Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Starship Crew and the BAT

I love the BAT, or basic action template, from action 4. Its flexible, its fast, and I especially love it for quickly fleshing out NPCs who don't fit into a neat template. Since it came out, we've seen a few expansions for it, and I've posted a few more on this blog. Despite being made for the Action series, I've found that it works for a lot of different genres. One place I'm always looking for additions is science fiction.

Template Toolkit 3: Starship Crew came out with 50 point "Multi-role" Lenses that basically serve the same purpose as a BAT package: they give a character that may be specialized in something else the basic ability to fulfill that role. So we're going to look at how to do that.

The Multi role lenses are 50 points, not 25, which means they take up two slots in the BAT. If you have the space in your budget, that works out just fine, and you can take them as "double packages". However, they're likely to feel more like a single package with a stat boost. Every Lens has 20 points, almost half of it, dedicated to raising the core stats needed for the job. This isn't actually all that bad: one thing I've found with the BAT is that you get stronger characters with 175 points in attributes and three packages than 100 points in attributes and six packages. But sometimes we want the 25 point packages, for one reason or another.

Dropping the attribute bonuses leaves us with 30 point packages. If you've got a reasonable slush fund, that's probably the best way to use these lenses with the BAT. Yes, it eats into that fund, but the templates are pretty good, and that extra five points usually does a lot.

But sometimes you really need everything to fit snuggly. If we've really got to drop those five points, we can do that too. Most of the templates have a talent in addition to their skills and generic stat boost. Here is a breakdown of how to make each of the multi-role lenses into true 25 point BAT packages:


  • either drop charisma, or drop intuitive admiral and take two levels of charisma


  • reduce hot pilot 2 to hot pilot 1

Operations Officer

  • reduce circuit sense 3 to circuit sense 2 

Tactical Officer

  • reduce born war leader 2 to born war leader 1


  • drop artificer 2 to artificer 1
  • either add versatile, or spend five points raising skills (primary skills preferred)

Medical Officer

  • drop all skills in which [2] points are spent to [1]
  • reduce Either Diagnosis, Physician, or Surgery by two points.

Science Officer

  • drop one level of natural scientist 
  • spend five points, raising all but one of your six science skills by one point. Alternatively, raise one science skill by three to [4] and two science skills by one.

Security Officer - all skills

  • drop all skills in which [2] points are spent to [1]

Loadmaster - born spacer 2 (10)

  • reduce born spacer 2 to born spacer 1

Steward  - Smooth operator (15)

  • drop smooth operator
  • Spend 10 points on personal interaction talents, charisma, voice, or other "social" advantages that add to skill. If your GM is feeling generous, try to get him to price smooth operator for 10 points, or make a custom talent that drops politics and panhandling. The custom 10 point talent may be the boring way out though. Steward characters tend to be a diverse bunch, and the lens has a wide range of skills to choose from. Lean into it a little and do a little customization. Are they a party animal? a street-level merchant? a businessman? a rough and tumble member of the clergy?  

I hope you find this breakdown useful. Action and Starships go well together, and theses lenses can be key to making your action crew function as a starship crew as well. Happy Journeys!

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