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Author Topic: Starfinder for the BattleTech Universe  (Read 2196 times)

Tai Dai Cultist

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Starfinder for the BattleTech Universe
« on: 11 September 2017, 14:02:35 »
Anyone been looking at Starfinder RPG as a possible alternative to ATOW for Roleplaying in the BTU?

As someone who's had a pet project off-and-on now for quite some time to create a d20 system for BattleTech roleplaying.. I'm finding Starfinder to be a much easier starting point than d20 Modern.   Yeah it's a game system that has magic and deflector shields baked in to the combat assumptions, but still that seems like it can be worked around based on my initial and cursory read-thru of the Core Rulebook.

A few initial thoughts:
Most of the themes and character classes are usable with nothing more than perhaps renaming.  A Priest can be any sort of dogmatic adherent, with BTU-compatible examples in Bushido, the Lorix Order, Neo-Chivalry, Clan Honor, and so on.  Unfortunately the actual effects of the theme would need to be reinvented, as magic and mysticism are largely incompatible with a typical BattleTech campaign.

Starfinder does support the notion of skill based (rather than class/base attack bonus based) attacks with things like spaceship (or mecha!) weapons.  The piloting skill covers what would be both piloting AND gunnery in other BattleTech RPGs.. so maybe another skill is needed for gunnery to be most compatible with tactical scale gaming.  Then again, Alpha Strike only uses one skill, so maybe one skill for all BattleMech operations would fit perfectly in with AS if that's the game engine used for mass mech-vs-mech battle.

Starfinder also supports the notion of different scaling between spaceships (and mecha!) and PCs.  And it dispenses with all the complexity ATOW (and 2nd ed, and 3rd ed..) tries to span with dealing with Battle Armor being not utterly invincible at personal scale combat while still being relevant on the tactical battlefield.  I prefer the simplicity in "your small arms can't damage the mech, and the mech's weapons can't target you personally."  Again that's a problem for Battle Armor... but if you do a campaign where there just isn't any (pre Clan invasion) you can sidestep the issue without addressing it.

Magic and Gods and Outer Planes and such: this is all a core part of the Starfinder game, and utterly inappropriate for BTU.  I'm not sure yet how playable the game is if all that is just yanked out.  (How good is D&D as a "historical simulation" without Healing Clerics or Wizardly Fire Support...).  Maybe the rules engine may ultimately prove to be best for a reeeeeeelly different kind of BTU game more like X-Files or Cthulu crossover or something...

The Starfinder starship combat combat rules would be easy to adapt to ground battles, and would be a frikkin sweet way to represent the PCs being the crew of a combat vehicle like a tank... which is something the ATOW rules really don't handle well at all.
« Last Edit: 11 September 2017, 14:05:53 by Tai Dai Cultist »


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Re: Starfinder for the BattleTech Universe
« Reply #1 on: 25 September 2017, 18:58:13 »
Sorry for the delayed response.  The Hall being a sub-forum here trains one to ignore the "unread" indication.

As far as how the game would play with the magic yanked out, I suspect it would just push it toward a more realistic amount of down time to recover from wounds.  Natural healing takes a while compared to any "cure" spell you can name.


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Re: Starfinder for the BattleTech Universe
« Reply #2 on: 30 September 2017, 17:05:18 »
"and would be a frikkin sweet way to represent the PCs being the crew of a combat vehicle like a tank... which is something the ATOW rules really don't handle well at all."

I don't aToW is supposed to handle that. Total Warfare should handle it well.


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Re: Starfinder for the BattleTech Universe
« Reply #3 on: 30 September 2017, 17:27:16 »
The thought of using Battletech source material for Starfinder had occurred to me. Starfinder is too new to have as much source material as Battletech. However, non-human aliens do not fit in the battletech universe, because the Clans play whatever roll non-human aliens are supposed to play.

I have not played Starfinder, but I have played/read Pathfinder. I like aToW better because the armor, damage, and hit location rules feel more immersive in aToW, than in Pathfinder. Also, aToW's negative/positive traits really help people get into character.

However, Pathfinder is way easier to learn. If my reading comprehension was not so high, I might have given up and played Pathfinder. That said, aToW is one of the clearest and most precise (i.e. unambiguous) books I have ever read. In aToW's entirety, I only really saw one serious ambiguity in it, and only a couple places had me confused on the wording; this forum was able to clear all that up though.     

Further, the flow between aToW and Total Warfare is important for my campaign. I, personally, would be afraid of integrating Total Warfare with anything other than aToW.

That said, if your RPG group already knows Starfinder/Pathfinder and does not want to put in the effort of learning a new RPG system, then try Starfinder for the Battletech universe. Let me know how it works out.


