Blake's 7 Unisytem Lite
From Strength to Unity
This is a homebrew setting for
Disclaimer: Some of this stuff is genuine canon, drawn directly from Blake's 7 episodes. Some of it is made up or conjectured simply to facilitate the creation of a RPG guide. None of the valuable bits belong to me.
This and a single Unisystem book should be all you need to make a decent attempt at a Blake's 7 game. I'd recommend Unisystem Lite Angel Corebook (or Buffy) for a more cinematic game and this is written using Angel (and sometimes Buffy) as a reference, but with a little modification you can use any of the Unisystem books like All Flesh Must Be Eaten, Witchcraft, Armageddon or Terra Primate etc.
This guide attempts to supply as much information as necessary without repeating too much stuff from Eden's commercial rulebooks.
Blake's 7 was a late seventies sci fi BBCTV series set in a dark, oppressive future. Really, if you don't know the series it's best to watch some DVDs. A cursory description here will either make it sound too much like Star Trek, or too much like 1984.
This guide is created to help those with a nostalgia-on for the series to run an RPG in the setting, hopefully as much in the spirit of the series as possible. If you don't know the setting, it's so old now, you would probably have much more fun converting and playing a setting you do know.
This is designed for running games very similar to the Blake's 7 series. Characters should generally be outlaws fighting against the tyrany of the Galactic Federation. That is not to say various character concepts cannot be used but players should not lose track, within these concepts, of what the game is essentially about.
Many different types of games can be played in the Blake's7 setting from merchantile trading games to military tactical combat ones, to simple space exploration. However, there are many better settings suited to these genres. These concepts are intended for players who want to play something like the Blake's 7 TV series. They should be treated simply as a guide and a source of inspiration and not as any sort of mandatory restriction on your character's actions.
Someone has wronged you. He must be destroyed. You will stop at nothing to exact your personal brand of justice and wreak your vengeance. The object of your hate could be anyone but it works well if he is a high ranking Federation official.
The Federation is an afront to your fundamental sense of right and wrong. But they're not the only ones. There is lots wrong with the universe. Whenever you find injustice, oppression and corruption, you must do your best to put these things right. You know deep down what is right and what is wrong and you do your very best to follow this.
The Federation must pay for what they have done. You will not rest until you see the whole system utterly destroyed. You don't care what it takes and you don't care what damage you cause on the way. If innocents are caught up in your private crusade then so be it; the greater purpose must be served.
You have a vision of what the universe can be. The Federation needs to be changed, perhaps violently. The universe can be a much better place if your ideals can be spread. You are in an armed struggle and so violence is acceptable, but your attitude is informed by your fundamental belief in the essential goodness of human nature.
You have lost everything. Now you are alone. You have nothing better to do than what you do now. You can tag along with these people because you have nowhere else to go. Perhaps they can give meaning to your empty life. Perhaps their cause can become your cause and give you something to believe in again.
You are wanted by the Federation (or other body), an outlaw and an outcast. You have nowhere to hide but you must keep running. You have no political quarrel with the Federation. They are out to (rightly, perhaps) get you. It is simply your duty to yourself to avoid them. If getting in with a bunch of idealistic freedom fighters keeps you safe, then it keeps you safe.
Well, it is a fine mess you're in now. You didn't want this to happen. You never asked to be mankind's best hope for liberation. Life under the Federation may not have been that bad. Most people got by reasonably well. If you could turn back the clock, you would have it just the way it was. Meanwhile, you're just trying to do the best you can in difficult circumstances.
You are one of life's bobbers and weavers. An honest day's work was always too much to expect for an honest day's pay. You prefer getting your money the easy way. You might not be opposed to the Federation, as much as opposed to any sort of authority, but if your talents are useful to those who fight the Federation, who cares, as long as you are adequately rewarded and protected.
It is a dangerous universe out there and you need to look after number one. Taking sides with deadly enemies of the Federation might not sound like a sensible career move, but consider the alternative was certain death. Your own survival is all that matters now; just keep going as long as you can. This is not to say that keeping your allies alive is not a good idea, too.
Life is a journey. Your life has been interesting but it seems to have just got more interesting. You will stick with your current companions until something tells you it is time to leave. At the moment their struggle with the Federation is most edifying but who can tell what the future might bring.
You were born to fight. It is all you know. You are good at what you know and intend to become better. The sound of a gun is the only language some people understand. It does not really matter which side you fight for but it helps to have those around you that you can trust. Just because you are a fighter, does not mean you want to take orders. You can think for yourself, too. This way, you get to stay alive longer.
You are a bit strange. You can probably get away with anything becuase you are a bit strange. During conversations, stare enigmatically into the distance and make some cryptic remark. In the midst of battle, stare enigmatically into the distance and make some cryptic remark. In your moment of triumph, stare enigmatically into the distance and make some cryptic remark.
Although the characters are heroes and expected to do heroic things and attempt to bring freedom to the galaxy, it is a grim universe out there. The characters are not much better than the average person. They have special skills and experiences that make them stand out, but they should not assume they are inherently superior. One on one, against some random opponent, they can easily lose. The characters in Blake's 7 always have to be careful. It is their making a stand against the odds that makes them heroes, not their superhuman abilities.
