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Archive => Indie Game Design => Topic started by: Strams on March 23, 2004, 07:01:27 AM



Title: 'Navigator' Generic SCI-FI RPG
Post by: Strams on March 23, 2004, 07:01:27 AM
First off, I just recently found this board and I am delighted to find that there are this many people into this aspect of RPG.  I guess almost all folks who play or GM for any length of time have done some sort of revision or adaptation to the core rules of their chosen game, but this is awesome that so many people take on the 'labor' of love that is writing thier own set of rules.

Anyway, hope fully I can fit in here and benefit from the excellent experience everyone here seems to share.  Ok enough ass kissing.

One other thing, Im an artist/illustrator by heart, and a graphic designer by trade..so I don't claim to be skilled in the english language neither in grammer or in spelling.  So I'm sure I will have mispellings and poor grammer at times, so please bare(bear) with me.

My background in RPG is playing and GMing for over 20 years.  My first hook was GAMMA WORLD and I fell in love with RPG.  The main games I have learned effectively over the years have been AD&D (old rules), GAMMA WORLD, Travler, SHADOWRUN, BATTLETECH (yes there is a RPG element).

Though I love Fantasy, Sci-Fi has always been my passion so A few years back a friend and myself went about compiling all the mods we've done over the years to GAMMAWORLD (our base system) and put it all together under one nice set of rules, but as the work went on we realised that we had pretty much created a new game and with the abandonment of the Weapon class vs. AC of a target (never liked the idea, after all guns don't kill people..people kill people) we came up with an entirely new set of combat rules, skill system, and even character creation.  Thus Navigator.

So this brings me to my Question (took awhile eh?).  Does a Generic Sci-Fi rule base where the GM and players populate the cosmos, making the different races and species, sound like an apealing system to you the player?  This would include a system with no base class or race, just skill sets that would allow a player to specialize in the direction he or she wishes.  Wether it be a bio-engineer rat like creature with 4 arms..or a 14' rhino type that can crush a car with its bare fists.  A unique form of mental/magical manipulation of the universe (esoteric arts) would round out the mystical aspect of the game.  

Iv'e just always taken the base ideas of a game and made my own universe, and it looks like thats what others here have done as well..it seems to me that a base set of rules with a unique character creation would give players and GM the chance to let their own unique vision run free intead of following scenario guidelines created by the writer.

In other words Do you like games where the plot and background of the game is already layed out or presented as a basis?  Or would you enjoy having the ability to make your own history and background and denizens of the universe?

Ill continue to post information on the game if it sounds intriguing to anyone.  

I look forward to hearing back from you guys.


Title: [NAVIGATOR] Continued....(long)
Post by: Strams on March 24, 2004, 07:42:36 AM
I read over the posts on how to get feedback, and though I tried to follow them, I may not have given enough information about the game as opposed to my background...so here is some more detailed info about navigator.

This is a Action Based Fantasy Sci-Fi Genre Shell that will allow GM's and players to devise their own universal settings.  Antagonists, star systems,vehicles, creatures and races are all developed by the GM and players.

Now I know this has been done before but mosts systems are either too simple, or far too complex to allow true freedom of design.  The GM should'nt have to be a rocket scientist to develop a scenario or the items in which to populate it.  The system though would allow as complex of rule interpretation as wished.  In other words play it how it is, or tweak it into its own game.  I know thats what I always do.

The goal of our design was to blend the simplicity of a game like (old) AD&D with the detailed combat and turn sequence of a SHADOWRUN system.

To give an Idea of how the freedom of Character Design is acomplished Ill go through Character Creation briefly.

The players start with a pool of 100 genetic point which are used to purchase abilities, skills, size, speed, and evolutionary abilities.

The main Stats are STR (strength), MF (mental Focus), INT (Intellect), END (Endurance), AGI (agility) and EN (essence).

Each has a max score of 20 (this can be raised to 30 through genetic enhancements).

Players then move on to Height and Weight.  

Each value affects their ability to hit and dodge in combat, their ability to withstand damage and their base damage with melee weapons.  Reaction and speed are also influenced by height and weight.  There are also certain Attribute requirements for certain weights and heights.  Being 450 kg requires a higher strength.  

Each Height and weight has a value placed upon it based on its advantages and disadvantages with an average (a terran human) height and weight being the least expensive.

Players then move on to the other tables that let them define the character...I wont go through them in detail but list them so you can see the complexity and diversion a character can have after going through the creation process. Each of these have extremely enhanced forms all the way to very poor or non existant...each are 'priced' acordingly.  Many of the tables award points back if you choose the worst of the list, for example a player that choose no vision form at all would be blind in the way we know it...they would have negative on their to hit rolls and on reaction in initiative situations...players choosing this gain genetic points back that can be spent elseware...perhaps on a form of radar/sonar to offset the penalties of being blind in the conventioanl sense.  

These are a list of the creation tables...

Vision
Auditory
Olfactory
Taste
Tactile
Communication
Extra sensory
Specialized Organs
Natural Defenses/Physical Weapons
Appendages
Evolutionary abilities
Genetic Defects

After they have worked out the genetic make up of their character they move on to purchasing the mechanical aspects of the game.

Speed/Turn is based on meters per game segment.
One game segment in Navigator is 2 seconds roughly.

These numbers affect the TS (target Signature) of a player.  Slower characters are easier to hit.  So purchasing a slow meters per Segment will actually give you genetic points back to spend elseware.

The other factor in the game mechanics the player must purchase is Actions/turn.  There are three segments in a Navigator combat turn.  Actions per turn determine how many of those segments you can act in.  A player that is 5/2 can go all three segments the first round but only the first and last segment in the next round.  Again purchasing the lower end Act/trn will give you genetic points back..for example 1/1 only lets that player act in the second segment of each round...

One other note is the 100 genetic points is used to purchase everything in character creation from stats to skills.  So a player that loaded up heavy on evolutionary enhancements and high attributes will suffer in the skill and technology department.  This creates the balance.  You could have a very tall and heavy, strong and agile creature that is clueless as to how to work a computer or fly a ship.

Again this is a very brief explanation of character creation but I think it gives a glimpse into what may make this game special.  

Again If anyone sounds interested in hearing more..Id love to get into the more mechanical aspect of the game, and discuss problems I'm encountering..or whatever.  We have playtested this game for about a year now..and it workds quite well...as a base..whats missing now is all the fluff..and the smaller rule details that round out..and truly make a game a finished piece.

Thanks again for you time.


Title: 'Navigator' Generic SCI-FI RPG
Post by: Matt Wilson on March 24, 2004, 10:18:16 AM
Hey Strams:

How would you describe a session of play? If you imagine the game as "universal" it's kind of hard to do, but maybe describe what you and your pals came up with as an example. What's the adventure about? Does play feel like Aliens or Buck Rogers?

Things look somewhat meticulous in design (calculating height/weight, for example), so I'm guessing that you want to model certain things in a "real world" way.

You say you're going to have detailed combat rules. So does that mean an ideal game of Navigator has lots of cool action scenes with blaster shootouts, etc?


