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    Titan in the Playground
     
    Grod_The_Giant's Avatar

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    Default FATE of the Stars (Space opera system, Based on FATE/The Dresden Files RPG, PEACH)

    Revised skills! Revised shipbuilding! Nearly complete!

    Link to a newer draft, via Dropbox download (docx)

    A general note: These rules are build directly from FATE-- specifically, the Dresden Files RPG, with some input from the new FATE core preview PDFs (mainly for character creation). I will not be explaining basic FATE rules, or the things I've lifted wholesale from the Dresden Files RPG.

    Character Creation

    Step 1: Template
    • Unenhanced Human— Gets two extra points of refresh, but cannot take any powers, be they cybernetic or psionic
    • Cyborg— May select powers off the list of Cybernetic Powers. High Concept must reflect augmentation somehow. (Such as "CYBORG COP.")
    • Psion— May select powers off the list of Psionic Powers. High Concept must reflect psionic abilities somehow. (Such as "PSYCHIC FOR HIRE.")
    • Alien— May chose an alien race template and its associated powers. Must take all the listed powers, unless otherwise indicated. High Concept must reflect alien nature. (Such as "CAAHIRG INTELLIGENCE OFFICER.")


    Step 2: High Concept and Trouble
    Both are aspects, yes, yes.

    Step 3: Name
    Unless you're being played by Clint Eastwood, you need a moniker of some sort.

    Step 4: The Three Backstory Phases

    Phase One: Your First Adventure
    Write down a few sentences about your first "real" adventure— the first book in the series about your character, so to speak. A resolution isn't necessary— something along the lines of "When [threat] arises, [character] has to [action]. But what will happen when [complication]?" works fine. Pick an aspect to go along with the story. Record your story on a notecard with your name and your character's name on it, but leave space on your sheet— we'll come back to this.

    Phase Two: Who Have You Crossed Paths With?
    Redistribute index cards so all players have someone else's card— pass to the left, shuffle and redistribute, or what have you. Your character has a supporting role in the story you're holding. Discuss with the player whose story is on the card, and add a few sentences about your character's role in their story. Generally, this means your character either helped the situation, complicated it, or did both. Pick an aspect to go along with it, and write both your friend's story and your contribution on your sheet. Note your contribution on the index card as well.

    Phase Three: Who Else Have You Crossed Paths With?
    Phase Three is the same as Phase Two, with the caveat that you must wind up with another player's story— not yours, and not the one you just contributed to. Again, work out a sentence or two about how your character contributed to your friend's story and pick an aspect. Record their story and your contribution (you don't have to write down the contribution from Phase Two if it doesn't affect your character).

    Wrapping Up
    Return all cards to the original player. You should have your original story, with contributions from two friends. Copy all three sections onto your character sheet.

    Step 5: Skills
    Now it's time to pick skills. Your GM should have provided you with the total number of skill points available, and the highest rank available. The default assumption for the beginning of a game is 20 skill points, with a skill cap of Great (+4). You may not have more skills of a given level than you have of the level immediately below it. Sample distributions include:
    • 2 Great, 2 Good, 2 Fair, 2 Average (8 total skills)
    • 1 Great, 2 Good, 3 Fair, 4 Average (10 total skills, recommended)
    • 3 Good, 3 Fair, 5 Average (11 total skills)
    • 2 Good, 4 Fair, 6 Average (12 total skills)


    Step 6: Stunts and Powers
    Finally, pick human stunts and extrahuman powers (if applicable). See various FATE books for example stunts, and rules on creating your own. See below for the list of powers. Remember that human stunts each reduce your effective refresh by 1, and powers by 1 or more. Your character must have at least one point of adjusted refresh remaining at the start of play.
    The default starting refresh is 5.

    Power Lists
    Spoiler
    Show

    Cybernetic Powers
    • Aquatic (or vacuum adaptation version)
    • Breath Weapon implanted projectile weapon
    • Claws implanted melee weapon
    • Pack Instincts group cyber link
    • Spider Walk
    • Supernatural Sense sense augments, inbuilt scanners, etc
    • Wings jetpack, grav lifters, etc
    • Glamours holo projections
    • Item of Power high-tech gizmo
    • Cloak of Shadows tech augments, yadda yadda
    • Mana Static EMP generators
    • Inhuman Speed
    • Inhuman Strength
    • Inhuman Toughness
    • The Catch (+1): armor-piercing bullets, anti-tech EMPs, etc
    • Supernatural Speed/Strength/Toughness: plausible but not really available
    • Mythic speed/strength/toughness: superpowers

    Psionics
    • Channeling/Evocation: telepathy, telekinesis, ergokinesis (energy generation). Uses Conviction/Discipline, same as magic.
    • Ritual (telepathy): divinations, messages, etc. Replace lore with empathy.
    • Refinement
    • Focus items = tech boosters/mental comfort things
    • Cosmic Psion [-1]: your powers may reach foes in the same zone during space combat, and anywhere on the planet out of combat. MUST BE ABLE TO PERCIEVE TARGET SOMEHOW
    • Interstellar Psion [-2]: Replaces Cosmic Psion. Allows you to use powers anywhere in the universe you can perceive. (NPCS ONLY)


    Misc Powers
    • Ritual (engineering): crafting only. Replace lore with science and discipline with engineering. No mental stress for failures, only extra time/resources.


    Step 7: Stress and Consequences
    Characters have three stress tracks— physical, social, and mental. Physique affects the length of your physical track, Presence affects the length of your social track, and Conviction affects the length of your mental track.

    {table=head]Skill Rank|Track Size
    Mediocre (+0)|2 boxes
    Average (+1) to Fair (+2)|3 boxes
    Good (+3) to Great (+4)|4 boxes
    Superb (+5) and up|4 boxes, plus an additional mild consequence of the appropriate type for each rank above Great.[/table]

    Characters have three consequence slots by default— one mild, one moderate, and one severe— which may be used with any stress track. Stunts and high skills may grant extra consequence slots.

    The Skills
    {table=head]Skill|Uses
    Alertness|Passive awareness, physical combat initiative, avoiding surprise
    Artillery|Attacks with large-scale weapons, knowledge about the same
    Athletics|Climbing, jumping, sprinting, avoiding ranged attacks
    Contacts |Gathering information, spreading rumors, knowing people
    Conviction|Strength of mind and beliefs, psionic power. Determines mental stress capacity
    Cyberwarfare|Hacking, computer searches, electronic warfare
    Deceit |Lying, disguise, distractions, and so on
    Discipline|Concentration, emotional control, mental defense
    Engineering|Building things, fixing things, sabotaging things
    Empathy |Reading people, making people open up, counseling, social initiative, psionic senses
    Fighting|Melee combat— with and without weapons— and melee defense
    Investigation|Active perception, searching, surveillance, analyzing clues
    Medicine|First-aid, longer-term care, and medical knowledge
    Performance |Composition, performing for an audience, artistic criticism
    Physique|Breaking things, lifting things, long-term action, wrestling, other pure physical acts. Determines Physical stress capacity.
    Pilot|Chases, navigation, maneuvering vehicles
    Presence|Charisma, command, intimidation, provocation, threats, reputation. Determines Social stress capacity.
    Rapport|Idle conversation, opening up, first impressions, social defense.
    Resources|Buying things, equipment, bribery.
    Security|Lockpicking, bypassing security systems, casing targets
    Scholarship|General knowledge, research, exposition, languages
    Science|Lab work, scientific knowledge, inventing
    Shooting|Ranged combat, knowledge about weapons. Includes other projectile weapons.
    Sensors|Active and passive awareness in spacecraft; initiative in space combat, scanning
    Stealth|Ambush, hiding, shadowing[/table]

    Starships


    Starships are a separate entity from the characters, with their own equipment, aspects, and refresh. Ships are laid out on a Blueprint— a grid representing the layout of the vessel. Each square of the grid is called a Compartment. The total size of the Blueprint is equal to the ship's refresh times ten.

    Compartments may be either Empty or Functional— that is, they may contain either non-essential hallways, compartments, and storage areas, or they contain Technology required for the operation of the starship.

    In addition, ships have a refresh, like a character, and accumulate Fate points, which may be spent by anyone in their crew. Ships may have an adjusted refresh of zero, but not lower. Ships have one key aspect, such as "Mercenary Battleship," and a Trouble. They also have Ship Points (~skill points) equal to their base refresh times four.

    Finally, ships have a unique skill: Thrust. Thrust functions as a sort of halfway point between Athletics and Physique— it controls sprinting, lifting, and other such purely physical actions the spacecraft might undertake.

