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  1. #1

    Some questions about ALIEN?

    I ran my first ALIEN game, the cinematic version of the Chariot of Gods. It was really something different from what I am used to. It was very intense for everyone. I really enjoyed it a lot, and I thought that the FG implementation of the rule set was outstanding. I am thinking about running a Colonial marines campaign once it comes out. I have many questions about running ALIEN in general, and about the FG version. I hope others will share their understanding of the rules.

    How do you visually tell what a zone is? For example, consider the bridge of Cronus. Is the life support monitor and the sensor station in the same zone? How much movement is required to move from the command station to the comm station? An abomination walked into the bridge, and it was very difficult to determine who should be able to do what.

    How do you modify consumables such as air on the main tab? If a character replenishes their air supply of their suit, how do they increase the number? If a player accidently equips a suit twice how do they fix the air supply?

    Is there some wat to add an explanation of the skills to the character sheet? I am thinking of the way the 5E skills explanation appears when you click the little circle to the right of the word.

    What does “If you are suffering from a panic effect (7+ on the Panic Roll)” mean? A 7 is “NERVOUS TWITCH. Your STRESS LEVEL, and the STRESS LEVEL of all friendly PCs in SHORT range of you, increases by one.” How is the duration of this not effect is instantaneous? How long is the duration of this effect?

    Related to the previous question is how do implement Panic Roll result replacements? A few times something triggered panic rolls by multiple characters. Let’s say that the first character gets the above-mentioned nervous twitch result. Then another character gets the following result: Flee…every friendly character who sees you run must make an immediate Panic Roll. What happens to the character with the nervous twitch result? The second result REPLACES the first result, so does the “all friendly PCs in SHORT range of you increases by one” not happen? This chain reaction stuff became a huge rules nightmare for use.

    The results of the xenomorph attacks are a long text explanation inside a little box. There is no way to increase the size of the box, and display the entire result all at once. I found this a bit frustrating.

    When you roll two dice at the same time, the total displays in the chat, but you can’t see the result of each die since the chat box shows black numbers on a black die.

    How do bolt guns and ammo work? Do they have a limited number of shots (5 or so) and you lose one ammo each time you shot it, or do you only lose one ammo when you roll a face hugger?

    Is initiative open knowledge before combat starts?

    How do xenomorphs and actions work? I think that xenomorphs need to move to close range, and then engage, and only then they can finally attack. So a xenomorph at close range needs to spend both its actions engaging. It can then attack the next time it gets to go. Is this correct?

    The combat tracker was really strange. It kept jumping around. We tried to figure out when it jumps, but could not. I think it is either an alien not on the map or a concealed alien. It might be when a player pushed the end turn as opposed to the GM.

    Thanks in advance for your answers.

  2. #2
    That's a lot of questions :-)

    How do you visually tell what a zone is? For example, consider the bridge of Cronus. Is the life support monitor and the sensor station in the same zone? How much movement is required to move from the command station to the comm station? An abomination walked into the bridge, and it was very difficult to determine who should be able to do what.
    In the case of the bridge I would consider it as the same location (short range) with elements of cover depending where you are.

    How do you modify consumables such as air on the main tab? If a character replenishes their air supply of their suit, how do they increase the number? If a player accidently equips a suit twice how do they fix the air supply?
    Go to the GEAR tab on the character sheet. In the consumables section if you hold down CTRL on your keyboard and scroll the mouse wheel up or down you can increase/decrease accordingly.

    Is there some wat to add an explanation of the skills to the character sheet? I am thinking of the way the 5E skills explanation appears when you click the little circle to the right of the word.
    Double click on the skill on the MAIN tab on the character sheet to bring up an explanation.

    What does “If you are suffering from a panic effect (7+ on the Panic Roll)” mean? A 7 is “NERVOUS TWITCH. Your STRESS LEVEL, and the STRESS LEVEL of all friendly PCs in SHORT range of you, increases by one.” How is the duration of this not effect is instantaneous? How long is the duration of this effect?
    I would read that as meaning that you will be under the effect until the start of your next round. So it is applied the instant you roll it and under it's effect until the start of your next turn.

    Related to the previous question is how do implement Panic Roll result replacements? A few times something triggered panic rolls by multiple characters. Let’s say that the first character gets the above-mentioned nervous twitch result. Then another character gets the following result: Flee…every friendly character who sees you run must make an immediate Panic Roll. What happens to the character with the nervous twitch result? The second result REPLACES the first result, so does the “all friendly PCs in SHORT range of you increases by one” not happen? This chain reaction stuff became a huge rules nightmare for use.
    The character with the nervous twitch rolled for their effect during their turn. If another character then rolls flee, nervous twitch character would need to roll again on the panic table following the rules for -

    MORE PANIC: If you are suffering from a
    panic effect (7+ on the Panic Roll) and are
    forced to make another Panic Roll, the new
    panic effect replaces the previous one. If the
    new roll is lower than the previous effect,
    however, it is automatically adjusted to one
    step more severe than the previous effect.
    The results of the xenomorph attacks are a long text explanation inside a little box. There is no way to increase the size of the box, and display the entire result all at once. I found this a bit frustrating.
    Not that I'm aware of but what you can do is access the NPC character sheet from the combat tracker (click on the face hugger symbol beside it to bring it up). You can double click on the d20 symbol beside the attack to have the text pop up in the chat window that only the gm can see.

