Grim & Dark Sci-Fi

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JackAce
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Grim & Dark Sci-Fi

#1 Postby JackAce » Sun Oct 05, 2008 11:30 am

A few day ago, I had a discussion in my FLGS about Savaging a certain Grim & Dark Sci-Fi setting (the name of which I can't tell you for copyright reasons, but it's got a melee weapon and a pretty large number in it).


Many aspects of this setting should be rather easy to Savage. But one thing that might take alittle work are the Psykers.

Psykers in this setting must content with a number of rather unsettling conditions when they use their powers. The most troublesome is the fact that there are malicious entities hiding in Subspace, only waiting for a chance grab a careless psyker and devour his soul...

Now I've had this crazy idea of representing these troubles by using the rules for Hucksters in DL:R, with some modifications:

First, Psykers would not be allowed to take the Power Points Edge. That means they'll be forced to "Deal with the Devil" even more often than DL:R Hucksters do.

Second, The Backfire table for failing to generate enough power or using a Joker might need to be adapted to better fit the background of the setting.

Third, the use of psionic powers in this setting is always accompagnied by weird Side Efeects, some of which are merely cosmetic (but will surely give away he fact that a psyker power is used), while others can actually be rather disturbing (Fear), distracting (Shaken) or dangerous (cause Damage) to the pyker and/or persons near him.
I'm planning to assemble a list of such Side Effects and link each to a Card value. When the Psyker created his poker hnd to cast a power, the lowest card used in that hand will determine the side effect. (And the lower that card is, the more problematic the Side Effect will be.)


Now, for the Huckster rules to work properly, the Grit rules ought to be used as well, and to justify the bonus gained from Grit, one should also include Fear levels. But that's perfectly fine IMO. There's a lot to be afraid of in this universe...


I happen to know that there are a couple of Savages around here who have put some though into converting this setting as well. So, what do you guys think of my approach? Does it make any sense?
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#2 Postby supercOntra » Sun Oct 05, 2008 12:04 pm

It definitely makes sense and dealing with the devil was my first thought when you mentioned malicious entities hiding in Subspace
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#3 Postby skylion » Sun Oct 05, 2008 12:37 pm

Funny (as in interesting and amusing) that I mention bringing Deal With the Devil into a Sci-fi game like Slipstream a week ago, and have fully stated my intent of mashing up Slipstream with Deadlands a few days ago, Hucksters included.

And now, Jack wants to convert another game, while importing DwtD.

Something in the water, Jack?

I'm not too familiar with the melee number game, so I can't really judge how you would accomplish what you want.

But, in keeping it FFF, keep the pside effects to a managable limit. I would anyway, YMMV. I like that your using the actual hand to determine the effects thou, and I have thought of something like that in other places.

Think about using the suit instead of the value. Clubs=Fatigue, only recovered after a period of rest. Hearts=Wounds of varied degrees. Diamonds=hurt your friends. Spade=Psyker must use DwtD his next x times he wants to use his powers. Just suggestions.
Any setting specific special story effects can be your pot of cackling glee.

Keeps it simple, rather than concocting a whole list for deuce to joker.
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#4 Postby JackAce » Sun Oct 05, 2008 1:31 pm

skylion wrote:Funny (as in interesting and amusing) that I mention bringing Deal With the Devil into a Sci-fi game like Slipstream a week ago, and have fully stated my intent of mashing up Slipstream with Deadlands a few days ago, Hucksters included.

I was aware of your thread, but haven't read it yet.

I got htis idea while reading the rulebook of the already existing RPG to this setting. The guy I had the mentioned discussion with suggested farming that book for usable elements to port over into SW.

But by now I've got the feeling that ruleswise there isn't really that much in that book that SW has not already covered in some way. The only thing I'm probably gonna port over is the concept of Insanity and Corruption, and even these will get highly modified rules.

skylion wrote:But, in keeping it FFF, keep the pside effects to a managable limit. I would anyway, YMMV. I like that your using the actual hand to determine the effects thou, and I have thought of something like that in other places.

