[50F] Homebrew & Updates[?]

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Jounichi
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[50F] Homebrew & Updates[?]

#1 Postby Jounichi » Fri Jan 02, 2015 3:00 pm

Okay, so I'm looking to start up a 50F campaign. Right now it's going to be a small group of probably only three players; but I digress.

I'm looking at updating the races and gear a tad, borrowing from PotSM and the new race guidelines from the SFC. The only real gear changes are adding the bayonet and leg protection to chain, so no biggie. The problem I have is the racial stuff.

If I swap out the double-cost to advance certain Traits (Strength for Atani, Smarts for Grael & Half-Ugak) for a -2 penalty, it makes advancement to learn Edges easier while significantly changing up the gameplay. Berserk, all of a sudden, becomes a far more viable Edge; but I'm worried about the Atani. Subtracting -2 from their Strength rolls will negatively impact their melee damage.

So I'm turning to the Fantasy Companion. I'm already importing the Natural Warrior chain for Kehana and Scurrillians, so I'd like some input on what you all think of tweaking Barbaric Blood for Half-Ugaks and Double Shot for Atani. Is it too niche? Am I gimping Atani playstyle? Are the Half-Ugaks going to be too powerful?

EDIT:
Switching up the subject a tad. Maybe that'll generate some new interest.
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#2 Postby Jounichi » Thu Jan 08, 2015 2:55 pm

It's been nearly a week and nothing? Come on, people!

Anyway, I was crunching some numbers. Importing the Barbaric Blood change and reskinning it for Half-Ugaks isn't necessary with the -2 to Smarts. They'd have to ace their Wild Die to fail at triggering Berserk, so letting Smarts go up to d6 for meeting Edge requirements is pretty useful. Theoretically the same could be said of the Grael, and now that there's no BB chain nobody has an arguably unfair advantage.

And then came the Atani. Suffering a -2 to Strength is just murder. It takes a Strength d6+Short Sword and drops the mean to roughly on par with a Strength d4+Knife. It might be marginally better (I'm not calculating Raises), but even if there is an advantage it's small enough to not be worth it. It's crippling.

So I'm compromising and taking a page from Avions (found in both SWD and the SFC). Atani would now suffer only -1 to all Strength rolls as well as -1 Toughness.
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#3 Postby amerigoV » Thu Jan 08, 2015 3:04 pm

I am running a 50F game now, but everyone is either Human or Masaquani. I did not tinker at all with the races since the new 50F was Deluxified already.
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#4 Postby Jounichi » Fri Jan 09, 2015 12:02 am

And I don't think they necessarily need to be, either, but I do like how the new racial abilities switch from penalizing players along development tracks to simply modifying rolls. It's easier now to play against type than it used to be, though it's not perfect. I don't think any way would be.

And honestly, some builds would probably still leave those hindered attributes at a d4. A Grael who wants to be a Whaler and can throw a Harpoon with maximum force is going to want Agility d8 and Strength d10; which is three of his five points for attributes. No matter what he spends his other hindrance points on, he's stuck with a d4 in something. It may as well be Smarts, but with the modification I'm implimenting if he wanted to play against type then getting his Smarts up higher to better afford the skills to be a Ship's Carpenter wouldn't feel unnecessarily punitive.

The same goes for Gunsmith, Improvisational Fighter, Investigator, McGyver, Scholar, Woodsman, and whatever else you can come up with for a Grael or Half-Ugak character. It might seem out of place, but let's face it: the old rules were limiting and it's a good thing they were changed. If I wanted to play a Half-Ugak slave-laborer turned gunsmith, I'd have to spend two hindrance points and all five of my starting attribute points just to meet the Smarts requirement; if I were playing by the RAW. With my proposed tweak it only costs two attribute points, and I call that a win.

###

I'm not knocking you, your group, or how the game is being played at your table. It would be moot to do so; even if someone in the group was playing a Grael or Half-Ugak. Feel free to try it out with NPCs, but if you don't then no big deal.

Happy gaming. :)
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#5 Postby Zero Mostel » Fri Jan 09, 2015 2:17 am

Is this going to be a Pre or Post Destruction of the Sea Witches?

My Last 50F Group decided to stay clean away from the Witches and focus on things more realistic. Like overthrowing the Emperor Jannt, Undermining the Spanish League, Setting up viable colonies in the Red Mans Lands, and shipping ice everywhere.

