Sunday, October 17, 2010

By Grabthar's Hammer, We Live to Tell The Tale

Continuing with the details of my homebrewed Galaxy Quest RPG, the next thing on the discussion block is the player characters' Species or Template (haven't really decided what to call them and I flip flop between the two names on a regular basis).

Humans are the stars and begin the game with a Star Power of 1...Wait. Maybe I should talk about Star Power before Species.

So each PC starts the game with a Hero Point/Drama Point thingie similar to the old Force Point in West End Games' Star Wars RPG called Star Power. PCs can spend Star Power Points to double the final result of their next roll (hit, skill roll, even damage). The problem is, as anyone who has played Teenagers from Outer Space can tell you, sometimes getting too high a result can backfire on you big time. Heheh...

All the 'Jobs' start the game with a Star Power of 2 except the Commander who gets 3 and the Security Officer who gets 0. That's right, zero. Remember he's not a star, he's an extra.

Now, if the character is Human he or she at least starts with a Star Power of 1. So a Human Commander begins with a 4 in Star Power. Star Power may be awarded much like Hero Points in other games, for exemplary role playing, innovative thinking, etc. Experience Points (called Fan Mail) can also be used to purchase Star Power.

Now more on Templates...Species...Blast! Anyway, the Human Template begins with a plus 1 to any one Attribute and three skills at 3 points each for free: Culture, Trivia and an Athletic/Gaming/Sport skill. Each of these must be defined and they add to that quirkiness that all seemingly plain, vanilla Humans seem to have on their off duty hours. So for example, Old America, Antiques and Horseback Riding or 3-D chess would be right up the alley of the commanding officer from that other show that is so obviously a copy of Galaxy Quest. Please, don't get me started.

The Background Alien is an alien from a well established ally world or one that is seen in the background often. These can not be the 'only-one-of-my-kind' types or 'we've-never-encountered-your-species-before' deals. We know these guys. They're well established. Background Aliens choose three species related Alien Abilities, each at a rank of 3. In my game an NPC named Lt. Lilith appeared who was of the same species as Dr. Lazarus from the 'original' Galaxy Quest series (the Mak'Tars of Tev'Mek). She has The Mak'Tar Stealth Haze, knows the Mak'Tar Chant of Strength and the Healing Hands of Ipthar. These are all at rank 3. She can not gain new Alien Abilities and can not really loose these. She can of course improve these like any other skill.

The Prodigy is an unusual individual with ability and potential beyond the norm. Maybe she's an Android or a pre-academy age genius. The Prodigy gains a plus 3 to any one Attribute and a free plus 3 to any one skill. Unfortunately, many people are uncomfortable around the Prodigy and she may encounter prejudice. Maybe they don't feel a mechanoid is an effective officer or that she is too young to pilot a starship. Maybe they found out about the genetic engineering that gave her her advantages. Whatever the case, the Prodigy is the person you know you need but don't always want.

Last is my personal favorite, the Token Alien. Usually the Token Alien is from a species rarely seen, thought extinct, newly encountered or perhaps they just don't often join the NSEA Fleet. The Token Alien can, once per session, come up with an Alien Ability reasonable for its species. The ability is at a rating of 3. Next session it is gone and you can come up with a new one. However, if you want to use the Alien Ability from a previous session again, you must roll to see if the writers of the show remember that you had that power. You must roll a D10 and add the most closely related Attribute. If you beat a 15 you can use the ability. Write its name down with a 1 next to it. The next time you want to use that ability you do the same thing but this time you can add the one and so on. If you use the same power in 5 sessions, roll as before and try to beat a 20. If you do you get that ability permenantly.

My friend Allen's humanoid insect character has the ability to Communicate with Insects permenantly but has also evidenced limited Flight and the ability to Stick to Walls. Bare in mind that you can come up with a new ability in a session and than later in the same sessio try to use an ability you've used before. You simply can't come up with more than one brand new ability per session. I wanted to describe more about the adventure we ran and some other notes but that's all the time I have tonight.

Tell me what you think and I'll try to update you with more soon.

Barking Alien



  1. We never did the character development/molting in the captain's cabin episode. :)

  2. Um, this is pretty awesome. I like the idea of Star Power, and it fits well with the game's theme. Looking forward to more!

    P.S. BA, I keep meaning to tell you that I think there's a color setting in your posts that makes your text invisible when it fires off an RSS feed--like it's the same color as the background. When I see them in my reader it looks like there's no text (but there's a big "blank" space where the text would be visible). Just FYI.

  3. @RavenFeast- Yet. We haven't done it yet. Heheh.

    Not sure why that is exactly. The text is white on the black background with highlights and titles in shades of green.

    It may not work well with the RSS but I like the way it looks on the blog. :(