The only Character Type in Blake's 7 is 'Rebel'. The character points available are:
Attribute Points: 15
Quality Points: 15
Drawback Points: up to 10
Skill Points: 20
Drama Points: 10
The various backgrounds for Blake's 7 characters do not need to be categorised. It is left open to each individual player (with agreement of the director) exactly what background he might like for his character. Much of the background can be reflected and quantified in terms of Qualities and Skills but much of it will be simple ideas or prose. Fortunately the Blake's 7 universe provides much scope and inspiration for excellent and original character backgrounds.
Acute/Impaired senses (1 or 2-point Quality or Drawback)
Surely you're not afraid of the dark.
Addiction (Variable Drawback)
CALLY: It's for medicinal purposes only. You know that.
CALLY: Well, are you dying?
As rulebook but...
Addiction Point Table
Habitual use of Soma and Adrenalin 1 point
Habitual use of Pataki 2 points
Habitual use of Exobriddian 4 points
Habitual use of Shadow 5 points
The players and director are encouraged to make up their own addictive substances and their game effects, and to fix a drawback cost for them.
Adversary (Variable Drawback)
BLAKE:...as long as he's alive, he'll be the one chasing me. And I know I can beat him.
As rulebook but...
The entire Galactic Federation should be hot on the heels of the crew. Things don't get much more adversarial than that. Players should be encouraged to create as part of their character's backgrounds individuals and organisations that might be desperate to see them dead or brought to justice. This sort of thing can only enhance a campaign. However, it should be kept in mind that the more these adversaries crop up, then the more 'screen time' the character is having and the more their personal story is being developed, which is what the player wants, presumably, anyway. The director should not pay too high a price for Adversary Drawbacks.
Attractiveness (1-point/level Quality or Drawback)
are very beautiful,
Clown (1-point Drawback)
Contacts (Variable Quality)
As rulebook but...
It can be difficult to communicate with these various contacts from space. Generally character's contacts will have to be visited. This difficulty means that the point cost for a contact should be reduced slightly, and the contacts should generally be very useful, useful enough to go trekking halfway across the galaxy for.
New, retro-actively invented contacts can be purchased easily with Drama Points.
Some suggested spheres for contacts are as follows:
Criminal/Terra Nostra (2-or 3-point Quality)
As rulebook but...
The 2 point quality Criminal can be bought by a character engaged in genuine criminal activity; just being a wanted rebel criminal in this game is not the same as being a 'Criminal.'
The 3 point quality Wise Guy should now be called Terra Nostra. It indicates the character was formerly associated with the crime organisation of that name and still has Contacts and owes Obligations to that shady outfit.
Fast Reaction Time (2-point Quality)
Hard to Kill (1 to 5-point Quality)
Honourable (1 to 3-point Drawback)
SOOLIN: When did you get religion?
Mental Problems (1 to 3-point Drawback)
As rulebook but
Psychomanipulation conditioning removed some (or all) of your memory. Sometimes it is only necessary to rid a small part of your mind of unhealthy thoughts and memories. Sometimes, in the case of Mutoidation, for example, all memory of your previous existence must go.
Natural Toughness (2-point Quality)
Nerves of Steel (3-point Quality)
Obligation (Variable Drawback)
As rulebook but...
As an outlaw and freedom fighter, any obligations the character may have had in his old life would be easy to ignore. The director should only award drawback points for those obligations that have an immediate effect on the character's life as an outlaw.
Physical Disability (Variable Drawback)
Recurring Nightmares (1-point drawback)
Resistance (1-point per Level)
As rulebook but...
Psychomanipulation conditioning often leaves its subject better able to resist telepathic attack. Many telepathic attacks rely on manipulating the memories of the target and are therefore less effective because these have already been interfered with. This is reflected by conditioned characters getting a level of resistance (Telepathic Attack).
Some characters are able to resist Psychomanipulation better than others. Another worthwhile Quality might be Resistance (Psychomanipulation).
Secret (Variable Drawback)
As rulebook but...
This secret should be one that seriously threatens the character's place in the crew, or endangers the crew. Other secrets, while encouraged, should be free.
Situational Awareness (2-point Quality)
Alien (Variable Quality)
is an alien.
The galaxy is one of great human influence; the range of human settlement is vast and has been going on for at least hundreds of years. As civilised territory has expanded and contracted over time, many groups of humans have evolved separately and uniquely.
Evolved, human-esque 'Aliens' can be created by a player by simply combining various qualities (and skills) and declaring them the species norm for his chosen creation. Then, once the player has decided what is typical of the species, he can then decide what makes his character unique.
The Alien quality is essentially free, but the other qualities which reflect the nature of the alien must be purchased normally. Any Alien qualities not covered by these rules should be costed by the director.
Assassin (9-point Quality)
You make a living by killing. There is always a call for this kind of work. You might work for the Federation or for planetary governments, for the Terra Nostra, or simply for private concerns. You may work for any combination of the above, also. You are well paid but more important than the money is your reputation. Your clients need to know that they can rely on you to get the job done and to be discrete. And you need to make sure that your reputation as an efficient killer is never blemished. Many assassins have trademark ways to kill that act as a 'calling card.'
You get 2 levels in any attributes. You also get 2 levels in a combat skill (usually Gun Fighting). You get 3 levels in Contacts (for your various clients and allies). You also get two levels of Obligation, to represent how finishing a job correctly is linked to your Reputation. You get one level of Reputation but can pay for more. You also get three levels of Gadget (which you can pay to improve) which represent the special tools of your trade.
