Posts tagged Stargate SG-1

Stargate: A Savage Worlds Conversion

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Over two years ago, I created my first Savage Worlds conversion for one of my favorite settings of all time: Stargate. I’ve learned a lot since then, especially with my Elder Scrolls conversion, and have been wanting to redo it for a long time. Then out of the blue, a fan posted to a topic I made about it and asked if I had done anything more with this. Flattered that people were actually using it, I decided it was high time that I actually got around to working on it!

This conversion contains everything you’ll need for Stargate SG-1Stargate Atlantis, and Stargate Universe. Including:

  • Three new races: Jaffa, Tok’ra, and Wraith
  • Additional benefits for humans from a variety of worlds
  • Simple rules for dealing with alien technology
  • Four new Edges
  • Complete gear listings for the Tau’ri, Jaffa, Go’auld, Ori, and Wraith

The current version is Stargate for Savage Worlds v0.6 (400 KB PDF). I greatly encourage feedback, so put any suggestions you have below in the comments or contact me!

As a Traveller fan, I’ll also give a shout-out to the excellent Stargate RPG for Traveller conversion that was made by the Pinnacle forum user “stouty.” It’s great to see Stargate living on in this way!

Oh, and if you’d like to see a fun writeup of a one-shot adventure told by SG-1 themselves, click here!

Changelog

Version 0.6 (17 July 2012)

New Features

  • Brought back revised versions of the Ori and Wraith Armor, which I forgot to add in version 0.5

Gameplay Changes

  • Modified the requirements of Mr. Fix-it to bring them closer to the level of stringency as the version in Savage Worlds Deluxe
  • Increased number of shots for a P90 to 50 to match the real world P90
  • Increased C4 damage to 5d8 when two or more are used together
  • Changed the Jaffa Staff Weapon from AP4 to AP3
  • Removed the “Heavy Weapon” keyword from the Jaffa Staff Weapon
  • Removed the Minimum Strength requirement for the Ori Staff Weapon
  • Changed the Ori Staff Weapon to have the same weapon notes as the ranged Jaffa Staff weapon

Textual Changes

  • Renamed “Goa’uld Cannon” to “De-mounted Glider Cannon” (this is the one that Teal’c used in 48 hours)
  • Renamed Jaffa “Chain Shirt” to “Hauberk”
  • Removed “Jaffa” from all armor names and replaced with the armor type

Version 0.5 (11 July 2012)

  • Brought the conversion up to the same level of quality as my Elder Scrolls conversion
  • Rebalanced the races using the Race Creation rules from Savage Worlds Deluxe and the suggestions from the Pinnacle forums (all races are +4 races)
  • Redid the +2 advantages for different groups of humans and made them a bit more practical (for instance, there is now an “SGC Soldier” set of +2 benefits)
  • Redid several of the weapons (the ammo for things like staff weapons were actually a holdover from the official Stargate SG-1 RPG)
  • Brought the conversion in line with Savage Worlds Deluxe
  • Used the Skill Specialization house rule for dealing with alien technology
  • Added three new Edges

Version 0.1 (06 May 2010)

  • Initial release.

Planned Content

This is still a work in progress and in the future I plan to add the following:

  • Vehicle stats for F-302s, Deathgliders, Alkesh, Tel’tak, Puddlejumpers, Wraith Darts, Destiny Shuttles, and Drones.
  • Rules for capital ships including Prometheus, Daedalus-class ships, Orion-class ships, Ha’tak, Ori Motherships, Wraith Cruisers, Wraith Hive Ships, and Destiny.
  • Character sheets for the main characters of every show
  • Enemies

GMs to Love and GMs to Hate

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This week, I’ve decided to have my first forray into the RPG Blog Carnival, an organized event where once a month an RPG Blog poses a topic and other RPG Blogs write a post addressing it. Nevermet Press posed this month’s topic: “things to love and things to hate.” I’ve decided to write about GMs I’ve loved to game with and GMs I’ve hated to game with.

GMs to Hate

Now I’m using the phrase “hate” pejoratively because it’s part of the theme, but I really mean GMs who had a detrimental effect on the game. The book Robin’s Laws of Good Gamemastering states that “at least 70% of the success or failure of a gaming session depends on interactions between participants,” especially the interaction between the GM and the players. So I might say that those GMs I “hate” are those who ran a game that didn’t get anywhere close to a 70% success.

The GM Who Didn’t Bring Any Enthusiasm to the Game

My first (and so far my only) foray into Pathfinder was a convention game that turned into one of the worst convention games I have ever played. The GM wasn’t enthusiastic in the least. He read the text in a deadpan tone, didn’t give any eye contact to the players, and just went straight through the motions. During combat, he would move an enemy figure and, without saying anything, roll more dice and announce damage. The adventure’s only social encounter went like this:

GM:  In the middle of the room you see a dwarf hammering at the forge.

