Wednesday, July 25, 2012

SWN Abilities, Take 3

After further feedback and some rethinking, here is another crack at the abilities.
Some of these are halfway between suggestions I have received and my own picky sensibilities. I am considering taking KC's advice about Brutality and allowing Warriors to auto-kill opponents with 1 HD. I'm not sure if I"m ready to try that out again.

So, here we are:


Warriors: Pick one special ability at 1st level.

*Veteran's Luck- As written. This is the default Warrior special ability.

*Brutality- Against opponents with 1 Hit Die or less, the Warrior may make a number of attacks equal to his experience level.

*Dead Eye- Once per combat, the Warrior can make one attack that will not miss on the roll of anything other than a natural 1. This ability must be declared before the roll is made.

*Resilience- The character gains +2 hit points at 1st level, and gains an additional +2 bonus hit points every time the character gains a level.

Experts: Pick one special ability at first level.

*Like a Charm- As written. This is the default Expert special ability.

*Learned- The character gains 4 skill points per level.

*Specialty- Pick a specific skill, such as Tech/Postech or Persuasion. Once per day, the Expert can make a skill roll with that skill that cannot fail unless a "natural 2" is rolled. This ability must be declared before the roll is made.

*Skin of Your Teeth- Once per game day, the Expert may automatically pass a saving throw. This ability can be used even after the GM declares the results of a failed saving throw.

Psychics: A Psychic gets a special ability based on her primary discipline.

*Biopsionics- A biopsi may roll hit points twice at each level and take the best result.

*Metapsionics: Once per day, the metapsi can force an opponent to fail a saving throw vs. one of the metapsi's psionic powers. Alternatively, the metapsi can instead automatically save against a hostile psionic attack directed at him. This ability can be invoked after the original saving throw is rolled.

*Precognition: +2 to individual initiative. When using group initiative, the precog and another party member both roll for initiative, and the group may take the better result.

*Telepathy: Once per day,the telepath can determine if someone has just deceived him. He doesn't necessarily learn the truth, but he knows that something is a lie. This ability may not work against AIs or aliens with very different thought patterns, at the GM's discretion. The target may resist with a Mental Effect save, though he doesn't realize he has been telepathically probed.

*Telekinesis: -1 Armor Class.

*Teleportation: Once per day, the jumper can "slip" an attack or an area of effect hazard (typically something that would require an Evasion save, like a grenade blast or an avalanche.) The attack is considered a miss (or the save is considered successful), but the jumper is stunned for 1d4 rounds afterward. The jumper can declare this ability even after the GM announces the damage taken or results of a failed save.


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1 comment:

  1. These look quite good to me. As for specific suggestions:

    Brutality: A warrior with a shear rifle is already going to be nuking almost any normal human in one shot, and they may not necessarily run into too many targets that require vast firepower. To up the feel of "blood-crazed human scythe" without actually adding much of a mechanical boost, I'd consider keeping the base Brutality ability you list here and letting them instakill any 1 HD creature they hit. It'll save on damage die rolling and let them feel more badass, being able to kill Joe Guard with their bare hands and a hit roll.

    Learned- I'd add "All skills are class skills." to this. Even if they instantly turn around and pump up a combat skill, they still won't better a matching warrior's bonus and won't have his special ability. It will, however, spread the temptation around about which skills they should buy with their newfound skill points.

    Biopsionic: Roll twice for hit points at each level and take the better roll. (A biopsion won't necessarily have more hit points than the Resilient warrior, but they'll almost always be about as tough as a psychic can be.)

    Metapsionics: Once per day, either automatically succeed at a saving throw versus a psionic effect, or force a target to automatically fail a saving throw against a psionic effect. (Metapsionics is the power that makes your other powers stronger. There aren't any save-or-die psi powers, so forcing a failed once a day isn't going to trivialize much.)

    Precognition: The group gets +2 init thanks to the precog's warnings, and the precog himself is never surprised. (A little something for the group, and a little something for the psychic himself.)

    Telepathy: Once per day, tell when someone is attempting to deceive them unless the target succeeds on a Mental Effect save. (People are always lying to PCs, and the PCs always want to know when it's happening. People who go big into Telepathy tend to Really Want To Know, so you can give even 1st level telepaths a tool for this.)

    Teleportation: Once per day, reflexively teleport just far enough to avoid an attack or impending bad thing, up to 5 meters. The teleporter is then stunned for 1d4 rounds. (A largely inferior version of Veteran's Luck, basically, that lets the psychic trade an instant death for an instant-death-if-my-friends-don't-save-me. PCs won't use this unless they're looking at death otherwise.)

    You've likely noticed how I dropped the auto-save perks. It's a design thing that dates back to the old Ranger bonus against favored enemies; when building perks for PCs, it's usually best to avoid perks that are meaningful only when the GM makes them meaningful. If you don't specifically insert a situation where they're going up against Save X situations, a free Save X won't get used. There are always conditionally-useful perks, but some situations organically arise from play a lot more readily than others- being lied to, getting shot, rolling initiative, etc. Of course, if your campaign is full of psychics, then a freebie Mental Effect save could well be a condition common enough to be appealing. In general, though, I like to focus on abilities that could be useful often in a Generic Adventure and then let the PC decide when he wants to trigger them. It gives them more decisions to make.

    (But if that's the case, why do freebie saves exist in Other Dust's mutation tables? Because not all of Other Dust's mutations are meant to be equally useful, or even particularly useful. If I were building a keynote ability for a class rather than a randomly-generated mutation, I'd use a different set of criteria.)

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