Auronar (9-point Quality)
my people are the Auronar.
CALLY: And quick. I would not have died alone.
CALLY: Because you are not telepathic.
A4 Time Squad
The people of Auron have limited telepathic abilities. You gain the 'Telepathic' Quality, and the following Metaphysical Qualities: 4 levels of Send, 1 of Vague Feeling, and 1 of Empathy.
Note that the Auronar are capable of increased Telepathic powers and of gaining various other Telepathic Qualities but their abilities must be boosted by some in-game way. The narcotic Shadow will do this job, as will the Moon Disks of planet Zonda, from which Shadow is derived.
Bounty Hunter (8-point Drawback)
As a bounty hunter you are used to tracking down fugitives, arresting them and then bringing them into Federation (or other) control for no other reason than money. The Federation use private Bounty Hunters for many reasons. Real criminals, dissidents, resistance leaders, unlucky innocents can all find themselves the subject of a tempting bounty. The Federation often prefers its wanted to be brought in alive, rather than dead, so that they can be held up as an example and/or conditioned into loyal subjects once more. Other organisations and private concerns can offer black market bounties.
You get one level in any attribute. You also get 6 levels to share between the following skills: Crime, Notice, Stealth, Survival, Streetwise. You also get a 2 point Contact Quality and two levels of Hard to Kill. You have also doubtlessly upset some important people during the course of your duties and get a two point Adversary Drawback.
Conditioned (3-point drawback)
FOSTER: They erased areas of your mind, they implanted new ideas. They literally took your mind to pieces and rebuilt it. And when they'd finished, they put you up and you confessed.
A1 The way back
You have been psychomanipulated into becoming a better citizen. The condition has erased whole chunks of your memory and made you confused about some aspects of your life. Although the conditioning has failed, or not stopped you from re-offending, you will never get all your memory back. The Federation has exhaustive records on you and insight into what might make you tick.
You gain one level in Mental Problems (Amnesia) and can buy more. In addition you must choose one level of Mental Problems or Recurring Nightmares. Also, the director gets to construct plots around what you can't remember, if he wishes. You get one level of Resistance (Telepathic Attack).
Doctor/ Surgeon (6-point or 8-point Quality)
You are a highly trained medical professional. Loyalty to your patients and the sanctity of human life should come above all other values. It is a complicated universe out there, though, and difficult decisions often need to be made. You should generally command at least some respect for your chosen vocation.
As a Doctor you get an extra level of Intelligence Attribute and six levels to share between Medical, Science and Smooth Talking Skills. You also get a two point Gadget doctor's bag. You get a two point Honourable Drawback for the Hippocratic Oath. A Surgeon gets all that in addition to an extra level of Dexterity and access to the Wild Card (Surgery) Skill.
Federation Military (4 or 7-point quality)
You were a member of Federation military forces. This Quality reflects the basics of your service. Officers and specialist troops can buy other qualities and skills to reflect their specialisms. The 'Rank' Quality should also be purchased if it is still relevant. You gain one level in each of two physical attributes. You also gain two levels in Federation Skill, and one in Gun Fighting and one in Survival.
If you are still in the service then you must choose three levels of Obligation Drawback. Once you leave illegally then you must swap this for either three levels in the Adversary (Federation) Drawback, or three levels in the Secret Drawback. If you have left the sevice legitimately then none of the drawbacks are mandatory and the qulaity costs three points more than normal (ie 7 points).
Federation Researcher (8 or 11-point Quality)
BLAKE: Yes, I worked on that project too.
BLAKE: Large project.
JENNA: I didn't work on it.
A3 Cygnus Alpha
The Federation knows the value of a technological lead over its enemies. It invests many resources into research and development and often rewards its top scientists well. On the other hand its strict controls over information, sometimes oppressive working conditions and 'ignorant' military controlled projects are anathema to many in the scientific communitiy. As a one-time Federation Researcher you have grown tired of all this and you wish to put your expertise to better use.
You gain two levels in mental attributes. You also gain ten levels to split between the following skills Computers, Engineer, Federation, General Knowledge, Medical, Science and Ships Systems.
If you still work for the Federation then you must take three levels of Obligation Drawback. Once you leave the Federation illegally then you must swap this for either three levels in the Adversary (Federation) Drawback, or three levels in the Secret Drawback. If you have left the sevice legitimately then none of the drawbacks are mandatory and the quality costs three points more than normal (ie it becomes an 11-point Quality).
Gadget (Variable Quality)
BLAKE: Depends how elaborate their teeth were.
A3 Cygnus Alpha
Gadgets are out-of-the-ordinary technological devices that the director decides a character should pay for with Quality Points. They should be unique items or otherwise difficult to come by. The director should make the final decision on a cost for a Gadget. The director can allow appropriate characters to create Gadgets during the course of the game, paid for with experience points.
A basic Gadget would cost one Quality Point for each bonus point it lends to a related attribute/ skill check. In addition it costs more points for any extra features it might have. For example, a simple gun which gives a +1 bonus to Gun Fighting tests will cost one point. A tiny gun that can be easily secreted might cost a single point, too. A tiny, +1 gun will cost two points.
Gadgets like Imipak or Orac would probably be too powerful for a director to allow a player to create, and if they could be costed would cost so much they would leave the character short on Qualities. These very powerful items should only be introduced as director creations as part of a wider plot.
