Galactic Encounters Role-Playing Game

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Seven
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Re: Galactic Encounters Role-Playing Game

Post Wed Sep 30, 2020 7:51 am

Solomoriah wrote: Tue Sep 29, 2020 8:10 pm An issue with our thinking is that we're accustomed to scarcity economies. There is no reason why, on the largest scale, scarcity should be an issue in a future with basic robots and fabricators.
Without some level of scarcity, there is no trade. I think at some point you'll have to figure what is plentiful and what is in limited supply. Living space? Energy? Art?

Also, maybe population vs lifespan. Is something keeping populations stable or is there a rush to colonize away from crowded planets?
Rosisha
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Re: Galactic Encounters Role-Playing Game

Post Wed Sep 30, 2020 8:12 am

Also might make sense to bump up numbers for population. Maybe the galactic core worlds are trillions of people with cities that span whole land masses. As a result, there is scarcity - colony worlds are being created to solve two problems - 1) over population at the center, and 2) providing food, raw materials and more since the core worlds are far past self-sustainability.
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Re: Galactic Encounters Role-Playing Game

Post Wed Sep 30, 2020 8:36 am

In general I'd say that a properly regulated society need not suffer scarcity. But with that said, I envision 40 million inhabited planets. Every form of government ever imagined will have been tried, and even the most unlikely forms will have succeeded somewhere. Never underestimate what people will do for an ideology.

Some planets will be overcrowded; I assume Earth will be. But in a human-dominated civilization it won't be the "core" worlds in the "geographic" sense, i.e. the worlds at the center of the galaxy. We'll colonize the ones closer to us first, and those colonized first will generally have the largest population. The game does not rule out sentient aliens with their own worlds, nor does it specifically include them; that's up to the GM. The Foundation novels present a galaxy where humans are the only significant sentients, while Star Trek has many mostly humanoid sentients and Star Wars has quite a few who are or are not humanoid, and I want to leave this to the decision of the GM. But speaking for humans, we're going to visit nearby neighborhoods first, mostly.

There are good reasons to believe the core worlds might be inhospitable for reasons of radiation anyway.

What is in short supply? Expertise, for one thing. Those who wander the stars may be experts in one or another area of specialization that might be valuable. Sure, you can just buy or otherwise acquire a fabricator, feed it materials and make whatever you need... until you want to make something big or complicated. A reactor? Sure, no problem. Build a city around it? Ah, now you might need an expert.

Humans will still be humans, just as smart and capable and stupid and cruel as ever.

But let me turn this around... in Star Trek, as long as there is power (fuel) for the ship, nothing is ever in short supply. They still find trouble to get into. In Star Wars, you never see anyone going hungry, not even the downtrodden serfs (or whatever you want to call them) who are at the beck and call of the powerful. And they have plenty of trouble too. Just as limiting your adventures to those with an economic basis is a mistake, so too is limiting your adventures to those that involve shortages.

Read a Travellers adventure the other night, where the bad guy wanted revenge. Watched a review of another where the characters were hired on an overcrowded water world (not that many people, but way too little dry land) to install some reactors in an undersea city. The planetary leadership had the things, but they didn't have the knowhow to work them.
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Rosisha
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Re: Galactic Encounters Role-Playing Game

Post Wed Sep 30, 2020 8:51 am

Oh my apologies - when I said core I was thinking like a political scientist: Core/Center as in close to seat of government. Earth, yes, probably any habitable or able to be made habitable worlds close to us.

In terms of rarity - prestige goods/services/locations. Anyone can get a fabricated whatchamacallit. Anyone can build themselves a ship, slap on a good enough AI and FTL drive and go find a planet and call it home.

But are you rich and powerful enough to enjoy Earth? I spend at least one year every decade at my family estate there. With plenty of skiing on Europa using my hand crafted skis made from wild grown ash trees. Those trees took 15 years to grow! Why my family's name is engraved in the archway leading from the landing pad to Europa Prime. Indeed. *** lights a cigar and adjusts his monocle.* Oh you go skiing on a mountain on your colony world? Oh you poor dear.

EDIT: This actually spurred another idea - an entire shadow economy in authentication and certification of hand crafted goods. Audited by firms like Christies. Just like with art today, if you have enough money to buy anything that is made, how do you really show off? By buying an authentic Jackson Polluck. The fact that you can also use it as a tax shelter is just bonus.
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Re: Galactic Encounters Role-Playing Game

Post Wed Sep 30, 2020 9:39 am

Expertise? Yeah, that's probably a good one. It's hard to trade though. Easier to steal.
Lack of expertise has never stopped anyone from trying.
Any interstellar authority or law enforcement? Let say copyright laws? Cloning? Genetic manipulation? Limitations on armaments? Military-industrial complex?

