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[nWoD+] ...for Mass Effect

Kiero

Retiring User
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As people may be aware from this thread, my group are looking to play a Mass Effect "break game". We had a chat about it last night, and the strong preference coming through for system was nWoD, which they're quite familiar with.

So given the "+" tag, there are two types of responses I'm not interested in having here:
1) "This won't work with nWoD, because..." - if that's all you have to say, please refrain from posting. If on the other hand you have some constructive ideas to fix perceived problems with nWoD, post away.
2) "I wouldn't use nWoD, why don't you use Savage Worlds/GURPS/FATE/True20/whatever-my-favourite-system-is". This is not a "recommend me a system" thread, I'm only interested in hearing how this could be done with nWoD. Again if all you have to say is some other system, please refrain from posting. On the other hand if there's a nifty mechanic from another system that you have an idea how it could be ported to nWoD, let us know.

The basics are fairly easy to do. We need some sort of starting point that isn't the default novice-mortal; ME characters are a lot more competent than the assumed starting position in nWoD. The regular 1-5 would represent baseline, unaugmented human ranges. Aliens wouldn't be bound by the same range, and augmented humans (through gene therapy and/or cybernetics) might be able to hit 6 in some attributes.

Possibly related to this are species packages; I think the easiest way to do aliens is as a package for each one (included attribute mods and Merits, perhaps skill bonuses). So that humans don't get stiffed, there should also be a human one. This might be an easy way to fix attributes, if everyone gets some bonuses to particular ones (and maybe humans get something like +2 to primary, +1 secondary). An alternative might be maxima and minima for each species, and just give everyone more points there.

Skills is another area that will need tweaking, some renaming, merging, splitting and the like. For example I think Brawling and Weaponry should be merged into Assault Training (because in this setting martial arts seem pretty integrated, and in any case it's gun-focused). Athletics might become Fitness. Might Firearms need splitting out (I'm wary of this sort of thing, since especially when there are two other non-combat areas of expertise it just stiffs Soldiers). Some generalised Technology skill, which subs for omni-tool use? There probably needs to be a Biotics skill for use with said powers.

Talking of which, tech powers and Biotics are two things that will need to be pulled from elsewhere, perhaps some of the "antagonist" variants from Hunter might work as nice and simple ones? Do we need some combat powers too?

We've got Armoury and Armoury: Reloaded, so I think most tech is just a re-skinning of what's in those. Shields as special health levels?

Just some initial thoughts. What have people done already?
 
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Gilbetron

cried twice in his life
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Obviously the right answer is to drop nWod and use Savage Worlds.

I keed, I keed!

I think nWoD is actually a really good fit - *if* you can get past nWoD combat. There is little to the way of tactics in it:
http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?598874-Fixing-nWoD-combat

That thread has some good ideas, but that's assuming you and your group would even have an issue with nWoD combat in the first place. Maybe the simplicity and brutality of the system is fine. Personally, I'd just divide the resulting damage by the defense, but that's all covered in the linked thread.

Otherwise, switch Morality to two tracks for Paragon and Renegade, that's easy enough. Have the value translate into a bonus for persuasion/intimidation, as well as qualitative effects on interacting with the plot.

No clue about how to use Biotics and tech stuff other than thinking you might be able to steal "monster abilities" from other books.
 

Patkin

ougikawa
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Using Infinite Macabre might be fruitful, as it provides rules for spaceships in nWoD mechanics (kind of a mobile sanctuary Merit), and has something that could conceivably be used for the mass drive things floating in space.
 

Miss Atomic Bomb

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The basics are fairly easy to do. We need some sort of starting point that isn't the default novice-mortal; ME characters are a lot more competent than the assumed starting position in nWoD. The regular 1-5 would represent baseline, unaugmented human ranges. Aliens wouldn't be bound by the same range, and augmented humans (through gene therapy and/or cybernetics) might be able to hit 6 in some attributes.
If I remember correctly, in EVE 1-4 dots was the human range and 4-6 was the augmented range.

Possibly related to this are species packages; I think the easiest way to do aliens is as a package for each one (included attribute mods and Merits, perhaps skill bonuses). So that humans don't get stiffed, there should also be a human one. This might be an easy way to fix attributes, if everyone gets some bonuses to particular ones (and maybe humans get something like +2 to primary, +1 secondary). An alternative might be maxima and minima for each species, and just give everyone more points there.
This is something I still haven't resolved to my satisfaction in my Star Trek conversion. I'm already cribbing Aspects, so I may just add some more for aliens and call it a day.

Skills is another area that will need tweaking, some renaming, merging, splitting and the like. For example I think Brawling and Weaponry should be merged into Assault Training (because in this setting martial arts seem pretty integrated, and in any case it's gun-focused). Athletics might become Fitness. Might Firearms need splitting out (I'm wary of this sort of thing, since especially when there are two other non-combat areas of expertise it just stiffs Soldiers). Some generalised Technology skill, which subs for omni-tool use? There probably needs to be a Biotics skill for use with said powers.
All of these changes make sense to me.

I also think I'd switch from Virtue/Vice to either Nature/Demeanor or just Nature. ME characters have vices, but don't seem to gain personal strength from them, with the possible exception of Garrus and his Justice/Wrath combo.
 

