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Mass Effect: Torchbearers (Inactive)

Game Master UltraFennec

A Mass Effect universe game set in the two-year interim between ME1 and ME2, with potential to go further. Using a homebrewed conversion of Star Wars SAGA Edition ruleset.


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With the arrival of the final chapter in Commander Shepard's story, I've been inspired to look back on the various ideas I've had for a Mass Effect game over the years.

Without getting into a lot of detail (mostly because I haven't nailed down many yet), does the idea of a PBP game in the Mass Effect universe intrigue anyone?

Play would be set in an era without Cmdr. Shepard's presence, either in the two-year interim between ME1 and 2 or in a yet-to-be-defined era post-ME3.

As for system considerations, I've looked at an awful lot of them and right now a Star Wars Saga Edition conversion is looking most likely because I know that system already.

Please post any questions, considerations, or interests here, especially if you've got thoughts on making an SWSE conversion successful and flavorful to the ME universe!


Are you aware that there's an existing SWSE conversion for Mass Effect? Rather a good one, too, imo. I'd certainly be interested in giving it a go.

As for an era, how would starting the game before the events of Mass Effect 1 happened sound to you? Either just after first contact, with a group of humans not terribly familiar with the galaxy moving out to explore opportunities; or, during the period more immediately before the game, with humans and batarians clashing in the Traverse and a group involved in that conflict in some way as specialist mercenaries?

Lantern Lodge

I am interested, though i have no pbp exp. Im familier with d20 star wars


I've seen a few SWSE conversions for Mass Effect, and didn't particularly care for any of them. Most of them attempt to make everything from scratch using the basic SWSE mechanics, something I don't think is necessary at all when plenty of existing stuff in the sourcebooks could be renamed and altered only slightly to fit.

That and the best pre-extant conversion I've found is framed entirely around ME1's mechanics, and to be frank I prefer the latter games in the series mechanically. I'm aiming to be closest to ME3 mechanically, as I find it to be a happy hybrid of the first two games' attempts.

As for era of play, I'll take your idea under consideration Bluenose. Like I said, I haven't nailed much down yet, mostly it depends on how many potential story hooks I can dredge out of any particular spot in time.

Andoran

Ooh ooh pick me!

I haven't seen any of these conversions, but I've played with SWSE quite a number of times. Putting it into a Mass Effect setting is sweet.

I'd personally enjoy the interim time more than a post series game.


Wandslinger said wrote:
Ooh ooh pick me!

We'll get to that. For now, this is an interest check. If I can't find enough people to play and whatnot, I'm not doing all the work a conversion takes lol.

I'll retitle the thread or make a new one when Recruitment is "official."


Its interesting. I want to be a badass Soldier, its what I play every game. :)


Well, you'd definitely get the opportunity if accepted to the game. The biggest part of my conversion is going to be finagling the six ME classes into working order.

I might also leave the Noble in as an NPC class renamed "Diplomat" or something like that, but by and large I'm focusing on the "core" ME experience.


My wife would be interested too, we were talking about it the other day. She thinks Garrus and Thane is sexy so depending on the game, I'd play one (if the option is available) to appease her.


I plan to include stats for most of the galactic species. Some of these statblocks will be familiar because I'm going to alter existing SWSE stuff wherever possible.

Krogan, for example, can be built on the Wookiee race block rather easily.


For people unfamiliar with SWSE can you point us in the right direction?

Andoran

Your FLGS is your best bet, or Barnes and Noble, etc. The game stopped being supported by Wizards sometime last year I think? Or two, I can't remember. The internet is also rife with less than legal copies, though I certainly think the system is worth paying for.


What is SWSE?


Star Wars SAGA Edition. I keep forgetting people don't know all the acronyms I do, sorry.

It's a variant on the d20 system put out by Wizards of the Coast after SW Episode 3 came out, and is considered by some to be the "correct" direction for an evolution of the d20 system post DnD 3.5.

There's about 10 books total in the product line, but you don't really need more than the core rulebook to play. Anything that I take and alter from a book outside the Core will be posted somewhere for people to reference.

