*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
November 24, 2014, 05:50:45 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 84 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: Converting to Scattershot Science Fantasy  (Read 8429 times)
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« on: September 23, 2002, 12:58:12 PM »

Can I get an order of Traveller, please? And can you have it ready by Thursday night? Scattershot will replace GURPS, which I'm currently using.

Mike
Logged

Member of Indie Netgaming
-Get your indie game fix online.
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2002, 01:21:28 PM »

Quote from: Le Joueur
Long answer, given my continuous reference to our production speed, I'm guessing the "Thursday night" stuff is in humor.  
Indeed, I didn't say which Thursaday night, now did I. Any would be good. But the more I use GURPS with them, the harder the transition may be (or, who knows, maybe easier :-)  ). The sooner the better, is what I was trying to get at.

Quote
I've played a little Traveller and even less Mega Traveller [sp], but the only product I own is the 1983 Starter Set Boxed Edition. Still, I find space opera an intriguing genre, unfortunately Traveller, as written, is built to support some pretty far flung variations.
Go with the set you have. That's the period we're playing in. In any case, they all have a similar feeling. Yes, Space Opera, but slightly hard edged. Just enough to feel hard at times. Lots of aliens. Men in rubber suits, to an extent, but with enough depth to keep people guessing. Technology very advanced, but not all that out there, really, with the important exception of the FTL jump drive, obviously.

Let's see. Looking at your article, the central concept is, well, Travellers. That is, those people in an interstellar society who don't stay at home on a single system. They roam about the galaxy each with his own reason. But in the end it's about curiosity and exploration. Why stay at home when you can see the universe? Even if it's not the easiest life.

The motif is high technology and it's application as the Travellers explore. GenEx's include flying starships and other vehicles to exotic and dangerous locales, using weapons (often with disasterous results), communications via technology (including inter-species and AI), ordering around robots, applying advanced medicine, conducting business with such technologies, weilding psionics (less prevalently) and at times the lack of these technologies.

Specific questions? That is about as well as I can describe it.

Mike
Logged

Member of Indie Netgaming
-Get your indie game fix online.
Le Joueur
Member

Posts: 1367


WWW
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2002, 10:52:06 AM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Can I get an order of Traveller, please? And can you have it ready by Thursday night? Scattershot will replace GURPS, which I'm currently using.  ...the more I use GURPS with them, the harder the transition may be (or, who knows, maybe easier :-) ). The sooner the better, is what I was trying to get at.

A conversion?  I think I can sketch out the basics right here.  An in-depth GenEx will have to wait until we choose which one to do.

Let's start with the basics and Mechanix.

Ratings

Simple enough to transfer, Scattershot uses a 2 ten-sided dice scheme (skewed by Experience Dice) so the probability graph is a smooth sigmoid.  Here are a couple of examples:
Code:
Sshot  %     d20    3d6
====  ===   =====  =====
 2      1%            3
 3      3%            4
 4      6%     1      5
 5     10%     2      6
 6     15%     3      7
 7     21%     4
 8     28%    5-6     8
 9     36%    7-8     9
10    45%    9-10   10
11    55%   11-12
12    64%   13-14   11
13    72%    15     12
14    79%    16
15    85%    17     13
16    90%    18     14
17    94%    19     15
18    97%    20     16
19    99%           17
20   100%           18
Notice how the granularity falls 'in between' these two (I think that's neat).  First of all go over the Persona Write-Ups and look up the numbers on the right side; the left side has their conversions.  Since this is a conversion; after you find the converted Ratings, nudge them as you like.

Stats

After you change all the ratings take a look at the stats (attributes or whatever their called); Scattershot uses (SAHROP) Strength, Agility, Hit Points, Reaction, Perception, and Power.  Natural human ranges are 8-14 so anything outside of that is inhuman (or alien).

In games that have stats Scattershot doesn't, you need to do two things.  First, for each Persona determine whether they both are unusual enough to note and whether they are important to the player's sense of the Persona's 'self' or their Sine Qua Non (if neither, just drop the stat).  Second, decide if it is 'different enough' to be useful to the Persona, based on their conception; those become Advantages or Disadvantages, the rest are dropped.  I you have a Comeliness stat, but it's only a point or two outside of 10, it probably doesn't affect how you want the Persona to be played enough to make a difference.  If you have an Intelligence of 13 or 14, you probably want an Advantage like Genius.  (See the Scattershot Mechanix Glossary for how they work.)

For stats that Scattershot has that don't appear in your game, look around for special abilities or advantages the old game has.  The most common absences are Reaction and Observation.  Reaction has to do with being able to react effectively to stimuli, especially surprises.  Initiative scores and some kinds of speeds are reflected in this.  Sometimes it will be based on a 'figured roll' based on other stats; all you need to do is calculate the number you need to roll in an unmodified situation, covert as above, and take that as your Reaction (and if it doesn't seem right, just change it - you have as many Development Points as you need to do a conversion).  Observation is a rare stat, a lot of games list it as an option of Intelligence, if that's the case simply use the converted Intelligence rating.

If none of this work, then you'll have to 'eyeball' it.  Humans range from 8 to 14 naturally with a median of 10.  See if your game describes things in 'real world' terms; if it does, do a worst-bad-natural-good-better-outstanding-best comparison.  The descriptions of the stats are in the Mechanix article.

Skills

Since Scattershot's skill lists vary appreciably from Genre Expectation to Genre Expectation, you can pretty much go with whatever you have after the Rating conversion.  A couple of other things do have to be assigned to these skills, Scope and Duration.  Scope determines how much is involved; your skill may a) only affects individuals, b) affect small gangs or squads of people, c) affects whole mobs, or d) reach many more people.  Individual skills, type a), are the most common.  Type b) are Squad-level skills and include things like Tactics or Team-Leading.  Skills fitting c) Scope include Strategy, Political Agitation, and so on.  Commanding or controlling groups larger than this is what d) skills are about.  Unsurprisingly almost all skills are towards the beginning of the list.  Occasionally, you may call upon your skill at a different Scope level (say trying to use your experience with battlefield tactics to command a regiment).  This is called taking a Challenge.  When you do this (either at a higher or lower Scope) you take a 3-point penalty to your roll per Scope level 'shifted.'  (We call that the 'micromanager penalty.')

For Duration look at each skill; ask yourself, when I use this does it take a) only an instant, b) a short series of actions, c) pretty much the length of a whole scene alone, or d) long term; for a) leave it pretty much as it is (Immediate), it can be used in Mechanical play 'straight,' b) and c) are Involved and Scenic skills respectively (Involved Actions occasionally occur during Mechanical play, but otherwise both call for the game to go in 'fast forward' to Cut to the Chase), d) skills pretty much happen in the background and may require a little 'down time' from the Persona, but unless the specifics are interesting to play, they occur 'off screen' and resolve based on the game-time calendar.  When timing is crucial, you can take a Challenge to your roll; if you wanted to use lock-picking (normally an Involved Action) very quickly; you take a 3-point penalty on the roll for each Duration level 'shifted.'  If you give yourself even more time, consider it an automatic success.

It's probably obvious that a higher Scope level skill is usually practiced on a higher Duration level.  This is intentional; the letters pretty much match up.  When you try to practice a skill at 'mismatched' levels (say a Mob level skill in an Involved level amount of time) take a 3-point penalty Challenge that same way as described.  Using Starship Engine Repair (normally a Scenic Action) to fix it in an Involved span of time could be called 'jury-rigging;' if you have to borrow an Experience Dice to succeed, expect it to break down at the worst moment (when the Loaner is used against you).  If you use Starship Engine Repair to attach a jump-drive to a dropship (if a starship affects a Mob of people and a dropship only a Squad), the 3-point Challenge could be called a 'kit bash.'  To attach a jump-drive to a dropship in an Involved Duration is probably suicidal (-6), but that's what Experience Dice are for aren't they?  (Notice how when you lower one and raise the other, they cancel out.)

Don't worry about Time/Quantity/Opportunity limits for skills; this is just a Basic Scattershot conversion.  We can determine these later if you want to Transition to Intermediate Scattershot.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages and Disadvantages need to be categorized as well.  There are five basic types, Physical, Mental, Campaign, Role-playing, and Affective.  Physical and Mental Advantages and Disadvantages come into play based on what happens to the Persona or what they try to do with their 'body.'  (Remember, when at an Advantage, you can roll Freebie Experience Dice into a roll, even as a plot device; when a Disadvantage comes into play, you get Gimme Experience Dice.)  If they are Campaign-based, it has to do with the relationship with the world around the Persona.  Role-playing Disadvantages are behaviors that when your Persona exhibits and they suffer problems because of this behavior, they get Gimmes.  (That's why Womanizer doesn't get you much in the dungeon.)  Affective Advantages are allow the Persona to roll Freebies into any Action that they are involved in (for example; Animal Empathy would offer a Freebie for Horse Riding).  Some Affective Advantages may start out as skills and need to be converted at this point.

The number of Freebies you can roll (or Gimmes you can get) depends on how 'potent' these are.  You decide that relative to other Advantages and Disadvantages you're using.  The maximum for this is how these are rated; a 1-die Disadvantage won't ever be as much problem as a 3-dice one.  You get more 'ooph' out of a 3-dice Advantage than a 2-dice one.  If the use of Advantage or Disadvantage isn't quite how it is on the Write-Up, then they can't use all of the dice for it.

