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Author Topic: [Definitive] Sci Fi Space Opera - thoughts?  (Read 1711 times)
Locke
Member

Posts: 85


« on: February 22, 2010, 01:32:28 PM »

The premise is that 10,000 years from now the galaxy is ruled by humans.  Human factions have enslaved, subjugated, and  in some sectors driven xenomorphs to extinction.  You are an alien who is part of a wide spread resistance to fight back the humans and win freedom.

Nothing is bought everything is requisitioned by the resistance.  There are 6 classes: Marine, Commander, Noble, Scientist, Infiltrator, and Pilot.  Each class has 20-25 powers and can choose from 40 general powers.  A player gets to choose two classes.  The first grants them a primary equipment and power load out and the second allows them a simple power and the capability to choose powers from that classes' list.

There are two modes of play.  The first is standard party roleplay where characters have to sneak, steal, assassinate, investigate, scout to help the resistance's cause.  The second is in large scale combat.  The marine leads a squad of men, the pilot can transport the squads or can requisition a squadron of starcraft he commands, or the marine might also be a pilot and he can take his squad in his own transport.  The commander captains a starship such as a destroyer or light cruiser.  A marine might also be a commander and have access to a light cruiser which he uses to directly board another starship or he leaves and gives his bridge crew orders to provide cover fire for his transport.

I envision missions where a rebel starship is help captive along with the crew.  The party has to use their skills to break into a human facility to steal it and make an escape.  The first is standard party mechanics, and after they gain control of the craft the system would revert to large scale.

The idea is to put a space opera together using the best ideas and rules from dark heresy, shadowrun, rifts, and starwars.  But actually make it work, where these system mentioned have major lacking in balance, playability, or differentiation. 

any thoughts?

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Jeff Mechlinski
Dionysus
Member

Posts: 47


« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2010, 12:50:59 AM »

This is purely personal - but you did ask for thoughts.

Quote
Each class has 20-25 powers and can choose from 40 general powers.  A player gets to choose two classes.  The first grants them a primary equipment and power load out and the second allows them a simple power and the capability to choose powers from that classes' list.

That immediately turned me off and made me thing - why do I need them?

My first thought would be - everyone is competent at everything, but gets a bonus for 1 thing in local and 1 thing in large scale (depending on their class).

shrug - just the thought of looking through all those skills and working out which ones might or might not be best or useful is a horror. I hate the idea that a player might "gimp" themselves by choosing the wrong skills.
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Locke
Member

Posts: 85


« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2010, 03:32:11 PM »

Well there would be skills and powers.  powers would be similar to feats in DnD.  But instead of being told what you get, you get to choose them.  Skills will be formed based on the attributes of the character, so a agile character would be better at escaping handcuffs (nothing new here, kinda surprise u even mentioned it). 

The powers are there to give people the latitude to design the exact kind of character they want to have.  Most of the powers that are class based are not available to the other classes.  So each character will only have the choice between their primary, secondary class lists and the general class list.  The player should choose whats fun for them.  Also I can tailor each class list to be sure that the classes actually act different becuase of their abilities and avoid the Star Wars Saga and Dark heresy traps where all characters are extremely similar.  I believe that it is fun for players to build the character they want and actually use the abilities that they themselves chose and avoid the DnD 3.5 trap of having an ability but never being allowed to use it or having it so weak it never works.   

To answer your question why would I need them...  IT's FUN!  It essentially allows the players to tailor the character the way they want.  In DnD 3.5 you do this by prestige and multiclass and addendum to addendum.  Because of the stringent system of prereqs players always have to choose the same paths to get what they want.  If you just use the player's handbook, then its very possible to have extremely similar characters or one class is clearly superior to another (DRUID!). If you open the system up and balance the powers (through testing) than there's more balance and everyone gets to make exactly what they want to play.   Also you can guarantee no two characters will be similar yet even the same.