    Building a Spaceship
    Certain pieces of technology are required for any spaceship. These include:
    • A power plant, occupying a total number of compartments of at least the ship's refresh. If at least one compartment of the power plant is damaged but more remain, the ship gains a "Damaged Generator" aspect. Each additional damaged compartment allows the aspect to be tagged one more time. If the the power plant is totally disabled, all ship systems fail-- weapons, shields, engines, sensors, environmental plants, and EW suits
    • An environmental plant, occupying a total number of compartments of at least 1/4 the ship's refresh, rounded up. If at least one compartment environmental plant is damaged but more remain, the ship gains a "Faltering Atmosphere" aspect. Each additional damaged compartment allows the aspect to be tagged one more time. If the power plant is totally disabled, this is upgraded to a "No Atmosphere" aspect.
    • A bridge, occupying one compartment. From a bridge compartment, characters may control all weapons, engines, sensors, and EW equipment. When not in a bridge, characters may only control and gain bonuses from technology in the compartment they are currently occupying and immediately adjacent compartments.
    • One compartment for combat sensors (if the Sensors skill is to be used for anything other than routine navigation). Damage to these compartments places aspects on the ship, such as "Battle-Damaged Sensors." If more than one compartment is present, each additional damaged compartment allows the aspect to be tagged one more time.
    • One compartment for electronic warfare equipment (if the Cyberwarfare skill is to be used in battle). Damage to these compartments places aspects on the ship, such as "Battle-Damaged Sensors." If more than one compartment is present, each additional damaged compartment allows the aspect to be tagged one more time.
    • At least one Engine, although the exact power of the engines is determined by the expenditure of Ship Points (see below). Damage to these compartments places aspects on the ship, such as "Damaged Engines." If more than one compartment is present, each additional damaged compartment allows the aspect to be tagged one more time.


    Fully equipping a ship requires the expenditure of Ship Points. These points may be spent on:
    • Close-range weapons, such as lasers and mass drivers, which may be used against foes in the same zone. These function identical to melee weapons in ground combat. One Ship Point buys one point of weapon.
    • Long-range weapons, such as missiles, which may be used against foes two or more zones away. These function identical to projectile weapons in ground combat. One Ship Point buys one point of weapon.
    • Shields. One Ship Point buys one point of armor.
    • Engines. One Ship Point buys one point of the Thrust skill. Ships must have at least one engine.
    • Additional compartments of key systems— power plant, environmental plant, bridge, sensors, and electronic warfare gear. One Ship Point buys one extra compartment
    • Aspects, such as "Prototype Sensor Suite" or "Stolen Manticoran Countermissiles." One Ship Point buys one Aspect. Ships can't have more aspects than their total refresh.
    • Stunts. Ships may purchase stunts for the following skills: Artillery, Cyberwarefare, Pilot, and Sensors. In addition to usual refresh adjustment, stunts cost two Ship Points.
    • Fighters cost 5 Ship Points, and have special rules (see below).
    • Artificial Intelligences may be purchased, in which case Ship Points may be spent as if they were Skill Points to purchase skills such as Scholarship.


    All of this technology takes up space. In addition to the compartments taken up by the power plant, environmental plant, bridge, sensors, and electronic warfare gear, technology purchased with Ship Points takes up one Compartment per Ship Point spent on it.

    Combat
    Starships may have bodies, but they don't have their own minds— instead, it is the crew who use skills to fight. During each exchange— and naval exchanges are usually between 1 minute (for smaller ships) and 10 minutes (for larger warships)— each character may take an action, as normal, with the two caveats:
    • The technology in a given compartment may only be used once per exchange. For example, a ship with two compartments of electronic warfare gear and one compartment of sensors might be able to make two Cyberwarfare maneuvers per round, but only one assessment using Sensors. A ship with 4 compartments of missiles could make one Weapon 4 attack per turn, or two Weapon 2 attacks, or a Weapon 1 and a Weapon 3 attack…
    • The ship as a whole may only move once per exchange. That is, a ship can sprint using Thrust, maneuver using Pilot, or what have you, but it may not sprint and then maneuver in the same exchange.


    Characters may attack, block, maneuver, and so on as normal when fighting a starship. Damage, however, is tracked very differently.

    Damage
    Starships are not living creatures, and so they do not have stress tracks, and they do not take consequences. Instead, for each shift of damage the vessel receives, randomly cross off one Compartment and record the total shifts of damage from the attack. These crossed off Compartments have Battle Damage. The ship and its crew suffer no consequences if the damaged compartment is empty. If the compartment is functional, however, the benefit it provides is lost until it can be repaired.

    Repairing a Compartment
    Fully repairing a compartment requires time and access to materials, workshops, and so on. In the heat of battle, compartments may be jury-rigged— returned to functionality for a scene— with an Engineering check with a DC equal to the shifts of damage that disabled the compartment.

    Moving within a starship
    Treat each compartment as a zone, with no border, but no line-of-sight into adjacent zones— starships tend to have a lot of bulkheads and pressure doors. Damaged compartments have a border equal to the shifts of damage that took them out. For example, to move through a compartment disabled by a 3-shift attack, a character would have to make a Good (+3) Athletics check.

    If your character is within a compartment when it's damaged, he takes physical stress equal to the shifts of damage that take out the compartment.

    Boarding Actions
    Characters can attempt to cross from one ship to another under certain circumstances. Both vessels must be in the same zone, and the characters must tag or invoke an appropriate aspect, such as HULL TO HULL or BOARDING SHUTTLES. Treat this as a Sprint action, with a border strength of Average, plus the target vessel's shield strength.

    Once inside, characters may attempt to damage the compartment they are in. Roll attacks against a difficulty of Average to damage technology.

    Fighters
    Fighters fall into two categories: manned and unmanned. Manned fighters have a player character pilot; unmanned fighters do not.

    Manned fighters must be built as spacecraft, with no refresh and a base of 5 Ship Points. The mothership may spend additional Ship Points to increase this total. Fighters are assumed to have all the necessary technology already— the 5 Ship Points may be spent on weapons, shields, engines, and so on.

    Attacks from fighters may never damage more than one compartment of a larger ship.

    Unlike larger ships fighters have the unique ability to target specific areas of a ship. Pilots may make a Sensors check, opposed by their opponent's Cyberwarefare skill. For every shift of success, they learn the location of one piece of technology on the target ship. Further attacks may be made against that specific target. Instead of rolling for a random compartment anywhere on the ship, targeted attacks may only hit the target compartment or an immediately adjacent compartment. (Rolling a d10 is a good way to choose this)

    Manned fighters use stress tracks and consequences just like characters. They have a default physical stress track of 3 boxes; Ship points may be spent to increase this to 4 boxes (one point), and from there to add additional minor consequences (one point per minor consequence). The player driving them may make one action per turn, as normal.

    If a manned fighter is destroyed, the pilot must make an Athletics check against the incoming shifts of damage. On a failure, he takes the shifts damage as well as his vessel. On a success, he takes half the damage. Either way, he's floating in space now. Pilots may be assumed to have homing beacons, and may be picked up by any ship in the same zone as them who makes a Fair (+2) Sensors check to find them.

    Unmanned fighters… will be filled in eventually. At the moment, I'm leaning towards their working the same as manned, but with one Ship Point buying two Skill Points worth of Artillery/Pilot/Sensors.

    Expanded Options

    Every Player a Captain
    It's possible to play the game with each player controlling a single starship, so that the group as a whole represents a squadron or small fleet. In this case, ships have Ship Points equal to five times their base refresh, instead of four times, and may purchase ranks of skills at an exchange of two skill points per Ship Point. Each skill may be considered to belong to a NPC crewman.

    Simplified Ships
    If the blueprint option is too slow, all ships may be treated as manned fighters, with stress track lengths equal to their base refresh and four mild, three moderate, and two severe consequence slots. Additional consequence slots may be purchased with Ship points-- two Ship Points for a mild consequence slots, four for a moderate consequence slot, and six for a severe consequence slot. Technology may be purchased as normal, although the number of compartments it takes up is irrelevant.

    During boarding actions ships may be considered to have 7 zones--the engine room, power plant, gun deck, bridge, sensor room, personnel area, and cargo deck. (Smaller ships may have fewer zones). These may be laid out in any fashion, and have border strengths of Mediocre (+0).

    With this option, an engineering roll may remove stress. Roll Engineering against a difficulty of Mediocre (+0) and restore stress equal to the resulting shifts.

    Players are admirals
    The main idea here is that fleets have a single, quite high refresh level-- 15 or more-- representing the fleet as a whole. The total fleet refresh would be divided up into any combination of ships, buying weapons, shields, engines, et cetera on a ship-by-ship basis.

    Ships would probably be handled as fighters/normal characters for simplicity, although it also might be possible to have one big blueprint with sections for each ship.

    The latter idea might work better if the fleet never really splits up. Functionally, then, it would work much like a single ship-- it moves as one unit, generally concentrates fire, and whatnot. The big difference being that players can't really move from ship to ship easily. I suppose you could work it the same way if ships split off from the main group, though there might be some on-the-fly math that way.

    The former idea would probably work better for very large groups, since you don't have to keep track of so much detail.

    If it's just the PCs commanding one fairly tightly-grouped cluster, it should work OK, methinks. The fleet following one unit's lead for maneuvering, fire control, and suchlike through some sort of cyber link is a well-established trope. The difficulty comes if each PC is trying to order around bunches of individual ships. It
    might work OK, but only because the FATE system is fast. I dunno.

