View Full Version : Mass Effect game

2011-05-17, 08:41 PM
I've been working on some plot hooks for a Mass Effect game. The players will be convicts escaping the Purgatory as its falling apart. I've got a good portion of the main plot taken care of. Was just curious if you wonderful posters could share some ideas as far as:

What system should I use?
Or would it be better to create my own system?
Any good sites for designing ships?
Any plot ideas of your own?
Anything else you think would be helpful.

Thanks in advance.

2011-05-17, 10:48 PM
Currently Existing System:

My first instinct was to suggest D20 Modern, with some homebrewing of races and advanced classes. A lot of people in this thread (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=64706) seem to think Star Wars Saga Edition might be a better fit. You could also try Dungeons: The Dragoning :smallwink:. I feel (from what I know) that Serenity, Mutants and Masterminds, and Exalted might not be appropriate but I'm less familiar with a lot of those.

No matter how you slice it, you're going to need to at least do some homebrewed races. The afore-linked thread has some ideas that you can take or leave. Because you're doing homebrew, I might limit races to say Turian, Asari, Human, Krogan, Salarian, Quarian (the games main races) and save crazy stuff like Drell, Elcor, Geth, Volus, Hanar, and Vorcha for later.

Creating Your Own System:

Obviously this is a lot more work, but it might be a worthwhile venture. I anticipate a "Dot" based system, like Vampire: The Masquerade and its kind, would be most appropriate. Maybe something like a split between Abilities, Skills, and Characteristics that have seperate "dot" mechanics (keep it simple)

Characteristics: 6 or 9, your choice. Either the standard D&D ones (Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Wisdom, Intelligence, Charisma) or a NWoD set-up. The most expensive to upgrade after chargen, because they don't change as much over time like abilities, skills, etc do. Influences skills, attacks, armor, hitpoints, all the normal stuff. Races give a bonus to one or more characteristics.

Skills: I'd just go down the list of D20 Modern/Future skills. Whether you want this to also be "dot" based, or you spend "dots" to have a more traditional 1-20 modifier system, is another question.

Abilities: The "meat" of the system. I'd let everyone pick, say, 5-6 abilities, and have these abilities be all the ones in the game. No feats. No spellbooks. No classes (they'd be encouraged to come up with a neat class name for their ability load-out). This is all of it. Barrier, Shotgun, Adrenaline Rush, Tactical Armor, etc. Some might be race specific (Krogan Battlemaster). Some might be "unlocked" in game at a certain level or given out by a DM (Spectre). You could write up some "standard packages" (An infiltrator gets Sniper Rifle, Pistol, Tactical Cloak, Overload, and AI Hacking, for example) but people would also have the freedom to pick and choose their favorite abilities as well.

Some abilities might just grant largely passive boosts, while others would grant access to special attacks. All special attacks (Marksman, Lift, Singularity) would be on a round-based cooldown system. Like the abilities, this would be "Dot" based and this would be the only thing you got "dots" for every level (as opposed to abilities, which are hard to raise, and skills, which might be on an entirely different resource).

Of course, that's just my idea :smallsmile:.


You're in a tough position; there's two ways I'd play it:

1) This is "Escape from Purgatory", meaning it takes place mere weeks (maybe months) before Mass Effect 3's events. Feels like it'd be hard to divorce the story entirely from Shepard's own tale, so maybe you shouldn't. Have the party visiting sites before, after, and alongside the crew of the Normandy. Maybe they're hired by the Shadow Broker to do "Guerilla" and spy work against the Reapers? Hired by Cerberus to do some unseemly thing that may or may not require them to fight Shepard (ha ha ha good luck)? Doing some work for Aria that may or may not influence the course of the war?

2) Or, you could avoid the fear of the party feeling like they're getting Shepard's sloppy seconds. Set the campaign largely on worlds we know almost nothing about and are unlikely to visit. Have them mess around with Batarians, visit the Hanar's homeworld, stuff like that, all while on the run from the law (maybe even fleeing their own Knight Templar Spectre as the main villain).

Hope that helps!

2011-05-18, 11:54 AM
Well, for the main plot, I was going to treat the Purgatory ship somewhat like Chateau d'If from Count of Monte Cristo. The ship will be a place to hide political threats as well as hardened criminals. The PCs are these forgotten prisoners who get their big break as Jack is tearing through the ship. Since everyone is after Shephard and Jack, the PCs will have an easier time finding an escape pod/ship. From there they can work on doing what it takes to get revenge on those that put them there as well as uncovering the conspiracies that got them imprisoned in the first place.

2011-05-18, 09:53 PM
Mutants & Masterminds might work, actually. The GM would need to keep a VERY close eye on the character sheets, but I can't think of anything that appeared in the ME Universe that wouldn't work in M&M powers. Put in a few house rules - the toughness save, in particular, would need some sort of finaggling to represent the sheer power of weapons in use - but I can see it working.

A long time ago I started working on a d20 conversion of ME, but I never finished it (or even did much work on it). I never did do up stats for the powers (and only mentioned specialization-specific powers), but I'll copy paste what I had done up:

Every class gets 4 combat points / level. At 5th level, choose a specialization for your class and gain the associated benefits. If multiclassing, it is still the 5th level of that class. It is essentially a class feature come 5th level.

Can invest a combat point to either strengthen a power or buy a new one.
Can buy cross-class powers; cost 2 / rank.

Investing can either improve potency (to a limit) or reduce recharge.

BAB also gets added to your AC while in cover.

Cover is very important - +4 bonus to AC, +BAB. If no actions taken that require moving out of cover, total cover is granted.

10 hp
Full BAB
Shock Trooper - Immunity
Commando - Adrenaline Rush

8 hp
Commando - Adrenaline Rush, high BAB
Assassin - Tactical Cloak, 5 combat points / lvl

10 hp
Full BAB
Destroyer - Charge
Shock Trooper - Immunity

6 hp
Nemesis - Singularity
Bastion - Stasis

6 hp
Operative - Electronics, med BAB
Mechanic - Combat Drones

6 hp
Guardian - Tech Armour, heavy armour
Raider - Neural Shock, med BAB

Flame of Anor
2011-05-18, 09:56 PM
I don't feel (as Hawk7915 seems to) that you need to make the mechanics be like the mechanics of the video game to work. Those mechanics make a video game fun; different mechanics make a tabletop game fun. As long as you have the right fluff, just choose/modify/create the ruleset that's the most fun.

2011-05-19, 01:06 PM
D20 modern/future is pretty spot on. Its SRD, so you can get it for free. All biotics can be handled as psionic powers, and you can emulate quite a few with the existing material.