Thursday, June 23, 2016

Other Thoughts on Zero-G combat Skill

Jeffro, over at Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog has highlighted the Zero-G Combat skill, introduced in Book 4, as an example of the difference between Old School and New School gaming. I understand his point, but I'm not jumping into the Old/New controversy here. I have a different point. 

Book 4 takes the Vacc Suit skill and breaks it into three skills: Vacc Suit, Battle Dress and Zero-G Combat. This is not necessary, and leads, as Omer Joel puts it, to skill creep

When fighting in a zero g environment any individual ha a chance of losing control of his movement/position each combat round. Roll 10+ on two dice to avoid losing control Apply the following DMS: Firing a weapon: -4. Firing a low-recoil (zero-G) weapon -2. Using a hand hold +5. Striking with a blade weapon . . . or similar: -6. Wearing Battle Dress: +2 per level of BD Skill. . . . Fore each level of Zero-G combat expertise: +4. Dexterity of 9+, +2 Dexterity of 11+, +4. Using a handhold reduced dexterity for the purposes of weapon accuracy by four.
Individuals who lose control may not fire until they have reoriented themselves and regained control Roll 10+ each subsequent combat round to regain control with all DM;'s above in use except that handholds may not be use nor may weapons be fired.”
Note that Book 4 makes Battle Dress skill separate from Vacc Suit, but the distinction only matters if a PC is carrying a PGMP-13 or FGMP-14.

Compare that with the Book 1/Starter Rules:

“A basic throw of 10+ to avoid dangerous situation s applies whenever any non-ordinary maneuver is attempted by an individual while wearing a vacc suit (such as running, jumping, hiding, jumping untethered from one ship to another, etc). DM +4 per level of expertise. When such an incident occurs, it may be remedied by any character with vacc suit expertise (including the character in danger himself ) on a throw of 7+. Dms: +2 per level of expertise. No expertise DM: -4. Battle Dress is a special form of vacc suit and may only be worn by individuals with vacc suit-1 or greater.”

The throw to avoid a mishap is the same (10+, 17%) made much easier by 1 level of 0-G/Vacc skill, from 10+ to 6+ (72%). The mishap recovery throw is different Bk1: 7+ w/ a +2 DM; Bk4: 10+ w/ a +4 DM & more if your DEX is high. So they take two routes to the same place.
Do you see that having separate skills does not really expand a PC's set of abilities? Instead of two or three skills do the following:

  1. Do away with the Zero-G combat skill altogether, and for that matter, the Battle Dress skill. Keep Vacc Suit as the wearable-life-support-system-when you're-in-space skill. 
  2. Take the throws and DMs for zero-G fighting and move them to the Combat rules section under Special Considerations. Any player who's PC has Vacc Suit skill can work out his avoid/recover DMs ahead of time.  
  3. If the PC wants to come from a world/government with TL 13+, call it Battle Dress skill instead, and then incorporate the special rules, but in all other respects treat it as Vacc Suit skill.

There are probably other skills from Books 4,5,6, and 7 that could be folded back into the LBB's skill list. That's for another post, another day. 

1 comment:

  1. Most of teh Book 4+ skills are quite fiddly an narrow. Communications, for example, can be very easily folded into Electronics, and Gravitics into Engineering. Oh, and Instruction is very harmful to your game as it leads to easy skill bloat.