Title: 'Navigator' Generic SCI-FI RPG
Post by: Strams on March 24, 2004, 10:31:46 AM
Hey Matt,

Thanks for the response...First off I could give you an example of one of our game sessions (and actually I will..it sounds fun), but that would just be my interpretation of an intergalactic adventure.  My vision and idea of Sci-Fi has always been a blend of Star Wars meets the old ancient world of DUNE.  So using the Navigator rules I would paint my universe with those colors...and build adversaries and vehicles to fit that vision.  Some other players and GM might use something more along the lines of Bladerunner or Buck rogers for that matter.  The beauty of a shell set of rules is that you can apply them to any scenario, and not be bound by 'My' vision of character classes and races and empires.  Did that make sense.


As to your other question Yes its an action based game so Blaster fights and space ships dodging through asteroids are all a major part...however a more subtle approach with subterfuge and planning in the shadow world of mega corporations or giant mining firms can all be implemented as well with a vast Skill set.  

What I meant by detailed is that the combat is focused where all players know where they are in relation to each other and the adversaires.  Combat turns slow down so that details such as loading a gun or ducking behind cover all become important..and not just assumed by the players and GM.  If youve ever played ShadowRun (a complicated game) youll will have noticed that when you finish a combat each and every detail is vivid in memory due to the slowed down action..its almost like watching everything in bullet time (MATRIX).  Youd think that the slow play would lend its self to boredom, but its actually quite the opposite.  We tried to make Navigator as detailed as Shadow runs combat system, but not nearly as complicated.

As I mentioned in my first post...A bio-engineer dealing cyberware on the streets to a han-solo type blasting his way out of a hostile instalation are all possible.


Title: A sample bit of game play.
Post by: Strams on March 24, 2004, 11:58:44 AM
OK, here s a small bit of example play in Navigator...it covers some of the rules..but mostly shows how the game flows.

GM:    
Ok you guys have reached the city and have managed to find your way to the 'Rogue Comet' as per your contacts information.  This part of the city is considered old town and by the looks of it 'Ancient Town' is a more appropriate description.

Various shops and Stalls are set up along the street and the street itself is being used only by civilian traffic...no vehicles can be seen along the road excpet for an old Civil truck down about 50 meters on the left hand side of the street.  Looks as though its used for garbage collection.  A couple of Vagrant looking types are leaning against it smoking.

The Bar itself is lit in malfunctioning neon lights with scantily clad female holographs dancing in front of the doors inviting you in...

Napoleon:
(interupting) What kind of females are they?

GM:     
One appears to be some sort of feline creature with a white fur..you don't recognize the speices...the other looks to be a rather endowed female terran.  

Anyway Sitting next to them on a strained stool is an extremely large Rhisarian (a large Rhino looking spiecies) looking rather grumpy and disturbed.  He's looking directly at the party as the three of you seem out of sorts here.

All party member make an observation check. The mod is 6 (extremely hidden detail hard to notice).

Jason:
I have a urban etiquette skill of 4 does this count?

GM:
Yes.

Jason:
Ok my INT is 14 so my base target to observe is 6 (navigator uses almost all stats as a base from 1-20 so for  attribute checks like an observation or a STR test or END... you subtract the attribute from 20 this gives you the base TN (target number).  The difficulty was a 6 so my TN is now 12  however my street etiquette is 4 so the TN is back down to 8.

GM:     
OK Jason you need an 8…

Jason:   
Wait I also have enhanced vision that gives me another +2 on observation rolls. So 6.

GM:
Yep Six sounds right..roll it!

PLAYERS:  
(Jason rolls a d20 and ends up with a 13 .  Napoleon Rolls a 10.  And Ed rolls a 8.  Ed and Napoleon neither had any special abilities so their TN’s were INT from 20 + 6 for the difficulty.  Well say they failed for this example.)

Jason:
Yeah, I did it..what do I see.

GM:
Ok you notice that around his neck is a small pendent that bears the insignia of a fish eating a smaller fish.  You recognize it as the same logo design that was on the ship that fled Port Gith Rand on Solis IV.

Napoleon:
Ahh it's those bastards wev'e been looking for.  I reach down and loosen the strap on my Viper 9.

GM:    
[makes a roll]  Ok you get your blaster ready without anyone noticing you.  Everyone else?

ED:
Ok I do an essence sense on Mr. Rhino boy.  I want to see if hes mentally inclined.

GM:
OK Ed.  What about you Jason?

Jason:
I just wait and observe the situation…I'm ready to draw if something goes down though..I keep my eye on the Meat puppet though!  Any false moves and Im going for my weapon.

GM:
Ok Ed the Rhisarians MD (Mental Defense)b] is 2.  He's not the brightest bulb in the bunch.

ED:
Ok My Mental Attack is 5 and with his defense..I need 7’s.  Any other mods?

GM:
Nope, you have a clear line of sight and no one is trying to impede your thoughts.  Distration is at a minimum.  Looks likes 7’s it is.

ED:[rolling dice]
Ok here it goes.  [Ed roll a d20 with a TN of 7]   Bahhh! I got a 6.

GM:[smiles]
Ahhh thought you had that one pretty easy eh?  Well you fail to get a reading on the Rhino..roll a d6 for the severity of the failure.

ED :[rolling again]
Ok…..come on 1.  {he rolls a d6 }  Arggg this is just getting worse..I rolled a 6.  Pretty bad huh?

GM:
Well its not good…You feel the link between you and the Rhino begin to intensify as you try and gather in his aura…you feel a primitive subconcious start to awaken on the other end and its red with anger and hate…as the link snaps your minds eye is blinded by a flash of intense white light.  [gm rolls a d6 himslef]  You take 3 points of stun damage unless you have a mental shield..or synaptic dampeners?

ED:   
Nope..don’t have that ability…bahh ok 3 points eh..am I stunned?

GM:   
Yes, just for one segment…The rest of you see ED’s character drop to one knee clutching his head…a small drop of blood falls from his nose and hits the sidewalk.  As you look back up you see the rhisarian getting off the stool and reaching into his black leather trench and looking rather disturbed your way…

Initiative everyone.


Title: 'Navigator' Generic SCI-FI RPG
Post by: Garbanzo on March 25, 2004, 01:53:38 PM
Strams-

If no one else has said it, welcome to the Forge!


You asked how appealing the game sounds.  You're looking for a poll?  Three votes "yea", four votes "nay" and you scrap the game?
I'm guessing (putting Freudian hat on) you're looking for encouragement and support.  Well, go to it, man!  You sound excited and the system seems to work well for you.  Great!

If you want more useful feedback, you'll need to ask a more focused question.  It sounds like you have your rules system well worked out; is there something specific you're still working on?



And, since you asked, as far as how well *I*, personally, would like it...

Maybe.  I like the idea of absurd characters being supported by the system (makes me think of TMNT), but if this is just a set of charts in the middle of a bog-standard RPG, I'd keep moving.

Without a grippy setting and cool rules tied into it, I'm not that intrigued.  I've been convinced by the argument that a generic game does lots of things fairly well, while a targeted game does the one thing that you want really well.  

My perspective.

