Playing in the 5150 Universe with the Mythic RPG
I’ve been curious for a while what a game of “5150 Fringe Space / No Limits / New Beginnings/”, the SciFi solitaire RPG line from Two Hour Wargames’, would look like if you “played it” with Mythic instead. Playing with Mythic means not just using the Mythic Gamemaster Emulator (“blue book”) but using concepts from the Mythic Dynamic Role Playing “red book” such as ranks, rank shifts, resisted checks, etc. Several Mythic Magazine articles have further pushed this idea into the front of my brain: Mythic Magazine Volume 6 talks about using Mythic to learn a new RPG, Mythic Magazine Volume 12 discusses getting the most of sourcebooks, and Mythic Magazine Volume 13 shows us how to bring “resisted checks” forward into the newest Mythic tools such as the Fate Check from Mythic Variations II and the Mythic Gamemaster Emulator Deck.
While I have experience with several roleplaying and skirmish game systems, Mythic is the system that I truly know inside and out. I never had to pull a Mythic book off the shelf and flip through pages looking for mechanics but it is all in my head already. With that mind as I was thumbing through the newest 5150 New Beginnings material and feeling slightly overwhelmed at the page count I figured this might be a good time to run an experiment.
Building a 5150 character in Mythic
5150 Characters are not particularly complex and building one in Mythic should be straight-forward. Let’s rebuild a character from my last 5150 adventure, Reza Trenor using the tools available to us in Mythic.
5150 lays out the steps for building a character as such:
- Is it a Star or a Grunt?
- What is its Race?
- What is its Gender?
- What is its Profession?
- Does it have any Attributes?
- What is its Reputation?
- What are its Skills?
- What kind of Items can it have?
- What kind of Weapon & Armor does it have?
- Is it Enhanced or a Psy?
Is it a Star or a Grunt?
These are effectively classes in RPG terms, being a Star grants your character some bonus feats that keep them shiny. Mythic doesn’t really have classes but the beauty of the Mythic RPG is that you could add them and break absolutely nothing. Classes are so lightly detailed in 5150 as it is it will hardly add much on our end. Easy enough then, Reza is a Star.
What is its Race?
5150 has a number of species and like any Class and Race RPG system your species choice will grant you a feat or two. In this case Reza is considered a “Basic” - a plain old human. Basics have a single benefit, they get a random attribute. We will deal with that in a few steps. (Other species might get a specific “attribute” or two. As you will see later “attributes” are closer to “feats” or “stunts” than they are “attributes” in an RPG sense.)
What is its Gender?
I find this to be a tired and boring question for a lot of RPGs because it doesn’t matter. Regardless, Reza identifies as male. Gender or Sex could become relevant in the fiction but there’s no mechanical things to deal with here.
What is its Profession?
Professions are what they sound like. They don’t come with feats or specific mechanical bonuses rather they influence outcomes, difficulties, etc. For certain tests having a relevant Profession might give you a +1 bump to your Reputation stat. In some tests Professions will grant certain advantages and disadvantages, for example when “Wealthy and powerful” Movers interact with “ordinary” Joes. In Mythic terms we will say that having a Profession will provide a +/- 1 Rank Shift on a given test when relevant. We’ll look to the 5150 rules to give us an idea how to be scope what “relevant” means.
Reza is considered to have an “Exotic” Profession and the sub-type of “Transporter (a”legitimate” merchant who may or may not smuggle from time-to-time.)
Does it have any Attributes?
Stars receive two Attributes, which again are unique feats, edges, stunts, etc. As a Basic, Reza will roll for on random attribute and choose a second one.
Rolling a random attribute for Reza, I get “Born Leader”:
Rolls 3d6 counting the lowest 2d6 results on the Will to Fight Table.
These feat is intended to give the character an advantage when dealing with Morale checks during combat. Mythic does not have the notion of “roll 3 and keep the highest 2” though we could certainly add something like that. Instead I think we will go the guidance on “rank shifts” in the Mythic RPG book: a +2 Rank Shift is a “significant modifier”. So when making a Will to Fight Resisted Check, Reza will apply a +2 Rank Shift in his favor.
