Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Mass Effect: Volus, and how they suggested a setting rule

On the Giant in the Playground boards (where I am a mod), I've been getting some feedback on my Savage Worlds/Mass Effect... including someone who wished I'd included the Volus. I shied away from them because they seemed difficult to do, but I thought of a method on the way home, and decided to post it.

Since Volus are native to high-pressure, ammonia-based atmospheres, the Earthlike conditions that prevail on most Council worlds are deadly to them. As such, they live in heavily armored pressure suits, and breaking those pressure suits is deadly to them. However, it occurred to me that, in Mass Effect, you frequently find yourself in hostile environments, buttoned up inside your armor. So, I'm adding a general setting rule: Armor Breach.

Any attack whose AP exceeds your Armor bonus, or which causes 2 or more wounds, represents an armor breach, and the full effects of the environment you find yourself in begin. Breaches may be repaired using the Repair skill, or by using the mechanical application of the Healing power.

In short, really big hits, or hits with weapons that blow through your armor, might kill you a lot easier.

However, let's look at the Volus. The numbers given are for the purposes of race creation, from the Savage World's Explorer's edition; Volus are +2, which is where every race is supposed to be.

-2 Pace 4, with d4 running die (similar to Lame Hindrance)
-2 Agility requires 2 points to raise during character generation. Volus are not clumsy, per se, but they are also not very agile.
-2 Strength requires 2 points to raise during character generation. Volus are small and physically weak.
-2 Fragile: Volus whose armor is breached must make a Vigor check at -4 to avoid instantly dying from explosive decompression and fatal oxygen poisoning. This check must be repeated each round until the volus is returned to their proper environment, either in a pressure chamber, a Vol-formed world, or by repairing their armor. During a breach, all actions taken by the Volus are at -4.
+2 Free Edge: Rich. While the Vol Protectorate doesn't have the wealth to field vast fleets, individual Vol have a lot of money compared to the average citizen, and can draw on clan funds.
+2 Start with d6 Smarts.
+2 Start with d6 Spirit.
+2 Free Equipment: Armor suit. Volus pressure suits are equivalent to Medium Armor (+8), providing indefinite life support and a +4 v. environmental hazards. It does not have a strength minimum. Volus armor does not incorporate HUDs, but frequently incorporates omni-tools and shield generators.
+2 +2 to Charisma. Though some volus are abrasive, their trade-based society gives them a great advantage in wheeling and dealing.

I find it amusing that the Charisma-mavens in SW Mass Effect are the grumpy hobbits, not the alien hot chicks. As one of the few races without the Outsider flaw, they have great advantages on top of their +2 to Charisma.