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New player questions/comments

edited January 2016 in Outbreak: Deep Space Posts: 12
Hello, I purchased O:DS as an impulse buy at my local FLGS, and I really think there's a gem of a game here.  However, I had issues with the layout, and some questions about character generation.  I'll hold-off on gameplay questions until I give things a try.


1. pg 18 details 2 methods for getting either 5 tiers of abilities, or using cards to get some skill points and abilities. Then pages 20-22 give a detailed method for giving abilities.  Should I follow page 20-22 in full, and on top of that add 5 tiers or 5 cards?

2. I guess this is a comment, but why would anybody chose random over 120 points, assigned? 8d6 (without dropping) will produce an average of 28.  Dropping the lowest total of 5 will help a bit, but 120 points is going to be higher much of the time, and it will be more min-maxed when it comes to ability options.

3. pg 24, starting gestalt dice.  "...a character that is denied extra SP due to their age..."; where did "SP" come from?  The paragraph was discussing Gestalt dice.  I'm guessing this means if I choose to play a 40 year old who only gets 30 gestalt dice due to SPEW bonus limit, I also get to support and advance a skill.  If that's true, it doesn't matter if I play a 31 year old or a 60 year old; the bonus is the same.


1. I really think you need to get 2 character creation examples up on the website; a combat-oriented and non-combat oriented character.  

2. The sample character sheet and description on pages 32-35 should be moved to the start of the chapter.  It's a useful reference.

3. This game desperately needs a glossary.  For example, "Dlv" is used before you explain descriptors, same with "save throws" and "multipliers".  The glossary does not have to explain everything, just a quick summary and a page reference.

4. More forward page references are needed.  For example, pages 34-35; each item should have (pg XX) attached to it, so new players working from the character sheet can quickly find answers.  Also, every time you encounter a new term that is explained later, it should have a reference.

5. The skill summary on pg 96 is great.  It would be nice to have the same thing for abilities, paradigms, motivations, and disadvantages.  This would help tremendously in character generation.

6. There are numerous references to and examples about zombies.  I assume those are lifted from the zombie game, but they stand-out in a sci-fi game.

7. "survival points" or "scenario points"?  I assume they are the same thing, and that "survival" is again a holdover from the zombie game.

8. The soldier NPC on pg 204 seems vastly more competent than anything that will come out of character generation.  Is this the "level 1" syndrome from my D&D days? :-)  More seriously, how can a jigger things to start with experienced characters?

Sorry for the wall of text, but I took notes as I was reading and wanted to give some feedback.



  • edited January 2015 Posts: 10
    Hello Jeff! I have only picked up the book myself and I am planning a game within the next few weeks, I will simply answer the questions based on my understanding of what I read.


    1. How I read this as, you are basically given 1 attribute point for every 10 Spew in a category which can be spent on abilities. So lets say you got 40 strength, you got 4 a(s) to spend. Now, some abilities have specials or requirements of certain attribute points. So Strength for these might give a certain type of bonus. On-top of these, you have 5 'free attribute points', which can be spent as using any of the attributes.

    2. There is the SPEW-AI system which is a recommended usage based from Zombies (basically you give your character a personality test, and it produces the SPEW for them). From experience, due to the dropping, you typically get far more points than 120 assigned, but the disadvantage is, you cannot min-max your stats for the best starting result. You could always make it incase they get below 120, they can have 'free points' to make up the 120.

    3. Scenario Points are a currency used within the game. You can buy GD for 100 SP, or spend a GD in order to gain SP (forgot that formula). But basically, using 120 setup, you get GD up to 36. I believe the later SP was a typing mistake and it meant 'GD' which means that characters over the age of 36 do not gain anymore GD, but they get 1 free supported skill and a free d5! advancement in that skill. 

    To the comments!

    1. I agree, there needs to be some pre-made characters out there, would be handy references or a better guide. In the middle of trying to simplify the process myself so people can quickly piece what they want.

    5. I went to check this, but there is no skill summary on page 96.. or are you meaning the stuff about Opposed checks/save throws, etc?