If you use Caribdus as a Demi plane rather than a whole world, ti makes more sense. You can tie it into any number of other realms. (I had Men of Leng winding up there after a bad storm and trying to offload slaves.)
As the chicken said to the lion, "You knew the job was dangerous when you took it."

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#6 Postby Jounichi » Fri Jan 09, 2015 10:21 am

Zero Mostel wrote:Is this going to be a Pre or Post Destruction of the Sea Witches?

Pre-destruction. If they players want to go after them then the option is still there, but Caribdus is a big enough sandbox I could see them not getting around to it for a while.
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#7 Postby Jounichi » Tue Feb 24, 2015 2:37 pm

Okay this is my first post in a while. I had to put the work on hold for a bit due to some drama in my personal life, but I've come back to the thread with some more to share.

Grael don't really suffer too much if the Dumb hindrance (two attribute points to advance during character generation & two advances to increase during play) is swapped out to a simple -2 penalty to all Smarts rolls. Advancing it to meet Edge requirements is easier, though it does put them in a precarious position with Tricks. No, the problem is with the Half-Ugak Red Men.

See, the Red Men already suffer from being Clueless. This change would effectively bring their Common Knowledge down by -4; which I'm not sure is, how we say, fair. I'm also fairly certain that starting with Tough as Nails has artifically inflated their value. It's technically a Legendary Edge, but it's 1/2 of Brawny; just a +1 ability. Grael are somewhere between a +2 and +3 race on the adjustment scale, while Red Men are more like -2. We'd have to weigh Tough as Nails as a +5 ability to bring the Red Men all the way up to the default +2 all races are supposed to be at. All the drawbacks make sense, but something probably should change. It's a big hang-up, and one that could lead to crapping this whole pet project.

The Atani are a tad easier to handle. Swapping out Weak for a -2 penalty to Strength severely limits their melee potential; which I don't want. Even the default Atani can wield a knife or rapier without impunity, and actually do well with one in hand, and I want to keep that feeling. Then I noticed how the description for Weak mentioned "hollow bones" and got an idea: Strength suffers a -2 penalty and Toughness is reduced by 1. This keeps the creative spirit behind the Atani intact while also acknowledging other flying races from both SWD and the SFC.

So, to sum up, they look like this.

Atani (+2)
    Agile (+2): Agility d6, up to d12+1 through normal advancement.
    Frail (-1): -1 Toughness.
    Gliders (+3): Flying d6 & aerial movement.
    Weak (-2): Strength suffers a -1 penalty
Grael (+3.5)
    All Thumbs (-1): As per the hindrance.
    Blubber (+1.5): +1 Toughness, +4 to resist cold fatigue, -2 to resist heat fatigue.
    Dumb (-3): -2 Smarts.
    Semi-Aquatic (+2): Swimming d6, "breath-hold" diver (15 minutes).
    Size +1 (+1): +1 Toughness, hard time finding clothes & armor to fit.
    Slow (-1): Pace 4 on land.
    Strong (+4): Strength d8, up to d12+2 through normal advancement.
Red Men (-2)
    All Thumbs (-1): As per the hindrance.
    Clueless (-2): As per the hindrance.
    Dumb (-3) -2 Smarts.
    Outsider (-1): -2 Charisma.
    Strong (+2): Strength d6, up to d12+1 through normal advancement.
    Tough (+2): Vigor d6, up to d12+1 through normal advancement.
    Tough as Nails (+1): +1 Toughness.

###

This isn't perfect, mind you. The free d6 in Swimming, and even simply being semi-aquatic in a largely oceanic setting, are probably worth far more than I give them credit here; and the same goes for gliding. However, there is a clear achievement gap here when it comes to the Red Men. Like I stated before, Red Men probably had their Tough as Nails ability weighted at a +5 or +6 ability, simply because it was a Legendary Edge; which would bring them up to a +2 or +3 race.

To be clear, I do NOT want to redo every single race. I only wish to update them somewhat to bring them more in line with the guidelines from the SFC, which I imagine will eventually supplant the race creation rules from SWD in the next edition of the core book. I could nitpick setting balance to death, which nobody wants so I won't do it.

