell slots to halve damage to you from technological weapons with a successful caster level check.
  • Energize Spell: You can now get an extra spell slot by eating a battery once a day. Yes, this gives you another top-level spell slot, effectively.
  • Harmful Spells: Extra damage to your damaging spells. Cost? There's no cost, you're a wizard!
  • Magic Negation: Spend an RP to negate a spell or magic item for 1d4 rounds... unless the caster level or spell level is greater than yours... and if it's affecting a creature, they get a save.
  • Spell Grenade: Spend an RP to put a spell in a grenade for 1 round, which then affects 1 target in its blast radius of your choice with a touch spell.
  • Diviner's Tap: On a successful Computer check, you can monitor a device's activity for (days = level).
  • Mental Mark: If an enemy fails a will save agains your spell, it takes a penalty to all saving throws for a round... or if you succeed, it takes a miniscule penalty. Yes, this means you can snowball spells at a big foe more easily this way.
  • Spellshot: Cast an area spell through a weapon, so you can snipe people with area effects beyond your normal range.
  • Seeking Shot: I'm just mentioning this because you can spend an RP to ignore total cover. Sorry, sharpshooting Soldiers, Technomancers can snipe what you can't. Oh, there's Phase Shot that ignores all cover and concealment, too...
There are also a number that are like the old metamagic feats, but make you spend RP, so you can put them on your top-level spells now more easily. So, I like the thematic of getting to combine spells with tech - it keeps wizards from just ignoring equipment - but it's kind of funny how hard they lean into just giving Technomancers ways around many of their major limitations. Touch spells? Put them in a grenade. Spell slots? Oh, just drain your ammo instead. Engaged in melee? If you have Flash Teleport, just pop away. Etc. And yeah, they only get up to 6th level spells, but arcane casting is still amazing even if they don't become gods until level 20.

Wizards! Starfinger still loves 'em impiously.



Archetypes

So, you may think, now that the classes are more flexible, there's less of a need for variants. I mean, you have the Operative with its varying Specializations, Soldiers have their Fighting Styles, and each class has a set of abilities it can use to vary its arsenal. Feats are a lot more available than they were before. So there'd be less of a need for class archetypes, alternate classes, or prestige classes, right?

Pfffft. Starfinger knows better. It knows players want the allure of being the special snowflake, of having endless options even if a given choice will only see use in a tiny fraction of the games out there. (Marketing is like that.) So it's time for archetypes, which are variant class features that you can take as soon as their first class feature is available, and replace existing class features to modify your existing class. So if Foozle Fluffer gets its first feature at 3rd level, you can become a Foozle Fluffer at 3rd level. For those familiar with class archetypes from Pathfinder, they're similar to those, but not longer tied to class... which at least is nice in that you don't have to have a specific build to take one, but also have the related issue that they may or may not synergize with your class of choice. You can only have one per class you have, since it modifies a given class you're taking, and you can't double up on the same archetype for multiple classes. Generally speaking, they eat up the varying abilities each class chooses (Mechanic Tricks, Gear Boosts, etc.), though some classes have special considerations and there's a full page of those. We get two Archetypes in this book:

Phrenic Adept

This is the Archetype you take if you want to be a psychic!... but don't want to go full Mystic for whatever reason. You get telepathic chat (or more range if you already have it) and some extra languages. As you level up, you can spend RP to reroll a save against mental effects, reduce the damage and duration of mental effects against you, spend 1 RP to sense mental magic effects and gain blindsense, and then start gaining spells like charm monsters, clairaudience/clairvoyance (couldn't just name it "ESP", could you), and psychokinetic strangulation (like a baby Vader). It's kind of neat but doesn't let you do much overt until you're in mid-levels without dumping feat slots into the Minor Psychic Power feat, and doesn't really synergize with most class abilities - being a half-assed caster is rarely worth it to begin with, and this is more like a... quarter-assed caster. Not nearly enough rear end.

