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[Ashen Stars] Converting to Mass Effect

Shattercrack

Great Sage Equal of Heaven
Validated User
I was hoping to run Ashen Stars with my group, but only got them really pumped about it when I mentioned those magical words - ‘Mass Effect’. So, it’ll take a bit of work to hack Ashen Stars to run Mass Effect. This thread will represent my ideas – it’s going to be rough and fluid, and I’d love it if you can chip in with any ideas and feedback. At the end, there’ll be a PDF or wiki article to assist other groups running Ashen Stars in the Mass Effect setting. This will require a copy ofAshen Stars, knowledge of the Mass Effect setting and perhaps a copy of Mutant City Blues as well.

I think Trail of Cthulhu is fantastic, and it's certainly great at streamlining investigation-based scenarios. Ashen Stars takes the GUMSHOE system and launches it into a space opera setting and this hack tries to re-skin Ashen Stars into handling investigative-space in the Mass Effect setting. [Ashen Effect? Ash Effect?]

Let's get straight into it.

SKILLS
AS has the psychic skills used by the Vas Mal race - Consciousness Simulation, Dreamsight, Neurosight and Timesight. In the ME setting, these could represent a rare biotic implant. This implant would be open to all species, but the user must take the Sensory Biotic Overload (re-skinned Pyschic Vitality) general ability in order to maintain their use of these rare powers.

I’m not sure what to do about the following skills and whether they’ll be relevant in the MA setting: Neural Rewiring (give to Salarians?), Pathway Amplification (give to Asari?), Phase (?), and Probability Override (?). I did give Resist Battle Frenzy to the Krograns.

I didn’t think Emotional Suppression and Enhancement Integration were relevant to the ME setting.

Viro Manipulation would become Biotic Manipulation, about installing and maintaining biotic implants.

CYBERNETICS/VIROWARE
I think the trickiest thing about this conversion is to adapt AS’s cybernetics and viroware system into ME. My idea at the moment is dump all cybernetics and viroware into a big pool. In the ME setting, some will represent species racial powers. Others will represent biotics. PCs will still have to pay the standard install/upkeep costs for powers, even for racial ones they might feel they should have by default. Fluff-wise, this represents the costs for species-specific diets or biotic implant maintenance.

SPECIES - ROUGH DRAFT 1
Asari
Boosts: History (Asari), Negotiation, Reassurance, Flirting, Law, Inspiration, Xenocultures
Suitable Drives: Chronicler, Council Unity*, Footloose, Exploration, Justice-Seeker, Professionalism, Sexual Adventure
Unique Drives: None.
Other Modifiers: None.
Species Specific Abilities: None.
Species Specific Powers: Aggravator (p137), Dominator (p138), Peacepipe (p139), Stimulust (p141)
Cybernetic Compatibilities:
Cybernetic Clashes:
Viroware Affinities:
Viroware Susceptibilities:
Special:

Turians
Boosts: History (Turian), Bureaucracy, Cop Talk, Interrogation, Reassurance, Atheltics, Scuffling, Shooting
Suitable Drives: Atonement, Avenger, Comradeship, Council Unity*, Family Tradition, Justice-Seeker, Professionalism, Programming, Something to Prove
Unique Drives:
Other Modifiers
Species Specific Abilities:
Species Specific Powers: Keratinized Epideris (p138), Proprioceptian Booster (p139)
Cybernetic Compatibilities:
Cybernetic Clashes:
Viroware Affinities:
Viroware Susceptibilities:
Special:

Krogan
Boosts: History (Krogran), Intimidation, Athletics, Scuffling, Shooting, Explosive Devices, Resist Battle Frenzy, Healthy
Suitable Drives: Avenger, Derring-Do, Hotshot, Local Independence*, Pursued, Programming, Role Model, Something to Prove
Unique Drives: Genophage Redeemer*
Other Modifiers: Hit Threshold +1, Hand-to-Hand +1 damage
Species Specific Abilities: Resist Battle Frenzy
Species Specific Powers: Autonomic Avenger (p127), Bad Liver (p128), Beserker (p128), Internal Rebreather (p131), Regenerate (p140)
Cybernetic Compatibilities:
Cybernetic Clashes:
Viroware Affinities:
Viroware Susceptibilities:
Special:

Quarians
Boosts: History (Quarian), Data Retrieval, Decryption, Energy Signatures, Forensic Engineering
Suitable Drives:
Unique Drives: Footloose, Exploration, Pursued, Role Model, Tech Hound
Other Modifiers
Species Specific Abilities:
Species Specific Powers: Biofueler (p128), Dataloader (p129), Headdisk (p130)
Cybernetic Compatibilities:
Cybernetic Clashes:
Viroware Affinities:
Viroware Susceptibilities:
Special:

Salarians
Boosts: History (Salarian), Botany, Geology, Chemistry, Astronomy
Suitable Drives: Chronicler, Council Unity*, Exploration, Professionalism, Scientific Inquiry, Tech Hound
Unique Drives:
Other Modifiers
Species Specific Abilities:
Species Specific Powers: Amper (p127), Dopamine Redirector (p129), Honeybee (p130), Chameleon (p138)
Cybernetic Compatibilities:
Cybernetic Clashes:
Viroware Affinities:
Viroware Susceptibilities:
Special:


Unique Drives

Local Independence (Replaces Bleedism). You believe in local government and local rule – either concentrated to a particular system or a cluster of planets that share cultural similarities. You do not believe in the rule of the Citadel Council from afar – how can they know what matters to you and your sector? Only local solutions can deal with local problems. Paradoxically, you are are a peace-keeping official for the Council, but only because you can do the best job of keeping the Council out of your local space and letting your people put on their own show. Your main goal is to try and arrange some long-term independence for this region, and keep the pointy-headed bureaucrats of the Council away.

Council Unity (Replaces Combinism). You are a staunch believer in the Citadel Council, and the traditions that have kept the galactic civilisation functioning for thousands of years. You are proud to be part of a great, centralised government, spreading Council justice and wisdom to the edges of the galaxy. You are a peace-keeping official for the Council because you believe the ideas, tradition and wisdom that the Council represents, and that the galaxy is a better place for these qualities.

Genophage Redeemer (Krogan). You search for a way to save your own species for the gradual extinction caused by the genophage. You nurse a deep-seated, but carefully-concealed hatred towards those who inflicted this upon your own species, whether you believe to be the fault of the Salarians or the Citadel Council itself. You also need to find a way for your species to maintain itself

BIOTICS/TECH POWERS
I had trouble wresting the biopics from ME directly into AS, one thought I had was to raid Mutant City Blues. But arrg! This gives me two power systems that kind of overlap! I should really pick one system or the other. Ideally, each MCB power would have an install and upkeep cost to fit into AS's budget.

Maybe I should just dump the entire viroware/cyberware system from AS and just use the MCB powers to simulate the species abilities instead?

SPECIES POWERS
Asari. Emotion Control (MCB,p46), Empathy (MCBp47), Endorphin Control (MCB,p47), Sexual Chemistry (MCB,p61)
Krogran: Armor (MCB, p39), Blade Immunity (MCB, p39), Regeneration (MCB, p61)
Quarian. Technopathy (MCB, p34).
Salarian. Cognition (MCB, p40), Lightning Decisions (p56).
Turian. Spacial Awareness (MCB, p34), Armour (MCB, p39).

BIOTICS
Barrier. As Forcefield – MCB, page 50.
Lift/Throw. As Telekinesis – MCB, page 67.
Singularity. As Gravity Control – MCB, page 51.
Unity. As Healing – MCB, page 51.

TECH POWERS:
Concussive Shot. As Concussion Beam, MCB p42.
Tactical Cloak. As Invisibility, MCB p55
Cryo Ammo. As Cryo Blast, MCB p52.
 

Shattercrack

Great Sage Equal of Heaven
Validated User
New species!

GETH
Boosts: History (Geth), Data Retrieval, Decryption, Energy Signatures, Imaging, Industrial Design
Suitable Drives: Atonement, Avenger, Pursued, Exploration, Programming
Unique Drives:
Other Modifiers
Species Specific Abilities: Neural Re-wiring, Enhancement Integration
Species Specific Powers: Biofueler (p128), Dataloader (p129), Handgun (p130), Headdisk (p130), Headlight (p130), Internal Headset (p130), Occular Input Analyser (p131), Phosphorolytic Battery (p132)
 

3Jane

Devil's advocate
Validated User
Hi, have you done any further work on this? I just got myself Ashen Stars thinking of running a ME conversion :)
 

3Jane

Devil's advocate
Validated User
Awesome, thank you! I especially appreciate the extra biotic/tech powers listing, as I don't own Mutant City Blues. I might have some more feedback after I get to play or GM it :)
 

Scott Alvarado

Retired User
I like what you've got. I think I'm going to use this as a jumping off point for my own attempt. One change I will make is that Turian skin isn't really armor, but a natural protection against the radiation on their home world (http://masseffect.wikia.com/wiki/Turian).

I'm thinking that tech powers can be simulated well by using a new general ability (Engineering), like characters might use Preparedness to acquire certain weapons. The test might be modified by the type of Omni-tool used, and boosted by race. That would make Quarian engineers with a Polaris Omni-tool as badass as they should be.

I should say that I haven't played AS/MCB much less GMed it. Hopefully modding it this way will scratch that itch somewhat.
 

3Jane

Devil's advocate
Validated User
I'd add two other “Investigation” type skills for awesome player moments Paragon and Renegade
I'm not sure that a skill is the way to go with P/R simulation. Clever banter can only come from the players themselves. I'd also try to make all roll outcomes awesome just because being a PC should get you cool factor. Reputation seems to be more suited to P/R conversion.

Since we're talking about extra skills - there's a thread about Night's Black Agents where they mention Networking which supposedly works like Burning Wheel's Circles. That's what I'd port :)
 
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