Species Differentiation

Currently, most of our species are kinda badly designed. Most are very similar to humans, only having minor damage number tweaks, and barely affect how you as a player make decisions. In my opinion, the different species should all be distinct and different, with strengths and weaknesses that create interesting decisions to be made and interactions to be had between players. I want to rework most of our species to fit these criteria, and I plan to do it using this design:

The Points System:

Species strengths and weaknesses will be divided into five categories:

  • Combat: How effective a species is at fighting.
  • Durability: How well a species is able to withstand environmental hazards, such as space or radiation.
  • Job: How well a species is able to perform specialist job tasks. This covers features like ethereals recharging batteries.
  • Social: How well a species is able to cooperate and coordinate with other people. This would cover things like extra languages or other things that would help in non-combat interactions with others.
  • Needs: What a species needs to eat, any other special needs to live, etc.

Being strong in one of these categories would add one point. Being weak in a category would subtract a point. The end goal would be for all species to have a net total score of 0 (if we wanted to preserve human supremacy, we’d balance humans to be at a number between 1 and 3). Combat skills should never go super high because being inherently super good at combat isn’t fun for anyone trying to fight you.

Additionally, each species would have a preferred department, which their skillset is tailored to make them better at, along with a unique game mechanic for each (roundstart) species. To show you how this would work, I’ll give two examples based on ideas I had (NOT FINAL):

Lizards:
Combat +2 (Reptilian Rage mechanic)
Durability 0 (vulnerable to cold temperatures, resistant to heat)
Job 0
Social -1 (Reptilian Rage mechanic)
Needs -1 (Uncommon food tastes, L- blood type)

Their preferred job would be something like security or mining. Races that are above average at combat should be rare, and their advantages should have downsides.

Mechanic: Reptilian Rage
“It was not long ago that lizards were denizens of lava planets, living in hard climates with little technology. As such, they needed to be tough. In a time of crisis, their ancient anger can boil to the surface. Don’t pick a fistfight with a lizard.”

As a lizard takes damage, their anger builds up, represented by a scale from 1-100. They gain one point of anger for every point of damage they take. Upon reaching 25, they become frustrated, and will change their speech verb to indicate their frustration. At 60, they become angry, punching somewhat harder, and gaining strong grabs, but also randomly lashing out at nearby people and shouting anything that they say. At 80, they become furious, and attack faster than normal, but lose the ability to talk entirely, only being able to growl and snarl. At 150 (which shouldn’t normally occur because that is the crit threshold) they become enraged, moving faster and becoming immune to damage slowdown. Anger slowly dissipates over tie, but can be dissipated faster by using chemicals such as nicotine and is reset by being put into hardcrit. A unique traitor item, exclusive to them, should rapidly increase anger for a short time, bringing them up to the final level. This would be the only way to reliably reach the final phase of anger.

Ethereals:
Combat 0
Durability 0
Job +2 (Charge mechanic)
Social 0
Needs -2 (Uncommon food tastes, liquid electricity blood type)

Preferred Job: Medical

Mechanic: Charge
Who knew that a creature made of pure electricity could be so useful to power generation?

Unlike the current system, an ethereal’s charge would depend on their health. The lower their health, the faster their charge would drain. Charge drain would halt at 95% health, and actually slowly recharge at full health. Ethereals would then be given additional things to expend charge on. They can still recharge batteries and APCs, but can also use an ability to use their hands like a defibrillator or overload a door, forcing it to open if it is powered and bolted. If the charge rises above a certain threshold you will start to randomly discharge electricity, shocking both you and nearby people. Excess electricity can be discharged manually to prevent this, having the same effect. To prevent this being used to cheese combat, you are stunned for longer than anyone caught in the radius.

I plan to expand this to all roundstart species (yes, even felinids), but I need a: a design for each before I start coding and b: maintainer approval. Feedback would be appreciated.

7 Likes

I like your idea, but I think this system has 2 major issues

  1. It would inherently unbalance the game, sure, races would have downsides, but the ability to have much better combat over other races simply because you are that one race is too unfair and would mean anyone with decent skill couldn’t lose any fight.

  2. This is more of an opinion but this is incredibly complicated, a lot of players don’t bother with races but if they suddenly had actual advantages it would take a lot of thought and complication for players who now have an incentive to play different races.

2 Likes

Just make felinds fully cat people, with no human qualities.

No more cat girl, return to Khajiit

5 Likes

People min-max the quirk system. Its near impossible to balance the races in a way that wont cause there quirks to get abused while being unique.