-Matt


Title: 'Navigator' Generic SCI-FI RPG
Post by: Steve Samson on March 25, 2004, 06:39:55 PM
At first glance, I don't see anything about the game that really grabs me. I really like "universal" rules (not "generic"--ugh, what an unappealing adjective), but I need something about the rules themselves that produces an "ooh, cool!" reaction. It's a lot easier to get that kind of a reaction out of a setting than out of a set of rules, and I think it's a lot easier to create a cool setting than a truly elegant or innovative set of rules. Show me a really innovative and elegant mechanism and I'll bite, but without that it's hard for me to get excited.

On the other hand, what I can get excited about is ANYONE who has a vision for a game and the drive to actually finish it. If you are excited about this game (and it seems that you are) I say go for it! The experience of creating this game will be invaluable, and regardless of whether this particular game has mass appeal, I guarantee that you'll create things with Navigator that will become pieces of the next game you write, and so on.

Steve


Title: Generic is a bad term
Post by: Strams on March 26, 2004, 09:28:00 AM
Thanks for the responses,

Yeah I agree to a point.  A uniques system isnt enough to probably excite everyone.  Again thats the reason I started this post.  

AD&D though if you think about it is just that, a core set of fantasy rules that allow the DM and players to 'write' their own story. Now I'm not comparing Navigator to D&D but the premise is the same.  A good set of rules that offers inspiration for everyones unique vision.  You could play D&D without ever picking up a module.  And lets face it..theres nothing really unique about the monsters in old D&D..they are all from myth and legend.  They just supplied a 'generic' world and the DM was expected to popluate it.  The whole premise of D&D is something we have all read in C.S. Lewis or Tolkien...or any other work of fantasy for that matter.  They just put rules to it.

Part of what turned me off on 3rd edition is that the game has become 'too' structured.  Maybe im out of touch with what younger people today enjoy about gaming.  Maybe with the advent of computer games everyone expects to be spoon fed storylines and plots.

Now on the other hand a unique idea like Shadowrun with an excellent (though a bit complicated) set of rules has its place as well...and just using the premise of the shadowrun world makes for a good game.  So I can see that side of it as well.

I guess what will be interesting about Navigator (again IMO) is that it does have a unique character generation system...and a detailed enough combat system to make game play unique and enjoyable...but also allowing the GM to created his vision.

Now Ive always wanted to include (this is the 'fluff' I mentioned earlier) examples of ships..maps..archetypes and weapons (bio-and tech) that fall under my idea of Sci-fi.  GM's can use these ideas as a basis for thier campaign or toss the whole mess aside.

Modules or suppliments would also be a fun an interesting thing to continue to build and add to the core rules...but again non of it would be neccessary to 'play' the game.

Maybe Ive explained my vision a bit better...but again I do appreciate the feedback and I hope no-one views this response as defensive..just trying to explain my take on the whole thing a bit better.


Title: 'Navigator' Generic SCI-FI RPG
Post by: Shreyas Sampat on March 26, 2004, 09:55:20 AM
I'm going to throw my hat in and say that you need a clear direction to point your design at, and I'm not seeing one here quite yet (though I do see a lot of attractive ideas in here, like Dune mixed with Star Wars, etc.).

I don't think "generic user-populated sci-fi" is really tight enough to do what you want it to do - you seem to have a clear vision of the setting you would use the game for, and the flavor you want to get out of it, so why not build that into the game, with the provision for extending it?  This isn't fluff! The reason that, say, Nobilis works is that it's dripping in color and thematic forces; these are the stuff that make people (of a certain stripe) interested in games.

You mentioned "evolutionary abilities." These sound really interesting; if I were writing your game, then I'd probably focus on these. But, as Garbanzo said, you seem to have your rules all planned out already.

If I may make some suggestions:
Reexamine your assumptions; why are you continually using SR and D&D as yardsticks to compare your game against? It it because you're familiar with them, or because you have specific points to compare with them? ("SR handles magic well, with its scalable system, but it's very crunchy; can I get the same depth of output without so much crunch?") Why does everything get 100 evolutionary points? Shouldn't strawberries and trilobites get fewer points than humans and superintelligent pythons?

Finally, a point that bears repeating: A generic game can do a lot of things okay, but it takes a focused game to do a single thing really well.


Title: 'Navigator' Generic SCI-FI RPG
Post by: Matt Wilson on March 26, 2004, 09:57:53 AM
Hey Strams:

Thanks for the play example. From reading that, I can make a few guesses about which games you've played and like playing.

There are some recently-developed games that you might want to take a look at, to either borrow ideas from or build upon them. Here's a couple:

Pax Draconis, by Justin Dagna, who posts here frequently. I haven't taken a close look at PD, but I think you might have overlapping interests.

Witchcraft, which is a free download of a Unisystem game. I think you'll like Unisystem, if you haven't already seen it. You can find it online at Eden Studios.

Also, you might want to check out a couple games that take a totally different approach to yours, as they'll alert you to possible assumptions that you don't mention in the rules, but maybe ought to.

The Pool
Dust Devils
Trollbabe

They might not be your thing, but they'll get you thinking about stuff like "hey, how come the GM always narrates the results." And you'll know for sure if things are in the game because you want them to be, as opposed to because you never considered another option.


Title: 'Navigator' Generic SCI-FI RPG
Post by: Strams on March 26, 2004, 10:14:42 AM
Ahhh more excellent Feedback..now, this is helping.  I think I understand what is being said...and I agree.

I have focused the game on Character developmet...To me this is what makes the game enjoyable to the players...they can be whatver they wish within the rules of course.

The reason behind the 100 evo points is that it makes for a universal constant.  In other words there in lies the balance.  Now I know realistically (or not) there could be some race of huge super powerful, super intelligent, super good looking, super educated creatures out there that have learned all there is to learn and all there is to know..but why would you want to play one?  The 100 points says that if you want a really tuff character that is into combat then you will not be able to focus as much on spell like abilities or skills outside of bashing.  

I guess I can talk tell Im blue in the face about how cool character gen is...(everyone that has played navigator so far loves that part). But unless you were to actually see it its hard to explain.  If anyone would like a PDF copy of the Character Gen section, Id be glad to email it.  Some of it wont make sense cause of other rules...but it would show you what your capable of making within the rules.

Yes, The two games I have GM'd the most are D&D and SR..so I know them quite well...and so I do base a lot of weight and reference both systems..I think both are good at what they do.

Again Navigator isnt a rip off of either, its just what I would like to have seen different in each.

I still hesitate to 'create' races and class types, because that takes away from the most unique aspect of the game..the charater creation.

So I suppose the universe around the players could be designed..Im just worried that his woud limit the fact that these players, after creation are the species that inhabit the universe.  If somone rolls up a Rabbit like rodent creature with six arms..well then that effectively means that he came from someplace...so off in some distant part of the universe..the realm of the 6 armed rabbit creatures exist.    The GM may even wish to base a campaign off of one of the payers races.

I suppose creating a universal plot of somesort (rebels vs. the evil empire) would give the game some more flavor...hmmmmm.  Food for thought.


Title: 'Navigator' Generic SCI-FI RPG
Post by: Strams on March 26, 2004, 11:00:57 AM
Oringinaly We were going to base the game around 'Navigators' thus the name.  These Navigators held the old secrets of mapping the universe and understood the jump points and were the only ones with the secret of navigating the vastness of space.  The knowledge wether inherant in the race (genetic) or learned was a coveted secret that few would disclose..fear of retribution may have even been warented at one point.