Graded (Variable Quality or Drawback)
COSER: What do you think of that? Not bad, Coser, not bad. For a Beta grade, not bad.
The Federation (especially in the core worlds) has a highly heirarchical social structure. The elite are given an Alpha grade which gets them privilege and more rights than those below them. The system is vaguely meritocratic in that there is promotion through the grade system and it is based on academic achievement, occupation and similar factors.
Most player characters will not have the Graded quality, even though they may have been graded in the past. Being outlaws the grade no longer applies, though it is a useful piece of background to know about your character.
Grades for normal Federation citizens can be paid for as described below.
Alpha Grade (1-point Quality)
The Alpha Grade is the elite of society. Politicians, scientists, wealthy merchants and high ranking military comprise the Alphas.
Beta grade (free)
The Beta grades are those that generally aspire to become Alphas. They have had decent education and opportunities and are officially inferior to the Alphas. Some find the stigma of being a Beta to weigh heavy, others are content to look down upon the Deltas. The lower ranked military officers are Beta grade.
Delta Grade (1-point Drawback)
The Delta Grades make up the vast bulk of the Federation populace. These are the average person doing manual work as well as the rank and file of the military. They have some rights but these seem to be easily overridden by higher grades. There are a few avenues for Deltas to advance themselves and join the Betas but such promotions are rare. Joining the military affords one of the best opportunities for advancement for Deltas, as does becoming a colonist on the outer planets.
Gamma Grade (2-point drawback)
The Gammas are made up of criminals, ex-criminals, the previously ungraded, the dishonourably discharged, slaves, mutoids, and all sorts of people who have fallen through the cracks of the rigid federation society. They have no rights and are generally very wary of the forces of law and order.
Limited (Variable Drawback)
limiter is supposed to cut in when stress drives him to the point where he
BLAKE: So on the flight deck he tried to kill me. The limiter didn't even slow him down.
A more visceral form of conditioning is Limiting. The insertion of electronics into the brain is used to prohibit a certain type of behaviour. This is used most commonly on sexual criminals and psychopaths unsuited to the Crimo program. Having this sort of limiting dangerously malfunction can be a worthwhile plot twist.
You have had a limiter inserted into your brain by Federation Psychomanipulation Department. You are unable to physically carry out certain specified actions. The precise nature of what is limited should be discussed with and costed by the Director. An implant to simply stop a single specific act like killing or shooting a gun or having to obey a specific Federation officer, for example, should cost three points.
Broader limits, like being unable to commit a crime, or having to obey orders by any Federation officer, should be expensive, but should also be carefully considered as to how they will affect the game or the playability of the character.
This Drawback can be bought in addition to the Conditioned Drawback if both clearly apply.
Pirate (6-point Quality)
JENNA: Putting out a false distress signal. It's a trick used by space pirates.
BLAKE: Well then, we'll have to be careful.
A4 Time Squad
You survive by crewing some sort of pirate vessel. You plunder colonies, attack freighters, board passenger vessels, take protection money. You're a menace to the space lanes and a fugitive from justice, always on the lookout for easy money.
You get one level in any attribute. You get one level in Reputation Quality (but can buy more) and one level in Contacts. You get two levels in Obligation or if you quit, two levels in either Secret or Adversary Drawback. You get 6 levels to share between the following skills, Brawling, Hand to Hand, Intimidation, Ship's Systems.
Psychostrategist (10-point Quality)
Should I be nervous?
SERVALAN: Oh, you're the strategist -- you tell me.
Psychostrategists, or Puppeteers as they are commonly known, are experts at making strategical plans and predicting the actions of others. Their origins are mysterious, and are often suspected, as a group, of having unfathomable plans for galactic domination. Their reputation for 'magic' or astounding powers of intellect is wide ranging, and somewhat exaggerated. They are often employed by the Federation to predict the actions of individual fugitives, or entire enemy armies. Some side permanently with the Federation while others are more independent, but their services are always expensive. Vital to Psychostrategists is that they must be supplied with much impeccable information if their analyses are to be meaningful.
Perhaps because of their great intellect and the rigour of their thought processes, Psychostrategists can often come across as arrogant, smug and patronising. On the other hand, Psychostrategists are often arrogant, smug and patronising.
You gain a level in each of your mental skills (Int, Per, Wil), two levels in each of General Knowledge, Science and Federation. Most importantly you get to spend skill points for levels of Wild Card (Psychostrategy).
Rank (Variable Quality or Drawback)
This reflects the character's service in a militaristic or heirarachical organisation and prestige gained from it. This Quality is more likely to apply to Federation service, but can apply (but is less useful in a galactic context) to planetary organisations. The Rank reflects the esteem the character might be held in by other members of the organisation, certain contacts he might still have and knowledge of the organisation. The level will also act as a bonus when influencing those of a lower rank.
Federation Military Ranks
Squad leader/ Sergeant/ Sergeant Major (-)
Section Leader/ Lieutenant (1)
(Space) Captain/ (Space) Major (2)
Sub-Commander/ (Space) Commander (4)
(Space) Colonel/ General (6)
Note, these ranks extend variously to many parts of the Federation Civil Adminstration, also. Some high ranking civil positions are Supreme Commander, Kommissar, Commissioner, Arbiter, etc.