    When you roll two dice at the same time, the total displays in the chat, but you can’t see the result of each die since the chat box shows black numbers on a black die.
    I may be wrong but on a black die, no matter how many you roll all you should be concerned with if they are a 6.


    How do bolt guns and ammo work? Do they have a limited number of shots (5 or so) and you lose one ammo each time you shot it, or do you only lose one ammo when you roll a face hugger?
    Limited number of shots, you need to reload as a slow action after every round fired

    Is initiative open knowledge before combat starts?
    Inititative isn't known until an enemy is revealed from stealth or an attack made from stealth.

    How do xenomorphs and actions work? I think that xenomorphs need to move to close range, and then engage, and only then they can finally attack. So a xenomorph at close range needs to spend both its actions engaging. It can then attack the next time it gets to go. Is this correct?
    Xenomorphs usually have a higher speed and can act that many times in a combat round. According to the rules you should draw an initiative card for each point of speed with the alien being able to do their full action for each one. As initiative is handled slightly differently in FG you can create a dummy npc (hidden from player view) to represent it's extra turn.

    The combat tracker was really strange. It kept jumping around. We tried to figure out when it jumps, but could not. I think it is either an alien not on the map or a concealed alien. It might be when a player pushed the end turn as opposed to the GM.
    Not sure on this one.



    These are of course my interpretation of the rules and your questions and stand to be corrected if needs be.
    Last edited by godsick; January 2nd, 2021 at 20:05.

  3. #3
    godsick,

    Thanks for your answers. I will go through them carefully and make sure I understand before asking some follow up questions.

  4. #4
    Re: Many questions...

    Some of the players are very passionate about rules. In the case of 5E we google for the question and it has almost always been discussed at length on the internet. But that is not the case with ALIEN. I took notes as we played. I was able to figure out many things, but not everything.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by spoofer View Post
    The combat tracker was really strange. It kept jumping around. We tried to figure out when it jumps, but could not. I think it is either an alien not on the map or a concealed alien. It might be when a player pushed the end turn as opposed to the GM.

    Thanks in advance for your answers.
    I had the above problem running a custom game. I *suspect* it's tied to the initiative "rolls" - according the RAW, you're supposed to be using a deck of cards, a functionality I haven't seen in FG so far - they suggest one full set house of cards, so essentially 1-10 (ace being a 1) but FG has replaced that with a d10 roll. However, because people are "rolling", it's possible for them to get the same number, as opposed to the deck of cards - I "think" the initiative tracker is *trying* to separate out players even when they roll the same number, but it isn't actually adjusting the initiative numbers on the combat tracker. I can't even imagine what kind of a fit the tracker might have if you had more than 10 initiative slots.

    Anyway, my current suggestion, is have all the players "roll" for initiative, "roll" for your "monsters", then manually go thru the tracker and make sure that everyone has no repeating numbers. That's the best I can think of for the time being - if anyone manages to really nail down what's going on with the combat tracker, I'd love to hear about it.

  6. #6
    Thanks again for the above comments. I connected to the game alone and spent some time testing the various things pointed out to me. I learned a lot more about the interface.

    Let me reword the question about the map. The rulebook claims that "In official scenarios and other material for the ALIEN RPG, zones are usually indicated on a location map." How are the indicated? Is it by lines, or is it by labels, or both? (I think I would draw the lines clearly the next time before starting. We found the maps confusing, and I did not help things by being inconsistent with my rulings.)

    Playing around a bit, I see that only the d10 die roll result is black on black, not a d6 (base or stress). It happens regardless of the number of dice rolled. So that is a minor bug.

    Regarding initiative, I disagree with the above response. After double checking, I found the following: "Place your initiative card by your character sheet, so everyone can see…" So initiative order is public knowledge. I assume this applies to the enemies as well. This is important because the players get to re-order themselves BEFORE combat: "you can exchange your initiative card…at the start of the fight." So initiative must be public knowledge.

    I found the answer to the question about xenomorph movement. I was wrong: "use a fast action to run … between SHORT and ENGAGED range." So a xenomorph at short range can engage with the fast action and attack with the slow action, just like any other type of character.

    I am able to reproduce the CT bug, but I cannot see any pattern. I seems to occur with one character. I delete that character and the problem goes away. I add the character back and the bug is back. So it seems to be something about that character sheet.

