Characters in the Shadowed Galaxy are presumed to be the survivors of a dystopian world and an even rougher career path. They’re tough and competent. They’re also mostly the beneficiaries of futuristic health care, diet, education, and training programs at some point (those who aren’t are the few who survived not getting that stuff, and are at least as tough). While they’re almost always Dystopian Survivor Humans, quite a few have some degree of genemods and cybrenetics, and a few (generally survivors of encounters with Idiotic relics and technologies) have templates or bizarre talents of one kind or another.
While it is, in theory, possible to play an alien, aliens who are capable of functioning in human societies are vanishingly rare. This basically falls under “negotiate with the game master”.
Attributes: Roll 4D6K3 seven times (discarding one) or use 28 Point Buy (“tougher campaign”).
All characters get the Low-Level Adventurer Template. To summarize, those affected get:
- A -3 penalty on unskilled skill checks.
- Very slow level advancement, by direct session-based character point awards rather than experience points. Succeeding in goals helps, but killing things and taking their stuff does not.
- The status of valuable trouble magnets – they’re rare and find trouble everywhere they go.
- A +3 bonus on five skills which suit their backgrounds and training. Sadly, this cannot be applied to active psionic or magical skills.
- Extra hit points equal to [12 + (2 x Con Mod)].
- Two minor special talents – one Class-A (roughly equivalent to the effects of a first level spell or power as adapted for a sci-fi setting) and one Class-B (roughly equivalent to the effects of a cantrip, also as adapted for a sci-fi setting). Possibilities suited to the Shadowed Galaxy include:
- Advanced Aptitude: You get a +2 Bonus to apply to something. Attributes, AC, DR, Attacks, Damage, Saves, Movement (+10′ per +1), and Checks are all eligible. You can even split it into two +1 bonuses if you wish – or Corrupt or Specialize it to get it to +3 or +4 (on a particular group of skills, in a specific situation, with a particular type of weapon, etc). This is effectively a permanent, innate, bonus.
- Animal Affinity: You instinctively understand what animals want and can usually get them to do what you want.
- Bat Ears: You can hear extremely high and low frequency sounds, and can target unseen creatures within thirty feet without penalty with a successful listen check.
- Combat Intuition: As a swift action you may activate True Strike 2/Day, True Dodge 2/Day, and True Save 1/Day.
- Fast Healer: Your natural healing is doubled and scarring is eliminated.
- Fortunate: Whenever something is decided by chance within the game, you get two chances and may select which outcome you keep. Thus, for example, you will never draw the short straw.
- Goldberg: You may improvise a repair or component replacement on a device, whether it’s a spacecraft air recycler, a power generator, or a vehicle engine. Such improvisations are bulky, clumsy, and unreliable, but will work to some extent if the user manages to make a successful skill roll. Such repairs normally last some 1D6 days, but rush jobs (such as getting the engine working before the plane crashes) reduces the duration to 2D6 minutes. Each time the duration on a “Goldberged” repair runs out, there is a 1 in 6 chance that further attempts will be ineffective. Eventually, you simply have to do it right.
- Gun Bunny: You threaten all squares within your normal melee reach when wielding a gun as if it was a melee weapon and do not provoke attacks of opportunity when firing.
- Gymnast: You gain a +10 competence bonus to Acrobatics and Athletics checks.
- Hot Tempered: You may fly into a rage, in which you get a a +2 Morale Bonus to Str and Con, a +1 Moral Bonus on Will Saves, and a -2 penalty to AC.
- Hound’s Nose: You gain the Scent ability.
- Lethal Strike: Gain +2d6 Sneak Attack. This stacks with any purchased sneak attack.
- Light Sleeper: Any notable unfamiliar or unwelcome physical entity who comes within 20′ will automatically wake you up.
- Living On Your Nerves: You gain a +5 bonus on Initiative Checks
- Low-Light Vision: You can see twice as far as usual in low-light conditions.
- Mental Map: You can instinctively retrace your steps and never become lost.
- Psionic Aptitude: Gain +6 Power. You may develop Witchcraft, or even some Powers, with no formal training.
- Skill Expertise: You may roll twice, keeping the best result, with a chosen skill.
- Sniper’s Eyes: Gain +5 to Spot, range increments are increased by 50%.
- Toughness: Three points of any damage you take is converted to nonlethal damage.
- True Dreaming: If you have any ranks in the Sensitive skill, you will have occasional revealing or prophetic dreams.