    In unrelated news, the first game in a campaign using this system kicks off tomorrow. Character creation was yesterday, and the group actually covers all the "core" options-- there are two different alien species, a cyborg, a psion, and a pure human. We'll see how it goes.

    Original first post:
    Spoiler
    Show
    WARNING: rambling

    A friend of mine has been working on a mecha RPG for a school project. (Why yes, I do love my college sometimes) In some spitballing sessions, I came up with what I thought was a fairly elegant way of handling damage. He liked it, but didn't want to use it, due partly to time constraints and partly to (an understandable) "it's a good system, but not my system" attitude. Very well, says I. But... it's too good an idea not to use.

    While I don't share my friend's love of giant robots, I do have a rather long-abiding love for giant spaceships. And it occurred to me that many of the same basic ideas could apply to both settings... and it's winter term, and I have scads of free time, so here we are.

    Now. To business.

    Goal Musings
    There are sort of three levels that a system like this should be able to handle:
    1. Everyone is a captain, with their own starship and crew.
    2. All players share a single ship, working together to fly and fight it
    3. The players have left the ship and are running around talking/punching shooting as individuals.

    I don't know how possible it is to make them work with any kind of unified framework, but...

    My thematic touchstone is the Honor Harrington series, by David Weber. (If you like this kind of thing and haven't heard of them, I highly recommend at least the first couple).

    Mechanical Musings


    Your character sheet has two sides, a ship and a captain. (Or an officer and a shared ship sheet, but that's not the point).

    Ships

    The ship is more-or-less a big grid, composed of a certain number of boxes. Each box represents an area of your ship. Some of the boxes are blank, representing redundant systems and non-critical areas. BUT, some of them are filled in with the details on your ship's mechanics. Engines, reactors, weapon arrays, the bridge-- all of these things take up space. So your sheet looks sort of like this:


    Ideally, besides the name, you'd also be able to list what the part is giving you. Also, the bonuses would be split up between boxes, so each engine might give +1 move in one box and +1 maneuverability in the other.

    When the missiles start pouring in, damage is in terms of boxes, and randomly distributed-- if you take 5 hits, you'd roll 5d100 (or whatever) and cross off the indicated boxes. If the box is blank, it's a non-vital hit. If it's already crossed off, you move to an adjacent box. But if a part gets hit, the part is damaged/destroyed, and you lose the bonus. Attack goes down, speed goes down, whatever.

    The players would have various skills and abilities and things to repair sections of the ship, wholly or partly-- giving us a sort of "damage control vs incoming damage" race.

    Armor would be damage reduction. Shields would be a set of "floating boxes' off to the side, sort of a second health bar that can be depleted without the ship being damaged.

    Building a ship... the DM could hand you one and be like "This is a Harrington-class dreadnought, have fun," or you could design your own. The two limiting factors for how much you can cram in your ship being physical space (filling in boxes) and power levels (you have X points to spend on ship parts, and each part costs [Y] points-- standard point-buy stuff). Maybe also funds, but that's starting to get too

    Advancement... I can see it happening in two (not mutually exclusive) ways. Either miniaturization-- the same bonuses, but in fewer boxes, effectively increasing survivability-- or advancement-- new tech that provides bigger bonuses in the same space. Also, conceivably, "box within a box" armor plating, so a particular box can take two hits before being disabled.

    Ideally, this system:
    • Gives a visual sense of incoming damage, rather than an abstraction.
    • Forces a balance between loading up on nice stuff-- there may also be a mechanic for power drain-- and being able to absorb damage.
    • Allows for randomized penalties and lucky shots without seeming either arbitrary or requiring anything like critical hit tables.
    • Provides the requisite "hey, check me out!" pull.


    Characters

    I'm not 100% sure of how I want to handle characters. At the moment, I'm thinking something along the lines of FATE. (I only have the Dresden Files RPG at the moment, though I've ordered Spirit of the Century as well). So characters would be represented by a set of 20-25 skills.

    I've also thought about a tri-stat system, or a 6-stat, both with additive skills, D&D-style, but the first seems a bit too simple, and I'm not quite sure how to break down the latter.

    Balance might be tricky here, as what skills are useful would depend highly on how much personal action the characters get involved in. It's probably better to err on the side of well-rounded, I suppose.

    Skills might be divided along military specialties, one supposes. (In presentation, if not mechanically encouraged).
    • Helm gets piloting, astrogation, and suchlike skills
    • Tactical gets computers, electronic warfare, tactics and the like.
    • Command gets leadership and social skills
    • Engineering gets, well... engineering and suchlike
    • Marine gets personal combat skills.
    • Intelligence officer gets investigation, hacking, and so on.


    Something like FATE's opposed skills/stunts system would work pretty well, methinks, along with being pre-tested.

    Now... role-wise... on a shared ship...
    • Helm rolls for movement and maneuvers
    • Tactical controls attacks and defenses
    • Command provides bonuses for allies
    • Engineering runs around fixing things
    • Marine... waits for boarding action :\
    • Intelligence officer... provides bonuses/debuffs?

    (The latter two are probably at their best out of the ship, while the first two are at their worst in the same situation).

    On an individual ship, Command is going to be the only thing we really care about for the player, methinks. After all, you're the captain-- you've got minions to do the running around and pushing buttons for you. One could make a case for using command-y skills for everything, but that's kind of boring. And ignores the idea of crew quality.

    So... maybe you've got a budget of points to spend on crew, based on your leadership/bureaucracy skills. (If we do FATE-style point buy for personal skills, that gives us a metric for buying crew skills). Each department has a score/skill level that you roll when doing maneuvers, engineering, whatever. Maybe you get one active roll/round, boosted by your leadership score, and the rest of the departments take 10 or something.



    So... yeah. That's my ramble. Thoughts? Cool idea? Dumb idea? Madness? Feasible? Will never work? Interest in further development?

    Slightly more detailed thoughts
    Spoiler
    Show
    A skill list, maybe, based on the one in Dresden Files:
    • Alertness
    • Astrogation
    • Athletics
    • Bureaucracy
    • Computers
    • Contacts
    • Deceit
    • Discipline
    • Electronic Warfare
    • Empathy
    • Endurance
    • Engineering
    • Espionage
    • Fists
    • Guns
    • Intimidation
    • Leadership
    • Medicine
    • Might
    • Piloting
    • Rapport
    • Scholarship
    • Stealth
    • Tactics
    • Weapons


    Ships would have one broadside attack and one unified defense, for simplicity. Opposed rolls, with degrees of success providing extra damage.

    2d6 instead of FATE dice?


    Update: I just did a very crude ship-vs-ship exchange: 2d6+5 for attack and damage stats, with 3 points being a degree of success. No maneuvers or engineering, just blast-vs-blast. It was (at least to my biased, tired brain) surprisingly fun, despite the complete lack of player input.
    • It took 21 rounds to completely kill a ship-- I declared that the bridge being totally destroyed did the trick, although the poor vessel had little more than 10% of its original health left. (Probably knocking out all reactors would do the same).
    • It'd probably also be good to have a kind of "minimum health"-- when you've got less than X boxes left, the ship blows up/falls apart/whatever. X probably being a fraction of the total, with input from the highest command score on the ship and the highest engineering score on the ship.
    • The one ship got in the lead due to luck and pretty much stayed there, as damage and penalties racked up, which seems about right for 1-on-1-totally-matched.
    • Tracking damage and penalties wasn't that hard. I had to work out a rule for what happens when a targeted box is already destroyed-- start one above, then move clockwise; if you don't hit anything the shot is wasted. Not 100% sold on that one; might continue spiraling outwards. Would certainly speed things up-- as the losing vessel got shot full of holes, a lot of attacks started missing due to, well, holes.
    • In short, I declare the general idea sound. Next up: adding engineering and helm rolls.
    Last edited by Grod_The_Giant; 2013-04-17 at 02:24 PM.

    STaRS (and STaRS Lite)
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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Grod_The_Giant's Avatar

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    Default Re: Starships and Space Marines-- system brainstorming

    OK. Adding a few more things, and I have enough for a kind of rough board game type thing:

    Basic mechanic is 2d6 + skill. Every 3 points of result above the DC is a degree of success.

    4 skills, Tactical, Helm, Command, and Engineering. Tactical is used for attack and defense. The remaining three are your "personnel skills." Each round, you can use one personnel skill and make one attack.

    • Helm: Opposed Helm rolls grant an attack bonus, 1+degrees of success.
    • Command: A DC 12 command check grants a damage bonus, 1+degrees of success.
    • Engineering: A DC 10 Engineering check lets you repair a blank box, and a DC 15 check lets you repair a damaged part.


    All skills start at +3, and you have 4 points to distribute between them, each point boosting one skill by +1.

    Ships have 50 boxes, 25 of which are occupied:
    • 4 boxes of reactor space-- if your reactor is entirely destroyed, you lose.
    • 2 boxes of bridge-- Damage to the bridge inflicts penalties to Command, -1/destroyed box. If all are gone, you can't make Command rolls.
    • 5 boxes of weapons-- each box grants 1 damage
    • 2 boxes of shields-- each box reduces incoming damage by 1
    • 2 boxes of targeting radar-- damage to these inflicts penalties to attacks, -1/destroyed box.
    • 2 boxes of point defense-- damage to these inflicts penalties to defense, -1/destroyed box.
    • 4 boxes of engines-- damage to these inflicts penalties to Helm rolls, -1/destroyed box. If all are gone, you can't make Helm rolls.
    • 2 boxes of machine bay-- damage to these inflicts penalties to Engineering rolls, -1/destroyed box. If all are gone, you can't make Engineering rolls.
    • 2 boxes of environmental plant-- Damage to these inflicts penalties to all personnel skills, -2/destroyed box.


    When taking damage, roll a d100 for each point of damage and cross out the corresponding box. If the indicated box is already crossed off, move to the box above. If that's also crossed off, start rotating clockwise through available boxes. If all adjacent boxes are crossed off, the shot misses.

    Turn order:
    1. Who goes first is determined by an opposed Command roll.
    2. Personnel skills are used.
    3. Attacking is an opposed Tactics roll (attack vs defense)
    4. Resolve damage to your opponent's ship.
    5. Opponent goes through steps 2-4.
    6. Repeat until a lose condition comes up.

    Losing:
    There are three loss conditions.
    • Your reactor is totally destroyed, at which point your ship is crippled.
    • All three personnel skills are disabled, at which point your crew is dead.
    • The total number of intact boxes on your ship is less than (10 - the higher of your Command and Engineering).


    I'll test it out and report back at some point, if anyone's out there.
    Last edited by Grod_The_Giant; 2013-10-11 at 11:44 AM.

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    Default Re: Starships and Space Marines-- system brainstorming

    This looks very cool. I only have a few thought at the moment:

    1) Would NPC vessels be more simplified and abstract? I guess that depends on if the players would ever need to see their interior. Also, you could supply game masters with a sort of Monster Manual too, huh?

    2) I think that the default for defeated ships should be to become derelicts rather than exploding. (Maybe they could break up if the damage extends from one end of the ship to another.) Falling inert gives more opportunity for boarding actions and also makes it possible for the players to have something to do if they lose a space battle (namely, try to save as much of the crew as they can and get to some escape vessels.)

    3) How do boarding actions work? Would the boarders be storming around on that grid map, or would it be abstracted in a different way because corridors and elevators force them to take a different route from laser blasts? Would players be able to invest in defenses and traps?

    EDIT: Also, to give Marines more to do in the meantime, you might have some of the factions employ weapons that release killbots into the corridors of enemy ships or something like that. I could see that sort of thing being a hit with pirates, especially.
    Last edited by Durazno; 2013-01-20 at 03:19 PM.

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    Default Re: Starships and Space Marines-- system brainstorming

    Quote Originally Posted by Durazno View Post
    1) Would NPC vessels be more simplified and abstract? I guess that depends on if the players would ever need to see their interior. Also, you could supply game masters with a sort of Monster Manual too, huh?
    Not really sure yet. I can see arguments either way, really. Either draw the whole thing out, or else have a sort of table: 3 blank boxes, an engine hit, two blank boxes, a laser hit, and so on. I'd kind of lean towards the first, though.

    And yeah, a "Jane's Fighting Spaceships" compendium would be a very good thing to make, if a pretty late-game thing. Honestly, it's that kind of math-- calculating challenge ratings and such-- that scares me the most. (You'll notice that my other, pretty-much-finished system, STaRS, sidesteps that issue altogether).

    2) I think that the default for defeated ships should be to become derelicts rather than exploding. (Maybe they could break up if the damage extends from one end of the ship to another.) Falling inert gives more opportunity for boarding actions and also makes it possible for the players to have something to do if they lose a space battle (namely, try to save as much of the crew as they can and get to some escape vessels.)
    Probably, yeah. I mean, look at the three lose conditions: you're dead in the water space without power, your crew is dead (and that's very abstract/would absolutely be different with 1 ship/party formatting), or you've taken too much damage to keep fighting. Exploding would mainly be a matter of description. Or, maybe, if a disabled reactor gets hit again it explodes. I dunno.

    3) How do boarding actions work? Would the boarders be storming around on that grid map, or would it be abstracted in a different way because corridors and elevators force them to take a different route from laser blasts? Would players be able to invest in defenses and traps?
    Hmm... Using the abstracted grid for movement might, actually, be a thing. Engineers and marines would be rushing around in both ships, fixing things and fighting boarding actions. Keeping one system for both would make things a whole lot easier. Using your parts grid as a map also makes the exact design more important too, which is fun... yes, yes, I think I will do it like this.

    Also, fun/scary times when you're in a compartment that gets hit.

    Defenses and traps might well be a thing, in this case. At the very least, an abstraction for your own marines.

    EDIT: Also, to give Marines more to do in the meantime, you might have some of the factions employ weapons that release killbots into the corridors of enemy ships or something like that. I could see that sort of thing being a hit with pirates, especially.
    Yes... I like it. Yes.

    I suppose they could also do grunt labor on the ship, running around to provide bonuses to specific parts, helping the engineer, and so on. I think in the Honorverse marines also help work the ship's weapons.



    At the moment, I'm sort of starting at the most abstract level and layering on details, if that makes sense.

    • First I tested the damage idea.
    • Next, some basic ideas for human input-- roll to grant a bonus, mostly.
    • Then we maybe divorce the command track from the pile and give it a couple skills/stunts/uses/whatever. The rest of the crew remains abstracted, but we can maybe add crew quality mechanics here.
    • Go through the remaining major roles-- helm, engineering, tactics, intelligence officer-- one at a time, giving each a few things to do in combat.
    • Compile a skill list.
    • Enemies
    • Out-of-shop stuff
    • Longer lists of ship parts, skill uses, maneuvers, and so on.
    • Advancement

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    Default Re: Starships and Space Marines-- system brainstorming

    Another report no-one cares about, but keeping my thoughts in the same place is good:

    I just tested a few rounds the basic system I described above.
    • It's functional, if a bit dull. I suppose D&D is too, if it's just two guys standing still and whacking at each other with swords. More detailed rules for maneuvers and actions will help a lot, methinks, as will using Plot and Character.
    • Keeping up with penalties once engineering comes into play isn't the most straightforwards task in the world, though I suspect it'll get better with good character sheet design and some experience. And if it's one ship/party-- most penalties will only apply to, say, the helmsman, or the tactical guy, or whatnot.
    • Opposed 2d6 rolls are quite swingy.


    I'm thinking about moving even more towards a FATE base, though. It's a solid, proven system, after all, with enough flexibility that it shouldn't be too arduous to staple the spaceship damage onto it. (It'll be a bit crunchier than normal for FATE, but I judge it a worthy trade-off).

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    Default Re: Starships and Space Marines-- system brainstorming

    Just wanted to add my two cents here cause this is awesome!

    What would happen if you reduce the number of boxes for smaller ships and increased for larger ships, with an appropriate change in part quality/number? It would allow some players (maybe marines?) to act as Fighter Pilots. Smaller craft should be incredibly difficult to hit, but lose out in durability and overall damage output.

    Think X-Wings. Too small to his with the standard Turbo-laser battery, though susceptible to smaller anti-air weapons. While durable in it's own way, it only requires a few shots to destroy one. And while it's weapons are laughably under-powered compared to Da Big Guns, under the right circumstances they can deliver a crippling Critical Hit (hide your reactor cores, folks!).

    Regardless, I shall watch this intensely. Please continue sir.
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    Default Re: Starships and Space Marines-- system brainstorming

    Thanks!

    Number of boxes will vary in the final produce. 50 is a reasonable base; 100 and 20 are also solid numbers-- the main difficulty is in assigning d100 values.

    Fighters will be a thing, eventually. Fighter vs fighter should handle similarly to ship verses ship. Not sure how to do fighter vs big ship. Maybe the ship uses defense as an attack roll, and point defense/countermissile stations as attacks? And the fighter maybe doesn't hit hard, but can target more precisely somehow?

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    Default Re: Starships and Space Marines-- system brainstorming

    Mekton Zeta.
    One of the funnest ways to Mecha-RP.

    It actually has a site by the same name, "MektonZeta", and you can find rulebooks for it online (You kinda have to, I've never seen it in a store anywhere but sufficiently well-connected and large hobby/game stores may carry it). I remember we had a core rulebook for it in hardcopy somewhere, but I haven't seen it for ages.


    I also made a d&d/pathfinder Mecha Pilot class in my sig, if that may be of any use to you (Complete, I believe (just going off the top of my head), with mechanics for mecha).


