written by Eldritch
Why a new system?
As already mentioned under the Basics, this happened by chance. In mid-1999 I began to develop Syndicate City, a RPG set in a Hardboiled Detective universe. The whole project started based on BRP rules, but I soon created my own mechanism, based on three d6. During the Syndicate City playtests we (that's my players and me) refined the system until it settled into a playable form. Somtime later I ran a SLA session, but I soon grew discontent with the dice mechanics (especially during combat) and wished that SLA had mechanics similar to Syndicate City. And thus I converted the Syn City mechanics to SLA.
What is the advantage of the new system?

The biggest advantage is that you get more information through the result of a skill roll. Under the old SLA system you only knew if a task failed or succeeded. Now, through the result of the Success Die, you also know how good or bad it succeeded/failed.

In combat, the amount of damage a character causes is directly related to his attack roll. In the old system, if you succeed you always deal the same amount of damage. You now also have a detailed, but quick to apply, system of locating where somebody is hit; with semi, burst or autofire, you can now follow the "path of bullets", creating a realistic portrait of where autofire bursts hit (an not a random arm, arm, leg, head, torso hit pattern). The melee system allows now for real "dice duels" of attack, parry or dodge.

Through the Success Die, this system easily allows supplemental skill use. If you are in a situation where one skill can have an impact upon a second skill (like first analyzing a security system, then trying to disarm it), the success/failure of the first test has an immediate effect upon the difficulty of the second test (by adding/subtracting the result of the Success Die of the first test to the target number of the second test).

Dance of Death is a shallow copy of The Matrix's Bullet Time!

No, the Advantage is older than The Matrix. It has been a part of the Syn City systems since its first playtest, and it was created as a kind of homage to the artistic spins, jumps and tumbles of characters in John Woo movies when they are in a firefight.

Likewise, the Wraith Advantage was inspired by the last fight scene in Kevin Costner's Wyatt Earp, when we see that the bullets strike Earp (or at least his duster), but they seem to pass right through him.

Aren't the Dance/Ballet of Death and Wraith Advantages too powerful for standard SLA Operatives?

Yes they are. You might perhaps want to restrict them to characters belonging to certain departments (need I say Stigmartyr?) or killers touched by

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Why are the damage stats in the appendix of the Combat System different from the stats found in the Weapon Database? Which one is correct?

Both are correct. The Damage/Penetration stats in the chart section of the Combat System document give the PEN and DAM numbers for those who do not want to bother with the Database.

The Database computes the damge for a single weapon based upon the muzzle velocity of the bullet. As such it takes into account the average muzzle velocity for the selected ammunition and the length of the barrel. As the barrel lengths vary, the actual PEN and DAM for weapons with the same caliber should also vary. This is not reflected in the "standard" system (both original SLA as well as my alternative system). So the Database lists more accurate stats for those fanatics (like me) who want more detail.

Who is responsible for the formulas used in the Database?
The Database uses the formulas for creating small arms fround in GDW's Fire, Fusion and Steel, an excellent supplement for creating technological items in Traveller: New Era. I have played around with the formulas until they delivered results appropriate to SLA weapons.
Characters developed with the alternative character creation rules are less powerful! Why?

That's a difficult question to answer. Primarily I think the old system made things too easy for the players - it was almost impossible to fail in a roll if you had a decent skill (5 was almost mastery) and an average roll.

Under the new system, if you have a skill rank of five, you are good, but you can still fail you rolls. Now under the new character creation system a player usually has fewer points to distribute on skills than before, which will reduce the characters who start with ridiculously high skill ranks - you simply cannot afford to buy a skill on rank 9 or 10 if you want a relatively broad base of skills.

Specialists will become more common under this system, because nobody can buy all relevant skills. This furthers group integration - the players must work together and protect each other.

Finally, acquiring a rank 10 skill really denotes mastery, because only a few individuals will achieve such a high leverl of competence.

If you want high-powered characters, try out the optional Package rule - it should create very powerful starting characters.

Why did you include a random element in character creation?

Because I like rolling dice during character creation :)

First off character creation is not completely random, you randomly generate a pool from which to buy your stats. I like the concept of random stat pools, because by having a different amount of points to spend on stats, the characters tend to start from a different base (some are simply more lucky/gifted than others).

This then carries over into skill development; the characters who have higher stats, will have more skills.

If you don't like the randomness give each player a fixed pool, but remember that if you give a player 120 points to spend on stats, he'll present you a character with rank 9 in all stats ...

More questions?
Mail them to eldritch@dnotice.de
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