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Author Topic: two random questions  (Read 10227 times)
xiombarg
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« on: September 23, 2003, 01:44:14 PM »

Jeff:

I really like the Arach. Are they exempted from the Wundershen? It seems to heavily imply that to leave the Hive is rare. Yet, if they're League members, they HAVE to go, right? What's up with that? Does a young Queen -- assuming she escapes her current Queen -- have to go on Wundershen before establishing a nest? And young Drones? Did I miss something?

Also, in the Basic character advancement system, how do you increase stats? Does one point increase a stat by 1, or 10, or what? I assume that 1 point increases a skill by one level, just like at chargen, tho it never seems to say that anywhere. And when you talk about giving out 10 points, do you mean 10 total points over the course of the campaign?
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love * Eris * RPGs  * Anime * Magick * Carroll * techno * hats * cats * Dada
Kirt "Loki" Dankmyer -- Dance, damn you, dance! -- UNSUNG IS OUT
JSDiamond
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« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2003, 04:50:26 PM »

Hi, I tried to reply to some of this in the other post, but I'll hit it here too.

I simply did a poor job explaing the Arach, so I'll be putting something up on the errata page soon. Extra Queens are hunted.  So if a queen left her hive, she would be independent --no longer of the hive-mentality.  As a player-character, if she chose some day to establish a nest that would be her choice.  Her choice to go on Wandershen would be academic --she'd be running for her life anyway.  Other arach may leave if they choose.  Because to the arach (and their mindset) it isn't "control them and keep 'em in the hive" --it's more like "why would you want to leave?"

Any arach may leave, it's just rare that some do.  Rogue queens are hunted soley because they represent a biological threat to the reigning queen.

Thus it would make for an interesting social and moral dilema to role-play a rogue queen who simply wished to live independently (for whatever reason).  Because the hive would likely perish trying to hunt her down.  And if a reigning queen simply departed, the hive would literally shut down and die out.        

On Experience/Advancement:
The stat increases are simply 1:1.  The reason for this is that a character might be on the edge between brackets and 1-point could make a huge difference.  Additionally, because the system uses multipliers by degree of success, a 1-point increase (even if not on a cusp) is still worth more than it seems.  

On skill levels, points gained through advancement" etc., are as used (e.g., spent) as they are at chargen.  So to increase a skill from level-1 familiar to level-3 expert, would cost 5-points.  2-points for level-2 and then 3-points for level-3.

I hope this helps.  If you have any other comments or concerns please let me know and I will try to fix them as soon as possible.
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JSDiamond
xiombarg
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« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2003, 06:09:05 AM »

Yes, those answered my questions, and the comments on the other thread answers my remaining follow-up questions as well. Thank you!

For posterity, in case someone is only playing attention to this thread:

Quote
The Arach are members of the League, but their planets reside outside of League space proper. I mentioned something about this in the book, but I wasn't all that clear. See, if you reside in League Space, you must go on Wandershen. But on the planets far outside League space (whose governments are also pledged members of the League) the Wandershen doesn't apply. Wandershen is particular to the League *and* to League space specifically.

Ah, yes, that's MUCH clearer, thank you.

Okay, I was reading some more of the game last night, and I have another question: When do you get to Evade? When does it use your "action" to Evade, and when doesn't it? I mean, if I Evade, does it use up my "decision" if it's not my turn yet? And if it doesn't, why does it seem like in all the example combats that the NPCs hardly ever Evade?

I have to admit I found the whole "decision" system confusing. It looked like you had a pretty standard initiative/dodge system:

1. Determine who goes first by highest weapon skill. Action is in that order, from highest to lowest.
2. On your turn, do what you want. You don't have to use the weapon skill you used for initiative (decision): you can do anything, even non-combat actions.
3. If you attack, roll your weapon skill.
4. If successful, the defending character gets to Evade. The degree of success on the Evade reduces the degree of Success of the attack.
5. Armor also reduces the degree of success of the attack, as well as the damage.
6. Multiply the damage by the appropriate amount for the degree of success achieved. Opponent takes that much Life in damage.

Yet none of the examples seem to work this way! Particularly where Evade is concerned. It IS my first read-through, so perhaps I missed something.

And while I'm talking about combat, I have to admit the rules on death also confused the Hell out of me as well. So, okay, when you've taken a number of points of damage equal to your Life, you're on the "brink of death", right? And you can decide whether to die... or retire? Um, or go out in a blaze of glory, or something.

But then, a couple pages later, if you take your Life points in damage, you're only "fatigued". This doesn't sound like "brink of death" to me at all -- to me, "fatigued" says "very tired".

I mean, I understand that the character never dies unless you want him to (I THINK that's the intent), but does he ever go unconcious, at least?