    You may find both/either useful if not just as a baseline or something to compare with.
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    Default Re: Starships and Space Marines-- system brainstorming

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Fighters will be a thing, eventually. Fighter vs fighter should handle similarly to ship verses ship. Not sure how to do fighter vs big ship. Maybe the ship uses defense as an attack roll, and point defense/countermissile stations as attacks? And the fighter maybe doesn't hit hard, but can target more precisely somehow?
    Fighter v Fighter seems like maneuverability should be the most important focus. Dogfights are a lot like knife-fights: Close, brutal and ended very quickly. So positioning should have larger than normal bonuses here.

    Against big-ships? I'd advise using Defense as Anti-fighter, as you said. In return for facing a harrowing gauntlet of AA fire, the fighter might have a limited use ability to bypass armor or shields?
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    Default Re: Starships and Space Marines-- system brainstorming

    That also depends on how "hard" you want this universe to be - whether single-pilot starfighters are even worth the investment to build and man. Bearing in mind these vessels probably have computer-operated laser weapons that can find targets across the vastness of space and guided missiles that wouldn't be weighed down by an organic pilot, their odds might not be so good.

    For interesting space combat, you might also glance at Scott Westerfield's Risen Empire series - in that, the pilots had remote stations deep within the ship, operating starfighter-sized drones or microscopic "intelligencers" with equal ease, and switching control to another drone if they got outmaneuvered. The main ships were also pretty cool, but they operated in a way that wouldn't be practical for this system. (They sort of unfold like a flower into battle-mode.)

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    Default Re: Starships and Space Marines-- system brainstorming

    Very interesting system so far. Some thoughts:

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Now... role-wise... on a shared ship...
    • Helm rolls for movement and maneuvers
    • Tactical controls attacks and defenses
    • Command provides bonuses for allies
    • Engineering runs around fixing things
    • Marine... waits for boarding action :\
    • Intelligence officer... provides bonuses/debuffs?

    (The latter two are probably at their best out of the ship, while the first two are at their worst in the same situation).

    On an individual ship, Command is going to be the only thing we really care about for the player, methinks. After all, you're the captain-- you've got minions to do the running around and pushing buttons for you. One could make a case for using command-y skills for everything, but that's kind of boring. And ignores the idea of crew quality.
    Having some skills work well on a ship and some work well on the ground doesn't seem like a good idea if you want to be able to support captain-only games and ground-only missions. It would certainly be more complex, but I'd suggest coming up with two sets of roles, one weighted towards ship benefits and one weighted towards ground benefits, and give every character one of each.

    Something like this:
    {table]Role|Type|Ship Abilities|Away Abilities
    Helm|Ship|Movement and maneuvers|--
    Tactical|Ship|Coordination and communications|--
    Gunnery|Ship|Weapons and defenses|--
    Engineering|Ship|Repairs and jury-rigging|--
    Recon|Away|--|Scouting and infiltration
    Intel|Away|--|Hacking and sensors
    Combat|Away|--|Melee and ranged combat|
    Science|Away|--|Medicine and research[/table]

    That basically takes the four ship roles and adds ground counterparts--notice that they're basically paired, with Helm/Recon, Tactical/Intel, Gunnery/Combat, and Engineering/Science--so your Marines don't feel left out during ship combat and the Helm isn't left out during away missions. It's possible to either pair up or mix and match, so you can make a Worf-like character who's both security on the ship and the tough guy on the ground, or a Chewie-like character who's Engineering on the ship and Combat on the ground, or whatever else.

    You might also consider adding defaulting (i.e. rolling related skills at a penalty if you don't have a main skill, so you could roll Science at -X instead of Engineering, for instance) to allow e.g. a Gunnery|Recon character to sub in for a bit if the primary Helm officer is killed, but that's up to you.

    As a side benefit of using this setup, that effectively gives you 16 "classes" instead of just 6, for more customization and replayability without much added complexity. Also, since there's no explicit "command" skill, your captains can be more varied (a Helm|Science captain is more Picard-y while a Gunnery|Recon captain is more Kirk-like, for instance). So using your crew idea...

    So... maybe you've got a budget of points to spend on crew, based on your leadership/bureaucracy skills. (If we do FATE-style point buy for personal skills, that gives us a metric for buying crew skills). Each department has a score/skill level that you roll when doing maneuvers, engineering, whatever. Maybe you get one active roll/round, boosted by your leadership score, and the rest of the departments take 10 or something.
    ...a captain isn't just "the guy with Command maxed" but rather is the bard to the four crew's fighter/wizard/rogue/cleric, if you will, enhancing different departments' rolls (by making the active rolls, granting bonuses in his role's area, etc.) just by virtue of being in charge regardless of his own skill set. That also enables other officers to fill in temporarily if the captain is killed or needed to personally help with Engineering or whatever.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Number of boxes will vary in the final produce. 50 is a reasonable base; 100 and 20 are also solid numbers-- the main difficulty is in assigning d100 values.
    You could use different dice sizes to determine different ship sizes. d6 or d10 for a fighter, d20 for a landing craft, d100 for a capital ship, maybe.

    Fighters will be a thing, eventually. Fighter vs fighter should handle similarly to ship verses ship. Not sure how to do fighter vs big ship. Maybe the ship uses defense as an attack roll, and point defense/countermissile stations as attacks? And the fighter maybe doesn't hit hard, but can target more precisely somehow?
    I'd actually suggest making fighters practically useless against ships without the ships being softened up first; they should probably be better at running interference than attacking, since having fighter screens and interceptors is cooler and more thematic (and encourages the gameplay you want more) than just launching a ton of fighters and maneuvering them instead of the main ship. Fighters would essentially serve as extensions of the main ship (they'd act like mobile shields by taking laser hits, extend the range of weapons by transmitting missile locks, etc.) and only when an enemy ship is sufficiently damaged could they swoop in to disable engines and such.
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    Default Re: Starships and Space Marines-- system brainstorming

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    Having some skills work well on a ship and some work well on the ground doesn't seem like a good idea if you want to be able to support captain-only games and ground-only missions. It would certainly be more complex, but I'd suggest coming up with two sets of roles, one weighted towards ship benefits and one weighted towards ground benefits, and give every character one of each.

    Something like this:
    {table]Role|Type|Ship Abilities|Away Abilities
    Helm|Ship|Movement and maneuvers|--
    Tactical|Ship|Coordination and communications|--
    Gunnery|Ship|Weapons and defenses|--
    Engineering|Ship|Repairs and jury-rigging|--
    Recon|Away|--|Scouting and infiltration
    Intel|Away|--|Hacking and sensors
    Combat|Away|--|Melee and ranged combat|
    Science|Away|--|Medicine and research[/table]

    That basically takes the four ship roles and adds ground counterparts--notice that they're basically paired, with Helm/Recon, Tactical/Intel, Gunnery/Combat, and Engineering/Science--so your Marines don't feel left out during ship combat and the Helm isn't left out during away missions. It's possible to either pair up or mix and match, so you can make a Worf-like character who's both security on the ship and the tough guy on the ground, or a Chewie-like character who's Engineering on the ship and Combat on the ground, or whatever else.
    Hmm... if we're looking at a class-related thing, then yeah, I really like this approach of pairing an in-ship role and an out-of-ship role.

    You might also consider adding defaulting (i.e. rolling related skills at a penalty if you don't have a main skill, so you could roll Science at -X instead of Engineering, for instance) to allow e.g. a Gunnery|Recon character to sub in for a bit if the primary Helm officer is killed, but that's up to you.
    A generally good idea, yeah. Thanks.

    As a side benefit of using this setup, that effectively gives you 16 "classes" instead of just 6, for more customization and replayability without much added complexity. Also, since there's no explicit "command" skill, your captains can be more varied (a Helm|Science captain is more Picard-y while a Gunnery|Recon captain is more Kirk-like, for instance). So using your crew idea...

    ...a captain isn't just "the guy with Command maxed" but rather is the bard to the four crew's fighter/wizard/rogue/cleric, if you will, enhancing different departments' rolls (by making the active rolls, granting bonuses in his role's area, etc.) just by virtue of being in charge regardless of his own skill set. That also enables other officers to fill in temporarily if the captain is killed or needed to personally help with Engineering or whatever.
    Not a bad thought.

    You could use different dice sizes to determine different ship sizes. d6 or d10 for a fighter, d20 for a landing craft, d100 for a capital ship, maybe.
    The thing about the d100 is that a ship has X boxes, and you need some way of randomly determining what box you hit. Though I suppose dx+d10 works... 40 boxes with a d4, 60 with a d6...

    I'd actually suggest making fighters practically useless against ships without the ships being softened up first; they should probably be better at running interference than attacking, since having fighter screens and interceptors is cooler and more thematic (and encourages the gameplay you want more) than just launching a ton of fighters and maneuvering them instead of the main ship. Fighters would essentially serve as extensions of the main ship (they'd act like mobile shields by taking laser hits, extend the range of weapons by transmitting missile locks, etc.) and only when an enemy ship is sufficiently damaged could they swoop in to disable engines and such.
    In the absence of a fighter-based game, this is probably the best approach. And for a fighter game... some sort of bombing option that can be applied to larger ships.