Others can 'count coup' for pointing Disadvantages you didn't properly circumvent in play or Advantages you are forgetting you could use (you have to 'pay' these).  Remember, everything on a Persona Write-Up begs to be used; facilitating a player's Sine Qua Non for their character is an important form of empowering facilitation for any gamemaster.

Everything Else

The remainder the information on the Persona Write-Up, if it isn't crucial to the player's Sine Qua Non, can be treated as biographical information.  Unless the player includes it in a Precipitating Event (think Kicker or player-generated Bang), it is just a feature of their Origin and any use of it by the rest of the group should be handled using typical Proprietorship guidelines.  (For example, if they belong to a union, anyone else making use of that union ought to check if the player doesn't mind first.)

All that is left is looking into how the player feels like using the Persona and dashing off a quick Sine Qua Non.  These should be group knowledge (with the exception of Mystiques).

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Quote from: Le Joueur
I've played a little Traveller and even less Mega Traveller [sp], but the only product I own is the 1983 Starter Set Boxed Edition. Still, I find space opera an intriguing genre, unfortunately Traveller, as written, is built to support some pretty far flung variations.

Go with the set you have. That's the period we're playing in. In any case, they all have a similar feeling. Yes, Space Opera, but slightly hard-edged, just enough to feel hard at times, lots of aliens. [They are] men in rubber suits, to an extent, but with enough depth to keep people guessing. Technology very advanced, but not all that out there, really, with the important exception of the FTL jump drive, obviously.

...The GenEx includes flying starships and other vehicles to exotic and dangerous locales, using weapons (often with disastrous results), communications via technology (including inter-species and AI), ordering around robots, applying advanced medicine, conducting business with such technologies, wielding psionics (less prevalently) and at times the lack of these technologies.

High technology sounds like an important Motif of these Genre Expectations.  I'd suggest seriously 'black boxing' it; as space opera, you shouldn't really need to speculate what impacts it'll have on the society.  At the Persona level, you'll see a few differences with Scattershot.

When a Persona acquires a bit of high technology, it may need to be noted on their Write-up.  This does not occur simply when they 'pick it up.'  Only when the player decides the Persona will be making use of the bit of high technology; that doesn't mean 'wait until they use it' either, it means when the player first intends on using it.  If it's a one-time thing, roll an Experience Dice and treat the usage as a Plot Device (a Deus Ex Machina if 'powerful enough').  To put it on the Persona's Write-Up, use the Development Point system to add it to the Persona.  That means the player will have to roll some of their Experience Dice into the Write-Up (roll a bunch; total 6 or more gains 1 point, 10 or more gets you 2, 14 begets 3, and so on for every increment of 4).  If use of the technology is frequent enough, it may affect the Persona's Sine Qua Non (which can be changed between any sessions).

What a bit of Technology can do is basically on the UE Chart.  Choose whatever the effect is on the chart, read across and that's the item's Power stat.  I'll get into the variations on this later if you're interested.  Things that modify the effects change the cost, things that modify how it achieves that effect are handled a little differently.  One important difference with Scattershot and many of the point-based superhero games is how it handles the 'its not an integral part of the Persona's body' issue (or the 'uses batteries' issue, for example).  Some games alter the cost of the item to represent how easy it is to 'take it away.'  Scattershot doesn't; the point-cost for a Fire Blast is the same whether it comes from your fingertips as if it came from a pistol.  What Scattershot uses is an Accessibility Disadvantage.  Can it be stolen?  When that happens you get Gimmes.  Can someone shoot out the wings of your flight pack?  When they do, you get Gimmes.

It's a little more complicated than that, though.  If you don't want something to happen to your character, then it doesn't; this is the standard proprietorship deal.  If you dislike characters always shooting your wings or stealing your pistol, say that they can't.  How about the Gene Autry example?  Gene's player says he shoots the gun out of your Persona's hand right?  No, this is not allowed because doing so means he's controlling your Persona.  Gene can shoot the gun in your Persona's hand (by accepting the Challenge of the trick shot and maybe rolling a few Experience Dice into it), but his player cannot decide the outcome.  Using Experience Dice he can even 'force a Telling Blow;' he still can't make that gun fly from your Persona's hand, only you can.  (On the other hand, if we're using Gene's usual Genre Expectations, you can get Keepers for going along with it because it's spelled out in the Genre Expectations, but even then it's your choice.)  You could just as easily have something else 'Telling' happen.  Simply put, players cannot 'take it away' from you, no way, no how.

Thus having a spaceship is a 'package' of Advantages and Disadvantages.  It can fly you through space, but it runs out of fuel.  It can protect you from poisonous atmospheres, but it's too big to take into your hotel room.  It works on your friends, but you can't hide it in your pocket.  And so on.  When you make note of your gear on those terms, you're pretty much done converting.  Wealth isn't a resource to be managed; it's an Advantage.  So is beauty.

Picking up Advantages and Disadvantages (those cost too) may require the use of Loaners, so be careful what you wish for.  What you set the Critical Threshold at and how 'freely' the Experience Dice flow is something you need to discuss with the group before you start (usually a part of the Genre Expectations, but if you plan to use the Mechanix before that's ready...).  That just about does the Mechanix conversion stuff.  Any questions?

Fang Langford

p. s. If you subtract 10 from all the Stats and Skills (1 more for Scope or Duration above Individual and Instantaneous), add 1 for each dice maximum that Advantages or Disadvantages can yield, and the same for technology bits (10 off the power, add 1 for each separate effect, Advantage, or Disadvantage) and you get a rough total for each character.  These vaguely indicate how much 'weight' the Persona should have in the game narrative.  Not very balanced huh?  (You can always add more if you use this as your 'spotlight time' guideline.)  Not to worry though, the guy with the ship should be the most 'important.'  He actually sorta counts as a Disadvantage for the other Persona; I'd go into that more now, but it has to do with Intermediate Scattershot and the Genre Expectations.
Logged

Fang Langford is the creator of Scattershot presents: Universe 6 - The World of the Modern Fantastic.  Please stop by and help!
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2002, 10:37:42 AM »

OK. First off, I'm just absorbing these things. It'll be a while before I can make sense of it all. But I have a few comments.

In the quote you quoted, I state that we should use the edition of Traveller that you have from which to establish the GenExs. As that's essentially the era and style in which were playing. But you seem to think that it's still undecided. Was I not clear, or do you mean something else by:

Quote
An in-depth GenEx will have to wait until we choose which one to do.


?

What else do you need to know that I have not provided so you can get to that part?

Also:

Quote
I'd suggest seriously 'black boxing' it; as space opera, you shouldn't really need to speculate what impacts it'll have on the society


I'm not exaclty sure what you mean by that, but a lot of the exploration of Traveller is considering how things like High Tech (and really anything speculative) affect certain cultures and situations. Yes, it's done in a not-too-realistic fashion much of the time, but it's definitely an element of Traveller adventures, IMO.

Also, as it happens this is an odd game of Traveller in that the characters have no ship right now. I agree that normally it is definitely what I'd call an expectation, but in discussing the nature of the game pre-play, they indicated that they wanted to look more closely at local life than moving about a lot. So, there we are.

That's an interesting question, tho. What happens if I get a book with a set of genre expectations, and I want to do something a bit different. Do I just alter the expectations until they fit? I'm still veruy fuzzy on the whole GenEx thing. I'm not sure how one would look written up. Is there a notation?

I have to say, Fang, that my thought processes are on a very different wavelength than your presentation, and I find it very hard to grasp what you are trying to say with a lot of this. Forgive me if I've grossly misinterpereted anything.

Mike
Logged

Member of Indie Netgaming
-Get your indie game fix online.
Le Joueur
Member

Posts: 1367


WWW
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2002, 12:16:53 PM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
In the quote you quoted, I state that we should use the edition of Traveller that you have from which to establish the GenExs. As that's essentially the era and style in which we're playing. But you seem to think that it's still undecided. Was I not clear, or do you mean something else by:
Quote from: Le Joueur
An in-depth GenEx will have to wait until we choose which one to do.


Actually, I really blew the intro of the original thread.  It was my intention to choose only one of the offered settings to create a set of Genre Expectations.  With only two or three, I may do all of them; it may just take a while.  So it wasn't 'choosing between types of Traveller,' it was between you and Ron and whomever.  Sorry for the confusion.

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Quote from: Le Joueur
I'd suggest seriously 'black boxing' it; as space opera, you shouldn't really need to speculate what impacts it'll have on the society.

I'm not exactly sure what you mean by that, but a lot of the exploration of Traveller is considering how things like High Tech (and really anything speculative) affect certain cultures and situations. Yes, it's done in a not-too-realistic fashion much of the time, but it's definitely an element of Traveller adventures, IMO.

The "not-too-realistic fashion" is exactly what I was saying.  Trying to puzzle out the effects of the fax machine on a manufacturing-line worker is what I'm saying to avoid.  Likewise, trying to 'realistically' decide what parts are needed to be replaced in a broken jump-drive are pointless; just call them 'parts.'

I'm right there with you for the games that apply the 'guns for the aborigines' type of narrative; they can be central to certain types of space opera.  What you don't see is a lot of concern over the uses of holography in medicine.

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Also, as it happens this is an odd game of Traveller in that the characters have no ship right now. I agree that normally it is definitely what I'd call an expectation, but in discussing the nature of the game pre-play, they indicated that they wanted to look more closely at local life than moving about a lot. So, there we are.

