Alpha, Beta and Gamma

sevanwint's picture
May 11, 2015 - 8:57pm

The Alpha, Beta and Gamma number might perhaps need a little more explaining.

They are based off ideas presented in Top Secret S.I. and Amazing engine. Top Secret S.I. used the idea that the tens digit of the percentile dice would give you the amount of damage done in hand to hand combat, and the ones digit would provide you a hit location. Amazing Engine expanded on the concept slightly by using the ones digit to determine the quality of success, most notably in combat, where it determined the if an attack was lethal or not. I would like to take the ideas further, and make their use more consistent and uniform in the rules.

The alpha number gives a degree of success that is limited by attribute; the higher the skill, the higher the alpha number (degree of success) that is possible. The beta is less limited, and as the ones digit will generally have the full range of possible outcomes. The gamma number provides a larger number of possible degrees of success, weighted towards the centre, with the higher end somewhat weighted by skill.

Taking into account the rules on inverting a die roll, there are actually seven variables possible with every die roll; the normal characteristic success or failure roll and its corresponding alpha and beta numbers, the inverted characteristic success or failure roll and its corresponding alpha and beta number, and the gamma number.

In addition, it would seem that there is no reason that there could not be multiple alpha, beta or gamma numbers involved in a resolution of a roll. For instance, you could have a plasma pistol that has a lethality (a beta number) of 5, but also note that on a beta number result of 1 it also causes the target to catch on fire.

Anyway...I am hoping all of this makes sense to someone besides me. It is a bit rambling.  


jedion357's picture
May 12, 2015 - 4:34am
It sounds like more of a rules revision than I'd like.

I like the 1/2ability score X 10% per level method of calculation as it is fast play. Players with their character sheet in front of them immediately calculate chances to succeed at anything and role- there is no looking up anything in the rule book.

Note this presupposes that you've dumped the subskill success rates- all table top games I've run in the past 10 years were run using "A Skilled Frontier" rules from the SFman. and combat was incredibly fast. We ran 2 combats in 1/2 hour waiting from the D&D 3.5 dungeon master to show up for our regular D&D game and then that game had 1 combat and took 3 hours to run the difference was night and day.

I wouldn't mind hit location as optional rule but at its heart SF is a fast play system and this should be preserved.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

sevanwint's picture
May 12, 2015 - 6:10am
It really is not that much different. The crunchiness is hidden in the roll. It is still essentially a d100 roll with a more formalized way of describing the results. Combat runs as fast as far as I can tell.

You could also use alphs and beta numbers as a quick difficulty number for a task. People roll and anybody with or below the alpha or beta number succeeds.