I think the idea of making a "gimped" character is more a powergamer's idea.  Most games I play in the GM allows the players to rebuild the characters to get used to play style or the system.  What works as a uber character in one campaign might be gimped in another based on how the GM runs.  Therefore, I believe that the possibility of having a gimped character is generally mute.  Also this system is leaps and bounds much more simple than shadowrun (or similar) for character creation (which almost needs a program to help build).  Weaker party members means that the GM plays weaker monsters.  Its not the GM vs the Party.

Is the thought of having to read through all those skills (i think u mean powers) trying to min max (I assume that's what you mean) a personal thing or have you seen it not be appealing to others.  What types of system do you enjoy that allow you to make a character you want w/o the feel of the character being gimped?  Have you has this discussions with others where they might talk about too complicated of a character development?

Thanks for the feed back.  Other thoughts?


This is purely personal - but you did ask for thoughts.

Quote
Each class has 20-25 powers and can choose from 40 general powers.  A player gets to choose two classes.  The first grants them a primary equipment and power load out and the second allows them a simple power and the capability to choose powers from that classes' list.

That immediately turned me off and made me thing - why do I need them?

My first thought would be - everyone is competent at everything, but gets a bonus for 1 thing in local and 1 thing in large scale (depending on their class).

shrug - just the thought of looking through all those skills and working out which ones might or might not be best or useful is a horror. I hate the idea that a player might "gimp" themselves by choosing the wrong skills.
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Check out my game Age Past, unique rolling system, in Beta now.  Tell me what you think!
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Thanks!
Jeff Mechlinski
stefoid
Member

Posts: 319


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« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2010, 08:58:32 PM »

This is purely personal - but you did ask for thoughts.

Quote
Each class has 20-25 powers and can choose from 40 general powers.  A player gets to choose two classes.  The first grants them a primary equipment and power load out and the second allows them a simple power and the capability to choose powers from that classes' list.

That immediately turned me off and made me thing - why do I need them?

My first thought would be - everyone is competent at everything, but gets a bonus for 1 thing in local and 1 thing in large scale (depending on their class).

shrug - just the thought of looking through all those skills and working out which ones might or might not be best or useful is a horror. I hate the idea that a player might "gimp" themselves by choosing the wrong skills.

yeah, but obviously this is a gamist game, right?  I mean there is a squad-tactical part where the characters involve themselves in various squad level combats and related shenanigans, and there is the grander strategic mode of play where they command larger numbers of NPCs and spaceships and the like.

So everyone being good at everything except for a couple of bumps gives the players almost no tactical/strategic chocies to make in devleoping their character.  For this type of game that would be ultra-meh.
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stefoid
Member

Posts: 319


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« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2010, 09:15:33 PM »

Locke, I think your point of difference is the introduction of large scale tactical stuff - care to elaborate on how that might work?

It also underlines the point that the 'small scale' tactical stuff is also based around tactics but on an individual/squad level.  Maybe you could make another point of difference there?  Like instead of skills that define, for instance, whether you hit or miss something, raise the level of abstraction up a notch and make it a little bit more task-oriented.  Not task as in 'why am I having this fight', but what am I trying to accomplish - right now- by firing my weapon or moving in a particular way.

So you could develop your characters skills at performing various tactics, relegating simple proficiency to a base factor that has less significant effect on overall success.

example:  fred merc has gun proficiency:   5
but he has the following tactics:
supressive fire  5
make cover 8
snipe 3
manouver  7

etc....

and you add a basic proficiency to a tactic in order to do something, and it is opposed similarly by a basic proficiency and tactic.

i.e. character A lays down supressive fire, and character B tries to advance to a different position.  one rolls gun + suppressive fire vs.  basic agility + maneuver.
example 2:  character A tries to snipe (shoot dead) character B who is behind cover.  roll basic gun proficiency + snipe vs    basic armor + make cover.


This basic system would upscale to grand strategic combat where the base proficiency is replaced by whatever the character is controlling, but she would still add her tactical skill on top.  i.e. a big arse spaceship would have a higher base proficiency than a scout ship.
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Locke
Member

Posts: 85


« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2010, 10:17:37 PM »

Stefoid,  thanks for the response.

