When Greg and I were discussing whether or not to do a whole new edition or go with our personal favorite system, 2nd edition (2E) Silhouette, the choice was pretty obvious. The Silhouette System was first conceived by Dream Pod 9 when they developed games under the Ianus brand. The first time the Silhouette System was used was in the Project Ako licensed RPG and the bare bones version of the system would go on to become the 1st Edition of Heavy Gear’s core rules.
Utilizing only six sided dice and modifiers to determine a margin of success or failure, the Silhouette System proved to be an easy to learn and use system. Eventually Dream Pod 9 would make modifications to the rules for its 2nd Edition Silhouette. The modifications were minor, which easily allowed 1st Edition material to be used in 2nd Edition. For most of the Heavy Gear RPG’s life, the 2E was, by a large margin, the most popular iteration of the game. Another factor we considered in using 2E was how much material has been published under that system. Players can easily access their older material to jump directly into gaming, or for new players, access the older material via Drive Thru RPG, while new materials are made to update or replace the older material. The Anniversary Edition will be building upon 2E as its foundation and will be completely backwards compatible with the 2E Heavy Gear sourcebooks and expansions.
So what differentiates the 20th anniversary edition system?
Game Master’s Options
The game master has the ability to enact a series of rules such as a career ladder and flexible stat to skill mechanic. The career ladder system opens up unique perks and possibly flaws. Career packages also allow players to grow their character in an easy to use way with some cost savings involved.The career ladder gives the game master the ability to keep his players focused on their chosen profession rather than have a group of characters that have a wild number of skills unrelated to their character’s concept/archetype. Players will be able to purchase skills outside of their chosen career, however the cost to acquire them will be steep. Conversely, players can advance normally complex skills as a simple skill.
The second GM option is the flexible stat mechanic. Normally skills in Silhouette are tied to a specific stat, which leads to players concentrating on stats that have the bulk amount of application to skills. Agility based skills are some of the worst offenders, while the Psyche and Willpower stats are woefully underutilized for skills. The GM can institute the flexible stat mechanic which will allow the GM to assign stats to skills that he or she feels is appropriate to the use of the skill. For example, Small Arms is normally assigned to the Agility stat, but the GM could have the player use their Creativity or Knowledge skill to maintain the weapon or make minor customizations to the weapon.
In addition to the GM Options and the backwards compatibility, we will be using the timeline established in the in the story book timeline as our base rather than the Blitz tabletop wargame timeline.
The Blitz timeline requires large conflicts and viable factions which make for a great wargame scenario but removes much of the nuance from the richer RPG timeline. Our RPG storyline exploration will not just advance the story forward, but also look back to the times of Earth’s last crusades, the exploration period during the Concordat era, and historical wars such as the Sandstorm Strikes, War of the Alliance, and St. Vincents War. The War for Terra Nova will still exist, but the scale of the invading forces will be significantly reduced and the timeframe will be drawn out to properly accommodate the great transformations it causes and attempt to return it to the realm of hard science fiction.
Feel free to ask questions down below! We’ll be happy to answer them.