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Thread: Converting _some_ CODA to D20

  1. #1

    Question Converting _some_ CODA to D20

    Hello all! I hope this isn't sacrilege, but I've been toying with converting the wonderful narrative starship combat from CODA into d20. Although I like CODA a lot, I own a tremendous amount of d20 material and much of that material can, with little work, dovetail with ADB's Prime Directive d20 Modern. Plus, CODA and d20 are so similar to me (*ducking*), that I'd just be running CODA as a d20 game inadvertently in a short period of time.

    With that said, does anyone have any advice on how to start? I know that the math would have me multiply a CODA "stat" by 1.6 (1 on 2d6 being 1.6 on a 1d20), but a cursory look at the narrative starship combat rules seems to indicate that I just need to compare CODA TNs to d20 DCs. I'm less confident about that.

    If I use the math, the d20 DCs may be a bit high: a TN 10 (Routine) becomes a DC 16 (Tough). However, if I just convert TNs directly to DCs (a TN 10 is a DC 10), it doesn't seem to go far enough since TNs seem to peak at 25* (Virtually Impossible) and DCs peak at 40 (Nearly Impossible).

    *Although there may be a maneuver in Starships that is TN 30; I can't recall.

    In practice, however, in d20 a DC 25 is a tough thing for a character who has not focused on the skill involved in the challenge. So perhaps a "one for one" is the way to go.

    To add to the problem, the Deflector Shield Protection of a starship is in effect the TN to hit the ship! I really don't want to mess with the published stats, although one stab at this problem had me adding "2" (1.6 rounded up) to the published DSP (although I can't recall the logic right now).

    Anyway, any help would be greatly appreciated! Narrative starship combat is the way to go for an RPG and I love what Decipher did.

    Best,

    Lee (FASAfan)

  2. #2
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    I've played very little d20, Lee, but I don't find what you're suggesting sacrilege at all. My son (16 yrs. old, who just recently played CODA for the first time) just asked me a few minutes ago what "TN" stood for (he was working with a friend to create their own Harry Potter RPG) and I told him that the Target Number was very similar to many other games, with d20 being the main type out there. I think they're quite similar.

    I really am not the one to answer this (since I'm so unfamiliar with d20), but it sounds like adding about 2 or 3 to the TNs (perhaps 2 at the lower numbers, and scaling up as the TNs get higher) might be appropriate. Or multiple the TN by 1.3 or 1.4.

    Good luck with it; I agree that Decipher's starship combat system is highly cinematic and enjoyable!
    Doug Taylor
    Member of Decipher's Hall of Fame
    Currently running The One Ring RPG. I also occasionally run Villains & Vigilantes (our campaign is in year 25) and WEG d6 Star Wars (both games are mostly on hiatus) and an annual game based on The X-Files (using Conspiracy X).

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    I'm not sure how you'd go about the calculation of the TNs vs DCs, but with regard to starship shields I'd be inclined to use a similar system to D20 (or SAGA) Star Wars, where you roll to hit, but initially damage comes off shields (like "virtual hit points"). There is also a damage threshold which, if exceeded, allows damage to "leak" through the shields to the hull.

    Once the shields are down, damage is applied directly to the hull.
    When you are dead, you don't know that you are dead. It is difficult only for others.

    It's the same when you are stupid...

  4. #4
    Thanks for the reply! It seems that a +2 or +3 is the way to go after some thinking about it off and on at work today. I'll have to run some numbers to be more confident. Another solution may be a x1.2 or x1.3 instead of the x1.6.

    I'm in a D&D 3.5 campaign right now with 15th level characters. My highest skill score with rank, modifiers, etc. is maybe 18. So, if I rolled a 20 I could score a 38. That's still two less than a DC 40. I'm not sure if the tests are supposed to be _that_ difficult at 15th level. Otherwise, no PC would ever be able to use a couple of those Tier 3 maneuvers.

    Lee

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    Never done much with d20 myself - we played a bit of Farscape, and a session or two of the Stargate RPG - both from Adlerac - and they were a lot of fun. But, I didn't really see the similarity to CODA a lot of people talk about.

