Preparing for today’s Alternity game and I came across something called Skill Ladders whilst reading Wolfgang Baur’s Dataware book.
Skill ladders are presented by Wolfgang as a way to avoid the monotony of Alternity’s complex skill checks. A complex skill check requires a certain number of successes before a number 3 failures. This can descend into just totting up successes and failures at the table until you’ve either succeeded or failed.
Wolfgang outlines skill ladders, just a quick to write list of what each success or failure of a hacking attempt actually means. Here’s a quick example from my prep for today.
Hacking bio tagged laser weapon
1. Removed take down pin
2. Gained access to internal ciruitry
3. Bypassed authentication routines
4. Weapon unlocked for any user
1. Mild electric shock
2. Ammo halved by power discharge
3. Weapon locked. Power discharged. Ammo depleted.
This is a quick an very easy way to write simple game raising things to respond to each failure or success with. Next time I’m doing 4e skill checks I think this easy method would transfer quite well as well. It’s a good way to show your players that they are actually progressing through a skill challenge and gives them an idea of how far is left to go.
I can’t stress how quick this is to knock up, and how powerful it is in use at the table. Here’s another example that I knocked together in a few minutes at lunch today.
Opening Hanger Airlock Doors
1. Bypass microswitches and remove access panel undetected
2.Find power conduit
3. Reroute power to door controls
4. Disable anti tamper device
5. Inner door open
6. Override safety measures
7. Access airlock sub routines
8. Outer doors open
1. Power fails needs re-routing
2. Alarm sounds
3. Safety measures kick back in. Any open doors shut. Power fails. Start again.
I’ll definitely be writing more of these, maybe even at the table, they are that quick.
How about you?
I just started GMing a new game this week, using the Alternity rules and based in the world of Elite/Frontier First Encounters.
For some fun reading check out the campaign in-game news blog: http://frontier.whrpg.com.
The adventure has started with a prison break, the federal prision facility in the Ross128 system to be precise. So first off I sketched a quick outline in my big notepad of maps.
Evidence that I just can’t draw without a computer! So then it was into flash and illustrator and 20mins with my quick Modern Mapping technique and I was ready for the session.
So now my players are spending the rest of the week working out a plan of escape. They have two rather nasty bio-grenades and enough explosives for 2, maybe 3 door locks, or one wall.
How would you escape? Let me know in the comments.