Comparing the different M.A.R.S. packages

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pkitty
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Comparing the different M.A.R.S. packages

#1 Postby pkitty » Mon Jan 09, 2017 4:43 pm

I thought it would be interesting to look at the rough value of each M.A.R.S. package. Not the base cost of being a M.A.R.S. character (e.g., the four advances, the extra rolls), but what each individual type of M.A.R.S character gets on top of that. It treats each Hero's Journey (HJ) roll as 2 points and each M.A.R.S. roll as 4 points. There are a few other oddball traits for which I had to make a judgment call; I made sure to footnote each one with my thoughts.

EDIT 1: After careful consideration, I've gone with a ratio of "1 Strain of cyber" = "1 Edge or attribute." It's still a bit wonky, but more reasonable.

EDIT 2: I'm at a bit of a loss on pricing power armor and robot armor. I upped their value a bit.

BODY-FIXER
+1d Smarts (2)
Healing d8, KS (Cybernetics) d6, KS (Medicine) d6 (7)
Healer (2)
Extra nice gear; *maybe* worth (1)?
TOTAL 12 or 13

CITY RAT
Cybernetics, 4 Strain (8)
Streetwise d6, Scrounger (4)
TOTAL 12

HEADHUNTER
Upgradeable (2)
Cybernetics, 6 Strain (12)
TOTAL 14

MERC SOLDIER
Five skill points (5)
Two Edges (4)
Broad choice of starting gear (5*)
* Priced as three HJ rolls, then -1 since it is starting gear, not in addition to it
TOTAL 14

OPERATOR
Driving d6, Boating d4, Repair d8, Piloting d4 (7)
Ace and MacGyver (4)
Starting vehicle with all weapons (5*)
* Priced after careful comparison with 3/M.A.R.S. and the Rich Edge.
TOTAL 16

PERSONAL CONCEPT
Five skill points (5)
Two Edges (4)
Extra M.A.R.S. Roll (4)
TOTAL 13

POWER ARMOR SOLDIER
Power Armor Jock (2)
Starting power armor (12*)
* My best estimate weighed against HJ rolls to get gear
TOTAL 14

PSI-OPERATOR
Psionics d6, AB (Psionics) (4)
Repair d8, Mr. Fix It (5)
Gadgeteer (2)
TOTAL 11

ROBOT ARMOR PILOT
Piloting d6, Robot Armor Jock (4)
Starting robot armor (16*)
One fewer HJ and M.A.R.S. roll (-6)
* My best estimate weighed against HJ rolls to get gear
TOTAL 14

ROGUE SCHOLAR
Five skill points (5)
Knowledge (x2) d8, Scholar (8)
Investigation d8, Streetwise d8, Investigator (8)
TOTAL 21

VAGABOND
Five skill points (5)
Gifted (4*)
Luck, Hard to Kill (4)
* Per Clint, below, this is effectively the SPC version of AB (Super Powers) plus the single ability of Gifted. In practice, it's probably worth more like 3 points.
TOTAL 13 (but feels like 12)

WILDERNESS SCOUT
+1d Vigor (2)
Notice d6, Survival d8, Tracking d8 (8)
Fleet-Footed, Woodsman (4)
TOTAL 14
Last edited by pkitty on Wed Jan 18, 2017 7:10 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Comparing the different M.A.R.S. packages

#2 Postby pkitty » Mon Jan 09, 2017 4:44 pm

The moral of the story seems to be that combat-worthy abilities are given much more importance in Savage Rifts than non-combat ones, as the packages become a better deal the more they focus on out-of-combat abilities. Who'd have thought that the rogue scholar would be the true munchkin of this game? :)
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Re: Comparing the different M.A.R.S. packages

#3 Postby Freemage » Mon Jan 09, 2017 4:55 pm

pkitty wrote:The moral of the story seems to be that combat-worthy abilities are given much more importance in Savage Rifts than non-combat ones, as the packages become a better deal the more they focus on out-of-combat abilities. Who'd have thought that the rogue scholar would be the true munchkin of this game? :)

Yeah. As I noted a bit ago, the Rogue Scholar vs. Body-Fixer comparison is truly egregious, because the RS (built for mundane healing) becomes just as good at that niche, AND gets a leg up on advancement into other areas of growth, so the BF will always be lagging behind. The BF really needs some Iconic Edges relating to stretching the rules around mundane healing (and should start with one of them for free).

The MARS groups that start with big equipment loads (Power Armor Soldier, Robot Armor Pilot, anyone with a vehicle) have at least a minor downside--gear is fragile. Some bad rolls early on are going to cripple the character before they have a bank account they can spend on repairs. It's a bit of a gamble as a result.

