Things We Do Not Love About B5 RPG (please get involved!)

AS others have mentioned before, I feel your space combat system really needs to be fixed, for the RPG. What we have found, is that there is really no reason to stand and fight Raiders (unless you are a fighter wing, but my PC's are traders), so they wind up accelerating to speeds that cause massive penalties on their pilot checks.

My players and I like the low HP system. It's not perfect, or realistic, but better then the 10's and 100's you get in other games.

I would like to see more specific travel times. If different ships can travel at different speeds, then I think that needs to be clarified. I know the show doesn't do that, but for the game, I think it's important to know. For instance, does it take 3 months to get from Babylon 5 to the Freedom Station in Fiery Trail, or several days as it says in the adventure? According to the printed map, it's not possible to get there in days, atleast not in a civilian ship.

I also agree that the editing needs some work. I'm no English teacher, but I have found numerous errors, that I assume were made by the word processor automaticaly correcting mispellings of different words. If you want, I'll get you some specific examples (book and page number), but some were found in Wheel of Fire season guide.

Otherwise, I think you're right on with the game, it's mood and feel. I don't know if I would've included 'Worker' as a Class, so maybe you need more playable Classes, such as Officer as a different class from Fighter Pilot, or some such (as it is Officer constitutes three different military types of characters). Also, maybe some more civilian classes, for characters who want to start as Traders. What I mean by this, is that the skill and feat sets, only 2 start with Piloting skill as a class skill. So more diversity for the classes.
 
Ok,

msprange has said that old supplements will not be invalidated by the new system. So here's the next question:

Will new supplements after the new edition be bacwardsly compatible? Will there at least be a guide to converting between the 2 systems?

LBH
 
Good night, at first... and this will be my first post here. Nice meeting you.

Well, it will be a bit long. Allow me warn you I can be very picky.

I didn't like this adaptation of the d20 system for the Babylon 5 universe. I put on these terms to make clear that I am not some kind of d20-basher. I enjoy playing d20 games as the Call of Cthulhu version and Star Wars -- from which I know this d20 here would be a different version, perhaps pace, from Babylon 5 d20; since SW is planned to be way more, hum, hyperbolic than B5.

My dislikes, so far, concern more to the first part of the book, concerning Classes, skills and feats. I am a bit dull with rules, most of time I am a player before being the GM, until I get used to the system. But since I have, for B5 d20, a guy even greener than me at the d20 system wanting also to GM it; I'd prefer not coment on the combat system, mostly.

From the begining.

There is an obrigatory aspect in the text of the game that I dislike, and I know it is frankly ignorable, when it is said that B5 characters start at 1st level.

I dislike it, especially because the previous B5 rpg, "the late and unlamented" The Babylon Project, had the pcs starting at an advanced level in their lives. They were not young whiny moisture farmers; but already able professionals with skills reflecting this condition. In my game, I'll have them starting at up to 6th level, in the greener guy game, 4th level. It's a matter of choice, of course, but I think this is a redeemable aspect from the dead TBP that I really missed there. Check our heroes profiles; all from, at least, 5th level, with only Lennier and Vir as initial guys from 1st-2nd levels.

And as I said, my matter is: an adaptation able to represent the universe, at least in my view.

But it is a minor scrap, of course. And I am picky, I warned you, heh?

The Agent class is a bit shadowy, in my opinion. I had this player making a future xenoarcheologist, with levels of Agent and Scientist. A really good-alignment guy, what would he do with sneak attacks and Criplling Wound? From all I understand, classes are most likely to be abrangent archetypes, not locking themselves into moral preferences, let's say.

I have big conceptual problems with Officer. How come Knowledge not be a class skill, here? Who makes the military strategies? Especially considering that one of the Knowledges, in the example, is named Military? And so, experienced commanders of starships don't get a clue about star systems they had visited (or will be assigned), as well their inhabitants; safe for cross-class efforts or spending the opportunity of the Feat Hobby at all these cases? You can't expect that Data Access may cover it, all the time.

