This week I’m taking on playing Cowboy Bebop using Starfinder rules.
Races: We don’t meet any non humans in Cowboy Bebop, cyborgs and genetic engineering sure, but no aliens. What is Ein, is he an Android, or something else, he’s not quite an uplifted corgi.
Classes: Again not a lot of magic in Cowboy Bebop though so you could run just the mundane classes, but I don’t think adding alien races or magic will hurt the feel of the setting too badly. No Mystics, Technomancers, Solarians and some of the mundane classes lost class abilities. Only the Envoy is unscathed. Spike could be an Aesthetic Warrior (Soldier Alternate Class Feature) from the Character Operations Manual. We never see him use Heavy Weapons or Heavy Armor, although I’m sure there are arguments to be made for Spike being an Operative.
Netdiver Radical Edward flies drones, as well as hacks and remotely pilots a police Zipcraft and the Bebop. Ed is not a very good pilot. Ed hacks satellites but needs some kinds of comm links to do so. Which explains why Ed’s custom rig is huge and has its own satellite dish. We see pirates use a physical harpoon to upload a virus into ship’s MONO systems affecting Zipcraft and larger ships like the Bebop equally. The pirates ship was not immune to their own virus which is why Jet surmised they were attacking physically instead of using comms to spread the infection.
Skills: Without Magic, the skill Mysticism is probably the only one that doesn’t belong.
Feats: Without Magic, the following feats (and their lesser greater versions) serve no purpose; Agile Casting, Combat Casting, Connection Inkling, Harm Undead, Mystic Strike, Psychic Power, Penetrating Spell, Spell Focus, Spell Penetration, Spellbane, Technomantic Dabbler.
Equipment: To bring up a theme from last week’s Firefly post, Cowboy Bebop isn’t necessarily full of grinding for new gear. Sometimes our heroes make great scores and even have some Woolong (symbol: ₩) left over after paying to fix everything Spike damaged.
The guns of Cowboy Bebop can be covered by 4 basic semi-auto pistols (Holdout, Hi-Cap, Heavy, Magnum), Heavy and Magnum revolvers, Single Shot Rifle Pistol, Submachine Guns, Silencer/Suppressors, Extended Magazines, Combat Rifles, Sniper rifle, Pump shotguns, Grenade Launcher, Hand Grenades, Net Launcher, Flame Thrower, Minigun, Heavy Machine Guns on vehicles and spaceships. With a few exceptions most of the guns in the series are based on real world earth weapons.
So if it’s not a big bunch of guns and armor, what do we have? Silver is the only Special Material from the Core Book that exists, Spike uses a Special Bullet made from a rare mineral in one episode. Weapon Fusions shouldn’t exist, but you might see special ammo that emulates some of the properties they give you. Durable would just be for hardy weapons, but there are real cases for ammo emulating Flaming, Knockdown, rubber bullets might emulate Merciful, Shock are already in the works in the Ghost Guns book. Pierrot and Cowboy Andy both have anti-aircraft rockets, Andy’s level action rifle fires at Spike’s Swordfish more like a rocket or grenade than a rifle.
Armor, we see a lot of plain clothes characters and then some SWAT team folks in full assault gear, so we should probably allow 5 item levels of Light and Heavy Armor with an additional bonus equal to character level to EAC and KAC.
Armor Upgrades, what upgrades exist might be their own equipment such as Infrared Sensors doubling as Night Vision goggles. Radiation Buffer or Jet Pack, Automated Loader is probably better described like a belt fed backpack full of ammo. The rest is just too fantastic for our little bounty hunting setting. Well, during my rewatch Mad Pierrot comes along and ruins some of the above. Pierrot not only has personal scale shields, he also has some kind of anti-gravity device. Since we see the MONO zipcraft operating as hover vehicles we assume the tech works at a vehicle scale, but Pierrot is our first case of personal anti-grav. Even the delivery drones that deliver Faye’s video tape and Betamax player are propellor driven so lets assume anti-grav units are expensive. Pierrot also carries dozens of weapons inside his coat which I am just willing to say is extra dimensional storage for the expediency’s sake, but could be lightened by the anti-grav, even then its a lot of bulk. Mad Pierrot is a top tier assassin and probably can afford a Forcepack, Force Screens and Extra dimensional storage.
Jet looks to have a Cybernetic replacement arm and body modifications like our Kareem Abdul Jabbar stand-in, but not too much in the way of cybernetics. Other cybernetics are on a case by case basis from your GM.
Everything in the Biotech category is beyond the setting.
Computers, there are no Spell Chips in the setting.
Technological Item, the Regeneration Table and Unlimited comm unit are probably the only things too far outside the setting. The personal comm units the crew does have look a lot like satellite phones.
Magic Items, don’t exist in the setting. We see combat drugs like Red Eye which could be very easily emulated by the Commando serum, but in world it origins aren’t magical.
Hybrid Items, don’t exist in the setting. If your GM wants to let you rework your character you don’t need a Mnemonic Editor, just do a training montage at your next level.
Vehicles, going to say a lot of this in the starshiops section. In the Abdul Hakim and Ein episode we have a lot of running around with some vehicles involved and this is exactly why Starfinder vehicles are SO SLOW to keep characters competitive. There are however many vehicle only chases in Cowboy Bebop and the better solution for this setting is just to allow PCs to find vehicles they can jump into at any time to join the chase. If you aren’t stealing cars and crashing them into things what are you even doing playing Cowboy Bebop?
Starships: We have the Astral Gate network, interplanetary travel is made easier by the Astral Gates and not hyperdrives built into the spaceships themselves.
Jet’s ship, the Bebop is a size Large ship (fits in the middle of the class by length, but is way (5x) too heavy for Starfinder) with a hangar bay capable of holding Spike’s Swordfish, Faye’s Red Tail and Jet’s Hammerhead. The Bebop had spin gravity in the living areas.
Folks might argue that Spike/Faye/Jet’s personal zipcraft are just vehicles, they certainly straddle the line between fighters and vehicles. If you’ve seen the last modules of Dead Suns then you know Starfinder has tried to strike a balance between spaceships and vehicles ahead of any starship book coming out and uniting them. The zipcraft interact with ground cars and trucks on a regular enough basis that they should all either be made as vehicles or dual statted as vehicles and spaceships and use whichever set of stats are necessary for a given scene, a wholly unsatisfying answer to the problem.
Faye’s Red Tail has manipulator arms, Jet’s Hammerhead has a harpoon and a tow cable, we need to grapple other zipcraft. For Outlaw Star fans Jason Keely suggested reskinning the Gravity Guns, but the first Tractor Beam we see is a Heavy Weapon, we could just scale the PCU and BP cost down to;
Grappling Arms Short Range 15 PCU and 12 BP, Grapple is like Tractor Beam you can hold a ship or damage it
Magic and spells don’t exist in the setting.
Game Mastery I would copy the bounty rules I wrote for Bounty Boards or Personas and then convert credits to Woolong. The initial bounty rules were based on the credits per encounter table from the Core Rules. I’m going to be updating Bounty Boards with some random tables designed to help the GM with the kinds of questions that a Bounty Hunter or Investigator might ask.