This system would have had a high focus on space travel and on the navigator class in particular.  In dept rules about jump theory and all that were kick around..but the more the core rules got built...the more it seemed like a restrictive way of binding the characters to one universe.

Now I still like the idea.  A universe where outerworlds not within known gate spheres are very difficult and dangerous to reach.  A western type flavor of lawless back worlds and mining claims (without all the yee hawness) would make for some interesting RP.  

I suppose something like this could be integrated still.  But then we are back to classes...If I make the navigator class..then I have to make other classes.  Then Im restricting the players again.  The skill of just navigation could be considered by itself but unless it was made very expensive to buy..everyone would have a 'navigator' character.

Magical Adpets and monks were also kicked around (jedi) types.  BUt as you see, this causes the class problem again.

Hmmm I guess I have to descide which way I want this to go...I suppose at this point since the rules are pretty much written it doesnt hurt to toss around other ideas.  I suppose classes (with pre-bought skill sets could be purchased) then other skills could be added to round out the chracter and supply uniqueness.  Races though I still dont want to touch...I think that it is very cool to watch what people can come up with as far as strange creatures go.

Keep the ideas commin...you all are helping immensly


Title: 'Navigator' Generic SCI-FI RPG
Post by: DevP on March 28, 2004, 05:24:06 PM
I *LURVE* sci-fi, so let me try to give you my 2 creds of opinions...

First off: your rules aren't uber-radical (as folks have said, they alone aren't really grabby), but dammit, (a) if you like them, (b) if they work, (c) if they're playtested, (d-r) if you like them, then go with it. I'm curious what's nifty about the char-gen that your players love. (Feel free to email me the PDF for some private comments, dev at hcs dot harvard dot edu.)

On the otherhand: you're sort of panicking about classes. NO NO NO NO NO. Classes aren't bad, but you don't want them, so don't feel like you have to have them! There is nothing yet suggested that implies the need for classes. Classes can help simply play roles (very clear classes is one way D&D, esp. Basic D&D, was good for new folks, but that's a digression right there..) but they are simply a tool in that regard. Similarly, same thing about the metaplot (i.e. jacking some rebel/empire thing into it). Unless there's a point and a reason, it's just baggage. You want your setting to have a sort of kick to it (providing your players instantly with "something to do"), but that doesn't mean you have to set up metaplots like that.

Quote
The 100 points says that if you want a really tuff character that is into combat then you will not be able to focus as much on spell like abilities or skills outside of bashing.
My feeling on this: that sort of balance is fine, even helpful, for a lot of games, since it makes for a very clear starting point, but honestly: if someone wants to kill very efficiently, they will max out to kill efficiently, and might not care about everything else. The game-balance doesn't kick in for them, and you shouldn't necessarily try to "punish" them for not balancing out. Besides, this balance isn't necessarily what you want! Maybe you want your system to ENCOURAGE really far-out character choices, rather than just optimal ones. Keep in mind what your system is encouraging your players and characters to do.

Quote
Oringinaly We were going to base the game around 'Navigators' thus the name. These Navigators held the old secrets of mapping the universe and understood the jump points and were the only ones with the secret of navigating the vastness of space. The knowledge wether inherant in the race (genetic) or learned was a coveted secret that few would disclose..fear of retribution may have even been warented at one point.
...
But then we are back to classes...If I make the navigator class..then I have to make other classes. Then Im restricting the players again. The skill of just navigation could be considered by itself but unless it was made very expensive to buy..everyone would have a 'navigator' character.

See, this kind of focus actually would sell me (again, I'm just an opinion). I see too Cool Focuses in your game: wild character generation, and the Navigators being the focus of play. On an old thread of mine ("The Consequences of Geography" (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=9170)[/url]) I talked about doing wierd things to the geography of a space-opera universe, and among the thoughts were ideas on defining the universe ad-hoc (this was in fact one of my goals). To force one of the ideas on you: what if the distance of X to Y is always subjective, based on the PoV of the Navigator? What if THAT'S why Navigators are so awesome, i.e. they define the geography and therefore major power relations between worlds? But that's just one idea.

There's no reason that you need the create a separate Navigator "class", just because it contains certain skills. You could really just mod that as an option in character creation. And why not make it the focus of play?

A secret I've learned is that restricting choices can REALLY REALLY boost the creativity of the situation. I've given someone the prompt "Okay, define this planet you're landing on, anyway you want" and gotten nothing. But the same guy in a constrained game like My Life with Master, and he goes wild. Limiting choices can help players in a big way (see my talk about classes above).

So what if all players are Navigators? That just explains why all the PCs are special - they all have a certain adeptness trait that enables them to make miraculous travel faster than the speed of light, and this condition puts them in a position of great honor and fear. Where D&D has an "unlikely band of Adventures", you have a "motley crew of Navigators" - this can be a centralizing feature. Or alternately, centralize play around each crew having a single, very important, Navigator (without whom the whole promise of FTL is lost). Make this sort of assymmetric play as aspect of the party composition; just as Buffy is about 1 Slayer + several Friends, your show is 1 Navigator and her wacky rogues.

Point is, don't be afraid of focusing it.

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In other words Do you like games where the plot and background of the game is already layed out or presented as a basis? Or would you enjoy having the ability to make your own history and background and denizens of the universe?

I think this is a key question. If you're asking just opinions, well, its really not worth much, so I'll spare you mine. But what matters is the DIFFERENCE in play you'd get with either. Some gamers like having a thick Encylopaedia ahead of them. If you're going more improvizational, I recommend laying some groundwork:
- make sure all the players understand stuff is made up on the fly, and make sure they know to "play along"
- make sure that once something is said, it's more or less solid (i.e. solid ret-conning)
- maybe give them the ability to improvise the 'verse themselves, but not necessarily
+ give them a firm foundation for what they can expect from this universe in general!

This last one is so very key. If my space-setting ever does complete, a key aspect will be a simple one page "constitution", if you will: a consise explanation of how the whole setting works, and what you can expect within. Details are made on the fly, but you MUST have some basis, or your players will be totally left out to dry.

Okay, I'm really out of brain. Hoped that helps.


Title: 'Navigator' Generic SCI-FI RPG
Post by: Valamir on March 28, 2004, 07:02:37 PM
Please feel free to disregard this comment, but Dev has hit on something that I largely agree with.  I think I'll say it even a little bit stronger than he did.

Alot of game designers have a really wonderful idea for a setting.  That may involve any or all of the following:  specific factions, a specific history, specific locations, various genre tropes, lots of color and flavor.

Doesn't matter, pick any combination of the above.  Whatever it is, the designers are REALLY excited about the setting and they want to create a game based in it.

They then make what I consider (insert requisite IMO caveats here) a horrendous mistake, perhaps the hugest mistake they can make.

They want to make the game able to to everything and anything in that setting.  If its possible to have a sect of hermit psionic spoo farmers who eat sand and crap diamonds exist in the universe, then by god players should have the option to play one.

I think this is a very bad approach.

Better to select the situation in the universe that is most cool, that is most grabby, that has you the designer most pumped and excited and make the game about THAT...and really....only that.  