Many independent planetary militaries will have similar ranks. Some ostensibly civil administrations have ranks that are just as strict and prestigious as military ones. Some planets, especially those governed by hereditary rulers, have a very formal system of social stratification.
Renegade Mutoid (15-point quality)
aware of your need for blood serum.
MUTOID:Most are, but few accept it for what it is - a functional convenience. Opponents of mutoid modification call us vampires.
TRAVIS:Rather appropriate, isn't it?
MUTOID:It is immaterial. I await your orders, Commander.
Of all the conditioning the Federation practices, this is probably the most extreme. A standard mutoid should not be used as a player character, but it is possible to play one that has for some reason broken through its conditioning. So, although you remain physically a mutoid, with all those advantages, you are able to function independently and have a mind of your own. You have still lost all memory of your previous life and still require serum sustainance, etc.
The physical bonuses of a renegade mutoid are the same as those of one still loyal to the federation. It is recommended that player character mutoids should never plan to use their vampiric facility for sustainance and some vestige of humanity must still exist within the mutoid or its conditioning could not have been broken. They should always use serum whenever possible. The player character mutoid could perhaps use their vampiric needle in an emergency but the process would disgust the character and remind them of their inhumanity and possibly affect them profoundly emotionally. It is up to the director and player how this would work, exactly, but this facet of the mutoid's existence can be used to make interesting roleplaying. This important disadvantage should not be glossed over, as otherwise mutoids effectively have no disadvantages to outweigh their physical advantages and the most interesting part of their existence is ignored.
Mutoids are programmed to obey without question. As a renegade and player character it would be most unreasonable for this stipulation to remain, however, the mutoid could be played with little independence and motivation, and could have some desire to be lead and perhaps ordered around. It might make an interesting sub-plot to have the mutoid gradually grow into its freedom from the Federation. Alternatively, some fundamental flaw in the psychomanipulation process could leave the mutoid with strong and willful motivation.
Moutoids get a number of Blood Points which are calculated the same as Life Points. Every hour a Mutoid goes without blood or serum it loses 4 Blood Points (ie one every 15 minutes). These Blood Points are treated just like Life Points when calculating the effect their loss has on the Mutoid's body. Introducing blood/ serum to the Mutoid's body allows them to regain these Blood Points in a matter of moments. A single vial of serum contains 50 Serum Points, enough for a Mutoid to function for about 12 hours. A human body contains about 200 serum points worth of blood.
You gain one level to each physical attribute, 4 levels each of Resistance (Heat), Resistance (Cold), Resistance (Fear), Hard to Kill. You also get Mental Problems (3, Amnesia), Natural Toughness, Gadget (1, Vampiric Needle) and Attractive (-4) despite the leather cat suit.
Reputation (Variable Quality or Drawback)
Well, according to the Federation, I'm a political criminal. You may have heard
of me. My name is Blake.
BELLFRIAR: Yes, but then we're absentminded scientists, you see. In fact, we've forgotten your name already. Haven't we, Gambrill?
GAMBRILL: Whose name, sir?
You are well known in various circles for past acts. If these acts were generally good then this is a quality, otherwise it is a drawback. Remember though, no good deed goes unpunished. The stronger the reputation, the more levels must be purchased. Note that although Blake was an outlaw, his reputation, even as a terrorist, made neutrals generally positively disposed towards him.
Your reputation, positive or negative, will be worth three points only at its most extreme. Most will have either one or two levels of reputation.
Smuggler (6-point Quality)
JENNA: I was trading round the Near Worlds. I'm a free trader.
JENNA: I'm glad you're pleased.
A1 The Way Back
With a past in smuggling you have built up a network of contacts and expertise in many areas. You gain one level in Intelligence Attribute, three levels in Contacts Quality, two levels in Crime Skill, two levels in Streetwise Skill. You also get two levels in the Adversary Drawback to invent someone you once crossed (or who crossed you) and is out for revenge.
Soldier (8-point Quality)
You were a well trained member of a military unit on a planet independent of the Federation. Possibly this unit fought Federation forces at some point.
You gain two levels in physical attributes. In addition you gain two levels in two combat skills (Gun Fighting, Brawling or Hand to Hand). You gain three levels to distribute between Stealth, Survival and Medical.
Telepathic (2-point Quality)
You are a telepath. You can do strange things with your highly developed mind. You have access to powers that you must use carefully. Your extra sensitivity can also be a weakness and you could be more vulnerable to some telepathic entities. You can do very little with this quality alone, you should now buy some Metaphysical Qualities.
Warrior (4-point quality)
You were an honourable fighter back on your home planet, before the Federation came. You have not forgotten the old ways and you try to live by them despite the distances you have travelled. You wish to fight the Federation wherever they are. It may be too late for your home world but there are plenty of battles left to fight.
You gain two levels in physical attributes. In addition you get two levels in a combat skill (Gun Fighting, Brawling or Hand to Hand). You get a level one Gadget, which is a traditional weapon of your home planet. You can make this Gadget higher level by spending extra Quality Points if the director agrees. You also get a two point Honourable Drawback where you must be loyal to the traditions and the memory of the people of your home planet.
