Option 4 and What Didn’t Make the Cut

New direction and some odd bits.

Short one this week, kids. My sinuses have swelled to the size of lampreys, and my eyes no longer fit properly within their sockets. It is quite likely that my personal consumption has skewed the local market value of Puffs, Nasonex, and Claritin.

In less nasal news, the response to last week’s question about Chimera’s direction was extremely helpful. Also, I thought I’d mention a few bits that I didn’t have room to include in Chimera Basic. So, let’s get to it.

Option 4

Last week, I presented Chimera’s next step as one of three options:

  1. Core Rules - a broad expansion of Chimera Basic
  2. Short Supplements - narrow focus guidelines for specific game situations
  3. Genre Companions - Basic customised for specific genres

You folks came up with a much better option, to which I’ve applied the cryptic label of “Option 4:”

  1. Campaign Supplements - game worlds and settings for use with Chimera Basic

Here’s why I like it:

  • It’s what’s most useful to gamers. A Chimera Fantasy Companion would simply become the basis for a Chimera Fantasy Setting (e.g., “Swords of Telm”). In other words, let’s just start with a setting and build rules to support it rather than the other way round.
  • It’s a solid example of “Show, don’t Tell.” Rather than tell you how infinitely flexible and expandable Chimera is, why not show you with a cool setting? [1]
  • It’s whatever genre I need it to be. I could work with high fantasy, steampunk, hard sci-fi, space opera, or any mix the setting requires. This makes it the perfect platform for introducing new classes, new Perks, new powers, combat options—basically the content that would have gone into an expanded rulebook anyway. And, as kenkins suggests, it helps keep new guidelines in their proper context.

The only downside I can see is that it puts a lot of eggs in the same basket. For example, if you wanted to run a Chimera Fantasy game, you could pick up the Chimera Fantasy Companion and use it to go in whatever fantasy direction you want. On the other hand, if the only fantasy option is a full setting, and you don’t really like the feel of it, you’ll have more work “ret-conning” it to your own brand of fantasy.

But that might just be my OCD (or my angry histamines) talking. I’ll be accepting everyone’s two cents on the matter in the comments section.

What Didn’t Make the Cut

In an effort to make the 5th Printing of Chimera Basic as succinct, yet stand-alone, as possible, I removed some of the optional guidelines. These are reprinted here—feel free to incorporate them into your campaigns as desired.[2]

Two additional ammo types:

  • Armour Piercing (AP): same damage, but ignores a portion of the target’s Defence (1 point: cost x2; 2 points: cost x4)
  • High Explosive (HE): same damage, but causes damage in a blast radius based on weapon size (large weapon = small blast (cost x2); fixed weapon = medium blast (cost x4); artillery = large blast (cost x8))
m777 artillery gun
M777 artillery gun

Add a 5th bullet to the Weapon Size sidebar (CB/15; omitted because there are no artillery weapons in the Basic weapon list):

  • Artillery (A): Fired from a non-portable launcher but may be mounted on a mobile platform (e.g., capital ship, armoured vehicle, or orbiting dropship); Dmg 1d10; Rng 64"; RoF ½, with Initiative Modifier of -4

Automatic Fire Example
Slambo carries an M60 light machine gun (Dmg 1d4, RoF 4); here are his auto-fire attack options:

# Targets Shoot Rolls Recoil Penalty Dmg per Target
1 1 AR -2 4d4
2 2 AR -4 2d4
3 3 AR -4 1d4+1
4 4 AR -4 1d4

Energy Drain
If level attrition is undesirable, have the Energy Drain adaptation (CB/21) lower the victim’s Wound Limit by 1 point with a successful strike (2 points if the adaptation is “Improved”). Targets are permitted a Resistance TN based on the monster’s size; WL drain is permanent but subject to the restoration power (CB/14)

Fatigue Checks
Adjust Fatigue checks as follows:

  • Extreme temperature (hot or cold): AR -1
  • High humidity: AR -1
  • No food: AR -2
  • No water: AR -4

Note that all modifiers are cumulative.

Permanent Injury
Any wound whose severity is less than the character’s current experience level may be “healed” instantly if the character is willing to accept a permanent injury. This option forces the character to accept a random Flaw (CB/11). In the process, the wound’s severity is reduced to zero (0) and the corresponding Wound Penalty is removed. The number of permanent injuries cannot exceed the character’s current level.

supressive fire
Suppressive fire

Suppressive Fire
You can use automatic weapons to keep an enemy pinned down with massive fire. Select a target point of impact within range and cover it with a blast template based on your weapon’s Rate of Fire (RoF 2, Small; RoF 4, Medium; RoF 8+, Large). Make a Shoot roll, modified by range but dismissing recoil; if successful, all targets in the blast are Stunned (q.v.) at a penalty equal to the weapon’s damage. Due to the huge volume of ammunition used, ammo checks for suppressing fire are made at double the weapon’s RoF.

Variable Wound Limit
At the GM’s option, characters (PCs and NPCs) may roll a die for their class’ Wound Limit (WL) adjustment instead of accepting a static value. To keep AdCost and WL values in proper proportion, use the following scale to determine what die type to roll:

Class Wound Limit Adjustment Die Roll Equivalent
+1 1d4
+2 1d6
+3 1d8
+4 1d10
+5 1d12

If this option is used, roll the die type indicated to determine the character’s class-based WL adjustment and add the result to the character's racial base. Once play begins, Wound Limit increases are handled normally.

Unless specially equipped or adapted, characters cannot see in the dark. In conditions of low-light and darkness, apply the following AR adjustments to physical actions (including attack rolls):

  • Dim light: AR -1 (torchlight, candles, glowsticks)
  • Low-light: AR -2 (dusk, dawn, moonlight)
  • Darkness: AR -4 (pitch black)

Final Words

My apologies for the brief post, but I hope it was informative. As always, comments and suggestions welcome (including the otherwise off-topic recommendation of any and all effective allergy remedies).

  1. The irony, of course, is that right now I’m telling you about Option 4 instead of showing you Option 4. I willingly submit to charges of pinheadery on that front.
  2. It’s entirely possible that some or all of these will find their ways into future supplements, in current, abridged, or expanded form. (The once-paralegal portion of my brain suggested I include that last bit.)
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