Okay, I'm jumping in on the discussion a bit late (hopefully not too late), but here's a quick rundown of what I'd like to see in the B5 Companion.
- Alternate Hit Points. I think going to a model of Constitution + Class Bonus at 1st level, with Class Bonus added every level thereafter sounds about right. It gives Constitution *some* role in determining hit points, at the very least. Doing a quick comparison using characters from the core book and the first two suppliments...hmm...gives roughly +6 hit points or so on the average, though a few are less (+1 or +2) and a very few more (+12 or so). Okay, a PPG hit will still kill a normal (Constitution 10) being on a slightlly above-average roll (or a near-maximum damage roll against a Narn...) so this isn't out of line.
- Critical hits like out of d20 Modern -- MDT should be equal to Constitution, DC 15 Fort. save to avoid being reduced to -1 hit points and dying. High-level characters (e.g. Garabaldi) can still be dropped by a single shot. Checks with the show's "reality."
- Clarification of rules regarding the SRD material not in the core book. Not to re-ignite any flames, but we should at least have things updated to be 3.5 compatible if this information isn't going to be in the companion (I vote yay).
- Add some feats from d20 Modern, specifically the hand-to-hand combat feats. Ditch the feat Improved Unarmed Strike, and go with the following feat trees:
* Brawl (Improved Brawl, Knockout Punch, Improved Knockout Punch)
* Combat Martial Arts (Improved Combat Martial Arts, Advanced Combat Martial Arts)
* Defensive Martial Arts (Combat Throw, Improved Combat Throw, Elusive Target, Unbalance Opponent)
Many of the skill bonus feats (Builder, Confident, Creative, Deceptive, Educated, Gearhead, etc.) are also appropriate, and should be included. If the MDT option above is included, the Improved Damage Threshold feat is a must!
- Rename the Lurker & Worker classes. Please! I see the Lurker as more of a Jack-of-all-Trades type class than a criminal. I would say 'Rogue' or 'Scoundrel' for class names -- they've pretty much been taken, but they seem to fit the bill pretty well. Seems to fit with the "...hustlers, entrepeneurs, and wanderers..." line from the Season 1 intro, at any rate.
The Worker...eh...pretty much bites. I would say a "Citizen" class could cover the majority of most normal folks, with an "Expert" class for the more technical (but non-scientist) professions.
- Most of the classes seem...well...pretty thin as far as abilites go. Skill poins aren't terribly high, and the lack of class abilities at a consistent rate is kind of off-putting. I would suggest a few more bonus feats/abilities spread out among the different classes (or an option for such). Let's face it -- the combat ain't what gets things done in B5; it's skills and abilities. A few quick suggestions...
* Agent: Add a couple of more sneak attack dice somewhere along the progression (maybe changing it to 2nd, 6th, 10th, 14th, and 18th), a couple of more skill mastery abilities (go to 3rd, 6th, 9th, 12th, 15th, and 18th) and bonus feats at 4th, 8th, and 16th levels.
* Diplomat: Seems about right as is. Maybe a bonus feat at 3rd.
* To Be Renamed Lurker: Seems about right; maybe add a +1d6 sneak attack at 5th, a +2d6 sneak at 10th, and a +3d6 at 15th.
* Officer: Add bonus feats at 2nd, 6th, 10th, 14th, and 18th levels; Start Way of Command at 4th with a +1 bonus, increasing to +2 at 8th, +3 at 12th, +4 at 16th, and +5 at 20th; Make Branch Elite an 11th level ability.
* Scientist: Make Use Alien Artefact a 2nd level ability and give bonus feats at 3rd, 6th, 9th, 12th, 15th, and 18th levels.
* Soldier: Make Covering Fire a 2nd level ability, give bonus feats at 3rd & every 3 levels thereafter, make To The Limit a 6th level ability and give increases at 12th & 18th.
* Telepath: Fine as is.
* To Be Renamed Worker: Maybe bonus Skill Focus feats at 3rd & every 3 thereafter and a Salary Increase at 4th & every 4 thereafter with a cumulative +1 bonus to Profession checks.
Okay, these are pretty extreme examples in comparison to what's in the core book now, but I don't think they are horribly abusive. If characters (PC or NPC) are meant to be fragile or less reliant on special abilities, keep them low-level. Still, this should simply be an option (nothing more) for a "highly competent characters" game.
- The idea of 2 Background skills at +2 each and a background/racial feat are simply brilliant. I say include them!
Okay, that's about all my sleep-addled brain can come up with for now. I'll probably have more to add later.
Be seeing you!