I've seen the additions that you've made to talents and psionic abilities to replace them, but what was the reasoning behind removing the unique movement skills from the 1st edition to the 2nd edition for the Zerg? I rather enjoyed the ability to keep up with vehicles if one was to afford the skill point investment. And with the further restriction on skill points in 2nd edition, it would help spread out skills further for zerg, especially with their already shortened skill list due to play style.
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You made fair points when dealing with pilot and zerg. And I agree that there is no need for really utilizing the skill in of itself for normal zerg or otherwise. Glad to hear my favorite race is getting more customization options as well! The idea was an off the wall one to see if I could help you develop more ideas for when it comes to skill usage. As for the infested vehicles and constructs, I must have read the section wrong because it seemed to indicate the infested targets became autonomous rather then just becoming usable by infested terrans. And I'll be honest, every time I've infested things in the video game, I always assumed the pilot or occupants for them became part of it, and functioned only as a "brain", rather then being interchangeable. If a vehicle or building was empty, I'd figured the virus simply grew itself a brain to replace and remove the need for a pilot.
The only other real skill usage that I can see is if you brought back the poison lists from the 1st edition. Science and/or Medicine would go far with those, opening new avenues for talents/mutations. With your noted suppress mutations for Agents, a possible unique poison for them could receive could have enhancing effects for influence rolls while they are under cover, while adding more synergy and play for those of an infested party who cant be out and about during such play. Cant detect a poison as easily if it's of an unknown composition!
So pilot really represents something specific, and while the Prototype-style idea would represent that, its a bit of a stretch for a power that zerg would use -- zerg don't hijack a body, they infest it and it drives itself under control of the swarm, so that falls more directly under the command skill.
I am also not terribly worried about the pilot skill as some infested still have uses for it. The first is for Agents of the Swarm who go into Doppleganger builds using the upcoming Suppress Infestation mutations drive just like any normal Terran. But also there are infestation powers that allow you to infest and use standard terran constructs and (importantly for Agents of the Swarm) vehicles -- so you have infested Terrans driving infested siege tanks and piloting infested wraiths. Not every infested will (or should) be a skilled pilot, but those few pilots are still incredibly important to the swarm, especially when partnered with an infested evolutionist or the living plagues from the december bonus content who both will likely become skill enough at infestation powers to make controllable infested vehicles eventually.
So overall infested don't have as many uses for pilot as normal Terrans as it is a much more niche skill and is only really usable for infested Agents of the Swarm. For those characters though, they gain the full benefit of the skill as it was designed for Terran PC's. Thus for infested characters, pilot is a crucially important skill limited to a few characters that can possibly use it just like psionics for regular Terrans.
Now all of this is just my perspective on the matter, but I don't really feel that anything special needs to be done for pilot because the few characters who do use it gain the full benefits of the skill unlike the medicine skill in an infested party. However let us know if you still feel this is too limited a use for a core skill and we can keep the discussion rolling!
Both sound amazing, especially a very zerg like take on healing. I'm glad I was able to contribute to the brainstorming ideas and help improve your game!
While thinking about the ways you laid those out, an idea for pilot came to mind. As a branch off of either bruiser archetype or the zerg skill focus talents, have pilot be taken into account for charging, either dealing directly the ram natural attack or something similar, increasing speed only for charges or runs, and possibly adding damage based on amount of distance covered. Or as a alternative, have it modify the requirements for structural weakness and make it represent the "siege breaker" beast idea.
While I admit the first idea for the pilot skill was a stretch, another good one is a talent or mutation that allows for highjacking individuals by entering the body and taking over, psionicly or otherwise. Want to make the monkey suit jump? There's a Pilot check for that! Although I would hope something as mundane as jumping wouldn't require a check, the possibility is there. An obvious restriction with that would be you would need to be smaller then what you take over, and possibly another rank or different talent to be able to do the same to a non-biological victim. Of course, that might mean losing one's form to be able to seep into the machinery and control it. O the possibilities!
Ok, so I've been working on some of the new infested content for MoK, here's a couple of the new things inspired by this conversation:
Shock Spines I-II
Enhanced / Mastered
Requires: Level 5/18, Science 4/6, Computers 4/6
Tier 1 Description: You grow specialized organs that can generate and deliver precise electrical charges. You gain the sabotage and structural weakness talents. When you use sabotage on a construct you may choose to deactivate it instead of destroying it.