Perhaps I'm getting too hung up on terminology. But I have to admit I'd like it laid out a little clearer when you can and can't use the death options listed... The retirement option seemed particularly odd to me. If I take a lot of damage in combat, I can suddenly decide to retire?!

And while I'm asking random questions, let's talk about Gonzo Traits: If I'm reading this right, there's no roll, the GM just decides if the trait works or not. Are there any guidelines for deciding this? I mean, it's a GONZO TRAIT... when would the GM want it to fail?

(BTW, perhaps I'm in the minority, but I understood the "cost" rule for GTs even without the clarification in the errata... Just so you don't think I believe EVERYTHING is unclear...)
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love * Eris * RPGs  * Anime * Magick * Carroll * techno * hats * cats * Dada
Kirt "Loki" Dankmyer -- Dance, damn you, dance! -- UNSUNG IS OUT
JSDiamond
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« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2003, 09:37:39 AM »

Quick note on Evade.  It's an actual skill.  So, like any skill if your character doesn't actually know it (the character doesn't have that skill) it's going to be harder to pull off.  But he (or she) should still be able to try and dodge a blow.  Any character should have that option anyway.

Quote
"I mean, if I Evade, does it use up my "decision" if it's not my turn yet? And if it doesn't, why does it seem like in all the example combats that the NPCs hardly ever Evade?"


It does use your turn.  BUT if you try a multiple action you could do both attack and Evade in one turn --but with diminished TNs.

Quote
"...if you take your Life points in damage, you're only "fatigued". This doesn't sound like "brink of death" to me at all -- to me, "fatigued" says "very tired".

Oh nuts, that's a typo.  It's supposed to read 'half your Life points'  --not all of them!  The word 'half' is gone.

Quote
I'd like it laid out a little clearer when you can and can't use the death options listed... The retirement option seemed particularly odd to me. If I take a lot of damage in combat, I can suddenly decide to retire?!

Basically, yes.  But with the guidelines as laid out in the book --no fudging.  So, if your character is ambushed on some backwater planet and blasted from every direction with plasma guns, you can say he was left for dead and yet survived to retire from adventuring.  BUT he's retired AND you (and for certain the GM) are going to lay out the details for an end like that, and you can count on massive crippling burns, reconstructive surgery, cybernetic implants (if he can afford them), etc.  That's a whole other story there.  It's definitely not like a free pass to safety if things go awry.  

Then again, maybe you weren't so attached to this character so why reach for the big weird ending?  You might simply say 'Damn! What a mess! He's a goner.'  and that's it.  It's up to you (the player).  

Now of course there could be situations where this just isn't possible.  But again, it's mainly in the player's hands.

Quote
GONZO TRAIT... when would the GM want it to fail?

This is more of a plot choice for the GM.  If he (or she) has the group facing off with a 'boss' type or other significant npc, then maybe by then this significant npc has heard of your "Starfire Bazooka Kick" and is anticipating it.  So it fails.  It's a quick and risky tactical choice for the GM that has more to do with plot development.
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JSDiamond
xiombarg
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« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2003, 11:05:13 AM »

Okay, most of that makes sense... I think the fatigue thing definately needs to be errata, unless I misread it...

Quote
Now of course there could be situations where this just isn't possible.  But again, it's mainly in the player's hands.


So, when I'm at full Life points of damage, I can either:

A) Retire
B) Die
C) Do something cool and THEN die or retire

Is that correct?
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love * Eris * RPGs  * Anime * Magick * Carroll * techno * hats * cats * Dada
Kirt "Loki" Dankmyer -- Dance, damn you, dance! -- UNSUNG IS OUT
JSDiamond
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« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2003, 11:28:16 AM »

Quote
So, when I'm at full Life points of damage, I can either:

A) Retire
B) Die
C) Do something cool and THEN die or retire


When you're at zero  --yes, absolutely.

But even before that, if the sh*t is going to hit the fan and you think that you're character is done for, he (or she) can first try a Gonzo Action to completely escape what looked like a 'no win' scenario.
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JSDiamond
xiombarg
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« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2003, 01:20:46 PM »

Quote from: JSDiamond
But even before that, if the sh*t is going to hit the fan and you think that you're character is done for, he (or she) can first try a Gonzo Action to completely escape what looked like a 'no win' scenario.

Okay, THAT is the part I wasn't getting. So, the Gonzo Action is not attempted when you're at zero, but CLOSE to zero, yes?
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love * Eris * RPGs  * Anime * Magick * Carroll * techno * hats * cats * Dada
Kirt "Loki" Dankmyer -- Dance, damn you, dance! -- UNSUNG IS OUT
JSDiamond
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« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2003, 02:23:15 PM »

Right, although more exactly it's usable any time before the character is already dead.  Even if everyone knows that death is certain, whether by points or situation.