That's an interesting question, tho. What happens if I get a book with a set of genre expectations, and I want to do something a bit different? Do I just alter the expectations until they fit? I'm still very fuzzy on the whole GenEx thing. I'm not sure how one would look written up. Is there a notation?

Outside of the list of things for each of Persona, Relationships, Sequences, Circumstances, Backgrounds, Props, and special Mechanix; the Central Concept/Metaphor/Motif/Running Gags; and the expected Approach material; I don't know how to write one for sure.  That's the purpose of this exercise, to figure out what's needed.  In order to "do something a bit different," you could write your own Genre Expectations from scratch or you can take an existing one and make minor alterations; that's part of the point with having a Central Concept and a Metaphor as a part of the Genre Expectations.  They relate all the other parts, even if you make changes.

Quote from: Mike Holmes
I have to say, Fang, that my thought processes are on a very different wavelength than your presentation, and I find it very hard to grasp what you are trying to say with a lot of this. Forgive me if I've grossly misinterpreted anything.

You'll have to forgive the ambiguity of the conversion presentation; my partner is worried we'll run into the 'Wizards of the Coast' scenario (R. Talisorian sued them, early on) if we purport to offer material copyrighted to Steve Jackson Games.  Thus a more 'generic' conversion text.  If you have any specific questions about how or why to do certain things, I'd be happy to explain.  (This weekend, I hope to crack open that old starter set and see what's what in Traveller again.)

Fang Langford
Logged

Fang Langford is the creator of Scattershot presents: Universe 6 - The World of the Modern Fantastic.  Please stop by and help!
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2002, 01:11:55 PM »

Quote from: Le Joueur
Actually, I really blew the intro of the original thread.  It was my intention to choose only one of the offered settings to create a set of Genre Expectations.  With only two or three, I may do all of them; it may just take a while.  So it wasn't 'choosing between types of Traveller,' it was between you and Ron and whomever.  Sorry for the confusion.
Oh, I understood that you were only going to do one. I just thought that you were disqualifying me based on not knowing which edition to use.

Quote from: Mike Holmes
The "not-too-realistic fashion" is exactly what I was saying.  Trying to puzzle out the effects of the fax machine on a manufacturing-line worker is what I'm saying to avoid.  Likewise, trying to 'realistically' decide what parts are needed to be replaced in a broken jump-drive are pointless; just call them 'parts.'
Cool. That makes sense. However, if you were to err, I'd prefer you to err on the side of more realistic rather than less. That is, I'd like there to be a way for my players to look at Holography in medicine, should that come up. We've already had discussions of the effects of high tech explosives on underwater demolitions, and alternative technologies to cover the applications thereof.

Quote
Outside of the list of things for each of Persona, Relationships, Sequences, Circumstances, Backgrounds, Props, and special Mechanix; the Central Concept/Metaphor/Motif/Running Gags; and the expected Approach material; I don't know how to write one for sure.  That's the purpose of this exercise, to figure out what's needed.  In order to "do something a bit different," you could write your own Genre Expectations from scratch or you can take an existing one and make minor alterations; that's part of the point with having a Central Concept and a Metaphor as a part of the Genre Expectations.  They relate all the other parts, even if you make changes.
Yeah, but I'm afrad that I have kinda demolished one of the central concepts. It's funny, but when we were deciding to play, I said, y'know guys, it is called "Traveller", the idea is to travel, not just get stuck in one place. Still, they insisted.

Hmmm. Maybe it's more Dune-like than Traveller, really.

Quote

You'll have to forgive the ambiguity of the conversion presentation; my partner is worried we'll run into the 'Wizards of the Coast' scenario (R. Talisorian sued them, early on) if we purport to offer material copyrighted to Steve Jackson Games.  Thus a more 'generic' conversion text.  
Oh, not at all what I was talking about. I have no problems with any of that. I'm looking forward to the advantages and Disadvantages for tech, for instance.

No, it's sentences like this:
Quote
Affective Advantages are allow the Persona to roll Freebies into any Action that they are involved in (for example; Animal Empathy would offer a Freebie for Horse Riding). Some Affective Advantages may start out as skills and need to be converted at this point.
At what point? Do you mean they would be skills in another system and I have to convert them during the character conversion process? Or that there is a certain point in play of Scattershot where a skill gets converted to a an Advantage?

That's the sort of problem I'm having.

Quote
If you have any specific questions about how or why to do certain things, I'd be happy to explain.  (This weekend, I hope to crack open that old starter set and see what's what in Traveller again.)

Well, not much you'll find. In play there are a lot of holes to fill in. The original edition is near broken that way. I suggest filling them with the feel that's engendered rather than just going with the rules as written. Otherwise I think Im going to get a really short list of GenEx. You could just list the chapter headings. :-)

Mike
Logged

Member of Indie Netgaming
-Get your indie game fix online.
Le Joueur
Member

Posts: 1367


WWW
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2002, 02:21:38 PM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Quote from: Le Joueur
The "not-too-realistic fashion" is exactly what I was saying.  Trying to puzzle out the effects of the fax machine on a manufacturing-line worker is what I'm saying to avoid.  Likewise, trying to 'realistically' decide what parts are needed to be replaced in a broken jump-drive are pointless; just call them 'parts.'

Cool. That makes sense. However, if you were to err, I'd prefer you to err on the side of more realistic rather than less. That is, I'd like there to be a way for my players to look at Holography in medicine, should that come up. We've already had discussions of the effects of high tech explosives on underwater demolitions, and alternative technologies to cover the applications thereof.

Hopefully, that'll pan out well with the UE Chart Effects/Ads & Disads stuff.

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Quote from: Le Joueur
Outside of the list of things for each of Persona, Relationships, Sequences, Circumstances, Backgrounds, Props, and special Mechanix; the Central Concept/Metaphor/Motif/Running Gags; and the expected Approach material; I don't know how to write one for sure.  That's the purpose of this exercise, to figure out what's needed.  In order to "do something a bit different," you could write your own Genre Expectations from scratch or you can take an existing one and make minor alterations; that's part of the point with having a Central Concept and a Metaphor as a part of the Genre Expectations.  They relate all the other parts, even if you make changes.

Yeah, but I'm afraid that I have kinda demolished one of the central concepts. It's funny, but when we were deciding to play, I said, y'know guys, it is called "Traveller," the idea is to travel, not just get stuck in one place. Still, they insisted.

Actually, you'd be surprised.  First of all, this is the main reason I wrote Central Concepts the way I did; they can be 'swapped out' for exactly this reason.  Secondly, is a little thing we call the Foglio 'Mutant Trolls' effect.

Back in the day, Phil Foglio was doing a cute little strip in the back of Dragon Magazine called What's New with Phil and Dixie.  One issue was going to be about the differences between Fantasy and Science Fiction Games; Phil started off with, "There isn't any; see ya!"  While it was all in humor, it did point out all the similarities between pulp scifi and pulp fantasy (just different terminology).

Basically a Traveller game is about traveling, right?  Ever notice in any of the Star Wars films, a planet only has one kind of city?  Go to Tatoonie and all cities are rundown, seedy places in the middle of the desert.  The capitol planet boasts a planet-wide metropolis.  And on and on.  The secret is that calling them 'planets' is just Running Gag for indicating separate locations.  In Fantasy, they were countries (and yet even then each was remarkably homogenous).  In a superhero game they're suburbs; it doesn't really matter.  To make any game a traveler game, all you need to do is significantly change the scenery.  They want to stay on one planet?  Take them to different temperate zones (Flash Gordon mostly took place on one planet, remember?  Frigia, et cetera.)  Likewise there are lots of different ways to get to other planets, luxury liners, low passage, chauffeured trips, and law enforcement; if you really want to.

Quote from: Mike Holmes
I'm looking forward to the Advantages and Disadvantages for tech, for instance.

I'll see what I can dig up after I look at the starter set (not the original game).

Quote from: Mike Holmes
No, it's sentences like this:
Quote from: Le Joueur
Affective Advantages are allow the Persona to roll Freebies into any Action that they are involved in (for example; Animal Empathy would offer a Freebie for Horse Riding). Some Affective Advantages may start out as skills and need to be converted at this point.

At what point? Do you mean they would be skills in another system and I have to convert them during the character conversion process?

It's more like this.  Let's say you want to talk someone into doing something at a party.  You might use a Carousing skill.  Now let's say it's a member of the opposite sex from your species and you have the Advantage of Sex Appeal.  You can roll a Freebie into the Carousing roll.  I've seen some games where Sex Appeal is a skill.

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Quote from: Le Joueur
If you have any specific questions about how or why to do certain things, I'd be happy to explain.  (This weekend, I hope to crack open that old starter set and see what's what in Traveller again.)

Well, not much you'll find. In play there are a lot of holes to fill in. The original edition is near broken that way. I suggest filling them with the feel that's engendered rather than just going with the rules as written. Otherwise I think I'm going to get a really short list of GenEx. You could just list the chapter headings. :-)

That was the plan, my man.  One quick question, is the 'career path' idea central to initial Persona Development?  It might come up as a Motif.  Actually, I bought the boxed starter edition because of the evocative cover, to be honest; so milking it for "the feel that's engendered" is what I got it for.

One thing I need from you is an idea of what kind of Approach your groups prefers.  It colors heavily on 'how deep' the Genre Expectation will be.  I'd hate to pitch something Thematically Ambitious to a group who wants a simple Swashbuckler romp.