Starfinger Forerunner

You're a member of the Starfinger Society, but we've got over 300 pages before we find out more about them. They're apparently into exploring and fingering all those stars. You don't have to take this to be part of the Starfingers, though, it's only for the more dedicated members. They get a poo poo-ton of tiny bonuses, like getting Culture and Survival as class skills, rerolls with those skills, identifying creatures even if the skill required isn't one they have (it doesn't give you the bonus you need to succeed, only the chance), make Survival checks to get food or endure weather without slowing their overland travel, initiative bonuses, extra information when identifying creatures, never misidentify strange writing (though they can still fail to read it), can always take 20 to identify alien writing, and spend RP to heal their allies' SP by a small amount or take time to automatically repair some HP to a vehicle. Modestly useful stuff if you're the kind of archaeologist archetype, but it's gonna hurt your ability to do anything fighty.

Next: Why learning a profession is just holding you back.

Thuryl
Mar 14, 2007

My postillion has been struck by lightning.


Comrade Gorbash posted:

4E paladins were pretty explicitly holy warriors and their powers were god granted, so that doesn't sound quite right.

What 4E did differently is allow paladins to be of any alignment, and to champion any god, right from day one. There was some discussion of them championing whole pantheons as well.

Also, once a god invests a 4E divine class with power there are no backsies, so paladins aren't at risk of losing their powers if the player and GM disagree on the right thing for a paladin to do. That was a pretty significant difference from previous editions.

8one6
May 20, 2012

When in doubt, err on the side of Awesome!



I could swear someone did a review of Mutant: Year Zero but I'm not seeing it on Inklesspen's archive. Am I misremembering that?

8one6 fucked around with this message at 11:56 on Oct 2, 2017

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



Alien Rope Burn posted:

, never misidentify strange writing (though they can still fail to read it)

"Yep, this writing is definitely strange."

Comrade Gorbash
Jul 12, 2011

My paper soldiers form a wall, five paces thick and twice as tall.


Thuryl posted:

Also, once a god invests a 4E divine class with power there are no backsies, so paladins aren't at risk of losing their powers if the player and GM disagree on the right thing for a paladin to do. That was a pretty significant difference from previous editions.
That is a good point and a major change that makes paladins much less disruptive to play. Shame their first shot at the class was so poor mechanically, but thankfully they came back and fixed that.

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





I can't really imagine it'd make paladins any less disruptive. I mean given that almost all of the disruption comes from GMs they're liable to reverse the rule anyways. There is no cure for the reddit Atheist GM loving over the paladin besides not playing with reddit Atheists.

GimpInBlack
Sep 27, 2012

That's right, kids, take lots of drugs, leave the universe behind, and pilot Enlightenment Voltron out into the cosmos to meet Alien Jesus.




Table of Contents Part Six: War! (Good God, Y'all!)
We have met the enemy, and he is us. Unfortunately, on a more literal level, he's also that Viet Cong company embedded on the ridgeline above our firebase, and we need to dig him out.

The basis of most combat actions is the To-Hit number, which is determined by the range to the target Unit. For small-arms, that ranges from To-Hit 2 at <50m, up to To-Hit 5 at 1 km. Heavy weapons can extend that range (and corresponding To-Hit) out to 25 km for artillery, but you pretty much need a poo poo-ton of fire support to hit anything at that range. A couple of things can influence that number, though. For one, if you're targeting an enemy unit based on sound, intelligence data, sheer paranoid gut suspicion, or other non-visual means, that's called Blind Fire and it increases To-Hit by one. On the flip side, if you're caught by surprise or in terrain with no cover, your To-Hit drops by one. (PATROL assumes that, if cover is available, you're making use of it, and factors it into the base To-Hit Difficulty.) Finally, while all small-arms can fire out to 1 km unless otherwise specified, attacks beyond your weapon's effective Range also increase To-Hit by 1.

As we've mentioned before, you don't generally target individual characters with attacks, you target Units, and resolve damage against randomly-chosen members of that Unit. The same poor bastard can get hit multiple times by a single attack, if the dice are unkind. If for some reason some members of a Unit have a higher To-Hit, you use the lowest To-Hit of the Unit and exclude the ones with a higher number. Oh, and crossfire is a thing--if your line of fire crosses within 10m of a Unit other than the target, that Unit can be random targets of your attack too. This is why you don't lay an ambush on opposite sides of a road, children.

We've mentioned Suppression in a couple of updates now, but here we can finally define it. A Suppression value is applied to a whole Unit, and it's generated to different degrees by various kinds of attacks. Each point of Suppression is -1 to Proficiency and to Speed. Moreover, if your Unit's Suppression + your Doubt exceeds the number of people in your Unit + 3, you're Pinned Down. That means you can't take any regular actions except to Evade, Flee, or Crawl.

