Friday, May 21, 2010

Stellar Quest: Specialties...

Good Afternoon, All:

In thinking about the classes for Stellar Quest, I looked at ways of expressing class abilities in a very Old School manner. Using Swords & Wizardry as my model, it looks like every class pretty much should have one special ability at 1st level and then there's the traditional 9th level ability to reflects reaching "Name" level. While I could go with something generic like giving each class a bonus on ability checks used to resolve actions when the ability is the prime requisite of the class, that somehow feels like I'm repeating the same basic concept as the SIEGE Engine from Castles & Crusades. In addition, some classes provide opportunities for differentiation. For example, the Operations class could reflect training and skills in Communications or Engineering, while the Flight class could cover Navigation or Piloting. To reflect that, I'm considering the introduction of the concept of Specialties.

Specialties remind me somewhat of Non-Weapon Proficiencies from 2nd Edition, or possibly skills. At their most basic, a Specialty simply gives a bonus on ability checks to resolve a particular kind of action. Anyone can try anything, in keeping with the Old School philosophy, but some people are just better at certain tasks than others. A Specialty in Engineering gives bonuses when making checks to build or repair starship systems, while a Specialty in Navigation provides bonuses on checks based on astrogation, plotting courses and even knowledge of the stars. My current thought is that each class allows you to choose one Specialty out of a list of two to four options. I may even give Humans a bonus Specialty to reflect their adaptable nature (and make up for their lack of racial abilities). If I do that, this would explain why Humans are the predominate species within "Star Fleet".

Is something like this enough? Is it too much? What do you think?

Now, NWPs from AD&D 2nd Edition can also represent minor abilities instead of skills, such as being Ambidextrous. I would prefer not to do that with Specialties, as it takes us into the realm of talents (ala MyD20 Lite) or feats (D20 System). However, if I do go that route, then I can introduce alien-specific Specialties like the Vulcan's mind meld, er, I mean Eridanite's share minds ability. For that matter, I could also explore the addition of a psionics system, but that's a matter for another post.

With Regards,

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