Fang Langford
Logged

Fang Langford is the creator of Scattershot presents: Universe 6 - The World of the Modern Fantastic.  Please stop by and help!
Le Joueur
Member

Posts: 1367


WWW
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2002, 02:25:51 PM »

Well, now that I'm done with my big project, let's get back to where we left off.  Mike, I believe it was your turn; welcome to Science Fantasy Island!  When we left off, you'd provided a good deal of information about this GenEx and I was about to parse in a theoretical framework....

Motifs

A Scattershot Motif is something characteristic about the genre with which significant actions take place.  Let's look at the Motifs you've listed so far, flying starships with FTL jump drive, exotic vehicles, (potentially disastrous) high tech weapons, psionics (occasionally), and communications technology.  You might think that (rubber mask) aliens and robots are Motifs, but I'm not so sure.  You'll have to help me out here; are things resolved with aliens or because of them?

Does a character's alien-ness stand up and determine the course of events or is 'alien' just a description of character?  The "men in rubber suits" line suggests the latter, but I need to have it definitively from you.  As an example, an alien Motif would mean that being a certain type of alien gave you status that empowers you to make something happen or maybe condemns you without measure of the content of your character or actions.  An alien Running Gag would be Chewbacca and the aliens from the original Star Wars movie; sure their aliens, but that doesn't do anything but color the story.

Metaphor

Looking over the Motifs and how they relate to the Sequences is how I usually come up with a Metaphor.  Looking at what we have here, it does all clearly color on travel.  Technology and psionics don't speak directly to travel, but they do reinforce exotica.  (This is especially true with your comments on "at times the lack of these technologies" and "less prevalent" Psionics.  It also suggests that they should be used sparingly, but in concentrations.)  These Motifs become a fashion for illuminating the differences between locales, which heightens the sensation of traveling.  (This sensation is crucial to what use you'd make of the Metaphor.)

I suppose a 'traveler Metaphor' could be one of those highbrow 'it symbolizes one's trip through life,' but I gather that your level of thematic Ambition renders that meaningless, so let's stick to the basics.  A Scattershot Metaphor is about relating things to each other in symbolic fashion (as highlighted by the Central Concept).  What makes the travel seem 'farther?'  How does all the stuff here relate?  Well, travel has two effects, either it informs the traveler or it changes them, the greater the degree is with the farther the 'sensation' of travel.

That's how this kind of Metaphor works; is it travel?  Do things seem significantly different 'here' then they were 'there?'  Did the Persona gain (or lose) from it?  The important part is, did they change?  Working out the Sine Qua Non of the various Personae, you should keep an eye out for ways they can 'grow.'  Personae who are 'completed' rarely feel a need to travel, save for pleasure.

When you wrote of "how things like High Tech affect certain cultures and situations," I think you were speaking completely about how this plays on the Metaphor.  The effect had is what makes each Circumstance different seeming and certainly 'farther apart.'  The same is true for, "at times the lack of these technologies;" those 'times' satisfy the Metaphor in relating the episode to the others by 'distance.'

Everything in my copy of Traveller made the game sound completely episodic.  This makes sense because of the travel metaphor (each episode 'feels' inherently separated from the previous).  'You can't go home again' means that traveling back to someplace should only result in a whole new 'adventure.'  (If nothing interesting happens, what would be the point in playing it out?)  Episodic play puts certain restrictions and emphases on specific aspects, but I can't really delve into that without a better understanding of what Approach you want to take with the game.

Another thing Scattershot Metaphors take account of are the exclusions.  I need to confirm a number of these with you.  I've noticed that little of what I have seen in Traveller has to do with politics (on the politicking level, not on the 'being affected by politics' level).  Likewise, not much seems to be done with law enforcement (can you play an officer?) other than running from it.  Most notably, to me, is the lack of military action; I mean, the military covers most of the character generation, yet there's a strong implication that you don't play active military Persona (game starts after mustering out, right?)  Does that mean there aren't any large scale wars?  Is it a militocracy (like in Star Trek)?  These really seems like things play is supposed to 'avoid;' is that true in these Genre Expectations?  (Would you like a 'narrower than Traveller' GenEx that does limit this?)

Ultimately, Metaphor works for you here by informing your choice of elements.  You will skew the 'character' of these elements towards making the 'here and now' seem more removed from that of previous episodes.  Even traveling around a single world will need to have this emphasized; regions are differentiated by severe differences of accent, dress, architecture, or even species (depending on how cosmopolitan the planet is supposed to be).  (However, if you ever expect to get them into space, I'd suggest pacing yourself here; if things are really, really different in each episode, new planets will have to drip with exotica.)

Central Concept

Back to the Central Concept, "people who don't stay at home," you say.  I imagine three kinds of travelers (at least in Space Opera), seekers, wanderers, and runners.  You could focus on one (and you'll have to let me know if you'd like that), but I'll just sketch on all three.  Seekers want something, revenge, money, 'to see everything,' 'to settle down,' or anything else you can imagine 'going after.'  This'll have to be intrinsic in their Sine Qua Non because you can't make someone curious (you could entice them, but if their defensive, forget it).  Wanderers are the sorts who are never happy in one place for long; as soon as things quiet down, they take off.  Wanderlust must characterize this kind of Sine Qua Non, somehow.  Runners, on the other hand, have a 'time limit;' either they have to get away or do something based on some other thing that limits their time (and that other thing can move around, further complicating the 'time limit').  (As an aside, be careful introducing a runner into a game; their 'time limit' quickly overwhelms play or loses its tension value.)

The edition of Traveller I have has zero Persona Development Mechanix (other than initial); assuming that's normally the case, change in a Persona then has to do with affiliations, physical capabilities, possessions (which pretty much go into Props, Advantages, and Disadvantages), and location.  (Relativity may be key to the use of the Metaphor of travel.)  You mentioned it being about "curiosity and exploration;" I think that's going to be the big part of your Central Concept.  This makes the game ruthlessly Persona driven (who's curious after all?), so the result of all travels have to inform (sate the curiosity) or affect (Persona Development) or players will feel 'cheated.'

Approach

Central Concept is also quite slave to the Approach taken in playing, so let's talk about your preferred Approach.  From my experiences with Traveller, and knowing a little about you, I suspect that you might play this game with a Swashbuckler Approach probably leaning more towards Self-Sovereign sharing.  (This is ideal for the "to boldly go where no one has gone before" feel, but you have to be careful; Star Trek should be heavily into Gamemasterful sharing, ideally, because those planet-based conundrums really looked like they were made up 'on the fly' as a group effort.  Furthermore, Star Trek is notable for heavy and obvious moral dilemmas not necessarily connected to what the characters experienced; that's a hallmark for Self-Conscious Thematically Ambitious Approach.)

You could also go for the Joueur Approach with seekers and runners.  Getting something or dealing with what 'pursues' you can really appeal to Joueur favoring players.  A tradesman game can also work well in this approach, but the bartering would feel out of place in a Swashbuckler Approach.  For both of these options, it sounds like a game that almost enforces a bit of the Self-Conscious play, but only so much as to 'ham up' the Space Opera (and to make deliberate use of the Experience Dice).

There will probably be a little Self-Conscious narrative to reflect hamming up the space opera, but otherwise not any more than needed to make use of Experience Dice.  Sounds like any form of tension spiral will be left to the hands of the gamemaster, so that works out just fine.  (During play that is, I always suggest post-game kibitzing as long as it doesn't give away any of the Mystiques.)  You can play as Ambitiously as you like, but as always, make sure that people are sensitive to disrupts possible when the extremes are present.

Anyway, as far as the Central Concept goes, for Swashbuckler Approach, it would probably be something related to a mission focus if your group has one or maybe long term 'business' plans.  You mention "conducting business;" if your players are keen on the 'measure of success' that can go with the resource management of that, a Joueur Approach Central Concept would be based on what kind of business climate their company exists in.  I guess I can't really say what it sound be until I hear how play has been going.

(If it makes things easier for you, please describe how you play in GNS terms.)

Running Gags

High technology is the most obvious Running Gag.  Basically, if you can do something with a tool, try to use one based on high technology.  The reason this is not a Motif is because what the tools do is not because of their 'height of technology,' but simply because they're Props.  This is why I suggested 'black boxing' it; use a 'rotary piercing feeder' instead of a fork for your spaghetti - it doesn't matter how it is powered or designed - it's just a Running Gag item.  You can certainly speculate on the effect of holography on medicine, aside actual play; what I am saying is don't spend a lot of time figuring out things about colleges of holographic design for medicine unless your players are going there.  Cool gizmos are what it's all about; retroactively realizing their implications is fine, so long as it doesn't throw off later play.  (Participation in the realism of gadgets must come from all participants and, if pressed, could result in Solomon's Auction bidding wars over 'unrealistic' technology.)  How advanced medicine actually works is another 'black box' I often suggest; simply, they go into the hospital (regen cube, holo-sickbay, or whatever), time passes and they're better (how much better and how long are handled by the UE Chart, what happens is up to this Running Gag).