The point is that it must be attempted before it's over.

But also with the knowledge that it also depends on the situation.  If the GM says that the ship is going to blow up in one minute, a Gonzo Action could be used to try some bizarre engine modification in that short amount of time that would otherwise be impossible.  But if the ship has *already blown up*, well there's nothing left to do.  It's already gone.

Same for Life points.  If a character is in imminent danger and the GM says "What do you do?"  And you do nothing, or fail, or whatever... and your character reaches zero points, he's dead.  You can't do anything *after* your character is dead.

But, remember that every successful Gonzo Action also has a cost.

Let's look at a really plain example.  Your character is captured and about to be fed to the Blue Grak in a tribal ceremony.  The Grak is a huge dragon like beast of swamp planet Urg.

Now, this character has some Life points left.  Let's say he has 2-points because those natives gave him the beating of a lifetime for urinating on their sacred rock.  So even though he's fatigued, he's also very awake and very aware of what's going on.  

This (player) character has two chances to use the Gonzo Action.  Why two?  Because we know that if swallowed whole he's probably gonna' die.  So the player needs to try something wild either:
1. Before they shove him off the platform into the creature's waiting maw. He dislocates his wrist and gets a hand free to fight his way out.
2. Or, after he's in the creature's maw or belly the player says he looks for anything useful from the last ritual victim to cut his way out from inside.  Success would mean everything the player just said he was trying, narrated by the GM.

Even if it's failure, the important thing is the narration (the player's explanation for how he or she survived --to retire).  There's no mechanic for this because there are a million different situations.  So, it has to be narrated.  So, if a player says "Okay the creature eats me and I'm all chewed up."  Well, that character dies.  There's no coming back from that.
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JSDiamond
xiombarg
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« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2003, 12:35:16 PM »

Okay, that makes sense. Thank you.

Since I'm rapidly turning this into a "ask Jeff annoying questions" thread as I continue to read the book off and on, here's a couple more:

1. On the key of the map on page 37, there is a blank listed for 2.7 -- what is that system supposed to be? Also, I note, in connection to my question about the Arach, that the Arach system is listed as "league space" -- tho it DOES seem to be on the edge, so I guess it's right outside the border of the "Wundershen zone". Also, I find it interesting to note that Old Earth is in Frontier Space... is it a League planet, despite its location?

2. Okay, in the starship discussion of drives, it implies that wet light and stardrive plasma engines are not quite good enough for interstellar travel. Therefore, does this mean that the "Dragon's Claw" is only good for in-system travel? That is, it can't jump between systems and cannot go to Voidspace?
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love * Eris * RPGs  * Anime * Magick * Carroll * techno * hats * cats * Dada
Kirt "Loki" Dankmyer -- Dance, damn you, dance! -- UNSUNG IS OUT
JSDiamond
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« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2003, 02:04:18 PM »

First off, you are definitely not causing annoyance!  I am just not a very good writer and I'm pleased that you are pointing out these things because it's truly making me a better writer --even now.

Quote
On the key of the map on page 37, there is a blank listed for 2.7 -- what is that system supposed to be?

It was supposed to be the planet "Crucible".  My brother saw that too and thought it was intended as a player fill-in.  I wish I had been that cool to think to do that!  

Quote
Also, I note, in connection to my question about the Arach, that the Arach system is listed as "league space" -- tho it DOES seem to be on the edge, so I guess it's right outside the border of the "Wundershen zone".

You're exactly correct.  The problem is that I just didn't expand on the Arach's relationship to the League as much as I should have.  I think that when I wrote the bits about their planets being protocol worlds that I was kind of saying, that being of a hive mind civilization the Wandershen just couldn't apply to them.  

Quote
Okay, in the starship discussion of drives, it implies that wet light and stardrive plasma engines are not quite good enough for interstellar travel. Therefore, does this mean that the "Dragon's Claw" is only good for in-system travel? That is, it can't jump between systems and cannot go to Voidspace?

I'm glad you asked that because I was thinking about putting a page on the site to better explain it.  It isn't that wetlight and stardrive plasma aren't good enough for startravel --they are and they can.  Just that compared to the other drives, they aren't as fast or strange.  Stardrive plasma is highly unstable and those types of engines are dirty, noisy, and really suffer from wear and tear.  But the parts are way cheaper and fuel (as you read in that section) is plentiful as it can be almost anything.
Wetlight is simply dependable with modest performance (relatively speaking).

