Monday, July 22, 2019

SPORE: BIO-E For Everyone!

Anyone who has tried to play the mutant animal rules from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Other Strangeness in Heroes Unlimited knows that there is a major power imbalance between those mutant animals and the other power categories.  This was somewhat alleviated in that game's second edition successor, After the Bomb--but I play revised-era Palladium rules (mostly out of preference, though partly for financial reasons).  So, I have come up with my own solution:  Give all characters BIO-E, mutant or not.

This method changes the way BIO-E is used, but not what it represents.  BIO-E is still used to purchase humanoid traits, natural weapons and armor, animal powers, and animal psionics.  It is also used to purchase any attribute modifiers associated with a given animal type.
Many of the house rules I use for the SPORE settings are drastic variations on the originals; what follows is a simplification of concept copatible with revised-era palladium rules as published.  Details used in my LegacySPORE campaign will be different because of other rules changes.

Starting BIO-E

The average human can be described in mutant animal terms as follows:
  • Size level 10, 45 BIO-E
  • No attribute modifiers, 0 BIO-E
  • Full human biped, 10 BIO-E
  • Full human hands, 10 BIO-E
  • Full human looks, 10 BIO-E
  • Full human speech, 10 BIO-E
  • No natural weapons or armor, 0 BIO-E
  • No animal powers, 0 BIO-E
  • No animal psionics, 0 BIO-E
  • Base Animal BIO-E:  85

Any character with 85 BIO-E could, therefore, be treated as a "normal" human; this makes it the starting BIO-E for most characters.  These points can be used to "purchase" and then modify any animal type (including human).  Any character built his way should be allowed access to super powers, special training, robotics, or even advanced psionics as any other character.

Some players may want characters with relatively more BIO-E.  In these cases, power and skill options available to such characters will be limited.  However, players should first attempt to build characters with only 85 BIO-E first.

Parahumans & Aliens

Under this model, parahumans are essentially mutant humans as presented in Transdimensional Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ... but not exactly.  The "base" human animal does not have any attribute modifiers, nor does it have access to "human mutant powers."  They do, however (like all animals), have access to any animal powers or animal psionics.

To represent a parahuman's physical mutation, reduce humanoid traits.  Partial looks would resemble the "bumpy-headed" aliens of Star Trek-Wars-Gate; while no looks would be bestial as the player sees fit (though in both cases, the examples in Transdimensional TMNT can also be used).  Speech, biped, and hands could all be reduced as seen with common animals.
For example, the X-Man Beast could be understood to have no looks and a partial biped.
For alien characters, simply use 85 BIO-E to purchase a new race from the bottom up.  As you make the character, decide which traits chosen are common to the species, and which traits are unique to the character.

Attribute Modifiers

Each attribute point is worth 2 BIO-E.  To gain BIO-E, you can take attribute penalties--gaining 2 BIO-E for each point sacrificed.  Alternately, attributes can be increased at the cost of 2 BIO-E per point of increase.

Attribute Minimum.  No heroic character can have an ability score lower than 6.

Attribute Maximum.  Heroic characters have no maximum for attributes.

Using Animal Descriptions

Use animals descriptions as provided to help determine an animal’s common or expected traits.  All traits, including “automatic” humanoid traits must be purchased with BIO-E.  Mutant traits can be purchased from any any animal; these descriptions present the expected traits of animals.

For example, lets look at the titular turtle:
  • Size level 1, 0 BIO-E
  • No attribute modifiers, 0 BIO-E
  • No human biped, 0 BIO-E
  • No human hands, 0 BIO-E
  • No human looks, 0 BIO-E
  • No human speech, 0 BIO-E
  • Animal Powers
    • Extra-heavy natural armor, 60 BIO-E
    • Hold breath, 5 BIO-E
    • Bonus "automatic" skill, Swim, 10 BIO-E
  • No animal psionics, 0 BIO-E
  • Base Animal BIO-E:  70
Therefore, to play an "awakened" turtle, having human intelligence but no other humanoid traits or special powers, costs 70 BIO-E.  To remain roughly equivalent to a normal human (as outlined above), a turtle character could spend up to an additional 15 BIO-E on additional traits.  To gain more BIO-E, the turtle could even sacrifice some or all of their armor, or any others of their abilities--or even take on attribute penalties.

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