    A lot of pieces in the air. At the moment, I think I need to sit down and write a skills list/class list. That's my next step.

    For character creation... maybe we do something like FATE's backstory creation:

    • Where did you come from?
    • What shaped you? Pick a primary career track, either in-ship or out-of-ship.
    • What was your first adventure? Pick a secondary specialization, either in-ship or out-of-ship, whichever you didn't pick in the second step.


    You start with primary skills at a certain level (+2 Fair?), and secondary skills at a lower level (+1 Average?). After that, advancement as normal in both.

    Each specialization-- and I like your breakdown, PairO'Dice-- has maybe 2 or 3 associated skills. The remainder are "civilian," and are primarily social and flavor skills.

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    Default Re: Starships and Space Marines-- system brainstorming

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    The thing about the d100 is that a ship has X boxes, and you need some way of randomly determining what box you hit.
    Right. I thought you were sticking with the same number of boxes per ship "class," in which case every ship of a certain size would be able to use the same die size, though now that I look at your initial picture again that's 5 x 15 boxes (75 total), not the 5 x 20 (100 total) that I assumed it to be. If you're going with a more variable number of boxes, tying die size to ship size wouldn't work too well.

    Though I suppose dx+d10 works... 40 boxes with a d4, 60 with a d6...
    Hmm. Maybe dice values could be related to the point-buy? You start with, say, d4xd4 for a 4-by-4 ship and then spend points to buy that up to d4xd6, d4xd8, ..., d12xd12, or something like that. Such a system would also allow for "organic" upgrades, where you could take a medium-size ship and start bolting on external engines, more sensors, a thicker hull, etc. to get a larger ship.

    In the absence of a fighter-based game, this is probably the best approach. And for a fighter game... some sort of bombing option that can be applied to larger ships.
    What if "fighter-based" is an option you can choose for different systems on your ship that adds a degree of success at an increased cost?

    For instance, if you choose the "fighter-based" option for a Targeting Radar system, you increase the cost by X but automatically gain +1 degree of success for each roll with it--you're using a small scout fighter instead of a radar on your ship, so it gives you better data by being closer to the enemy but you have to pay more to miniaturize it. Same thing with a fighter-ified Laser (assault fighter), a fighter-ified Missile Launcher (bomber), a fighter-ified Missile Countermeasures (interceptor), and so on.

    The emplacement on your ship would take up boxes as normal, since the fighters have to have bays to launch from and they can't refuel/repair/etc. if the bay is damaged. An advantage of using fighters is that characters can move through un-damaged hangar bays thanks to all the space whereas they couldn't normally move through a Laser Cannon or whatever, but a disadvantage is that you can't use any fighter-based systems in the first round because you have to launch your fighters.

    Point-Defense Weapons would be able to "attack the fighters" by targeting one fighter-based system per PDW per turn and rolling, say, Tactical vs. Helm or something to negate the automatic extra hit from that system that round; bombers would be damaged and need to refuel, scout fighters would need to keep their distance and couldn't get good data, and so forth.

    This makes fighter-heavy ships a possibility without shifting the focus to fighter tactics or making fighters too good, since fighter-heavy ships would trade interior mobility (and thus easier repairs and boarder repulsion) for a higher cost and a vulnerability to ambushes.

    How's that sound?
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    Default Re: Starships and Space Marines-- system brainstorming

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    Right. I thought you were sticking with the same number of boxes per ship "class," in which case every ship of a certain size would be able to use the same die size, though now that I look at your initial picture again that's 5 x 15 boxes (75 total), not the 5 x 20 (100 total) that I assumed it to be. If you're going with a more variable number of boxes, tying die size to ship size wouldn't work too well.
    The picture was 5 minutes of scribbling in MS Paint to provide an example. The proof-of-concept playtest I did used 50 boxes in 10 rows of 5 each.

    Hmm. Maybe dice values could be related to the point-buy? You start with, say, d4xd4 for a 4-by-4 ship and then spend points to buy that up to d4xd6, d4xd8, ..., d12xd12, or something like that. Such a system would also allow for "organic" upgrades, where you could take a medium-size ship and start bolting on external engines, more sensors, a thicker hull, etc. to get a larger ship.
    Hmmm...

    What if "fighter-based" is an option you can choose for different systems on your ship that adds a degree of success at an increased cost?
    By "fighter-based game" I mean "the PCs are fighter pilots," in which case 'real' ships are more like terrain. But I really like the idea here for including autonomous fighters alongside the main vessel.

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    Default Re: Starships and Space Marines-- system brainstorming

    I like this system and the ideas behind it. It reminds me a lot of FTL, which has been consuming much of my time as of late.
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    Default Re: Starships and Space Marines-- system brainstorming

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    What if "fighter-based" is an option you can choose for different systems on your ship that adds a degree of success at an increased cost?

    -tons of awesome stuff-
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    Default Re: Starships and Space Marines-- system brainstorming

    Official Rules Drafting
    This is proceeding on the assumption that S&S (name likely to change eventually) will be based entirely on FATE, with added crunch for the space battle system. Rules are abbreviated here; see official FATE books for details and better writing. (I'm working mainly off of Dresden Files/the Core PDF preview). You probably need to be at least passingly familiar with them to understand a lot of the below. ANYWAY:

    Character Creation
    Characters begin play with 5 refresh, 20 skill points, and a skill cap of Great. As usual with FATE games, they go through several stages of character background creation.

    Phase One: Where did you Come From?
    Describe your upbringing, family, environment, education, and so on. Pick an Aspect, and one of the five Civilian Archetypes, gaining the associated skills at Average (+1) rank.

    Phase Two: What Shaped You?
    Describe your origin story, where your character first comes into his or her own. Pick an Aspect, and one of the eight Military Archetypes, gaining the associated skills at Fair (+2) rank. This is your Primary Archetype.

    Phase Three: What Was your First Adventure?
    Describe your first true adventure. Pick an Aspect, and another of the eight Military Archetypes, gaining the associated skills at Average (+1) rank. You must pick an Archetype with a different type than your Primary Archetype— a Naval Archetype if your Primary Archetype is a Personnel one, and a Personnel Archetype if your Primary Archetype is Naval.

    Phases Four and Five: Who did you Serve With?
    Phases Four and Five are identical. Pick one other player, and figure out how your character guest-starred in his first adventure from Phase Three. You should summarize your friend's adventure, describe your own contribution, and pick an Aspect based on this. Your partner, meanwhile, should record your character's name and contribution alongside his own story from Part Three. For Part 5, repeat the process with a different player.

    (Phase Five can be skipped if there are fewer than three players)

    At the end, you should have five stories:
    • Your childhood, with an associated Archetype and Aspect.
    • Your growth, with an associated Primary Archetype and Aspect.
    • Your first adventure, with an associated Aspect and a summary of two guest-star's roles.
    • A friend's first adventure, with a summary of your role and an associated Aspect.
    • Another friend's first adventure, with a summary of your role and an associated Aspect.


    Fleshing things out
    Your Archetypes provide you with six skills— four at Average and two at Fair, worth a total of 8 skill points. You may spend another 12 skill points to purchase new skills or improve existing ones. Untrained skills begin at Mediocre (+0). Skills cost one skill point to raise one rank— from Mediocre (+0) to Average (+1) to Fair (+2), and so on, all the way up to Great (+4).

    To have any skills at a given level (other than Mediocre), you must have more skills at the level immediately lower, so that your skills form a sort of pyramid:
    • One Great (+4) skill
    • Two Good (+3) skills
    • Three Fair (+2) skills
    • Four Average (+1) skills


    A special restriction: Only skills from your Archetypes may be raised to Great (+4).

    The Archetypes
    {table=head]Role|Type|Associated Skills
    Physical/Athlete|Civilian|Athletics, Physique
    Honest/Mediator|Civilian|Empathy, Rapport
    Streetwise/Enforcer|Civilian|Deceit, Intimidation
    Controlled/Professional (?)|Civilian|Discipline, Will
    Wealthy/Noble|Civilian|Presence, Resources
    ||
    Helmsman|Military- Naval|Astrogation , Pilot
    Tactical Officer|Military- Naval|Electronic Warfare, Sensors
    Gunnery Officer|Military- Naval|Gunnery, Counterfire
    Engineer|Military- Naval|Engineering, Computers
    ||
    Scout|Military- Personnel|Awareness, Stealth
    Intelligence Officer|Military- Personnel|Contacts, Investigate
    Marine|Military- Personnel|Fighting, Shooting
    Scientist|Military- Personnel|Medicine, Science[/table]

    ----------------

    More musings
    Most combat actions can probably be handled by standard FATE Maneuver/Block options, providing continuity between ground and naval combat. Zones will be different from normal for naval combat, methinks-- something more along the lines of angles of attack, maybe, for spaceships.

    For more detail on attack options and suchlike...