Tier 2 Description: You can deliver even stronger electrical bursts. You gain the sabotage II and Structural Weakness II talents. Your natural weapons and any explosions caused by sabotages gain the stun weapon trait.
Zerg Medicine Familiarity: Requires Medicine 6
You are familiar with the unique peculiarities of zerg physiology and have learned to alter the injuries of heavily wounded zerg to allow their regeneration to work more efficiently. As a standard action you may intentionally injure a friendly, willing zerg that has less than half of its full maximum hit points. You must succeed a DC: 15 medicine skill test and for the next minute the target’s regeneration increases by 2 + 1 for every 2 points you exceed the DC. The zerg takes 3 damage regardless of success or failure, plus 1 for each point of regeneration you grant it. If the target does not have enough hit points to survive this damage then you must reduce the regeneration boost to a survivable level. You must be holding a melee weapon with at least one penetration and the target must have more than 5 hit points remaining to perform this action.
Take a look and let us know what you think!
On a related note, in case none of the ideas are able to make it into the new book, what if you collected one-off ideas and placed them in a seperate book of houserules at the end?
Xhupi and I both really like your idea, Grymrock. We are starting our notes on our next supplement, Monsters of Koprulu. The 2nd edition of this resource will, obviously, have a huge zerg component. We will try to see if we can incorporate some of these ideas into it!
More for regular zerg actually, seeing how primal zerg have their evolution paths that make up for the loss of specialized skills and infested still have the pilot skill. In no way could I see a intelligent swarm zerg hopping into a vehicle, fiddling with levers and peddles and driving off. As much as it's the swarms normal tactic to just use mindless masses in their attack patterns, I can definitely see a smart swarm queen or Kerrigan herself wanting to try out a squad of intelligent free thinking operatives to spectacular effect.
As for fixes? I can see the idea of talents modifying how skills work being an attractive idea. Possibly modify the skills zerg just wont use, like medicine. Give it a talent that makes ranks in it increase regeneration, and maybe one or more that modify it, letting the character in turn increase regeneration in the area, or be able to selectively increase other zergs regeneration. Possibly give them a talent to be able to passively spread creep the longer they stay in one area, thus increasing regeneration.
Science would benefit if you brought back the variety of zerg poisons and allow it to modify DCs or possibly be able switch out the type of poison. Higher skill ranks or further talents unlock more types of poison to be able to switch to.
With computers, it could be a one off for smaller zerg to be able to fry electronics in the vicinity like an EMP with a talent, higher ranks equal higher electrical systems to fry. Low level just frying everyday computers and cameras, and highest levels frying military grade gear. Possibly restrict the number of times to be used based on rank or additional talents.
I could see a problem stemming from the cross between evolution powers and this, but its only an idea. A likely idea to help ease the difference is just sheer power level, always make the skill abilities weaker then the evolution powers.
As for the other unused skills for zerg, I don't see a way to use them that would seem a natural extension of the skill for the zerg.
Hey. It was a complicated decision. It originated from two core problems. The first is the weapon type zerg skills (brutality, projectile, and corrosive). They had an odd place with infested terran in particular. They would increase brutality, but then have no skill with terran melee weapons. They would increase corrosive or projectile, but could still not use terran guns because they had no pistol/rifle skill. With the condensing of weapon categories in the base game (pistol, rifle, etc down to just ranged), it seemed prudent to condense all weapon skills for simplicity's sake. At that point, half of the zerg skills had been removed and it seemed odd to just have Rush, Zoom, and Stamina remaining on their own.
The second issue was record sheets. Having so many specialty skills relating to the different races made it complicated to have a solid record sheet without having blank spaces for 'fill in' skills, or having a different character sheet for every race (which I did not want). I wanted every race to have the same skill list. Obviously, this is not perfect because the Command skill still exists (but that kind of replaces leadership for Zerg).
As you've seen, I've tried to replace the skills with the Zerg Skill Focus talent. But I see what you mean with number of skills that zerg have to use. And you can only take Zerg Skill Focus once. The easiest solution is to add more talents to compensate the weaknesses, possibly having a talent that allows Athletics to function as the Rush skill did before, and so on. This would also make it more attractive to put more skill points in skills you don't put as much ranks into. It would almost function like a secondary Zerg Skill Focus. But adding skills is tricky.
Are you more concerned for infested terrans or primal zerg? And what do you think would be a good solution?