So, the Dragon's Claw is capable of traveling between star-systems.  Because it uses a wetlight engine it does enter voidspace --it just isn't as fast as the scary sick drives, taking 100 days minus the navigator's degree of success at Astrogation.
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JSDiamond
xiombarg
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« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2003, 07:41:00 AM »

Quote
So, the Dragon's Claw is capable of traveling between star-systems.  Because it uses a wetlight engine it does enter voidspace --it just isn't as fast as the scary sick drives, taking 100 days minus the navigator's degree of success at Astrogation.

Okay, but in the history, it says people couldn't get to (i.e. didn't know about) Voidspace until after the fractal tunneller was invented. Discovery of Voidspace is AFTER the invention of starship plasma and wetlight. So, you're saying modern plasma and wetlight drives also contain something to shunt people to Voidspace, unlike the early (pre-fractal tunneller) versions of those systems? Some sort of phase system, I imagine...

I know it seems like a minor point, but I think finding an "old" wetlight engine, with no ability to go to Voidspace, would be interesting "space archeology", as it were. Plus, a WetLight engine with no Voidspace ability would be very fast for between-planet travel, and cheaper than a "standard" model, I would think...
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love * Eris * RPGs  * Anime * Magick * Carroll * techno * hats * cats * Dada
Kirt "Loki" Dankmyer -- Dance, damn you, dance! -- UNSUNG IS OUT
JSDiamond
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« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2003, 11:35:33 AM »

Oops, you're right.  I didn't read all of it.

The wetlight engine doesn't enter voidspace --but it is capable of star travel (like stardrive plasma).  It's just safer and more efficient than stardrive plasma.  Both can accelerate a starship to exactly light speed.  That's why they both have a base 100 day time.  But for shorter distances (normal transit speeds) the wetlight is the way to go.  

I think where I got confused is that the different drives were developed by different civilizations, and I didn't really put in a solid timeline.
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JSDiamond
xiombarg
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« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2003, 07:20:33 AM »

I apologize for all the questions, but when I run the game, I know this stuff will come up.

Quote from: JSDiamond
The wetlight engine doesn't enter voidspace --but it is capable of star travel (like stardrive plasma).  It's just safer and more efficient than stardrive plasma.  Both can accelerate a starship to exactly light speed.  That's why they both have a base 100 day time.  But for shorter distances (normal transit speeds) the wetlight is the way to go.

That makes sense, but for shorter distances, system-wise, doesn't the speed depend on size more than the engine? Did I miss something?

Regardless, this spawns two more questions:

1. Perhaps I'm being a little too "hard science" for Orbit, but if you can only go the speed of light between systems with a wetlight engine, shouldn't travel time be measured in years, not days?

2. On a similar "hard science" note, I have to admit that the Warg feel an awful lot like "half elves" to me. That is, it doesn't make sense to me that humanoid species which evolved on different planets should be able to interbreed -- feline and ape physiology, for example, is sufficiently different to cause problems. You have to be very genetically close to even produce a mule. Is this one of those "just so" things that I simply have to accept?
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love * Eris * RPGs  * Anime * Magick * Carroll * techno * hats * cats * Dada
Kirt "Loki" Dankmyer -- Dance, damn you, dance! -- UNSUNG IS OUT
JSDiamond
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« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2003, 11:53:14 AM »

No apologies ever.  I apologize to you and everyone else for allowing these things to slip by.  You are helping me make it right.

Quote
Perhaps I'm being a little too "hard science" for Orbit, but if you can only go the speed of light between systems with a wetlight engine, shouldn't travel time be measured in years, not days?

Oh no, you're right on.  I was just figuring planet-hopping being the most common travel.  So, I used a base of 100-days to get players away from needing to have rulers, and measure inches to days, etc.

Quote
On a similar "hard science" note, I have to admit that the Warg feel an awful lot like "half elves" to me. That is, it doesn't make sense to me that humanoid species which evolved on different planets should be able to interbreed -- feline and ape physiology, for example, is sufficiently different to cause problems. You have to be very genetically close to even produce a mule. Is this one of those "just so" things that I simply have to accept?

Yeah, I reckon you'll have to accept this one.  Though I totally agree with you, you're dead-on correct.  But for a sci-fi game --you know, people like aliens.  Some people really like aliens if you get my drift... and Kirt, you know that some player at some time is going sit down at your table and want to play that half-Vangg half-Gelssk assassin from Planet-Z. It's one of those RPG middle-of-the-road things I had to include.
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JSDiamond
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2003, 02:04:05 PM »

In any case, with regards to interfertility, assume the Roddenberry Hypothesis is in effect. That being that a looong time ago somebody spread DNA all over the galaxy. Just not so long ago that we evolved too far apart to interbreed. But long enough for everyone's nose to mutate into some non-human form!

From another perspective, it's really the only sensible thing to explain the humanoid form existing on separate planets at all. I mean they just happened to evolve that way? That would be the real stretch.

Mike
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