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Alternity RPG


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A certain someone brought this game to memory.

Back when I started played I used to drool over the books on the shelves but never got around to playing(due to people in my area being more into Fantasy)

So I thought I might give it a go now...

Anyone running a campaign? Opinions on it?


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I have never run or played it but I bought the books when they came out (the core books, Star*Drive, Gamma World, and a couple of supplements). I've always liked the system and it seems to make sense.

I recently hauled it out to discuss with my co-GM as an alternate to GURPS when we need a generic system - we've been talking about trying 2300AD and were debating realistic (GURPS) vs. heroic (Alternity).

Check out Alternity.net...there's actually still quite a lot of fan support for the product over there.
M


Thanks.

Other people who have tried it then?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

I ran the free bonus adventures that came out when the books were initially released (Black Starfall/Red Starrise), and had a blast! It's a solid system IMHO...

This past summer I wanted to run the adventure in the "Quickstart Rules" for a friend that was in town visiting, but unfortunately it did not happen...

If you're looking for a non-d20 game that you can set anywhere from present-day to far future, you can't go wrong with Alternity IMO...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

I ran the free bonus adventures that came out when the books were initially released (Black Starfall/Red Starrise), and had a blast!

About two years ago, I ran a campaign using Dark*Matter. That was also lots of fun...

This past summer I wanted to run the adventure in the "Quickstart Rules" for a friend that was in town visiting, but unfortunately it did not happen...

If you're looking for a non-d20 game system that you can set anywhere from present-day to far future, you can't go wrong with Alternity, it's a solid system IMHO...


Thanks Digitalelf :)
How does it compare with Aeon/Trinity? Have you played both?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
@stroVal wrote:

Thanks Digitalelf :)

How does it compare with Aeon/Trinity? Have you played both?

No problem :-)

And no, unfortunately I have not played that one...

The only other sci-fi systems I have used (outside of d20) were TSR's Gamma World and Star Frontiers. I have also run the original Traveller and Traveller: The New Era...

I had a great time playing all of them, but something just "clicked" with Alternity for me. Perhaps it was just because I was no longer a teen-ager when Alternity came out ;-)

I'd say just find a copy of (at the very least) the Alternity player's Handbook and give it a go!


Thanks again

Wasn't there a version of Gamma World for Alternity?

I intent to do so; or maybe encourage my gf to GM us.

She's had some experience in those systems for over five years but has never Game-Mastered before


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yes. Gamma World 5th (?) edition was "powered by Alternity". It was a softcover that included the rules necessary to play the game. The Weren make an appearance as Sasquatch and Dabbers, Sleeth, and other racial templates stand in for the Alternity aliens.
M

Scarab Sages Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

I love the Alternity system. The rules are easy yet include some potential for mechanical twists. I am using them as my default Contemporary/SciFi system, ATM I run a Delta Green/Dark*Matter mashup and I am having a blast. I am going to start a Babylon 5 campaign soon.

I will not be able to get on any questions you might have today due to severe leep deprivation, but you should become aware of this site which hosts quite a few interesting mods, including redone (artless) dragon articles and the never published Warships book by Richsrd Baker.

Star Voter 2013

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

What type of feel does the Alternity system have? I'm looking for a decent futuristic system and want something slightly less heroic. I've been thinking of modifying the mech warrior ruleset for it, but am wondering if annother established system would fit the bill.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It's heroic but seems less so than some other games (D20). You can always cut out the Last Resort points, reduce stat buy allowance, etc. if you want to make it more fatal. This comment comes without deep experience actually running/playing the game...but I've read the books pretty thoroughly.

GURPS, and I suppose HERO, works well if you want to be able to turn the knobs up or down too. GURPS is our go-to system for just about everything but D&D-style fantasy.
M

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Wow...what a blast from the past. I'm a MAJOR Alternity fan. I was very active over at AlternityRPG.net for a number of years before getting back into D&D and eventually playing Pathfinder. My all-time favorite space setting is bar-none, the Star*Drive campaign setting. I'm not currently running a campaign, but I've always thought Alternity had the most cinematic realism in a game system. By that, I mean the Alternity RPG supports a certain heroic style that works well at duplicating cinematic scenes from movies and books, but it also includes a very believable realism behind things, too. Everything from varying degrees of success on every type of skill check, including attack rolls during combat...variable damage codes for your weapons depending on the grade of success from your attack roll...last resort points for those dramatic moments when you need a roll to succeed (with style!)...and on and on. Very cool game engine.