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Re: Starfinder for the BattleTech Universe
« Reply #4 on: 22 November 2017, 18:52:32 »
Just to throw in, some friends of mine actually asked for this when Starfinder first came out.


Hit Points: 6

Stamina: 6 + Con Bonus

Key Ability Score: Wisdom helps with piloting and melee attacks.  It is useful because of the way the mechs and pilots interact through the neural helmets.  Dexterity is useful for the ranged attacks.

Class Skills: Acrobatics, Athletics, Engineering, Medicine, Mysticism, Perception, Piloting, Profession

Skill Ranks per Level: 4 + Int Bonus

Proficiencies: Mechs-All, Mech Weapons-All, Weapons-Small Arms, Basic and Advanced Melee, Armor-Light

Class Level   Base Attack Bonus   Fort Save Bonus   Ref Save Bonus   Will Save Bonus   Class Features
1   1   2   2   0   Mech, Neural Training, Primary Mech Role, Primary Mech Role Technique
2   2   3   3   0   Mech Feat
3   3   3   3   1   Mech Upgrade, Mech Bonding
4   4   4   4   1   Mech Feat
5   5   4   4   1   Primary Mech Role Technique
6   6   5   5   2   Mech Feat
7   7   5   5   2   Mech Upgrade
8   8   6   6   2   Mech Feat
9   9   6   6   3   Primary Mech Role Technique, Secondary Mech Role, Secondary Mech Role Technique
10   10   7   7   3   Mech Feat
11   11   7   7   3   Mech Upgrade, Alpha Strike
12   12   8   8   4   Mech Feat
13   13   8   8   4   Primary Mech Role Technique, Secondary Mech Role Technique
14   14   9   9   4   Mech Feat
15   15   9   9   5   Mech Upgrade
16   16   10   10   5   Mech Feat
17   17   10   10   5   Primary Mech Role Technique, Secondary Mech Role Technique
18   18   11   11   6   Mech Feat
19   19   11   11   6   Mech Upgrade
20   20   12   12   6   Mech Feat, Cockpit Shot

A MechWarrior begins with a mech of his level.  It can be any size (up to small) and can be of any frame.  It cannot have equipment higher than your level +1.

Neural Training
You get to add your Wisdom Bonus to melee attack roles and to piloting rolls.

Mech Feat
You may select one feat from among the following list: (for now, any combat feat, but it applies only to mechs)

Mech Upgrade
You gain one upgrade slot for either your mech’s armor or one of your mech’s weapons.  If you do not already have an upgrade for the slot, you must pay for it separately.

Mech Bonding
You gain +1 to all attack and piloting rolls for a single mech.  If that Mech is every destroyed, you may regain the bonding with a new mech after a number of battles equal to half your level rounded up.

Alpha Strike
For 1 resolve, you may make a single roll to hit with all your weapons at once.  This roll is at a -4 penalty, but gives you a +1 to hit for each weapon after the first.  All the damage counts as a single die roll for overcoming DR (though special weapon effects still count only for that weapon’s dice damage).

Cockpit Shot
For 1 resolve, and a move action, you may make a single shot to the cockpit of another mech.  This ignores concealment.  If successful, the pilot must make a Fortitude save vs. a DC of 15 + damage or be knocked unconscious for a number of rounds equal to half the damage rounded up.


This role is useful for getting up and personal with opponents so that your teammates can use your location and sensors to more accurately pinpoint the enemy.

Dart (Ex) 1st Level
You gain +4 to initiative and +2 to speed for your mech.

Spotter (Ex) 5th Level
Anyone identified as part of your unit (up to Wisdom Bonus +1, minimum 1) can use your range modifiers for the purposes of determining to-hit rolls.

Telepresence (Ex) 9th Level
For the cost of one resolve point your teammates can use their attack feats through you as though they were actually at your location for Wisdom Bonus +1 round (minimum one).

Direct Link (Ex) 13th Level
Spend a resolve point and grant one member of your unit a +2 scouting bonus to that member’s attack roll. You may not use this on yourself.

Accurate Sensors (Ex) 15th Level
For a resolve point, you can force any single teammate’s successful attack roll to test for a critical.  You may not use this on yourself.

This role is useful for magically enhancing your mech and those of your teammates to better handle supernatural situations.  Unless otherwise stated, each technique can apply only to one mech at a time.

Eldritch Mech (Su) 1st Level
You can imbue one mech with magical power through a rune allowing it to act as a magical item.  It will be able to affect incorporeal or objects only damaged by magical items.  The mech itself will have DR 3/-.  The weapons will also be considered magical for these purposes.  This takes 10 minutes.