One thing is most certainly clear from every version of Traveller I have seen; that would be the career history stuff.  (What was it called?)  What I'd like to know (since I haven't much experience in playing Traveller) is how does this impact later play?  Does being an ex-marine heavily influence everything the Persona does (or is it only important if the player so deems)?  This is similar to the alien question; does being a former soldier have direct impact on the game (like a Motif), does it appear at many points (like a Running Gag, in most encounters), is it only important if a player makes it so (putting it into their Sine Qua Non means that they expect it to matter), or is it simply something that gives Persona a little more Character?  This can actually vary from play situation to play situation, so what I'm asking is more of a general guideline than a specific limitation.

Next on the 'Running Gag menu' is probably what you mean by Space Opera in this derivation.  Space Opera tends to indicate a little 'over the top' quality, but you also say, "slightly hard edged; just enough to feel hard at times."  We're going to have to really hammer out how to describe this to the players, because they are not only expected to 'buy into it,' but willfully enforce it as well (using Experience Dice).  As my copy of Traveller is almost completely absent of 'how play goes,' I'll need your advice.

I figure "lots of aliens" is probably just a Running Gag (even if they are different enough to have 'powers' and such, like flight or gills) for reasons I noted earlier.  I want to stress one of the most important points to using Running Gags is how they support the Metaphor of a game.  Why use a human merchant when an alien one makes things seem 'farther traveled?'  You can slather the whole game with them, but then you begin to lose the Metaphor in the cacophony.  (If you haven't read the comic book, Keif Llama, I highly recommend it; Keif is the only human in the whole book.)

The final Running Gag I've noticed is calling different places 'planets.'  I mean that's about all there is to it.  They may be "exotic and dangerous," but that's just a matter of supporting the Metaphor.  They're just different places.  I'm sure that's why you're confounded by your players' choice to 'stay on one planet.'  The important thing to make note of is what your players mean by "looking more closely at local life."  Is it because the planet is particularly evocative?  Or are they avoiding headaches they associated with having a ship?  Have you discussed the alternatives to ship owning?  (My copy of Traveller lists High, Medium, Working, and Low passage; I'd expect a certain amount of travel like in the early days of flight with that kind of menu.)  If there is no other way, supply a ship belonging to (and piloted by) a Background character; there is no need to emphasize ship maintenance when travel is the Metaphor.

You mention "Dune-like Traveller."  You are aware that a Dune game thrives on heavy use of a Thematically Ambitious Metaphor comparing the desert-planet with death and rebirth as an entry into manhood, aren't you?  That'd be a whole 'nother kettle of fish.  (Although, in terms of a travel Metaphor, there was quite a difference between the digs of the royalty and the Fremen, and the desert.)  Does your 'actual play' go in that direction at all?

And there could easily be more Running Gags, but let's 'work up to them' rather than me standing here and guessing.

Tech - Special Mechanix

There's an important distinction to be made before we can delve deeply into the tech.  There's a radical difference, in Scattershot, between Props and equipment.  Equipment like clothes, keys, ordinary tools and the like are treated simply as a part of Background; like movie extras, it's there, but it isn't crucial to the narrative.  Props on the other hand are things that define a Persona or a game; where would Elric be without Stormbringer, Green Lantern without his power ring, or Dick Tracy with his radio watch?  What would Lord of the Rings be without, well...the ring?  (That last example shows how a Prop can be important to the game without necessarily defining a specific Persona.)

What does this mean in practice?  Well, anyone can pick up a gun and shoot at people, the police officer is defined (at least in the 'States) as armed; without his gun a police officers is just a security guard (I'm generalizing here).  If a Persona picks up a specific gadget and his player decides that shortly (or not), and from then on, the Persona will employ said gadget as central to his activities, it becomes a part of his Sine Qua Non and needs to be noted in his Persona Write-Up (and Development Points need to be diced up with Experience Dice to pay for it).  If he uses what is potentially a game altering item, but not planning to continue in its use then he rolls it out as a Plot Device (he has equal or exceed it's Development Point cost with an Experience Dice roll).

This gets complicated when you introduce guns.  That's one of the purposes of the GenEx.  When a gun shows up in a Wizard of Oz game, it is a significant Prop; when gunplay occurs in a Noir Detective game, it is not.  Why?  Because guns are 'expected' in that genre.  The same is true in Space Opera, only worse.  In the old Buck Rogers serials everyone had zapguns and spaceships, no one ever sweated for their lack long, so the major Props there were the 'ultimate weapons.'  Traveller is much more complicated.  The 'tramp freighter staying one step ahead of creditors' makes ships a major Prop; in a military action game, fighter spacecraft are pretty much everywhere.

We'll need to take some care separating the tech Props from the tech equipment.  I'll need a lot of help here.

Let's go straight to some equipment examples:
    Respirator (1 point) - 1) A device that 2) generally 3) protects 4) only you [/I]against Asphyxiation
5) in a thin atmosphere, 6) you must breath from it, but it is 7) inferior to a Filter Mask/Respirator combination.

If you change #5 to "in tainted Atmospheres," you have a Filter Mask (1 point).

If you change #7 to "inferior to Oxygen Tanks" and combine both of these #5s, you get Filter Mask/Respirator combination (2 points).

If you then change #2 to "completely" and #7 to "inferior to Vacc Suit," you get Oxygen Tanks (2 points).[/list:u]Why still only 2 points?  Because the difference between supporting your air supply and replacing it are trivial in terms of the Mechanix.  Likewise with Underwater Tanks (2 points), the difference is only in play and we call that 'character.'

I have a whole catalog of things equipment can do, or I can go into detail on how to 'interpret' equipment for the sake of points.  (When playing in a game where the GenEx calls for detailed resource management, these points get converted into monetary units using a die rolling gimmick that emulates normal first-world price variations.)  Mostly though, equipment is grouped in terms of 'wealth Advantage level;' if you have a high enough Advantage you can get or already have an item (if not you can always roll some Experience Dice into an acquisition roll if the narrative depends on it).

Things become ever more complicated when someone chooses to incorporate a piece of equipment into their Sine Qua Non; that immediately elevates it to Prop status and forces the game to involve its availability and replacement (that's also why final initial Persona Development has to be a group exercise).

Props (and sometimes equipment) demand a certain amount of care in their generation.  They're constructed on one of five templates (actually everything in Scattershot is, but if you don't tell, I won't either) using a list of simple modifiers that either enhance their function (making them cost more; like 3 and 5 above) or limiting it (discounting their cost; like 1, 4, 6, and 7 above).  You might ask how things like Filter Masks can have Ratings to roll against; you only need to make such a roll when you do something 'chancy' with them, like putting one on after stumbling outside.

Props also have Advantages and Disadvantages.  One of the most obvious examples is Hawkman's wings; they give him the power of flight, but make a real obvious target for snipers.  The obviousness becomes a Disadvantage in Scattershot and the player gets Gimmes every time his Prop gets 'messed with.'  Technically you could have big feathery wings without this Disadvantage provided you append the GenEx to show that bad guys 'just don't think of it.'  A more concrete example would be a crew served weapon; if it is central enough to your Persona to be a Prop, then it has the Disadvantage of needing a crew to operate it properly; whenever the lack of the crew becomes a problem, you get Gimmes.  (And let's not forget whether crew served weapon systems are common to the GenEx in the first place, too.)

I'd like to go into some depth regarding specific examples of Props and their Disadvantages, but I don't have a good feel for what count as Props in your game.  (Not to mention how long this post is getting.)  Once we get into that (and clarify the Central Concept-Metaphor-Motifs-Running Gags stuff), we can delve deeper into the Sequences, Circumstances, and so on.  I look forward to it.  Let me know what you think.

I have to say that you are doing me an immeasurable service here Mike.  (I'm really enjoying the opportunity to think so far outside of my preferred Approach to play.)  I'm sorry it took so long to get back to this.  (Or the fact that I have a few others I need to get back to, too.)  As long as we hang in there, we may get this into blind playtest (well, maybe myopic) after all.

Fang Langford
Logged

Fang Langford is the creator of Scattershot presents: Universe 6 - The World of the Modern Fantastic.  Please stop by and help!
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2002, 01:58:21 PM »

Sorry to take so long getting around to this...
Quote from: Le Joueur

Motifs

...
 Let's look at the Motifs you've listed so far, flying starships with FTL jump drive, exotic vehicles, (potentially disastrous) high tech weapons, psionics (occasionally), and communications technology.  You might think that (rubber mask) aliens and robots are Motifs, but I'm not so sure.  You'll have to help me out here; are things resolved with aliens or because of them?
With. Quite. I often have to beg my player to play humans so that we have some common touchstone for which to reference off of.

Quote
Does a character's alien-ness stand up and determine the course of events or is 'alien' just a description of character?  The "men in rubber suits" line suggests the latter, but I need to have it definitively from you.  As an example, an alien Motif would mean that being a certain type of alien gave you status that empowers you to make something happen or maybe condemns you without measure of the content of your character or actions.  An alien Running Gag would be Chewbacca and the aliens from the original Star Wars movie; sure their aliens, but that doesn't do anything but color the story.
I'm tempted to say not to rubber-suit them at all if that's possible. There has to be at least the element that certain themes become available because of the aliens.

For example, Vargr, while ostensibly classic heartbreaker style dog-men, have been subjected to a treatment in the texts that makes them substantially alien (as well as having a decent explanation; they are, in fact, genetically enhanced canines from Earth). For example, they are noted as being way more gregarious than humans, and their responses are very curtailed by their social situation regarding other nearby Vargr. That is, if they are below another Vargr in the pecking order they follow like, well, obedient dogs. The idea is that, though the same behaviour happens in humans, play makes it so heightened, that it can become an issue in play.