Keeps it simple, rather than concocting a whole list for deuce to joker.

I was planning on a list from deuce to ten. Jack or better would indicate purely cosmetic Side Effects.
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#5 Postby dentris » Sun Oct 05, 2008 1:41 pm

I like the idea of dealing with the devil...in theory. But deadlands is about cowboys and poker is a natural extension of far-west mythology...but this game has more religious symbolism. I wonder if something else than a poker game more in touch with the actual flavor of the game could be played instead ..

I'm just throwing ideas here...
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#6 Postby JackAce » Sun Oct 05, 2008 1:49 pm

dentris wrote:...but this game has more religious symbolism. I wonder if something else than a poker game more in touch with the actual flavor of the game could be played instead


But that religious symbolism doesn't really have anything to do with the way psychic powers are channelled. And the basic concept of "gambling with one's own soul" fits the situatiuon of psykers in this setting very well.
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#7 Postby skylion » Sun Oct 05, 2008 2:53 pm

Religion?

Use a really cool tarot deck. Just take the Princes/extra court card. Cups are Hearts, Coins are Diamonds. Wand are Clubs. And Swords are Spades. And leave whatever Major Arcana cards you want for the two jokers. Perhaps the Fool and the Devil for Red and Black?

Suggestion: Find the Crowley/Thoth Tarot Deck. Just at a guess, that kinda looks like it would belong in the game in question.
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#8 Postby Noshrok Grimskull » Sun Oct 05, 2008 3:16 pm

Yeah, the Tarot deck would definitely work for this.
In the fluff, there's even mention of a psychic Tarot dedicated to that guy on the throne.
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#9 Postby the_redstar_swl » Sun Oct 05, 2008 3:45 pm


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#10 Postby dentris » Sun Oct 05, 2008 9:31 pm

I like the idea of a Tarot Deck. Ok, let's see. How to include the Arcana in the deal with the devil?

What about making each arcana a unique backlash if used (and if you use more than one, the backlash are adding up). I mean, it does create some imbalance because you have 22! jokers...but if psychers are trully powerful. It could balance the fact they HAVE to deal with the devil, and if they ever use a joker, they have to deal with the consequences of a backlash.

Example:
The Fool: Shaken
Magician: -2 to next spirit check
High Priestess: -2 to next Smarts check
Emperor: The only positive result. +2 to next action as the emperor guides you
Hierophant: Next attack deals half damage
Lovers: Someone you love is taken by the Warp
Chariot: Next action against you is automatically sucessful
Justice: You suffer the effect of the psychic power too (or an enemy receives the bonus if casted on yourself)
Hermit: You cannot move or attack on your next action
Wheel of Fortune: Your next action is a critical failure
Strength: Lose one die step of psionic skill
Hanged Man: You lose half your remaining PP
Death: Automatically incapacitated. Vigor roll as normal
Temperance: The power affects one of your allies as well as the original target. A random enemy if beneficial power.
The Devil: Spirit check or your soul is taken over by a warp demon until you recover . On a critical failure, the effect is permanent.
Tower: You suffer 3d6 damage, bypassing armor
Star: You are blinded until you recover all your PP
Moon: You have a bonus of +2 to your next roll, but all allies suffer a penalty of -2
Sun: One random ally suffer 3d6 wounds, bypassing armor
Judgement: The Warp opens and a demon enters the battle, attacking the psyker and all who protects him.
World:Everyone in range is affected by the power, including the psyker.

Ok, these are just random ideas. I do not know what the actual perils of the warp are except from the fluff in some books, and i'm not particularly familiar with the backlash of the ''vanilla'' deal of the devil either. I just threw some effects based on the meanings of the specific Tarot cards.

Hey, should the Tarot be used on initiative checks too? Another game balance issue there, but is it so bad?
But the Voice consoles me and it says: "Keep your dreams;

Wise men do not have such beautiful ones as fools!"

--Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du Mal, 1857, Translated by William Aggeler, 1954

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#11 Postby skylion » Sun Oct 05, 2008 10:51 pm

Wow, I only read over half of that list before I thought, "this is a very cool idea"!