In Blake's 7 there were a number of very powerful telepathic entities that were central to some episodes. Player Characters, however, should not be immensely powerful in this respect. The director should feel free to restrict the telepathy of the Player Characters and feel freer to pump up the efficacy of his own telepathic characters (and give them an exploitable weakness, too). The powers below are for human-type low powered characters and Player Characters. The abilities of gargantuan brains or ancient withered psychic entities are better made up to suit the plot than formally categorised.
Each level of a Metaphysics Quality is the character's effective skill level in that discipline. This is combined with Will Power to find the character's total level. For example, a character with three levels of Teleknesis and a Will Power of four will add seven to his dice roll (and any other modifiers the Director grants) when using Telekinesis.
Before a Metaphysical effect can be attempted the Director must decide on a required Power Level for the effect (ie the success level required) depending on the effect the player wishes to achieve. On a successful roll the effect occurs as required. If more successes are achieved then the director can decide on some enhanced effect if it feels like a good idea.
If the roll is a failure then nothing occurs, and the telepath requires an extra power level to achieve any subsequent metaphysical effect. This penalty is cumulative, so after two failures, the telepath will have to add two power levels to any telepathic attempt. This penalty continues until the telepath has a long rest (a normal sleep period, for example). The penalty also includes 'feeling a bit tired.'
The various factors that contribute to the required Power Level are many and varied. Some of the most common ones are summarised below. All effects start out at a Power Level of one, unless otherwise stated. Usually the effect is assumed to come from a single telepath acting on a single target, within sight, nearby, for a few seconds.
If you want the effect to last for longer than a turn or two then add one to the required Power Level. Aiming for a duration of more than six or so turns will be another level, then about 3 minutes for the next Power Level, then 10 or 15 minutes or so for the next.
Telepathy is assumed to occur within a dozen yards of any target and within sight. If the target isn't within sight (but close by) then add a Power Level to the required total. If the target is some distance away (say fifty meters or so) then that will increase the Power Level required. If the distance is a spacial or so (however long that might be (call it a kilometer)) then that will increase the level. Distance through space, for some reason, is much easier for telepathy to traverse (as opposed to distances through atmosphere on a planet), and this should be taken into account. Some powerful telepathic entities (not player characters) can cast their powers through space over light years.
If the player wishes for a slightly different effect than the description, or wants the effect to be more efficacious in a way not covered by the description then the Director should use his discretion as to whether this is feasible, and how many more (if any) Power Levels should be added.
A metaphysical effect is assumed to affect a single human target. Two targets (close together) will add one to the Power Level of the effect. Every doubling of the group size requires another Power Level. If the group is spread out over some distance then that might add another level to the requirement.
Often the target of a telepathic attack will be allowed a resistance roll. This will be based on Will Power doubled (plus any other relevant modifiers) . Any Success Levels the target achieves should be added to the Power Level of the desired effect.
Sometimes a group of like-minded telepaths might join together to increase the power of their telepathy. They should spend some rounds attuning themselves to the group and one of them will act as leader to direct the effect. Each member of the group should roll to see how many Success Levels they get. This number is used as a bonus modifier to the leader's roll.
Theoretically a whole planet of telepaths could get together and achieve a bonus modifier of several million or so. On the one hand, such huge numbers are going to lack efficiency and so the modifiers would need to be toned down accordingly. But on the other hand, millions of people joining together to use their mysterious powers to force the crew to travel halfway across the galaxy in order to do their bidding, is exactly what a Blake's 7 episode could look like.
Through coincidence or convergent evolution, some advanced AI works in a similar way to some telepathy. This means that it is possible for the most power metaphysics to work on computer systems, and correspondingly, the most powerful computers may be able to affect humans telepathically. The Power Levels for this sort of thing would be very high indeed.
Control (3-point/level Quality)
Your mind can take control of another's body. You can move their limbs and their muscles as if it were your own body. This is a powerful but difficult discipline. You must get at least 3 Success Levels more than your target's resistance roll to enforce your control over their body.
Defense (2-point/level Quality)
Your mind is strong and resistent to Metaphysical attacks. You are also able to practice mind over matter effectively. You can add the number of your Defense levels to any Will Power based resistence type roll, including fear and panic tests.
Empathy (3-point/level Quality)
You can detect the emotions the target is feeling at this moment. Starting at Power Level 1 you get a vague insight into the emotions the target is feeling. By Power Level 3 you get feelings that you can identify easily and even tell if the target is lying or hiding something. By Power Level 5 you can get a precise understanding of the emotions and can associate them with distinct events and people, etc.
In addition you can detect the presence of other telepaths. This should be rated at a similar level to the 'vague inisght' above. This detetction will give little detail about the telepath, but simply that he is telepathic, more details can be gleaned at higher Power Levels. But once detected, the telepath can be the target of other telepathic effects. This can make telepaths particularly vulnerable to attack from the powerful metaphysical forces inherent in the universe.
Heal (2-point/level Quality)
You can restore a target's Life Points equal to twice the Success Level of the effect. You must also take 2 Life Points damage every time you use this effect.
Mind Blast (3-point/level Quality)
The Mind Blast is a brutal psychic attack that does actual physical damage to the target. The target is allowed a resistance roll. The base damage of the Mind Blast is Will Power, any Success Levels (over Power Level ) made by the attacker is added to this, of course.
Read (3-point/level Quality)
You can read the mind of a target. The target must be absolutely willing and concentrate on saying sentences for you to read in his head. You cannot perform this effect against an unwilling target.
Send (2-point/level Quality)
You can send 'spoken' words into the mind of the target. If the target doesn't like what he is hearig he can attempt to resist, or just not take any notice. You get no idea of the target's response, however, unless the target also has Send Metaphysics or you have Read.
If you have Read and Send then only one roll need be made (at the lower level of the two) in order to achieve a 'conversation.'
Suggestion (2-point/level Quality)
You can make a suggestion to your target and have them agree that what you say is reasonable and worth acting on, and have them act upon it. The stranger the suggestion or the more contrary to what the target believes in, the higher the Power Level. The target gets to resist the suggestion so the number of levels of success of the resistence roll gets added to the Power Level of the effect.
A simple suggestion that the target might agree with anyway is Power Level 1. A suggestion that the target might take some convincing of, but is essentially reasonable might be Power Level 2. One that is against the target's existing dogma or training, but is not inherently wrong might be 3. A suggestion that goes against what the target firmly believes, and would go against his aims or plans at that moment might be Power Level 4. One that is blatantly wrong and evil, say, might be level 5 or 6, or even more.
A suggestion of extra duration (an extra Power Level) could in fact be a series of many, linked suggestions.
Telekinesis (2-point/level Quality)
You can move objects with your mind. You move them with a smooth slow force. You can hold things in the air, if your mind is strong enough, or shove them, or simply hold them back, etc. The amount of 'strength' force, more than one, you can exert with your mind is equal to the number of successes over the required Power Level of the effect. For example if the director decides the effect is Power Level 3 and you get 5 Success Levels, then the strength of the Telekinesis is 3.
Vague Feeling (2-point/level Drawback)
Vague Feeling is not so much a Metaphysical power as a Mental Problem caused by telepathic sensitivity. With this Quality you will be susceptible to getting vague feelings often and without warning. These feelings can affect the way you act towards the object of the feelings and they can make you behave irrationally and strangely. They can also be useful, but they are not as reliable or as accurate as you subjectively think they are. The more levels in Vague Feeling you have, the more the director should be inclined to 'mess with your head.' The director can of course use these vague feelings to encourage you towards an effective course of action, or a disastrous one, as is his whim.
Vision (3-point/level Quality)
Unlike with a Vague Feeling, you have more control over a Vision. The Vision allows you to see and hear an event some distance away. The event can be happening in another place and/or another time. You must focus on an object, a person or a place and try to move your consciousness through space-time. The more distant the event the higher Power Level the effect should be.
Events taking place in the present are much easier to discern than others. Past events should add 2 more Power Levels, while future events should add 4. The stricter the criteria you have for the vision the more Power Levels should be added, too. For example, wishing for a vision 'Anything to do with that gun,' should be a lot easier to find than 'someone firing that gun between ten and twelve hours ago,' even if they result in the same vision. The visions achieved are of course always up to the Director.
Although the vast majority of the visions are true of what has happened or what will happen or what is happening, because of the unfathomable nature of space time there is a chance that the vision is depicting some parallel universe or tangential future, or something. So the Director does not have to make happen what is seen to happen.
The skill list for Blake's 7 differs considerably from that of standard Cinematic Unisystem. This is to reflect the sorts of things the characters got up to and the values of that particular series. Directors should feel free to bring back whichever skills feel right to them for the feel they want from their game.
This covers fighting without weapons, martial arts and wrestling etc. (See Kung Fu in rulebook for details.)
This skill covers the theory and practicality of operating, maintaining and repairing standard electronic and computer equipment. Note that advanced computer knowledge, involving (talking) AI systems (ubiquitous to Blake's 7) or specialist security systems must be covered by the Wild Card Skills (AI Systems), (Security Systems).
This covers a general experience of crime, criminal techniques and knowledge of the criminal underworld and also the law. It is as suitable a skill for a law enforcer as for a criminal.
The athletic skill is used when a character is attempting some difficult or strenuous physical activity. In addition it is often used in combat combined with dexterity when a character is trying to avoid blows or gunfire, etc.
This skill covers maintainance, repair and theoretical knowledge of all mechanical technology, including power plants, space ship propulsion systems, teleporters, etc.
SOOLIN: Oh yes, it was a crime all right. It just wasn't illegal.
This skill covers familiarity with, knowledge of, and experience of Federation worlds, governemnt and culture. It can be useful in interpreting and predicting Federation strategy, giving insight into normal federation life and empathy with its citizens.
This is a catch-all skill which covers knowledge and/or experience of pretty much anything in the Galaxy not covered elsewhere.
This covers fighting with ballistic weapons, it also covers use of demolitions. (See Gun Fu in rulebook for details.)
Hand to Hand
This covers fighting with any type of hand weapon. (See Getting Medieval in rulebook for details.)
This skill can be used to make others think twice about crossing a character. The character can intimidate people into revealing information, or surrendering, or fighting, or simply make them hesitate, etc. It is also useful in interrogations. Negative levels of Attractiveness are added to the Intimidation score. Like all these sorts of skills, they never affect other Player Characters unless that player agrees.
As 'Doctor' in the rulebook.
This skill covers a huge range of disciplines and knowledge. The character should specify some area that he is more expert in but the general skill shows a broad, wide-ranging knowledge. The skill especially covers physics, chemistry, astronomy and mathematics, etc.
