The Babylon 5 Companion

Discuss Mongoose RPGs here, such as the OGL rulebooks, Jeremiah, Armageddon 2089 and Macho Women with Guns
KDLadage
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Postby KDLadage » Thu Aug 28, 2003 8:06 pm

Purkle-chan wrote:I've avoided posting this, untill now, as it always seems that the whole issue of what should have been in the main book, but wasn't, could easilly turn into a flame war.
That is certainly not my intent, and if I am encouraging anything of the sort, please accept my most sincere appologies.
Purkle-chan wrote:Yes there is stuff missing that could have been printed in the B5 book, but Mongoose made the decision not to. One that they've made with the other settings they've put out. Which are all, as far as I'm aware, called RPG's, rather than 'settings books'. I, personally, have no problem with how the products are advertised.
I am simply suggesting that the other 40-odd pages be included in the Companion volume, or better yet, in a small 32 or 48 page staple-bound volume and then included in subsequent printings of the B5RPG.

If that was not clear, I am sorry.
Purkle-chan wrote:That said, B5 was developed using 3.0 rules. It was just unfortunate that some of what it refrences was altered/whatever from 3.5. I don't see this as that much of a problem. Yes, they're no longer printing that version of the phb, but they're not printing the second ed stuff anymore either, and you can usually pick that up from ebay and the likes.
Again, not trying to start an argument, but: is there a reason this material could not be included in...

_____(a) the companion volume
_____(b) a small staple-bound softcover (like the format of a 32- or 48-page adventure) and sold as a companion as well
_____(c) in subsequent printings of the B5RPG
_____(d) BOTH B and C? << my choice
Purkle-chan wrote:But I'm sure you'll make yet another statement about how Mongoose should just have gone ahead and printed the stuff anyway. Which would just lead to most D20 products doing the same, and ending up with both redundancy and eventually errors in some products because they've copied from a copy from a copy and gotten something wrong.
I will not. I have done so enough, I think (perhaps far too much, and for that I also appologise). I believe that the thought of errors is a red herring (and a straw-man) sine the SRD is available for free download. So... without getting into further details, I will respecfully disagree and drop the issue (with the exception of the question above, should you chose to answer).
Purkle-chan wrote:However, one possible solution to the issue created by the 3.0/3.5 changes would be for Mongoose to include the affected material, and only said material, in something such as this proposed supliment.
They could. But I would personally like to see the B & C option above: a small 48-page book in a small print run for those that do not have the 3.0 PHB; then, follow that up by placing the material directly into subsequent printings of the B5RPG core book. Heck, I'd buy both...
Purkle-chan wrote:Oh, and Cartmag, Kazaa is the spawn of Satan, and there's no need to encourage piracy. Your point about changing rules makes the assumption that people know them to change them, for someone new to the hoby that's going to be difficult.
Could not agree more.
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Postby Elfman » Thu Aug 28, 2003 8:49 pm

Kizarvexis wrote:The money system needs work as mentioned above. The Independantly Wealthly feat IMO, needs to have the credit amounts multiplied by 10 to make them work.
Amen to that!

"Independantly" wealthy means you should be not dependant on a job or other means to get by. At the very least you should be able to afford the lowest form of (non-downbelow) housing on B5, which is about 350 cr. per week. That's over 1000cr. per month, which is more than 10x the allowance given... and that's not taking into account food and other expenses!

That number definitely needs some adjustment. After all, you don't need to use cash as the way to prevent cool/expensive items from getting into the players hands, that's what the black market is for.

my 0.01 credits (based on the JMS exchange rate of 1cr. = $2 US)
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Postby Trigati » Thu Aug 28, 2003 9:45 pm

Eryx wrote:Sure, everyone wants something different. I wouldn't have made the game a D20 product personally as I don't think the system fits a sci-fi setting.
As happy as I am, that there actually is at last a serious release of a RPG based on the B5 background, I am not quite so happy with the choice of game system. This is mainly because of long and satisfying experiences with 'level-less' systems like Runequest, Cthulhu, Traveller, etc. But regarding the market share of the d20 system, there could not be another choice in order to make it not just a fan success but also a commercial success. And this commercial success is necessary. It is the only reason that there will be a Babylon 5 RPG in the stores for the years to come. So far, thats O.K. by me.

(By the way: Mongoose Publishing is really trying to do it right. The guys from Mongoose are IMO eager to get feedback and suggestions from the fans and players of the B5 RPG to make it as good and enjoyable as possible. After lurking for some time on this forum, I have got the impression, that one of the main causes, which made B5 such a great TV series - the active participation of the B5-Fans and their discussions with J.M.S., is also growing regarding the B5 RPG. Thanks to Mongoose for listening to the fans. Let's all make the B5 RPG as great as the TV series!)
KDLadage wrote:... and I feel that the system, if used correctly, should simply melt into the background and be as unobtrusive as possible...
Quite right. It all depends on the kind of stories you want to tell. And as far as some storylines which were discussed here indicate, I dare say that in general the B5 players will get it right - they will recreate the feeling of the series, no matter which set of rules they might use.
KDLadage wrote:[...]
  • I would have included all of the rules that I could legally include. Given that the d20 system can change, evolve and shift without consulting the 3rd party companies... including what was intended to be the flavor of d20 you are going for seems an important step.
No less than full agreement to your point. I would prefer not to be forced to buy a fantasy rules set in order to play my favorite science fiction RPG. The dependency issues regarding the version of that fantasy rules set are valid too. Better to have all in one place - those out there who already have the D&D PHB will find, that things are looked up much quicker than by juggling around with too many rules books.
KDLadage wrote:[...]
  • I would never have included a LURKER class. Lurker is a condition (a social condition), not a class. Most should be stated up as out of work, down on their luck type people... nothing more.
    [...]
  • Rather than Worker and Lurker classes, I would have included a basic Citizen class that, when combined with something like the "starting occupation" and "ability tree" mechanics would allow for virtually any number of variations. Thus, as you wrote racial-books, you can include racially specific "starting occupations" and "ability trees" to customize the classes without introducing new classes...
Also my full agreement. A "citizen" class would to more good than an exaggerated focus on a "lurker" class with rather thin cause of existance as a separate class after watching the series. Yes, some amongst the lurkers on B5 might just have enough outstanding abilities to justify a separate class - but this would be something like "rogue", "smuggler", "con man", whatever.
KDLadage wrote:[...]
  • Using either a BACKGROUND skills mechanic, or something like the "starting occupation" mechanic from d20 Modern, and combining this with the "ability tree" mechanic from d20 Modern, I would have had the classes and characters be a lot more customizable than they are now.
More connection to the d20 Modern mechanics seems a good choice to me. The fantasy oriented D&D 3.0/3.5 rules are not a rules set which fits well with a realistic modern (futuristic moder) setting as B5. d20 Modern presents itself as a more reasonable choice of base mechanics.
KDLadage wrote:[...]
  • [...]CON should have an impact [on Hit Points]
Regarding the other points you made, this one is the easiest to live with, or to solve by making just a small and local change (house rule).
KDLadage wrote:[...]
But that is just me, I am sure.
No, you're not alone. Never alone. :)
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Postby Neo » Thu Aug 28, 2003 11:51 pm

Something I would like to see is something that came up in play today..

Called shots for ship combat (shooting the engine directly, shooting a weapons turret, just aiming for the sensors etc...)

Had fun tonight when the Hyperion was beset upon by a Shadowsouled Sharlin Cruiser.... and the group suddenly found thier vessel in dire straights because they could not attain a lock on the enemy ship due to its Minbari stealth technology LOL

It was like shooting fish in a barrel, the confident approach went out the window and the guys were in full retreat mode just like I wanted :)

Sharlin cruisers... be afraid, be VERY afraid!
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Postby Purkle-chan » Fri Aug 29, 2003 1:24 am

KDLadage wrote:That is certainly not my intent, and if I am encouraging anything of the sort, please accept my most sincere appologies.
I'm sorry if you got the impresion that I was singling you out with my comments, it was just a general feeling about the way this thread has been appearing at times.
KDLadage wrote:Again, not trying to start an argument, but: is there a reason this material could not be included in...

_____(a) the companion volume
_____(b) a small staple-bound softcover (like the format of a 32- or 48-page adventure) and sold as a companion as well
_____(c) in subsequent printings of the B5RPG
_____(d) BOTH B and C? << my choice
There's no reason why these couldn't be used in the future. But taking this to cover the whole Mongoose product range, and not just B5. I think b would be the best choice. Make it as generic as possible, and just have the one book that supports all of their games. Its not just B5 that's affected by the 3.0 to 3.5 change.
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Postby CARTMAG » Fri Aug 29, 2003 3:30 am

I wasnt advocating Piracy.. all i was saying is that if a book is OOP, and there is no way you can get yourself a copy of that book from any store or online or anything like that. then the only way is to download it thats all im saying.