The first two were easy. I just want to get this last race right, and then decide whether or not I'll use them.
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#8 Postby arnon » Tue Feb 24, 2015 3:46 pm

Strange I have not seen this thread before, what with me scouring the site for discussion on 50 Fathoms. We just had our 2nd session. :)

On topic. I do not have the SFC, so I cannot comment on the numbers you use to calculate ability worth (I can see they are different from SWD).

Atani look OK.

Grael: If you want to get to the +2 total racial modifier, then either loose the Slow movement, or lower the Smarts penalty to -1.

Red Men: Options can be to remove Clueless All Thumbs, lower Smarts penalty to -1. It still leaves him a powerful combatant, but with the general view on Red Men in Caribdus, then he might be a target more than once, and perhaps ignored completely in social situations.

Still another option for Red Men, is maybe let the player decide 2 from among Strong, Tough, or Tough as Nails.

---------

You made me take a second look at the Races in 50 Fathoms, and it does seem that not all races are created equal, and i'd even consider changing the Dumb/Weak racial hindrance of the above race to only being double cost at character creation.

Cheers,
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#9 Postby Jounichi » Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:55 pm

The setting and races were made back before there were hard rules, like those found in the Fantasy Companion. It's also been stated numerous times that abilities can be worth more in some setting than in others. In a world of mostly water, even just being semi-aquatic is a big advantage. Conversely, the Atani's Glider ability should probably be +2 instead of +3 because it's not true flight. However, it does give them a certain level of maneuverability unheard of anywhere else. It's incredibly rare, valuable, and with help from an air mage can really take off; pun intended.

Heck, Humans are technically a +3 race if they've been in Caribdus for 6 months or more. It's just a free d6 in Knowledge (Masaquani,) and it's just to cover the basics of communicating in the dominant language, but it's there. Masaquani are a +2, but then again they're also perfectly fluent. It's rare for die rolls to be used for communication anyways; it's more of a general proficiency we hand-wave.

The build for the Red Men only really falls apart because Tough as Nails is probably valued higher in the core material than it should be. Without taking away a negative, swapping out Tough as Nails for Hardy would fix most of the issue; but even then they're +0.

Something either has to be added or taken away, and I'm not sure what it should be. Clueless becomes somewhat redundant with the new Dumb, and a -4 to Common Knowledge does hurt quite a bit, but I don't want to step on the toes of those who worked hard to compose the setting. I could simply reduce the penalty from Dumb down to -1 to keep the total number of abilities the same, which would leave Red Men at +1. If they keep the +1 Toughness and just roll it in to Hardy then they'd be at +2, which could work, but then I'd feel awkward leaving the Grael at -2 Smarts. I'd have to adjust them, too, which then raises them to +4.5. It would make them consistant with the others, but I question the merits.
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#10 Postby arnon » Wed Feb 25, 2015 1:50 am

I understand the advantages of certain racial abilities in certain settings, but still some races seem to be a bit stronger.

I'm not a fan of socially debilitating Hindrances for races, as it can hinder the concept you might have for a character.

That is why I suggested to remove Clueless. If you want, give all Red Man who never left their homeland (the Savage Land), the Clueless edge as they know nothing else... but for a PC, let him decide if he/she want's it as a hindrance to the PC.

All Thumbs is also one i do not especially like as a default for races. Not all of a race would be so inept with mechanical devices. I can understand the Grael with their big blubbery hands getting the Hindrance, but for Red Men it's just to show how "primitive" they are. Again, not necessarily relevant to a PC character.

Cheers,
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#11 Postby JamesG » Wed Feb 25, 2015 11:39 am

Riffing off some of your ideas, how about this for the Red Men:

Red Men (+3)

All Thumbs (-1): As per the hindrance.
Clueless (-2): As per the hindrance.
Dumb (-2) -1 Smarts.
Outsider (-1): -2 Charisma.
Strong (+2): Strength d6, up to d12+1 through normal advancement.
Tough (+4): Vigor d8, up to d12+2 through normal advancement.
Hardy (+3): A second Shaken result in combat does not cause a wound.

Now the combo of Dumb and Clueless is a -3 instead of -4, so it's not quite as bad. And it seems to me to retain the flavor of by the book build.

Or, if you agree with arnon that All Thumbs and Clueless shouldn't really be intrinsic to the build, how about this:

Red Men (+3)

Dumb (-2) -1 Smarts.
Outsider (-1): -2 Charisma.
Strong (+2): Strength d6, up to d12+1 through normal advancement.
Tough (+4): Vigor d8, up to d12+2 through normal advancement.

