Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Rogue Trader - I Want A New System

I mean, the general Fantasy Flight 40k system (percentile, roll with modifiers to see if you succeed or fail) is pretty good - but to my mind, there's too many stats, too many fiddly bits, and an Origin Path system that feels... limiting, I suppose. However, the setting is great - I have the Core Book, and it's a joy to read. It's also weighty, tome-like, even, and has tons of setting information and loads of flavour to help you really bring out the feel of the 40k setting. I will still play the system, but the idea of running it frankly makes my eyes go a bit funny.

So I wanted to find a system that would do brutal (but survivable) combat, mass combat and starship warfare, easily customisable characters, and a decent sanity system (after all, in the Grim Darkness of the 41st Millennium, there is only War and Vicious Screaming Insanity).

So my thoughts drifted to Unknown Armies.

After all, the basic percentile system is there, except you roll under your skill. Seems a good enough fit - the better you get, the easier it becomes. It also takes away a lot of the "Hunt The Modifier" stuff the FFG system had (like, you had no chance to actually shoot someone - so you have higher ground, for +5, take an action to aim for +10, spend money on a Laser Sight for another +10)... it makes combat last ages as well while you tote up all your mods. UA, on the other hand, is still brutal, but seems to have less problems with it. Roll under your skill, you succeed. Modifiers can be adjudicated on the fly, if they are warranted.

Skills - FFG games have a laundry list of them. UA, however, you make your own - so you can pick the most appropriate bits of your character, and make them your focus. Other stuff is either automatic, or can be rolled at a penalty - unlike the FFG Untrained penalty, which is so high as to make it unfeasible to even attempt an untrained action.

With only 4 stats, it's much easier to make a character, and to fit all the stats to the concept - something I found hard with the original system.

Some quick thoughts, which I will expand upon in later posts:

Using the normal UA Madness Meters. Maybe allow for some leeway in when to use them (so, killing normal folks - not good. Killing Heretics in The Emperor's name? Okay, after a few times. Facing off against a Lord of Change? Bad times all round.)

Melee Weapons
Chain weapons get the Big, Heavy and Sharp mods (for a total +9 damage), and do regular hand-to-hand damage otherwise.
Power weapons do firearms damage, no bonus (makes them lethal - pretty appropriate, I think).

Armour... I'll need to work on. Probably have Carapace/Power armour reduce Firearms to HtH damage, others TBC. Gives some defence against Power Weapons, but still means you can get slowly whittled down.

Ranged Weapons
Hmm... maybe lift some of the stuff from RT for these, like the Critical Hit tables. Yummy, yummy, deadly Critical Hit Tables... pop those in as Cherries (for those who take it as an Obsession Skill) or make less effective, general use tables for the everyone else.

Corruption is where things get... interesting. I had thought about making Corruption an extra Madness Meter, but then I remembered one of the cool things about UA - Negative Skills.

So, Corruption starts as a free 15% Soul skill. Everyone has it. You can buy it down with Skill points at Character creation. If you encounter something corrupting, roll the skill. If you fail, congrats, no Corruption (or, in the case of Big Stuff, less Corruption). If you succeed, you gain a set amount of points to the skill. The more corrupted you get, the easier it is to fall further. A nice negative feedback loop, I think. The only way to reduce Corruption is to meditate on the Emperor's benediction and kindness (and spending experience to lower it, like a normal skill but in reverse), or through the power of His Missionaries (i.e. Psychological First Aid kinda stuff). Failing that, there's always the Fire of the Emperor's Wrath...

More to come in later posts - Ships next, I think.

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