Rules: Proposed Changes
Arcane Empire II
Our first Arcane Empire is quite successful, but as always there are a few tweaks to be considered. Accumulation of bonuses stands out; a character with the minimum starting skill possible (1D: 3) has 21 points less than a character with the highest possible starting specialization (8D: 24); the gap si slightly less for humans (2D: 6) to (7D: 21) for 15 points. The difference is considerable, but if a bonus of 30 or more is added the lowly character overtakes the dedicated specialist.
1) Bonuses stack, but not beyond a certain point; This is simply a capping system so a maximum bonus of 5 (1D+2 equivalent) is available, and no matter how many bonuses are stacked more than that is never added as a bonus to a roll including circumstance and equipment bonuses (the exception being skill points and hero points) this eliminates the need to track what type of bonus a character has.
2) No dodging bullets; this was in the original rules but was dropped to speed the transition to the new system, obviously it should be included as standing in the open while enemies fire and not getting shot is neither realistic or dramatically appropriate. Fix is targets become 5 at point blank, add 5 per range category or level of cover and concealment – light/25%, Medium/50%, Heavy/75%, Total/100% a person with total cover can’t be hit but a person with concealment can if the shooter can estimate their position (assumes a short/medium/long range system rather than range increments). In this system a character is considered exposed on any round they move or take an aimed shot.
3) Armor/Invulnerability limitations; stacking magic armor, natural armor, and stoneskin can result in damage reductions of 20 or more which is desirable for the players, but like dodging bullets results in behavior modified by being immune to damage; this is probably best dealt with by granting only the best defense – stoneskin then becomes an option for those in light or no armor while heavy armor provides consistent bonus but is bulky and obvious (This may seem harsh combined with the higher damages below).
4) Spell Casting Complexity; the spell balance seemed to be working well for the spell casters and non spell casters, but the current system is a little confusing for those not intimately familiar with the system, it would be desirable to streamline it without changing the balance. Will likely modify spell point recovery (recover 1 per die per hour and double if actually sleeping) and eliminate splitting bilocation/dimensional realms for spell extension (Love it, but if it’s too good not to do then it’s probably too good).
5) Up and simplify damage; convert damage as maximum instead of half (allow saves for half when appropriate). Make Bloodied occur at damage equaling pips in Toughness and Coma occur at twice toughness pips in damage with death at three times toughness pips in damage. Subdual damage would recover 1 point per die per minute while real damage would recover 1 point per die of toughness per day but could be added to by the dice of skill for an attending physician and doubled with bedrest.
6) Up technology to include cybernetics and more common robots (use the non-slot magic item cost to figure costs for booster items or double equipment cost for built in devices such as head mounted radios or rangefinder eyes). Robots cost can be based on the Phantom servant/driver spell for skilled non-combat robots (30,000 for 3D+2 skill add 6,000 per pip more), unseen servant (2,000 credits) for unskilled robots, and animate dead for combat robots (change DR type to Adamantine instead of slash or bludgeon) – weapons and other systems can be built into robots like cybernetics 1,750 Credits for a basic light combat robot (1 HD skeleton) and 2,000 Credits for a basic heavy combat robot (2 HD zombie) add 250 per HD to 14 maximum (attack skill is 2D plus 1 pip per HD).
7) Starships and Grav vehicles; a hyperdrive is 500,000 credits and acts as a greater teleport as long as the vehicle is clear of atmosphere (200 plus miles over surface). An antigravity drive allows a vehicle to float or even fall up is 750,000 Credits and will let non-streamlined vehicles reach 200 mph in atmosphere and accelerate at 1 G in space. Grav Lifters/Levitationals are 80,000 Credits per ton of the vehicle they support (can be bought in ¼ ton increments for 20,000 each), A levitational provides no thrust relying on sails, props, or thrusters to move (optionally flying creatures) and can gain or lose altitude at 2 mph without assistance and has no altitude limit. A Grav floater is similar to a levitational, but can go more than 3 feet from the surface, but they are only ½ as expensive (40,000 per ton or 10,000 per ¼ ton). Life support is 60,000 Credits for a standard 6 person system which provides air, temperature, and pressure safety but doesn’t provide food or water (10,000 per extra person for larger systems, they run as long as the vehicle has power and don’t need to be replenished). A Grav Chute (slows a falling vehicle to prevent damage) is only 8,000 credits (a personal grav chute worn like a parachute harness is 4,000 credits or 8,000 as a built in cybernetic system).
8) Holoprojectors are 1,000 credits (creates a hologram up to 1 cubic foot) or 2,000 credits for a system that projects to a ten foot radius (18,000 credits for a 20 ft radius, and 46,000 for a 30 ft radius projector).
9) Potions and wonder drugs should have their cost reduced to 1/10 what is listed; a basic cure light wounds potion or dose of instant-heal is 5 Credits while a potion of remove disease or dose of pan-immunity is 75 Credits. This only applies to the items following the Potion rules.
10) Skill chips fall under cybernetics, but are priced as slotted items instead of non-slotted because they require a chipslot to use (chipslot is 100-2,500 credits and a person can have more than one: 100 = lvl 1, 400 = lvl 2, 900 = lvl 3, 1,600 = lvl 4, and 2,500 = lvl 5 representing the highest bonus chip they can run; chips are the same cost and can be changed in 1 round). Dreamchips can be played in any level chipslot and cost anywhere from 5-100 credits depending on the popularity and last up to 1 hour (chips can be bought as a chip or downloaded to a datapad).
11) A Dreamchip recorder will record all a persons senses on a standard chip (1 hour per chip) and most sold are made by editing multiple recordings together to make an interesting or exciting story.
12) Cybernetic limbs and organs are efficient though they offer no enhancements (1,000 credits to replace limb or organ; 200 to restore use to a damaged organ which wasn’t lost). If enhancements are desired they can be purchased separately at the cost of a non-slotted magic item that would perform the desired function or twice the cost of regular gear (an arm could hold a concealed dagger or pistol at twice the list price).
13) Full cosmetic surgery is 3,000 credits and can accomplish any change a disguise self spell could, but can’t be changed later and is a real change.
for range changes assume short is the same as 1 increment, medium is 3 times short, and long is 10 times short. 20 ft = 20/60/200, 100 ft = 100/300/1,000.