I don't feel that all characters would be good at everything.  Each class would produce a character to be good at one thing and maybe a quarter of another.  I wouldn't make a game where the character's would all be good at the same thing like dark heresy or star wars saga.

Part of the problem with space games is that it is very hard for the players to feel they are participating in the battle from a grand scheme.  They are heroes after all.  The two modes of play would be:

1.  Very typical party roleplaying.  One person controls one character.  There is teamwork synergy that ensues from all being within 100m of each other.
Ex.  the group comes together to break into a lab and escape with the formula.

2.  large scale battles where there is an objective to meet and the characters lead groups or squads of others.
Ex.  A battle group lead by a battleship is blocking trade routes and starving a system of a billion people.  The party is working with a strikeforce to help bring the battlegroup down.  They can form a plan and choose how they will attack and advance.

For large scale combat the rules will be simplified.  A marine squad storming a frigate would be able to take it over easily, but what strategic value is a frigate? But if the party works together maybe a squad takes it over, then a hacker overloads the reactor and now you have one heck of an armored missile  while the infiltrator deactivates port side flack guns.  Then the commander could break through a blockade and take hits to fire into the damaged battleship hoping to destroy it before having to abandon his own ship.  The GM would look at the plan and execution and determine the outcome if the group fled or the strikeforce was defeated.  It would take simplified ruleset to make this happen since there are theoretically thousands of people on each side.

I like your example.  That's exactly the kinda thing i want in the system.  Would you mind saying where the problem with meh is?  I'm not understanding.
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Thanks!
Jeff Mechlinski
stefoid
Member

Posts: 319


WWW
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2010, 01:25:47 AM »



I like your example.  That's exactly the kinda thing i want in the system.  Would you mind saying where the problem with meh is?  I'm not understanding.

I meant that the type of game you are proposing needs to offer the player many options to create and develop their character.     Making 'everyone good at everything' is the opposite of that.
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Dionysus
Member

Posts: 47


« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2010, 03:20:26 AM »

I believe that it is fun for players to build the character they want and actually use the abilities that they themselves chose and avoid the DnD 3.5 trap of having an ability but never being allowed to use it or having it so weak it never works.   
agreed - i like a fun ability, but balance of those abilities is, as you so well pointed out, pretty key.

Quote
I think the idea of making a "gimped" character is more a powergamer's idea.  Most games I play in the GM allows the players to rebuild the characters to get used to play style or the system.  What works as a uber character in one campaign might be gimped in another based on how the GM runs.  Therefore, I believe that the possibility of having a gimped character is generally mute.  Also this system is leaps and bounds much more simple than shadowrun (or similar) for character creation (which almost needs a program to help build).  Weaker party members means that the GM plays weaker monsters.  Its not the GM vs the Party.

Here i have to disagree, mainly because i didn't make myself clear and we have a different assumption.
When you make a character - you (generic you) have an idea of "this guy does X" or have a particular type of scene in your head that you want to achieve for the character - you then go and fill out the char sheet (and pick abilities etc). When I say "gimped" i mean "This character is not performing as I imagined him". ie - when the player makes the character do things, the player gets dismayed at the failures of the character. When I choose to make a manipulative bastard character by focusing on social abilities, when the character get beaten up in a fist fight he incited, it is not a failure - my character incited a fist fight with only his words!. But if I make a "manipulative bastard" character, and I cant even convince a kid to eat a candy - then I'd feel gimped and useless.

Quote
Is the thought of having to read through all those skills (i think u mean powers) trying to min max (I assume that's what you mean) a personal thing or have you seen it not be appealing to others.  What types of system do you enjoy that allow you to make a character you want w/o the feel of the character being gimped?  Have you has this discussions with others where they might talk about too complicated of a character development?

Nope, I've seen this a few times, it happens especially when there are lots of abilities - Spirit of the century was bad, so is Exalted, so are a lot of magic using classes where you pick spells (shadowrun, etc). When presented with too many options we fall into "choice paralysis" and spend more and more time agonising over the differences in choices. A few well chosen powerful abilities is a much better option that a multitude of possible abilities and the synergy between them.

