Iron Tower Studio Colony Ship Game Design Update #11

The new update for Iron Tower Studio’s Colony Ship RPG showcases the game’s character and inventory screens and explains the systems behind them. The screens look stylish and detailed but quite intuitive for anyone who played The Age of Decadence or even Fallout. Additionally, this update contains an excerpt from a lore-filled questionnaire, used to set up your character’s beliefs pre-game.

Here are some of the key character-building concepts:

1. Tagged Skills

The tagged skills will increase at a faster rate (let’s say x1.25). INT will no longer give overall XP bonuses but define the number of tagged skills instead (up to 6 tagged skills at INT10). Thus a smart person will be able to excel in a larger number of disciplines.

2. Party-Based Mechanics used in DR

Charisma will determine the number and quality of your party members. The party size will range from 2 to 4. Experience points from quests will be split between the human party members (a droid will have its own leveling up mechanics and won’t cost you any XP), thus a smaller party will be able to gain levels faster.

3. Feats & Character Levels

Your characters will gain levels using experience points from quests. When you level up, you’ll select feats, unlocking or improving your abilities. The feats will be an important aspect of character development (i.e. they won’t give you minor bonuses but help you develop your characters along specific paths: lone wolf vs squad leader, offense vs defense, gunslinger vs sprayer or gadgeteer, melee vs ranged, which will go beyond which skill to develop, etc) and make as much of a difference as the skills levels.

The skills will determine your chance of success with certain tasks and the feats will define what you can do and how you can use these skills to maximum advantage. Basically, the feats will define your character much more than your skills. 

4. Skills & Learn by Using

You will not gain XP for killing, talking, sneaking, picking locks, using computers, fixing mechanical things and such. You will not increase your skills manually. Instead your skills will be increased automatically based on their use.

  • The main problem with a party-based, skill-based setup is that even with a 3-man party you can easily cover all skills you want to have. You’ll have a fighter/talker, fighter/thief, fighter/fixer, which is something we’d like to avoid. The ‘increase by use’ system solves this problem in the most natural and logical way possible. Your abilities reflect what you do, not how (usually arbitrary) you distribute your skill points.
  • It reinforces our party-based goals. If you let one of the party members do all the repair work while you concentrate on other areas, losing this party member would hit you hard and you’d have to make sure (via choices made during quests) that he/she would stay with you no matter what.
  • It rewards consistent gameplay. Let’s say you need to deal with a gang that stands between you and that door over there. If you kill them, everyone’s combat skills will improve a bit. If you talk your way through, only your dialogue skills will go up.

Instead of counting how many times you did something, we’ll assign a certain value (let’s call it learning points) to each activity (attacking, killing, fixing, sneaking, convincing, lying, etc). So killing a tough enemy or repairing a reactor will net you more points than killing a weakling or fixing a toaster. Basically, it will work the same way as XP but go directly toward raising the skill that did all the work.

1-10 ranks with hidden grandmaster ranks going above 10. So essentially a 1-20 system. Basically, we don’t want someone to max a skill and then have the xp go to waste, so we will allow raising the skill above 10 in the unlikely event of someone going over 10 via extreme specialization.

5. Evasion

Evasion is a DEX & PER based skill. It doesn’t give you a chance to avoid attacks like AoD Dodge but rather makes you harder to target, reducing THC against you.  Each rank reduces THC by 5% up to 50% at slvl10. Against melee attacks Evasion is twice as effective (i.e. 10% THC reduction per rank).

6. Stats:

  • STR – carry weight, melee damage bonus, min requirements for heavy (two-handed) weapons like plasma canons.
  • DEX – determines AP (Dex + 2) and combat sequence; same as in DR
  • CON – determines HP (CON x 5)+10, number of implants, and resistance to poison, knockdowns, criticals and other harmful effects while in combat. The goal is to make toughness more than just hit points as +5 hit points don’t really make much difference. So the focus should be on resisting harmful effects. Implants: 1 at CON4, 2 at CON5, 3 at CON6, 4 at CON7, 5 at CON8, 6 at CON9, 7 at CON10
  • PER – THC modifier for all weapons, reduces the effect of flashbang and smoke grenades.
  • INT – determines the number of tagged skills: 1 at INT4, 2 at INT6, 3 at INT8 , 4 at INT10. Reduces Brainwave Disruptor effects.
  • CHA – determines the party size, 1 follower at CHA5, 2 at CHA7, 3 at CHA9; max party size is 4

7. Implants

In most cases the implants won’t give you direct bonuses (cellular regeneration and subdermal armor are the only combat implants) but will assist with “gated content”, either allowing to bypass stat checks or unlocking extra content in the first place (like interfacing with the ship’s systems via a bridge officer’s datajack). Basically, the implants are closer to what we did in AoD than to Shadowrun, in case anyone’s wondering.

8. Reputation

General reputation will be checked in dialogues, but it will also give the players a better idea of what they missed via low ranks. Personal beliefs will be shaped by your decisions and checked in dialogues. We’ll start the game with 10 “old-school” questions which will both introduce the setting and define your character a little bit (the starting values).

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Val Hull
Val Hull

Resident role-playing RPG game expert. Knows where trolls and paladins come from. You must fight for your right to gather your party before venturing forth.

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