My Alpha Omega RPG campaign ends this weekend and I wanted to get up a few thoughts about the game and how the campaign went overall. The game is not ending because my players did not enjoy my plot. I think the story part of it went well. The high-adventure, high-action campaign mixed in with a bit of social commentary went over well with my players. They really enjoyed being famous (or infamous) and the attendant issues with notoriety.
I actually pulled the plug on the campaign due to some logistical issues with the Alpha Omega rules, which I will discuss later. Before I get into that, I wanted to share some thoughts on how the system plays over the long-haul.
“AO” magic is a very flexible system, without pre-built spells. You make a wielding roll high enough and whatever action you attempt succeeds, limited to whatever magical ability you leaned. There is also a chance of failure and self-mutilation if you roll badly. That said, it is pretty clear that unless you build a truly inept wielder, you will make most rolls without issue. Unless you push your abilities to ridiculous levels to produce extremely powerful effects, chance of failure is very small. As powerful as they are, wielders can do one thing that makes them truly scary.[pullshow]
[pullthis] Boosting stats in “AO” is extremely powerful[/pullthis] , almost too powerful in my opinion. It is a relatively easy wielding roll and reap major benefits. Skill checks combine a set of dice based on a statistic (like physical acumen) and the ranks you have in a given skill that uses the stat. Bumping the base stat yields a large increase in dice for the skill check at relatively low-cost for a wielder. My group used this to great advantage on many occasions.
While boosting stats is nice, real power comes from adjusting “states” in AO. States are things like “density,” which ranges between 4 (super-hard and damage resistant) to -4 (ethereal). Zero is the normal state for most creatures. All of the states are important, but adjusting the “fear” state is extremely powerful. Raising a PC’s fear state to “zealous” with wielding makes all of their attacks, skills and whatnot rolls go through the roof. For example, raising an average-statted peasant’s fear state from “normal” to “zealous” raises their dice pool 8 steps. So, rather than rolling 6d4 for a basic check, he now rolls 2d8 and 4d6. It does not take a math genius to see the benefits. This is a relatively easy task for a decent wielder and it pushes a combat-ready PC from dangerous to “walking death.” Primarily because the higher you roll an attack, they more times you weapon hits with each attack. Combine this buff with a machine gun and the PC hits really, really often.
I also have to mention the lack of support (currently, anyway) for the AI PCs. There are a plethora of options for organic PCs, but the AI player has far less flexibility to tweak their characters. That combined with wielders cannot bump their stats like the organic PCs puts them at a real disadvantage. An equipment book is in the offing that might help, but it is not out yet.
Now on to my biggest concern about AO and the reason I am shelving the game for the foreseeable future. Making NPCs is annoying and there is no character generator available. AO is “crunchy.” Stats build on other stats and then get tweaked by various genetic or racial upgrades. Building a basic character is quite easy…at low levels. At higher levels, building an NPC to challenge the characters was a lot of work. I am a bit disappointed that a character builder is not out yet. There are not that many options in the current AO game and it would make the game master’s life easier.
So, with a heavy heart, my group starts an “Aces and Eights” campaign next session . Something of a change and very role-playing heavy, but it looks like a good time. I will be writing about the “Aces & Eights” campaign as it progresses.
Once “Alpha Omega” matures a bit more and gets the character generator up and running, my group is anxious to return to the world and the campaign.
Trask, The Last Tyromancer