Zebulon's Guide to Frontier Space introduced the concept of the Action Control Table (ACT) as a Universal Resolution System, basing it on the highly popular and successful system introduced in the Marvel Super Heroes RPG.
The system is generally incompatible with the base system introduced in Alpha Dawn, requiring some tweaking to adapt one system to the other. Because of this incompatibility, and because the rule system overhaul promised in "future volumes of Zebulon's Guide" never materialized, the use of the table was never as universal as intended.
The Resolution SystemEdit
The Resolution System resolves most facets of the game (combat, skill use, etc.) by the use of the Resolution Table. If a game action can't be handled with the Resolution Table, Ability checks can still be used, such as Stamina checks to fight the effect of gas or stunning.
This is the act or process of resolving something, determining it success or failure. The Star Frontiers Alpha Dawn rules resolved all actions with a percentile dice roll, which was compared to a single target number. The action either succeeded or failed, with no middle ground. The resolution system described here uses a color-coded table to assign one of five possible outcomes to each dice roll.
The Resolution Table is divided into 19 vertical columns, from -X on the left to +X on the right. In the first step of any combat or skill use resolution, the player locates his character's appropriate skill level for the skill or weapon being used. This skill level determines which column of the Resolution Table is the character's base column for this action. For example, a character firing a Rafflur M-3 is using his Beam Weapons skill. In his Beam Weapons skill level is 3, then the +3 column is his base column for this action. Modifiers may cause him to shift to a different column to the left or right.
Column shifting is the second step in the sequence. Various conditions may make an action easier or harder to do. If something is very easy to do, the character gets column shifts to the right. If it is very difficult, he gets column shifts to the left. For example, if the character firing the Rafflur M-3 is firing at a large target, he gets a +1 column shift, which moves his attempt from the +3 column to the +4 column. All column shifts are cumulative. The column that the player arrives at after all shifts is called the strike column if the character is attacking; otherwise, it is called the skill check column.
Each column shift equals a modifier of plus or minus 10 in the Alpha Dawn rules. For example, a +20 bonus in the Alpha Dawn rules now becomes a +2 column shift.)
Positive Column ShiftsEdit
Modifiers that help the character by making his target easier to hit or his action easier to perform are positive column shifts. They increase the character's chance to succeed by moving the strike or skill check column to the right. Positive column shifts are indicated by a plus sign (+). The notation "+1 CS" indicates a one-column shift to the right. Any action that is shifted beyond +X is resolved on the +X column.
Negative Column ShiftsEdit
Combat modifiers that make a target harder to hit or skill modifiers that make an action harder to perform are negative column shifts. They decrease the character's chance to succeed by moving the strike or skill check column to the left. Negative column shifts are indicated by a minus sign (-). The notation "-1 CS" indicates a one-column shift to the left. Any action that is shifted to the left of the -X column is resolved on the -X column.
Running left to right across the columns of the Resolution Table are four color bands. These color bands are called result areas. After making all of his column shifts the player rolls percentile dice and looks at the table to see what result area his dice roll is in. If the area is colored, the attack or skill check succeeded. Sometimes the degree of success is indicated by the color: yellow means just barely succeeded, while cobalt means it worked extremely well.
If an action is especially difficult the dice roll may have to fall into a particular color to succeed. For example, if the rules say a green result is needed, then a green result is minimal success. The action succeeds if the result is green, blue, or cobalt. A white or yellow result means failure.
Combat uses the colored result areas extensively. Instead of 10-sided dice of damage, most weapons are rated by their maximum damage. The color of the result area determines what fraction of its maximum possible damage the weapon causes. A cobalt result causes maximum damage, a blue result causes three-quarter damage, a green result causes one-half damage, and a yellow result causes one-quarter damage. Damage indicated by the color result may also be reduced by the target's armor or screens.
Occasionally, an attack or action may have its result shifted. This is indicated by either a positive result shift (+1 RS) or a negative result shift (-1 RS). A positive result shift moves the result toward the top of the table: yellow becomes green, green becomes blue, blue becomes cobalt. A cobalt result remains cobalt. A negative result shift moves the result toward the bottom of the table: cobalt becomes blue, blue becomes green, and green becomes yellow. A yellow result is not shifted to white.
Shifting results does not alter the maximum possible damage: cobalt is still maximum, blue is three-quarters, etc. A positive shift makes it impossible to cause minimum damage and makes maximum damage more likely, while a negative shift makes it impossible to cause maximum damage and makes minimum damage more likely.
Notes and References Edit
- Zebulon's Guide to Frontier Space