Mytholder

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A friend of mine has run a trilogy of Mass Effect con games using NWoD. I'll try to get him to weigh in with his rules tweaks.
 

phred

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I haven't looked at it in a long time, but Second Sight might help with building Biotic Powers.
Perhaps the telekinesis psychic abilities would give you a good starting point.
 

goblinchemist

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Second sight could be useful in building biotic powers, but it tends to be underpowered as it is directed for mortals. The spells from nMage may be a better fit for more powerful biotics.

Shields could be treated as extra health levels like you said, being the first to absorb damage and rapidly recoverable once combat is over (or maybe even inside combat at the rate of say 1 level per turn if you don't get damaged).

If you have access to White Wolf's Trinity books, a lot of the technology and powers of that setting can be ported over to nWOD since the two systems are very similar.
 

Kiero

Retiring User
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Obviously the right answer is to drop nWod and use Savage Worlds.

I keed, I keed!
:D

I think nWoD is actually a really good fit - *if* you can get past nWoD combat. There is little to the way of tactics in it:
http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?598874-Fixing-nWoD-combat

That thread has some good ideas, but that's assuming you and your group would even have an issue with nWoD combat in the first place. Maybe the simplicity and brutality of the system is fine. Personally, I'd just divide the resulting damage by the defense, but that's all covered in the linked thread.
I haven't played nWoD myself to comment, so I'll see what their views are on that. I won't be running this, but our GM might be by at some point.

Otherwise, switch Morality to two tracks for Paragon and Renegade, that's easy enough. Have the value translate into a bonus for persuasion/intimidation, as well as qualitative effects on interacting with the plot.

No clue about how to use Biotics and tech stuff other than thinking you might be able to steal "monster abilities" from other books.
Using morality tracks was one of the things we briefly touched on. The feeling was that not being protagonists in a computer game, we felt a little less bound by some of the facets of that approach, but it would be nice to reflect it somewhere.

Yeah, stealing things from other books is the plan.

Using Infinite Macabre might be fruitful, as it provides rules for spaceships in nWoD mechanics (kind of a mobile sanctuary Merit), and has something that could conceivably be used for the mass drive things floating in space.
Maybe because it wasn't a big deal in the games, but I don't know that detailed rules for spaceships matters all that much. Most of the focus is on the personal/skirmish-scale combat and socialising.

If I remember correctly, in EVE 1-4 dots was the human range and 4-6 was the augmented range.
I'm assuming aliens can go beyond that? I could easily see a krogan having Strength 7, for example. Or a salarian with Wits 7.

This is something I still haven't resolved to my satisfaction in my Star Trek conversion. I'm already cribbing Aspects, so I may just add some more for aliens and call it a day.
We're already playing FATE, and one of the expressed aims of a break game is to be different to the main game, so I don't think we'd go for an abstracted thing for aliens. Not that it couldn't work, mind, just that it isn't a good fit in our case.

A rough idea of the sort of thing I have in mind:
Krogan: +3 Str, -1 Dex, +3 Con, -1 Int, -1 Man, Giant, Iron Stomach, Natural Immunity, Quick Healer, Strong Lungs, Toxin Resistance, plus some Bad Reputation-type social Flaw. I don't think some of the others are as complicated, mind.

All of these changes make sense to me.

I also think I'd switch from Virtue/Vice to either Nature/Demeanor or just Nature. ME characters have vices, but don't seem to gain personal strength from them, with the possible exception of Garrus and his Justice/Wrath combo.
I wonder about perhaps renaming Virtue/Vice to Paragon/Renegade? Too simplistic?

A friend of mine has run a trilogy of Mass Effect con games using NWoD. I'll try to get him to weigh in with his rules tweaks.
Cool, look forward to it.

I haven't looked at it in a long time, but Second Sight might help with building Biotic Powers.
Perhaps the telekinesis psychic abilities would give you a good starting point.
Second sight could be useful in building biotic powers, but it tends to be underpowered as it is directed for mortals. The spells from nMage may be a better fit for more powerful biotics.
Indeed, Second Sight sounds underpowered, and we were talking about how Forces from nMage isn't necessarily a good fit either.

Shields could be treated as extra health levels like you said, being the first to absorb damage and rapidly recoverable once combat is over (or maybe even inside combat at the rate of say 1 level per turn if you don't get damaged).
Something like that, yes.

If you have access to White Wolf's Trinity books, a lot of the technology and powers of that setting can be ported over to nWOD since the two systems are very similar.
I've got Trinity somewhere, but I don't know how useful it would be.
 
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Lamoth

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Not familiar with the nWoD but could some paths of thaumaturgy or hedge magic be used to simulate biotic powers? Coming from oWoD a reskinned Lure of Flames would serve well for the direct damage stuff.
 

Miss Atomic Bomb

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I'm assuming aliens can go beyond that? I could easily see a krogan having Strength 7, for example. Or a salarian with Wits 7.
I'd allow that. In EVE, we didn't have aliens, so I never had to address it.

Infinite Macabre has good rules for building alien templates.
 
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