Small-Arms Combat
Small-Arms' bread and butter are the Suppressive Fire and Precision Fire Actions. Suppressive Fire, unsurprisingly, primarily focuses on putting Suppression on enemy Units: one per Success that matches or exceeds the To-Hit number. For every multiple of the To-Hit you roll in successes, you also score a single Hit on one random target. Suppressive fire in a close-range ambush can absolutely chew through enemy infantry, but the damage on those Hits is low enough that they're unlikely to kill anyone. Failures on Suppressive Fire use up ammo--which leads to the admittedly odd-seeming edge case where you might hit 5-6 enemies and not actually use any ammo. But hey, ammo is abstract, so don't worry about it.


Remember Defensive Positions? You should.

Precision Fire, on the other hand, only ever inflicts 1 Suppression and 1 Hit, but that hit inflicts more damage based on excess successes. It also only uses a single ammo--but, after a successful attack, you can attack again--mark another ammo, discard any Failures you've rolled so far, and increase To-Hit by 1. You can keep going until you miss, run out of ammo, or FUBAR.

Even Precision Fire hits a random target, so if you want to specifically take out that machine gunner or officer, you'll need to Take Aim.It's a minor Action with a Difficulty equal to your Suppression, and every success lets you choose from a list of options: hit a specific target, reduce the target's Injury Reduction (e.g. from a Defensive Position) by 1, or get +3 on the attack. I assume this should be read as "successes matching or exceeding the Difficulty," but it doesn't say that--nor does it say if you can pick the same option more than once. The biggest downside to this is that if you fail the Take Aim action, you lose your regular Action this turn.

But maybe precision isn't your bag. Maybe you prefer to Throw Grenade(s). Every Success matching or exceeding To-Hit with a grenade is a hit on the target Unit--but every failure is a collateral hit on a different Unit within Close range. (You can ignore failures if you successfully lob a grenade into a structure or a defensive position, because then the walls contain the blast). FUBAR? Yeah, you dropped it at your own feet. (Or maybe an on-the-ball enemy tossed it back). You can always dive on it and take double damage to spare your buddies. Even though the action is called Throw Grenade, it's still what you roll for grenade launchers or RPGs--the weapon itself determines the maximum Range, while the grenade itself determines the effects of a Hit. Throw Grenade is a special action, in that you can do it as a Minor or a Regular action--so you can throw two grenades per turn, move and throw, throw and shoot, etc.

There are also special actions for Executing prisoners and Assassinating unsuspecting targets--weirdly, Assassination requires a melee or silenced firearm--seems to me you can assassinate someone just fine with an unsilenced weapon, it's just that you won't stay hidden after that.

Your choice of weapons has a lot of impact on your combat actions--different guns are capable of different attack actions and have different modifiers. Your basic assault rifle (whether the M16A1, AK-47, or, God help you, the original model M16 that jammed all the drat time) is a Medium-range weapon that can make Suppressive or Precision Fire with a +3 to each. Meanwhile, Dutch's shotgun is only capable of Suppressive Fire, but gets +5 attack and +1 damage at Close range. It also ignores the jam result of a FUBAR attack roll, but reloading it is a Regular action. And as for Vasquez's heavy machine gun? It's Suppressive only, with a whopping +6 to attack. It also inflicts +2 Suppression and +2 damage, and it has 1 Armor Penetration (2 at Close Range). We'll cover AP in the Vehicles update, but this gun is a beast. The flip side is that it's heavy as gently caress, has to be assembled before use, and it uses Heavy Ammo, which weighs twice as much as regular Ammo.

Melee Combat
If you close to within melee range with an enemy Unit, everybody in both Units pairs off and rolls opposed Fortitude checks. Whoever gets the most successes wins, and depending on your initial intent the loser either takes damage, is stunned for a Turn, or flees. However, for every Failure, you take an Injury, and no matter what everyone involved ticks Exhaustion. TL; DR you have a rifle for a reason, use it.