2 Likes

I don’t believe balance at the racial level is a goal to aspire to, or even that possible.

Then again, I’m a fan of whitelisting them and having them actually bound by their roleplay instead of ‘can left click less effectively and gets left clicked harder’

I don’t want them to be balanced per se, I just want them to be genuinely different to humans. Lizards are currently just reskinned humans with a different type of blood and some heat modifiers currently, and while I appreciate that giving any sort of mechanic that can be used in combat is probably a bad idea, the intent behind my (spitball) idea is to make each species different in genuinely interesting ways rather than merely a cosmetic shift and a damage spreadsheet.

I think species differentiation should be created by designing them to be different, not by forcing the players to pretend to be different on pain of angry admins; using code is always preferable to using moderation where practical.

1 Like

Would you say that moths already are already at this level?

-No flash immunity
-Flight in low grav (Special mechanic)
-Eat clothing (also unique)
-Die to anti bug equip

No. Moths are neither unique nor interesting mechanically. You as a moth player do nothing different to a human player except you avoid flashes in combat more and go to a clothes locker instead of the bar when you’re feeling hungry.

1 Like

Interesting concept. But as others pointed out already, such a change would go completely against current design philosophy.

The approach of choosing fun over balance can work, although I am not sure if it would work for a (somewhat) competitive multiplayer game like SS13. Usually that approach is used for singleplayer campaigns.

I personally would like to see that as long as immunities get removed. No one should be immune to anything, resistances are fine though. And greater strengths should come with greater weaknesses to exploit.
Example:

Bugbear race:
Pros

  • Great combat potential
  • Large
  • Lots of HP?

Cons

  • Needs food basically all the time
  • Very limited survival equipment in case of emergencies
  • Dumb
  • cant use delicate equipment

Just an example for a potential creature that goes against the “okay in all areas” approach and is more specialized.

when you give every single one of them unique-ish lore and behaviour

mfw entirety of mothpeople’s non-gameplay info
image

I’d love to.

We haven’t bothered because nobody actually cares.

3 Likes

The wiki is open for edits. If someone would actually care there would be a convincing background lore already.
But at the end of the day lore and roleplay are far less important than the respective gameplay equivalents and SS13 lore is not that rich or flavorful in the first place to make the effort of creating some new background info for mothpeople worth it.

Reply: To my knowledge there is a lore role and room on the discord, however I am not sure how much usage it actually sees. Just jumping in and dumping lore on the wiki would probably step on toes. Conversely, I’m not sure the process or who to talk to, to get into the likely dead lore chat to breathe life into it - weird dead zone

Topic-wise:

I’m not sure the OP really differs from the above post by Syrox for moths, other than adding an ability and minor downside to a species. I would also worry about a DM-playing-Players vs. Players-being-coaxed situation.

Ex: Like forcing moths to be good at medical and lizards to be good at engineering, when a huge portion of medbay on Sage are typically lizards (in my experience). Versus players like moths stealing shoes to eat, of their own volition.

Seems like it might be interesting to try, just have to be careful about it.

Definitely a lot to flesh out to get to a good middle ground, but I’m sure thats a big reason for the post. Honorable mention to the whole restricting command roles to humans thing (then watching Rev instant win rounds happen on Sage, lmao)

For Apids, I know we have a lot of ideas for them in that thread, might be worth taking a look at

:joker: -wise:

Make humans get moodbuff near felinids, and mood debuff near moths/lizards

Neat idea, but won’t work given that most of the time, you will get a random job. This will put some species at a disadvantage. Also powergamers will simply play the most combat robust species.

But if this were to ever get worked on, the hardest task will be coding it arguing with the maintainers that this is a good feature.

bee/tg lore you mean

Does remind me that coders weep about IPC code making duct tape and glue look professional

Considering that removing a IPC and re-adding it to a body causes it to delete the soul thats a description that doesnt do it justice

You could make lizards dumb by making them perceive different tools, curcuits, chems? Meds? Plants? As the same sprite but make them tougher to take down. Thats a cool spitball idea, different world perception as a way to reflect intelligence or smth. Someone take this idea further if you want to.

Yeah, with how many lizard players on Sage that end up assimilating with their Ashlander-kin - having that kind of angle might be interesting

thats just turning lizard into shitter race
making them much harder to do normal jobs with, while giving them a half-reason to be shitters of “my character dum, it makes sense for them to attack random peeps!”
not even talking about the combat advantage

In general while having very different species mechanically would be great, it just won’t work with our community as it is