BTW, even if the text of Traveller doesn't make this effective, and people consider this my own interperetation of Traveller, it's something that I want in play.

Quote
Metaphor

...
Looking at what we have here, it does all clearly color on travel.  Technology and psionics don't speak directly to travel, but they do reinforce exotica.  (This is especially true with your comments on "at times the lack of these technologies" and "less prevalent" Psionics.  It also suggests that they should be used sparingly, but in concentrations.)  These Motifs become a fashion for illuminating the differences between locales, which heightens the sensation of traveling.  (This sensation is crucial to what use you'd make of the Metaphor.)
All sounds quite sensible.

Quote
Well, travel has two effects, either it informs the traveler or it changes them, the greater the degree is with the farther the 'sensation' of travel.
Being informed being just another sort of change, that makes sense, I suppose...

Quote
That's how this kind of Metaphor works; is it travel?  Do things seem significantly different 'here' then they were 'there?'  Did the Persona gain (or lose) from it?  The important part is, did they change?  Working out the Sine Qua Non of the various Personae, you should keep an eye out for ways they can 'grow.'  Personae who are 'completed' rarely feel a need to travel, save for pleasure.
In literature. OTOH, my players might not feel the same. Their characters will have their reasons, but they may not be "incompleteness". Hmmm....

Quote
When you wrote of "how things like High Tech affect certain cultures and situations," I think you were speaking completely about how this plays on the Metaphor.  The effect had is what makes each Circumstance different seeming and certainly 'farther apart.'  The same is true for, "at times the lack of these technologies;" those 'times' satisfy the Metaphor in relating the episode to the others by 'distance.'
I'm following you at this point, but tenuosly. But again, the effects of tech can also be the subject of play. For example the fact that the Darrians can detonate stars (theoretically) is very important thematically.

Quote
Everything in my copy of Traveller made the game sound completely episodic.  This makes sense because of the travel metaphor (each episode 'feels' inherently separated from the previous).  'You can't go home again' means that traveling back to someplace should only result in a whole new 'adventure.'  (If nothing interesting happens, what would be the point in playing it out?)  Episodic play puts certain restrictions and emphases on specific aspects, but I can't really delve into that without a better understanding of what Approach you want to take with the game.
Episodic, yes, for the most part. But with quite a bit of potential for sub-plots to go a long ways. Think more Doctor Who than Star Trek.

Approach should be Swashbuckler, if I understand it correctly. Objective (mostly), and Content-Driven. Sorry for not responding with that to the last post.

Quote
Another thing Scattershot Metaphors take account of are the exclusions.  I need to confirm a number of these with you.  I've noticed that little of what I have seen in Traveller has to do with politics (on the politicking level, not on the 'being affected by politics' level).  Likewise, not much seems to be done with law enforcement (can you play an officer?) other than running from it.  Most notably, to me, is the lack of military action; I mean, the military covers most of the character generation, yet there's a strong implication that you don't play active military Persona (game starts after mustering out, right?)  Does that mean there aren't any large scale wars?  Is it a militocracy (like in Star Trek)?  These really seems like things play is supposed to 'avoid;' is that true in these Genre Expectations?  (Would you like a 'narrower than Traveller' GenEx that does limit this?)
Hmmm. There is a common version of Traveller where you play Mercenaries. But I consider that practically an entirelly different game (you fight out battles like wargames).

But politics is practically required. PCs start with a social standing stat, and a lot of play revolves around revolutions, and government contracts, and all manner of things where players get caught up in local politics. World's are rated by their governmental type, and one of the most interseting setting elements is the idea of a hands-off Imperium that rules from afar but lets planets do their own thing within reason. It's always fun when the Imperial Marines have to be brought in to prevent a nuclear war. Wars are common on the planetary scale. The Imperium prevents wars from becoming Interstellar affairs however.

That all said, part of the metaplot is that there is a war between the Imperium and one of their neighbors, and subsequently the entire Imperium falls apart. So, war can be an important part of play.

I'd say that adventures tend to be about dealings with politics about half or more of the time. That said, the usually episodic nature means that these interactions are sometimes limited. And the PCs are usually outside the political process or only agents for it (though a classic counter-example is where the Travellers are all govenment spies). PCs are never local law enforcement, however, or anything else that would make them unable to move about, as that would make the travelling part impossible.

Quote
Ultimately, Metaphor works for you here by informing your choice of elements.  You will skew the 'character' of these elements towards making the 'here and now' seem more removed from that of previous episodes.  Even traveling around a single world will need to have this emphasized; regions are differentiated by severe differences of accent, dress, architecture, or even species (depending on how cosmopolitan the planet is supposed to be).  (However, if you ever expect to get them into space, I'd suggest pacing yourself here; if things are really, really different in each episode, new planets will have to drip with exotica.)
This all makes very good sense. Perfect.

Quote
Central Concept

Back to the Central Concept, "people who don't stay at home," you say.  I imagine three kinds of travelers (at least in Space Opera), seekers, wanderers, and runners.
This makes more sense than the "incomplete" idea.

Quote
You could focus on one (and you'll have to let me know if you'd like that), but I'll just sketch on all three.  Seekers want something, revenge, money, 'to see everything,' 'to settle down,' or anything else you can imagine 'going after.'  This'll have to be intrinsic in their Sine Qua Non because you can't make someone curious (you could entice them, but if their defensive, forget it).  Wanderers are the sorts who are never happy in one place for long; as soon as things quiet down, they take off.  Wanderlust must characterize this kind of Sine Qua Non, somehow.  Runners, on the other hand, have a 'time limit;' either they have to get away or do something based on some other thing that limits their time (and that other thing can move around, further complicating the 'time limit').  (As an aside, be careful introducing a runner into a game; their 'time limit' quickly overwhelms play or loses its tension value.)
Right now the characters are a seekers, a wanderer, and an undecided. He's just kinda there by accident. Probably turn into a wanderer, or a seeker if something interesting comes along to seek for. I can see a couple of them potentially becomming Runners.

Quote
The edition of Traveller I have has zero Persona Development Mechanix (other than initial); assuming that's normally the case, change in a Persona then has to do with affiliations, physical capabilities, possessions (which pretty much go into Props, Advantages, and Disadvantages), and location.  (Relativity may be key to the use of the Metaphor of travel.)
That is the case in Traveller. Other than a presumtive desire to travel the game says nothing about a character's persona. Interestingly, that doesn't mean players don't develop them, however. They just work off of whatever archetype.

Quote
You mentioned it being about "curiosity and exploration;" I think that's going to be the big part of your Central Concept.  This makes the game ruthlessly Persona driven (who's curious after all?), so the result of all travels have to inform (sate the curiosity) or affect (Persona Development) or players will feel 'cheated.'
Right. If there isn't new and unusual stuff to inverstigate, they will be dissapointed.

Quote
Approach

...
From my experiences with Traveller, and knowing a little about you, I suspect that you might play this game with a Swashbuckler Approach probably leaning more towards Self-Sovereign sharing.  (This is ideal for the "to boldly go where no one has gone before" feel, but you have to be careful; Star Trek should be heavily into Gamemasterful sharing, ideally, because those planet-based conundrums really looked like they were made up 'on the fly' as a group effort.  Furthermore, Star Trek is notable for heavy and obvious moral dilemmas not necessarily connected to what the characters experienced; that's a hallmark for Self-Conscious Thematically Ambitious Approach.)
That all makes sense. Stay away from the Trek "planet as single conflict" mode. One of the advantages of Traveller, is the copious amounts of text available. I will be using all that to try and evoke the "objectively existing universe" feel. Players can create stuff, but big stuff already exists objectively (like the stats on 11,000 worlds of the Imperium). This actually might be what you refer to as Referrential play.

Quote
You could also go for the Joueur Approach
Pass. That's definiotely one way to play Traveller. It sucks.

Quote
There will probably be a little Self-Conscious narrative to reflect hamming up the space opera, but otherwise not any more than needed to make use of Experience Dice.  Sounds like any form of tension spiral will be left to the hands of the gamemaster, so that works out just fine.  (During play that is, I always suggest post-game kibitzing as long as it doesn't give away any of the Mystiques.)  You can play as Ambitiously as you like, but as always, make sure that people are sensitive to disrupts possible when the extremes are present.
All sounds quite right.

Quote
Anyway, as far as the Central Concept goes, for Swashbuckler Approach, it would probably be something related to a mission focus if your group has one or maybe long term 'business' plans.  You mention "conducting business;" if your players are keen on the 'measure of success' that can go with the resource management of that, a Joueur Approach Central Concept would be based on what kind of business climate their company exists in.  I guess I can't really say what it sound be until I hear how play has been going.
Business is often the backdrop, not the goal of play (again this was how people did play early on, but nothing I'm interested in). In this case, the players work for a Megacorporation as troubleshooters. But a typical "party" is the tramp freighter crew looking to make a buck. So, yes, this is used to get the players about. Player: "Why did we go there?" GM: "Because that's where the cargo needed to be delivered."

Quote
Running Gags

High technology is the most obvious Running Gag.  Basically, if you can do something with a tool, try to use one based on high technology.  The reason this is not a Motif is because what the tools do is not because of their 'height of technology,' but simply because they're Props.
I'm not sure what that last phrase means.