Mech Spell (Sp) 5th Level
Choose one the following spells and use it like a spell like ability for one resolve point.  Your level is your caster level.  Fear (1st level), Keen Senses, Reflecting Armor (useable on your mech), Mystic Repair (as Mystic Cure (1st level) but for your mech), Touched Weapon (useable on only one weapon of your mech).  This spell is only usable within your mech.

Eldritch Unit (Sp) 9th Level
Spend 2 resolve and grant Eldritch Mech to one additional mech in your unit.  You can have up to your Wisdom Bonus +1 mechs as Eldritch Mechs.  This takes 10 minutes for each mech.

Advanced Mech Spell (Sp) 13th Level
Choose one of the following spells, and use it as a spell like ability for 2 resolve: Fear (4th Level), Mystic Repair (4th level), Overload Systems, Dismissal, Animate Mech (only works on disabled mechs), Resilient Sphere, Enervation (reduces target mech’s level, not the pilot’s).

Rift Step (Sp) 15th Level
For 2 resolve and a full move action, you may teleport up to half your speed in hexes (A speed 8 could teleport 4 hexes).  This gives a +4 circumstance bonus to your AC for one round and allows you to hit as though your opponent is flat footed.

This is the role of the massive weapons platform that stays far from the action and just fires a barrage of missiles and autocannons.  The techniques in this role apply only to missiles and autocannons.

Brace and Set (Ex) 1st Level
At the cost of a full action, you may gain a +2 circumstance bonus to your attack roll.

Savage Assault (Ex) 5th Level
For 1 resolve, you may take an additional attack at -4 to-hit penalty.  This stacks with other multi attack feats and abilities.

Steady On (Ex) 9th Level
You may Brace and Set after moving at half speed.  This counts as a full action.

Let ‘er Rip (Ex) 13th Level
At the cost of two resolve, you can fire all missile/autocannon weapons at no penalty.  This stacks with other multi attack feats and abilities, but those still have their assigned penalties.

Unleash Hell (Ex) 15th Level
For the cost of 4 resolve and a full action, you may fire all weapons at a number of targets equal to your wisdom bonus at no penalty.  You may do this only once per combat.

This is the role of the guardian mech.  You get in the way of your opponents’ fire to protect your team

Determination (Su) 1st Level
You gain a +1 enhancement bonus to your mech’s armor class.  At level 13, this becomes +2

Mech Guard (Ex) 5th Level
As Bodyguard feat.  If you already have the mech version of this feat, you can do this for an additional teammate.

Defiance (Su) 9th Level
For 1 resolve, you may gain your Wisdom bonus as DR/- for a number of rounds equal to your Dexterity  Bonus (minimum 1).

Target (Ex) 13th Level
As In Harm’s Way feat, if you already have the mech version of this feat, you can do this for an additional teammate

Unleash Hell (Ex) 15th Level
For 2 resolve, you may designate yourself as the target of any opponents’ (equal to Wisdom bonus) on the battlefield. You must do this when initiative is rolled.  Any attack, no matter who it is directed to will target you instead.  The attack is then rolled normally to see if your opponents hit you or not.

This is the role for the up close and personal style of mechwarriors.

In Your Face (Ex) 1st Level
Gain an attack of opportunity when you first close with a target and enter melee combat.

Too Close (Ex) 5th Level
You gain +2 circumstance bonus to AC against attacks from an opponent you are currently in melee with.

Distracting (Su) 9th Level
For 1 resolve point, you may penalize your melee opponent’s attack roll by your Charisma Bonus

Second Skin (Ex) 13th Level
For 1 resolve point, you may use athletics or acrobatics through your mech.

One With the Mech (Ex) 15th Level
For 2 resolve, you may use any of your personal combat feats through mech as though your mech was you.  This lasts for one combat.

This is the role for those MechWarriors you use hybrid mechs.

Quick Change (Ex) 1st Level
Instead of taking a full move action to change into the next form, you can do so as a single move action.

Strafing (Ex) 5th Level
When in fighter mode, you may move over the battlefield in a straight line, firing a continuous attack along that line for the length of your base move.  You may roll to attack each individual in that line to do half damage.  A critical miss hits an ally in that line.

Aerial Acrobatics (Ex) 9th Level
For 1 resolve point, you may use your Acrobatics skill as your initiative check.  If the initiative check is higher than 21, you receive a +2 Dodge bonus to your AC.

Transformation Attack (Ex) 13th Level
For 1 resolve, you my make a full attack while transforming.  You get the better of each stat between the forms for that round.

Flyby (Ex) 15th Level
At the cost of 2 resolve, and a full move (you must begin your move on one side of your opponent, move your full movement and end up on the other side of your opponent) you may make one single attack.  This attack is at +2 to hit but does an extra d6 of damage.  In the meantime, you gain a +2 dodge bonus.