Roll Charts: Weapon Properties

Shattered Empire has a deep randomized system for generating weapons and their properties for treasure parcels and shopkeepers. This system is designed for GMs to setup before play, as it involves separate rolls for type, condition, material, and bonus properties. But what about generating quickly on the fly? What about other games that don’t have a system in place?

The following may not work with every game system, but it should be easy enough to adapt. Note: This is for generating special properties, not the base weapon itself.

Roll 1d20:

1. Unskilled Craftsmanship. The damage and attack dice each receive a -1 penalty.

2. Shoddy Craftsmanship. The damage and attack dice are each reduced by one size.

3. Damaged. The damage die receives a -1 penalty.

4. Rusty. The damage die is reduced by one size.

5. Primitive Material. The attack die receives a -1 penalty.

6. Unrefined Material. The attack die is reduced by one size.

7. Average. No change to weapon stats.

8. Refined Material. The attack die is raised by one size.

9. Quality Material. The attack die receives a +1 bonus.

10. Fine. The damage die is raised by one size.

11. Superior. The damage die receives a +1 bonus.

12. Exquisite. The damage and attack dice are each raised by one size.

13. Masterwork. The damage and attack dice each receive a +1 bonus.

14. Elemental Forge. The weapon gains a 1d4 bonus die for elemental damage (fire, cold, or lightning)

15. Paralyzing. Target is paralyzed for one round whenever weapon hits.

16. Slaying. When the weapon deals more than half of remaining HP in damage the targeted creature is instantly killed.

17. Reaping. Whenever the weapon deals a death blow, the wielder’s AP or allotment of actions is reset and their turn continues.

18. Keen. The weapon’s critical threat is increased by 3.

19. Brutal. The weapon’s damage threshold is raised by 3.

20. Legendary. The weapon deals double damage.

All About The SP [Distant Earth]

In the BASE12 Universe of games, SP often means something different from one game to another. Sometimes it stands for Spell Points, sometimes it stands for Stamina Points, and sometimes it stands for Skill Points. It really could potentially stand for any pair of words that begin with the letters S and P. But there’s one common connection tying them together from one game world to another, and setting them apart from other Ps like HP and AP: You can SPEND them.

Sure, AP is consumed and HP is raised and lowered. But SP is actually spent, on purpose, with intention, at the player’s will. So what does SP stand for in the Distant Earth gameworld, and how or why would you spend it?

First of all, let’s define SP: Stamina Points. This is the collective expression of your ability to push yourself beyond your normal borders, to practice and practice and practice something until you get better at it even if you hate practicing it, and your overall ability/willingness/mental-emotional-physical capacity to augment what you already have and work harder for it. You know: Stamina.

The most basic use of SP comes at character creation, and again at the beginning of each new day cycle. You collect an amount of SP based on certain stats and factors, and then spend it to learn new skills and trainings. You can also Bank it for future spending, most often because you can’t afford what you want to get with it yet. Any amount that you don’t spend or bank immediately becomes your Max For Day, and this can be used for little boosts here and there like running faster or performing special actions. SP that you use from your Max For Day pool can be replaced throughout the day…but that’s it. At the end of the day, it all disappears and you start over with a fresh set of dice rolls and modifiers to see how much SP you start the next day with.  Banked SP carries over as long as you like, until you spend it on something, but it is never replenished unless you actively bank more of it.

So each new day cycle you will find yourself making a decision. Do I use all my SP now to get better at Hacking and using Sniper Rifles? Or do I save some of it for when I’m in a sticky combat situation and I need a little boost to make it to cover?  Finding a balance with SP will be a key part of Distant Earth, but remember, you can always start fresh the next day as long as you remember to eat your Mush to keep your strength up.

Weaponry [Distant Earth]

Although there are only a few categories of weapons in the world of Distant Earth, their power, accuracy, and special abilities can differ greatly depending on the manufacturer.

Kleep: Kill For Cheap!

Kleep manufactures basic weapons for those on a shoestring budget. You won’t find the fanciest or most powerful weapons in the Kleep aisle, but you’ll always be able to afford them.

Armistice Armaments

AA makes reliable weaponry at an affordable price, and prides itself on guns that never jam and grenades that are never duds. Most police forces and mercenary units carry Armistice guns.

Fangor Munitions

Specializing in advanced-tech ammo like Pyro or Cryo rounds, Fangor takes basic guns and makes them special, and sometimes downright crazy. Their prices reflect this.


Although basic guns like pistols and rifles can come bearing the Juggernaut name, what they really excel at are explosives and heavy weaponry. Missile launchers and miniguns are usually a Juggernaut product.