Quote
This is why I suggested 'black boxing' it; use a 'rotary piercing feeder' instead of a fork for your spaghetti - it doesn't matter how it is powered or designed - it's just a Running Gag item.  You can certainly speculate on the effect of holography on medicine, aside actual play; what I am saying is don't spend a lot of time figuring out things about colleges of holographic design for medicine unless your players are going there.  Cool gizmos are what it's all about; retroactively realizing their implications is fine, so long as it doesn't throw off later play.  (Participation in the realism of gadgets must come from all participants and, if pressed, could result in Solomon's Auction bidding wars over 'unrealistic' technology.)  How advanced medicine actually works is another 'black box' I often suggest; simply, they go into the hospital (regen cube, holo-sickbay, or whatever), time passes and they're better (how much better and how long are handled by the UE Chart, what happens is up to this Running Gag).
Hmm..I agree, and disagree. To an extent I'm sure that we aren't going to be able to explain black box technologies, anyhow. But the technobabble is predefined, and an important part of the color. That is, anti-grav drives is how you get about a lot of the time, and how that operates is important in play. It means you can take your grav car into space, for example, but not too far away from a planatary mass. Hmmm...

Quote
One thing is most certainly clear from every version of Traveller I have seen; that would be the career history stuff.  (What was it called?)
CharGen? I'm not sure what you're loking for.

Quote
What I'd like to know (since I haven't much experience in playing Traveller) is how does this impact later play?  Does being an ex-marine heavily influence everything the Persona does (or is it only important if the player so deems)?
Oh, most certainly. The ex-scout has that scout attitude likely, and can get into the pilot's lounge at the starport. The ex-navy officer might still have all sorts of Naval Intelligence contacts. Etc.

Quote
This is similar to the alien question; does being a former soldier have direct impact on the game (like a Motif), does it appear at many points (like a Running Gag, in most encounters), is it only important if a player makes it so (putting it into their Sine Qua Non means that they expect it to matter), or is it simply something that gives Persona a little more Character?  This can actually vary from play situation to play situation, so what I'm asking is more of a general guideline than a specific limitation.
It's rarely the subject of play. Characters aren't always helping out the Navy because they are Ex-Navy, but it could happen once. The perks, however, are endemic to play. Especially inter-service rivalries between characters. Yer supposed to get into a brawl at least once every other session defending the honor of your branch.  ;-)

Quote
Next on the 'Running Gag menu' is probably what you mean by Space Opera in this derivation.  Space Opera tends to indicate a little 'over the top' quality, but you also say, "slightly hard edged; just enough to feel hard at times."  We're going to have to really hammer out how to describe this to the players, because they are not only expected to 'buy into it,' but willfully enforce it as well (using Experience Dice).  As my copy of Traveller is almost completely absent of 'how play goes,' I'll need your advice.
Hmm. That's tough. In play, Traveller rarely becomes monsterously dramatic. Think more Law & Order than Hill Street Blues. The "hard" (mostly refering to the Technology) also refers to scale; the characters aren't expected to have a galaxy-wide effect. Or even much of a local effect. The scale is very personal; about what the characters are doing, and their stories. The setting is grandiose, not the character's stories.

Hmm. Maybe Space Opera is all wrong. Sorta gritty, really. Just a bit loose with rationales at times to make things more impressive.

Quote
I figure "lots of aliens" is probably just a Running Gag (even if they are different enough to have 'powers' and such, like flight or gills) for reasons I noted earlier.
We're talking about 30 alien races with at least ten pages each devoted to them, and 8 or so with entire supplements devoted. Lot's of relatively well detailed aliens. Really.

Quote
I want to stress one of the most important points to using Running Gags is how they support the Metaphor of a game.  Why use a human merchant when an alien one makes things seem 'farther traveled?'  You can slather the whole game with them, but then you begin to lose the Metaphor in the cacophony.  (If you haven't read the comic book, Keif Llama, I highly recommend it; Keif is the only human in the whole book.)
The statement seems conradictory. As far as numbers go, you'll find some at every large starport, and usually more than one type. Will it look like the cantina in Star Wars? Not likely, with a few possible exceptions. But they are everywhere, and bumping into them is not an uncommon thing. Note that most planets will be solely populated by humans in the Imperium. Some planets have an indiginous alien population, but the "major races" all have their own interstellar govenments, and as such are usually found as merchants or imigrants, etc. Does that help at all?

Quote
The final Running Gag I've noticed is calling different places 'planets.'  I mean that's about all there is to it.  They may be "exotic and dangerous," but that's just a matter of supporting the Metaphor.  They're just different places.  I'm sure that's why you're confounded by your players' choice to 'stay on one planet.'  The important thing to make note of is what your players mean by "looking more closely at local life."  Is it because the planet is particularly evocative?  Or are they avoiding headaches they associated with having a ship?  Have you discussed the alternatives to ship owning?  (My copy of Traveller lists High, Medium, Working, and Low passage; I'd expect a certain amount of travel like in the early days of flight with that kind of menu.)  If there is no other way, supply a ship belonging to (and piloted by) a Background character; there is no need to emphasize ship maintenance when travel is the Metaphor.
We got where we are by a circuitous rout. We decided to play on a planet with certain characteristics, and then decided to play Traveller because it had all the other characteristics that they wanted (with the weird exception of what is possibly the central idea). That said, yes, they can travel to new places on the world, and that's how I intend to make play similar to "normal" interstellar Traveller. They are unconcerned with a ship because the character they made they've not conceptualized as having a ship; simple as that. And I've not tried to disuade them.

Further confouing all this is that I am using GURPS for the system, and CharGen did not go per the normal "carreer path" thing, therefore. I have on planetary native, a scientist, and a cat-guy warrior.  :-)

Quote
You mention "Dune-like Traveller."  You are aware that a Dune game thrives on heavy use of a Thematically Ambitious Metaphor comparing the desert-planet with death and rebirth as an entry into manhood, aren't you?  That'd be a whole 'nother kettle of fish.  (Although, in terms of a travel Metaphor, there was quite a difference between the digs of the royalty and the Fremen, and the desert.)
Um, I meant the book, not the game. That said, I see that metaphor in nether the book, nor the game which I have a copy of. Nor would I be interested in pursuing such a theme overtly.

Quote
Does your 'actual play' go in that direction at all?
No. Bu Dune-like I was referring to the fact that the planet they are on is a water world, and as such has the same sort of problems and issues that a water-less world might (certain limited resources). Also visually similar with vast open expanses, and no landmarks, etc. Further there are marginalized nomads out on the water who are going to be a lot of the subject of play.

Quote
And there could easily be more Running Gags, but let's 'work up to them' rather than me standing here and guessing.
Starports and their Extrality (sic). That is starports are Imperial and do not belong to the worlds where you find them.

Imperial nobility. The idea of this hierarchy beyond the governements of worlds. Often PCs are members.

Tech Level. Some people wield swords because, where they come from, that's the best thing available. Really. Don't ask me to explain, if you really want the explanations I'll refer you to the one of the many essays written on the subject.

Tech - Special Mechanix

...

{Snip standard stuff about Cementing and Item effectiveness}

Quote
This gets complicated when you introduce guns.

I think I can simplify this. Looked at one way Traveller are all about the tech level, and how "military" the weapon is. Guns are extremely common, but a high tech military weapon like a Fusion gun is just a silly amount of firepower. Imagine leveling buildings with e single sweep of the weapon, and not surgically, either, but by eradicating a huge swath of material. Characters typically do not carry around such stuff, but when they do it's significant.

Looked at another way, Traveller is a Simulationist game all about exacting weapon damages, and armor values. Can Scattershot handle that at all?

Quote
Traveller is much more complicated.  The 'tramp freighter staying one step ahead of creditors' makes ships a major Prop; in a military action game, fighter spacecraft are pretty much everywhere.
Ships capable if interstellar travel are incredibly expensive and relatively rare (Equipment). Vehicles that can't do this are common (props). Though, again, in a typical Traveller game I could tell you the exact thrust put out by the fighter, mass, and all manner of details.

Quote
We'll need to take some care separating the tech Props from the tech equipment.  I'll need a lot of help here.
I'm tempted to just say that everything's a prop, but...

{snip lots of details on how cost works}

Quote
Props (and sometimes equipment) demand a certain amount of care in their generation.  They're constructed on one of five templates (actually everything in Scattershot is, but if you don't tell, I won't either) using a list of simple modifiers that either enhance their function (making them cost more; like 3 and 5 above) or limiting it (discounting their cost; like 1, 4, 6, and 7 above).  You might ask how things like Filter Masks can have Ratings to roll against; you only need to make such a roll when you do something 'chancy' with them, like putting one on after stumbling outside.
Well, more importantly, I wonder how they are made and work? Where do I get the templates, and the catalogue of effects?

Quote
Props also have Advantages and Disadvantages.  One of the most obvious examples is Hawkman's wings; they give him the power of flight, but make a real obvious target for snipers.  The obviousness becomes a Disadvantage in Scattershot and the player gets Gimmes every time his Prop gets 'messed with.'  

That's a prop that's been made part of the Sin Non Qua, or any prop?

Quote
Technically you could have big feathery wings without this Disadvantage provided you append the GenEx to show that bad guys 'just don't think of it.'  A more concrete example would be a crew served weapon; if it is central enough to your Persona to be a Prop, then it has the Disadvantage of needing a crew to operate it properly; whenever the lack of the crew becomes a problem, you get Gimmes.  (And let's not forget whether crew served weapon systems are common to the GenEx in the first place, too.)
Seems pretty standard and straightforward enough.

