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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I'd really love to run a Halo RPG game but I have a problem! There is no Halo RPG game (that I can find, even if there is I like the idea of making my own system). I want the players to be playing Spartan-IIs just before the events of 2552.

I'd love some help and ideas of how to build the system. I want to use a class-less system and most stuff is going to be based around 'skills'; I've only ever played Pathfinder, so that's what I'm most familiar with and as such you might notice it gives me some "inspiration" (Read: I'll plagiarise a little).

I'm wondering what kind of different weapon-based categories I should have. There's long-ranged weapons, ordnance weapons, mid-range weapons, short-ranged weapons, melee weapons and more but even within these categories there are so many choices! Ordnance might include rocket launchers and brute launchers, but these are two very different weapons with very different feels. I thought about doing away with weapon category skills all together and instead going for things like "Accuracy" and "Finesse", but someone accurate at 100 meters with a DMR might be crap with the same weapon when someone's a few feet away.

Someone moving at 5mph to the side at 100 meters is a change of 1.4 degrees per second, but 5mph to the side at 5 meters away means a 25.8 degree turn. Up close and personal with any weapon goes differently to at range with the exact same weapon.

And again, someone might be an absolutely amazing sniper over a matter of miles, but someone 50 meters away might be a different ball-game altogether. This is part of the reason why I began to move away from things like 'accuracy'... But I'm thinking that perhaps we do this: We have skills like Mid-Range and Close-Range. Someone using a DMR at close-range (Mid-range rifle at close-range) would take the average of these two skills. So you might have a +10 to Mid-Range and just a +2 to Close-Range but using a Mid-Range weapon in Close-Range would mean you get a +6.

Any suggestions? I want it to be a good system which takes into account these things without going too overboard like 3.5 and having seventeen different kinds of perception.

This is basically construction of the combat system for now.

1,662 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
then make it! but really, on a realistic standpoint, take an existing system and modify it to suit your needs.

that's what I normally do.
That's what I'm doing! I've been talking with friends and we're pretty sure we've got the ranged combat system done.

Each weapon fits into one of three types: Assault, Sidearm or Heavy
Each weapon fits into one of three range-categories: Long-Ranged, Mid-Ranged or Short-Ranged

When firing the weapon, you add your weapon type bonus to your range bonus. A weapon can be fired in shorter ranges than its range category, but not further ranges. Your range bonus is calculated by adding the weapon's range category to the actual range and dividing by two.

Take an example! We'll make up a random Spartan... Let's call him John. John has the following stats:

Assault +4
Sidearm +2
Heavy +2

Long-Range +4
Mid-Range +5
Short-Range +3

John wants to fire his Sniper Rifle (Long-range, assault) at an Elite standing 10 feet away, which is short range.

John's short range skill (3) + his Long-range skill (4) = 7

Divide by two: 7 / 2 = 3.5 which we round up to 4

John's total range bonus is +4
He has a +4 to assault weapons

John gets a total of +8 on his roll.

Now this might seem like a pain in the arse to work out all the time, but you can construct a simple table to refer to. In fact, I already have.

It didn't occur to me at the time that the bottom left 3 boxes should be left out as you can't fire a shotgun at long-range (as an example). This means that you just have to refer to the table, which should be pretty easy, and adding two numbers together (three with your roll).

Melee combat hasn't been addressed yet.

1,662 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
We're (me and some friends) are looking at a skill system. My only experience is with Pathfinder remember. :)

This is the list of skills so far.

Engineering - Maintenance/repair of things, creation of improvised objects in short term or fancy things in the long term and other crap like that.

Explosives - I really hope this speaks for itself. This does NOT cover the throwing of grenades. Thrown objects has not been addressed yet.

Grenadier - This might be what we address thrown objects with, but still working on it. A thrown knife is different to a tossed grenade.

Hacking - This covers general usage of computers and virtual systems.

Knowledges - Suggested alternative name? There are 4 knowledges: Human, Covenant, Forerunner and Flood.

Medic - Should speak for itself; tending to wounds and illnesses.

Piloting - The generic driving of vehicles whether land, sea or air.

Science - Sort of like the knowledge skills, but pertains to not only knowledge of scientific subjects but skill with scientific instruments.

Stealth - This should speak for itself.

Survival - Includes tracking, foraging and that sort of stuff. On a side note, do we ever see ANYBODY eating ANYTHING in the Halo games? Not including the Flood...

That's it so far for skills; any suggestions for additions?

1,662 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Much like the D&D/Pathfinder Feats and Features section, I wished to introduce something which went a little further than just skills. I've elected to call this Special Training. Special Training may bestow benefits to multiple different skills; as such there is something of a balance issue to consider as one special training might waaaay out-class another one by virtue of benefiting more/more useful skills. If this does happen, it might be worth introducing a cost system. Expertise in one thing might cost a bit more than expertise in another, less useful thing.

I don't have a complete list of these yet and for pilot games I would probably ask for the players to elect their own suggestions.

A few examples:

Expertise: Human Weaponry
Expertise: Human Vehicles
Expertise: Human Physiology
Expertise: Covenant Weaponry
Expertise: Covenant Vehicles

Do you see where this is going?

Debating about whether to have a preceding "familiarity" as opposed to "expertise", but not sure as Spartan-IIs are INCREDIBLY well trained. The thinking behind these is that perhaps you have a +4 to piloting, but you've not come across much covenant transportation in the past, so you get a -2 penalty for unfamiliarity when piloting a Revenant. If you take the Special Training Familiarity: Covenant Vehicles, this -2 penalty would disappear. If familiarity were to be introduced, then it would be a pre-requisite to taking Expertise. Due to their background, all characters would begin play with Familiarty: Human [everything] and maybe a lot of stuff for the covenant things, as they are training in the usage of covenant stuff as well as part of their training (at least a little while into the Human-Covenant war: they didn't even know the covenant existed when the Spartan-II project first went live).

You can take the same Special Training multiple times to improve it. The bonus provided by special training cannot exceed the total rank points you possess in a skill.

The example used with me and my friends:

John has a +5 to Engineering
John has a +3 to Pilot
John has Special Training: Expertise: Human Vehicles + 4

To fix a scorpion tank, John gets a total of a +9 bonus (+5 for Engineer, +4 for his special training).

To drive a scorpion tank, John gets a total of a +6 bonus (+3 for Pilot, only +3 from his special training this time though).

Different special trainings may overlap. In any case, the total bonus provided collectively from special training may not exceed the rank points you have spent in the relevant skill.

An example:

John has Pilot + 3
John has Special Training: Expertise: Human Vehicles + 3
John has Special Training: Expertise: Tanks + 3

To pilot a Scorpion tank, John gets a total of + 6.


Special Training: Teamwork

So I've come up with a single Teamwork based Special Training as we're working through the combat system and how shit might actually work. I'll try to come up with more later on, but there's this one for now.

Special Training, Teamwork: Co-ordinated Assault

All members of your team with this Special Training can make a full-round attack action* without provoking evasive maneuvers.

Normal: One person firing a shot provokes evasive maneuvers. The rest of the team can then fire as normal, but it's a little harder to hit.

May be tweaked so that only one member of the team needs this special training and maybe team-mates have to be able to see them or hear them or something like that.

* - Will have to be more specific with this eventually. With weapons we're talking about having standard attack actions and full attack actions. For a weapon like a plasma pistol this is either firing off controlled bursts as a standard, or firing an overcharge shot as full. With a precision weapon, this will be an aimed shot. I'll elaborate on this in another post. It seems a little unrealistic than an overcharge shot would work in this scenario as plasma pistols are noisy and slow to charge; same goes for all charging weapons.

1,662 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·

So me and my friend are currently discussing hit-points and weapon damage.

A lot of individuals in the realm of Halo have shields, so this pretty much means that we're required to have two HP bars. For now I'm calling them SHIELDS and HEALTH.

We need to consider the size of these before we go any further.

A DMR takes 4 hits to down shields. 3 hits to kill someone without shields, assuming no headshot. However, I'm pretty sure DMRs are less effective against shields than against health.

By this reckoning, if SHIELD was 100, then HEALTH would be 75.

Let's look at plasma pistols. In Halo 4 they take 4 shots to down shields and 8 shots to kill without shields. 12 shots total.

By this reckoning, if SHIELD was 100 then HEALTH would be 200.

So maybe they're equal? Maybe they just sit at 100 each, however plasma pistols do double damage against shields and DMRs are a little bit crap at shields and do 33% less damage (For simplification, we could say that projectile weapons do an extra 25% damage against HEALTH than shields).

So ignoring the variability of dice rolls for now, a DMR takes four shots to remove shields. That's 25 damage per shot. 3 shots to kill.

25 damage * 1.25 (Extra 25% against HEALTH) = 31 damage per shot. A total of 93 over 3 shots damage. That's not too far off 100, so this seems pretty reasonable to me. We'll work out averages and crap later.

Now a plasma pistol? What does a plasma pistol do? 12.5 damage per shot, average? 2D12 rolls a 13 on average. 5D4 averages exactly 12.5. We'll get to dice later, anyway.

So 12.5 damage per shot and double damage to shields. Well that's...

12.5 * 2 = 25 damage per shot (vs shields) => 4 shots to down shields. Adds up so far! The remaining 100 health damage? Well that takes 8 shots. Which is consistent with Halo 4 at the very least.

With the concept of shields comes shield recharge. I though of a pretty simple way of overcoming this. 1 round without taking damage means your shields are restored to 50%. 2 rounds means restored to 100%. This means that from the last hit you took, 12 seconds pass until your shields are at max, assuming 6 seconds per round as per D&D/PF.

This will be test-played out, but I think it will work well and will allow for Spartans to be able to take on quite extended missions.

Keep in mind the era with which the games are taking place. I believe that it's not until Halo 2 or 3 that the covenant manage to steal the shield recharging capabilities which humans innovated. What does this mean? Players keep track of their shields and the DM doesn't have to care about NPC shield recharge! Ahahahaha!! Well, unless the players are fighting other humans with shields...

So how about SHIELD/HEALTH incrementation with rank/level/whatever? I'm not a massive fan of the Pathfinder/D&D dealio of a level 1 character being fairly easily chewed apart by the common cold but being able to tank a fucking asteroid at level 20. So either HP doesn't increment with rank at all, and the increased survivability of spartans is reflected by their other stats, such as better armour and better combat abilities, or alternatively as my friend suggested in addition to being more difficult to kill due to better armour and combat abilities, there is also a minor HP increment of 3 (or similarly small value) as they rank up. SHIELDS, I think, would improve with better armour as would resilience to taking damage so there's no need to reflect this by a "You get +3 shields because that last grunt pushed you up the extra 12XP to rank 4!" and HEALTH... Well, master chief dies just the same as an ODST when his shields are down. A single DMR(/similar weapon) shot to the head dispatches him.

1,662 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Ranged weapons and actions

We're talking about standard actions and full-round attack actions.

2 standard actions per turn. We're thinking turns lasting 3 seconds each is good.

We've got lots of weapons and I'm thinking that we have some sort of 'general' terms rather than writing a whole new set of options up.

Aimed Shot: Can select specific locations on a target, dealing additional damage or bestowing other effects.

[] Headshot - Deals critical damage to HEALTH

[] Legshot - Has a chance to disable the target, causing them to fall prone

[] Armshot - Has a chance to cripple the target, causing penalties to using weapons which require the crippled arm

[] Weaponshot - Has a chance to disarm the target and damage the targetted weapon.

Charged Shot: Charge up the weapon and fire a special shot (specifics will be needed per weapon)

Spray and Pray: Can unleash a hail of bullets, suffering penalties to hit but having the potential to deal far more damage across a range of targets. (will need to elaborate)

Some weapons will require a full-round action to fire, such as the Spartan Laser which can ONLY fire a Charged Shot. Some weapons may not have any full-round actions, such as the missile launcher... I don't see what that would actually do as a full-round action.

36 Posts
I'm only posting this because I'm surprise that Savage Worlds wasn't being talked about. Going with a general purpose system can give what you are looking for. Why I bring up SW is that there are a lot of setting books already made for it. Give it a look it's a simple and flexible system. I'm using it with the Cthulu book t run the Hellsing anime. I'm sure SW will easily adapt to the Halo flavor.
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