  7. #7
    Hi there,

    Regarding initiative, I disagree with the above response. After double checking, I found the following: "Place your initiative card by your character sheet, so everyone can see…" So initiative order is public knowledge. I assume this applies to the enemies as well. This is important because the players get to re-order themselves BEFORE combat: "you can exchange your initiative card…at the start of the fight." So initiative must be public knowledge.
    The rules state that players should place their initiative cards by their character sheet and that the GM should place their cards in front of them but this would apply to both the xenos and any NPCs (ie the Cronus crew) involved. The difficulty in this comes from how initiative is handled in FG and with Xenos having more than one initiative card. The way I run it is that I create a new item on the combat tracker (invisible to the players and making sure that skip hidden actor is turned to off in the options) and assign it to that xeno with it's own initiative. The players can see the visibile xeno on the CT tracker but not it's extra turn. That can come as quite a surprise as it suddenly moves quicker than they expected or reacts in a way after. Obviously by the 2nd round they can then swap initiatives to account for this. NPCs I roll initiative as normal with the PCs. As Kermit said it comes down to a the GM having to manage the initiative order manually. You can manually set the initiative value higher than 10 to allow for that. As a side note if you have ever used the Savage Worlds ruleset in FG it does use a card draw system for initiative but that would need to be implemented by Valyar, he does have a thread for enhancement suggestions here https://www.fantasygrounds.com/forum...nt-suggestions

    The combat tracker was really strange. It kept jumping around. We tried to figure out when it jumps, but could not. I think it is either an alien not on the map or a concealed alien. It might be when a player pushed the end turn as opposed to the GM.
    I have been able to reproduce this as well, for me it's affecting the two NPC's Reid and Clayton. Everything else seemed okay. In the meantime you can click on a character to move their turn to them if it is skipped. This looks like a bug and you can report it to Valyar here
    https://www.fantasygrounds.com/forum...PG-Bugs-Thread

    Playing around a bit, I see that only the d10 die roll result is black on black, not a d6 (base or stress). It happens regardless of the number of dice rolled. So that is a minor bug.
    Yep you just get a total of the d10s rolled, if you need to see the result just roll them one at a time to note the result.

    Let me reword the question about the map. The rulebook claims that "In official scenarios and other material for the ALIEN RPG, zones are usually indicated on a location map." How are the indicated? Is it by lines, or is it by labels, or both? (I think I would draw the lines clearly the next time before starting. We found the maps confusing, and I did not help things by being inconsistent with my rulings.)
    It can be slightly confusing and open to a lot of interpretation. The way I look at it is that a named area/room counts as a location, a corridor counts as a location and anything separated by a door would count as a different location. If you look at Cronus Deck C, I would take the catwalk as one location but the balcony/cargo office/the two cargo bays/each corridor running off beside the cargo bays and the two elevators as a separate location.

    For the bridge or any location without any accurate description it comes down to how you with to visualize it yourself. In this case the Cronus is a Heliades-class ship similar to the one featured in Prometheus. Looking at the Prometheus bridge from the movie you can see that it is very open plan and would consider it one location. One thing you can do as a GM in preparation for a scenario is to add your own note pins attached to the map describing what you think it looks like for the players. Another thing is that during a session is to try to keep consistency, right or wrong, going for the remainder of that session. You can then clarify exactly what the ruling should be for the next session and inform the players in advance. It's not easy being a GM, like herding a troop of wild monkeys sometimes so I have a rule where I can call pause and everyone has to stop what there doing until I can deal with them all on an individual/group basis. Especially in this as players tend to spread out and want to do their own thing.

  8. #8
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    The Savage Worlds rulesets deal with cards, and specifically cards with for initiative with no duplicates. They also allow for all cards to be hidden if you want, and only appear as that initiative comes up. Would be nice to see that implemented for the Alien rule set, but remain an option. Maybe even the default option. Or to define what type die to roll for initiative and suppress doubles.

    Ideally, for rolling, would love for there to be a way to count each 'actor' in the combat tracker and set the die type to that number as a max. Then roll for each actor, and re-roll any doubles. Players wouldn't be able to roll their own initiative this way, but it would be a much more direct way to implement a die roll instead of the card draw. And account for combats with more than 10 actors/actions.
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by i3ullseye View Post
    The Savage Worlds rulesets deal with cards, and specifically cards with for initiative with no duplicates. They also allow for all cards to be hidden if you want, and only appear as that initiative comes up. Would be nice to see that implemented for the Alien rule set, but remain an option. Maybe even the default option. Or to define what type die to roll for initiative and suppress doubles.

    Ideally, for rolling, would love for there to be a way to count each 'actor' in the combat tracker and set the die type to that number as a max. Then roll for each actor, and re-roll any doubles. Players wouldn't be able to roll their own initiative this way, but it would be a much more direct way to implement a die roll instead of the card draw. And account for combats with more than 10 actors/actions.
    I believe SW handled it with suit hierarchy with tied number draws. Spades>Hearts>Diamonds>Clubs. So a 9 of Spades would trump a 9 of Hearts on the combat tracker. I guess it comes down how close it is to the core rule system.

  10. #10
    I like the idea about a xenomorph having one hidden initiative number.

    I see now that maps need to be gone over and zones sorted out before starting an adventure.

    I am still not clear on panic roll chain reactions. I am going to house rule that panic roll results can only trigger panic rolls no more than ONCE per character's turn. In other words, no super chain reactions.

    "every friendly character who sees you run must make an immediate Panic Roll"

    As for panic effect duration, I like the suggestion of "until the start of your next turn".

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