In terms of gaming with Alternity, I've run everything from Star*Drive sci-fi to Dark.Matter conspiracy to Gamma World wahoo. I've got all the books, including some important ones which only came out in PDF format. The 5th edition of Gamma World used the Alternity system. They later revamped it again under D20. Same deal for Dark.Matter. Unfortunately, Star*Drive never made a comeback other than a few minor references in D20 Future.

Lastly, some of my earliest work was done for Action Check, an Alternity fanzine that's hosted over AlternityRPG.net. I wrote a Star*Drive adventure called "Just a Few Baubles"...and a Dark.Matter adventure called "Of Ghosts and Goblins"...and I worked on the staff of Action Check as their "Oracle" which was meant to be an advice and rules/game Q&A position akin to Dragon magazine's "Sage Advice." Head to AlternityRPG.net for sure. They're very friendly there and happily help out folks who are interested in learning more about the game. Tell'em I sent ya!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I have both those adventures that Neil wrote. My Star*Drive game never really got off the ground, so I never ran 'Just a Few Baubles', but I did run 'Of Ghosts and Goblins' for my long running Dark Matter game. Good times.

I really liked the Alternity system, though I ran a lot more Dark Matter (modern / conspiracy / supernatural / aliens) setting than Star Drive (space opera). Really liked the Star Drive setting though, really one of the best sci fi settings I have seen for a game. I never got to experience the game as a player, but the system seemed robust from my side of the GM screen.

I only played one session of Aeon / Trinity, it didn't appeal to me greatly as a setting, and I've never been a big White Wolf player, so the rules set wasn't all that familiar.


feytharn wrote:

I am going to start a Babylon 5 campaign soon.

Real life or PBP? If PBP sign me up.

Scarab Sages Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Sorry, real life. If it turns out well, I might think about a (less ambitious) B5 PBP game, but that would be no sooner then the end of this year (other real life issues, like a master paper itw)

Silver Crusade Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

How would one go about getting hold of the Alternity rules today?

Even a quickstart version?

Scarab Sages Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

There seem to be plenty of Players Handbooks on Amazon. I have only once seen a time there were none left (about 4 years ago, shortly after I tried to talk my players into getting one, each (a task now accomplished!)
All the other books seem to be there, as well, most for reasonable prices (don't get the Starcraft box unless you are a serious collector, though, it is quite bad - probably due to lack of support products)


You can get the books at good prices from many sellers on amazon.com. At a glance, I see that the Player's Handbook is being sold for as little as $5.71, and the Gamemaster Guide for as little as $6.20.

I got "quick start" rules, and a sample adventure for it, included with Dungeon magazine, issue 67. Today, you can get that introductory package from the site that feytharn mentioned, alternity.net, for FREE on this page. The dead tree version would cost you $3.99 through amazon, or $3 from Noble Knight Games.

Alternatively (hah!), for a quick introductory out-of-the-box experience, there's the "Introduction to the Alternity Game" boxed set,which you could get at amazon for as little as $9.96, or from hitpointe.com for $9.95. I've never seen it, but it got good reviews.

EDIT: That's funny. I got ninja'd by feytharn, but feytharn didn't mention the free quick-start rules available on the site that he brought up.

Scarab Sages Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Yup, I had about ten of the (I gave all but two away), so I never looked them up.
The Box is quite good, especially if you want to run Star*Drive - the adventures get you into the early stages of the 'externals' storyline, the rules summary and introduction are easy to follow. Nothing special but good nonetheless (plus: you can never have too many dice!)


I'm guessing Eclipse Phase or GURPS would fit more for a System Shock campaign huh?


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

How would one go about getting hold of the Alternity rules today?

Even a quickstart version?

They're still out there in the used market. My co-DM already had a Players' Handbook from way back but she just picked up the GM guide, screen, and Star*Drive at Powell's in Portland the other day. Really good prices on all but S*D, which was only $17. Of course, Powell's is one of the most awesome bookstores on the planet...but hopefully you have something similar in your area!

M

Scarab Sages Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
@stroVal wrote:

I'm guessing Eclipse Phase or GURPS would fit more for a System Shock campaign huh?

Not at all, but you probably would need the 'Dataware' sourcebook.


:) thanks guys(and gals in case I missed it)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
mearrin69 wrote:

hopefully you have something similar in your area!

M

I don't think any place could ever come close to it! I mean, it's THE only book store I've ever been to that one needs a map (literally) to get around...

The place is what, five stories and takes up two square city blocks??

Silver Crusade Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

Thanks folks. When I have some cash to spare I'll know where to start looking. :-)


Mothman wrote:

I have both those adventures that Neil wrote. My Star*Drive game never really got off the ground, so I never ran 'Just a Few Baubles', but I did run 'Of Ghosts and Goblins' for my long running Dark Matter game. Good times.

I really liked the Alternity system, though I ran a lot more Dark Matter (modern / conspiracy / supernatural / aliens) setting than Star Drive (space opera). Really liked the Star Drive setting though, really one of the best sci fi settings I have seen for a game. I never got to experience the game as a player, but the system seemed robust from my side of the GM screen.

Mothman GMing Dark Matter? How (in)appropriate :D


feytharn wrote:
@stroVal wrote:

I'm guessing Eclipse Phase or GURPS would fit more for a System Shock campaign huh?

Not at all, but you probably would need the 'Dataware' sourcebook.

Really tired at the moment but I think System Shock(especially 2) deserves a thread on its own

and a pnp version

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Drejk wrote:
Mothman wrote:

I have both those adventures that Neil wrote. My Star*Drive game never really got off the ground, so I never ran 'Just a Few Baubles', but I did run 'Of Ghosts and Goblins' for my long running Dark Matter game. Good times.

I really liked the Alternity system, though I ran a lot more Dark Matter (modern / conspiracy / supernatural / aliens) setting than Star Drive (space opera). Really liked the Star Drive setting though, really one of the best sci fi settings I have seen for a game. I never got to experience the game as a player, but the system seemed robust from my side of the GM screen.

Mothman GMing Dark Matter? How (in)appropriate :D

Heh heh, oh yes ... and of course Mothman did play a role in my campaign.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Seems many have fond memories of the game. We run a two year home brew campaign. If wanting to save some money then just the PHB and GMG is all that is required - insert imagination here of course.

Due to the technology presented you do have to home brew within limits unless to want to rewrite large tracks of the tech. For example they present to FTL options, one where a gravity wave hits first and another (higher tech) where the ship and wave arrive at the same time. This was the basis of our campaign. Invasions are very difficult when your enemy has a week or so notice of your fleet arriving, however, with the later FTL tech ships could jump into a system and attack before anyone knew what was happening.

Making star systems took me back to my Traveler days - pure magic!

Ramblings aside, we also used the game for a quasi-real medieval game - read as Robin of Sherwood like. Worked a treat, the Stun, Wound, Mortal Wound system is far better than the all or nothing of D&D.

Good luck,
S.

PS: Only one thing annoyed me... In the GMG there is an error in the calculation of the points for a FX power, and it wasn't covered in any errata and not obvious what it should be - grrrr, grrrrr.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I have a lot of the Alternity books. Someone had just recently(at the time) dropped off a large set of the books at my local game store and I decided to buy them in one fell swoop. But I've never really got the chance to play it.


Ιnteresting stuff!

Thank you all :)

I will let you know as soon as a campaign is decided so we can continue the discussion,at the moment there isn't any role-play in my schedule due to work and wont be for at least another week...


I used to run Alternity quite a bit when it first came out, particularly Dark•Matter. The system was fun, and I think it had potential if WotC would've supported it a bit more. Of the books, I think I had everything except the Stardrive box they came out with, and was running a Dark•Matter campaign, while also running sci-fi demos in my own world (wasn't a fan of Star•Drive) at a buddy's shop. I'd love to go back and snag a few of the books again, kind of wish I wouldn't have sold them back in the day ...


My gf will run the qsr this Saturday!

Team so far:Pilot,Soldier,Entertainer,Spacehand and two more who haven't decided...

I'm looking at images for a trade ship to house the party

Not the deck-plans though; and it has to look different than major franchises(no Battlestar,star wars,star trek styled ships)

Any ideas?

Scarab Sages Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

This is a massive list of ships from a not so major (x3) franchise, different styles from different factions. Well worth a look. (And if you find a ship you like in general design, try googeling its name, there might be screenshots in better quality out there).

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

d20 future, traveller, Star Frontiers (both original and Alpha Dawn), and Alternity's Star Drive setting book all have exterior drawings of various spacecraft (as well as their deckplans) that are not from major franchises...


I ran an Alternity game using the StarDrive material for a couple of months and we had loads of fun on it, the favorite being the Last Warhulk adventure which was a total blast.


Thanks!

We'll use the trader ship provided in the Alternity PHB (deck plans and a small pic)


First session went really well. Wrapped it up with a cliffhanger with two of our group unconscious...


Played a Fraal <sp?> Mindknight. He rocked much.


Also ordered the novel anthology for Alternity/Star*Drive :)


I'm currently running a Pendragon 5th edition game, but I will run an Alternity game after this.

It's been a long time, and Alternity does sci-fi better than any other games!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Greyblade wrote:

I'm currently running a Pendragon 5th edition game, but I will run an Alternity game after this.

It's been a long time, and Alternity does sci-fi better than any other games!

<cough> "Classic" Traveller <cough> :)


Does anyone know if they ever made alternity dice? In the vain of all those thematic dice sets?

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Alternity dice are the same as regular dice sets with the exception of a d10. They never had a need for that in the game's "exponential" mechanics. I got a set that came with the beginner's box version of the game. To my knowledge, there were no "thematic" dice made for Alternity.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Somewhat off-topic: I'm putting together an Alternity game for a local convention here in Charlotte called ConCarolinas. I'll be using the Alternity game engine to run an adventure set in the "Walking Dead" zombie apocalypse. Ordinary people trying to survive at all costs. I may run this one as an invitation-only game at PaizoCon, too...i.e., not a lottery game. Just more of a pick-up game, but one that I'd advertise ahead of time here on the boards to see what other attendees had an interest in joining me.


Neil Spicer wrote:
Alternity dice are the same as regular dice sets with the exception of a d10

One can say Alternity rolls with platonic solids ;)


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

@Neil: I can't imagine you'd have a hard time recruiting for that. I'd sign up!

We've been playing a Z game in GURPS for some time now and it has been a blast. I've got two PCs...one now dead and the other is down to one arm.

I wonder how it'd go in Alternity? Probably better than D20, which seems slightly more heroic.
M

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

mearrin69 wrote:
I wonder how it'd go in Alternity? Probably better than D20, which seems slightly more heroic.

I'm planning on running it so that any mortal wound takes out a zombie right away. Otherwise, they keep coming until you wear them down with wounds and finally inflict a mortal. They're utterly immune to the effects of stun damage, but if you pile up enough of them, they can start inflicting wounds.

On the flip side, anyone suffering a wound (or greater damage) from a zombie bite will face CON checks to resist the virus for the rest of the game. Over time, the disease inflicts stun damage on the victims. Once they deplete their stun and wound tracks (thereby suffering a mortal), that's when they'll perish and rise again as a zombie. I expect to let people continue running their characters as zombies for the rest of the game until someone puts them down.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Quote:
I expect to let people continue running their characters as zombies for the rest of the game until someone puts them down.

See. This makes you awesome!

Quote:
anyone suffering a wound (or greater damage) from a zombie bite

Have you tried this in play? Does it take a good hit for one to score a wound? I suppose any armor could downgrade the damage or are you going to improvise hit locations so they can end up biting unprotected hands, etc.? This sounds like a pretty cool way to do it if it all works out.

In GURPS, the zombies have been simply deadly, sometimes even in ones and twos. A few of our guys have gotten good at beating them down but all it takes is a crit from an anklebiter (i.e. one we've knocked down so it's slower and takes combat penalties) and you're pretty much going to lose a limb (if it comes off quickly you can stop the infection). Essentially, if any damage gets past armor (and we pretty much have none) then you're getting infected. It takes a pretty good HT (health) roll to not get it...at least we haven't seen anybody make the roll yet.

My recently deceased character had the GURPS disadvantages Impulsive and Overconfidence...a deadly combo after the zombieapocalypse. "What? There's only ten of them. Sam and I can handle them, you guys just get the generator loaded."
M

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