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A SWADE Bioshock conversion

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  • A SWADE Bioshock conversion

    Howdy hey my fellow nerds. I've been casually working on a SWADE conversion of Bioshock and have finally got it to a point where the earliest prototype can be shared.
    Everything that's currently there is Bioshock 1 and 2 related. So sadly no Colombia. I've got stats for various enemies though no major NPCs. Let me know what you people think. This is my first time doing something like this and any input would be amazing. So please point out any major flaws in what I've got going so I can polish this.
    Last edited by LateNightSpaghetti; 03-27-2020, 08:10 PM. Reason: So I tried Balancing out Races and and Edges as well as various other changes. It's still obviously rough but I think I've madea a step in the right direction. Thanks to ValhallaGH for the input so fa

  • #2
    Welcome to the forum!

    Pretty neat stuff.

    I recommend you check out, and apply, the Pinnacle Style Guide. That will make your formatting more consistent and compress your NPC stats into the normal format (and probably save you two pages).

    You don't even mention the option of playing a human, which is odd.
    Alpha Series protectors have 4.5 points of benefits and 6 points of drawbacks. They're mechanically weaker than humans, and anyone choosing to play one is going to suffer.
    Little Sisters, by contrast, are mighty super humans with 9 points of benefits and only 2 points of drawbacks, for a net +7 race.

    Given all the class conflict, racism, and nationalist-based discrimination in Rapture, I have to wonder why Outsider is banned. Or are you just focused on the post-apocalytpic version we play through in most of 1 & 2? Instead of the "looming apocalypse" version seen in the Burial At Sea expansion.

    No one gets Artificer for free. Banning the Edge makes sense, but no one gets it for free. If you're version of the rules says that they do then you need to go to wherever you bought Adventure Edition and update your copy.
    Why is Rapid Recharge (and Improved) banned? With EVE around, most folks aren't going to take the Edges, but for someone that wants to be Eve-free it's a great choice.
    Why is Chi banned? Is no one in Rapture unnaturally good at unarmed combat? Does something about living under the sea make it impossible to get that good?

    New AB:
    Super Splicer is over powering. It's Gifted with a free New Powers Edge and a Minor Hindrance bolted on. Too good.
    Test Subject is similarly over strong, but since you have to take the hamstrung Alpha Series race, that isn't a problem.
    Plasmid isn't written like a new Arcane Background but it is one. It's a weak form of Gifted, when all the other version are empowered.
    Changed Gifted to "Spliced". It works like Gifted (1 power, 15 PP, Focus) but every time the character gains a power from a Plasmid they also gain a new Hindrance from the current Super Splicer list. This reinforces the "rapid growth at terrible price" theme while letting 'clean' splicers be playable thanks to the New Powers Edge.

    Emancipated is conceptually great but mechanically one more trap for any fool stupid enough to play an Alpha Series.

    Johnny Topside is pure benefit. You get story hooks, a massive Persuasion bonus, and bennies for role playing being a new fish. It also doesn't fit the lore of Rapture. New arrivals were common until Ryan's paranoia spiked during the Fontaine-Atlas transition.
    Incompatible should be reversed. Not getting to shoot lightning is a minor hindrance, but not getting the cheatery of additional Advances is utterly crippling.
    Spliced is a weird blend of Habit (Major) and Outsider. Mechanically it is boring, it doesn't have much fluff, and I can't see anyone choosing to take this even if they want to play a splicer - I'd recommend they take Shamed, Secret, or Delusional instead.

    As written, Plasmids and Tonics are game breaking and the bane of a GM's existence. Each one is a single use Advance that sits outside of normal character progression. In the video games this works well since there isn't any other Advancement system; there is only the improvements of new gear, gear upgrades (weapon stations and such), new plasmids and new tonics.
    ... That might be the correct fix. Just describe every Advance as the characters injecting themselves with Tonics or Plasmids. Conveniently looted from the end of the latest challenge.

    I barely skimmed over the critters, so no feedback on them.
    I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.


    • LateNightSpaghetti
      LateNightSpaghetti commented
      Editing a comment
      This is all amazing advice. Since I've not worked this much with SWADE as I have past editions it really helps to know where things are broken. And seeing that everything needs a lot of tweaking it seems I've got some work ahead of me. Thanks.

  • #3
    Welcome to the forums!

    Looks like you updated a few things since Val's response. Here's my own 2 cents... first, I would also highly encourage you to follow the Style Guide (linked above) as well as adhering to the tenets of the Fan License. You can also save a lot of page space and make the document much more legible (and navigable) if you use a double-column page format. I understand it's still in the draft stages, but it's something to consider when you ready to start finalizing the document.