    • Ships will use the grid layout (which really needs a proper name) instead of standard stress boxes and consequences.
    • A standard attack uses opposed Gunnery and Counterfire (or maybe Helm) actions.
    • The number of damaged boxes becomes the shifts of successes, plus the ship's Weapon rating (number of weapons stations), minus the ship's Armor rating (number of shield stations, or else maybe a static "armor plating" thing)-- which, in an even match, should wind up being little other than shifts of successes.
    • Ships will accumulate Consequences not by cancelling out stress, as characters do, but for having key parts damaged. So an engine hit puts a "Damaged Engines" Aspect on the ship, that can be tagged/invoked/compelled when performing, say Helm-based maneuvers.
    • Other parts-- weapons and shields especially-- will provide direct, non-aspect based penalties, such as reducing the ship's Weapons or Armor values.
    • (It's possible that these things can become more or less aspect-y)


    So basically this winds up looking kind of like the Dresden Files game-- mostly rules-light FATE-y goodness, but with one or two distinctive, crunchy subsystems.
    Last edited by Grod_The_Giant; 2013-01-21 at 10:54 PM.

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    Default Re: Starships and Space Marines-- system brainstorming

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    By "fighter-based game" I mean "the PCs are fighter pilots," in which case 'real' ships are more like terrain. But I really like the idea here for including autonomous fighters alongside the main vessel.
    I figured as much, but that's the phrase that got me thinking.

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    ---------------------------

    I like the new rules draft. It's bothering me a bit that the Civilian archetypes aren't role names like the other archetypes are, so I'd rename Physical/Honest/Streetwise/Controlled/Wealthy to some more symmetrical terms like Athlete/Mediator/Enforcer/Scholar/Professional or some such, but that's just a nitpick.

    Ships will use the grid layout (which really needs a proper name) instead of standard stress boxes and consequences.
    How about a Blueprint? That also has the advantage of your ship design being an in-game blueprint that the characters can reference when upgrading things.
    Last edited by PairO'Dice Lost; 2013-01-21 at 10:48 PM.
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    Default Re: Starships and Space Marines-- system brainstorming

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    I like the new rules draft. It's bothering me a bit that the Civilian archetypes aren't role names like the other archetypes are, so I'd rename Physical/Honest/Streetwise/Controlled/Wealthy to some more symmetrical terms like Athlete/Mediator/Enforcer/Scholar/Professional or some such, but that's just a nitpick.
    Mmm. I was thinking more along the lines of adjective-role-role, so your character is a "Streetwise Marine Helmsman," but I feel you.

    How about a Blueprint? That also has the advantage of your ship design being an in-game blueprint that the characters can reference when upgrading things.
    I can dig it.

    EDIT: A few more points to add to the brainstorming stack:
    • Ships will have their own refresh level, independent of the characters'. Naval encounters would have difficulties based on the ship's refresh, not the players'.
    • Ships will have access to a list of powers, similar to the supernatural powers in the DFRPG.
    • They'd receive Fate points as normal, which could be spent by their crew on Naval skills. (No stunts for ships, though).
    • Each point of refresh a ship power-- Technology?-- costs translates to one (or two, or more-- math to be worked out later) box in the Blueprint. And damage to the filled boxes cases damage to the ship.
    • Ship parts might also provide aspects, which, again, would be lost when the boxes are destroyed.
    • There would, of course, be certain vital areas in any ship. Things like engines and generators and things might be defined as taking up a certain percentage of the ship-- 10% of your ship must be engines, 5% must be reactor, and so on. (Since a four-box reactor on a 20 box corvette isn't at all the same as a four-box reactor on a 50 box destroyer).
    • Ships might have certain fundamental properties, along the lines of Weapons and Armor, that simply add shifts to certain roles. Things like this could be used to handle things like EW suites and maneuvering thrusters that provide bonuses to player skills.
    • Ships may also wind up with their own set of skills, at least baseline physical things-- Speed, Thrust, and so on.
    • Repairing damaged boxes might have a DC based on the effectiveness of the attack that destroyed it. So, a ship with Weapons 3 fires at a ship with Armor 2 and gets 2 shifts of success on the Gunnery/Counterfire skill roll. 3 boxes are destroyed (2 shifts +3 wep - 2 armor), and it's a Good (+3) DC to repair them.
    • In reference to the above, tech parts might have a base difficulty that adds to the damage, making them harder to repair, or else blank sections are simply easier. Probably the former.
    Last edited by Grod_The_Giant; 2013-01-21 at 11:25 PM.

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    Default Re: Starships and Space Marines-- system brainstorming

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Mmm. I was thinking more along the lines of adjective-role-role, so your character is a "Streetwise Marine Helmsman," but I feel you.
    Actually, no, I like your way. I was thinking in terms of "classes," but going with [Descriptor] [Role] [Role] works better. Not sure I like "Honest," though, that's more a personality trait than a background; "Social" might work better.
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    Default Re: FATE space opera-- system musing and development

    Hmm... skill list might need to be tweaked, truth be told. Direct- and Indirect-fire weapons probably should be separated. Counterfire can either be a trapping of "Missiles," or get moved to Tactical. If it's moved, perhaps Astrogation can be dropped and Sensors moved to Helmsman? (I never really liked Astrogation as a skill to begin with).

    Also, while determining how many boxes things like weapons, shields, and engines will take up is pretty easy, and stunts/powers pretty easy, it's the aspects bit that's giving me trouble. Some aspects don't fit in a specific slot at all-- the Millennium Falcon might be HELD TOGETHER WITH SPIT AND DUCT TAPE. I feel like there are certain sections that don't really provide any bonuses, but are required for certain functions-- you need a sensor array to use Sensors, you need countermissile stations to use Counterfire. Those would probably place Consequence-type aspects when destroyed, but the question is how big do they have to be?

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    Default Re: FATE space opera-- system musing and development

    So when you fighterize certain stations, do they remain active for a time after their squares are destroyed, since the smaller ship (or drone) is still active out there?

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    Default Re: FATE space opera-- system musing and development

    Quote Originally Posted by Durazno View Post
    So when you fighterize certain stations, do they remain active for a time after their squares are destroyed, since the smaller ship (or drone) is still active out there?
    Not sure. Like I said, subunit fighters are a pretty late-game concern here. I'm still working up the basic rules.

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    Default Re: FATE space opera-- system musing and development

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Hmm... skill list might need to be tweaked, truth be told. Direct- and Indirect-fire weapons probably should be separated. Counterfire can either be a trapping of "Missiles," or get moved to Tactical.
    I'd remove Counterfire as a skill and split Gunnery into Direct Fire and Indirect Fire. Countermeasures like flak cannons and PDWs would then simply be treated as normal weapons that roll "attacks" with the appropriate skill, the only difference being what they target--defense lasers shooting down homing missiles would be Direct Fire vs. Indirect Fire and so forth.

    If it's moved, perhaps Astrogation can be dropped and Sensors moved to Helmsman? (I never really liked Astrogation as a skill to begin with).
    This depends on how you're going to handle things like long-range kinetics, missile locks, and such. If you'd roll Sensors vs. Electronic Warfare or similar to lock on with a salvo of missiles, Sensors should stay with Tactical. If missile locks are implicitly part of Indirect Fire and Sensors is more about finding ships and avoiding obstacles, it could be moved to Helm.

    Assuming the latter, you could replace Tactical's Sensors with something like Communications or Crypto, to cover coordinating assaults, defending against hacking and jamming, and so forth.

    Also, while determining how many boxes things like weapons, shields, and engines will take up is pretty easy, and stunts/powers pretty easy, it's the aspects bit that's giving me trouble. Some aspects don't fit in a specific slot at all-- the Millennium Falcon might be HELD TOGETHER WITH SPIT AND DUCT TAPE. I feel like there are certain sections that don't really provide any bonuses, but are required for certain functions-- you need a sensor array to use Sensors, you need countermissile stations to use Counterfire. Those would probably place Consequence-type aspects when destroyed, but the question is how big do they have to be?
    As I said above, you could treat countermeasures just like weapons for simplicity, so that takes care of that. Presumably if you have armor you have some sort of Hull attribute, which can represent the ship's superstructure and overall composition and handle aspects like Held Together With Duct Tape.

    I'd suggest having two kinds of sensors, Navigation Sensors (which every ship gets by default and which don't take up boxes, that let you see things and perform basic functions like docking and landing) and Advanced Sensors (which would include long-range scanning, target locks, and the rest). That would ensure that the Helm doesn't lose half his functionality if the sensor array is damaged and that you're never completely blind even if you're crippled.
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    Default Re: FATE space opera-- system musing and development

    I think, for the moment, I'm going to drop the idea of archetypes. They're causing unnecessary trouble in balancing the skill list, and are probably ultimately unnecessary-- there are only 4, arguably 5 character skills that are naval only (EW, Gunnery, Missiles, Sensors, and one could argue for Pilot). They seem like an unnecessary restriction on an otherwise flexible skill system.