And I missed a word about Zero-G Movement/Handling, here. It is a highly unnatural condition for any kind borne in planetside, and will be some problem in low-tech ships with no gravity to move fast enough to reach escape pods before the ship blows, take the wounded to sickbay without bashing them in corners and walls, and to reach your battle station when the red alert starts screaming in the middle of the night. Remember, for all action there is a reaction, with the same power and opposite direction, if I am translating correctly to english. And we are talking about a series where lack of gravity is a concern, or that station wouldn't be spinning around itself...

I'd suggest it as initial Feat given for Pilot and Fleet Officers, and an option to anyone else interested. The normal would be, hum, -4 in perhaps all physical- based actions when in Zero-G -- you can't lift, climb or shoot anything, if you lack of a stable base.

One last thing about Officer: I know that the struggle for survival, even in a technological/urban enviroment, may produce individuals of great and unexpected resourcefulness. But wouldn't be a bit too much make a Lurker receive more skill points than a academy-trained Officer? I mean, the guy is meant to run a starship, the closest thing of 'rocket science' -- after any due knowledge -- I know.

Soldier: wouldn't they receive specialized training in Unarmed Combat? I mean, nothing highly specialized as the Mutari folks, but even so, something to differ from the average Joe. Modern israeli troopers got krav-magá, american soldiers have jiu-jitsu, and so on... I imagine that, in XXIIIrd Century, this aspect of training would remain for GROPOS.

Worker: well, this has a lot of problems, I guess. Yes, I know that are alternative rules in this site for this class.

But I have a problem with this class, period. Its very idea. I remember an old GM of mine, 1st edition AD&D die-hard, showing me an old Dragon Magazine, with a huge questionary from TSR about the likes and dislikes of the costumer, in a research for the upcoming 2nd Edition. One of those were about if you think that any and every occupation (sailor, taylor, farmer, shop-owner, etc.) should get a class of its own.

Then we talked that Classes were the 'paths of the adventurers', let's say. A docks worker most likely will remain one, concerned with his duties and worries, ditto for the CEOs -- if one of them wishes to 'go out there' some way, he automatically puts himself on the line. Takes a different risk. He becomes, somehow, an adventurer, and this is what Classes talk about. Someone who doesn't the regular clerk job, doesn't get the train twice a day 5 days a week -- well, mostly. :)

Personally, I think NPC classes (like in D&D and Star Wars d20) would do the trick. Or, you could get by the opposite angle, if you really feel that the character must be a reporter: get a Class and put on Profession: Jornalist (or any job you wish).

A third thought would be make it quite open (probably keeping same skill and hit points), allowing any skill being a classe skill, as well feats. Wanna make a commercial astronaut? Get Pilot, Knowledge: Star Systems (and Accounting, I guess), Technical: Space Travel. Feats: Spaceship Proficency, Space Veteran, etc. An ISN reporter? Get Bluff, Sense Motive; Feats like Contacts, etc...

This, basically, is about the Classes, at least so far. Now, feats and skills.

See, back in the old Star Wars RPG, by West End Games, there were plenty of skills as open as you could, to represent the fact that Star Wars wasn't any serious, and I am not mocking of it. The best example was the skill Alien Languages, which was rolled to understand or communicate with an alien speaking something other of your own language.

Babylon 5 is supposed to be a more down-to-earth example of space-opera. So, with languages, we spend 4 skill points to each one you wish. I am ok with that. I can see, even if I really get picky, allowing make it cost cheaper: 1 point, and you speak badly, and can't write/read. 2 points, and you speak and r/w badly. 3 points, you speak well, but have to improve the read/writing (or the reverse, I read/write English better than I can hear). 4 points, and you are fluent. I am ok with that.

Specifications, in this case, help to give the correct 'serious' tune, let's say.

If I want to communicate better than average with an alien, I have to get Feat: Alien Empathy, to each species. Ok, so. But not perfectly ok, since I would, theoretically, get along better with aliens even than my own species. I'd like to suggest a bit of opposite: whoever doesn't have this feat, would be a -4 to deal with an alien. Cumulative with racial negative Charisma modifier, if any (if you think it's too much, think how isolated are the Minbari). But I wouldn't apply any positive Charisma modifier; in Nature the first reaction is 'I will be attacked by this whatever-it-is'. Suggestions, suggestions. Maybe, if I really want to make the alone-in-the-crowd guy, get a second Alien Empathy, to really get along with a determined species better than with my own.