Heavy Weapons
Direct-fire heavy weapons, including flamethrowers, tank cannons, recoilless rifles, etc. use the Blast action. It's a lot like Throw Grenade, except you only risk collateral damage on a FUBAR and it's always a Regular action. The type of shell fired dictates the effects of the Hit, while the weapon used determines the size of the shell and thus the magnitude of the effect. It's a neat little system--individual munitions' effects are described with X or Y (e.g. X Damage on all units within Y), while a small Size chart gives you the numbers to plug in. For playability, the game assumes that any kind of weapon can fire any kind of shell, but if you're historically minded you can limit that. (My personal favorite heavy munition is the Leaflet Shell, which just dumps a ton of propaganda on the targeted unit.)

Artillery
Indirect-fire weapons use the Bombard action, and it is immensely satisfying. (Technically, most of the time it'll be an NPC rolling the Bombard, but it's good form to let the player who called in the strike roll.) Every range band includes a Deviation, ranging from 25m at Medium range up to 500m at 25km Maximum range. Every success meeting or exceeding To-Hit on the Bombard is a Hit on every Unit within Scatter distance. What's Scatter distance, you ask? Well, it's Deviation x number of Failures on the Bombard action--careless artillery can easily lay waste to huge swathes of jungle. Also, without a spotter, indirect fire is almost certainly Blind Fire, which increases the To-Hit by 1. Also, for every assistant the gunner has, you can consume 1 more shell to fire again, using all the dice that didn't roll successes or failures before. You can keep going until you run out of dice, ammo, or assistants--but the end result is that an artillery barrage is a literal clatter of dice after dice after dice hitting the table.

Spotters use the Spot Target action, which, if successful, allows the gunner making a Bombard action to treat your sight as their own--I'm not sure if this means calculating To-Hit or just for Blind Fire purposes. Additional successes negate failures on the Bombard action, keeping the Scatter distance down.

All of these combat actions have made me realize something, though--unless I'm missing it somewhere, there aren't any rules for what happens if you just plain don't roll enough successes to meet the To-Hit. I guess you can assume that the attack goes off in some random direction with no effect, but for a game that's been so meticulous about unintended consequences so far, it seems odd to not deal with stray bullets or errant artillery fire.



All of that is for one gun. A typical, average-sized US Firebase had six of these.

Armour
Armour hasn't really come into its own yet in the Vietnam War, but protective equipment like flak vests sometimes gives you an Armour Save. Basically, roll 1 die for every Injury you take--every die that comes up equal or higher than the Armour Save value negates one Injury.

Casualties
Infantrymen are remarkably fragile--5+ Injury kills them dead. In the event that you get injured and don't immediately die, you have to make a Shock Check. The Shock Check is a Fortitude check with a difficulty equal to your Injury--if you pass, you don't pass... out, that is. Failures, however, inflict Ongoing damage as you start to bleed out. Hopefully one of your buddies can patch you up with a Treat Injury action, which can either either remove 1 Injury or cure ongoing damage. If you're badly hurt, though, your buddies might be better off trying to Stem the Bleeding until the Medic can get to you--and even he might need to set you up with a Transfusion to keep you alive while he patches you up. (IOW, the difficulty of Treat Injury is your total Injury rating, while Stem Bleeding and Transfusion are Difficulty 1. Transfusion does a way better job dealing with Ongoing Damage, but requires specialized gear and either a compatible donor or blood plasma.)


A wise soldier keeps his squad's Medic well stocked with booze and smokes.

But suppose all that's not enough and you're still KIA in the field. The good news is, your replacement character receives all the XP your previous character had accrued, including what they would have gotten for the mission they died on. If your buddies bring your body home, you get +5 bonus XP--if all they can recover are your dog tags, you get +3 XP instead. If your character leaves play as a defector, deserter, or POW/MIA, you get differing amounts of XP, ranging from "none whatsoever" to "just what you would have gotten for your last mission."



Next Time: Guns and Ships - Vehicles. Yes, I know, it's not a Vietnam War song, but I can't think of anything more appropriate right now.

GimpInBlack fucked around with this message at 14:37 on Oct 9, 2017

Comrade Gorbash
Jul 12, 2011

My paper soldiers form a wall, five paces thick and twice as tall.


Terrible Opinions posted:

I can't really imagine it'd make paladins any less disruptive. I mean given that almost all of the disruption comes from GMs they're liable to reverse the rule anyways. There is no cure for the reddit Atheist GM loving over the paladin besides not playing with reddit Atheists.
The bit I bolded is the reason I disagree.