    6. There is the 'infested' scenario, which has zombies / husks (Mass Effect) / the flood (Halo), etc. There is quite a lot of sci-fi out there with these elements.

    8. I'll like to point out their Health threshold of 1. Basically, your character has '5 lives' compared to their 1. So they are tough, but hit them and they die far faster than your players. Plus, your players can heal as well.
  • edited January 2015 Posts: 10
    Just adding one of my own comments, but from what I have seen, SP gaining seems to be really low. Like, it is 25 for achieving an objective and 5 for a secondary. But gaining an attribute is 1000(+++) and a GD is 100.

    For the campaign/story I have in mind, it seems a x10 multiplier would make sense, so 250 for an objective, 50 for a secondary at those costs.
  • Posts: 12
    q1 - yeah, that's what I thought; either +5 or +5 cards.  Personally, I like the cards, but I think players may not like the randomness.  One idea I had for more "powerful" starting characters was counting all number cards as 10s.

    q3 - hence my comment - it doesn't matter if you're 40 or 60, you only get the 1 support/advancement.  Not a big deal, I suppose - nobody's going to live anyways. :-)

    c5 - Sorry, page 87 for the skill summary.  Pages like this are invaluable when creating a characters, as players can figure out what interests them with a glance without slowly reading through the book.  That's why I want them for the other items.

    c8 - Thanks a bunch.  I hadn't noticed that.

  • Posts: 10
    q3 - I think it actually encourages someone to be an older character, but the issue is, there are some 60 year olds who have deteriorated a lot in their condition since their prime (others on the other hand in good shape). I think it is to say after a certain point, the differences and experience become that flexible/difficult to measure. I have a feeling some of the younger players in my game were going to try to create something their age and they will lose out on GD and other such bonuses.

    c5 - I haven't actually noticed that page before, for some very strange reason, but you are right, that page is very helpful indeed.
  • Posts: 12

    I guess where I was going with this:

    8 bonus - you min/max by starting at 25 years old with 24 GD and a support+advance.
    12 bonus - you min/max by starting at 37 years old with 36 GD and a support + advance.

    Basically, the game works out so that older characters are likely the more powerful ones in terms of their stats.  Most games that pay attention to aging tend to try to reverse that - the young have high stats but little experience, while the old have more experience but decaying stats.  But here, the higher you roll the older you should start your character, and the more experience you'll have along with your great stats.

  • Posts: 10
    I think in Pathfinder that older characters tend to have bonus to +int scores/etc, I remember reading something like that in there (not played it, I did a mock up character for a proposed game which didn't set off). I admit, I have little experience in other games and was only introduced back in October to proper D&D style sessions (Never had anyone to play with before IRL).

    Deep Space is strange in a number of ways. There seems to be little room for advancement (see my SP comment further up) and it says once a characters Gestalt Level gets to a certain point, the player should be encouraged to retire it, with the replacement having a starting bonus. Gestalt Level also works as a strange bonus, as this score can be added onto checks, which for example, with a GL of 10, you get a +10 modifier. From my understanding of the concept. It can also be used as a measure of "I don't know as a player, but my character knows" as another way to extract information from the GM.
  • Character generation is definitely extremely confusing for this game.  And I have learned and DM'd over 30 game systems prior.

  • Posts: 973
    It is quite different, granted.

    We tried to cover a lot of ground with the starter kit, but if we have left some things too vague, let us know.

    We are coding a auto-populating character sheet which would probably help quite a bit.
  • A character sheet of O:DS would be nice. That would help greatly. and an example character, showing abilities, paradigms, disadvantages, etc as they are developed.

    Many Questions about terminology.  I see the rolls like Bal%. Is it possible in a future revision there might be a way to denote basic trained and advanced skills?

    I see on the sheets the formulas to derive these do not seem to be there, you have to go into the text and break them out.

    I understand clearly.. because I searched for it multiple times.. that secondary attributes are divided by ten to get a few extra percentage points.

    Do  I understand correctly that a multiplier of 0X for gear means crappy gear, so that the skill check cannot be made, because any trained or expert skill needs to have gear to do it? thus  "The Console is broken...I can't do anything until I find another control console or we fix this one."