and if you realy care about the copyright then quit bellyaching. and buy yourself a copy of the players guide. to me all you seem to be doing is reidarating the same thing you have stated in 5 other poasts. your whining KD. and two yes 3.5 has been in the works for a while but once B5 was in production 3.0 is all they had to work with. im sorry one is not goning to complete change the way your gona go after the book was in final draft.
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Postby Guest » Fri Aug 29, 2003 12:37 pm

CARTMAG wrote:I wasnt advocating Piracy..
Actually, yes; yes you were. In fact, you out-and-out stated quite clearly that this was an option. No need trying to re-write history now.
CARTMAG wrote:all i was saying is that if a book is OOP, and there is no way you can get yourself a copy of that book from any store or online or anything like that. then the only way is to download it thats all im saying.
Which, by definition, is piracy. There you go again.
CARTMAG wrote:and if you realy care about the copyright then quit bellyaching.
I was not bellyaching, I was pointing out that this may or may not be a problem now, but for the future of this game, it will continue to grow as one unless a interim and perminant solution are achieved relatively quickly.
CARTMAG wrote:and buy yourself a copy of the players guide.
I have the Player's Handbook, thank you. I have the 3.0 version and the 3.5 version. My concerns here are not personal, they are general. You see, I am looking beyond myself, and trying to see what the impact will be on people other than myself. I have several friends that are interested in the B5RPG, but have no interest in Dungeons and Dragons (and thus do not currently own the PHB). Heck, go over to the B5Wars message boards and read a few posts: there are a great many people upset about this. Not just me.
CARTMAG wrote:to me all you seem to be doing is reidarating the same thing you have stated in 5 other poasts.
Then stop reading them.
CARTMAG wrote:your whining KD.
Oh my! Say it isn't so! Lost knows that I value the opinion of copyright pirates so much that this stings to the bone! Oh my! What-ever will I do!?
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Postby KDLadage » Fri Aug 29, 2003 12:39 pm

KDLadage wrote:
CARTMAG wrote:I wasnt advocating Piracy..
Actually, yes; yes you were. In fact, you out-and-out stated quite clearly that this was an option. No need trying to re-write history now.
CARTMAG wrote:all i was saying is that if a book is OOP, and there is no way you can get yourself a copy of that book from any store or online or anything like that. then the only way is to download it thats all im saying.
Which, by definition, is piracy. There you go again.
CARTMAG wrote:and if you realy care about the copyright then quit bellyaching.
I was not bellyaching, I was pointing out that this may or may not be a problem now, but for the future of this game, it will continue to grow as one unless a interim and perminant solution are achieved relatively quickly.
CARTMAG wrote:and buy yourself a copy of the players guide.
I have the Player's Handbook, thank you. I have the 3.0 version and the 3.5 version. My concerns here are not personal, they are general. You see, I am looking beyond myself, and trying to see what the impact will be on people other than myself. I have several friends that are interested in the B5RPG, but have no interest in Dungeons and Dragons (and thus do not currently own the PHB). Heck, go over to the B5Wars message boards and read a few posts: there are a great many people upset about this. Not just me.
CARTMAG wrote:to me all you seem to be doing is reidarating the same thing you have stated in 5 other poasts.
Then stop reading them.
CARTMAG wrote:your whining KD.
Oh my! Say it isn't so! Lord knows that I value the opinion of copyright pirates so much that this stings to the bone! Oh my! What-ever will I do!?
Sorry... that was me...
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Postby Mherduwynn » Fri Aug 29, 2003 12:43 pm

That is enough.

Cartmag, you were advocating piracy. It is quite obvious and you were called on it.

KD, you are not helping. We appreciate you noting the sheer audacity of the Kazaa "option", but rising to Cartmag's post with sarcasm and mock outrage (however appropriate) is exactly what "promoting a flame war" consists of.

Please, let's move on to working on the Companion and making it the best it can possibly be.

And let's also drop the whole 40-odd pages of "missing" material topic, shall we? Everyone's opinion has been clearly stated now and the folks at Mongoose have heard you all. There has to be something better to talk about...
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Postby Mherduwynn » Fri Aug 29, 2003 12:45 pm

Oh, and Neo... That was evil. Appropriate, but evil. People should be afraid of the Sharlin. Very, very afraid...

:)
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Postby KDLadage » Fri Aug 29, 2003 12:56 pm

Mherduwynn wrote:That is enough.
True.
Mherduwynn wrote:KD, you are not helping. We appreciate you noting the sheer audacity of the Kazaa "option", but rising to Cartmag's post with sarcasm and mock outrage (however appropriate) is exactly what "promoting a flame war" consists of.
You are, of course, absolutely right. Sorry. Won't happen again.
Mherduwynn wrote:And let's also drop the whole 40-odd pages of "missing" material topic, shall we? Everyone's opinion has been clearly stated now and the folks at Mongoose have heard you all. There has to be something better to talk about...
Consider it dropped.
"It really doesn't matter what I think. In the end, I'm just one of a million insignificant cogs, and the machine is going to do what it meant to do. No matter what."
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Postby Mherduwynn » Fri Aug 29, 2003 2:29 pm

Hey, no harm, no foul. :)

There are some GREAT ideas on this thread, many of them yours. I just want to make sure that's where the focus of the conversation stays.
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Postby KDLadage » Fri Aug 29, 2003 2:45 pm

I have some other ideas... But first, let us recap what has been brought up so far:

BARAENDUR:
  • Remove/rename/rework Worker class. Virtually any change will be an improvement.
  • Crusade. The Excalibur, drakh ships, a compilation of the stories that take place from Crusade through to the death of Sheridan.
  • Alternate hit point system. For more combat oriented games.
  • 3rd Space aliens.
  • Do not include SRD material.
  • Do not change Lurker
  • Do not change Officer
BEKENN:
  • Better ship combat rules. I feel that it would be better suited to a more ship-oriented supplement rather than thrown in with general rule tweaks.

CARTMAG:
  • Do not include SRD material.
  • Do not include d20 Modern material. It has a lot of holes in it.
DARKE:
  • Produce a League of Non-Aligned Worlds book first.
ELFMAN:
  • Fix Independantly Wealthly feat.
EQD:
  • The SRD information.
  • More equipment. Not just the weapons and a few others. All kinds of equipment from furniture for your accomodation to services, costs of drinks, food, and so on.
  • Random space-event table. See Traveller D20 for ideas.
  • Generic character stats. Stats for thugs, diplomats and so on, of different levels and different specialities would be interesting.
  • Racial telepathic abilities. If they are not going to be covered elsewhere.
  • Building/modifying your own spaceship. Although that could be a whole book once the space-combat thing is worked out a little neater.
  • Plot hooks. Not for episodes but for places, races, NPCs (core cast members and others), as well as advice on characterisation, actual roleplay, how to run games and storylines with little-to-no combat in them and so on.
  • Information on how to run more cerebral games. This is a game of intrigue, mystery, diplomacy and so on, there are not many fights and the RPG book iteslef mentions this, but does not give much information. Perhaps a racial or organisation-based ability for diplomats working for certain people, so that they have more than abilities like 'call in a favour'. The Officer should also have certain 'group' or 'race'-based areas like "Black Omega" and such.
  • Alternate settings. As well as plot hooks for locations, ideas for an alternate B5 universe where a different race fell to the Shadows or different sides were warring or perhaps just replacing the ambassadors with PCs.
ERYX:
  • Produce a League of Non-Aligned Worlds book first.
  • A realspace map. Showing empire borders in a galaxy map (like Star Wars D20 has). I know that the jumpgate map is more useful but this is also a needed map I think.
  • Books like Fiery Trial that covers all five seasons, Crusade and other time periods.
  • Rules for trading/freight runs.
  • World Guides that focus on specific planets.
  • More feats that are not Psi based. This was a big complaint from one of my players. He felt that too many feats in the B5 core book were Telepath based.
  • Adventure modules. I know they don't make much money for a publisher but they are needed I think.
  • Do not change classes. Exceptions: worker needs more; Lurker covers too much area

GREG SMITH:
  • The SRD information.
  • Plot Hooks.

HERESJOHNY:
  • Produce a League of Non-Aligned Worlds book first.
  • A form of consolidation. I for one would not want to go hunting through various books and modules for new or modified feats that have appeared in this other material, so one of the possible inclusions could be to pool this 'new' material into this companion product.
  • Other threats within the universe. Be they a full blown race, planet, technology etc. Having watched 'The Legend of the Rangers', it seems to me that this other race would be interesting to know about.
JADRAX:
  • Ship customisation rules/guidelines. (preferable with costs). So that people can customise there Hermes or whatever and make it a little more individual. It would be nice to include those underwing starfury missile racks from Thirdspace in this.
  • Episode-style write-ups for all the movies. Include stats for some of the odd stuff from them. Minbari rings of narn choaking, soul hunter guardian ships, victory class ships, it's all good stuff.