SERVALAN: But first, there is the question of that degrading and primitive act to which I was subjected in the control room. I should like you to do it again.
C5 The Harvest of Kairos
This skill covers how effectively the character use wiles, charm and flirting. The skill need not be used cynically, as a means to an end, but it invariably is. Other characters are not going to be instantly bowled over but this sort of thing can be an effective way of getting in someone's good books and manipulating them. Player Characters are not impressed at all by this, unless they want to be. Add Attractiveness levels to the Seduction score, also.
This skill will allow the character to operate the various systems that are required to run a ship or other complicated electronic device. It also covers operation of teleporters, navigational interfaces, detectors and ship's weaponry. It covers rudimentary piloting operations. Complicated, diificult and/or intuitive piloting is covered by Wild Card (Space Pilot).
Sleight of Hand
This skill is used whenever a character is trying to trick or mislead someone through a dextrous act. On a success, no one will see or suspect what the character has done. This skill covers criminal acts like pick pocketing or lifting a purse, etc. It can even be used to pick locks of the antiquated, physcal variety. Modern locks would require the Wild Card (Security Systems) Skill.
Whenever trying to influence someone, or get them to believe your implausible story, or perhaps distract them for long enough to get the drop on them, then Smooth talking should come in handy. This skill relies on the reasoning and force of the words used as well as other factors and is quite separate from Seduction or Intimidate. Any levels of expertise in the field being discussed should be used as a bonus in Smooth Talking tests.
This skill is useful when trying to sneak about without being seen or heard. It also includes interacting with planetary flora, etc, and avoiding disturbing it to a great degree and leaving as little trace as possible.
Blake's 7 never really came across many public areas or street scenes when the crew visited planets. They usually visited sparsely populated wildernesses, or restricted institutions with few personel. With the unlimited production budgets of the imagination, the crew in an RPG should probably need to scour teeming city scapes and make contacts amidst the throng.
Streetwise helps characters interact with the lower and criminal levels of a society, and perhaps gain trust there. Passing incognito in the delta grade manufacturing sector of an industrial complex or contacting an influential organised crime leader on a pleasure station will both require Streetwise.
This covers techniques of surviving in hostile enviroments. It includes keeping warm/cool and foraging for food, making shelters, etc. Specifying the type of environment is not necessary; the skill covers an appreciation of general principles. A background on a certain planet, or a planet with a comparable environment should contribute bonuses towards a skill roll. The skill also includes the ability to track prey, or other humans, etc, in a wilderness environment.
The skills aren't exhaustive but should cover most situations. You will usually be able to find a skill that might 'help' in a certain situation. If not you can use the 'double attribute' as a basis for your skill check. For example, Gambling is not included as a skill, even though it cropped up in the series several times. The director should rule which skill might help a gambler depending on the situation. Intimidation might help someone bluffing in a poker game. Sleight of Hand could help with cheating. Streetwise might help with a knowledge of gambling rules, and customs, as might General Knowledge. Crime might help with the knowledge of the theory and techniques of cheating. Science should help with the simple caculation of odds of success, Notice might help with spotting being cheated, etc.
Wild cards are special and rare talents that a player might have. You can buy up to 5 levels in a single Wild Card. You can also make up your own Wild Cards to reflect your character's uncommon or unique abilities, if the director agrees.
JENNA: I don't think he likes you, somehow.
JENNA: That still won't make you likeable.
A3 Cygnus Alpha
This skill covers theoretical, technical and practical knowledge and experience of advanced computer systems. It will help when repairing or designing enhancements to existing systems, or even when building a system from scratch. It also gives an insight into the 'mindset' of AI systems and how best to utilise or manipulate them. The skill also covers advanced cryptography and communication cyphers.
CARNELL: I overlooked the girl. Well, no, to be fair to myself, your people overlooked her.
This skill allows you to use the mysterious discipline of psychostrategy to predict the future. A successful roll should allow you to be reasonably certain that another character will carry out a particular action, or take a particular course. Note that this is a difficult thing to achieve. The Psychostrategist spends a lot of time analysing data and contemplating it. It is also necessary to have access to a large amount of relevant information on the matter.
You cannot buy levels in the Psychostrategy Skill without first buying the Psychostrategist Quality.
A6 Seek - Locate - Destroy
This covers all aspects of electronic security and surveillance equipment. It includes general knowledge of the technology, principles of design and of how to circumvent them. The skill focuses on techniques for bypassing and destroying these systems, especially what is often termed 'lockpicking.'
TARRANT: It takes talent to fly a dead ship.
With sophisticated modern computer systems, almost anyone can get a spaceship from one part of the galaxy to another. The Space Pilot skill especially applies to difficult and intuitive maneuvers under pressure and where the pilot has full control of the vessel, rather than being supported by automatics. Space combat, docking and landing are three situations where the Space Pilot skill is usually vital.
crippled me, Kline.
DOCHOLLI: When they brought you to me after that explosion you had no leg at all. I built that out of pieces.
This skill covers advanced theory and practice of medical techniques especially surgery and operating techniques. It includes design and implanting (though not necessarily programming) electronic limiters and advanced prosthetics, etc.
This skill represents the knowledge and practical experience of all sorts of weaponry. It can be used to maintain hand guns or huge neutron blasters. At higher levels it can be used to design and build unique weaponry, or to modify existing guns. It is also useful for setting demolitions and for disarming bombs.