For the second attribute, I think I will choose “Smooth”:
Can re-roll any 1d6 when Interacting
Mythic’s RPG does not have a re-roll mechanic though we could add one without any issues. Here I think I’d like to reimagine things working like this:
Can treat an outcome of a Resisted Check as one level higher. An “Exceptional No” becomes a “No”, a “No” becomes a “Yes”, etc.
I’m choosing this route because my personal preference is not to re-roll dice, it is not a mechanic I enjoy.
What is its Reputation?
Characters in 5150 do not have the classic 6 D&D stats or even the somewhat traditional “Body”, “Mind”, and “Soul” tri-stat combo. No instead they have Reputation or “Rep.”
“Reputation, or Rep, represents a combination of experience, morale, and motivation. Rep is an expression of a Character’s overall quality.”
In RPG terms it is closer to the SKILL stat in Fighting Fantasy. Typically the stat is rated somewhere between a 3 and a 5:
- REP 5 — These are confident Characters of numerous successful Encounters
- REP 4 — These are experienced Characters that have performed well in Encounters.
- REP 3 — These are inexperienced Characters with little experience or desire for Encounters.
Given this description it seems logical then to apply Mythic’s rank system to this stat like so:
- Rep (5) High
- Rep (4) Above Average
- Rep (3) Average
Stars are typically Rep 5, so Reza gains the Reputation rank of “High”.
What are its Skills?
5150 does not have skill system, but it does add two additional “stats” known as “People” and “Savvy.” The People skill can be used in place of your Rep when Interacting with folks and the Savvy skill comes up with doing things like Hacking, working with Robots, etc. The following advice is given:
“When you create your Star, you can choose one of the Skills to be equal to your Rep. The other will be 1 point lower.”
Simple - Reza can take one at the same rank as his reputation and the other will be one rank lower.
- People: High
- Savvy: Above Average
What kind of Items can it have?
Mythic does not have extensive gear, item, or weapon rules. There is a suggested system for applying rank shifts when doing damage. 5150 imposes some minor rules about the number of Items you can carry, when you can select them, etc:
- Characters must decide what they are carrying before each Encounter. If you carry your maximum number of Items, you will have to give something up if you add more during the Encounter.
- Items are either used with one hand or two hands.
- Items used with one hand, count as one Item for carrying purposes.
- Items used with two hands, count as two Items for carrying purposes.
Nothing here is relevant to how Mythic works, though you could easily see how certain “PC Negative” events might impact your items.
5150 also imposes some “Law Level Restrictions” to what items can be carried out of the Starport and on-planet. We will just follow their guidance and follow suit. That said, Law Levels are in a range between 1 and 5. Again we can apply the rank system here:
- 1 Low
- 2 Below Average
- 3 Average
- 4 Above Average
- 5 High
Law Level is also used to determine if the “Police are Called” when shooting starts taking place, etc. Having it ranked will allowed to use it as a Resisted Check rank or factoring in the difference of ranks when determine the difficulty.
What kind of Weapon & Armor does it have?
Weapons in 5150 don’t do +1s or anything like that. Instead they tell you how many shots you can take in ranged combat, whether they do stun or lethal damage, beam or bullet damage, etc. There are some fictional things that happen such as Beam weapons drawing more attention from the cops or being more effective in a vacuum (a world with little to no atmosphere.) We will keep all of that in mind and apply rank shifts as necessary.
Armor in 5150 does provide some +1 like benefits and we can handle these as rank shifts when determining damage.
Is it Enhanced or a Psy?
Like many SciFi settings, Psionic powers are present but frowned upon and heavily regulated by the various governments in charge. Reza doesn’t have any Psy abilities but if he did they would enable him to have certain Mental or Physical powers. In 5150 these are all tied to a player’s Rep but do occasionally provide what would amount to rank shifts in certain cases. A Psy that is using Premonition could get a bonus when Interacting with another character. Again, nothing we can’t handle in Mythic.
Reza Trenor, Exotic Transporter
- Rep: High
- People: High
- Savvy: Above Average
- Attributes: Born Leader, Smooth
- Items: Big A$$ Pistol (BAP-2), Soft Body Armor
That’s it, that’s are Mythic RPG 5150 character. There’s more to do still. We have to work out some of the task rules and advancement rules but we are well on our way to playing a game. Having this character built out will allow us to take the next steps and build what Mythic calls “Resolution Tables” which are customized Resisted Checks (in any other game these would be your task checks or saving throws.)