This week I’m taking on playing Jupiter Ascending using Starfinder rules.
Races: We meet the Draconian looking race and a lot of genome ‘gineered splices in Jupiter Ascending, there are a number of cyborgs among the hunters and what appear to be androids on the central world and the crew of the Aegis cruiser.
Draconians as some kind of muscle race with real flying wings and a prehensile tail.
Keepers are ‘grey alien’ like creatures originating in the Diorite system, genetically repurposed to act as watchdogs for whoever they work for.
Caine Wise, the genome ‘gineered lycantine is a human-wolf hybrid with scent tracking
Titus Abrasax has a majordomo with mouse ears?
The Aegis Cruiser has an Elephant splice helmsman.
Classes: There is not a lot of magic in Jupiter Ascending, you could run just the mundane classes, adding magic will change the feel of the setting, but reskinning a lot of it as sufficiently advanced technology would not. No Mystics, Technomancers, Solarians and some of the mundane classes lose class abilities.
The presence or absence of magic in the setting does not affect the Envoy’s class features.
The presence or absence of magic in the setting does not affect the Mechanic’s class features.
The presence or absence of magic in the setting does not affect most of the Operative’s class features. Mentalist’s Bane might be less useful, but as there are a lot of Interrogation machines and memory altering technology this class feature it isn’t at all out of place for the setting.
The following class features (and lesser abilities under their heading) would not be available to a Soldier in a no-magic campaign.
- Gear Boost: Anchoring Arcana
- Fighting Style: Arcane Assailant
- Caine and Stinger were general-purpose military guys called skyjackers that’s kind of a paratrooper?
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: Jupiter Ascending isn’t necessarily full of grinding for new gear.
Many of the guns in JA were various energy weapons.
Energy Pistol, Energy Machinegun, and the larger energy pistol (carbine) had over the barrel holographic sights.
Some kind of heavy Knockback cannon, 15 ft cone? Effective vs Swarms. Or 30 ft line 10 ft wide, also deafening? Stun nonlethal?
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.
Armor, we see a lot of plainclothes 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.
Energy Shield, a long oval-shaped shield that resists energy blasts from Speeder sized attack craft, several speeders blew up a transport.
Flying power armor. Stinger and Caine flying back to back in the thickest parts of the Warhammer field.
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 as 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 videotape and Betamax player are propellor driven so let’s 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 it’s a lot of bulk. Mad Pierrot is a top-tier assassin and probably can afford a Forcepack, Force Screens, and Extradimensional storage.
Emergency spacesuit is a lozenge a little larger than the size of a paperback novel. It explodes into a 10 ft sphere, covers the user in an energy field that attracts the pieces, and then collapses/coalesces into a suit of copper-colored hexagons with a helmet and clear visor. Apparently, it has an air supply for 37 minutes.
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.
Wings bio-neural synaptic prosthetic for legionaries
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.
Balem has a VR interface behind his ear the size of a dime.
Holograms that look like the person is there after some initial pixelation.
Flying Softball-sized security drone announces Channing Tatum’s presence in the palace and expects guards to take care of it.
Sprayflesh for Caine’s wound
Regents Nectar standard unit looks like 1 liter, takes 100 humans to make the highest quality.
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 the world its 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 starships 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?
Hover bikes, kind of like sparrows from Destiny. It has a cloaking device attached as well. She kept high altitude in the alley fight, and had twin cannon and a spotlight.
Starships: We have a Gate network, interplanetary/interstellar travel is made easier by the Gates but also portal generators built into the spaceships themselves.
We never see inside the transport sent to pick up Jupiter and the Hunter. We do see inside the Aegis ship and the various Abrasax personal ships.
They have fold gates for ship transport. Ships can generate their own portals, but maybe to and from gates? The Aegis cruiser gets from Jupiter to Earth in a single instantaneous jump.
The cloaked transport ship coming to pick up Jupiter and legionnaire had a gravity beam elevator. They have very slow tractor beams on transport ships that raise people up very slowly, maybe at the speed of the plot. It was a largish ship destroyed by missiles from 5 or so fighters. The guns from those fighters don’t destroy a train or penetrate legionaries’ shield. The guns do destroy pickup truck, concentrated fire from multiple ships destroys buildings, and bridges.
Their spaceship hangars have Plasma Windows or something like them that allows the passage of ships, but not air.
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 bottles of the life extending elixir. 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.
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