Basic Scifi Role-Playing Game

Creating game materials? Monsters, spells, classes, adventures? This is the place!
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Solomoriah
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Basic Scifi Role-Playing Game

Post Mon Nov 25, 2019 10:23 pm

EDIT: Uploaded first release. Not rules yet, just a sketch of sorts.

Excited?

:D

This is one of the perennial questions that comes up regularly. I've always said that the main reason there is no such thing as "Basic Scifi Role-Playing Game" is that, unlike Basic Fantasy RPG, there is no commonly-accepted setting to build it around. Humans, elves, dwarves, and maybe halflings; fighters, wizards, thieves, and clerics; dragons and giants and undead, oh my!

In the sci-fi arena we have copyright-protected, trademarked worlds like Star Trek and Star Wars. Universes where, no matter how you play it, you will never be the heroes because the heroes have already been written. And besides, because each has a well-known flavor and style, the GM is constrained in many ways. It's hard to put your own stamp on it without some player or players calling foul.

What I overlooked is that there is, in fact, one "common" sci-fi universe... the humanocentric galactic civilization as described by Jack Vance (the Demon Princes, the Cadwal series, the Alastor series, etc.), Isaac Asimov in the Foundation series, and so on. The kind of universe in which the classic Traveller game takes place.

Traveller is interesting. I have played it, not extensively though. But the galaxy is huge (seriously), and there is surely room for another take on this kind of universe.

Here's my vision, and the problems I see:

BSF would mirror, mechanically, BFRPG as much as possible. There are some things that I don't think would work well, though; I think skills are needed, maybe not deeply crunchy skills, but some kind of skill system. There is a mechanic from another game I've played where you "spend" XP to buy new skills (and spent XPs don't add to your level of ability). I'd also want to change the hit point calculation, raising the starting XP and flattening the progression so characters don't start quite so fragile but also don't become godlike at high levels. Rather than AC we'd use "Defense Rating" aka DR, which would be keyed to your attack bonus (kind of like the Defending rule from Combat Options). There are a couple other mechanics I'd import as well, but as I say, the mechanical/numerical basis would stay parallel to BFRPG so we could easily import monsters.

I can imagine, for example, a planet full of Nazgoreans... wow.

Thing is, I can build all of this. Probably in a few hours; I have most of the text already, scattered around several projects. But there's more, as they say... we'd need robust yet simple spacecraft/space travel/space combat systems, along with some kind of tables or methods for creating planets. And we'd about have to create a starter adventure, presenting a map of a few stars, some with inhabited planets, at least one of which is detailed enough to place an adventure on. Out of all of this part, I have a sketch in my mind of how the space combat should work... and that's about it.

And THIS is why we don't have Basic Scifi (or Basic Sci-Fi, whatever). Too much is needed that I honestly don't know how to create.

Sorry if I got you all excited. :(
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Traveller
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Re: Basic Scifi Role-Playing Game

Post Tue Nov 26, 2019 10:55 am

IF characters can't die during creation it is not Sci-Fi ;-)
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Re: Basic Scifi Role-Playing Game

Post Tue Nov 26, 2019 4:26 pm

Following. Other than editing, I'm not sure what help I can be though I've played a Star Trek RPG or two in my day.
Traveller wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 10:55 am
IF characters can't die during creation it is not Sci-Fi ;-)
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Re: Basic Scifi Role-Playing Game

Post Tue Nov 26, 2019 6:14 pm

Who knows, maybe someone will pick up the ball and create it after this discussion?

There are a few other OSR games out there, though one issue you hit is skills. While Star Wars characters are sorta fighters, thieves, and wizards, Star Trek characters are highly skilled in their specialties.

