Wednesday, June 19, 2013

New X-Plorers Class: Starship Gunner

That punk just beat my high score!
This article about space junk from (more than) a while back reminded me about a promise to post Gunner Class for X-plorers. This would be a multi-class option, with an AGL (agility) of 10 or higher required.  I'm not totally happy with the chart below, but the result should give gunners a distinct advantage in combat and in reeling in debris with a tractor beam. So here's a feeble first attempt at a write-up for up to 10 levels:

Level 1 | 2,500 | Carbon Kisser | 0 | +1
Level 2 | 5,000 | Photurd | 0 | +2
Level 3 | 10,000 | Laserbait | +1 |  +1d4
Level 4 | 20,000 | Phaserphile | +1 | +2d4
Level 5 | 40, 000 | Trigger Monkey | +2 | +1d6
Level 6 | XP | Blast Jockey | +3 | +1d6+1
Level 7 | XP | Hot Shot | +1d4+2 | +1d6+2
Level 8 | XP | Beamer | +1d6 | +2d6
Level 9 | XP | Marksman | +1d6+1 | +2d6+1
Level 10 | XP | Disintegrator | + 2d6 | +1d8+1

Advancement uses the Character Advancement Table in the X-plorers manual. Modifiers are "to hit" bonuses. Gunners can go by the above chart for any ol' spaceship-mounted energy weapon or as well as sub-specialize in a particular weapon. Gunners automatically earn an "Optimize/Repair Weapon" skill which gains an extra damage die on all attacks with that particular type of weapon (ion cannons, rail guns, phaser emitter) as long as it's in good working order.

Don't hate the PC, hate the game, yo!
Are you naturally talented?
(Natural Agility of 15 or higher.) You advance at half the listed XP rate. The rest of you, don't hate. Some people are just gifted, amirite?

These ain't wamp rats
There's hope though for gunners who want to practice their skills in a simulator. They can buy XP needed for twice what's listed, (e.g., It costs you 10,000 credits to go from Level 1 to 2). Referee reserves the right to invoke a restriction though that PCs must wait until the next game session to play at that new level.

So if you're bullseying wamp rats in your T-16 or just plopping quarters into your local arcade cabinet, you'll still build your skill--but it won't be like Beggar's Canyon back home--it's going to take time and money you wouldn't have to spend in actual combat.

Klaa definitely needs to pony-up some credits to improve his accuracy!

Tractor Beam as it's own skill?

Like this, but colored the Marvel Way!
Admittedly, this gunner thing is crude and I'd like to develop something that would do more justice to the difficulty of steering an object with what's essentially a gravity gun. In my mind, it's damn difficult. I'd previously thought I'd end up with something that would resemble an old TSR-inspired FASERIP chart, pitting difficulty (distance or movement of target, gravity well strength, etc. vs. the skill of the gunner). 

Some people might hate that, and while my preference is to keep it simple, in my mind it would be totally rad. So there.


UPDATE: I made the "Optimize/Repair Weapon" skill automatic to the class.


  1. I've never thought of adding a tractor beam to X-P! Forcing an opponent to move a space forward could be very fun. I assume that it's be used in place of firing a weapon, right? Intense gravity disrupting targeting systems and projectiles, and such. Very cool idea.

  2. Yes, the Tractor Beam can be used defensively in all the ways you mention. Initially, my thought was to give the Gunner something to do in non-combat situations. So helping the ship capture a satellite, divert an asteroid, etc. I haven't worked up rules for how tractoring would work exactly, but it should be really tough to do with any kind of accuracy--like playing the claw-prize game with oven mitts on!

  3. I like this, but I am not sure how this would do as a playable character class, simply because what does one do when off the ship?

  4. Oh, I have plenty of ideas on that topic. I picture the gunner as a master-of-arms type who keeps things finely tuned and is always looking to improve on the ship's weaponry. This leads to a lot of off-ship parts hunting/scavenging to keep things in tip-top shape. I imagine she or he would also know a lot of personal weaponry too.

    I never got around to adding this in--or adding the extra stats and graphics for the tractor beam skills, which would also lend some storyline and character building support.