Player: I use Diplomacy. [rolls] 19.

GM: He tells you that he’s a prisoner here and the only way to free him is to destroy the necromantic altar on the floor above him. Do you guys want to go ahead and go up there?

Nothing at all inspiring about this GM. Afterwards I heard him chattting to one of the players saying that his primary motivation was the GM rewards program for the Pathfinder Rewards Program. Now I’ve got nothing against GM rewards programs, but clearly this GM didn’t have his heart in the game. Bottom line, a terrible game (and that’s not even bringing up the situation where a player pulled out the Pathfinder book to show the monster’s statblock and prove to the GM that he was using its attack wrong).

The GM Who Hated the System He Was Running

You would think that a GM would run a game with a system he liked. Not so here. This GM was part of a larger group which had a good reputation over all. I was excited to play in a game with a cross between some meddling kids, a dog, and an Elder God. The fact that it was run using Savage Worlds with Realms of Cthulhu made it even more appealing.

But apparently, the GM hated Savage Worlds. He said so himself as he was flipping through the books to something up. He didn’t know even the most basic rules either and had Fighting rolls directly dealing damage (ignoring Parry), bad guys who were mysteriously rolling “dodge checks,” and the GM spending bennies to make the players reroll. I really got the impression that the GM hated the system so much that he just did a quick skim over the rules an hour before the game.

Perhaps the GM was required to run Savage Worlds by the group he was part of, but it was no excuse to be running a system he absolutely hated. Too bad because I think it could have been a great game.

GMs to Love

Fortunately, for every horrendous GM, there’s a fantastic one. The ones that make you want to immediately come back and play next year (or even make you want to go run down to the dealer hall and buy the book for the system they are running). There’s a few experiences in particular that I’d like to point out:

The GMs Who Let the Rule of Awesome Trump Everything

Especially in one-shots, it’s important to let the players have fun with what they are doing and let them go with whatever cool ideas they come up with. The GMs from Matinee Adventures totally do that. I played in two games with them last Origins and they were probably the highlight of my con. One was a game was a 7th Sea game based on the Scarlet Pimpernel where we were musketeer-style nobles who went in disguise to save other nobles from the guillotine. The players had lots of great ideas and there were some really epic moments like jumping through a window in order to do a leap attack against some bounty hunters down on the streets below. The GM totally let us do those things and we all had fun!

Another adventure from Matinee Adventures was an Avatar: The Last Airbender prequel using the Ubiquity system where we were teenagers (like in the show) who were saving a child from the Western Air Temple. The GM totally could have set it up where we were limited to only doing certain maneuvers with our elemental bending. But instead, he had us describe whatever we wanted to do, even if it was way over the top, and let us roll for it with some difficulty modifiers. Some really awesome stuff happened there too.

The GM Who Went All Out for His Game

There was a GM who decided he would make the best Stargate SG-1 game he could possibly make. So he used his incredible modeling skills and made this:

Doesn’t this just make you want to play? Now I probably should make it very clear that I am not at all expecting for every GM to make elaborate minis like this. I just want to show the amount of enthusiasm that this GM clearly has for his game. He created a great scenario and went all out to make it as fun as possible for everyone at the table, which for him meant creating great visuals. If you’re a Stargate fan and have the opportunity, definitely play in this guy’s games.

So those are some GMs I’ve loved and GMs I’ve hated. I think that both groups have certainly had an influence in me becoming the JourneymanGM that I am today.

Origins 2011: The Games I Ran

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This year at Origins was a special one for me because it was the first time I ran a game at a large convention. I had previously GMed informally with the gamers at Wittenberg as well as at WittCon and FOPCon, two small conventions with less than 100 people. The main difference to me GMing at Origins was that I had no idea what type of people would show up for my games and it was highly unlikely that anybody I had gamed with would sign up for what I was running. Still, I was really pleased with how it all turned out and I’m glad that I got the opportunity to do it.

I decided to run four games each of which were four hours long for a total of 16 gaming hours, which is the minimum to get a free badge at Origins. I spaced it out so that Wednesday through Saturday I was playing in two games and running one, which I felt was a good balance for me.

Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and SpaceMy first session that I ran was a scenario I wrote with called Sovereigns of the Sea for the Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space from Cubicle 7. I’m a fan of the hit British sci-fi show and it’s always amazed me how well this game system is able to capture the feel of the show. To my surprise, I was the only person at Origins running Doctor Who. One player told me that the demand was so high my first session was sold out 2 minutes after Origins’ event preregistration opened and the second 2 minutes later!

“Sovereigns of the Sea” lands the TARDIS on the Queen Anne’s Revenge, captained by Blackbeard himself. It seems he’s found a treasure map. But little does he know that the treasure he seeks actually belongs to aliens who don’t take kindly to pirates. One thing I love about running Doctor Who is that it never turns out the same way twice. Players come up with creative and ingenious ideas that really help the scenario. Armed with a basic outline of the scenario and filling in the details as we went along, my players and I were able to create a really interesting and enjoyable adventure for everyone.