I did come to the thought process that, if you wanted to 'win' a mercenary campaign, you should totally take Power Armor Soldier, select the Behemoth, and then sell it, and retire at Novice. Even at a fraction of the value, you're probably seeing more loot than many campaigns will ever feature.

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Re: Comparing the different M.A.R.S. packages

#4 Postby Clint » Mon Jan 09, 2017 10:16 pm

pkitty wrote:VAGABOND
Gifted (2*)
* I think this is worth 3, as it's better than Jack-of-All-Trades, but it was lifted from the SPC where it's explicitly [2].


To get access to any SPC-only ability requires additional points spent to compensate for the AB, just like building a Race with those abilities.
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Re: Comparing the different M.A.R.S. packages

#5 Postby pkitty » Wed Jan 11, 2017 4:39 pm

Clint wrote:To get access to any SPC-only ability requires additional points spent to compensate for the AB, just like building a Race with those abilities.

Thanks for clarifying that! I've adjusted the Vagabond entry.

Otherwise, was I pretty accurate? In particular, I wasn't sure if I was pricing Strain fairly. Also, any comments on the power difference between, for example, the Body-Fixer and Rogue Scholar?
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Re: Comparing the different M.A.R.S. packages

#6 Postby Mifune013 » Wed Jan 18, 2017 1:57 pm

Doesn't the City Rat and Headhunter (and maybe a few others) also get free bionics?

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Re: Comparing the different M.A.R.S. packages

#7 Postby Ilina_Young » Wed Jan 18, 2017 2:16 pm

the Rogue Scholar is overpowered if you don't mind having to actually earn your combat gear the hard way. they can literally fill any role they please.

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Re: Comparing the different M.A.R.S. packages

#8 Postby Clint » Wed Jan 18, 2017 2:23 pm

pkitty wrote:Otherwise, was I pretty accurate? In particular, I wasn't sure if I was pricing Strain fairly. Also, any comments on the power difference between, for example, the Body-Fixer and Rogue Scholar?


Honestly no idea on the pricing, I was just looking at the Gifted post. Taking a quick look at the totals, all of them seem to pretty much fall in the 12-14 range which feels close within potential deviation. The only real exception is the Rogue Scholar at 21.

I don't know, maybe Sean had a crush on Erin Tarn. ;)
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Re: Comparing the different M.A.R.S. packages

#9 Postby Ilina_Young » Wed Jan 18, 2017 2:41 pm

Rifts literally gives more benefit to Non Combat Oriented Occupations than it does to Combat ones. as if Combat benefits were weighted with a greater amount of Value than Normal. but nothing Stops a Rogue Scholar from starting with combat skills or even learning them. they just don't have the starting resources to spend on decent combat gear, but can still pick it up later. i found most of a player character's wealth is pried from the corpses of thier enemies. regardless of system.

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Re: Comparing the different M.A.R.S. packages

#10 Postby Sitting Duck » Wed Jan 18, 2017 3:00 pm

Mifune013 wrote:Doesn't the City Rat and Headhunter (and maybe a few others) also get free bionics?


Correct. The Headhunter starts with six Strain of cybernetics and the Upgradable Edge, while the City Rat get four Strain of cybernetics. Only other IF I know of that automatically includes free cybernetics is the Combat Cyborg. Though if the IF allows it, you can make rolls on the Cybernetics table.
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Re: Comparing the different M.A.R.S. packages

#11 Postby Stonefur » Wed Jan 18, 2017 3:07 pm

Rogue Scholars still don't get anything that anyone else doesn't have access to. They are rooted in flexibility, and the straight +5 to skills is a bit over the top and IMO the real issue. I think it should be for Smart and Spirit linked skills only. It just doesn't make sense to me that rogue scholar can go buck wild and spend time in the library or classroom shooting off a few plasma blasts. Let those skills come from the heroes journey, and normal character process. Limiting the IF bonus to only Smarts and Spirit neatly halves the ability without ruining it.
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Re: Comparing the different M.A.R.S. packages

#12 Postby pkitty » Thu Jan 19, 2017 10:19 pm

Mifune013 wrote:Doesn't the City Rat and Headhunter (and maybe a few others) also get free bionics?

Yes they start with 4 Strain and 6 Strain worth of cybernetics, respectively, and I included those in my OP.
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Re: Comparing the different M.A.R.S. packages

#13 Postby Clint » Fri Jan 20, 2017 3:42 pm

Stonefur wrote:Limiting the IF bonus to only Smarts and Spirit neatly halves the ability without ruining it.


Not really, unless the player planned to spend less than 5 points on such skills to begin with. It just means they can use more of their starting 15 points for combat-related skills.

If a GM did want to dial them back (based on those costs), then just drop the extra Skill Points and Investigator Edge (which could still be gotten from a HJ roll).
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