So if its the Navigators that make your setting cool, then by god, make the game ABOUT the Navigators.  Whether that means the players are all Navigators, or you take an Ars Magica troupe approach, or you make the Navigators the enemy that all players are trying to overthrow...whatever...make them the focus of the game.  And make your game about that focus.  Anything that doesn't add to that focus...skip it.

If its not the Navigators then make it about whatever it is...planet of the month space adventure...hell psionic spoo farmers...it doesn't matter.

My advice is pick the aspect that you are most jazzed about and make the game about that.  Hell with the rest of it.


Title: 'Navigator' Generic SCI-FI RPG
Post by: Strams on March 30, 2004, 10:06:17 AM
Quote from: Dev
My feeling on this: that sort of balance is fine, even helpful, for a lot of games, since it makes for a very clear starting point, but honestly: if someone wants to kill very efficiently, they will max out to kill efficiently, and might not care about everything else. The game-balance doesn't kick in for them, and you shouldn't necessarily try to "punish" them for not balancing out. Besides, this balance isn't necessarily what you want! Maybe you want your system to ENCOURAGE really far-out character choices, rather than just optimal ones. Keep in mind what your system is encouraging your players and characters to do.


Well actually no one is punished for going one extreme or the other...the balance is between all.  If someone goes heavy one direction or the other, they may be a more efficient killing machine, but they lack other things.  there is the balance.  Actually a party with equal sums of strength, subterfuge and smarts is a well balnced party (but of course thats obvious).  

A good example...one of my players decided to try a killing machine that is 450 kg and 14' ft tall.  His strength is well above the normal 20, 27 I believe..which wihin the rules he could lift a volkswagon and toss it (not far..but still something most of us cant do).  His BMV (base melee value) is like a -3 (thats his base to hit number on a d20).  So the targets defense (TS) needs to be pretty good in order to evade this lumbering beast.  He has a speed of 30 meters per segment.  A segment is two seconds...so this beast moves at over 15 meters per second...well above our fastest olympic athelets of the day.  His fists alone can kill another char quite easily in one blow.

Sound Uber?  Well he is an example of going completely one direction.  But this player also...cant fit in normal vehicles.  He has one skill..unarmed combat.  His mental focus and defense score is so low that any NPC or player with any sort of paranormal abilities will have very little difficulty affecting him...including turining him on his own party (ulp!)  He cant use any 'normal' sized weaponery.  His immense size makes him a very easy target for others trying 'to hit' him.  Its good he has such a huge HR (health rating) cause he needs it.  If he gets a hold of you your dead...but thats his problem...how do you miss a huge lumbering 450kg 14' tall elephant creature bearing down on you.  Just pray you have a big gun..and lots of ammo.

Now when our friend first made this character...I freaked out..and just about tossed the whole char gen system cause...I figured this proved the system was flawed...alowing such destruction to be created.  But for the games sake we went ahead and play tested this character...in an arena type setting.  We do this a lot to test characters and combat rules.  He was the first player to go down.  So I say one persons Uber death machine..is anothers..perfect target.  Thus the balance I mentioned before.


Title: 'Navigator' Generic SCI-FI RPG
Post by: DevP on March 30, 2004, 10:36:11 AM
Talk about a combat monster. <g> So I looked over that example, and read a PDF of the char-gen as you mentioned. So...

On one hand, the char-gen is sort of a series of shopping lists with their own benefits/modifications; then again, shopping lists are very straightforward, and that sort of specific choice can be helpful, and I can see the appeal of mixing and matching all these evolutionary traits to create a personal combat. Like mixing feats and classes in d20 except, y'know, interesting. (Kidding.)

You should be aware that the options you have are limited. You cover many things that someone would want, but you probably can't generate my space-amoeba, or my being-of-pure-energy, or my roleplaying of a meme, or something. That can be fine; looks like you're going for slightly anthropomorphic science fiction.

From your sample, and from your rule selection, it does look like fighting IS a focus of your playstyle, which is fine. So you have odd characters, major fightin' potential, and *maybe* some unifying aspect of the Navigator or such. Why do your mechanics choose to emphasize these parts / these details?


Title: 'Navigator' Generic SCI-FI RPG
Post by: Strams on March 30, 2004, 11:01:58 AM
I wouldnt say the game 'focuses' on combat, but most epic sc-fi adventures or stories have some sort of shoot'em up theme.  And again the char gen may have focused around combat or the natural evolution of defenses...but just as in nature it is a battle of survival.  Most creatures have some sort of natural defense or attack ability (pray or predator).

Its hard to judge a game just by the char gen.  The skill set allow for all sorts of other solutions other then 'combat'.  Yes we didnt go as heavily on skills (D&D third ed.) Because this is supposed to be simple game to play.  Having every possible skill set down to being a 6th level toe clipper.  I cant see the benefit.  The skill set we have is adequate for amost any situation.  And others can and should be added when the need arises.

I'm not very familiar with d20 ( again I play old school rules AD&D).  Is the char gen similar in mechanics?  If it is, perhaps I should read over a set of d20 rules and familiarize myself.  

The adventure we had the other night was an interesting one..we were on a distant frontier moon in a mining system that was much like a stellar Las Vegas.  All forms of decedence were set up for traders and miners.

Anyway...A race of slamander type creatures which were part of a universal cult that 'needs' to cleanse the universe set off a viral agent..that turned everyone exposed into zombie like creatures that killed and destroyed haphazardly.  The viral agent spreads quickly through contact...so a place like vegas is an excellent place to start off the maddness.  Our characters were in this casino buying fake gaming commision papers to try and pull off an 'oceans eleven' type hiest..when this 'other plot' happened.

Now besides a bit of combat escaping the casino..and fighting off zombies...the rest of the adventure was us trying to stay ahead of the viral agent..and actually still rob the starport casino before abandoning the planet.  

Our plan was to pose as the gaming authority and use the emergency as an excuse to get access to the accounts.  We told the managers (as panic was ensuing because of news casts about the zombies) that we were from the corporate headquaters and were here to close the accounts and see to the abandonment of the casino personal.

Ill spare all the other details, but computer skills...negotiation...combat...stealth...ect were all used in this mission.  Combat was there fro the entertainment value (everyone likes to shoot stuff), but it wasnt the focus of the adventure.


Title: 'Navigator' Generic SCI-FI RPG
Post by: DevP on March 30, 2004, 11:22:19 AM
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I'm not very familiar with d20 ( again I play old school rules AD&D).  Is the char gen similar in mechanics?

Not really. I think I meant to say, that they were similar in depth and seeming handling time (again, I saw but an excerpt but I think I can see where its going); there were a few modifiers, derived from stats, point-buy of gimmicks and core attributes. This amounts to a certain amount of "crunch", which is really fine. I like Jeph's Exemplar alot because it's light, yet it has a decent bit of crunchability as you max your asskicking potential between Techniques, Abilities, etc.

Quote from: Strams
I wouldnt say the game 'focuses' on combat, but most epic sc-fi adventures or stories have some sort of shoot'em up theme...

...The skill set allow for all sorts of other solutions other then 'combat'.  Yes we didnt go as heavily on skills (D&D third ed.) Because this is supposed to be simple game to play.  Having every possible skill set down to being a 6th level toe clipper.  I cant see the benefit.  The skill set we have is adequate for amost any situation.  And others can and should be added when the need arises.