Because it is still a d20 system game, it shares some (not all) of the foibles and problems of that system, and has a few unique ones of its own that I'll attempt to address where necessary.


Bump. Conversion goes splendidly. Just gotta finagle some classes and their bonus feat n talent lists.


Alright, you twisted my arm. I assume that UltraFennec is AdamantGlassOrchird?

I wonder what to play... Hrm. Also, I haven't played ME3, much to my saddening. May I suggest a play-time somewhere between ME2 and ME3, or even concurrent with ME2?


Yup, AGO here.

I'm planning on setting us in the two-year interim between ME1 and 2. Players will be taking on the roles of members of a cross-species squadron put together by some...connected people who wish to follow Shepard's example in wake of his/her/it's untimely demise.

The idea's that you'll be the prototype for the N7 Special Ops group that ties into the ME3 co-op idea. Do well for yourselves and you'll draw the notice of well-connected employers. Do even better and maybe you'll draw the Council's notice...;)

I'll try to make the PbP experience as painless as possible for you Shadow. X3

Lantern Lodge

I am interested but please dont be like me2 and tell me I have to use smgs instead of a sniper rifle because of class. Maybe let classes select their preferred weapons and how many weapons is based on class. adept, engineer and sentinal might get pistol(everyone should get this) and one other Infiltrator and vangaurd, get two and soldier gets three.

Just a suggestion.


I played a Soldier so I could use every good weapon in the game and Adrenaline Rush. I used the Sniper Rifle and Rifle primarily, myself.


If it's based on Star Wars' Saga Edition, getting proficiency in a weapon your class doesn't have as a base should be as simple as choosing a feat.

Osirion

I could certainly be tempted by this; I have at least a passing familiarity with SWSE :-)


dot for interest. I've been wondering about a ME rpg since I got my hands ME 2, I mostly play adepts atm though I've played through ME2 as a soldier and infltrator too, I just love blowing up singularities...

Anyway, color me interrested.


That's certainly plenty of interest.

Right now I'm working on paring down the available feat list, because some of them don't work well in an ME setting, and some of them are just...not worth a feat slot.

After that I'll be going into workhorse mode and creating the six ME classes, along with their requisite bonus feat and talent lists. Expect to see some familiar things, and some unfamiliar things. If I've done it right, every class will have its unique points, but built on the same "base" so there's a common ground between all of them.

On weapons, I'm looking at giving each class a baseline of Proficiency feats and letting further specialization come from bonus feats and similar things. I don't want to lock people out of weapon choices because of class, but I will be building classes with an eye toward their intended combat role first and foremost. If you're playing an Adept, chances are you're going to be using your powers more often than a gun is the idea.

A last note on the conversion: Please don't expect any of this to be perfectly balanced, especially on first pass. I tend to build based on flavor and "cool"-factor first, game balance second. Everything will be posted in a Google Doc for players (and me) to peruse though, so if you see something that looks out of place or seems over/under/mediocre, shoot me a message about it.

OK. Next subject: does anyone have a particular preference for play "arena?" Meaning a particular PbP site or something? I posted this here on Paizo because I consistently meet great players here, but I've actually grown to love using GDocs for PbP for example.

Shout em out!


I've never used GDocs for PbP but I would be willing to give it a shot. I'll look for the SWSE book to get a feel of the game.


How would one even use Google Docs for a PbP? Give everybody editing rights to the same 'story' page? Well... That could work, but it would be a bit confusing, I'd think, since you'd need to work extra-hard to differentiate your pieces from everyone else's.


I've grown rather fond of the paizo board actually, I've been on several others and rpol.net seems to work the best as it has all the required features but I just like being able to monitor all my games on one site so, if selected, I vote for paizo.


@ShadowDragon: Basically I create the necessary Docs, everyone gets editing rights to the IC and OOC Docs, and everyone picks a text color to use for all their posts. Given how many choices exist, it's pretty easy to make sure nobody picks an eye-burning color. This differentiates everyone's posts. Die rolling would probably use Invisible Castle if we used GDocs.

