What’s this? An Economy of Die Rolls for Aliens & Asteroids!

As we’ve been working on the Quickstart for Aliens & Asteroids, I had a great conversation with Alan Bahr about trying to figure out a simple economy system for the game. For months I’ve been pondering how to use credits, granted at the end of missions, to characters — so they can “purchase” equipment or whatever they need. And nothing I tried was really clicking. In fact, nothing I tried ever even made it to the game table for my playtest group at Petrie’s Family Games, my FLGS.

Nothing worked.

Then out of the blue, Alan says — toss it. Make it a skill check. And bingo, we have something that works.

Check this out.

Economy of Rolls

Money is an outdated concept in the Dominion for most. As citizens and members of the DSF, all characters are provided most of what they need to live a comfortable life if they contribute to the greater good. Each character has the equipment they are issued, but the economy is such that they do not have to deal with the money required for everyday transactions such as normal food and lodging.

However, for each successful mission, they gain Purchase Rolls that they can use to requisition more advanced equipment.

To use a Purchase Roll (PR), make a Presence roll. If the character has the “Rich” trait, this roll is at an Advantage. With a success, the character gets what they asked for. With a failure, they get nothing. Perhaps there was a shortage or they didn’t fill out the forms properly. They can always try again with another PR.

Advanced equipment may provide better armor, improved tech or weapons, or anything else they are able to negotiate with the Referee.

So how does this work in practice? I’m going to leave that up to the Referee, but here’s an example of how I will be using it in my own campaign.

Let’s say that each character completes a mission and gets one Purchase Roll (PR) for each point of Dread Rating (DR) that the adventure is rated for. If it’s a pretty common mission, we’ll say it’s DR2. So let’s say that they each get two PRs they can leverage in the game.

Buddy Lindrick is a Space Marine and he wants a slight improvement to his weapon. So let’s say he wants to improve my Pulse Rifle with a Stock that gives him a bonus when he shoots. A bit less recoil. A bit more stability. Perhaps it improves each roll by 1. Let’s say this marine doesn’t come from a rich family, so it’s just a plain Presence check. The character has a Presence attribute score of 12. The player rolls a d20 and get a 10.

Perfect! He gets a new Recoil Reducing Stock for his Pulse Rifle. This improves all his rolls by 1 when firing this weapon. Immediately there’s an impact for this “magic item.”

In practice, let’s say he’s firing a burst at an enemy, which is at a Disadvantage. The player rolls two d20s and has to take the higher of the two. He rolls a 15 and a 13, but he needed a 12 or less. With the handy dandy new stock, those two rolls drop to 14 and 12. Huzzah! He’s hit his enemy!

I think this can be done piecemeal to improve character performance in a variety of ways. Perhaps a technician asks for a particular fancy upgrade to his favorite drone. Or a scientist gets a quantum computer upgrade for his porta-lab. Players will have plenty of choices of what they want to do with their newfound purchasing power, with nary a credit to their names!

Oh, but what happens if they miss a roll? Well, nothing. There’s no penalty for missing the roll, but they don’t get the item. They can always try later.

What do you think? Curious minds want to know!

And a big thank you goes to Alan for contributing this fine piece of game rules. 🙂

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