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Title: Sci-Fi RPG Concept
Post by: zakueins on July 24, 2007, 09:16:05 PM
I've been working on a concept that's been banging around my head for a while.

Some notes in no particular order-
*The game is "Traveller Lite"-the political blocs that would be represented in whole sectors are in the worlds.
*The game universe is after a "collapse" of a major empire into two major and five minor power blocs.
*Starship design and combat is very "anime-esque", with the understanding that spaceships don't go "swoosh", no fighters, ships look like ships, and battles both in Four Space (the FTL space ships use) and in normal space.  If you've ever seen the "Crest of the Stars" series, you have a good idea of what the combat looks like.
*The technology is "hard but flexible"-the rules of realistic science exist, but if we cheat (i.e. anti-gravity, reactionless drives, etc), there will be firm rules in place.
*The political era resembes the late-19th century, with enough "frontiers" to give players the chance to play all sorts of Chindit wars all over the place.
*NO sentient aliens.  Period.  Their place is taken by bioroids and chimeras (human/bioroid hybrids), that have a very, very small nanomachine factory in them (they were built to be the self-repair system of STL starships)-bioroids tend to be more flexible in their abilities, chimeras have more endurance on average.  Essentially, this is the game "magic" system, but with serious rules.

I'm working on a game system for it, and I'm also thinking about adapting it for GURPS 4th.  Comments, questions, complaints?


Title: Re: Sci-Fi RPG Concept
Post by: Chris_Chinn on July 25, 2007, 12:08:17 AM
Hi,

What is it that you feel GURPS does that really works well for this game?  What do you feel GURPS doesn't do well that would make you want to do your own system?

You've mentioned a lot of neat setting stuff- what do you see players having their characters do?  Are they making political deals, having space combat, personal drama?  Is there any focus or specific thing PCs ought to be doing?  Does the setting stuff specifically push for that, or not?

Chris


Title: Re: Sci-Fi RPG Concept
Post by: zakueins on July 25, 2007, 07:14:19 PM
What GURPS doesn't do well that I'm looking for is a level of the dramatic without relying upon house rules.  I'm thinking of the rules for Burning Wheel and Tenra Bashro Zero (sp?), where you get the ability to boost things by previous dramatic act in the previous scene.  I want to have players to be able to go for "dramatic" from the level of "gritty film" to "swashbuckling epic", giving players a chance to do wild things and get rewarded for it.

Thinking of some ideas for the game engine, not quite "universal" but more able to be easily adapted.

Player roles?  I'm thinking that, like Traveller, the game universe can have "epic battleship warfare" to "Free Trader-The Spreadsheet" gaming.  You could do a game where you never leave a major planet, just playing the Game Of Thrones.

Hi,

What is it that you feel GURPS does that really works well for this game?  What do you feel GURPS doesn't do well that would make you want to do your own system?

You've mentioned a lot of neat setting stuff- what do you see players having their characters do?  Are they making political deals, having space combat, personal drama?  Is there any focus or specific thing PCs ought to be doing?  Does the setting stuff specifically push for that, or not?

Chris


Title: Re: Sci-Fi RPG Concept
Post by: Chris_Chinn on July 25, 2007, 10:18:13 PM
Hi,

You mentioned maybe adapting it for GURPS- was there anything good GURPS -does- do that made you consider it?

Also, have you checked out The Pool?  It's a genreless game that does encompass anything from gritty film to swashbuckling and has a lot of room for options.   Plus it's free online.  It might give you some ideas to work with.

Since you mentioned like Traveller, there's a lot of room for "What the game is about" are you giving any rules or guidelines to help a group orient themselves to picking the kind of adventures they want to play, or leaving that completely blank?

Chris


Title: Re: Sci-Fi RPG Concept
Post by: zakueins on July 26, 2007, 06:02:04 AM
Well, GURPS isn't D20, and that's two points in it's favor. :)

I plan to include a few campaign seed ideas, and if the game takes off, I'll make sure there are suppliments for additional details, including a mass ship combat system and how you could run Free Trader-The Spreadsheet and still keep your immortal soul.

Hi,

You mentioned maybe adapting it for GURPS- was there anything good GURPS -does- do that made you consider it?

Also, have you checked out The Pool?  It's a genreless game that does encompass anything from gritty film to swashbuckling and has a lot of room for options.   Plus it's free online.  It might give you some ideas to work with.

Since you mentioned like Traveller, there's a lot of room for "What the game is about" are you giving any rules or guidelines to help a group orient themselves to picking the kind of adventures they want to play, or leaving that completely blank?