    My main issue with d20 is not with the system itself but with the canon characters statted out in the core books. Especially Farscape. My 8-year-old could beat up D'Argo according to those stats.

    I think d20 tests tend to be a lot harder than CODA, or ICON tests. But, at least d20 D&D got rid of the 1HP/1 spell "magic user" from original AD&D.

    Decipher's Starship combat system is probably the best I've ever played. I also enjoy the combat system for ship-to-ship combat in WEG's Star Wars. And ships are really easy to "stat out" in the Farscape RPG.

  6. #6
    I would take a look at D20 Star Wars and D20 Traveller for some ideas. Its not sacrilege its roleplaying. Hmm ponders trying making some D20 Ship Stats.

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    Slightly off-topic:
    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Taylor View Post
    (he was working with a friend to create their own Harry Potter RPG)
    Doug, our own Gandalf of Borg put out a very nicely done CODA based Harry Potter RPG years back. Try his sig, it should still be there. Just in case you want to show your kid another take on the HP matter. Of course it is much fun in itself to tinker your own game, so you could just let him do that.

    @topic: You'll find these boards are quite friendly when it comes to other RPG systems. At least most of us So no sacrilege to compare or even incorporate different gaming engines or ideas there from, even, and I say even when they are d20

  8. #8

    Red face

    Quote Originally Posted by Fugazi Grrl View Post
    Never done much with d20 myself - we played a bit of Farscape, and a session or two of the Stargate RPG - both from Adlerac - and they were a lot of fun. But, I didn't really see the similarity to CODA a lot of people talk about.

    My main issue with d20 is not with the system itself but with the canon characters statted out in the core books. Especially Farscape. My 8-year-old could beat up D'Argo according to those stats.

    I think d20 tests tend to be a lot harder than CODA, or ICON tests. But, at least d20 D&D got rid of the 1HP/1 spell "magic user" from original AD&D.

    Decipher's Starship combat system is probably the best I've ever played. I also enjoy the combat system for ship-to-ship combat in WEG's Star Wars. And ships are really easy to "stat out" in the Farscape RPG.
    Thanks to all that have replied!

    I was an angry AD&D 2nd edition player when 3rd Edition (d20) came out. It took playing in a game ran by a DM who knew the system well (and made it up well when he didn't) to make me appreciate it. Making a few jumps in logic here, my absolute first love is FASA Star Trek. That said (and risking more "sacrilege" here, LOL ) I can accept d20 because it's basically a percentile system divided by 5 (an "11" in d20 is a "55" in FASA Star Trek, for instance).

    Using that as a basis, I can extrapolate all manner of FASA goodness and add the time-tested, sound d20 principles to it. For instance, I always wondered what a 55 Strength in FASA Star Trek "meant" (How much could I lift?; Exactly how strong was I?). In d20, that kind of thing is well established for all attributes.

    Not to belabor the point, but I'm a *serious* FASA Star Trek fan =) The fluff is the best out there, IMHO - except for its spiritual forerunner "Spaceflight Chronology" (from which FASA liberally borrowed). FASA fluff should make Rick Berman and Brannon Braga blush... In my spare time over the years, I dreamed of making a "FASA Star Trek 3.0" and made substantial progress on it. It took me a while, but I realized that the logical solutions to many of the "upgrades" to the mechanics of the game had already been done. Yes, that would be d20.

    I wasn't alone in that opinion. A respected game designer, I was to find out, reached the same conclusion independently. That game designer, a FASA Star Trek fan himself, went on to design a game called - "Prime Directive d20"!

    Now, I don't think "d20 Star Trek" is necessarily perfect - it isn't. It's hard for me to wrap my head around a level-based Star Trek game. However, a lot of the level-independent mechanics are a perfect fit.

    Now for a really dirty secret =) I think one of the best fits out there for a Star Trek RPG, especially if I could tinker with it a bit, is <drum roll please> ... TSR's Buck Rogers RPG!! At its base, it's a simplifed AD&D 2nd edition engine, but with a percentile-based skill system. That's what makes it so awesome! In fact, it solves a "problem" my group always had with FASA's skill resolution system: not factoring in raw attribute "power" into skill resolution. If you ever get to grab this under-appreciated RPG - do yourself a favor.