I always loved Frank Herbert's Bureau of Sabotage.
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Solomoriah
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Re: Galactic Encounters Role-Playing Game

Post Wed Sep 30, 2020 9:42 am

Rosisha wrote: Wed Sep 30, 2020 8:51 amEDIT: This actually spurred another idea - an entire shadow economy in authentication and certification of hand crafted goods. Audited by firms like Christies. Just like with art today, if you have enough money to buy anything that is made, how do you really show off? By buying an authentic Jackson Polluck. The fact that you can also use it as a tax shelter is just bonus.
Vance has several situations like this in his books, and he doesn't even present fabricators as a leveler for economic circumstance.
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Re: Galactic Encounters Role-Playing Game

Post Wed Sep 30, 2020 9:46 am

Without a central government, there won't be a central police force. Vance imagines a contract force called IPCC that offers services to planetary governments, both as investigators and as a certifying agency for planetary forces; this latter feature allows local officers to pursue criminals to other worlds who are also under IPCC contract, and to be able to expect some level of cooperation. In the earlier books (timeline-wise, not publication-wise) there is the Oikumene, the civilized area of the galaxy where most worlds are IPCC contractees, and Beyond, where there is no law to speak of outside of local forces and where the biggest criminals maintain their estates and run their enterprises.
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Solomoriah
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Re: Galactic Encounters Role-Playing Game

Post Fri Oct 02, 2020 9:52 pm

Let's talk about...

FTL

There are many ways to imagine FTL, but the one chosen for the game will help in many ways to define its feel. Here are some options from fiction and games:

Alcubierre Warp Drive (Star Trek): Creates a "bubble" of spacetime that is warped in such a way that it moves, carrying whatever is inside along with it; while matter cannot exceed the speed of light in space, warped space can do so. While the fictional drives have an honestly peculiar look to them, science suggests that a real drive of this type might involve two large rings, one after the other, which create and maintain the bubble of warped spacetime. Ships can apparently overtake other ships, and combat in warp drive is evidently possible.

Hyperdrive (Star Wars): Honestly, I'm not sure how this is supposed to work; the special effects from the movies suggest it works like the Alcubierre drive, but "hyperdrives" should move ships through "hyperspace" i.e. 4 (or more) dimensional spaces. Ships in hyperdrive cannot be tracked or intercepted, so no combat can take place while in FTL travel.

Stargates (Stargate SG-1 and later series; Buck Rogers in the 24th Century series): In this type of system, ships don't move faster than light; rather, a device called a stargate creates some form of folded space or wormhole connecting two distant points. Generally, the exit point is also a stargate. Some versions of this system require a receiving gate, and gates must be distributed via normal-space (sublight) means. This slows humanity's expansion into the galaxy, obviously. Since travel is effectively instant, there is no combat effect.

Hyperspace (Babylon 5): In this system, ships travel through a parallel dimension of some sort, where traveling a relatively short distance results in moving a substantially longer distance in normal space. Smaller ships may not have the ability to open gateways ("jump points") into or out of this space, but may still be able to use it by entering and exiting jump points created by larger ships or by a kind of stargate-like device. Combat in hyperspace may or may not follow the same rules as normal-space combat, but is evidently possible.

Jump Drive (new Battlestar Galactica): The ship folds space, teleporting instantly from one point in the universe to another. There is a distance limit per jump, called the red line. "Spooling up" the jump drive takes some time and substantial power, and jump calculations also take time.

Quantum Drive, aka Stutterwarp (from a game I can't name due to the OGL): The drive creates a field that causes the elementary particles of the ship's matter to tunnel repeatedly, in the quantum sense, moving together in lockstep at a very high frequency. To an outside observer the ship remains visible in normal space, but begins to move faster than light; to an inside observer, it doesn't seem to be moving at all (there is no feeling of inertia or acceleration), at least until you look outside the window. Combat in stutterwarp is basically impossible because the ships are moving faster than their own light, far too fast to detect each other, except possibly in a pursuit situation (but a single bobble of a fraction of a second's duration will separate them by much too far to recover).

Wormhole Drive (Star*Quest game, Space Force game): This one is my own invention. The ship creates a wormhole and enters it, exiting the far end several light years away. The wormhole's interval is partly timelike, such that for normal characters (who exist in three spacial dimensions and one time dimension) the far end does not yet exist when the near end closes. Thus, the ship is carried along in a pocket of spacetime from the near end to the far end. Ships cannot intercept each other, and combat while traveling is effectively impossible. Sometimes described as being carried along by a collapsing wormhole, which is more or less accurate.

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As an aside: When I created the wormhole drive for Star*Quest, I was told repeatedly that the roughly one day per light year travel time I proposed (I changed it for Space Force) was way too slow. Nobody would want to play that game, I was told. Then I read Travellers and discovered that they have a standard FTL rate of from 3 to 18 light years per week (depending on the type of jump drive a ship has). I'm quite cross with the people who told me my system was too slow.

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Anyway, I feel like we need to choose something. The choice here affects the game mechanics, obviously. Naturally I like my own system, but I really hoped this would be a collaborative game and so I'm asking for ideas and opinions here. I may not have covered all the possibilities above, either, so feel free to tell me if I've missed something.
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TardisCaptain
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Re: Galactic Encounters Role-Playing Game

Post Fri Oct 02, 2020 10:47 pm

I wish I could remember where I heard this idea from, but what about a ship that is using a black hole for travel. Not traveling through it or using it as an energy generator, but using it like a horse pulls a cart.

The idea was that a ship could create an artificial black hole in front of the ship and hold it at a fixed position. The ship would be dragged towards the black hole, which drags the ship forward. Since the black hole is is fixed, the moving ship pushes the black hole forward. This process continues until the ship turns off the black hole when it arrives at it's destination.

My Google-Fu was not strong enough to remind me where this idea came from. I don't know, it could have been a figment of my own imagination.
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Solomoriah
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Re: Galactic Encounters Role-Playing Game

Post Fri Oct 02, 2020 11:12 pm

That's a perpetual motion machine... and in any case, there's nothing in that description that would allow faster than light travel.
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