Chris


Title: Re: Sci-Fi RPG Concept
Post by: Chris_Chinn on July 26, 2007, 09:52:20 AM
Hi,

Well, -not D20- is a -lot- of games =)  So is it that there's nothing specifically -good- about GURPS for the game idea you have in mind and it's a placeholder because it's not D20?

Aside from being able to reward dramatic and over the top action, is there anything else you want to do with your game?  Have you played any games that reward those things previously?

With just those two constraints, I could say games worth looking at for ideas include anything from Wushu, Exalted, octaNe, Inspectres, Iron Heroes, Riddle of Steel, The Shadow of Yesterday, Primetime Adventures, The Pool and Covenant, just to name a few off the top of my head.   Which all reward either dramatic, over the top, or both, and do so way better than GURPs.  Burning Empires may also be worth checking out, as it combines both rewarding drama and  has crunchy sci-fi resource rules.

Chris


Title: Re: Sci-Fi RPG Concept
Post by: zakueins on July 26, 2007, 03:38:02 PM
I have Burning Empires, and I like how it handles some things, but I want more "crunch" to things-the difference between a Marathon Serpentine-class light cruiser and a Drakunta Victorious Fist-class light cruiser should be noticeable (1), or why you use a bead rifle over a laser rifle in most planetary enviroments (2). 

What do I want to simulate?  I want to reward players that do more than just say, "I shoot him."  That player, I can do without.  I want the player that says, "We'll use a flanking attack-Mark, get up to the roof and cover us with the sniper rifle, while we try and sweep and clear..." is what I want. 

If I had to choose, hands down, a system right now, it would be a tie between GURPS and Exalted (GURPS has the crunch I want, Exalted has the ability to be dramatic as I might need, but the characters are wuxia-dramatic, at best I want "war movie" or "well written novel" dramatic).  The system I'm working on rewards drama and building characters that are dramatic.  And, I'm doing something evil with dice pools... :D

(1)-The difference?  Marathon lavishes money on their warships that other nations spend on palaces for the current junta ruler.  While the Victorious Fist-class is tough and has a good close-in weapons fit, the Serpentine-class mounts a good weapons fit for medium range engagements, has great acceleration and agility in both normal and FourSpace, and mounts decent shields for her rate.  Of course, you can buy two Victorious Fists for one Serpentine, but cost isn't everything.
(2)-Mostly reliability and range, since lasers are UV-wavelength weapons.  Both do use the same size of powerpack, after all (C-sized).

Hi,

Well, -not D20- is a -lot- of games =)  So is it that there's nothing specifically -good- about GURPS for the game idea you have in mind and it's a placeholder because it's not D20?

Aside from being able to reward dramatic and over the top action, is there anything else you want to do with your game?  Have you played any games that reward those things previously?

With just those two constraints, I could say games worth looking at for ideas include anything from Wushu, Exalted, octaNe, Inspectres, Iron Heroes, Riddle of Steel, The Shadow of Yesterday, Primetime Adventures, The Pool and Covenant, just to name a few off the top of my head.   Which all reward either dramatic, over the top, or both, and do so way better than GURPs.  Burning Empires may also be worth checking out, as it combines both rewarding drama and  has crunchy sci-fi resource rules.

Chris


Title: Re: Sci-Fi RPG Concept
Post by: zakueins on July 28, 2007, 08:15:28 PM
One of the concepts that I'm working on for the game system is an idea I've had for a while-dice pool vs. dice pool for resolution.

Here's how it would work-

Your character has a stat (which is a bit abstract, representing a "area" of competence within the stat), and a skill (which is how many dice your roll). Your enemy either has a straight difficulty (for mooks(1)), or their own stat+skill, with inanimate objects having a dice pool of it's own (i.e. picking a lock is a 2D8 pool). 

You roll your dice, and the GM rolls his dice.  Let's use the 2D8 lockpicking as our basis.  Lockpicking is a subset of Security Systems, which is a Soul skill.  The player bought Lockpicking as a subskill and is considered Expert, so he has four dice (three for Expert, one for having Lockpicking as a subskill).  His Dex stat (Dexterity is a subset of the Soul stat) is D8.  So, vs. the 2D8 lock is his 4D8 dice pool.  The player rolls a 3, 5, 2, and 1.  The lock rolled a 3 and a 4.  The 1 is immediately discarded (if he rolled all ones, it would have been a fumble-(if the lock's pool dice total came up odd, it would be an "embarrasing" failure (i.e. the player gets his lockpicks jammed and has to try again), if the pool came up even it would be a "catastrophic" failure(i.e. the player breaks a lockpick, which adds a die to the next attempt), if both sides rolled fumbles it would be a critical fumble-the player does something that is very bad, and prevents the lock from ever be opening via lockpicking ever again), and the threes on both sides are eliminated.  The player's total is seven, and the lock's total is four, so the player has three successes-he picks the lock with some level of ease.