Again, I think it's a prop if it makes you stick out form the crowd, like particularly high tech, or particularly military hardware. Or just plain expensive like a ship. There is so much stuff that one can have that I'm finding it hard to nail anything specific down.

Quote
As long as we hang in there, we may get this into blind playtest (well, maybe myopic) after all.


Hmmm. The more I see your mechanics, the more I fail to see any rout to play a really objective Sim game. Things are just so abstracted, that I doubt that anything will have a hard consistency. Part of this is due to never having seen your results chart or being able to put it all into play, etc.

On that note. I despair that, having all this stuff laid out, I will still not be able to play. Again, what about those templates? There seem to be missing parts? Or have I just not looked close enough?

Mike
Logged

Member of Indie Netgaming
-Get your indie game fix online.
Seth L. Blumberg
Member

Posts: 303


« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2002, 01:45:42 PM »

Quote from: Mike
For example, Vargr, while ostensibly classic heartbreaker style dog-men, have been subjected to a treatment in the texts that makes them substantially alien (as well as having a decent explanation; they are, in fact, genetically enhanced canines from Earth). For example, they are noted as being way more gregarious than humans, and their responses are very curtailed by their social situation regarding other nearby Vargr. That is, if they are below another Vargr in the pecking order they follow like, well, obedient dogs. The idea is that, though the same behaviour happens in humans, play makes it so heightened, that it can become an issue in play.

To expand on that: in Traveller, each of the "major" alien species takes a few aspects of human personality and blows them out of proportion. Having alien characters then becomes a way to comment on those aspects of human nature. I therefore submit that aliens are Motifs.
Logged

the gamer formerly known as Metal Fatigue
Le Joueur
Member

Posts: 1367


WWW
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2002, 02:25:03 PM »

Quote from: Seth L. Blumberg
To expand on that: in Traveller, each of the "major" alien species takes a few aspects of human personality and blows them out of proportion. Having alien characters then becomes a way to comment on those aspects of human nature. I therefore submit that aliens are Motifs.

That being the case, they become almost the definitive article and prime example of Motifs.  Maybe I need to rethink how that pulls together the Metaphor.

Right now, I am struggling with our next contestant 'Angle on Angels;' I'll get back to this after I do a tish on Cosmic Zap!

Fang Langford
Logged

Fang Langford is the creator of Scattershot presents: Universe 6 - The World of the Modern Fantastic.  Please stop by and help!
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2002, 10:09:55 AM »

Have I mentioned how I hate metaphor? Or at least how it can destroy a good thing, IMO?

I disagree that Traveller aliens are metaphors, Seth. Certainly one can play them as such, and create meaning through allegory. But what's the exagerated quality of Male Aslan (practically a different species mentally than females who are much more like humans)? Honor (the Klingon effect)? Sure, you can take that approach. But looking closer at the text, we can see that there are nifty pseudo-scientific reasons for their excessive Honor. And that as such it doesn't operate quite like what we humans think of as honor. Enough to investgate on it's own merits, I feel.

K'Kree claustrophobia? You aren't suggesting that this is put in so that we can investigate themes of simple individual claustrophobia, do you? No, it's there so we can look at the idea of what the culture of an intelligent species looks like that happens to be universally claustrophobic. That's intensely interesting to me.

Droyne are not a metaphor for extreme conformism. In fact, if anything, if they were a metaphor, they would be an apollogy for conformism (which is a statement that I think no author wants to make). No, Droyne are there to investigate what intelligence would be like in a species that was highly genetically specialized. Something that's just not human.

I could go on.

Yes, you can take the rubber suit approach if you like. And you can even claim that the game text promotes that (though I'd disagree). But the game is about investigation, searching, travelling. As such, it's the uniqueness of what you find that's interesting to me. I want the game to be at least in part serious sci-fi in that play should produce action that is based on non-human observation.

I'm having trouble trying to explain the genre that I'd like to see (which may only partially be suggested by the Traveller text). It's action/adventure/opera, in part, but the action all resides in the context of semi-hard sci-fi speculation. I keep feeling like the GenExs keep returning to the completely erroneous title of the thread. There is no fantasy here. Where Psionics exist, for example, it is not mystical, but treated scientifically (it's scientifically understood, one can take drugs, and use devices to amplify or protect against psionics).

Most importantly, I do not see this genre as a way to simply explore the human condition in a strrangely changing backdrop. The game should contain quite a bit of ability to look at actual sci-fi themes. The "space opera" part just refers to the fact that it's all done in an adventurous way, not just scientific rambling. So, it's much harder than Star Wars, and less allegorical than Star Trek. But much more adventurous than, say, Clarke's Childhood's End or any of Heinlien's work (wherin the action serves almost solely to make philosophical statements; yes, that includes Starship Troopers).

In terms of fiction, think of Assimov, Herbert, Niven and Poul Anderson. Science facts and fictions are not focused on for their own sake, but are included to make the action more unique, and to explore themes related to them. This is how I see Traveller (when not played in Gamist mode).

Does that help? We seem to be moving away from understanding, rather than getting closer. I apollogize if anything has been unclear.

Mike
Logged

Member of Indie Netgaming
-Get your indie game fix online.
Le Joueur
Member

Posts: 1367


WWW
« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2002, 11:05:21 AM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Does that help?

Immeasurably.  I wish we could have started at this point (it would have lead to less rambly speculation on my part).  When I get back to this, I'm going to start a separate thread about whether Scattershot can 'go crunchy' enough to support this game idea (or if we should shelve it).  I'd like to keep this one about this kind of 'what do you do' kind of stuff.

Thanks for the important words Mike.

Fang Langford
Logged

Fang Langford is the creator of Scattershot presents: Universe 6 - The World of the Modern Fantastic.  Please stop by and help!
Seth L. Blumberg
Member

Posts: 303


« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2002, 11:16:15 AM »

Mike: I think we have very different readings of and goals for Traveller, and I think it would be fascinating to compare how we've each drifted the published material to support those goals. But this isn't the thread for it. Fang is doing the adaptation for you, not for me, so maybe I should just butt out.
Logged

the gamer formerly known as Metal Fatigue
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #14 on: November 13, 2002, 11:48:24 AM »

Quote from: Seth L. Blumberg
Mike: I think we have very different readings of and goals for Traveller, and I think it would be fascinating to compare how we've each drifted the published material to support those goals. But this isn't the thread for it. Fang is doing the adaptation for you, not for me, so maybe I should just butt out.


First I'd say that the problem with defining a Traveller "Style" is that it's gone through many editions, and has been contributed to in so many ways that it's bound to be played deifferently by different people. Much moreso than tight games, which, even though tight, still get drifted.

That said, my take is certainly a rejection of certain sorts of play that the text can tend to engender. Primarily it starts with a refusal to play in the sort of Gamist manner I played the game with when I was ten years old. Where it was about doing whatever you had to to get money to get more equipment, and eventually upgrade the starship. So that you could do the most profitable thing possible in Traveller, become a pirate. All mechanics, no role-playing.

So I may have over-reacted in my redaction of the process.

But what I get out of Traveller is a sense of a large and detailed universe, in which a lot of kick can be gotten out of exploring. I've also played the version of Traveller where you just bumble around, and stare at the nifty things, say oooh, and move on. That gets tiring quickly.

Then there are the printed adventures. These start to get to more the sort of play that I'm looking for. But are mostly plot driven, and fail to take advantage of the Traveller backdrop in any substantive way. This (and the "lowness" of High-Tech as presented) is what leads players to sometimes comment that it's like playing the present, only in space.

So I'd like to avoid that style as well. So what does that lead me to? Well, in the game I'm playing currently (tonight, in fact), the idea is to allow players to deeply investigate the setting, but in a way that allows it to come forth thematically. Not Narrativist, necessarily (though potentially so), but in a way that makes play about examining the impact of this strange universe on the adventures of the characters.

As an examople, I'm using as the basis of tonight's adventure, one of the original adventures, good ole number 9, Nomads of the World Ocean. What I like about that one (nesides the fact that it fits the player's location), is that the whole idea of a water-world means that the technology, culture, everything will be affeted by it. Hopefully we can do a better job than the Costner film did of making use of these elements. ;-)

The other big element in play is the idea of Megacorporations. I could just make them allegorical to today's big business, but I find it more fun and fanciful to discuss the impact of organizations so large that they own planets. How does such an organism exist in the context of the Imperium, etc. Lots of fun stuff to work with there.

Anyhow, does that give you any better idea of where I'm coming from (Seth, and Fang)?

The one way which I have not played, and refuse to, is Star Trek mode. Traveller can be played this way, but I think it does not particularly promote it (to much detail and consistency  to be able to emulate a technology that was as much a plot device as a Transporter). Star Trek bugs me specifically because it is not at all about space and aliens, but allegory about our condition today. Why do I need a sci-fi backdrop to consider the theme of Drug Abuse? I don't, and feel that it's not only a waste of a good sci-fi universe, but makes the themes about things that I'm not particularly interested in examining. I want speculative fiction.

I hope Scattershot can be made to work with this. I hate to think that GURPS is, in fact, the best system for the job. ;-)

Mike
Logged

Member of Indie Netgaming
-Get your indie game fix online.
Pages: [1]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!