Greetings, sports-non-fans (presumably)! It is I, your splendiferous host, The Mysterious Dr. X, hear to tug your ear about the best genre in the world, historical romance!
Haha, who am I kidding, I could never talk about romance! Not with all the great stuff science fiction has to offer!
Last week, I was talking a bit about Fallout, and how it should totally have an RPG. Then I was talking about how there totally was one. Then I was talking about how it totally got canceled. You know, it would probably be easier if you just went and perused the article yourself. Come back when you’re done. Anyway, at the end I said I would do a review of it if I could find it. Alas and alack, I was not able to. But don’t fret- I’m still gonna keep looking for it. If I’m able to find it by next week, I’ll definitely cover it then, but if I don’t find it by then, I’ll just not worry about it any more. Know when you’re beaten, and all that.
Anywho. There’s still plenty on the subject to talk about. First thing that comes to mind would be how easy it is to convert into dice. Of course, my tendency is to convert it into d20, but the game mechanics might actually be more accurately represented by a d% system, since that’s essentially what the actual games run on, mechanically speaking. But regardless, most of what the game requires already exists. The crafting system from 3 and New Vegas would simply use the crafting mechanics from d20- that is, one or multiple Craft checks. Maybe add the caveat that certain things need at least a minimum number of ranks in certain types of craft in order to do it.
The perk system already exists in d20 as well, except we call them “feats” here. Sure, d20 gives out feats less frequently than Fallout does- once every three, instead of every, or every other- but unlike the games, there’s no level cap, so you’ll continue to gain feats indefinitely.
The repairing mechanic would work exactly the same, since Repair is a skill. And it would likely operate similarly to Craft, with the minimum rank requirement. Stats themselves, meanwhile, would need some tuning.
Luck Add a seventh core ability, Luck
They would need some further tweaking as well- for instance, in Fallout, carrying capacity is based on Endurance. In d20, it’s based on Strength. There would be some cleanup, but nothing a moderately capable DM wouldn’t be able to handle judiciously.
The two biggest problems I can think of are the VATS system, and the skills list. Some of the skills would stay put- Repair, Craft, Computer Use (which would be renamed Science, but otherwise be basically identical). Survival. Others- Barter, for instance- would be either invented or congealed into other skills, depending on how much of the core d20 mechanics you wanted to keep. Sneak, for example, would be Hide, Move SIlently, and Sleight Of Hand all rolled into one. In other words, it would basically be a Stealth check from 4E. But some of them would take a bit more creativity to solve. As an example- with the skill list as presented, how exactly would you handle the existence of an Energy Weapons skill? None of the existing d20 skills would really be appropriate.
Which is a roundabout way of saying that, since the system would need to be at least partially custom-built anyway, it might just be easier to scrap the current skill list altogether and replace it wholesale with the ones from the game. Personally, I would use the one from New Vegas instead of the one from 3, but if the game you’re running isn’t one that a Survival skill will be necessary for, then by all means, Big Guns your heart out.
Another good way that was just pointed out to me is kind of a combination between how Fallout does it and how D&D does it. Namely, make weapon proficiencies into skills, rather than feats. That still comes with a handful of other problems with it- for instance, to quote the person who gave me this idea, “in D&D, every +1 longsword does the same amount of damage as every single other +1 longsword in the world, but Joe Schmuck with a laser pistol and 10 ranks in Energy Weapons won’t do as much damage as Joe Schmuck with 100 ranks”- but it could definitely be done.
Which comes to the big problem, as I see it. VATS. I was talking about this with the other Fallout fan on staff, Pain (yeah, you heard me- Pain is still around. He didn’t quit or anything, he’s just had some things going on). We have been knocking around some ideas about how VATS would work. At first, I thought it might be an ability activated once per encounter, and activated by spending an action point. When you do, you make one free attack that automatically hits. He rightfully pointed out that VATS isn’t an automatic hit. At first, I was like “eh, you gotta make some concessions in order to fit it into the system”. But then I realized- if I hadn’t played D&D before, and only started playing it because I found someone did a conversion of Fallout, would I be satisfied with the way they handled the mechanic? I ultimately decided “no”, and we set upon trying to find another way.
Pain soon commented that VATS works a lot like how the Haste spell works, and we knew we had our comparison. Haste is a spell that gives you one additional attack action for free per round, for the duration of the spell (one round per level). So basically, VATS would be an ability that gave you Haste for free for a limited number of rounds. After some discussion, this is what we came up with.
VATS (the Visual Augmented Targeting System [yeah, I know that’s not what it stands for- I’m trying to make it setting-neutral])is an intense state of situational hyper-awareness, during which time seems to slow down for the user, providing them with additional precious seconds in which to make devastating attacks. Activating VATS itself is a free action and can only be done on your turn, and you must have at least one action point in reserve in order to use it (but activating it does not itself cost anything, other than the free action). Once in VATS mode, you are unable to take any action except a full round attack or a reload (not even a five-foot step is allowed). However, each round VATS is active, you are able to make one additional attack at your highest bonus at any enemy within the normal range of your currently equipped weapon.
Additionally, while in VATS, reloading your equipped weapon is a free action, regardless of the normal reload time of the weapon currently equipped.
VATS lasts for a number of rounds equal to your Constitution modifier. After it ends, you cannot activate VATS again for a number of rounds equal to double your Constitution modifier. However, you can also choose to end VATS early (which does not take any time, and therefore does not cost any action to perform), in which case VATS can be activated again in a number of rounds equal to twice the number of rounds you had VATS activated for. For example, say The Chemist has a Constitution score of 19, giving him a +4 modifier. Therefore, he can use VATS for four rounds, and it will take eight rounds to be able to use it again, if he uses it for all four of his allotted rounds. However, if The Chemist only uses VATS for two rounds, rather than the full four, he can activate VATS four rounds later, rather than eight.
If you’re a Fallout fan like myself, and you think this is the greatest thing since sliced bread- or, hell, if you think it’s an offense worthy of the death penalty- send us an email and let us know! We’ll be glad to hear from you either way! I am your host, The Mysterious Dr. X, saying “the Mysterious Dimension X is so lovely this time of year”!
The Mysterious Dr. X (Certified Maniacal Laugh Master Practitioner©)