Then just note that Red Men raised "in the wild" should consider taking All Thumbs and/or Clueless as Hindrances.

Out of curiosity, have you run the Doreen, Kehana, Kraken, and Scurillians through the SFC race building system? If so what totals did they come in at?

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#12 Postby Jounichi » Wed Feb 25, 2015 9:24 pm

JamesG wrote:Out of curiosity, have you run the Doreen, Kehana, Kraken, and Scurillians through the SFC race building system? If so what totals did they come in at?

I'm not concerned with those races. Like I stated earlier, I'm not interested in reinventing the wheel. I was just thinking I'd update some of the racial abilities as outlined in SWD with the ones from the SFC; which, as I understand, are supposed to supplant the old rules, but may not have because a new edition of the rules has not been published. For most its not a big deal. It's just the Red Men that it becomes potentially problematic.
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#13 Postby JamesG » Thu Feb 26, 2015 1:45 pm

I just realized a potential flaw in my Red Men write up, by making them not as dumb (-1 Smarts instead of -2) they won't be as good with the Berserk Edge.

Some solutions:

A) Nothing. The Half-Ugak will be able to go Berserk easier than most races, but the Grael will go Berserk even easier. Whether this is an issue or not is subjective. You could even decide that a full blooded Ugak has a -2 to Smarts (and hence go Berserk as easy as the Grael). For Half-Ugak their Human or Masaquani parent makes them just a little smarter and more civilized.

B) Give them the full -2 to Smarts, but change "Clueless" to "Somewhat Clueless", which only entails a -1 to Common Knowledge rolls (and is a -1 Racial Ability). This keeps the racial cost the same, and the same combined -3 to Common Knowledge rolls, as my original write-up.

C) No changes to my write-up, but import the Barbaric Blood edge chain from the Fantasy Companion for Red Men only. This will allow Red Men to be more effective berserkers than the Grael if they invest in those Edges.

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#14 Postby Jounichi » Sat Feb 28, 2015 9:28 am

It is entirely possible I'd just say "screw it" and not even concern myself with trying to balance the Red Men. I could just update the Dumb penalty and leave it at that.
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#15 Postby Nostromo » Thu Mar 05, 2015 5:27 pm

I really like your ideas here.

I was also thinking of running a campaign in 50F but not necessarily push the main Plot Point.

Jounichi, what are you doing for your sessions? Are you using the existing Savage Tales only? or are you adding your own? Some insight into how you are running your sessions (what adventure hooks you are using while not pushing the PP) would be beneficial to some of us i think,
thanks!

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#16 Postby Jounichi » Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:40 pm

Nostromo wrote:I really like your ideas here.

I was also thinking of running a campaign in 50F but not necessarily push the main Plot Point.

Jounichi, what are you doing for your sessions? Are you using the existing Savage Tales only? or are you adding your own? Some insight into how you are running your sessions (what adventure hooks you are using while not pushing the PP) would be beneficial to some of us i think,
thanks!

I apologize to everyone in advance for the thread necromancy.

The scenario I had written up was a reskin of Paizo's Skull & Shackles adventure path to fit the world of Charybdis. The first (of six) books carries the party through conscripted slavery aboard a pirate ship to a deserted island where they ostensibly break free, and the second book starts them off with their own small vessel. I adapted it to incorporate Maiden Voyage at the end of the first book, but now they had the option pursue either the politics of the AP, the peril of the PPC, or just sail to their hearts' content. I do want to stress the two adventures became inextricably linked, and that dealing with the pirates and politics of the Kieran Empire could have made the eventual conflict with the Hags easier.

Unfortunately, my players lost interest with the ship's upkeep rules. I might try taking the campaign online at some point, but not at the moment.
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Re: [50F] Homebrew & Updates[?]

#17 Postby Jounichi » Wed Apr 05, 2017 1:33 pm

So, now that someone actually reminded me of this once forgotten thread I've decided to finish my work on it. I present to you my takes on the updated Grael and Half-Ugak

Grael
    All Thumbs (-1): As per the hindrance.
    Blubber (+1): +1 Toughness, +4 to resist cold fatigue, -2 to resist heat fatigue, +2 damage from fire/heat.
    Dumb (-3): Smarts -2.
    Semi-Aquatic (+2): Swimming d6, "breath-hold" diver (15 minutes).
    Size +1 (+1): +1 Toughness, hard time finding clothes & armor to fit.
    Slow (-2): Pace 4 on land, d4 running die.
    Strong (+4): Strength d8, up to d12+2 through normal advancement.
Adjusting the Smarts down took care of most of the work. Adding in the bonus fire damage was a missing piece of the equation in the SFC I didn't include, and I feel adequately "balances" the race to the +2 standard.

Half-Ugak
    All Thumbs (-1): As per the hindrance.
    Clueless (-2): As per the hindrance.
    Dumb (-2) Smarts -1.
    Hardy (+3): Multiple shaken results do not cause wounds.
    Outsider (-1): -2 Charisma.
    Strong (+2): Strength d6, up to d12+1 through normal advancement.
    Tough (+2): Vigor d6, up to d12+1 through normal advancement.
    Tough as Nails: Toughness +1.
I know, this looks like a pretty solid buff. And it is. The Smarts penalty arguably isn't as severe (it technically has a lower negative cost) and Hardy is yet another defensive ability. At present I'm lacking a better name for Tough as Nails; I'm not sure whether it should be the Legendary Edge or another ability. I've considered whipping up a mirror of the Grael's Blubber to reflect how Half-Ugaks live in a tropical rain forest and might not handle the frozen north very well, but I'm not sold on it yet. In any case, I'm no longer weighing Tough as Nails as a +6 ability just because it's a Legendary Edge.
Last edited by Jounichi on Wed Apr 05, 2017 3:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [50F] Homebrew & Updates[?]

#18 Postby JamesG » Wed Apr 05, 2017 2:41 pm

The Grael as you present them come out at +4.5, not +2. In my version I gave them the full Smarts -2 penalty, at a cost of -3, to get them down to a final cost of +3.5.

Your Half-Ugak do come out at +2. But a large part of that is due to Hardy at +3. I know I suggested it but that was before I saw your and Zadmar's analysis of it, showing it is pretty over costed for what it does. I don't think it is more valuable than +1 Toughness, which is a +1 ability.

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Re: [50F] Homebrew & Updates[?]

#19 Postby Jounichi » Wed Apr 05, 2017 4:00 pm

JamesG wrote:The Grael as you present them come out at +4.5, not +2. In my version I gave them the full Smarts -2 penalty, at a cost of -3, to get them down to a final cost of +3.5.

Your Half-Ugak do come out at +2. But a large part of that is due to Hardy at +3. I know I suggested it but that was before I saw your and Zadmar's analysis of it, showing it is pretty over costed for what it does. I don't think it is more valuable than +1 Toughness, which is a +1 ability.

Thanks for the catch. That was a copy and paste job from above, and I should have double-checked everything before actually posting it. The only thing which really changes from the original now is the d4 running die.
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Re: [50F] Homebrew & Updates[?]

#20 Postby JamesG » Thu Apr 06, 2017 3:16 pm

The Grael do add up to +2 now, but I have to question how you arrived at some of the ability values. I'm assuming you are using the costs, where available, from the Science Fiction Companion. If not could you elaborate on what you are using?

Looking at Blubber, there are a number of parts to it.

  • +1 Toughness costs +1. And it is Toughness, not Armor. See: viewtopic.php?f=62&t=44754&p=413287
  • +4 to resist cold fatigue costs +1. Per the SFC this should also provide +4 armor vs. cold attacks, which is not noted in the Grael write up. If you decided to leave this off to reduce the cost of the ability I'm not sure it should be worth half the cost. There are very few attacks with cold Trappings in 50 Fathoms. The Norwhale's Icy Blast is the only one that comes to mind. Reducing the cost to +.75 I think is fair, if you leave off the armor.
  • -4 to resist heat fatigue costs -1. This also adds +4 damage when attacked with a heat trapping. Since the Grael only suffer -2/+2 the cost should be -.5.

So the total for Blubber is +1.5, or +1.25 if you want leave off the armor vs. cold based attacks. You cost it as +1.

Slow has a cost of -1 to reduce Pace by 2" and to reduce the Running die to a d4. You cost this as -2.

If you use my SFC derived values the Grael cost 3.5, or 3.25 if you reduce Blubber by leaving off the armor vs. cold.


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