The players were fantastic in this game. They were all older than me, mostly middle aged with two men who were getting on in years. But that didn’t seem to bother us: we were all Doctor Who fans and that was what mattered the most. The person who played The Tenth Doctor was able to imitate his personality incredibly. Joining him on this adventure were Captain Jack Harkness, Donna Noble, Rose Tyler, K-9 “the tin dog”, and Mickey Smith “the other tin dog.” Surprisingly in both my games, Rose wound up being the big hero of the day, although all the characters were able to have their shining moments. We all had a whole lot of fun with this and walked away from the table very happy.

The Stargate SG-1 TeamThe next day I ran Stargate SG-1: Shifting Loyalties using the Savage Worlds system. In the show, the Goa’uld Klorel was last seen being extracted from his host Skaara and was said to have been permitted to travel to another planet of his choosing. He never reappeared in the show. So I decided to fill in this gap. The premise of this scenario was that after Apophis died, Klorel contacted SG-1 claiming that he wanted to join the Tok’ra and was willing to turn over a partially completed mothership in good faith. Of course, who better to investigate this than SG-1! This scenario also had Bra’tac and Jacob Carter guest starring to help determine if they had found a potential ally, or if the whole thing was a trap.

I’d run this scenario twice before at Wittenberg and it too wound up being slightly different than the previous times I ran it, although not nearly as much as my Doctor Who scenarios. Whereas usually the enemy Jaffa can’t shoot to save their life, this time one of them was nearly able to kill Jacob Carter during their initial skirmish. Still, everything worked out in the end the players had a good time.

One thing that frustrated me was that one of the players in this game seemed to have the D&D mentality of kill everybody and take their stuff. For instance, they wanted their character to ditch their P-90 and loot the dead Jaffa’s staff weapons just because they could, which really didn’t fit with the mood of the show. One thing about running at a large convention like this is that you may get people who are poor gamers or who don’t want to match the intended style of the game. But all things considered, I had five great players and only one player that wasn’t so great. And we all walked out of there happy again.

Stargate Atlantis CastFriday I ran Stargate Atlantis: No Man Left Behind, also using the Savage Worlds system. This time, the gap I filled was with Lt. Aiden Ford, a military man who was part of Sheppard’s team in Season 1, became half Wraith in Season 2, then promptly disappeared from the show. This scenario took place in Season 5 beginning with Todd the Wraith scientist contacting Atlantis to say that he discovered that Michael, in his quest to create a better Human/Wraith hybrid soldier, had captured Ford and was hoping to experiment on him. Col. Sheppard and his team, with the help of Carson Beckett, of course needed to launch a full scale rescue to get him, but there was the nagging question: what was Todd hoping to gain out of all this?

I think that this was my best game all convention, although my first Doctor Who game was a close second. The show was less popular than SG-1, but I was sure that I would be able to find six players who were enthusiastic about Atlantis at a convention as large as Origins.

Todd the Wraith

The players were a bit on edge with the thought of having to trust Todd, just like in the show!

And find them I did! One player told me at the beginning that he had never played in any role-playing game before, but he did a fantastic job portraying the irritable yet lovable Dr. Rodney McKay. I was a bit worried when I planned to let Todd be a player character with a hidden agenda. But the player who played him nailed it on the head, talking like the character, creating a sense of paranoia and distrust with the other team members, and even managing to successfully capture Aiden Ford and gain him as an ally by the end without the Atlantis team suspecting him! All in all, it was a fantastic adventure and it was one of the high points of time at Origins.

My final game was a repeat of Sovereigns of the Sea. This time, I had among my players three young boys who were brothers, which was a bit different for me and required a bit more coaxing to get them to share the great ideas they had been thinking. The group as a whole lacked the energy and enthusiasm that the first group had, but in the end were still able to pull out a great scenario. Although the first time I ran this was better, I wouldn’t call this one a failure by any stretch. The players had fun and that means it was a success!

I found it interesting how much of an effect the players had on how well the session went. There’s lots of talk in the RPG community about how system matters and how the GM’s skill matters. But even when I had the same system and scenario (and obviously the same GM), the players had the biggest impact on whether the game was outstanding or merely good. After thinking about it, I think that what makes a good game is influenced the most by the GM. The players have the second biggest influence with system and scenario being the third. I think that sometimes GMs focus too much on the system and scenario and not enough on improving their own skills as a GM. It’s difficult to change the players themselves, so the surest way to have better sessions is to work on improving your skills as a GM.

Also I’ve realized that although at a convention you can get people in your games who are detrimental to everyone’s enjoyment, sometimes you get shining players who do an incredible job at helping to make things incredibly fun for everybody!

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