KDLADAGE:
  • Produce a League of Non-Aligned Worlds book first.
  • The SRD information.
  • More connection to d20 Modern.
  • Remove/rename/rework Lurker class. Lurkers are down-trodden members of other classes, not a class in-and-of themselves.
  • Expand existing classes. Include other options for abilities within the existing classes to allows for further customization. This should probably model the d20 Modern way of thinking with ability trees.
  • Background Skills and Feats. Many of the racial feats should, in all fairness, be elements of the character's background and not feats at all. But in order to keep them, they should not be included as regular feats. So, model them via a mechanic similar to the d20 Modern 'starting occupations' and allow them to be pre-class options for the character.
  • Fix Independantly Wealthly feat.
  • Remove/rename/rework Worker class. Perhaps a couple of classes, or a far more customizale class to replace the worker. One option is to follow the D&D Commoner/Expert model.
  • A class for Enlisted persons.
  • Scaled down 'NPC classes.'
KIZARVEXIS:
  • More equipment. Or even better a conversion for credits to real money. Then you could pick up old catalogs (say for an outdoors store, gun mag, sunday sale papers for clothes/electronics, etc) and have all the equipment you need.
  • Fix Independantly Wealthly feat. Needs to have the credit amounts multiplied by 10 to make them work.
NEO:
  • Trading Rules for Freighter captains and merchants
  • Rules for handling promotions and awards in the military
  • Modifying personal equipment (cover jury rigging, but also permanent enhancements to guns and electronics, improving efficiency, range, number of shots, accuracy etc..)
  • Founding new colonies and jump points (colonising rules for handling surveying, setting up the colony, building and maintaining facilities etc..)
  • Starship Construction rules (want to try and do some of these myself for Bab 5 at some point when I get some free time).
  • Planet, system generation rules...very much along the lines of the T20 style.
  • Some detail of places off the beacon in jumpspace and jumpspace lifeforms, as these things are seen in crusade.
  • Suggestions for handling The First Ones in play
  • Starship 'called shots' rule. shooting the engine directly, shooting a weapons turret, just aiming for the sensors etc...
PSYCLONEJACK:
  • Reference charts or lists. Show the book and page that the named feat could be found on. Perhaps group the feats by General, Racial, Whatever, etc. That way you could find them quicker in 'The other books'. Do the same for skills. But please DO NOT reprint any information that can be found in other books. REFERENCE it.
  • Do not consolodate material.
RIGIL KENT:
  • Produce a League of Non-Aligned Worlds book first.
  • A class for Enlisted persons.
  • Legend of the Rangers. Despite hating it...

SPEZBABY:
  • Produce a League of Non-Aligned Worlds book first.
  • Props and handouts. Blank Universe Today pages, blank Earth Alliance and PsiCorp letterheads and maybe even blank ident cards.
  • Background listings of different governmental and non-governmental organisations. Included should be their aims and plans, capabilities and key personalities. An example of this would be when Bester shows up in a PsiCorp Starfury. Who knew PSiCorp had access to their own fleet of fighters.
  • The Universe Today Guide to Babylon 5. A sort of travel guidebook to the station and space. It would include shop listings, prices, contact listings for alien governments, sights to see, etc.

TRAVELLER-61:
  • More background material (including plot hooks!). That way it can be useful no matter what sort of game you are running.
  • Generic NPCs.
  • Beasts of B5.
  • Expanded starship information. A proper discussion of the crews required (and what your PCs need to qualify for various posts); a simple system for customising vessels and some guidelines to drawing deck plans would all be much appreciated!
  • No new Feats, and/or skills.
TRIGATI:
  • The SRD information.
  • Remove/rename/rework Lurker class.
  • Remove/rename/rework Worker class.
  • More connection to d20 Modern.
Last edited by KDLadage on Fri Aug 29, 2003 3:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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- Capt. Robert P. Hickey, USN, Commanding Officer USS RANGER
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Postby KDLadage » Fri Aug 29, 2003 3:29 pm

OK... now for some of my ideas (more later and this weekend):

