Friday, August 28, 2015

Pax Stellarum 2.0 - Alfa Version Released!

I finally finished revising my spaceship gaming rulest, Pax Stellarum. I've thoroughly revamped every section of the rules, and implemented quite a few changes, but the core of the game, how it feels and plays, remains unaltered.

Here is the link to the Google Drive Folder:

There you'll find both the .doc and the .pdf version of the rules, as well as some quick reference sheets of Special Orders, Critical Hit table and some cut-and-paly tokens. There is also the brand new Design Tool Excel Spreadsheet, which comes with several stock ship designs of major sci fi universes. I'll be adding more and more "official" Pax Stellarum stats for famous ships over the next weeks, so that one file is going to get constantly updated on the folder. But the idea has always been having a design system that allows players to come up with stats of their own, and the Design Tool is there to help you do just that!

You can also find the permanent link to the Pax Stellarum folder on the middle of the column to the left on this blog, so it's always just a click away!

The most fundamental changes on this second edition are:

- Terrain Movement: It felt odd to have elements of terrain moving around the table. Scalewise, in the timeframe of a battle, any microcosmic changing of position of celestial bodies should be imperceptible to ships, anyway.

- Basic To-hit Number: On the original version of the rules, each ship had a Profile, based on its size, that constituted the basic to-hit number enemies need to match to score a hit. On this second edition, I've implemented rules for Quality, which replace the original "Spacefaring" Stat. Now, ships hit their enemies based on their own Quality, and the enemy Profile is now a modifer to this role, only. 

Quality now becomes one of the most important stats on a ship, for it determines its to-hit number not only for shooting, but for Skill Checks (to take on Special Orders and such) as well as Morale Checks.

- CTM and Projectile Weapons: On version 1.0, Countermeasures could only be used against weapons classified as projectiles. I've changed that so that now it's effective against any weapon. This, in turn, makes the distinction between energy based and projectile weapons irrelevant, and thus I've done away with that element. The reason for these changings is to make CTM a defensive system complete on its own, so to better represent those sci-fi universes where ships don't have Shields at all.

Still, CTM plays differently from Shields, they have distinct mechanics and feel unique. They each have both pros and cons, in terms of gameplay and design process (cost, mass, etc.), so plays hopefully won't have the feeling of being playing the same thing only with different names.

- Damage and the Spiral of Death: On the original version, the rules determined the loss of dice for weapons and overall combat effectivenes in relation to the amount of damage a ship suffers. Although this may seem more realistic in terms of naval warfare, in practice this meant that a ship woud quickly become useless once it started taking damage. Now the rules determine that if loses 1 point of Quality instead, which is bad already, but still manageable.

The are a lot of other minor changes to the rules on this new version, mostly aiming at making the game flow better. The new rulebook has also seen a revamping on its visual, and now portrays a plethora of beautiful pics of starships and space battles, so to make the reading process less boring and more inspiring, instead.

This is still version Alfa of the 2.0 Rules, which means playtesting may determine the need for some adjustments, but overall I feel pretty good with how the rules are right now. There is also the need of editing my writting (english is not my natural language), but my trusty colaborator Tim White accepted the challenge once more, so this should get done over the next weeks or so.

Go ahead, take a look, play some games and contribute with some feedback!