The stats break down into six major stats, which get broken down into five groupings for stats.  Skills get broken up for the five groupings, and there are six figured stats based upon the major stats.

(1)-Mooks in the game are resolved as if they were one "creature" with a number of "bodies"-every time you score a certain amount of damage, you lose a creature. 


Title: Re: Sci-Fi RPG Concept
Post by: Chris_Chinn on July 28, 2007, 10:06:06 PM
Hi,

I guess for dice pools or skill checks to make any sense, or for anyone to really be able to give any useful input, we need to know more about what you're trying to do with the system overall... it's kind of like asking if the color red is a good choice without context to what is being talked about.

So you want things to be dramatic, right?  What do you have in mind and how would that interface with the general skill check system?

For example:
a) Do players have some kind of "Hero Points" or something to boost a roll?  (can they spend it after rolling, or only before?) (how would they earn these points, or get them in the first place?)
b) Do players get a bonus of some sort if it's dramatically appropriate?  How is this decided?  (GM says, you have a "Love +2D8" rating that gets added on when you fight to protect the one you love? What?)
c) Do players have some other kind of options to set up dramatic bonuses?  Like stunt dice? (Who determines how many dice for a given stunt? etc.)
d) Do victories (or even losses) from previous rolls carry over and create some kind of bonus for current rolls?
e) Who gets to narrate success?  Who gets to narrate failure?  Can that change?

The individual specifics of the dice are kind of secondary until we nail down what kinds of choices you want for the people playing and what kinds of results you're looking for the skill checks to provide.

Chris


Title: Re: Sci-Fi RPG Concept
Post by: zakueins on July 28, 2007, 11:22:55 PM
To answer your questions in no particular order except the one you put it in-

1)There is!  Actually, three of 'em.  Since the basic form of the system uses poker chips, I'm using colored chips as my standard.  White chips let you reroll a dice, force an enemy to reroll a dice, or use it to prevent damage by "paying off" some of the damage.  You can convert four chips into a blue chip at the end of a scene ("a scene" is defined as when players shift from non-combat to combat or vice versa, or the end of a gaming session), and these let you buy an additional die for skill rolls, lets you take off a die for an enemy's skill roll, resolve a genus conflict, and/or turn a die for either friend or foe up or down one point.  You can buy with five blue chips a red chip-you can buy or pay off a critical die (the maximum amount on a die), or when it comes time to buy up a stat, you can use it to pay for a D20 stat if you're up a D12.

2)How do you get chips?  Entertaining the players and/or the GM.  Yes, you can get a white chip for a "oh my GOD!, you blew soda out of my nose with that pun!".  Players can use chips cheerfully to their heart's abandon, GMs can use their chips for henchmen (which can use only white chips), minions (white and blue) and the Big Bad aka Campaign Master Villain (white, red, and blue).  Also, if you roll a successful use of your genus (see #3), you can get a chip.  The pool is a single "tray" of chips, so this portion of the game is zero-sum.

3)We have another factor in the game called "Genus", with two kinds of Genus-personal and campaign.  Each player has three personal genus, think of them as "bumper sticker character personalities".  My favorite example of personal genus is Malcolm Reynolds (aka Mal) from Firefly.  His personal Genus can be broken down to "protect my crew", "tick off people that exploit other people", "keep my ship flying".  If the player invokes something that allows them to fufill a personal genus (somebody's hijacking the ship, and Mal has to shoot a guy in the head before he pops the airlock open), he can add a die to his attack.  If there's a conflict, a player can either choose to spend a blue chip per conflict, or he cannot use his genus to build up additional dice for an action.  If he disregards his genus totally, he could lose chips.

Campaign genus can be thought of the over-arching metaplot of the game.  A good campaign genus is from Lord of the Rings, which is "do what it takes to destroy the on true ring".  If Aragon got into a bar fight just to get into a bar fight, he couldn't use any genus dice from the campaign.  However, if he got into a bar fight to cover Frodo's escape, he could use campaign genus for combat.  Going against the campaign genus is bad...as Boromir can tell you.

Hi,

I guess for dice pools or skill checks to make any sense, or for anyone to really be able to give any useful input, we need to know more about what you're trying to do with the system overall... it's kind of like asking if the color red is a good choice without context to what is being talked about.

So you want things to be dramatic, right?  What do you have in mind and how would that interface with the general skill check system?