Certainly, I'm not saying you need a wide skill list just to not "focus" on combat! Action and fighting is really cool, and even if you didn't want that as a focus, adding non-combat skills wouldn't fix that anyway (I'm remembering "non-weapon proficiences" from AD&D).

Mike Holmes has a rant around here about Combat Systems, the gist of which is roughly: why are the rules more complex about combat rather than other aspects? What I meant by that question was, why is there the attention to your base movement value, attacks per round, and other details? But you've given an answer: combat is part of the entertainment value, and you find the entertaining combat to have these details. Am I right?


Title: 'Navigator' Generic SCI-FI RPG
Post by: Strams on March 30, 2004, 12:04:26 PM
Ahh Dev I understand your question now...Yes, one of the aspects of other games like D&D and similar games are that the combat , though functioning well, leaves a little to the assumption aspect of things.  In other words unless your playing with minitures, or have a detailed map combat is about I won int..I swing..I hit or miss.  Now dont get me wrong, I know its a bit more detailed then that, and with some creative thinking you can add a lot of flavor to a system like that, but I think in general..its a bit stagnent.

Shadowrun on the other hand has a very detailed combat sys...this is what we were going for minus the difficulty.  

The reason I like a system like this..and I think it shows in our combat rules (which I will explain in a second) is that it slows the combat down and leaves nothing to chance..you have more time to think up neat things to do..that may have nothing to do with pulling a trigger, or swinging a sword.  This is where Im going with that.

So yes your right..a lot of emphasis has been placed in that part of the rules, because a combat phase is where everything happens.  Even if you dont want to kill someone you still have to make some sort of 'roll' against them to have some effect happen.  The detailed combat keeps all that linear and flowing.

Movement, wether in gun play or in vehicle combat is important, because in a slowed down segment to segment combat phase its important to know where everyone is..and how far they can move for ranges and modifiers in combat.

A combat segment would look like this...

All combat rounds are made up of three segments each segment lasting 2 seconds approximatly.  A players actions per turn is what determines which segment they get to react in.

Players that react in the first segment roll int (reaction score + a d6) high score wins...down the line..in the case of ties, base reaction is compared..if that doesnt do it..AGI is looked at.  In the following example im only going to explain the actions of one of the characters.

The player with the higest score goes first...he has the ability to do two simple actions or one complex action in that segment (yes, here is where the SR influence comes in..i just find it very logical).  lets say she pulls her gun and aims at one of the bad guys.  that would be her segment..one simple action pulling the gun..the other picking a target and taking aim.  

Everyone else goes in turn till the segment is done.  Next segment (were still in the first round) Our heroine takes a shot at the now running target (well say he ran for cover last segment).  She takes her BPV (base projectile value) and subtracts her level in firearms to get  a base to-hit number (there is a space on the char sheet that already has these values im just explaing how we got them).  She then asks the GM the TS of her target.  

The TS is the target signature of the intended victim.  TS is a number aquired through Size, speed, evolutionary abilities ect.  It is not your armor, that comes in later.  Nothing bothers me more then saying well Im wearing plate mail..so Im hard to hit..no your hard to hurt..but not hard to hit.  Armor has nothing to do with our TS score unless it has built in camoflage or something to make you a more difficult target.

Anyway the GM gives the player the TS and she add that to her modified BPV (base projectile value).  This is now the new to-hit number.  

Anyother modifiers Mr. GM?  This would include low light..partial cover...being fired at...consecutive shots...movement of target..ect.

Our target is moving so the GM give her a mod of +3 for the targets Speed modifier when running..and -1 for low light conditions.

Add all this up and there is the number our heroine needs to hit the bad guy.

No charts...and once you get going..and know the situational modifiers..its actually quite easy.

If she manages to hit the target damage is done by using the DR (damage rating ) of the weapon +a d6 for severity.  This total gets reduced if the target has armor vs the specific type of attack Balistic, impact, energy.  

Thats about it.  Thats a very simplified version of combat...but hopefully you get the idea.

So yes combat has been paid attention to in particular..but its just because its a colorful aspect of the game...and I wanted to bring out the flavor in combat instead of just I hit...or I miss...next.


Title: Re: 'Navigator' Generic SCI-FI RPG
Post by: Mike Holmes on March 30, 2004, 02:39:53 PM
Quote from: Strams
First off, I just recently found this board and I am delighted to find that there are this many people into this aspect of RPG.  I guess almost all folks who play or GM for any length of time have done some sort of revision or adaptation to the core rules of their chosen game, but this is awesome that so many people take on the 'labor' of love that is writing thier own set of rules.
Are you familiar with just how many RPGs exist? Would you be shocked to discover that there are hundreds and hundreds of them? Here's a list of nearly one-thousand:
http://www.darkshire.net/~jhkim/rpg/encyclopedia/

It's probably not complete, despite the fact that John does an incredible job of keeping it up to date. For every one of these there are probably ten games that somebody starts but never gets close enough to finish to even be included in the list.

Just for a little perspective to welcome you to The Forge. Game design is performed a ton. I'd say it was a well-developed art, but in fact, most designers make their game's in a vaccum, knowing only a few RPGs.

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Anyway, hope fully I can fit in here and benefit from the excellent experience everyone here seems to share.
I hope we can help. I don't know if you've noticed, but we have a lot of jargon around here, so beware. You may want to peruse the "articles" link at the top of the page and do some reading to get used to the language that flies around here.

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One other thing, Im an artist/illustrator by heart, and a graphic designer by trade.
Have you looked into working with anyone here on layouts or such? It's a great way for a person with your skills to get involved.

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BATTLETECH (yes there is a RPG element).
Heh, played a ton of Mechwarrior back in the day...

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So this brings me to my Question (took awhile eh?).  Does a Generic Sci-Fi rule base where the GM and players populate the cosmos, making the different races and species, sound like an apealing system to you the player?
Yep, sounds cool. OTOH, I say that about everything. Doesn't matter what I think, it only matters what you think. If you make a good game people will play.

That said, what are your publication intentions?

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This would include a system with no base class or race, just skill sets that would allow a player to specialize in the direction he or she wishes.  Wether it be a bio-engineer rat like creature with 4 arms..or a 14' rhino type that can crush a car with its bare fists.  A unique form of mental/magical manipulation of the universe (esoteric arts) would round out the mystical aspect of the game.
Are you familiar with any of the many generic games that might handle this sort of thing (Hero, GURPS, etc)? How does your game compare?

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Iv'e just always taken the base ideas of a game and made my own universe, and it looks like thats what others here have done as well..it seems to me that a base set of rules with a unique character creation would give players and GM the chance to let their own unique vision run free intead of following scenario guidelines created by the writer.
A lot of people here agree with this idea. Ron Edwards', the moderator of the site, has a game called Sorcerer which has the same sort of concept. Create a cool character, and let the GM and players decide on the setting.

That said, the big question that we ask people here is "what do the characters do?" That is, OK, I can make up a cool character - but does the system inform me about what sort of action is appropriate, or will be fun?