Setting the Tone with Hit Points: In the default Babylon-5 setting, we have a bit of a dichotomy. On the one hand, hit points are kept relatively low (1d6+a few to start; then you get 1, 2, or 3 hit points each level thereafter) in order to ensure that combat is deadly and something to be avoided; on the other hand,a 20th level Soldier can have as many as [1d6 + 6 + (3 x 20)] 72 hit points -- at which time, a PPG to the chest is not much of a threat. Several optional rules can be employed to make sure that this is not a troublesome thing. You can use the rules as written; this produces a game that, at low (and even medium levels), the game is relatively deadly, with some chances of survival even in heavy combat. Please keep in mind that Hit Points are not all bodily injury; some of it is survival and luck. Some other optional rules, however, include:
  1. Deadly Critical (variant 1): In this variation on the rules, critical hits do NOT roll damage twice. Instead, they force a Fortitude save (DC 10 + the damage inflicted). If this save is made, then nothing additional happens. If it is failed, then the character immediately drops to -1 hit points and is dying. This option has the advantage of making combat deadly for all involved -- any hit could be the big one. It also makes the hits that do this, relatively rare (only on a critical hit). Any hit that would drop the character to -1 or lower hit points even if the save is made can be ignored, as it has no additional effect. Example: a character is hit with a critical. The damage rolled is 12 points. The Fortitude save is then DC 22 to avoid being dropped to -1 hit points.
  2. Deadly Critical (variant 2): This is the same as the variant above, only the critical hit still rolls damage twice. However, the DC for the same is equal to the damage dealt instead of 10 + damage dealt. Example: a character is hit with a critical. The damage rolled is 12 points and 9 points for a total of 21 points of damage. The Fortitude save is then DC 21 to avoid being dropped to -1 hit points.
  3. Massive Damage Threshold: In this the rule from d20 Modern. The MDT for a character is equal to the character's CON score. Any and all damage that exceeds this causes the character to make a Fortitude save or drop to -1 HP immediately. The Fort save DC can be tailored to the deadliness of the game desired. Typical DCs include 10 (low lethality), 15 (moderate lethality), 20 (high lethality), 25 (extreme lethality).
  4. Extremely Low Hit Points: In this variation on the Hit Point rules, characters do not roll hit points. Instead, all medium sized creatures have 10 base hit points, and then add their Fortitude save to this. Thus, the most massively tough (and virtually flat as far as development goes) character the game could produce would have 10 (base) + 7 (CON score of 18, plus a racial mod of +2, raised 5 times to 25) + 12 (Fortitude Save bonus at 20th level) + 16 (Toughness Feat taken 8 times) = 45 hit points. A more typical character (even at 20th level) would have 10 (base) + 2 (Con bonus) + 6 (Fortitude Save bonus at 20th level) + 2 (Toughness feat) = 20 Hit Points.
  5. Dramatist (Dungeons and Dragons style) Hit Points: In this variation, hit points are handed out as per the old D&D rules. You get a new Hit Die each level, CON mods apply to each die, and you get max hit points at first level. All classes that grant +1 HP per level receive a d6 hit die; all classes that grant +2 HP per level receive a d8 hit die; all classes that grant +3 HP per level receive a d10 hit die. Optionally, you can allow for 'minor NPC' versions of each class can grant a hit die one size lower (i.e: d4, d6 and d8 respectively) without making any other changes to the classes to ensure things are more in equal footing as with other games. One thing to note is that in this version of the Hit Points, Toughness should be restored to its original +3 HP version.
Options 1, 2 and 3 can be implemented without making any further changes to the rules. These only effect critical or large amounts of damage and so should have minor impacts on the game except at much higher levels.

Option 4 should be used with extreme caution. Also, use a multiplier after the calculations for creatures that are larger or smaller than medium sized (HPx2 for large followed by x4, x8, x16 as you go up in size; HP/2 for small followed by /4, /8, /16 as you go down in size). Also, keep in mind that every single point of damage in this option is actual bodily injury -- hit points have no luck or endurance aspect any longer.

Option 5 should be used on in the most cinematic of games. In games like this, it should be possible for a medium-high level Soldier to wade into battle against numerous foes and come out alive, or even without breaking a sweat.

By combining these options, you can tailor the deadliness and tone of your game futher. Options 1, 2 and 3 can each be combined successfully with the standard hit point rules, or with options 4 or 5.

In fact, d20 Modern (effectively) uses options 3 and 5 together.

However, note that adding anything to option 4 that is designed to make combat more deadly can lead to total-party-kills on a regular basis. Extreme caution should be used.
"It really doesn't matter what I think. In the end, I'm just one of a million insignificant cogs, and the machine is going to do what it meant to do. No matter what."
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Elfman
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Postby Elfman » Fri Aug 29, 2003 5:46 pm

Some might ask why we need a HP adjustment at all, to which I answer we don't. What we really need is some way to turn CON into something other than a "throw-away" stat. As it is, my friends and I have made several characters (and I am notorious for making characters over and over until I find as many holes in the system as possible) and we all agree that CON is definitely the lowest priority stat. I mean, look at the numbers! CON only matters in THREE places in the entire rule set!