- Unarmed Expertise: You gain +1 attack at your full BAB when fighting unarmed and are considered armed. Such attacks inflict 1d8 lethal or stunning damage at your option.
- Water Adaption: You gain a swim speed of 30′, can see clearly underwater, and can hold your breath for twice as long as usual. As a trivial benefit, you also don’t get wrinkled skin from water immersion.
- Weaponsmaster: You are proficient with any weapon you pick up.
Class B Talents:
- Bean Counter: You can count how many there are of something with a single glance.
- Diagnostic: With a few simple checks, you can reasonably accurately diagnose various injuries, diseases, and poisons.
- Fast Loader: As long as you have ammunition available and are free to move, reloading is not an action for you.
- Fast Draw: You may get objects out of pockets, off of belt loops, and similar as a free action.
- Herbalist: You may achieve results comparable to antibiotics, antitoxins, and various other drugs and salves with herbs and oils.
- Holdout: You may hide up to three small objects about your person. Short of a full strip-search and body cavity check, no one will be able to find them.
- Internal Compass: You never lose your bearings.
- Jumpstart: There’s never any startup delay when you start a system; it boots immediately, starts on the first try, and comes up to full power with little or no delay. Sadly, this won’t work on anything larger than a car.
- Knack: As per Advanced Aptitude, but the base bonus is only +1. Knacks do not stack with Advanced Aptitudes.
- Master of Flavor: You can turn any set of edible ingredients into a delicious meal.
- Meaningful Glances: You may convey several sentences worth of information with a quick glance, meaningful nod, or couple of twitching fingers. Sadly, this will not transmit technical details or anything overly complicated.
- Method Actor: You may “give off” a desired impression, such as “I am an authority on this topic”, or “I am obviously trustworthy”, or “I am old and harmless”. While this is merely a first impression, and will soon be overridden by actual experience, it will influence others reactions for at least a few moments.
- Natural Techie: You have an intuitive sense for how microtronic devices are supposed to be put together and operated. Unfortunately, this doesn’t necessarily tell you anything about what they do.
- Organizational Knack: Your gear is always well-organized, you never lose your keys, glasses, or other sundries, and whenever you go to get something out it is always right on top.
- Photographic Memory (Mnemonic): You may precisely recall the things you witness for up to a week, and enjoy a +5 bonus on recall attempts thereafter.
- Quick Repair: You can get jammed or lightly damaged personal devices working again – at least briefly – by spending a few moments fiddling with or banging on them. This MAY work with larger devices, such as ship engines – but it would be most unwise to count on it.
- Second Skin: Whatever armor you wear, you may reduce it’s Armor Check Penalty by two and increase the maximum dexterity bonus it allows by one.
- Sensitive Nose: You can easily determine if someone has poisoned your food or drink – or it a suspicious substance is poisonous.
- Sun Eyes: You are immune to penalties for excessive illumination and gain a +4 bonus on saves against blinding lights.
- Survivalist: Your semi-improvised low-tech equipment (stone knives, crudely tanned leather, improvised bows, and similar items) performs as well as professionally crafted gear – allowing you to quickly build up two “Swiss Family Robinson” standards.
- Tolerance: You are virtually immune to the ill-effects of a specific drug, toxin, intoxicant, or similar substance. You are affected as if by one-fifth the dose you were actually exposed to.
- Vocal Chameleon: You may perfectly imitate a wide range of voices, going just a bit beyond the normal range for your species. This offers a +6 bonus on appropriate rolls.
- Wordpainting: Your descriptions are as clear to others as a picture would be.
- Zero-Gravity Expertise: You do not need to make rolls to maneuver easily in zero-gravity.
- The game is using the Condensed Skill List, although Arcane and Religion are Occult (rather than normal) Skills. There are, however, several additional skills (see next post). Some of them are quite vital to the characters.
- Skills are rolled on 3d6 instead of 1d20.
- Characters automatically get a 5 on passive checks (such as when walking by something that they might or might not notice), may “take 10″ normally, and may “take 15″ instead of 20.
- A natural 3 is a serious failure, a natural 4 is an automatic failure, a roll of 17 is an automatic success, and a roll of 18 is a superior success.
- Exceeding the DC by 10 or more gets a superior success. By twenty or more gets an astounding success. Declaring that you are trying for a superior or astounding success in advance gets you a +5 on your roll – but increases the base DC accordingly, making a complete failure more likely.
- There are no synergy bonuses.
- Each attribute provides points equal to its (Value – 6) to spend on Skills related to that attribute. Once again, note that there are important new skills: