(Now edited Tuesday afternoon with some more neat weapon abilities, and some others streamlined because they were too complicated overall!)
Ok, maybe not for you personally, because you probably don't care, but that's besides the point.
I should probably get back to my Dragon Quest 8 game, but it can wait. MY BRAIN WANTS TO SHARE MY DUMB IDEAS WITH YOU SILLY INTERNET PEOPLE!
Jessica and the Twins going on "The 8th Great Slime Massacre". Not shown: Silent Player PC Who Has no Real Choices to Make, Fat Guy with Hairy Chest, Silly Chimney Sweep Accent, and a Shirtless Vest; and Party NPCs.
Think of these rules as some ideas how to expand X-Plorers to cover other Sci Fi settings besides the quasi Traveller one the game uses as a default.
Also note these rules DO make the game a lot crunchier, but hopefully still keep it simple enough. Its for an Old School game. Use the bits you like, scrap the ones you don't, tweak the ones you think has potential!
Character Creation: Normal chargen produces the usual weaker PCs OSRites like. Modern players and even "Middle School" gamers like myself like PCs who survive a bit longer. The following options will help you out.
Attribute Rolling: 4d6 4 times, take 3 highest dice from each of the 4 roll sets, assign to whichever attribute you like. You still probably won't have CAPTAIN AWESOME, but you are less likely to play an easily killed worthless goober.
Hit Points: I say there are 2 fun ways to run this one if you don't want to do the more brutal default one. Either let players A: Have max possible rolled HP for Level 1 and 2, or B: HPs are now rolled on a D8. An average rolled PC with B is gonna have 45, while with B it would be 40, but far more survivable on the average for the first 5 levels or so till the laws of averages catches up.
10 Second Scale Personal Movement: As I mentioned in my review, I think the 3 second round is TOO SHORT. Increase movement per round to 8 meters normal, 16 at a full run.
Combat: Combat now has a new function: Damage Levels: X-P already has 2 of them, Personal, and Ship, but is missing Vehicle, for stuff like tanks and other ground based armored units. Your average Tank shouldn't have lots of HP to worry about so we now add this Vehicle damage rating in the middle.
The rules for damage become as such: when attacking up the Damage Level, the target is considered to have +4 Armor Class. Unless a natural 20 is rolled to hit, you only do ONE HP in damage. This does not stack therefore a Personal Damage attack still can do 1 HP of damage to a spaceship unless they roll a natural 20 which causes it to be a normal damage roll. (Ignore the normal rules about double damage in this case!) Going down the scale the target has -4 Armor Class though this ONLY counts against their physical armor. Energy fields, cover, movement, and Agility bonuses are never affected. When hit the lower Damage Level target takes TRIPLE DAMAGE ROLLED from the attack, and if hit on a natural 20 the damage rolled is considered to be MAXIMUM. (So a hit that is normally 1d6 in Vehicle would do 3d6 against a Personal Scale target, and if the To Hit roll was a natural 20 it would be 18 points and no need to roll the damage amount as it is maximum.)
These damage rules let us keep Vehicles, and Spaceships with normal numbers instead of turning into some JRPG or Palladium like pile of megadigits. Unless you decide to use X-Plorers to run a "Brave Saga" campaign. I think GaoGaiGar (FINAL FUUUUSION!) juuust might require a lot of HPs for our stars!
Special Weapon Rules: While I will probably go back and add actual weapons lists at a later date, here are some new rules for weapons so you can better emulate your favorite Sci Fi style:
AV/AS: (Anti Vehicle/Anti Ship) This weapon is capable of firing like a normal weapon against Vehicles or Ships and uses that scale's rules for firing against other scale targets. Because of the size of these weapons, unless otherwise stated firing them is the ONLY action other than a "Free" action (See Galactic Troubleshooters #1) that may be attempted this turn, and it takes a round of reloading before they may fire again, though movement and other actions may be taken at the GM's discretion. AV weapons may be carried and fired by Personal Scale characters, and AS may be carried and fired by Vehicles.
Option: If a larger scale unit wants to mount the next scale's weapons it may fire two of them as if they were one weapon. (Like say, pintle mounted anti infantry machineguns on a siege tank, or antipersonnel pods on a capital ship.) Or they may fire one of the weapons each of the smaller scale's turn, rolling to hit each time, but engaging each round of the smaller scale.
Option: CLOSE COMBAT AV/AS do not have the penalty for being the only action a character may take, though against the same scale combatants their targets DO NOT get the -4 AC penalty as these weapons are kind of big and bulky. Your Anti Tank grenade is gonna HURT a human if you hit them, but its not designed for it which sort of cancels out its armor piercing glory a bit.
Flamer: If you have access to them, the "Flame" spread templates used in many popular wargames can pretty much just be used for this weapon. If not make it "Flamer X" with a range. Anything within the flamer's range is automatically hit, unless the target makes an Agility Saving Throw in which they take half damage. The X is how many feet/meters in game surrounding the initial target are also hit by the attack. (So everything in a straight line to the target is hit, plus X feet/meters around that target.) No roll is needed to hit, though GMs may give Saving Throw bonuses based on applicable cover if desired.
Neo-Beam: Neo-Beam weapons always attack whatever target they are used against as if they are the same scale. Whether its the swords carried by "Cheddar Monks" , or nerdy assassins, or giant robots that should really be using GUNS FOR CRYIN OUT LOUD, Neo-Beam weapons are designed to BREAK STUFF.
Risky: Risky weapons are AV/AS weapons that work like a normal weapon of whatever type they are if fired the normal 1 every other round of their firer's scale. However in an attempt to improve their firing rate, their critical failure roll gets worse and worse the more rounds in a row they fire it as it has to cool off. (Normal critical failure roll is a 1 though as we shall see Risky weapons are MUCH worse off for it, though this doesn't start happening until its used multiple rounds in a row.) For Risky weapons the critical failure roll if fired every round after the first with no round to "cool off". When a Risky weapon gets that critical failure roll it overheats, explodes, or something similar. The weapon is DESTROYED, and the firer takes maximum normal rolled damage from the weapon on whatever fire setting it may have been on with no saving throw allowed. Its not considered to be an AV/AS hit, but it does still hurt like the Dickens! (This means if you want to take that 25% chance of your weapon exploding you can fire it every single round!)
Weapons Link: Another easy one. 2 or more weapons of the same type can be hardwired together to fire simultaneously. They are considered to be in a Weapons Link. One combat action fires ALL the weapons in the link, though each To Hit roll is made seperately.
Ordnance: (Small, Medium, Large) Weapons that fire a blast radius. If you have access to game templates, use the small, big, and REALLY big templates available. If you hit with an Ordnance weapon it lands on target, and everything under the template takes a hit, and must make a Saving Throw to avoid being disoriented and unable to do anything the next round of combat. (GM's discretion which Attribute to roll.) If you miss, the hit scatters (See Galactic Troubleshooters #1 for scatter rules, or use a "scatter" die with directional arrows on it some games have.) and where it lands is what is hit. If you don't have any blast templates, the Ordnance weapons have a blast area of 6, 10, and 15 meters. (Or 3, 5, and 7.5 meters surrounding the blast impact.)
Indirect Fire: Normally related to Ordnance weapons. You do not need a line of sight to the target to shoot at it. If you have some way of seeing your target ala a spotter or remote camera, you roll to hit as normal, though with a -2 to your To Hit roll. If you cannot see the target period, the - increases to 8.
Rounds Between Scales: Another easy to do thing, and one I am basically mooching off my "Adamythril Engine" RPG ruleset. 1 Combat round of Space Combat is 2 rounds of Ground Combat which is 4 rounds of Personal Combat. Meaning if your character is trying to break into a spaceship or fighting a sword duel on top of it for some reason there would be FOUR Personal Scale rounds to the ONE Space. Or use this handy mini chart:
Round Units Acting
2 Personal, Ground
4 Personal, Ground, Space
Using Wargames for Big Combats: Maybe you would like to use X-Plorers as the RPG system for Silent Death, Battletech, Car Wars, Federation Commander, or other "Machine Sheet" games?
Well to me? THAT SOUNDS DUCKY.
Grimlock and Mr. Sailor Duckie approve of this message. Also, they are for Team Conan!
But like Psionics, we will cover that in another update. I have hordes of Slimes and silly monsters with incredibly punny names to massacre in the name of "Phat Lewts and XPs"...
Updated at 5AM with the RISKY weapon trait because it seemed like a good idea at the time. And I didn't really want to get too deep into DQ8 tonight lest my already mangled sleep schedule get even more mangly. "Just a little bit more" is a bad sentence folks!