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Wholescale RPG conversions: who pays?

Started by Robotech_Master, September 19, 2007, 03:36:21 AM

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Say that I wanted to do a Robotech roleplaying game.

And that I wrote up the master-class templates for all the various mecha.

Who pays for all these things? And when?

Do we pay for them the first time that one of them shows up? It could get confusing to keep track of what has or hasn't been paid for.

Or do we just house-rule them into existence?

Eero Tuovinen

If the whole group sits down with the intent of playing a Robotech game with Universalis, my bet would definitely be on house-ruling any premade setting material into already existing. This way no one player would have to pay for having things that are already agreed upon as existing. It would also be slightly more difficult to mess up the setting, if the most important parts were already defined.

But ultimately it depends on how you want to play it. Not having anything predefined is a great way to go if you want to explore the ideas of the setting with the other players and to, effectively, figure out collectively what a Robotech story is about. It might prove that nobody actually is interested in the mechas as anything other than simple "Pilots a giant robot" traits for pilots, for instance.
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Mike Holmes

No house ruling needed here. There's basically one technique that covers this. Which is to include the following tenet into play:

Everything that's generally accepted canon in the Robotech universe is considered fact for our game.

The cost is one coin. Facts have no "size limit." If I say that it's a fact that the characters are human, that also implies that they breathe. I don't have to establish that as a second fact. If somebody has their human character swimming underwater for hours, I can challenge by saying that this violates the fact that the character is a human being (and get the mechanical support for it). I don't have to establish every "sub-fact" about what it means to be human.

As such, if the "fact" is that the world is the Robotech world, and somebody tries to have magic in the world, I can challenge that based on the fact that there's no magic in the canon (with mechanical support). The player is trying to make it something other than the Robotech world.

Note that I don't even have to have this as a tenet... we could simply agree to play in the Robotech world, and we could challenge each other when we do stuff outside of that canon. If it ever comes up. It might not. The only reason to make a tenet is to give it mechanical weight. For the low, low cost of only one Coin, you  can ensure that you have the mechanical support to bring anyone who wants to wander off track, back in line.

Now... what about the fact that Zentraedi Cruisers are big? Well, if it's a fact in Robotech, and you've said that the tenet is that you're using the Robotech universe, then anyone who describes one as small can be easily challenged. Does that equate to these cruisers having a Trait of Big?

No. There are huge amounts of assumptions based off of the tenets used. For example, in most settings, it's going to be assumed that gravity works. Do we automatically start assigning the planet object with gravity? Nope. There are simply too many objects that could be declared components in the universe of play to enumerate any but a miniscule fraction of them. Creating components, even master components, and giving them traits is not saying that they do or do not exist in the game world. Air is going to exist in most worlds whether somebody pays for it or not. The only question is whether or not the component in question needs to be instantiated to give it weight in the story. Is it something we want to explore in play, and have the narrative revolve around? If it's not, if it's just something that is mentioned as existing in the game, then it's just color.

And it's OK even for those cruisers to be color, so long as they don't become, say, a source of adversity for other components (fat chance).

Now, beyond tenets, if you want to start talking about Gimmicks, you can, in fact, do some interesting things. For one, you can actually take written-up details from another game (or, theoretically from a supplement, of which none have been written for Universalis to date), and say that all of the traits in those books are in effect for the game that you're playing. This is especially good for playing out sequels. But it could be used to add depth to the available components from the beginning of play, if that's something that you're into.

Other than this sort of thing, however, if you want for something to have mechanical weight, if you want to put traits on things, the normal answer to the question, "Who pays for this?" is whoever feels that it's important enough to give the thing the traits in question. Like any other play of Universalis.

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I've been trying to think about this for a long while but I'm still confused.

It's not so simple as just having everyone agree that we're playing in the Robotech universe, because there's considerable disagreement over exactly what the "canonical" Robotech universe is. (It's been going on in fandom for years, and continues to this day.)

What I'm concerned with is having the mechanics of all the various mecha in place as master classes to instantiate individual peoples' mecha from. That Cyclones, as a rule, have trait Transforming, and some of them have trait mini-missiles x2, and some of them have trait Beam Cannon instead. It's a bit too much to expect everyone to keep everything straight in their heads, especially since not all of the Robotech source material is itself internally consistent—and some people may be more familiar with the Robotech canon than others.

I've written down on a clipboard somewhere master descriptions for most Robotech mecha. I guess the easiest thing would be to just house rule them into existence, though it seems a little cheesy to pay 1 coin to get the benefit of dozens' of coins' worth of master class construction.


Great questions.

There's no problem with having made up Master Components in advance.  If you play an extended series of sessions all in the same universe, any Masters created previously would be available currently without having to be paid for again, so its as simple as just assuming some unplayed "session 0" where all this got created.  If you wanted to be particularly rules "true" about it, you could treat it as a Gimmick in the Tenets phase saying "all of these premade templates are in the game" Coin.

However, I do recommend thinking long and hard about what Traits you gave your Mecha masters.  There's no wrong way to build but there are ways that will seriously impact the flow of the game.  For starters I probably wouldn't list off every different weapon system as a Trait, and I'd be really hesitant to give any x2 Traits to weapons.  Why?  If you have access to a ton of dice based on Weapons then the Conflicts featuring fighting are going to be HUGE, dwarfing Conflicts featuring other things.  That many dice generating that many bonus Coins will give very different won't "break" the game...but it will change how it feels pretty dramatically.

Instead I'd give Traits only to those things that are really Iconic about a given mecha.  The ability to Transform?  absolutely.  But weapons I'd probably just do a trait like "bristling with weapons x2" to cover all the firepower at once.

This would actually be a great opportunity for a Rules Gimmick...lets see, this is me musing aloud, so let me know what you think.  I'm not familiar with the RT canon so use whatever weapons are really called.

First, do each weapon type as its own Master Component.  Give each of these weapons 1 Trait representing the thing they do best like:  Micro Missile Swarm:  Can't be Dodged.  Or Super Heavy Blaster: Penetrates Any Armor.

Then on your Mech Master Component just list one generic Weapons Trait using a multiplier for relative firepower.

Here's the Gimmick:  In parenthesis after the Weapons Trait, list all of the different weapons systems that Mech has access to.  The player normally uses the Weapons Trait dice, but can call on an extra die from one of the weapon systems if that system trait is applicable.

That way, you keep the actual number of Traits (and hense the importance) under a bit tighter control, and can then load up your mecha with Traits for other things that make them cool.


Hmm, that's an interesting thought. I'd have to think about it some more.

The ones I give x2s to are mainly the ones that are known for having lots of the things. It's iconic for certain Robotech mecha to unleash clouds of missiles, which I figured deserved a x2 if anything did.


Of course, it's all largely theoretical given that I'm not sure I'll ever come into circumstances where it would see use. But it certainly does make some good points about the flexibility of the game.