Then you get Alien Anatomy, and things get really bad, for me. Without it, you get a -10 modifier to any medical treatment given to another race. With it, you are as good treating your species as is with any other race in the galaxy.

So, to comunicate and get diplomatic with aliens I have to be very selective, but to cure their physiology, pak'ma'ras and Minbari are roughly the same thing? I know this would be a matter of 'common sense' and GM discretion, but this isn't even suggested, in the text.

And other generalization I really disliked is Spacecraft Proficiency: have it and you fly as perfectly well a Minbari capital ship, a drazi freighter, a Starfury, and so on? Hummmm... Star Wars d20 came with distinctions for different spaceships: shuttle, fighter, freighter and capital ship, IIRC. I'd like to suggest, for a 2nd Edition, an alteration of the rule towards this direction, and stressing possible negative modifiers due technological differences.

Hum, one thing: the Damage Threshold being at just like D&D, 40 hits taken once, if I make no mistake. Well, it's hard to get 40 hitpoints, in B5, for a character, or so it looks like. Not to mention, there isn't much sources that may give 40 hps damage, below artillery and ships weapon systems, to a character, no? Well, Call of Cthulhu d20 lowered this threshold to 10 hits... I'd suggest making it 15 or 20, for Babylon 5.

And the last thing: I know there are almost two hundred countries in our planet, and it is hard to keep track of all of them. So, allow me to point to an error made at the Earth Alliance sourcebook, page 76, on a note about Brazil, my country. It's said in the book that brazilians are mostly a mix between native population and spanish and portuguese origin. Well, this is not entirely truth, since the Spanish were concerned primarily with their own colonies, which turned in 95% of the current countries between Rio Grande and Patagonia. Our primarly caucasian source was mostly Portuguese, in the begining, at our Colony stage (ok, so the 'Iberian' source is the same; but that's the reason why we speak Portuguese, and not Spanish). But a worse error in the text is the grave omission of Brazil's African heiritage. Brazil has the largest negroid population out of the african continent, due slavery. It influenced the ethnicals and folklore in an inseparable and eternal way. As I said, it's hard to keep track all the time. More than a political correction statement, it is just more of my genuine intention to help this game become better and better.

Thanks for reading until there.
 
lastbesthope said:
Will new supplements after the new edition be bacwardsly compatible? Will there at least be a guide to converting between the 2 systems?

LBH

No - that way lies madness! For clarity's sake, we'll only support one system at a time.
 
Ah well, it was worth a shot, at least my old stuff will be compatible with the new rules. So should I worry about getting a spare copy of the 2nd printing d20 core book soon, or will it be a while. The copy I have now is sealed from prying fingers to preserve signatures.

LBH
 
I plan to adapt conan's massive damage rule for B5 :
if a character take 15 + CON mod HP damage he has to success a fortitude test with a DC 10+ 1/2 Damage taken or see its HP reduced to -1. This give a greater importance to CON; indeed my player noticed CON have little in B5
 
What I don't like about the Babylon 5 RPG? Well OK, you asked...
I don't like the fact that it's d20. [ducks flames]
No, really. I admit that it's one of the better incantations of the d20 system, with deadly combat and all. I'm also sure that going OGL will be an improvement. But it will still be a class- and level-based system, with a complicated interdependence of skills and feats... and sorry, but that doesn't cut it for me. It's way too much rules with nothing in return. Am I alone thinking along those lines?
If B5 hadn't been a d20 game, I might have been collecting the books from day 1. Now, all I have is the pocket edition (and that only because it's so cheap).
 
frobisher said:
Turloigh said:
Am I alone thinking along those lines?

Nope - d20/OGL wouldn't be anywhere near my first choice either, but I suspect it's one thing that isn't up for change.