    Anyway, I went on to do a hybrid FASA/d20 system for a short-lived campaign. If I were to do it again, I would probably hybrid it into a FASA/d20/Buck Rogers campaign!

    Quickly: I'm also a HUGE Farscape fan. I once owned a few thousand dollars worth of the collector's cards - including the "F" card for those of you who know what that means (only 50 made). That said, I've never read my copy of Farscape d20. I just couldn't bring myself to do it, mainly for fear of being disappointed with the d20 stats (character, weapons, etc.), or totally despising any conjectured fluff material

    Lastly, I've always wanted a "roleplaying" starship combat system ever since FASA teased (but never delivered) on "Bridge Alert: Condition Red!". Decipher's starship combat gives me goose bumps!! I love it and I've never even played it!! Fugazi Grrl, I've noticed you've done a lot for the system on Patrick's site (?). I've got ideas for two more maneuvers:

    Transfer Power! - Command (?); TN Varies: You improve the status of one of the ship's systems by lowering the status of another system. TN based on how many tracks you wish to raise. Example: Lowering the Life Support two damage tracks to improve/"repair" two Weapons damage tracks.

    Auxiliary Power! - Command; TN ?: Usable once per encounter, "repair" one damage track to any system.

    Ok, time to power my geekiness down before I overheat...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cut View Post
    Slightly off-topic:

    Doug, our own Gandalf of Borg put out a very nicely done CODA based Harry Potter RPG years back. Try his sig, it should still be there. Just in case you want to show your kid another take on the HP matter. Of course it is much fun in itself to tinker your own game, so you could just let him do that.
    Sorry, I missed this earlier (when it got moved). I'll definitely tell him (though you're right, much of the fun is in the working on it himself).

    Thanks much for the heads up about it!
    Doug Taylor
    Member of Decipher's Hall of Fame
    Currently running The One Ring RPG. I also occasionally run Villains & Vigilantes (our campaign is in year 25) and WEG d6 Star Wars (both games are mostly on hiatus) and an annual game based on The X-Files (using Conspiracy X).

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by FASAfan_MS View Post
    Lastly, I've always wanted a "roleplaying" starship combat system ever since FASA teased (but never delivered) on "Bridge Alert: Condition Red!". Decipher's starship combat gives me goose bumps!! I love it and I've never even played it!! Fugazi Grrl, I've noticed you've done a lot for the system on Patrick's site (?). I've got ideas for two more maneuvers:

    Transfer Power! - Command (?); TN Varies: You improve the status of one of the ship's systems by lowering the status of another system. TN based on how many tracks you wish to raise. Example: Lowering the Life Support two damage tracks to improve/"repair" two Weapons damage tracks.

    Auxiliary Power! - Command; TN ?: Usable once per encounter, "repair" one damage track to any system.

    Ok, time to power my geekiness down before I overheat...
    FASAfan, I think you're right about Decipher's ship combat system. It's very cinematic and thrilling, especially when it's a one-on-one between powerful starships!

    When you look into all the details in the Narrator's Guide, there's lots of little, nuanced things that are very much like the show(s). Your "Transfer Power!" maneuver is even in there (though it's more of a test during combat, as opposed to an actual maneuver), so a PC can choose to damage one system to help augment another one.

    One thing I loved about FASA was the way you could build your character's backstory. Fairly recently I built a similar system for CODA (taking much of it from FASA's excellent way of doing things).
    Doug Taylor
    Member of Decipher's Hall of Fame
    Currently running The One Ring RPG. I also occasionally run Villains & Vigilantes (our campaign is in year 25) and WEG d6 Star Wars (both games are mostly on hiatus) and an annual game based on The X-Files (using Conspiracy X).

  11. #11
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    Hi FASAfan,

    I would also suggest Where no man has gone before 2.0. It uses a simplified D20 system but has a rediculous amount of TOS feel in what he did with it. You can find it here. http://www2.abillionmonkeys.com:3389//trek/
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