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Locke
Member

Posts: 85


« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2010, 08:41:26 AM »

Thanks for the comments.  i agree that exalted is bad but not b/c of the choices themselves.  it throws the choices into a prereq tree that causes a paralysis effect.  Getting more abilities is difficult.  The trees do tree things:
1. force people to min max to be sure they are using their choice efficiently
2. force characters to take the same abilities and this is in due partly to 3  ie. all rangers are the same all swordsman are the same...
3. the powers are unbalanced as everything effectively take one slot

But what about an open system?  SO for example in my system the Noble has a choice of about 20 powers. 
- about 1/2 of these are swashbucking powers, and half are social powers. 
- These powers enhance skills or provide a special combat effect. 
- These powers are all priced from 3 points to 6 points (to help balance the system). 
- the player gets one or two powers for free that makes the noble good at his job w/o taking anything else
- the player has 16 points to buy anything they want from the power list, there are no prereqs
- example: the diplomat power allows the character to spend three mana to re-roll a charisma based skill.
- during character creation the player is also guided to make the noble more swashbuckling and social to begin with.
- the system isn't completely open as the characters of a class will start 75% to the same character BEFORE getting flavor, ie all marines will start 75% similar
- The powers act as flavor to give the characters a chance to specialize in something they are already good at, ie the scientist is the only one what can become a medical doctor and perform better healing, any character can become a medic for basic healing

Maybe i can send you a PDF for you to look at and you can make a character to see if you feel its a problem.  B/c w/o you seeing the system and w/o an attempt its hard for us both to really understand.

thanks!
other feedback is appreciated.

I believe that it is fun for players to build the character they want and actually use the abilities that they themselves chose and avoid the DnD 3.5 trap of having an ability but never being allowed to use it or having it so weak it never works.   
agreed - i like a fun ability, but balance of those abilities is, as you so well pointed out, pretty key.

Quote
I think the idea of making a "gimped" character is more a powergamer's idea.  Most games I play in the GM allows the players to rebuild the characters to get used to play style or the system.  What works as a uber character in one campaign might be gimped in another based on how the GM runs.  Therefore, I believe that the possibility of having a gimped character is generally mute.  Also this system is leaps and bounds much more simple than shadowrun (or similar) for character creation (which almost needs a program to help build).  Weaker party members means that the GM plays weaker monsters.  Its not the GM vs the Party.

Here i have to disagree, mainly because i didn't make myself clear and we have a different assumption.
When you make a character - you (generic you) have an idea of "this guy does X" or have a particular type of scene in your head that you want to achieve for the character - you then go and fill out the char sheet (and pick abilities etc). When I say "gimped" i mean "This character is not performing as I imagined him". ie - when the player makes the character do things, the player gets dismayed at the failures of the character. When I choose to make a manipulative bastard character by focusing on social abilities, when the character get beaten up in a fist fight he incited, it is not a failure - my character incited a fist fight with only his words!. But if I make a "manipulative bastard" character, and I cant even convince a kid to eat a candy - then I'd feel gimped and useless.

Quote
Is the thought of having to read through all those skills (i think u mean powers) trying to min max (I assume that's what you mean) a personal thing or have you seen it not be appealing to others.  What types of system do you enjoy that allow you to make a character you want w/o the feel of the character being gimped?  Have you has this discussions with others where they might talk about too complicated of a character development?

Nope, I've seen this a few times, it happens especially when there are lots of abilities - Spirit of the century was bad, so is Exalted, so are a lot of magic using classes where you pick spells (shadowrun, etc). When presented with too many options we fall into "choice paralysis" and spend more and more time agonising over the differences in choices. A few well chosen powerful abilities is a much better option that a multitude of possible abilities and the synergy between them.


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Check out my game Age Past, unique rolling system, in Beta now.  Tell me what you think!
https://docs.google.com/fileview?id=0B-7APna9ZhHEZmRhNmFmODktOTgxNy00NDllLTk0MjgtMjI4YzJlN2MyNmEw&hl=en

Thanks!
Jeff Mechlinski
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