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In other words Do you like games where the plot and background of the game is already layed out or presented as a basis?  Or would you enjoy having the ability to make your own history and background and denizens of the universe?
One of the things we espuse here is that, as long as people are having fun, the mode of play is functional. There are those who like all manner of methods of play who would enjoy what you suggest, and it's opposite. So, again, the question is not whether we'd like it, but whether you are enthusiastic enough about your vision for the game to make it come to life.

So, going ahead with the idea that the game should be published, what questions do you have about it? What are we discussing here?

The one subject that's come up so far is combat. Someone mentioned my post Mike's Standard Rant #3: Combat Systems (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=2024). The point that Dev is getting at is that in making combat so prominent in your rules, players are informed that this is what they should do.

This has been a big problem ever since Traveller. Do you find that combat is very lethal? I mean, given advanced technology, one can imagine that combat becomes very lethal, very quickly. So, does your combat system represent that, or does it dodge it somehow. I remember from the earliest editions of Gamma World that the worst energy weapons available (outside of the death ray, which was save vs. death, no?) often couldn't do enough damage to kill a creature in one shot.

The point is that close combat where people take hits really isn't in genre for most Sci-fi. In fact, combat, where it does happen, is all about either ritualized combat (jedi with light sabres, or shield combat in Dune), or it's about running for you life. Or just being faster than the opponent.

Basically there is no "combat" as we'd recognize it from fantasy play. That is "plot immunity" in the form of Hit Points just isn't viable, really. What difference does it make to a phaser how many HP you have? You'll be just as vaporised on kill.

If that's true, then your "combat monster" character makes even less sense. In fact, why should we bother with stats like that at all?

What I'm saying is that you're coming to all this with a rather large amount of pre-conceptions that might, from one POV, be interfering with your ability to design a good game. OTOH, maybe the game is precisely what you want, in which case who am I to say that you need to challenge your pre-conceptions.

But some games don't have combat systems at all these days, and have far superior combat in play to some player's thinking. As an example, what do you think of that fact?

Mike


Title: 'Navigator' Generic SCI-FI RPG
Post by: Strams on March 30, 2004, 03:03:40 PM
Thanks for the welcome Mike.

Hmm you made some interesting points so Ill address them as best I can.

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Are you familiar with just how many RPGs exist? Would you be shocked to discover that there are hundreds and hundreds of them? Here's a list of nearly one-thousand:
http://www.darkshire.net/~jhkim/rpg/encyclopedia/


Actually no not to that degree..however just spending anytime in a hobby store and you get the idea of how many there 'can' be.  And through the years the comming and goings of it all..not to mention all the table top simulations with rpg overtones..and yes I can imagine that there are a really really really lot! :)

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I hope we can help. I don't know if you've noticed, but we have a lot of jargon around here, so beware. You may want to peruse the "articles" link at the top of the page and do some reading to get used to the language that flies around here.


You already have by leaps and bounds...two heads are better then one..a hundred..well you get the idea.  I will look that over thank you.

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Yep, sounds cool. OTOH, I say that about everything. Doesn't matter what I think, it only matters what you think. If you make a good game people will play.

That said, what are your publication intentions?


Well I suppose we all invision a bunch of folks sitting around playing our game..but do i honestly think to make a business or a living out of it ...no.  I would like to maybe put the game up in a pdf formatt and see what happens.

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Are you familiar with any of the many generic games that might handle this sort of thing (Hero, GURPS, etc)? How does your game compare?


Yes and no..I have played heroes...gurps Ive heard about and looked over some rules...ringworld is another example..of open character gen.  I can say that directly Ive taken nothing from those...I suppose the same could be said about any Dungeon crawling game..being like D&D.  Ive just tried to make a character gen system that fits our set of rules and vision.  And so far they have matched up quite well.

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A lot of people here agree with this idea. Ron Edwards', the moderator of the site, has a game called Sorcerer which has the same sort of concept. Create a cool character, and let the GM and players decide on the setting.

That said, the big question that we ask people here is "what do the characters do?" That is, OK, I can make up a cool character - but does the system inform me about what sort of action is appropriate, or will be fun?


Well again, this is sort of the direction of the game...that the players and GM make up the universe.  I would expect anyone that wants to GM a game like Navigator..or even Ad&D for that matter would have some pre-understanding or interest in SCi-FI or fantasy.  They owuld therefore have thier own ideas on how they would like thier universe to play out.  Those that dont..like I mentioned before will havea Rouges gallery per say...some vehicles..and maps..and a sample adventure to get them started.  Im not discouriging anyone that doesnt have the motivation to make up a story line (use the starwars one).  Its just why would they want to play in the first place.

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This has been a big problem ever since Traveller. Do you find that combat is very lethal? I mean, given advanced technology, one can imagine that combat becomes very lethal, very quickly. So, does your combat system represent that, or does it dodge it somehow. I remember from the earliest editions of Gamma World that the worst energy weapons available (outside of the death ray, which was save vs. death, no?) often couldn't do enough damage to kill a creature in one shot.


Yes the dreaded Black Ray gun.  And yes D&D or Gamma world for that matter all have the 'flaw' of being a system that the higher you get the harder you are to die by filling the char with HP.  Gamma used it by giving you mass hp up front..because the weapons did more then lets say a sword would.

Navigator is very leathal.  An example would be..a heavy pistol has a DR of 3(will finish this in another post)


Title: 'Navigator' Generic SCI-FI RPG
Post by: Strams on March 31, 2004, 11:51:01 AM
Ok sorry about that..had to leave suddenly yesterday..anyway..where was I?

I was responding to Mike

he said...

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This has been a big problem ever since Traveller. Do you find that combat is very lethal? I mean, given advanced technology, one can imagine that combat becomes very lethal, very quickly. So, does your combat system represent that, or does it dodge it somehow. I remember from the earliest editions of Gamma World that the worst energy weapons available (outside of the death ray, which was save vs. death, no?) often couldn't do enough damage to kill a creature in one shot.


I was explaining that Navigator is very lethal and therefore premotes intelligent combat.  Flying in swinging swords just because you have the safty of 100 hps is not realistic..nor is it really anyfun IMO.

So in the example I started, a Heavy Pistol has a DR of 3.  Which mean that it does 3 base damage (a bullet is a bullet is a bullet).  A d6 is rolled  for the severity of the shot and then added to the bae 3.  This is the damage done to the target and subtracted from the players health rating (HR).

A players HR is determined as their END score plus a PS bonus.  So an average player (based on the scale of 1-20 for attributes) will have a 10 HR.  The medium pistol cant kill them with one shot...but will leave them with 1 HR left..and sever negatives to anything they try and do after that.  Actually they will have difficulty even remaining concious.  

Now most all weapons allow for more then one shot per segment..so you can see that a couple of medium pistol rnds into an unarmored opponent will kill them.

I agree with the fact that the Combat monster My friend created is a little extreme.  I suppose that that was the outer edge of what can be acomplished within the rules...but lets say you say..ok no-one can havea str over 20 and you can be no taller then lets say 10 ft.  Ok that will eliminate his monster char..but now you still have an outer edge..its not as extreme..but its still there.  Keep brininging it in and soon you have a number of characters that are all the same height/weight/Strength...ect.  Its an even balance but not much variety.  Where do you draw the line?

I think I showed how this extreme char has just as many liabilities as he does assets.

