D6 Mass Effect

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D6 Mass Effect
 Creator(s) Bass Concert Hall
 System(s) D6 Custom
 Genre(s) Sci-Fi


This is a (currently barebones) conversion of Mass Effect into the Star Wars D6 system. You obviously need the core D6 book and its skill lists and rules to play, though Winson_Paine summarized almost all the rules in his SWD6 "Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves" game's recruit thread, if you can find it in the archives.

I chose the SWD6 ruleset for Mass Effect because it matches the style of ME very well. The rules are very simple so gameplay moves at a good pace. Combat is fun and there are opportunities for some tactical play, but it's light enough that it never bogs down. Every attribute has valuable skills and attribute points are limited, so the party needs to work together to win and every niche character gets to shine regularly. PCs are competent, and they can use points awarded during the game to become incomparable badasses when they need it most. SWD6 games are fast-paced, have a lot of flash, and make it easy for the PCs to be Big Goddamned Heroes. And really, that's what Mass Effect is about.

Character Template

Name:				Species:
Biotic:				Age:
Character Points:		Force Points:
-Brawling parry			-Brawling
-Dodge				-Climb/Jump	
-Firearms			-Lifting
-Grenade			-Melee Combat
-Melee Parry			-Stamina
-Missile Weapons		-Swimming
-Thrown Weapons			-Archaic Starship Piloting
-Vehicle Gunnery		-Astrogation
				-Beast Riding
				-Starship Gunnery
KNOWLEDGE			-Starship Piloting
-Alien species			-Starship Shields
-Bureaucracy			-Communications
-Business			-Ground Vehicle Op.
-Cultures			-Repulsorlift/Hovervehicle Op.	
-Intimidation			-Sensors
-Law Enforcement		TECHNICAL
				-Armor Repair				
-Planetary Systems		-Computer Programming/Repair	
-Scholar			-Demolition
-Streetwise			-Firearms/Armor Repair
-Survival			-First Aid
-Tactics			-Security
-Value				-Starship Repair
-Willpower			-Starship Weapons Repair
				-Synthetics Programming
PERCEPTION			-Synthetics Repair
-Bargain			-Ground/Hover Vehicle Repair
-Command			-VI/AI Programming
-Forgery			BIOTIC
-Gambling			-Warp
-Hide				-Barrier						 
-Investigation			-Biotic Projectile
-Persuasion			-Lift/Singularity
-Search				-Telekinesis
-Sneak				-Telekinetic Field

Character creation is 18D attribute die and 6D skill die.


Biotics are new in this ruleset; they don't really fit the Force powers in SWD6, and use completely different rules. Your character may become a biotic at character generation if you put one or more attribute die into the Biotic attribute. Furthermore, at character generation only, for each attribute die you put into Biotic, you have the option of spending three of your 6 starting skill die to raise your Biotic attribute a further die: so a character who puts 1D into Biotic may spend 3 of his skill die to raise Biotic from 1D to 2D, and a character who puts 2D into Biotic may spend either 3 of his 6 skill die to raise Biotic to 3D or all his skill die to raise Biotic from 2D to 4D. After character generation, the Biotic attribute and its skills raise as normal.

Biotic Skills:

Warp Base difficulty: Moderate. Difficulty affected by: Target Size, Range; the target may choose to resist using Dodge instead.

If successful, lowers target's Strength for the purposes of resisting physical and biotic damage ONLY, by half your Warp skill die code (rounding up) for this round, less any protection from biotics; target regains 2D Strength at the end of each round. You may not use warp on the same target twice in one round; however, multiple players may target the same enemy with warp and stack its effects. A target's Strength cannot be reduced below 0D, and is not incapacitated or killed if Strength is reduced to 0.

Barrier Base difficulty: Moderate. Difficulty affected by: Target Size, Range

If successful, raise your Strength for the purposes of resisting physical and biotic damage ONLY, by half your Barrier skill die code (rounding down) for this round; this extra strength fades at a rate of 1D per round. You may recast Barrier on yourself before its effects expire but the effects do not stack; if someone else uses Barrier on you while you already have it up, you keep the higher value. You may cast Barrier on another but the base difficulty becomes Difficult.