    Do I understand correctly that all basic skills are populated as if any character with any paradigm can do them?

    The whole thing seems to be written at a graduate technical writing English level. Many things written in a passive voice.   I like that the heading for paragraphs are highlighted, but perhaps Terminology can be bolded or something.   or page references within chapters that refer to other chapters. this was done in places, but still easy to get lost.

    I bought the book off of drivethru, and it is a bear to swpa back and forth between chapters and pages.

    The art is great.  I love it.  I have used Traveller to generate worlds and deckplans for the ships of the setting, but have passed around the Spaceship rules  offerred by Old_GM_Guy, as a different, simpler way to do it.

    I know I can make this work, it is just super complex. And my group is brand new players, some new to roleplaying. the plan is to try and pre-generate everything and try asnd know it so well they can just tell me what they want to do...and narrate.  

    I have no plans for them to read the rules, though some game collectors said they will as a curio, mostly.

    After my mini campaign of 6-8 sessions, I'd like to take a more in depth look at everything, highlight and tab the book and write in my own page references.  Just right now, out of time to do that, because I have not even created any gear nor finished characters for this game tuesday.

    The health recovery rules seem to be particularly clear
  • Red_EyeRed_Eye Ohio
    Posts: 461
    Ok, let me work to address these here for you:

    Many of the Skills in the text were abbreviated to reduce space, but the community has generally spoken on this that they aren't fans of the abbreviated Skills as it just takes more brain processing power.  We tend not to do this in the stuff we're currently working on (which will also apply once we get to updating the ODS book).  For the formulas, you might want to nab a copy of the Outbreak: Undead.. half page sheet for reference at the table as that has the abbreviations included on it:

    The easier way to view Attribute Bonuses is to simply state that it is the 10s digit of each Attribute (at least for me anyways).

    For the Multipliers, a 0x Multiplier simply means that no Training Bonus can be applied to the Skill Check (so the equipment is so bad that your personal training really provides no benefit using it).  You base bonus is normally: Primary Attribute Bonus + Training Value Bonuses x Multiplier.

    Not just Basic Skills are populated based on the calculations, all Skills (including Expert Skills) get their % set by the calculation (Expert Skills will just likely be single digits if no other training).  As such, all characters can try to do anything, they just might be really bad at it.

    The truth of navigating that book is that editing was not up to the par that we typically set for ourselves - it is a long story how it ended up like that which I will refrain from going into, but that is why we have plans to clean that book up for folks.  We have some ideas on how to clean it up but always accept feedback from the community who makes regular use of the products so thanks for the suggestions there.

    You might be able to convince some folks around here to share some Gear and such they have created with the systems in the past.  I know our local ODS guru Tino (@citizenvain) typically has a number of really awesome resources he has made and often is willing to share those.
    -Alex (Red)
    Community Manager & Developer
  • citizenvaincitizenvain Indianapolis
    edited April 2017 Posts: 188
    Thanks for the kind words. I've been slow in checking the forums lately. Still working on my Deep Space scenario "The Goliath Awaits" which is proving to be challenging as I'm wanting no combat and more "sanity" tests. Anyway, I have LOTS of aides I made for myself to help me GM deep space. Yes, I implement my house rules in a lot of the formulas, but they're easy to revert if anyone is interested in what I used. 

    I can be sweet talked into running a skype session of one of my scenarios too so someone can get an idea of how Deep Space works (or at least the way I run it). I'm actually one of the few who probably prefer Deep Space to OU (I enjoy both) because of the variety of opponents I can through at the players and the fact that I can actually implement medical technology that can "realistically" be used to fix the characters. 

    I can even just talk about running a session to potential GMs. As Alex noted, the book is difficult to navigate, but there is enough as far as a system that you can take and make awesome scenarios and have fun tables. Really fleshing out a character is a bit tedious, but the game play is beautifully realistic and violent. So while the book may not be perfect, the effort is well worth it and the system suits me. I hope others enjoy Deep Space too. 
    A survivor and GM in Indianapolis, IN. 
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