Those places are:
  • Concentration skill. A skill that isn't used that often, frankly. Definitely a must for spellcasters, so I guess it's not a weak skill after all... oh wait, there's no spells in B5.
  • Fortitude Save. Nice save to have, great when poisoned or gassed and really useful against some of the nastier magic spells... oh wait, we don't have those spells, do we? Um... well it's good for poisons.
  • Wound stabilization. Here's supposedly the big reason why CON is useful. But look at the table. CON 10-13 give the SAME effect, so there's no reason to put an 11,12 or 13 in CON. You can get a 5% bonus (that's ONE in TWENTY bonus) if you put a 14-15 in there. Let's see... do I want a 5% bonus on a value that (hopefully) won't come up very often because I've heard how deadly combat is supposed to be in B5 and I'm avoiding deadly fights? Remember that on B5 and in many technological places, weapons are heavily controlled and a lot of fights will be unarmed and therefor only subdual damage!
So... do I go for the 5% bonus here by spending my precious 15 (look at the sample characters to see what sort of scores they are expecting characters to have!) in CON... or do I pick some other stat like INT or DEX or CHA where I can get a cascade of bonuses? And if I'm not putting at least a 14 into CON, what's the point? Where's the bonus? "Show me the money!!!" Heck... if you have a 4-8 to place somewhere... I ask you why not put it in CON? There's no real downside, except your Fort save is a little weak!

Say it with me... CON is a waste of points as written. Even WIS and STR are better choices; WIS powers your will save for resisting Psi scans, and at least you get increased carrying capacity and melee/unarmed damage and to hit bonuses with STR.

I challenge anyone out there to pick even one instance where a character would want to put more points into CON than another stat. (Ok, so I know one -- when a Drazi wants to get the Purple or Green feat, he needs a 13 CON. I mean *other* than that).

So...
Given that CON *must* be made more useful, using it to modify Hit Points or increase the usefulness of the Fort save are both a good choices.
KDLadage wrote: Some other optional rules, however, include:
  1. Deadly Critical (variant 1): In this variation on the rules, critical hits do NOT roll damage twice. Instead, they force a Fortitude save (DC 10 + the damage inflicted). If this save is made, then nothing additional happens. If it is failed, then the character immediately drops to -1 hit points and is dying. This option has the advantage of making combat deadly for all involved -- any hit could be the big one. It also makes the hits that do this, relatively rare (only on a critical hit). Any hit that would drop the character to -1 or lower hit points even if the save is made can be ignored, as it has no additional effect. Example: a character is hit with a critical. The damage rolled is 12 points. The Fortitude save is then DC 22 to avoid being dropped to -1 hit points.
  2. Deadly Critical (variant 2): This is the same as the variant above, only the critical hit still rolls damage twice. However, the DC for the same is equal to the damage dealt instead of 10 + damage dealt. Example: a character is hit with a critical. The damage rolled is 12 points and 9 points for a total of 21 points of damage. The Fortitude save is then DC 21 to avoid being dropped to -1 hit points.
  3. Massive Damage Threshold: In this the rule from d20 Modern. The MDT for a character is equal to the character's CON score. Any and all damage that exceeds this causes the character to make a Fortitude save or drop to -1 HP immediately. The Fort save DC can be tailored to the deadliness of the game desired. Typical DCs include 10 (low lethality), 15 (moderate lethality), 20 (high lethality), 25 (extreme lethality).
  4. Extremely Low Hit Points: In this variation on the Hit Point rules, characters do not roll hit points. Instead, all medium sized creatures have 10 base hit points, and then add their Fortitude save to this. Thus, the most massively tough (and virtually flat as far as development goes) character the game could produce would have 10 (base) + 7 (CON score of 18, plus a racial mod of +2, raised 5 times to 25) + 12 (Fortitude Save bonus at 20th level) + 16 (Toughness Feat taken 8 times) = 45 hit points. A more typical character (even at 20th level) would have 10 (base) + 2 (Con bonus) + 6 (Fortitude Save bonus at 20th level) + 2 (Toughness feat) = 20 Hit Points.
  5. Dramatist (Dungeons and Dragons style) Hit Points: In this variation, hit points are handed out as per the old D&D rules. You get a new Hit Die each level, CON mods apply to each die, and you get max hit points at first level. All classes that grant +1 HP per level receive a d6 hit die; all classes that grant +2 HP per level receive a d8 hit die; all classes that grant +3 HP per level receive a d10 hit die. Optionally, you can allow for 'minor NPC' versions of each class can grant a hit die one size lower (i.e: d4, d6 and d8 respectively) without making any other changes to the classes to ensure things are more in equal footing as with other games. One thing to note is that in this version of the Hit Points, Toughness should be restored to its original +3 HP version.
If there are any CON / Hip Point adjustments made they should have as little impact on the system as it stands as possible. That leaves us with options 1,2, and 3.