The problem historically with paladins is the game outright told players and DMs to act a specific way. One that made the game less fun for everyone involved. It's an especially big land mine for new players, who would read the advice and quite reasonably assume that's how it should work. Time and again I've seen perfectly reasonable people get twisted up in knots over it because that's what the book said to do. It's not an unreasonable stance to think that if a game suggests - or in the case of paladins, mandates - a specific playstyle, that's the appropriate way to go about things.

There are certainly plenty of toxic DMs who use the paladin rules as a fig leaf for assholery, but that's far from the majority of paladin horror stories. And even in their case, taking away the official sanction can't hurt. Also, a lot of lovely DMs got to be lovely because they played with lovely groups and think that's how it's supposed to work. You can't do anything about existing grognards, but at least you can remove a rule that helps create more.

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





I think you and I have had very different experiences without paladins/codes of conduct in game in general.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010

Ask me about mapping out all the best limousine routes in Moscow for you and the little miss ;)

Lipstick Apathy

Terrible Opinions posted:

I can't really imagine it'd make paladins any less disruptive. I mean given that almost all of the disruption comes from GMs they're liable to reverse the rule anyways. There is no cure for the reddit Atheist GM loving over the paladin besides not playing with reddit Atheists.

While it's true that a dick GM will always be a dick GM regardless of how the rules try to prevent them from being one, the watchout here is that if the game no longer tells you that the Paladin will "fall from grace" or whatever the gently caress if they're not absolutely playing by Lawful Good rules all the time, then you're preventing non-dick GMs from enforcing bad and disruptive rules simply because they want to follow the rules and don't know better enough to override it.

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





I've just never seen it be a problem outside of GMs that would also force players to kill themselves every other session in L5R, randomly deduct glory in Pendragon, or otherwise gently caress with players for daring to have any sort of ethical code supported by mechanics.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


My GM in high school who loved Paladins always just made it about going around being nice to people and willing to stand up to evil. No big, complex code full of traps, just 'You need to act with compassion in all things'. Same guy who did the game where we got to go around negotiating peace treaties and ending wars and stuff.

Also where I got to play my (awful, but wonderful) Paladin/Truenamer as the first prophet of a totally new storm god who saved his village from drought in return for Micheal becoming his first prophet (so that he could get enough followers to survive). So I got to go around writing my own Paladin code for future knights and knighting other people and having apostles while hashing out our philosophy with my god. That game was great. :3:

I dodged so many goddamn bullets on the Paladin front.

ArkInBlack
Mar 22, 2013


Terrible Opinions posted:

I've just never seen it be a problem outside of GMs that would also force players to kill themselves every other session in L5R, randomly deduct glory in Pendragon, or otherwise gently caress with players for daring to have any sort of ethical code supported by mechanics.

"I haven't seen it/only seen it in X context" doesn't mean the problem doesn't exist, it just means you haven't interacted with it in that context.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010

Ask me about mapping out all the best limousine routes in Moscow for you and the little miss ;)

Lipstick Apathy

The recent Living Steel talk got me looking at Phoenix Command again, and I discovered a section that I never noticed before: Tournament Rules

* There's no prescription on the number of combatants per side, only that each combatant has a "budget" of 58 points

* Each point of Characteristics (Strength, Intelligence, Will, Health, Agility) costs 1 point, and no Characteristic may be lower than 6, so you're really looking at 28 points to play with, since the first 30 are immediately eaten by Characteristic minimums

* All combatants are considered Skill Level 3, and additional skill levels cost 3 points per

* Armor costs a number of points equal to half the Protection Factor (rounded up), so a Medium Flexible Armor with a PF of 6 would cost 3 points.