Biotic Projectile Base difficulty: Easy. Difficulty affected by: Target Size, Range; the target may choose to resist using Dodge instead.

If successful, counts as a melee attack performing biotic damage, not physical. Damage done is equal to your Biotic attribute die code plus one-third your Biotic Projectile skill die code, dropping all fractions.

Lift/Singularity Base difficulty: Moderate. Difficulty affected by: Target Size, Range; the target may choose to resist using Dodge instead.

If successful, you pull your target off the ground and send them floating in the air (you may send them in a general direction, if you specify it beforehand) for half your Biotic attribute die code in rounds (rounding up). While in the air they are at -2D to Dodge, -1D to all other skills, and cannot control their movement. You may elect to use this as an area of effect attack with a 10m radius, but the base difficulty becomes Difficult and each target may choose to resist using dodge instead.

Telekinesis Base difficulty: Easy. Difficulty affected by: Target Size, Range.

Actually a form of precise gravity manipulation, this skill allows you to move and interact with objects at a distance. You must have line of sight on the object. More delicate motions are more difficult. This power once used may be kept 'up' to maintain any telekinetic movement as long as the user takes no other actions. Using any other skill will break the biotic's concentration and cause the telekinesis to end.

Telekinetic Field Base difficulty: Moderate. Difficulty affected by: Target Size, Range

The catch-all skill for other inventive uses for your biotic powers, telekinetic field covers the manipulation of gravity fields in new and interesting ways. Particularly complex tasks may have an increased difficulty modifier.

Stasis Base difficulty: Difficult. Difficulty affected by: Target Size, Range; the target may choose to resist using Dodge instead.

If successful, target is incapacitated and can take no actions for as many rounds as your Biotic attribute die code. However, weapons fire and biotic abilities will not affect a target while he or she is in stasis.

Biotic Difficulty Modifiers:

Target Size:     Add to Difficulty:
A cup of water            -5
An office chair            0
An adult human            +5
A flatbed truck           +10
A fully loaded 18-wheeler +15
Less than 10m             -5
10m-50m                    0
50m-100m                  +5
100m-500m                +10
Greater than 500m        +15


"But Bass!" you say, "These races don't really interest me! I would rather play a Volus/Elcor/Hanar/Rachni/Thorian/Geth/Prothean/Reaper/Varren." Tough shit. The Citadel/Alliance/Cerebus/Whoever is space-racist, only non-gimmicky aliens get to be PCs.



Special Abilities:

Capable: Despite having no exceptional physical or mental advantages over all the other races, plain old human ingenuity and competence has propelled our species to prominence on the galactic stage. At chargen only, add an extra +1D skill die to your highest skill (if you have 2 or more skills which are your highest, choose one).


DEX 2D+2/4D
STR 2D+2/4D

Special Abilities:

Turian hide: Your thick metallic skin will provide you protection against brief exposures to hazardous radiation, and provides +1 strength against physical attacks. Skill Bonus: At chargen only, you recieve 2D for each 1D skill die put into Bureaucracy, Law Enforcement, Investigation, or Command.

Dextro Metabolism: Your biochemistry is based off of D-amino acids, whereas most other species use L-amino acids. Quarian and Turian foods sustain you, but foodstuffs from other species are non-nutritious at best, and lethally allergenic at worst (you can fiat your character's familiarity with the effects of common items, and make a KNOW check to be familiar with effects of rarer ones). In addition, any L-metabolism medicine you ingest beyond the basic medigel used with the First Aid skill is likely to be unhelpful and has the potential to be extremely toxic; a moderate First Aid check will warn you of any dangers.


MECH 2D+2/4D+2
STR 1D+1/3D+2
TECH 2D+2/4D+2

Special Abilities:

Fleet Service: Besides your other talents, you spent your teenaged years serving on your birth ship as crew-in-training. At chargen, add +1D to any three skills in TECH or MECH.

Dextro Metabolism: Your biochemistry is based off of D-amino acids, whereas most other species use L-amino acids. Quarian and Turian foods sustain you, but foodstuffs from other species are non-nutritious at best, and lethally allergenic at worst (you can fiat your character's familiarity with the effects of common items, and make a KNOW check to be familiar with effects of rarer ones). In addition, any L-metabolism medicine you ingest beyond the basic medigel used with the First Aid skill is likely to be unhelpful and has the potential to be extremely toxic; a moderate First Aid check will warn you of any dangers.

Immunocompromised: Quarian immune systems are atrophied from disuse. Any time you breach your environment suit, or every few minutes if you remain exposed to the outside world, make a Stamina check to avoid becoming ill. The difficulty of the check varies on the situation - easy for a suit tear that doesn't break skin, difficult for getting shot, heroic for taking your helmet off and macking on an undead spectre. If you fail, at the end of the day you are wounded (see damage rules) and may not be healed past wounded until you recieve appropriate medical care (a Medicine roll of appropriate difficulty). At the end of every day you remain wounded from illness, you must make another stamina check to avoid recieving an additional 1D to skills and attributes; if this reduces your strength to 0D or lower, you become delirous and without treatment will die at the end of the day.


PER 1D+1/3D+1

Special Abilities:

Toughness: You have a thick hide and redundant organs, providing +1D strength against physical attacks and +1 against biotic attacks, as well as a limited degree of natural protection against the the elements.

Short-Sighted Upbringing: You are a Krogan, raised to fight! At chargen only, you may not improve more than one non-combat skill per attribute, nor may you improve any non-combat skill more than one one skill die. Neither restriction applies to specialties. Combat skills means skills you use during personal (not starship) combat to kill people or avoid being killed - so Dodge and First Aid are all combat skills, but Demolition and Starship Piloting are not. If you have a question about a specific skill, ask.


DEX 2D+2/4D+2
PER 2D+1/4D+1

Special Abilities:

Fast Cognition: Salarians have a vastly accelerated metabolism compared to most species, and this includes their mentation: you process thoughts and emotions much more quickly than non-Salarians. When you are working under limited time you recieve +1D to any task in which remember or figuring out how to proceed is a significant part of the challenge.

Prized Biotics: Salarian biotics are rare, and any Salarian showing a degree of biotic talent recieves intense development of their powers. At chargen only, for each attribute point you put into BIO you must also put two of your starting skill die into BIO.


STR 2D/3D+1

Special Abilities:

Long-lived: Your lifespan encompasses entire generations of most other species; you have had many decades if not centuries to deepen your experience and knowledge. Atchargen only, for each full skill die you put into a KNOW skill you may take a free +1D specialty in that skill. Natural Biotics: All Asari have some degree of biotic talent. You must put at least 1D into BIO.


DEX 2D/4D+1 
PER 2D+2/4D+1
STR 1D+2/3D+2

Special Abilities:

Perfect Memory: All Drell have eidetic memories. You never get lost in an area you've previously visited and recieve +1D to PER and related rolls to recognize someone you have previously met or notice a change in your surroundings since your previous visit.

Moist environments: Your ancestors descended from an arid desert environment, and you are uncomfortable in wet climates. Whenever you are in an area with high humidity, such as a jungle, seashore, or anywhere it's currently raining, the distraction and discomfort gives you -1D to all DEX and PER attribute and skill rolls.

Dry environments: Conversely, you are adapted to dry climates. Whenever you are in an area with low humidity, such as desert, tundra, or anyplace stricken by drought, you receive +1D to all DEX and PER attribute and skill rolls.



Built into any quality armor or space suit or just worn on your person, a commlink lets you talk to your buddies at a distance. Good military-issue commlinks have a range of several dozen kilometers - even up into low orbit if you have a communications tower or a Mako nearby to boost the signal, or if you're just at a high elevation on a clear day. Channels can be secured but your signal is still being generally broadcast, so ultimately your privacy is only as good as your encryption. Cost: 100 credits

Rebreather masks

Also built into any decent suit but available to wear separately, rebreather masks convert CO2 back into O2 and make other atmospheric adjustments to allow the wearer to 're-breath' their own exhalations again and again, allowing you to go outside in places without a breathable atmosphere. Nice ones have covered protection for the whole head, or at least the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. Keep in mind they don't protect the rest of your body; don't expect to walk out an airlock with a rebreather and survive for more than a few seconds. Mask filters will safely last a day (sometimes a little longer but not reliably enough that manufacturers advertise it), after which they need to be set aside to recharge. Cost: 250 credits.


Physically no larger than a wristwatch and easily concealed in a belt or under a shirtcuff, your omni-tool is your adventurer's pass to not carrying a bunch of useless shit around with you everywhere you go. Your omni-tool combines a computer interface with autotranslate and is capable of remote line-of-sight access to almost any device that uses wireless communication, so you don't need to speak Old Turian and have six different space-USB adapters on your person to be able to use Security to hack into the data core of that ancient crashed probe - you just use your omni-tool. Your omni-tool has an electronics, medical, and scientific analysis/diagnostics suite, so you don't need to have a handheld voltimeter, x-ray machine, or mass spectrometer to be able to figure out what's busted about the thing/person you're looking at - you just use your omni-tool. Your omni-tool has a microfactory that can produce small spare parts or simple tools from omnigel to aid in emergency field repairs, so you don't need to have that screwdriver with 200 swappable heads or that big bag of 200 different kinds of spare screws to be able bolt the Mako's doors back on - you just use your omni-tool. Even better, it also has a flashlight, a video/voice recorder, an Extranet connection and a secure link to your financial accounts and personal records that allows you to authorize credit transactions, electronically sign legal documents, or post in pbp games while you're riding the Citadel elevators back home from work. When in use your omni-tool appears as an orange hologram covering your off-hand and forearm, and is operated with your free hand.

Today almost everyone owns an omni-tool. Human manufacturers have quietly cornered the market on omni-tools with their 'reliable, low-cost, no-frills product' philosophy: in particular, Sirta Foundation's Chameleon has been the bestselling midrange omni-tool on the civilian market for years, and Aldrin Labs has made their basic Bluewire line standard issue for personnel in CSEC, the Systems Alliance, and several other military and paramilitary agencies. More powerful and sophisticated omni-tools are certainly available (at rapidly increasing prices), but unless you have a good background reason for why you should start out walking around with a sweet omni-tool, pick one of the two basic models. Here are some sample omnitools:

Bluewire Omnitool					Chameleon Omnitool			
Manufacturer: Aldrin Labs				Manufacturer: Sirta Foundation		
Skill Bonus: None					Skill Bonus: +1 to First Aid		 
Cost: 250 credits					Cost: 400 credits			
Cipher Omnitool						Polaris Omnitool													
Manufacturer: Elkoss Combine				Manufacturer: Kassa Fabrication
Skill Bonus: +1 to Security, Computer Prog./Repair	Skill bonus: +1 to Ground/Hover Vehicle Repair,
Cost: 900 credits					Starship Repair, Starship Weapons Repair

Cost: 1500 credits


This is the stuff your omni-tool uses to make things. It's a homogenous paste of industrial plastics, ceramics, and light alloys whose ingredients can be reproportioned to make polymers with various physical properties and stress tolerances, and that can be shaped and quick-hardened to form any number of small low-quality tools and parts for quick fixes and field repairs. In game terms, you just carry around a pack of omnigel and the in-game explanation for why you suddenly have a can-opener/transistor/lockpick/whatever on your person is "An omni-tool did it." Note that omni-gel is a shitty material that can be anything, not a high-grade construction material, so if you use up all your omnigel making a big bowie knife don't be surprised if the blade breaks when you try to stab a Krogan with it.

Vacc Suit

Made in all sizes and proportions for all sorts of species, these are fully pressure-sealed suits that allow the wearer to safely work out in space. Vacc suits cannot be worn over or under full-body armor (you can throw a armored vest on top for a -1D DEX penalty if you really want), but all full-body armor suits count as basic vacc suits anyway. Vacc suits have at minimum a radiation-resistant lining, built-in rebreather and heating system good for 24hours, tow line connections for keeping yourself tethered to your ship, and lots of pockets. Nicer models have puncture and tear resistant materials, spare O2 tanks to replace lost atmosphere, and water/food access through the helmet, waste handling, and additional rebreather filters for extended operation. The Migrant Fleet, which is otherwise not known for its manufacturing, produces a small line of premium exosuits characteristic of the best money can buy; these feature the Quarian's interior suit seal technology, which limits the danger of suit breaches, several small injection ports allowing First Aid to be performed on the user without the suit's removal, and a small fuel cell continuously recharging the suit's rebreathers and other systems, making available water and food the de facto limit on how long the suit can be worn. Even without an armored exosuit, a Quarian's environment suit counts at minimum as one of these premium vacc suits. Here are a few examples:

Basic Vacc Suit					Survivor mid-range Vacc Suit				Premium Vacc Suit
Manufacturer: Many				Manufacturer: Devlon Industries				Manufacturer: Migrant Fleet
Safe Operating time: 24hrs 			Operating time: 72hrs					Safe Operating time: Indefinite
Protection: Limited protection from exposure  	Protection: Limited protection from exposure		Protection: Limited protection from exposure 
to radiation, heat, and cold.			to radiation, heat, and cold; +1 STR vs phys damage	to radiation, heat, and cold; +1 STR vs phys damage
Limitations: -1D to Dex rolls while worn,	Limitations: -1D to Dex rolls while worn		Limitations: None
Cannot use First Aid while worn			Cannot use First Aid while worn				Shields: 10
Cost: 800 credits				Cost: 1400 credits					Cost: 3000 credits


Stuff you wear that keeps other people from hurting you. Cost controls and ruggized low-tech engineering have made human-made armor popular among the public and standard issue for most law enforcement, military, and private security firms, though increasingly human corporations are becoming known as producers of high-end protection. Quarian versions of armor do not add to their protection the +1 vs physical damage of the premium vacc suit but possess its other attributes, including the extra shields; they are also rarer and usually cost 1000-2000 credits more.

SHIELDS (strictly speaking, 'kinetic barriers') are a new armor feature that does not exist in the SWD6 ruleset. Here is how they are going to work. All armor has a shield battery that recharges between fights, or alternately during a fight if you can go for several rounds without getting hurt. Your shield takes hits for you as long as it's up - yes, even if you're just wearing a vest and get shot in the face! - and it acts like ablative strength: that is, it goes down by the amount of damage it soaks up. So, if Wrex has 20 shields and Shepard shoots him with a 4D damage pistol and rolls a 16, then Wrex takes no damage but his shields drop to 4 (20-16=4). If a shot reduces your shields to zero you roll your STR versus the remaining damage as usual to avoid being stunned/wounded/etc - so if Shepard shoots wrex again and rolls a 12, Wrex has to roll his Strength against 8 (12-4=8) to avoid being hurt. Of note, biotic damage ignores shields!

With all that in mind, here are your entry-level armors:

Duelist Tactical Vest			Mercenary Tactical Vest			Onyx Light Full-body Armor		Ursa Heavy Full-Body Armor		
Manufacturer: Elanus Risk Control	Manufacturer: Ariake Technologies	Manufacturer: Aldrin Labs		Manufacturer: Hahne-Kedar	
Protection: (Torso) +2 STR vs phys	Protection: (Torso) +1 STR vs phys 	Protection: +1D STR vs phys damage,	Protection: +2D STR vs phys damage,
damage					damage					+1 STR vs biotic damage			+1D STR vs biotic damage
Shields: 0				Shields: 20				Shields: 25				Shields: 50
Limitations: None			Limitations: None			Limitations: -1D to all DEX checks	Limitations: -2D to all DEX checks
Cost: 500				Cost: 800				due to bulk				due to bulk
										Cost: 2400				Cost: 4000

Melee and Thrown Weapons

Here are some other ways to kill people. Melee weapons didn't feature heavily in Mass Effect - sure, Tali has a gypsy bootknife she never uses, and Wrex probably has a battle axe hidden somewhere in there, but aside from a lot of rifle-butting melee didn't get much play - so this is more SWD6 writing MED6 than Mass Effect doing so, but oh well. Stun, smoke, and flashbang grenades are also available on the market for authorized personnel.

