View Full Version : SciFi Homebrew System

2007-12-24, 03:50 PM
Have you ever just gotten an idea stuck in your head? While, I've had an idea stuck in mind for months now, and today I just can't seem to think of anything but it. The idea is a simple sci-fi gaming system, one that combines elements from two major inspirations: Stargate (especially Atlantis) and Spore.

The Spore inspiration is a bit more mechanical; I want to create a game where the transition from footsoldier to stellar armada isn't a horror. I want it to feel like you can take the same mechanics and just zoom the view out a little bit and go from one person to an entire team to a ship...and so on.

At the same time, it isn't literary scifi I'm seeking to emulate with this...I want to give the system the feel of modern scifi television, especially from the Stargate series. To that end, the default setting I've got in mind is that the players represent an independent expeditionary force that's come across some kind of alien stronghold: a planet, a worldship, a space station...maybe even some kind of large alien city beneath the waves? Whatever the conceit (players and DMs would be encouraged to make the creation of this outpost a collaborative effort, giving players a bit more purchase in the world they inhabit), the game begins with minimal systems operational.

I don't want levels. As a matter of fact, whatever represent "Attributes" will probably be all but immutable. A system similar to skills would instead be highly mutable and open to specialization and improvement. To accomplish bigger tasks, players obviously just need more resources.

Resources would be available in the form of EP, exploration points. These represent a character's individual work and discoveries with regards to everything from alien doodads to warships. If a character wants a nifty piece of tech, he invests Exploration Points rewarded by the GM. Their expenditure is likewise under DM perview: some things are open to all attempts to salvage, while others might require some foreign diplomacy. All of these costs, however, are abstracted in to the EP spending process.

The major problem is...I don't have a unifying mechanic yet. I don't have task resolution, because despite my desire not to just steal another game's core mechanic, I don't feel any of them are particularly best suited to what I want. Any advise would be appreciated...I was considering using the d20 system, with Attributes used to describe everything...that gun has damage and a "Strength" score for dealing raw damage; that starship has a Dexterity score for dodging and Intelligence scores for its computer banks. As you flit up the organization ladder, you'd go from an individual (whose scores range on the standard human variance from 3 to 18) to a small team (still you'd have 1 stat block with scores from 3 to 18, receiving bonuses from teammembers as if they were equipment...bring along three top scientists and it's a +4 to Intelligence), to a starship or entire base (stats ranging to absolutely absurd levels). I worry, though, that this may end up too confusing.

So, opinions, ideas? Sorry I spout off at the mouth so much.

2007-12-30, 09:07 PM
Wizards has put of a version of the Traveller game. There are two versions, a lite version (which is free) and a full version at a cost. Both are available in PDF format from RPGNow.com, if I remember correctly.

I believe these rules use the d20 modern system.

2007-12-31, 12:29 AM
I believe there is a system out there that could be useful for you. It uses an exponential system which could be useful for the scaling up idea you want. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mayfair_Exponential_Game_System

The task resolution system you add will have to be tailored to what you want your game to focus on. For instance, a d20 based mechanic would be best for a game focused on combat and skill use, but it wouldn't be as good for a more socially based game.

That being said: there is a system I rather enjoy the possibilities of. It originates in a game called "Godlike". Basically, it is based on height and width. You declare your actions, roll a pool of dice, and arrange like numbers. The height is the value of the matched dice, and the width is the number of matches. Height generally shows how well you did something, while width shows how quickly. (example: you say "I run a race.", assemble a pool based on your running skill (lets say you get 8 dice). When you roll them you get 6, 6, 1, 1, 1, 1 ,2, 3. Now you pick your results. You can either choice the pair of 6's written as hxw or 6x2, or you pick the 1's which would be written 1x4. 6x2 would complete the action well, but slowly, and the 1x4 would be down poorly but quickly.) There are other features such as 'hard dice', which are always the highest number the dice can show, and 'wiggle dice' which can be assigned a value after the dice are rolled to make better matches.

You might want to google "godlike rpg" for a better explanation than this.