* Machine guns and grenade launchers cost 6 points
* Automatic rifles and automatic shotguns cost 4 points
* Sub-machineguns, anti-tank weapons, and RPGs cost 3 points
* Non-automatic rifles and shotguns cost 2 points
* Pistols and hand grenades cost 1 point
* One reload of ammo costs 1 point

And then the fights are scored:

* 4 points for leaving the map undisabled, and through the enemy's "deployment area"
* 3 points for killing or incapacitating an opponent
* 1 point for a disabling wound to an opponent
* 0 points for another wound
* -3 for being killed/incapacitated
* -1 for leaving the map disabled
* -2 for leaving the map undisabled, but not through the enemy's "deployment area"

While the barebones-ness of the NATO and Vietnam and SWAT scenarios makes me doubtful that these rules are well-tested, I thought them quite cool because they form a basic framework for playing with Phoenix Command in a "toy" or "wargame" setting, without going through all of the other pomp-and-circumstance of a full-blown RPG.

GimpInBlack
Sep 27, 2012

That's right, kids, take lots of drugs, leave the universe behind, and pilot Enlightenment Voltron out into the cosmos to meet Alien Jesus.


gradenko_2000 posted:

so you're really looking at 28 points to play with, since the first 30 are immediately eaten by Characteristic minimums

This is one of those small things that annoys me out of proportion to its actual significance in RPG design--if your game has universal stat minimums and a point-buy system, just give characters the minimum by default and tell me how many points I actually have to spend.

gradenko_2000 posted:

* Armor costs a number of points equal to half the Protection Factor (rounded up), so a Medium Flexible Armor with a PF of 6 would cost 3 points.

* Machine guns and grenade launchers cost 6 points
* Automatic rifles and automatic shotguns cost 4 points
* Sub-machineguns, anti-tank weapons, and RPGs cost 3 points
* Non-automatic rifles and shotguns cost 2 points
* Pistols and hand grenades cost 1 point
* One reload of ammo costs 1 point

But how much does it cost for a pair of scissors and a two-by-four?

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010

Ask me about mapping out all the best limousine routes in Moscow for you and the little miss ;)

Lipstick Apathy

It takes 50 points to make a completely average character (10s in all five Characteristics), and then you can do something like a pistol (51), an automatic rifle (55), a reload for the rifle (56), and then Light Flexible Armor (58).

That'll get you an M16A2, an extra 30-round magazine, an M1911, and some 4 PF armor for your body.

The Phoenix Command Hand-to-Hand Combat System unfortunately doesn't have points rules for melee weapons, but they actually do have stats for scissors and a two-by-four, allowing you to roleplay Liberal Antifa Crime Squad if you wanted to:



gradenko_2000 fucked around with this message at 14:03 on Oct 2, 2017

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


That Old Tree posted:

I really don't give a poo poo if someone wants to put a sorta-Jedi rip-off in their Space!rip-off D&D game. Just, loving do better with your picked-over ~Eastern philosophy~ than "*huge inhale, squinty-eyed* opposites can't exist on a spectrum I guess!?"

Yeah, there's a reason I quoted it directly, because it's just such nonsensical noodlearm psuedo-philosophy that functionally tells us nothing meaningful. Like, are gravity and light literal mystical forces, then? Why is it a warrior tradition? Is there any ethos beyond saying "Gosh, stars sure are powerful!"

It feels pretty :effort: so far.

Red Metal
Oct 23, 2012

Let me tell you about Homestuck



Fun Shoe

quote:

You understand that these acts of creation and destruction are not opposites, but rather two parts of a natural, dualistic cycle.

DalaranJ
Apr 15, 2008

Yosuke will now die for you.


The Starfinger Society is some sort of adventures guild carry over from Pathfinder, I assume. And not just an aping of Traveler's Aid Society?

Hypnobeard
Sep 15, 2004

Obey the Beard





DalaranJ posted:

The Starfinger Society is some sort of adventures guild carry over from Pathfinder, I assume. And not just an aping of Traveler's Aid Society?

Pretty sure it's the SF counterpart to the Pathfinder Society, which is Paizo's organized play thing for Pathfinder.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:


DalaranJ posted:

The Starfinger Society is some sort of adventures guild carry over from Pathfinder, I assume. And not just an aping of Traveler's Aid Society?

Yeah, the Pathfinder Society is basically an adventurer's guild with the obliquely stated goal of "finding paths to new discoveries". the Starfinder Society is more legitimately a "Seek out new life and new civilizations" thing with the caveat that about 50% of the new life you find will have a treasure table listing.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

TBF, that sort of half-baked "deep" alien philosophy seems entirely in place with the sort of milieu that Starfinder seems to be trying to construct - namely, the cheeseball syndicated TV SF of the 1995-2005 era like Andromeda and Lexx.