On The Subject Of Mutations [Distant Earth]

Many parts of the character creation (and evolution) process in tabletop games can benefit from rigid rules and game mechanic integration. Features and special backgrounds or occupations can help take a page of numbers and stats and form them into the picture you have in your head–often times by adding new numbers and stats. Robotics, cybernetics, skills and trainings…This is where that comes into play in DE.

Mutations, on the other hand, they aren’t so rigid. They aren’t a skill that you’ve spent time training in, or a certain cybernetic leg modification that you’ve been saving up for to serve a specific purpose. Mutations are unpredictable. They are random. You don’t choose them, they choose you. Some of them can be extremely helpful, sure, but others might work against your “build.” Mutations are dangerous.

With this in mind, Mutations in DE will often times not come with spelled-out rules or statistical changes. Their effects will not necessarily be static. One GM might decide that someone with the Diminutive Hands mutation can’t effectively use melee weapons, while another GM may decide that the character gets a bonus to micro-robotics. A third GM may just decide that your tiny hands make people uncomfortable.

Mutations have purposely been left ambiguous, and their effects might change from situation to situation, character to character, and GM to GM. Some are more specific and grant bonuses or penalties, but even those can come into play in unforseen or random ways. They are the wildcard. The unknown element. The chaos.

Movement [Distant Earth]

Combat in DE is more strategy based than most tabletop rpgs. A character is not going to have the standard “I move twenty feet, I drink a potion, I attack with my longsword, and then I move another ten feet” turn-based allotment of actions. Running straight toward a mutant that is firing a machine gun at you is not an easy feat to survive. Advancing slowly while firing and sprinting from cover to cover are much more likely actions, and full-on running is either done from stealth or cover, as a retreating last resort, or because of a fit of temporary heroic insanity.

Still, it’s good to have options.

Advancing Fire —  Grants you five meters of movement +/- 5 meters per SPD Bonus, as you fire your weapon. This can be as a full attack or as suppressing fire.

Move — You move at a normal speed while behind cover, in stealth, or even in the open for 5 meters per SPD Score.

Sprint — You roll your SPD Die, moving 5 meters per point of the result, granting a +1d6 to your defense pool.

Movement can grant additional bonuses or penalties depending on the situation and the actions of your allies or enemies. Covering Fire will help you move from point to point with less risk, and bull-rushing an enemy from a hidden flanking position is much safer than running straight at someone that knows your position.

No Class

I haven’t GM’d a session of Shattered Empire for about six months, but this weekend will be a finale of what used to be a steady weekly game. Diving back into a fantasy world after spending months on sci-fi is a little bit of a system shock for me. But going over the monster manual and roll charts and spell lists has reminded me of something that Distant Earth is missing: Classes.

Shattered Empire was supposed to be classless too. Or rather, limitless in which kind of class you wanted. Instead of predefined Classes, it used a class point system that allowed players to craft their character in any way they wanted. A priest could wield a battle axe and cast fireballs, a ranger could wear heavy armor and cast necromancy spells. You just had to put points into the right place.

What I found is that most of my players took this system and still made the basic archetypes, but with perhaps one “multiclass” element. Is the Class system so common because it’s what players want? Is more direction better than more freedom? It’s tough to say, but I wonder if Distant Earth might benefit from some pre-made classes to help guide players through character creation.

Base12 Mechanics in Distant Earth

The Base12 Attribute system is used to build your character in Distant Earth, but what exactly does each attribute govern?

Strength (STR) – Carry weight, brawling attacks, melee attacks, general acts of raw power

Dexterity (DEX) – Gun attacks, fine motor skills, mechanical repair, lockpicking

Intelligence (INT) – Technology skills, using computers, hacking, general knowledge skills

Awareness (AWA) – Defensive skills (blocking), explosives, perception, sniping, piloting, espionage

Agility (AGI) – Defensive skills (dodging), martial arts, acrobatics, balance

Willpower (WIL) – Defensive skills (fear, mind control), resisting Madness, social interactions

Constitution (CON) – Wound capacity (health), poison resistance, disease resistance, cybernetic capacity

Stamina (STA) – Skill Points (SP), athletics (running, swimming), advanced combat tactics

Wisdom (WIS) – Survival techniques, scavenging, commerce, identification, intuition, social skills (vs lying)

Charisma (CHA) – Diplomacy, persuasion, intimidation, social skills

Speed (SPD) – Initiative rolls, movement speed, stealth, pickpocketing

Luck (LUK) – Bonus rolls, lucky shots, loot rolls, random extreme situational rolls


Here’s a link to the “standard” Base12 system for reference.

Base12 RPG System