So would I want to play a char like him...no.  But someone might enjoy that challenge.  Whay should a game force people to experience other realms of RPG when all they like and want is combat.  Certainly all those other rules are there for those that enjoy that..but you will always have the proverbial 'slasher' in the party.  Im trying to reach a balance here of good  detailed game play without complex rules.

A


Title: 'Navigator' Generic SCI-FI RPG
Post by: Strams on March 31, 2004, 12:36:02 PM
Hmmm,

I just went through and read some of Mikes Rants...and The 'Heartbreaker' piece by Ron Edwards.  Both have the affect of opening ones eyes.  

Maybe I should explain that Navigator is almost exactly what Ron described as GM and players unsatisfied with their 'game of choice'.

Navigator is by no means supposed to be some great fix all for all things wrong with Sci-fi RPG nor do I wish to take on that role.  I have a wife and daughter..a career..other hobbies and the time and devotion to such an undertaking would be unrealistic at this point in my life.  Maybe when Im 60 and retired..all take on that task.

Navigator is Just 'our' Idea of what a RPG should be if it could combine ease of play with a level of realism acceptable to us..after all we are talking about Sci-Fic here.  A reality based fantasy/SCi-Fi  RPG is sort of an oximoron (sp?).  

Now if for some reason a few people get there hands on it, and enjoy it for what it is..then thats wonderful.

I'm just here for feedback and help in making it better.  If only for me and my group of players.

Thanks,

Mitch Page


Title: 'Navigator' Generic SCI-FI RPG
Post by: DevP on March 31, 2004, 12:36:12 PM
Quote from: Strams
Now most all weapons allow for more then one shot per segment..so you can see that a couple of medium pistol rnds into an unarmored opponent will kill them.

I agree with the fact that the Combat monster My friend created is a little extreme.  I suppose that that was the outer edge of what can be acomplished within the rules...but lets say you say..ok no-one can havea str over 20 and you can be no taller then lets say 10 ft.  Ok that will eliminate his monster char..but now you still have an outer edge..its not as extreme..but its still there.  Keep brininging it in and soon you have a number of characters that are all the same height/weight/Strength...ect.  Its an even balance but not much variety.  Where do you draw the line?


I think an important note about guns: even Huang Fei Hong (in the movies) admitted "you can't fight guns with Kung Fu". Even with your system as is - considering especially that aggressive players will take higher END and Armor - you're slightly generous with the damage, and you're going to get different gameplay from scenarios where one shot = usually one kill. But that's fine. If Combat Monster lurches slowly accross the firefight, he's still dead.

If the richness of char-gen is a feature, then I think you shouldn't put on those limits (i.e. maximum strength or size or whatnot). You could put in those limits ONLY for player characters, for arguments of maximum playability (this is why adventuring with a living planet is perhaps less fun). But I think you have a lot of reason NOT to limit character design, and you have to deal with the imbalances that will come out. I'll tell you right now: you're going to have some characters who are going to do better (relative to the scenario) that others, bar none. Indeed, it's likely my 8-armed octupi jazzman will have less plot influence then the moderately buff reptilian merc, chances are. True "balance" will almost never come about. You have to just deal with that outcome, and make it a "feature" and not a bug. Do you feel your game does enough to be inclusive of odd character types, or is that the players or GM's responsibility? (And if its the latter case, you should make that explicit in the rules.)

So back to the key questions:
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Well again, this is sort of the direction of the game...that the players and GM make up the universe. I would expect anyone that wants to GM a game like Navigator..or even Ad&D for that matter would have some pre-understanding or interest in SCi-FI or fantasy. They would therefore have thier own ideas on how they would like thier universe to play out. Those that dont..like I mentioned before will have a Rouges gallery per say...some vehicles..and maps..and a sample adventure to get them started. Im not discouriging anyone that doesnt have the motivation to make up a story line (use the starwars one). Its just why would they want to play in the first place.

Mike's question was about being clear on "what characters do", and moreover, "what players do" relative to the game. This is usually implicit, but it's always there. First, the question of the players.

If I'm playing D&D, I know I want to be effective. Not necessarily a crazy fighter, but I want the skills and opportunities to perform my key tasks (such as healing or magic) often enough to feel like I'm playing an important part. The way D&D plays out with its rules encourages me to think this way, and if I'm in a dungeon-crawly tradition, then I'm going to pay attention to effectiveness within the dungeon.

So I'm creating characters in Navigator, but I wan't my choices to count. (As an example, I wouldn't spend 50 points to boost my DUH stat, if I kne wthat the DUH stat was never going to come into play. I don't want to cheat myself out of effectiveness to play the game.)

I think I'm about to lose track, so let me jump to the point: what do characters and players do? It looks like the specific sci-fi thign you're going for is a team of star-hopping freelancers, out to make specific missions (not to different from an equivalent "party" in D&D), and I think that's a fine hook, since it's a very clear starting point in my own space-opera games. If I'm right, than THIS is what the players do ("make a cool character who will do cool freelance adventures for a buck. or maybe even honor"), and what the players are thinking about in Char-Gen is making a character who can be effective in this way. Given that the "adventure" will frequently have some combat, attention will be paid so all participants can feel included.

You suggest that everyone will have their own idea on how things will work out, but that can be limited. The choices you make will affect which GM ideas will pan out. (Like I said, my insubstantial-energy-being PC probably would break the ruleset.)

Back to the original-original question:
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In other words Do you like games where the plot and background of the game is already layed out or presented as a basis? Or would you enjoy having the ability to make your own history and background and denizens of the universe?

What conclusion are you coming to on this issue? Which of these options would you rather write about?


Title: 'Navigator' Generic SCI-FI RPG
Post by: Strams on March 31, 2004, 01:02:25 PM
Hey Dev,

Well If People only enjoyed having a game that let them participate in a pre-existing or evolving story line or universe as written per the rules..ie GAMMA WORLD...post holocaust mutant world.  Or shadowrun with the re dawning of magic then I would try and add a background 'universe' with a key set of events and storyline to start with and expand on.  Those that enjoy just winging it on the fly can disregard this 'basis'.

I guess thats what I was asking.  And the more I read, the more I think it would be a good idea.  It certainly will be fun to come up with all that.  At first I didnt think it was neccessary for the game..and again its not.  But it might make it more enjoyable for some..or easier for that matter.


As to you other point.  some characters will be more imprtant at times then others...but its that way with any game. Some characters will shine at different times.  When you really need to get those off world quaranteen cargo papers forged..your pilot isnt going to help much.  But the decker/fixer/computer guy will help immensly.  Once you get them though..your not going to walk there..:)  You need the pilot.

As to H-T-H vs ranged..I agree that in a world of blasters the sword weilding monk or the 14' killing elephant does seem at a disadvantage..exept that we arnt talking about creatures that are average or even above average terrans...evolutionary abilities and esoteric arts all allow for interesting melee combat solutions.   I even have been toying with a sort of body alteration aspect of paranormal arts that allows for spending essence on altering dice rolls in combat.


Title: 'Navigator' Generic SCI-FI RPG
Post by: Juicetyger on July 21, 2004, 05:39:44 PM
Interesting!  Would you consider publishing it on 1KM1KT?