GDocs also has the advantage that if we do end up with multiple people looking at the Docs at the same time, we can chat in the sidebar and coordinate posts together if desired, so it can become more like a chat or live game.

UPDATE: Feat list is done. Everything in the Core is allowed, just in case people wondered. I'm renaming a few things and excising others entirely in other books.

EDIT: I had a strange idea. One I'm not sure about, but felt I should share.

How would people familiar with SWSE feel if I removed any class limitations on talents, and just let people pick whatever they qualified for? To clarify, my intent with classes is to remove PRCs entirely, making your base class advancement your sole avenue of improvement. Opening up talents would then allow for a much greater degree of customization of characters.

In all likelihood, unique and cool PRC abilities would become new talent trees, but that's a ways off.

Andoran

I prefer paizo.


The Google Docs thing might work fairly well, I think. As for the talents... Sounds like fun.

[e]Also, I'm guessing there's no way to get a custom Avatar on this forum? :(


It sounds cool actually opening up the talent trees, maybe put prerequisites on them (like a min BAB / stat / level)? Maybe term some background traits (like the noble lineage talent tree or the scout fringer tree) but still keep some talents class specific or more narrow for other classes (like weapon specialization).

It's always been my feeling that talents are to slow to come by btw. I've been toying around with the idea of gaining multiple talents on some levels. Maybe if there were separate branches for background traits and racial traits that would be feasible?

On those lines it would be cool if you selected a background /racial talent which would evolve into two or three branches on latter levels but be free to select you class talent separately.


Oh. I love google docs for the editing rights on maps.

I've never heard of anyone getting in a custom avatar pic. Maybe if you asked nicely? Please let me know what the staff says.


Not sure about multiple talents honestly. I don't want to make the game too crazy, but I'll think about it.

No custom avatars, to my mutual eternal annoyance. :(

Aaaaannnddd...so far that's two votes for the paizo forum and two willing to try GDocs. Hmmmmm.

EDIT: does anyone actually care if feats keep names unique to Star Wars (ex: Mandalorian Training), or should I rename those for proper flavor?


I'm not saying you get two talents for every level you gain a talent, more along the lines of two on first and a bonus one every four or five levels which must go into evolving your race or background talent tree.


That's more reasonable I suppose, though I'm not gonna be making up special racial talent trees because I find the idea a bit silly. Everybody gets pretty much the same baseline right now, and I like that.

That and aside from the abstractive nature of SWSE, in the source material it never seems to really make a difference what species you are, people tend to fight the same no matter what.

But two starting talents and a bonus talent every few levels isn't so bad.

UPDATE: Classes are done. Was way easier than I thought it would be. I highly recommend Star Wars RPG Index's Bonus Feats Report if you've ever gotten frustrated tracking class bonus feat lists across multiple books.

At this point, just about everything that actually needs attention is done IMO. I'm going to leave equipment alone mostly, because the combat system is abstract and replicating Mass Effect armor and weapons would be a matter of fluff, not really crunch IMO.

So...now I need to get all this into a Google Document in words that are intelligible for people other than myself.

Osirion

I am comfortable with the Paizo forums.

I have no issues with 'renaming' feats, as long as they still make sense :-)

Lantern Lodge

I vote for paizo forums, mostly because I have never done anything with before and I can check and post here with my phone but not g docs.

Renaming feats sounds good but you can let whoever first picks it gets to rename it, faster and more in depth(eventually).

Suggestion, include both weapon ammo types in the games, me2 thermal clips have higher rate of fire but limited ammo(since heat dissipates new clips don't need to get bought except to increase ammo in any particular fight, thermal clips should basically be encounter ammo) and include me1 guns, slower rate of fire but no ammo needed.

So I might use me1 sniper and backup pistol but use me2 rifle or subs. (This also ties the two different game systems into one lore-wise)


I usually don't even track ammo usage in most games I run. It's an unnecessary aspect of bookkeeping to me, and I'm not that much of a simulationist.

For this game, I'm going to use the SWSE core's "cinematic" suggestion that when you roll a natural 1, you need to "reload."
Whether that's an overheat or ejecting a thermal clip doesn't really matter, though fluff-wise everyone's gonna gradually move toward thermal clips as the game goes on.

I've decided not to rename any feats, simply so that it's easier to look them up in the books.

Andoran

Glad to see we aren't renaming everything. Makes putting things together easier.

Remember however, that the progression of talents is part of the game's balance. That and, frankly, you aren't supposed to be able to do a lot of different things, if you want to be on par with challenges.


OK.

Here's the link for the basic conversion document I wrote up the last two days (too much time on my hands!).

SWSE Mass Effect Trilogy Conversion!

A Doc for any altered powers is incoming, probably tomorrow afternoon. Said Doc will also contain equipment statblocks for Ammo Power programs.

If you wanna start working on characters now, go right ahead, though I'll be asking everyone accepted to the game to standardize character sheets so I can read them without hunting for info.

EDIT: Nobody but me should be able to edit the Conversion Doc. If for some reason you CAN edit it, please don't, and tell me so I can fix it right away!


They made a Dragon Age RPG, I think they need to do a Mass Effect RPG since I think Mass Effect is a lot better.

Andoran

I'm totally interested.


GM Kyle wrote:
They made a Dragon Age RPG, I think they need to do a Mass Effect RPG since I think Mass Effect is a lot better.

I agree, but Dragon Age seems to have attracted a lot more pnp RPG fans than Mass Effect. Or maybe the Mass Effect team didn't think licensing one out was worth the time and effort and the DA team did? IDK.

UPDATE: Working on the Powers document, making minor edits to Conversion doc. Soon you'll be able to create characters like regular people! YEY!


GM Kyle wrote:
They made a Dragon Age RPG, I think they need to do a Mass Effect RPG since I think Mass Effect is a lot better.

There was a post on the Green Ronin forums where one of the team said that whenever they'd asked about a tabletop version of Mass Effect, the people they were dealing with from Bioware indicated a lack of interest. Whether that might change now ME3 is out is another matter, but I think it's unlikely.

Which is a shame.


I really have no desire for a Star Wars RPG but I'd love to play a Mass Effect RPG!

Andoran

I definitely prefer the paizo boards for the game. But we could use GDocs for the map.

Also, what level should we make characters and how should we generate stats? And when buying equipment should we bother with licensing?

If we're playing a biotic based class how many powers do we get and what is the 'casting' stat? It's been a while since I've played SWSE so I'll need to refresh myself on some of the rules.


@Madclaw: I've just answered all your questions in the Campaign Info tab.

@Everyone else: The Campaign Info tab exists now, because I'm done with the Conversion Document and the Expanded Powers document. Both are linked in the Campaign Info tab, and everything you need should be there.

Go forth, make some characters, and come back with applications!

Andoran

I think that Batarians should get some sort of bonus to perception due to the extra pair of eyes.


I am working up a Salarian Infiltrator to send your way. I haven't played SWSE before, so I apologize if the crunch is a little iffy. Background and character concept will be coming first, and shortly.

Andoran

Are we going to have any mechanical effects for biotic amps or more powerful omni tools or is that just going to be fluff?


As I was never a fan of ME1's Diablo-like loot system, no, we won't have a bunch of stats for different amps and omni-tools. Most of the equipment in general doesn't really need changing. A blaster rifle can easily be an M-8 Avenger or most any other assault rifle and whatnot.

Also because ME2 and 3 semi-retconned biotic amps and made it really dangerous to switch out your Amp because it's something that's implanted in your brain-parts.

I understand that such abstraction isn't to some people's preferences, but it is mine.

If people want to customize their stuff a bit though, I'm allowing the weapon mods from....crap, whatever book they're in. Now I have to go find them lol.

*Cue boring explanation about game system abstraction, yadda yadda*

tl;dr: The less numbers we all have to keep simultaneous track of, the better IMO.

And since Batarians use the Zabrak stats, they get to reroll any Perception check they make already, but must accept the reroll even if it's lower. I think that's more than fair really.

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