    As for the actual content...
    (I'll handle these as separate posts so discussion can be made using Comments. Also, it'll cut down on "text wall" syndrome.)

    Alpha Series
    Here's my breakdown of their abilities:
    • Deep Sea MW: This essentially provides Semi-Aquatic (+1) and a situational Reduced Pace (-0.5) with a uniquely Trapped "Can't Swim" Hindrance (-0.5). If the character falls into a tank with sheer sides he can't climb or destroy, he will suffocate in 15 minutes. Total value: 0
    • Knight in Rusty Armor: A +1 Size boost, which increases Toughness (+1) and a weak +1 Armor bonus (+0.5). Total value: +1.5.
    • Drill: This can probably be considered a Natural Weapon, since it's essentially part of the character. It deals d4 damage (+1) with AP 2 (+1), but covers the character's hand. Unless the drill can moved aside, this effectively bestows the One Arm Hindrance... but let's say it can be moved! +2 points.
    • More Than Human: A typical Strength increase, for +2 points.
    • ADAM Dependent: The Dependency ability. -2 points
    • Cannot Speak: -1 point
    • Titan's Footsteps: -2 to Stealth (-2 points)
    • Made for a Purpose: A minor compulsion... I'd probably value it as -1
    This is +5.5 points of positive abilities (at best) and at least -6 points in negative abilities. First, I would bump the Armor value to at least +2, and increase Drill damage to Str+d6, AP 2. This would bring positive abilities to +7. I would also limit Titan's Footfalls to movement-based Stealth, which would drop it to a -1 ability, lowering the total negative ability track to -5. This brings the Alpha to a net +2 race.


    • #4
      Little Sister
      • No Starting Funds: Equivalent to Poverty. -1 points.
      • Regeneration: +2
      • Immune to Poison and Disease: +2
      • Lost Daughter: The Young (Major) Hindrance -2
      • Rose-tinted Glasses: Partial Fear immunity. +1
      • Unsettling Appearance: -2
      • Strength Penalty: -2
      +5 positive, -7 negative
      From Val's assessment (which I trust), you went from a +7 race to a -2 race... Seems you overcompensated a bit there! I don't know what you had before, but it looks like you need to bring some of it back.

      I'm leery of long racial ability lists, and this one is already pretty long, so I'd opt for one massive ability instead. Something like... her own Big Daddy protector! A "permanent" Veteran-Ranked summon ally would be worth around 4 points. That could be a good place to start.

      p.s. - Why no Big Sister race?
      I think that would be more fun to play than a creepy little zombie girl.
      Last edited by Deskepticon; 03-28-2020, 05:10 AM.


      • LateNightSpaghetti
        LateNightSpaghetti commented
        Editing a comment
        I should definitely differentiate between certain Bioshock 1 and 2 content that only work depending on the time period. Like separating Brute Splicers and adding Rumblers as specific to Rapture in 1968. And Big Sisters are a great addition as an enemy. And a player race for them would be interesting for sure.

    • #5
      Power Surge is forbidden?!
      In a game heavily based around genetic enhancements, I could easily see Power Surge being Trapped as several different types of mutation. Same with Soul Drain.

      AB Splicer and Plasmids
      I can get behind what you're going for here. I like that a Splicer can either take the safe route and buy their powers with an Advance, or "fast-track" their progression at personal risk.

      The part that gets iffy is the "non-splicer" plasmid user. I like the three-round wait time before a plasmid can be used, I like the Vigor roll to avoid Shaken, and I really like rolling for drawbacks. Here are my suggestions on the other stuff:
      • A first-time injection provides 5 Power Points (not 10) and the power contained in the Plasmid. Each subsequent injection only provides the power.
      • Non-splicers can take the Power Points Edge, but not other Power Edges.
      • Without the Splicer AB, Power Points don't recharge; they require EVE injections. Each "dose" of EVE replenishes 5 PP, though multiple doses can be administered as a single action ("doses" are used merely for pricing purposes).
      • Non-splicers can still burn a Benny to instantly replenish 5 PP.
      • Powers always requires Focus, meaning without the skill a character is rolling d4-2. This applies to Splicers and non-splicers alike.
      • A non-splicer is eligible to take Arcane Background (Spliced). Doing so grants her 1 power and +10 Power Points. She now begins recharging PP normally and can select other Power Edges.
      Can't Speak and Made for a Purpose are -1 abilities, while ADAM Dependent is -2. The benefit of this Edge is therefore skewed depending on what the player chooses. Also, the Edge doesn't say it can be taken multiple times, so it's a "one-and-done" deal as written. No chance to gain back more of your humanity after that first step.