Ixjuvin
Aug 8, 2009

if smug was a motorcycle, it just jumped over a fucking canyon

Nap Ghost

Starfinger question - is magic an actual thing in this game universe? Or are you just referring to some abilities derisively as spells because they might as well be.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010

Ask me about mapping out all the best limousine routes in Moscow for you and the little miss ;)

Lipstick Apathy

Pathfinder Society is both the name of Paizo's organized play program, and the name of an in-universe organization that's sort of equal parts generic do-gooder and inquisitive archaeologists.

Most of the organized play scenarios use the Pathfinder Society as a backdrop for getting random parties to go on random adventures all across Golarion. (adventure paths, which are much more plotted, can vary as to what the adventurers canonically are)

Starfinder Society is basically the same thing, but in space.

Ixjuvin posted:

Starfinger question - is magic an actual thing in this game universe? Or are you just referring to some abilities derisively as spells because they might as well be.

Magic is still literally magic in Starfinder, and is separate and distinct from technology, and technology that achieves similar effects.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




FMguru posted:

TBF, that sort of half-baked "deep" alien philosophy seems entirely in place with the sort of milieu that Starfinder seems to be trying to construct - namely, the cheeseball syndicated TV SF of the 1995-2005 era like Andromeda and Lexx.
This makes perfect sense, because I figure the audience for the game is in their 30s and 40s and is nostalgic for this stuff. (I'm also in that age bracket, but I don't share their nostalgia, probably because most of those shows only seemed to be on UPN and other channels that we couldn't get as part of our cable package. poo poo, I barely remember how TV worked before everything went digital.)

Ixjuvin posted:

Starfinger question - is magic an actual thing in this game universe? Or are you just referring to some abilities derisively as spells because they might as well be.
It sounds very much like they're going with the "Magic, but we don't call it that" approach of, for example, old MMOs like Anarchy Online. And like those games, the players are immediately going to start referring to spells as spells, even if they're officially called "nanos" or whatever.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:


Halloween Jack posted:

This makes perfect sense, because I figure the audience for the game is in their 30s and 40s and is nostalgic for this stuff. (I'm also in that age bracket, but I don't share their nostalgia, probably because most of those shows only seemed to be on UPN and other channels that we couldn't get as part of our cable package. poo poo, I barely remember how TV worked before everything went digital.)

It sounds very much like they're going with the "Magic, but we don't call it that" approach of, for example, old MMOs like Anarchy Online. And like those games, the players are immediately going to start referring to spells as spells, even if they're officially called "nanos" or whatever.

No they quite explicitly call it magic, particularly once they get into magic Items, and how magic weapons/armor work.

Tuxedo Catfish
Mar 17, 2007

You've got guts! Come to my village, I'll buy you lunch.


Comrade Koba posted:

Turn/rebuke existentialist is really OP.

The one and only thing that has ever tempted me to play D&D 5E is that there's a paragon path (?) that's basically a Paladin of Communism.

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.

Tuxedo Catfish posted:

The one and only thing that has ever tempted me to play D&D 5E is that there's a paragon path (?) that's basically a Paladin of Communism.

That, sadly, was a homebrew. But a great homebrew. https://dnd-5e-homebrew.tumblr.com/post/136812581995/oath-of-the-common-man-paladin-by

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Precambrian
Apr 30, 2008



Terrible Opinions posted:

I've just never seen it be a problem outside of GMs that would also force players to kill themselves every other session in L5R, randomly deduct glory in Pendragon, or otherwise gently caress with players for daring to have any sort of ethical code supported by mechanics.

The problems isn't just "assholes gonna rear end in a top hat," it's that nice-but-inexperienced DMs think that you have to force Paladins into behavioral boxes or they lose their powers, because that's how the class is balanced. Or simply because "that's how the game is." It's an issue because of uneven writing--the Wizard doesn't have to uphold academic standards and IRB approval in order to research a new spell, but the book explicitly says that Paladins must be X, Y, and Z, and so players and DMs trust the game writers and do what they're told to do. This ends up accidentally creating a situation where the DM is particularly antagonistic to one player, or the Paladin player becomes antagonistic to the rest of the group, which is less fun for the whole group without any individual wanting to be a dick.

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