Got to agree on that, I cannot see Mongoose totally changing the system now (although I can dream of a nice new Unisystem/Fuzion-like d10 B5 game :lol: ). Whatever else the 2nd ed will be, it will be d20 - and I'll end up getting all the books as usual! :D

DW
 
Traveller-61 said:
Got to agree on that, I cannot see Mongoose totally changing the system now (although I can dream of a nice new Unisystem/Fuzion-like d10 B5 game :lol: ).
Now, Unisystem... that would be sweet. Well, we can dream.
 
Plus!

If they completely change the system mit will make it almost impossible to keep the existing supplements compatible, as they have stated they will do.

Just as well, I own all of them!

LBH
 
My main problem with B5(well besides it being d20...I like d20 but to be honest d20 and B5 just don't mix) is probably the space combat system. To be fair I have yet to see a space battle system for a pen and paper RPG I do like so this isn't exactly a B5 specific problem.


Also a side effect of the d20 system is the fact that the character classes are kind of bland. The limited number of skills and feats and the fact that often you need certain ones to be competent in your profession leads to diplomat A and diplomat B of the same race seeming almost exactly alike with maybe one or two skills that are different.


I've noticed various typos in both the core rulebook and Narn Regime Factbook. Nothing major but more than I'm used to seeing. A tiny bit of misinformation as well in the core book. You might have people unfamiliar with B5 confused about Hyperions, Omegas, and Novas as a result. :)


At this point I've actually found myself considering converting the information for another RPG system to play with my friends. I honestly don't think they'd have fun with B5 d20. I'm looking at the White Wolf system since it actually seems to handle the conversion surprisingly well although in the case of a few races I'll probably have to turn being that race into a merit(Drazi for example with their abnormally tough skin).


Now on the positive side I really like the variety of information in both the core book and Narn guides. Plus it's great how each episode covered also includes a variety of ideas of how to incorporate the PCs into the events. I've seen a lot of games that cover episodes but don't bother including how to make use of it and it's nice to see that Mongoose has done so.
 
Turloigh said:
Traveller-61 said:
Got to agree on that, I cannot see Mongoose totally changing the system now (although I can dream of a nice new Unisystem/Fuzion-like d10 B5 game :lol: ).
Now, Unisystem... that would be sweet. Well, we can dream.

I was actually going to work out most of the details for using the Buffy version of the Unisystem for B5 until Mongoose broke cover :)

It's a very good fit for the background, plus of course the Magic system pretty much screamed out Psionics ;)

The only reason I own any d20/OGL stuff is because of Mongoose (Judge Dredd initially, but followed by Slaine, B5 and Jeremiah, oh and Star Ship Troopers soonish). Of them, Jeremiah has actually got closer to resolving some of my issues with the system (its damage system is as good as you can get in d20/OGL to my mind and really should be adapted to the next edition of B5 - it wouldn't actually require any changes to existing material provided either, just finding a way to deal with Psionic subdual costs).
 
Celisasu said:
My main problem with B5(well besides it being d20...I like d20 but to be honest d20 and B5 just don't mix) is probably the space combat system. To be fair I have yet to see a space battle system for a pen and paper RPG I do like so this isn't exactly a B5 specific problem.

There is a planned Space Combat rules revision for the RPG in the works.

LBH
 
My biggest problem with Babylon 5 RPG is the dependance on the DnD 3rd Edition. I would love to run a game of Babylon 5 without having to thumb through some book with wizards and barbarians taking me out of the moment. Make it OGL and give me some more specific classes and I'll be a happy guy.
 
Michka said:
My biggest problem with Babylon 5 RPG is the dependance on the DnD 3rd Edition. I would love to run a game of Babylon 5 without having to thumb through some book with wizards and barbarians taking me out of the moment. Make it OGL and give me some more specific classes and I'll be a happy guy.

I think this ones a given.

One thing might be to separate out the Season 1 Fact Book from the rules to my mind; Yes, it would be an extra book to buy, but it would keep the season by season stuff in one lump of resource (ie my book shelf). It would also allow for a much expanded main rules book with the extra OGL stuff in it and expanded coverage of foor plans and the like for the station (hint hint).

This way, it would give the upgrader a use for his original rulebook (as the season book) plus all the stuff in the main rulebook would be "good stuff" (OGL rules, corrected and upgraded classes etc).
 
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