For example:
a) Do players have some kind of "Hero Points" or something to boost a roll?  (can they spend it after rolling, or only before?) (how would they earn these points, or get them in the first place?)
b) Do players get a bonus of some sort if it's dramatically appropriate?  How is this decided?  (GM says, you have a "Love +2D8" rating that gets added on when you fight to protect the one you love? What?)
c) Do players have some other kind of options to set up dramatic bonuses?  Like stunt dice? (Who determines how many dice for a given stunt? etc.)
d) Do victories (or even losses) from previous rolls carry over and create some kind of bonus for current rolls?
e) Who gets to narrate success?  Who gets to narrate failure?  Can that change?

The individual specifics of the dice are kind of secondary until we nail down what kinds of choices you want for the people playing and what kinds of results you're looking for the skill checks to provide.

Chris


Title: Re: Sci-Fi RPG Concept
Post by: Chris_Chinn on July 29, 2007, 08:50:18 AM
Wow,

Now I'm really interested!  I'm not seeing how GURPS could have done any of this concept justice at all...

Let me know when you have a solid draft, it sounds really interesting.

Chris


Title: Re: Sci-Fi RPG Concept
Post by: zakueins on July 29, 2007, 04:00:34 PM
I'm working on it now.  It's squeezed between work, a bit of life, and soon enough school.  As soon as I have a solid version, will post a PDF of it somewhere.

Wow,

Now I'm really interested!  I'm not seeing how GURPS could have done any of this concept justice at all...

Let me know when you have a solid draft, it sounds really interesting.

Chris


Title: Re: Sci-Fi RPG Concept
Post by: zakueins on August 16, 2007, 09:55:05 PM
A rough list of Advantages and Disadvantages in the rule set I'm working on.  Will add a bit more detail later.  Anything that has two items to it marks an item that can either be advantage or disadvantage.

   Advantage (Social, Physical, Mental)/Disadvantage
   Armor
   Ally/Enemy
   Anonimity/Publicity
   Assistance/Bane
   Boon/Mark
   Calling
   Contact
   Dependent
   Follower
   Favor
   Friend/Foe
   Funding/Marker
   Giri
   Henchmen
   Hospitality (Type)
   Informant
   License To (do something)
   Minion/Foe
   Money/Debt
   Patron/Nemesis
   Obligation
   Rank (social, political, religious, military)
   Signature Item(major, minor)
   Ship-Owner
   Time-Sensitive
   Unknown/Infamous
   Unique Item (major, minor)


Title: Re: Sci-Fi RPG Concept
Post by: contracycle on August 17, 2007, 03:19:32 AM
I'm working on a game system for it, and I'm also thinking about adapting it for GURPS 4th.  Comments, questions, complaints?

Given your list of requirements, you should check out Jovian Chronicles by Dreampod 9, which seems to me to match every one of your themes: http://www.dp9.com/Worlds/jc.htm

I don't think it will do the kind of systems things that you are looking at, but it may well be that you could write a system for use in the JC setting, if all you are aiming at is a game at home.  If you are planning to produce a product, then you should be aware that JC is your direct competitor.


Title: Re: Sci-Fi RPG Concept
Post by: zakueins on August 17, 2007, 03:22:27 PM
This game is different enough from Jovian Chronicles (which, AFAIK, is in that lovely nebuous zone of "we're still making it, kinda...until the fan base dies") that the market for it exists.  I've had some issues with the current managment of DP9, not the least of which is that they haven't advanced the Heavy Gear metaplot in about 4+ years.

Hell, the market for a good sci-fi space opera game exists, as long as it is written well and done well.  I'm aiming for that with this project.

I'm working on a game system for it, and I'm also thinking about adapting it for GURPS 4th.  Comments, questions, complaints?

Given your list of requirements, you should check out Jovian Chronicles by Dreampod 9, which seems to me to match every one of your themes: http://www.dp9.com/Worlds/jc.htm

I don't think it will do the kind of systems things that you are looking at, but it may well be that you could write a system for use in the JC setting, if all you are aiming at is a game at home.  If you are planning to produce a product, then you should be aware that JC is your direct competitor.


Title: Re: Sci-Fi RPG Concept
Post by: Adam Riemenschneider on August 19, 2007, 02:24:22 PM
Hi!

I'll be the first to admit I don't know much about Theory (yet), but I humbly regurgitate (sp?) the following advice...

Any special mechanics/rules you make up, that deviate from the normal rolls your game can call for, tells you what areas of the game are *important.* For example, nearly every game out there has a special rules section for Combat. This tells you that the game designer expected that Combat was important enough a concept in the game that it needed it's own bloody section.