These three options solve the problem with CON the same way, by making the Fort save very useful. They all make a player think twice before blindly putting his lowest score into CON, since a Fort save will likely decide whether one of the party's characters will stay conscious in nearly every fight.

Number 3 is good, because it uses a well established mechanic from a d20 flagship game. Number 1 is good, because it really puts the fear of combat into the characters. Number 2 is my least favorite, unless you want combat to only be a little bit more dangerous.

Options 4 and 5 are valid, but they mess around a little more with the mechanics as written, and as I said I'd prefer any addendum rules make a few changes as possible.

All in all, great suggestions on ways to fix the problem with CON.
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Postby DKeith2011 » Fri Aug 29, 2003 7:12 pm

I was hoping that B5 would use the Con/Vitality system from Star Wars.

It is much more effective for representing the kind of high-tech combat we see in B5. Lets face it, shrugging off a PPG hit just isnt likely, no one is going to be able to survive a glop of superheated plasma square to the chest.

At least with the vitality system it is assumed that the characters vitality points soak up the damage by letting him get out of the way at the last second.
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Con and B5

Postby Kizarvexis » Fri Aug 29, 2003 9:49 pm

Elfman wrote:Concentration skill. A skill that isn't used that often, frankly. Definitely a must for spellcasters, so I guess it's not a weak skill after all... oh wait, there's no spells in B5.
Well Teeps use Con checks for a lot of teep skills.

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Postby Guest » Sat Aug 30, 2003 2:48 am

Pardon my ignorance, I am begining to hate this when it happens, just what is
KDLadage wrote:"the SRD"
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Rules for chases and fistfights.

Postby JonAcheson » Sat Aug 30, 2003 2:59 am

I'd like to see rules for more exciting chases. This could be either starship chases or on foot. Think Security running a criminal to the ground.

The 3.0 ed. DMG has a rule where the characters make DEX checks every turn to see if they clear the distance, but frankly the last thing B5 D20 needs is to make Dexterity even more important. It's pretty badly unbalanced as it stands.

I would prefer having characters make a STR check, because I could justify it as being an indicator of athleticism, and it would make STR good for something.

In addition, you could have a couple tables listing obstacles and their penalties to the STR roll for various types of environments. Maybe even a writeup of a sample foot chase.

This is the kind of thing I'd prefer to see in the Companion: a chance to go into more detail about game mechanics that coudn't be covered in the main book, and wouldn't fit cleanly into a standalone book like the Crusade and League of Nonaligned Worlds ideas people have mentioned.

I'd like some better fistfighting rules, too, since B5 tended to have more bare-knuckled hand-to-hand than D&D typically does. I would prefer rules over just adding feats. Adding too many feats just adds more exceptions to the rules and makes the system cumbersome. One thing that would be good would be bonus subdual damage based on STR, because otherwise it takes forever to finish a fight.

Also, some rules for cool field-medic tricks would be nice, and would give doctor-scientists more flavor. Dr. Franklin mentions "regen packs" in the early second season: what are these? How does a field medic brink someone back from the brink of death? Think of tricks like the valve thing in Mark Wahlberg's chest in Three Kings, or the needle to the heart in Pulp Fiction. Heroic medicine!

Jon Acheson
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Postby Guest » Sat Aug 30, 2003 5:20 am

HeresJohnny wrote: I for one would not want to go hunting through various books and modules for new or modified feats that have appeared in this other material, so one of the possible inclusions could be to pool this 'new' material into this companion product.
I have to agree. That is one of the things that bothers me about RPG companies. Example: Aberant by White Wolf, they released a Player's Handbook with MOST of the powers from the basic book (including the Errata that you could only get by purchasing the PH) and a few of the powers from other books.

I would also like to see Paperback - virtually pictureless books like what Guardians of Order have produced. I had already purchased 2 of their books at less than $10 apiece when I saw the B5 book.

I would like to see the books reproduced more affordably.

Guardians did not see sales like they hoped with the Hardback $45. The shop I go to has had 3 copies of the Hardback on the shelf since they came in. I know the owner really well and he said that even when he had his 1/3 off Christmas sale that he could not sell any of them.

He cannot keep the Paperback versions in stock - go figure!

With the current economy, I would suggest that a more Wallet Friendly version of books would sell so that volume pricing would make the company money!

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