Then, I thought. Is it FFF? YMMV. Should I ST*U? :blam:
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#12 Postby Snate56 » Mon Oct 06, 2008 3:26 am

Well now you have to wonder if these events happen so often that no psycher would survive very long.


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#13 Postby Lord Abaddon of Wormwood » Mon Oct 06, 2008 6:04 am

I think it's a tad over kill. The Major Arcana might be used for Adventure cards or bonus/hindrances that could be stacked upon the effect.

As for Tarot games have a look at this one and see if there is anything that could be used here.

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#14 Postby JackAce » Mon Oct 06, 2008 7:31 am

While dentris' idea would indeed be quite cool, I think its quite an overkill.

Here's my first concept of Psyker Side Effects. The effect to take place is determined by the lowest card used in the final poker hand. If the powerr is cast with Power Points, draw one card and apply the result.

Ace-Jack: Harmless effects
10: Wind Gusts – -1 to all Agility and related Skill rolls within 12" until the Psyker's next action.
9: Eerie Shadows – LBT centered on the Psyker is cast in darkness (-2 to attack rolls into or out of this area) until the Psyker's next action.
8: Gravitational push/pull – All character in 12" must make a Strength roll or be moved 1" towards (black) or away from (red) the Psyker.
7: Seismic Shocks – All characters in 12" must make an Agility roll of fall prone.
6: Whispering Voices – All characters in 12" must make a Smarts roll or suffer -2 to their next action.
5: Dizziness – All characters in 12" must make a Vigor roll or be Fatigued.
4: Hypnotic Lights – All characters in 12" must make a Spirit roll or be Shaken.
3: Spatial Warping – All characters in 12" have their Pace and running distance halved for d3 rounds.
2: Temporal Inconsistency – Time stops for d6 rounds in an MBT centered on the Psyker. Characters lose their actions (but keep their cards). Any movement (including ranged attacks) into the area is impossible. The power's effect goes off as soon as the disturbance ends.
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Hm.

#15 Postby manifold » Mon Oct 06, 2008 11:58 am

Actually, the first thing that popped into my mind when you mentioned extra-dimentional thingys wating to get the psychers was Solomon Kane, with its more deadly backlash and instant fatigue with a failure.

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#16 Postby JackAce » Mon Oct 06, 2008 12:04 pm

For a while I was contemplating the SK rules with their rpeparation time. But Psykers in this setting have a number of combat powers at their disposal, and those wouldn't work with that system at all...
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#17 Postby Keltheos » Mon Oct 06, 2008 1:37 pm

Don't forget that not all the weird side effects the psyker may incur are dramatic. Something as simple as the room chilling, or voices whispering in peoples' ears may occur. I'd make at least 1 or 2 of the side effects a generic 'something minor' sort of thing.

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#18 Postby JackAce » Mon Oct 06, 2008 2:33 pm

That's what the cards Ace to Jack do...
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#19 Postby Keltheos » Mon Oct 06, 2008 3:11 pm

Man, it'd help if I read critically and not skimmed... :blam:

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#20 Postby dentris » Tue Oct 07, 2008 8:15 am

Well, i feel like the backlash are a bit underpowered. I mean, using psychic energy is supposed to be dangerous in this setting, and I remember that some potential effects are disastrous to the caster (ok, i understand the fact that it shouldn't be too dangerous, because nobody would want to be one, but some more danger would be appreciated)

And since I don't have cool ideas very often, I will try to expand on my Tarot cards project. The cool thing about it is you can actually "choose" the backlash if you have more than one Arcana and more than 5 cards. And in some case, a backlash can be beneficial. (But in some case, the backlash is just bad)

No matter what is used (normal or Tarot deck), i believe some lethal backlash should be used, some beneficial(or potentially beneficial) and "normal" ones.
But the Voice consoles me and it says: "Keep your dreams;

Wise men do not have such beautiful ones as fools!"

--Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du Mal, 1857, Translated by William Aggeler, 1954


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