Knife				Battle Axe			Fragmentation Grenade		Mine
Difficulty: Very Easy		Difficulty: Moderate		Range: 3-7/20/40		Blast Radius: 0-2/4/6/10
Damage: STR+1D (Maximum: 5D)	Damage: STR+2D (Maximum: 7D)	Blast Radius: 0-2/4/6/10	Damage: (vehicle scale) 5D/4D/3D/2D
Range (if thrown): 0/5/10	Range (if thrown): 0/5/15	Damage: 5D/4D/3D/2D		Cost: 1000
Cost: 20			Cost: 200			Cost: 200

Ranged Weapons

Everybody makes guns, though Elanus Risk Control and the Elkoss Combine remain perrenial favorites; Humanity definitely has yet to dominate the arms market, and mostly the best product still comes out of turian firms like Armax and Haliat. In true Mass Effect style you have your choice of pistol, shotgun, assault rifle, sniper rifle, and SMG, each with their own drawback and advantage; in a deviation from true Mass Effect style, however, people are going to look at you oddly if you wander around public places carrying five different guns strapped to your back. Keep in mind that we will ultimately be playing a PBP game and not a shooter here, so your choice matters less than you might think; just grab whatever fits your character and looks like fun and don't worry about it.

Guns use a variant of the original Mass Effect system because keeping track of ammo is terrible. Here's how it works: your gun has a ROF (that's rate of fire aka maximum shots per round). Exceed the ROF of your weapon and it overheats, so you can't use it next turn. Moreover, an overheated weapon might break: the more you exceed the ROF by, and the more times you overheat your gun over a short period of time, the more likely this is to happen. Switching weapons takes a turn, so overheating one and using another the next turn is not a viable solution. The final change is the addition of the recoil attribute - instead of losing a flat -1D to all your gun rolls for each extra shot you take, as in the SWD6 system, you lose whatever your recoil code is.

Edge Pistol			Firestorm Shotgun			Lancer Assault Rifle		Equalizer Sniper Rifle		Tempest Submachinegun
Manufacturer: Elkoss Combine	Manufacturer: Devlon Industries		Manufacturer: Hahne-Kedar	Manufacturer: Haliat Armory	Manufacturer: Elanus Risk Control
Range: 3/30/120			Range: 0/10/30				Range: 10/100/300		Range: 10/300/1000		Range: 10/30/120
Damage:	4D/4D/4D		Damage: 7D/4D/3D			Damage:	5D/5D/5D		Damage:	8D/8D/8D		Damage: 3D/3D/2D
ROF: 4				ROF: 2					ROF: 3				ROF: 1				ROF: 6
Recoil: -1D			Recoil: -1D+1				Recoil: -1D			Recoil: -2D			Recoil: -2
Cost: 500			Cost: 750				Cost: 1000			Cost: 1500			Cost: 750

Campaign Ideas

C.S.E.C. - COPS/Reno911 on the citadel, PCs are C-sec officers. Domestic violence reports, public intoxication, prostitution, gang violence, drug busts, hovercar chases, etc. Probably have to keep things pretty lighthearted and full of gags, though it's cops and criminals so of course you could go noir. I think there's some potential here but maybe not enough to carry a whole campaign - would make for a good one-shot or mission though.

Corsairs - In ME2 Jacob said his tour with the Corsairs was a bunch of red tape, but to be fair Jacob sucks and the idea is cool. PCs are the crew of a ship that's signed on with the Corsairs, Alliance Intelligence's program to use independent freighters to conduct special off-the-books missions. The PCs could be the owners and full crew of the ship in classic Star Wars tramp freighter style, or they could be a team assembled and assigned to a larger transport crewed by NPCs, in which case the transport serves as both their cover story and their home base, and the party goes off to have adventures while the NPCs take care of the cargo hauling merchants part. More sightseeing see this way, more opportunities to go big, more leeway for a serious and epic game.

Spectres in Training - just like it sounds, a bunch of prospective Spectre recruits are thrown together into a squad, given some meager resources (a ship to go places, at least), and sent on dangerous missions to help hone their skills and keep Citadel Council space safe. In practice this would probably be a lot like Corsairs, but more on the Paragony straight-up heroic side of things.

-more to come-