Sooo, I've actually been writing this for about a month without knowing that a new version was actually in the works.
I realise this might seem like nitpicking before it even comes out, but on the other hand “speak now or forever hold your peace”.
To be ABSOLUTELY clear, I am friggin' buzzed about V2, and not having it yet is making me literally nauseous.
This is just me trying to contribute to something I love whilst suppressing the Jitters.
--- Change Attributes from to Areas of Expertise.
I've always found that connecting skills with personality traits or capabilities is a bit awkward, as there is always discussion on why a given skill builds of one attribute rather than another, it makes certain attributes implicitly more powerful, and it means that defaulting (an effective way of reducing skill mechanic complexity and build requirements) HAS to be capped.
At the same time, there's also the implication that each attribute is linked to a specific character type.
Basically, I propose that this relationship be formalized – instead of representing 'basic' capabilities, use attributes to represent specific areas of expertise.
For example, there could be a 'Combat Experience' attribute, which would serve as the base value for Beam weapons, Kinetic weapons, Demolitions and so forth.
This makes making a specific character type simpler to create, and makes it completely apparent at a glance what the character is supposed to be.
Skills which are largely distinct or for which Defaulting makes no sense can be collected as a distinct category.
As for the Attributes as they stand, they could become levelled traits, granting general bonuses useful across character types – Reflex absorbing Ambidexterity, Coordination giving Speed, Cog giving additional Mental Actions, so on.
--- Simplify Speed.
Speed in V1 is a lot more complex than it needs to be. Let's just say that your speed is how many actions you can perform Simultaneously , with the same logic for mental speed/actions.
I'd also like mental actions to be more generalised as “what you pay attention to”, so Aiming, Full Defence, making your Attack into a Called Shot and so on would all fall into this type.
--- Make Biomorphs/Pods/Synths more distinct.
Again, fairly straightforward – instead of using one as a baseline from which others differ, have each type have a set of traits that always apply. This is more a clarity issue than anything, but could open some doors.
--- Consolidate Morphs into Genelines.
This has been mentioned before by others, but I'd like to see the amount of 'unique' morphs reduced, with existing types being upgrade packages for their basic variant..
This would make things like “Right At Home” easier to parse, and makes the availability of more exotic morph types easier to handle in-game.
It also simplifies morph availability and, oddly enough, 'unique' morph creation.
--- Consolidate Traits and Gear as Blueprints as a levelled, resource based mechanic.
EP is a little weird – the setting is built around the Ego being important, but in practice the system makes a character's Gear more central to both the character and gameplay.
Blueprints 'somewhat' counteract this, but they're very vaguely defined.
What I'm proposing is that Blueprints become the basic character Element beyond Skill ratings; each Blueprint represents a list of available Gear or Abilities with an associated cost to possess/active in game, with 'Better' blueprints or innate abilities reducing that cost.
For example, having a Blueprint as a Trait means it is always available, Software/'Configs' are free and installed upon sleeving into a Cyber/Meatbrain respectively, and the rest marked with a resource cost from Trivial (free with access to manufacturing) to Expensive.
My thinking is that this would give characters the broad possibilities that are associated with "constant" gear, but leaving what the character has 'at a given time' remain flexible.
Consolidating gear into a packages also means you can have flexibility without necessarily having so many options that choice-paralysis becomes an issue.
--- Break Gameplay into Long-Term, Downtime/Prologue and Gametime, and partially incorporate character creation into standard gameplay.
Firstly, and of least importance, I enjoy Character creation and advancement, and V1 is terrible at both. The mechanics simply aren't there.
Secondly, as has been mentioned in other threads, downtime and daily life are rarely addressed in RPGs which is a shame because they are often what makes a setting and character compelling.
Finally, something which rarely sees any focus is a scenario's 'prologue' – mostly there'll be a little bit about how the characters got to the scenario start, and then a bit of time organising gear and getting ready for the 'actual' game.
What struck me is that these things are not only present but not really acknowledged, but that they all sink up together.
What I'm thinking is that this be brought together and formalised into gameplay "states".
The first is Long-Term, which would encompass Long-term investments and character development. Pretty simply, this would be Character advancement, the purchase of 'permanent' equipment in the form of Blueprints, and investing in Lifestyle and Credits (Rating), which are used in “Downtime”.
This phase would essentially incorporate a character's lifestyle/day-to-day lifestyle, the scenario prologue and the inevitable shopping trip that every scenario starts off with.
Functionally this would be similar to the Vignettes in Delta Green or Red Markets – the player gives the character a small number of improvements derived from what the character has spent their time doing, such as skill bonuses or additional moxie points. Scenario specific alterations or other effects like skillsofts would provide additional options to choose.
Secondly, the character would gain a specific amount of resource 'points' (Moderate, Expesive...) which would then be applied to their blueprints/traits as above.
The character's Credits and Lifestyle would define how many Resources are available and manipulate the available Improvements respectively.
The intent here once again is to lighten the burden of character creation and more directly incorporate that flexibility into gameplay so that characters can configure their abilities more directly to apply to the scenario or make up for deficits (say, through a player being absent) whilst retaining character identity: a combat-focused character will always have more base combat capability than others due to their skills and traits, but if a scenario is more focused on intrigue or investigation then they can adapt accordingly.
It would also provide a specific avenue/currency for the GM to apply plot elements, such as unusual/alien technology or treatment-resistant mental effects, rather than having to crowbar them into the standard gameplay resource system.
In GameTime it would largely be business as normal, but with it being explicit that any changes made to the character or their equipment being strictly temporary: the events of the scenario will always be, by definition, unusual circumstances and events that stand out from normal life. If the player decides after the game that a change should be permanent, they can use their Long-Term/Downtime in the future to represent the permanent investment.
--- A 'Severity' based damage system.
What I'd like to see is when a character attacks a target damage is only rolled once, with additional weapons or effects being consolidated onto that attack.
Thematically, this is very easy to explain – it's usually more important where you are hit than what you are hit with.
Basically, the roll represents the severity of the impact point – armor/ap applies but any damage bonus the weapon has does not; extra damage or weapon effects are applied only if the roll-armour is greater than zero, meaning the attack damaged something non-trivial.
Basing damage on the affect on the target rather than the effectiveness or number of weapons makes it much easier to deal with multiple or distinct weapons, and also with unusual or robust target physiologies.
...I may have put too much thought into this.
In the past we've had to compensate for weaknesses, finding quick solutions that only benefit a few.
But what if we never need to feel weak or morally conflicted again?