So, not only should you look to make sure your basic mechanic systems follow your goals (dramatic situations described in detail, and dramatic characters), but you'll want to think long and hard about what types of resolution will deserve their own special sections in your game.

If you want political intrigue to play heavily, write up a section of special rules on it. Same for your starship encounters (macro space combat), tech-specific problem solving, etc.

Sounds like you've got a pretty interesting idea cooking up here. Keep it up!


Title: Re: Sci-Fi RPG Concept
Post by: Vulpinoid on August 19, 2007, 04:51:34 PM
Quick suggestion.

The setting you're describing, and the concept of minor/major merits and flaws.

Why re-invent the wheel?

Just play "Serenity" but devise your own setting for it.

It's got the frontiers, it's got the human only sci-fi setting, it's got limited psychic powers which could be used to reflect more unusual aspects of the nanotechnology described.

Just an idea.

V



Title: Re: Sci-Fi RPG Concept
Post by: zakueins on August 19, 2007, 07:16:52 PM
So far...the only different set of rules will be for vehicle/starship combat, and that's to have a more "depth" to the rules (and to handle things that go bang).  The combat rules handle any sort of conflict, from social to shooting somebody-the only difference is how the damage is taken and a few other things. 

Oh, there might be more...but I want to have the rules with a highest level of commonality with each other as possible.

Hi!

I'll be the first to admit I don't know much about Theory (yet), but I humbly regurgitate (sp?) the following advice...

Any special mechanics/rules you make up, that deviate from the normal rolls your game can call for, tells you what areas of the game are *important.* For example, nearly every game out there has a special rules section for Combat. This tells you that the game designer expected that Combat was important enough a concept in the game that it needed it's own bloody section.

So, not only should you look to make sure your basic mechanic systems follow your goals (dramatic situations described in detail, and dramatic characters), but you'll want to think long and hard about what types of resolution will deserve their own special sections in your game.

If you want political intrigue to play heavily, write up a section of special rules on it. Same for your starship encounters (macro space combat), tech-specific problem solving, etc.

Sounds like you've got a pretty interesting idea cooking up here. Keep it up!


Title: Re: Sci-Fi RPG Concept
Post by: brainwipe on August 22, 2007, 06:16:48 AM
As for background, be careful how you specify the technology. It is very easy to end up with a setting that isn't believable because you can do X and not Y. Having reasons in place is a good idea, rather than saying "It just is". When players try and make their own technology (and they will), the GM will need a nice firm base on which to say yes and no.

Just something I found with Icar (http://www.icar.co.uk).


Title: Re: Sci-Fi RPG Concept
Post by: zakueins on August 23, 2007, 09:33:18 PM
Thanks!  I know, I'm being careful about the tech...

As for background, be careful how you specify the technology. It is very easy to end up with a setting that isn't believable because you can do X and not Y. Having reasons in place is a good idea, rather than saying "It just is". When players try and make their own technology (and they will), the GM will need a nice firm base on which to say yes and no.

Just something I found with Icar (http://www.icar.co.uk).


Title: Re: Sci-Fi RPG Concept
Post by: zakueins on September 07, 2007, 07:11:37 PM
Just some info to keep myself interested...

Armor-This counts as anything from natural armor to a general sort of "I'm too busy to bleed" toughness.  Players whom buy armor can use it to reduce damage that gets through other protection before it does HP damage.
Calling-A Calling is a invocation or a kind of "destiny" that binds a character to a power greater than themselves. Priests have a Calling, mages in some settings have a Calling.  The rating of the Calling is based upon what levels of power a player can draw from a Calling, and what obligations the player has to maintain the Calling-it is entirely possible for a Calling to be a disadvantage.
Funding/Marker-The player either has a source of cash or material resources, or owes somebody a significant debt that has to be paid off on a regular basis.  The rating indicates what they can afford to pay-or what they owe.

A rough list of Advantages and Disadvantages in the rule set I'm working on.  Will add a bit more detail later.  Anything that has two items to it marks an item that can either be advantage or disadvantage.

   Advantage (Social, Physical, Mental)/Disadvantage
   Armor
   Ally/Enemy
   Anonimity/Publicity
   Assistance/Bane
   Boon/Mark
   Calling
   Contact
   Dependent
   Follower
   Favor
   Friend/Foe
   Funding/Marker
   Giri
   Henchmen
   Hospitality (Type)
   Informant
   License To (do something)
   Minion/Foe
   Money/Debt
   Patron/Nemesis
   Obligation
   Rank (social, political, religious, military)
   Signature Item(major, minor)
   Ship-Owner
   Time-Sensitive
   Unknown/Infamous
   Unique Item (major, minor)