      ALSO... why limit this to just character creation? Why couldn't a player seek to emancipate their character during the campaign? That makes for a great character-arc, and it would be very fulfilling for the player to have some shackles removed after being restricted by them for a time.

      Johnny Topside
      This just seems to be the Fame Edge without the Performance bonus. As is, it's a little on the weak side, providing only about +1 points of benefit. I'd say just go with Fame. Remember, Performance can be used for more than just entertaining... it can be used "acting"... as in acting like someone else. "Mr. Johnny Topside" can be a famous movie star or politician, and how would anyone from Rapture know the truth. Using Performance to bloviate and woo residents can be used as grounds for receiving favors and other narrative goodies.


      • #6
        I was trying to sleep and started thinking about this instead. So, some suggestions:

        Alpha Series Protector ("Old Daddy") Net +2
        • Big: Subtract 2 from Trait rolls when using equipment that wasn't built for Protectors. Cannot wear normal clothing or armor. -2
        • Chemical Controls: Compelled to assist and protect Little Sisters. Smarts rolls to resist assisting a Sister are at -2, and attacking a Little Sister requires a Smarts roll at -6. -1
        • Dive Suit: Can hold breath for 15 minutes before checking for drowning. Provides 2 Armor. +2
        • In Charge: Off-hand drill deals Str+d6, AP 2, but renders the protector effectively One Armed. +2
        • Large: Size +1, increase max Strength one die type. +1
        • Ponderous: Pace 5, Running d4. -1
        • Strong: Strength starts d6, max d12+1. +2
        • Vocal Surgery: Cannot speak but can communicate with other Protectors and with Little Sisters. -1
        I ignored the idea of a stealth penalty because none of the Big Daddies you encounter in the games are bothering to use Stealth.

        ADAM Harvester ("Little Sister") Net +2
        • ADAM Healing: Make Natural Healing rolls every day. Can heal permanent injuries once all Wounds are recovered. +3
        • ADAM Health: Immune to Disease and Poison. +2
        • ADAM Source: Little Sisters are the most common and easily located source of refined ADAM in Rapture. This makes them a frequent target of attacks by splicers and criminals. Treat as the Wanted (Major) Hindrance. -2
        • Protected: Harvesters are protected by any nearby Protectors. Screaming in fear with compel any nearby Protectors to come and help. Harvesters can move around Protectors safely and even convince them to tag along on walks. +2 (essentially the Beast Friend Edge).
        • Rosy Outlook: The mental side effects of ADAM give the harvesters a delusional view of reality. Environments look elegant and well decorated, edibles always appear to be the finest treats, harmless creatures appear cute, ADAM-rich corpses look like sleeping angels, allied creatures appear cute and cuddly, and only hostile creatures appear threatening. The bad news is that Harvesters have Delusional (Minor). The good news is that she almost always enjoys her life. -1
        • Young (Major): ADAM Harvesters begin as young girls, between ages 8 and 11. -2
        Again, these are suggestions based upon my own impression of the archetypes.
        I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.


        • LateNightSpaghetti
          LateNightSpaghetti commented
          Editing a comment
          More amazing input. Thank you so much for the tips and advice. It's all really comprehensive and honestly helps me a ton.

      • #7
        Aren't Little Sisters undead? Like everything else in Bioshock, they are a horror. I saved them in the game, but burned the rest of the place to ashes. Stupid Objectivists. And aren't Big Daddies enemy NPCs?

        Cool ideas. And you get to use screenshots to show the players for a bonus!


        • ValhallaGH
          ValhallaGH commented
          Editing a comment
          Little Sisters are alive. If you rescue them in the first game, they grow up and become fairly normal women.

          You play as a big daddy in the second game.

        • Deskepticon
          Deskepticon commented
          Editing a comment
          Little Sisters are undead-like, but they aren't undead as the term is understood. They are genetically engineered mutants.

      • #8
        Darn you people. Got chills reading all this and remembering these fantastic games. My goodness. Makes me want to play again.


        • #9
          I love seeing the work y'all are putting in to this.

          Any idea if there are any table top style maps of any of the major areas of Rapture? It's pretty easy to find the maps from the games, but they lack the kind of detail one would want for grid based combat.