Galactic Encounters Role-Playing Game

Creating game materials? Monsters, spells, classes, adventures? This is the place!
User avatar
Solomoriah
Site Admin
Posts: 8598
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2008 8:15 pm
Location: LaBelle, Missouri
Contact:

Re: Basic Scifi Role-Playing Game

Post Sun Sep 20, 2020 10:09 pm

By the way, just uploaded R2 to the first post in this thread. I've added saving throws and worked on the ability tables some, and begun the class creation rules; I need that done to create the character classes themselves, but I also need the skills and I've only just started there.

Much more to do.
My personal site: www.gonnerman.org
User avatar
TardisCaptain
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Nov 29, 2019 2:02 am

Re: Basic Scifi Role-Playing Game

Post Sun Sep 20, 2020 11:53 pm

I can see the progression between R1 and R2.

I was curious about the changes to the Charisma table. No Max # of retainers and Loyalty Base?

Looking forward to seeing how this develops.
User avatar
Solomoriah
Site Admin
Posts: 8598
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2008 8:15 pm
Location: LaBelle, Missouri
Contact:

Re: Basic Scifi Role-Playing Game

Post Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:31 am

Not at all sure about retainers, to be honest. It's a cultural thing that feels dated; not sure I can make a case for it.

So I was thinking about two things, and they crashed together and I had an epiphany. In the Traveller system (and some other sci-fi games) there is the concept of "tech level" applied to planets or cultures. Various items are only available on planets having a high enough level.

But I was also thinking about fabricators, the devices that we are even now closing in on. Machines that make things, specifically other machines. At some point in the foreseeable future (not the far-off future of FTL travel), we will be able to make fabricators that can then make almost anything. Including more fabricators. And when a fabricator design is improved, an older model will make the newer one.

This wrecks tech levels. All you need to make a thing is a fabricator of high enough level. Any planet settled by humans would begin with a couple of fabricators, and practically the first thing they'd make is more fabricators, and possibly robot tenders to harvest or mine raw materials to feed them. If you don't have a fabricator on your own starship (and if you don't, why not?) you might have to trade with the hicks on some backwater planet to get weapons or ship parts or other gear made. They have only older-model fabricators, and you agree to trade them the design for a better unit you happen to have on a memory card in your pocket in return for them fabricating whatever you are needing. No one on the planet actually needs to know how to build a fabricator.

The only reasons I can think of why a planet would have other than some "average" technical level is if either (A) they are a planet of scientists and engineers and they are inventing new things, or (B) they have chosen to destroy all their fabricators and won't accept new ones if such are offered.

This fact is great for us. We don't have to waste a lot of time figuring out tech levels or how to apply them, and we can assume some standard level of available tech for most planets, leading to a simple standard equipment list.
My personal site: www.gonnerman.org
Seven
Posts: 361
Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2020 11:17 am

Re: Basic Scifi Role-Playing Game

Post Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:03 am

Doesn't the fabricator evacuate the need for adventuring?

If you have an unlimited supply of anything you can imagine, where's the incentives?
The games usually have resource based economies which drive the stories.

Never played Traveller, so I'm probably missing something.
daryen
Posts: 261
Joined: Mon Feb 24, 2020 10:25 pm

Re: Basic Scifi Role-Playing Game

Post Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:56 am

A few things:

- Traveller's use of tech levels was rather borked. The idea that tech level varied as much as it did in the settled areas of a long-established Imperium was rather odd. Yes, there would still be variation, but not nearly as much as was presented.

- If you are doing a Galactic Empire setting, then, yes, abstracting out tech levels is fine. If, however, you are doing an "early empire" or "recovery" style setting, then tech levels are important as you are going to get a mixed bag. So, I do think that tech levels are needed.

- I recommend using a much rougher leveling that Traveller, however. I'd steal tech levels from GURPS 3e/4e rather than Traveller.

- Fabricators are not replicators. A replicator needs arbitrary mass to operate. A fabricator needs specific raw materials, and potentially high quality raw materials at that. Even with fabricators, there are going to be hard-to-get and rare resources that will be the foundation of trade. Including food. And there will always be rare and exotic goods that are desired, if not needed. So, you still have all the resource hunting you need to drive those types of stories.

Finally, don't let my comments above mislead. I love Traveller. Heck, that's where my screen name is from.
User avatar
Solomoriah
Site Admin
Posts: 8598
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2008 8:15 pm
Location: LaBelle, Missouri
Contact:

Re: Basic Scifi Role-Playing Game

Post Mon Sep 21, 2020 8:58 am

Seven wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:03 amIf you have an unlimited supply of anything you can imagine, where's the incentives?
The games usually have resource based economies which drive the stories.
You only run adventures that have an economic basis? That seems weird.

Going back to the fiction that inspired me... Vance's 5 book Demon Princes series follows Kirth Gerson, last survivor of a colony world called Mount Pleasant. The population was massacred, though we don't ever really learn why, by forces led by the five "demon princes," criminal overlords who Kirth tracks down and kills. Their power is economic, and yeah, the books are old enough that the concept of automatic fabrication hadn't become obvious yet, but the protagonist's goal is not economic. And while fabricators make finished goods, raw materials have to come from somewhere; the last demon prince acquired a played-out mining company working the moon of the planet where that demon prince lived, not because he thought he could make money there but so he could use the ENTIRE MOON to get revenge on someone who slighted him. (Not explaining more as it's too cool and would be a spoiler.)

And one of the authorized sequels to the Foundation series (the name of which escapes me) includes the fabricator concept. People travel to new worlds with the things they expect to need stored as digital files; much of the economy shown in that book involves creating plans/models for newer better things.

Technology advances, but people are people. There will always be something people want.

