I am still coalescing all of the various ideas for the remade ‘Demons in Space’. These posts are my first draft musings and rough ideas. No guarantees that they will make it into the final product as described here.
I am seriously considering taking Bradford C. Walker’s advice in this post and and create an SRD for ‘Demons in Space’, while releasing a .pdf, a .mobi, and possibly a physical copy via Lulu. The SRD and .pdf would be free. I don’t know if I could release a free .mobi, but if I can I will. Any physical copies would be sold more or less at cost. Because rules might update from time to time, I don’t want any physical copy owners to feel like I cheated them if I update the rules.
A while back, I was able to play in a session of 1st Edition Gamma World with Jeffro. The mechanics of Gamma World have inspired some of the updates to ‘Demons in Space’, most notably the hit point mechanic. (roll a number of dice equal to Constitution score)
What works about the hit points is that from a theme perspective, ‘Demons in Space’ is about being alone in a hostile environment. Your characters are investigating a colony that hasn’t sent a radio message in a week or their ship has been invaded by demons. There is no cavalry coming (unless they can get the radio working again, which would be an end goal of the adventure in and of itself).
Therefore, having a decent number of hit points is useful for exploring a hostile environment. There generally is no town to flee to and sleep in the inn. At best, the players will find a room and fortify it to sleep in it. However, even with Gamma-World-number-of-hit-points, they are still very killable. Because armor is going to be damage reduction, rather than reducing chance to be hit, probably every combat the characters are going to take some damage, much like the old DOOM video games that inspired this game. In those games, you would pick up the armor, but your health would still take health damage when you were hit. You would just take less health damage when hit. If your health was low enough, you could easily die, even with plenty of armor!
So how do characters heal? The first way is to have a Combat Medic (Cleric in a fantasy game) in the party. Their Medical Experiments will include healing. Also, I will have the Loot Token (LT) system that can be used to find health packs. As the characters overcome challenges and kill demons, in addition to XP, they will gain LT.
There are no stores in ‘Demons in Space’, after all, if your colony ship is overrun with demons, are you going to keep your shopping kiosk set up? Of course not! So how do characters find better equipment / items?
LOOT TOKENS (LT)
One way would be for the GM to carefully place every single weapon, armor, and bullet. That is exhausting! Even to write an adventure, that would take up a lot of time.
So, instead I created the LT system. Players spend their LT to ‘find’ weapons, armor, ammunition, and miscellaneous items for the characters. The idea is that LT represents the character’s ability to scrounge around and find useful items. The trick is to balance LT with what you get from spending them. In a test game I ran (under the ‘old’ rules), the players told me that it was better to use LT to find health packs than to rely on the very limited Medical Experiments of a Combat Medic.
Overall, balancing LT costs is going to be the hardest part of creating this game. But, the hope is that once they are properly balanced, module creators and GMs can focus on being creative with making an enjoyable game, not calculating how many Pistol rounds are in locker 7A through 10F. This isn’t to say that the occasional special weapon or item can’t be manually placed by the module creator or GM, just that the majority of items will be LT generated.
The goal is to speed up gameplay. I would imagine that an example of play with LT would be something like this:
GM: Okay, the final Imp falls to the ground, cleaved in twain by Marty’s Chainsaw. What do you do now?
MARTY THE MARINE: I spend X LT and find a compatible battery for my Chainsaw in the ladies locker room.
TERRY THE TECHNICIAN: I spend Y LT for 7 Laser Rifle rounds and 1 Health Pack in the security guard’s locker. I use the Health Pack on myself and heal (rolls dice) 5 HP.
GM: Okay, great. To the north, the door is still shut tight, the panel flashing red…
I may not use the traditional six D&D stats for characters.
I know, I know.
I am evil, I am ruining tabletop gaming forever, I am the cancer infecting the hobby, etc etc.
Here is my idea. Only four core stats:
The Willpower stat would be a combination of Intelligence & Wisdom. Being that this game is combat heavy (and to reinforce the ideas of isolation), I removed Charisma, so that there will be no parties of 10 hirelings + party members marching through the ship. At most, each character can have 1 follower, which would replace the party member if they die.
I intend to keep the same basic monsters from the previous version of the game, but create a new stat block. Monsters will still have HD based on a d6 roll. Just like players, they have Damage Reduction (DR) from all attacks. They have a Combat Roll, if they roll under that on a d20, they hit. Here is a sample of what I am trying to do:
Hit Dice 1
Combat 10 : 2d6 melee (claw) or 1d8 ranged (fireball)
Save 9 : Advantage vs. fire-based attacks
Special Climb any surface
Movement 40 ft / round
Hideous man-sized monstrosities with six limbs, imps scurry about, climbing any surface and attacking from unexpected angles. They have a fireball that they can throw, with a range of 40 ft or sometimes they like to get close and tear characters apart with their claws.
Am I a heretic now?