Though when I run scifi at cons, it is always Star Wars or Star Trek so I know I will fill the table. Never generic scifi.
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Re: Basic Scifi Role-Playing Game

Post Tue Nov 26, 2019 6:43 pm

I am excited for this... especially if it ends up being very interchangeable with BFRPG itself. I love crossover games, time travel, etc. Also like the idea of post-apocalyptic fantasy. Planet of the Apes or Thundaar the Barbarian, so hoping for the compatibility to be there.
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Re: Basic Scifi Role-Playing Game

Post Tue Nov 26, 2019 6:52 pm

SmootRK wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 6:43 pm
I am excited for this... especially if it ends up being very interchangeable with BFRPG itself. I love crossover games, time travel, etc. Also like the idea of post-apocalyptic fantasy. Planet of the Apes or Thundaar the Barbarian, so hoping for the compatibility to be there.
I think one of the tricks is survivability. Blasters and phasers should really be quite dangerous. Perhaps more starting HP? A rationalization would be that more advanced societies probably have better nutrition and childhood healthcare than a medieval world.

There are a number of other OSR flavored SciFi games out there, though none of them quite worked for me, not sure why. Something cross compatible with BFRPG might work.

R2 style droids would definitely be halflings, able to hide easily in junk piles.

Actually, I don't know that it is a project, that is COMPLETELY up to Solo. I'm just throwing out ideas.
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Re: Basic Scifi Role-Playing Game

Post Wed Nov 27, 2019 1:35 am

Hit points would equal Constitution at first level, with a point added every level or every other (depending on whether the character is primarily a fighter or non-fighter). Weapons would do damage similar to BFRPG levels, but with a double/triple rule making them more dangerous (roll 10+ more than you need, get a double; 20+ more than you need, get a triple).

The core game would have only humans. Aliens would be provided in the form of supplements, but probably "fatter" supplements than we do for BFRPG so they could be printed. Perhaps several races from a small region of the galaxy, along with a description of the primary stars and planets in that region. By doing it this way, we could cater to those who prefer a galaxy full of humans and those that like a more cosmopolitan ST/SW-type universe.
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Re: Basic Scifi Role-Playing Game

Post Wed Nov 27, 2019 5:54 am

Solomoriah wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 1:35 am
Hit points would equal Constitution at first level, with a point added every level or every other (depending on whether the character is primarily a fighter or non-fighter). Weapons would do damage similar to BFRPG levels, but with a double/triple rule making them more dangerous (roll 10+ more than you need, get a double; 20+ more than you need, get a triple).

The core game would have only humans. Aliens would be provided in the form of supplements, but probably "fatter" supplements than we do for BFRPG so they could be printed. Perhaps several races from a small region of the galaxy, along with a description of the primary stars and planets in that region. By doing it this way, we could cater to those who prefer a galaxy full of humans and those that like a more cosmopolitan ST/SW-type universe.
You've already given this some thought, I see!
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Re: Basic Scifi Role-Playing Game

Post Wed Nov 27, 2019 6:30 am

While damage would be better, so would armor - personal shields and such. Which could really get old school cool too!
[strutting]My shield armor takes 80 HTKs baby! Phaser hits for 78 points. Gulp, beam me up Scotty!![/runsaway]
Why not Firefly as inspiration? While it has been done, I don’t believe I’ve seen an old school/streamlined rules version of it. While I’m a huge Star Trek TOS fan, Firefly always felt very D&D to me. It’s more low tech though, which could play to our advantage. It’s more guns than lasers, which makes sense in a resource poor universe - which SW and ST were not. It’s a familiar “world” that hasn’t been overdone I think. But if we are looking for more high sci-fi (I don’t know what’s akin to high fantasy) that may not be our bag. Just throwing stuff against the wall here...
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Re: Basic Scifi Role-Playing Game

Post Wed Nov 27, 2019 6:44 am

Starship combat is based on dragons:
  • The different ages represent the different sizes of ships, maybe the spells are like tractor beams and such
  • Gunners make a ranged attack roll to hit
  • Pilots can make a pilot roll to save for half damage
  • Engineers can try to "heal" during combat, but not as effectively as out of combat or in a shipyard
  • Navigators can make rolls to try to retreat and get the heck out of there if necessary
Just my crazy two cents.

I'd prefer maybe a few alien races and robots in the core book rather than a supplement, maybe as an appendix if you don't want to lock in races like elves, halflings, and dwarves. Then we could build an even bigger alien database like with the field guides?
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