The Araminta Station series features in one book a half a planet of self-flagellating religious aesthetics (the other half is retired criminal masterminds). The zealots use little technology and aren't after physical things, but among their numbers are criminals, what we would call "human traffickers" these days. Abusing other people is one thing I doubt we'll ever get away from.
My personal site: www.gonnerman.org
User avatar
Solomoriah
Site Admin
Posts: 8598
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2008 8:15 pm
Location: LaBelle, Missouri
Contact:

Re: Basic Scifi Role-Playing Game

Post Mon Sep 21, 2020 9:03 am

daryen wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:56 am- If you are doing a Galactic Empire setting, then, yes, abstracting out tech levels is fine. If, however, you are doing an "early empire" or "recovery" style setting, then tech levels are important as you are going to get a mixed bag. So, I do think that tech levels are needed.
I don't feel like tech levels for planets are reasonable, nor necessary. I can easily imagine planets that violate the rules... if all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. I'd rather leave it to the GM to decide how a planet differs.

Now having said that, we might want a shorthand for how planetary cultures operate. A very rough description of technical capabilities (or maybe just cultural limits) is not a bad thing to develop, especially for those worlds that have things like agrarian cultures but first-class medical care.
daryen wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:56 am- Fabricators are not replicators. A replicator needs arbitrary mass to operate. A fabricator needs specific raw materials, and potentially high quality raw materials at that. Even with fabricators, there are going to be hard-to-get and rare resources that will be the foundation of trade. Including food. And there will always be rare and exotic goods that are desired, if not needed. So, you still have all the resource hunting you need to drive those types of stories.
Yes, exactly! And the older, more basic fabricators would have limited options for manufacturing things. There would be materials they can't use, processes they can't perform, and items would be designed around those limitations just as they are now for 3D printing, CNC milling, etc.
My personal site: www.gonnerman.org
Seven
Posts: 361
Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2020 11:17 am

Re: Basic Scifi Role-Playing Game

Post Mon Sep 21, 2020 9:33 am

Well, the Basic Fantasy stories are mostly just economically driven; poor adventurers looking for riches. Who needs gold and jewels if they are not scarce?

I suppose you can abstract China as a huge fabricator that can produce anything anyone needs and only needs some food and some energy in return. I don't think that is a stable relationship.

Also, the endgame of a fabricator is just an almighty AI, right?

Speaking of Vance, I suddenly feel an urge to reread Planet of Adventure.
daryen
Posts: 261
Joined: Mon Feb 24, 2020 10:25 pm

Re: Basic Scifi Role-Playing Game

Post Mon Sep 21, 2020 11:12 am

Seven wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 9:33 am Well, the Basic Fantasy stories are mostly just economically driven; poor adventurers looking for riches. Who needs gold and jewels if they are not scarce?
Really? I dunno. A lot of the adventures seem to be based on righting some wrong. Sure, if the now-dead opponent isn't going to use their cool stuff anymore, because, you know, they're dead, then great. But the primary motivator was stopping the opponent, not looting their body. (Or, at least, that's the assumed primary motivator. I am sure the looting of the body was the primary motivator for some in the party.)

But, even so, let's check one thing: The gold and jewels are nice consolation prizes. The *real* loot is the magic! All the gold in the world isn't gonna buy you that spiffy magic sword (in BFRPG, anyway). So, you have to go out to get that magic macguffin. The gold and stuff is just an added bonus.

In an SF setting, you still have "magic items" of some kind. Whether they are dilithium crystals, kyber crystals, spice, lanthanum, or whatever the unobtainium of your choice is, you can't just fabricate everything. These are the things that will be driving the SF economy.

And even if you have full-on replicators, there are still things you can't get. Even in ST, they have to go find the high-quality raw materials, the dilithium, the home baked chocolate chip cookies. Not everything is generated for free. Just define what those are (or, more in keeping with the style, explain to the GM how to define these) and you now have enough of a basis for an interstellar economy.

Finally, ignoring economics for a minute, there is one more thing a fabricator can't touch: information. Maybe the macguffin is information, not a specific thing. Is it the plans to a death ship? Is it fate of long lost Old Earth? Is it the all-powerful BBEG's secret weakness? Whatever the needed information is, that mystery can drive many an adventure.
Also, the endgame of a fabricator is just an almighty AI, right?
Good God, I hope not! Just because you have a mechanical device doesn't mean it has to be intelligent. You can even do a tremendous amount of automation without having actual intelligence.

Besides, if we are talking about a Galactic Empire, then "our" reality has been left far, far behind. Maybe at some point, after us, but before the "present", humanity did encounter/create their "skynet". We have to assume that humanity won, or there wouldn't be a recognizable "present". After that, they make very sure that AI never comes or gains a foothold. And, as a result, you end up with good solid 60s-70s style science fiction where humanity is recognizable, despite being in the absurdly far future, and the singularity never happened. (Because it *did* happen, but humanity realized their error and killed it.)

Now, obviously, there is no reason that a particular adventure element won't be around an emergent AI. It is a pretty common trope, after all. But, with a backstory like this, you can actually go in either direction and still be the good guys. (Either this AI is special and won't kill humanity the instant it can, or it isn't and needs to be stopped at all costs. Either way works.) But, even more importantly, this whole trope can be outright ignored, and that is also justified by the backstory.
User avatar
Solomoriah
Site Admin
Posts: 8598
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2008 8:15 pm
Location: LaBelle, Missouri
Contact:

Re: Basic Scifi Role-Playing Game

Post Tue Sep 22, 2020 12:23 am

To be clear, the game rules won't give a backstory; or rather, the rules will hint at many backstories, some of which are contradictory. Indeed, the GM could do this... nobody knows exactly how we got here, so why would we think these future people would know how they got there?
My personal site: www.gonnerman.org
Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests