View Full Version : [Project Vanguard] Mass Effect hack

2012-01-29, 12:54 PM
Someone helpfully pointed out Project Vanguard (http://dl.dropbox.com/u/11101752/Project%20Vanguard.pdf) in another thread, and I like what I see. It's a pretty simple, slightly indie-ish sci-fi game about agents working for some organisation or other to save humanity. It doesn't list Mass Effect in its inspirations, yet the ease with which it could be used for that setting is uncanny. This would be more like a "Mass Effect is a game of complicated relationships between a team of specialists working together" than "Mass Effect is a hard tactical combat-game with crunchy mechanics simulating the reality-physics".

I'm seeing just three areas that would need work: aliens, Biotics and morality.

On aliens, the default assumption appears to be that everyone is human (and thus that is their stake in saving humanity). But of course I can't really imagine a Mass Effect game where every player wanted to play a human character, so we need options for the various aliens. Now the simplest way to do this here would be to treat it as fluff; just an alternative Home Territory and be done. A slightly crunchier option might be to involve it in the Background, though there's the danger there of evoking the OD&D thing of all members of a species being the same "class". Maybe give each alien race a special additional Training stat (at d6?) covering their particular nuances and special things (does that simply advantage aliens if humans don't have something similar?)? Or there's no doubt a fourth option of doing something entirely different.

On Biotics my inclination is to go with a Training stat that defaults to no dice at all, ie if you're not a biotic you can't use it at all (unlike most of the other Training stats). Perhaps you can take it at d6 if you drop another Training score by a die-step, and raise it by doing the same to others? Or maybe it just starts at d4 for Biotics and they raise it by re-assigning die-steps from other Training scores? Or they swap it for one of their existing ones? Otherwise I guess it just works like any other Training score in play, not sure it really needs any special rules to handle it.

On morality, the question here is whether or not Paragon and Renegade should be represented (as Training/Gear equivalents) and whether they can run in parallel (as in ME1) or are ends of a spectrum (as in ME2/3). I think it makes sense to allow them to be added to relevant Diplomacy and other rolls, depending on your approach to an interaction. It potentially allows another point of distinction between the various PCs if they differ in their levels of both. If they can work in parallel, then you could have both represented on the sheet, perhaps starting at d4 (or d6?) and raised in play? Otherwise if opposed, maybe d6/d6 is the maximum "balanced" position and you can choose to start d8/d4 or something. Thoughts welcome on that.