    My revised skill list:
    {table=head]Skill|Uses
    Athletics|Simple physical actions such as running and climbing, as well as dodging melee and ranged attacks.
    Awareness|Observational skills and combat initiative.
    Computers|Hacking and information gathering
    Contacts|Gathering information, knowing people, and rumors.
    Deceit|Lying, disguises, and so on.
    Discipline|Force of will, self-control, and mental stress. A social defense skill.
    Electronic Warfare|Jamming sensors and defending against indirect fire weapons.
    Empathy|Reading people, getting them to open up, and social initiative.
    Endurance|Long term actions, physical fortitude, and physical stress.
    Engineering|Building things, fixing them, and making them break.
    Espionage|Lockpicking, casing targets, and security systems.
    Fighting|Melee attacks, defense, and tactics.
    Gunnery|Direct fire with naval and artillery weapons.
    Intimidation|Scaring people
    Investigate|Searching, surveillance, and examining clues.
    Medicine|First-aid and long-term treatment, along with medical knowledge.
    Missiles|Indirect fire with naval and artillery weapons and defenses against the same.
    Physique|Pure exercises of strength
    Pilot|Driving cars, aircraft, and spacecraft, along with dodging direct fire in such vehicles.
    Presence|Command, charisma, reputation, and social stress.
    Rapport|Befriending people and worming information out of them.
    Resources|Wealthy, equipment, and bribery.
    Scholarship|Academic knowledge and research.
    Science|Scientific tests and knowledge.
    Sensors|Working starship targeting systems— the equivalent of Awareness in naval combat.
    Shooting|Ranged attacks and knowledge about small arms.
    Stealth|Sneaking, hiding, and ambushes.
    ((Thrust))|An inherent skill of starships, used for accelerating, towing, and other exercises of raw engine power.[/table]

    In naval combat...
    • Sensors is usually your skill for Assessment.
    • Attacks are either Gunnery verses Pilot, or Missiles verses EW or Missiles.
    • Maneuvers will be a lot of opposed Pilot checks, opposed EW checks, and maybe EW verses Sensors.
    • Block skills will probably use EW (verses missiles), maybe Pilot somehow, Engineering somehow, Gunnery/Missiles...
    • Sprint actions will use Thrust.


    Each naval combat skill may only be used once/character/exchange. Either that, or we'll group skills by Station (replacing archetype), each of which may only have one character working them.
    • Helm gets Pilot and Thrust
    • Tactical gets EW and Sensors
    • Gunnery gets Gunnery and Missiles


    Building a Spaceship
    Ships have a refresh, like a character, and accumulate Fate points, which may be spent by anyone in their crew. They may purchase stunts. They have one key aspect, such as "Mercenary Battleship." They also have Ship Points (~skill points) equal to their refresh level (minus stunts) times five, and a default of (refresh x 10) compartments.

    Ship points may be spent on:
    • Weapons, shields (=armor), and ranks of the Thrust skill, on a 1:1 basis.
    • Aspects, such as "Prototype Sensor Suite" or "Stolen Manticoran Countermissiles," on a 2 points/aspect ratio. Ships can't have more aspects than their total refresh.
    • Stunts, costing one point/point of bonus they provide. Stunts also provide the usual refresh adjustment.


    Technology bought with ship points takes up one compartment per ship point spent on it. If the compartments are damaged, the points of bonus are lost until they are repaired.

    In addition, all ships must have the following compartments:
    • One or more power plants, occupying a total number of compartments of at least the ship's refresh. If at least one compartment of the power plant is damaged but more remain, the ship gains a "Damaged Generator" aspect. Each additional damaged compartment allows the aspect to be tagged one more time. If the the power plant is totally disabled, all ship systems fail-- weapons, shields, engines, sensors, environmental plants, and EW suits
    • An environmental plant. If at least one compartment environmental plant is damaged but more remain, the ship gains a "Faltering Atmosphere" aspect. Each additional damaged compartment allows the aspect to be tagged one more time. If the power plant is totally disabled, this is upgraded to a "No Atmosphere" aspect.
    • A bridge. From a bridge compartment, characters may control all weapons, engines, sensors, and EW equipment. When not in a bridge, characters may only control and gain bonuses from technology in the compartment they are currently occupying and immediately adjacent compartments.
    • At least one compartment for combat sensors (if the Sensors skill is to be used for anything other than routine navigation) and electronic warfare equipment (if the EW skill is to be used). Damage to these compartments places aspects on the ship, such as "Battle-Damaged Sensors." Each additional damaged compartment allows the aspect to be tagged one more time. If all compartments of the type are destroyed, the skills cannot be used.


    Damaging a Ship
    Ships don't take stress like characters- instead, count the shifts of stress they would take. That many randomly-determined Compartments (boxes) on the Blueprint (grid) are disabled. Characters inside suffer an attack of equivalent strength, and the DC to fix the damage is equal to the shifts of stress inflicted, plus 2 if the damaged compartment is Functional (has stuff in it).

    Moving in a Ship
    Each compartment within the ship represents a zone, with a border strength of -2 (Terrible). Damaged compartments have border strengths equal to the shifts of damage that destroyed them.

    Starships also move through zones themselves, although these tend to be extremely large. The border strength tends to be based on the size of the zone, rather than actual barriers. Direct-fire weapons, such as mass drivers and lasers, can target ships in the same zone, while indirect-fire weapons, such as missiles and fighters, can target ships in more distant zones.

    Fighters
    Fighters... fighters will be based on PairO'Dice's idea. Placing systems on fighters costs twice as many ship points, and take up an appropriately greater amount of room on your ship. (These hangers count as one zone for the purpose of movement, with a border strength of +0 (Mediocre)). When fighters are the same zone as your target, you gain a +1 bonus to their skill checks. When they aren't in the same zone, you gain a -1 penalty. (Fighters aiding you-- for example, using Gunnery as a Block action against missile attacks-- must be in your own zone to gain the bonus.)

    Fighters are considered destroyed if more than half their hanger space is destroyed, as they cannot rearm or refuel. Alternately, they may be targeted directly-- they have four physical stress boxes, and may take a single mild consequence before being taken out. Treat multiple fighters of the same type-- that is, providing the same bonuses-- as one entity for the purposes of conflict.

    Fighters may be directed/commanded remotely, in which case opponents may also roll EW as an attack skill, opposed by your own EW roll. Alternately, a character may direct the fighters directly, in which case the fighters may only be engaged with Gunnery or Missiles-- but he'd better watch out if his ships are destroyed!



    I'm sure I'm missing something here (more than just proper wording), but this should cover a lot of the basics. I'm copying it to the first post.
    Last edited by Grod_The_Giant; 2013-01-23 at 12:28 AM.

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    Default Re: FATE space opera-- system musing and development

    Latest version looks good, except:

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    I think, for the moment, I'm going to drop the idea of archetypes. They're causing unnecessary trouble in balancing the skill list, and are probably ultimately unnecessary-- there are only 4, arguably 5 character skills that are naval only (EW, Gunnery, Missiles, Sensors, and one could argue for Pilot). They seem like an unnecessary restriction on an otherwise flexible skill system.
    Personally, I liked the archetypes idea. Characters in naval/military skill-based games are by necessity much more "class-like" than in other skill-based games. There's no real benefit to having wizard or mortal archetypes in Dresden Files (the main other FATE game I know), for example, as there's lots of variety among wizards and mortals, but there are a finite number of officer classifications on a starship and troop classifications on the ground, and each officer/soldier needs to be competent at their area of expertise.

    Further, from a thematic standpoint people tend more naturally to want to fill roles when it comes to starship games. Again with a DF comparison, you don't really set out to build a "blaster wizard" or a "healer" in DF like you would in D&D, but when making a character for Star Wars, Star Trek, Firefly, etc., people tend to want to make "a pilot" or "a mechanic" or the like. Ask people to describe Harry Dresden, Harry Potter, and Gandalf in a few words and they'll probably talk about their personalities, magical strengths and weaknesses, and so forth, since "wizard" isn't all that descriptive in those universes, but ask people to describe Han Solo, Wash, and Sulu and "pilot" or similar will be one of their defining traits.

    It's up to you how you want to do things, but I think that based the above combined with the excellent way the archetypes tied into the FATE character-creation-as-background system you should reconsider dropping them.
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    Default Re: FATE space opera-- system musing and development

    This could be something for later, but I think that it would be nice to have benefits for being in the compartment of a given system rather than controlling it from the bridge, at least for some purposes. Though I suppose it's sort of a given that engineers will be running around repairing and marines might have to defend them from boarders, and that might be all you need.

    I didn't see if you defined EW in the initial post. I mean, I picked up that it was Electronic Warfare, but you might want to make that clear.

    Something to consider for fighters: an optional system where, if their hangar is destroyed, they go silent and coast in space. This would take them out of battle, but make it possible to recover them afterwards (presumably for their own side, but enemies with skilled sensor officers might scoop them up too.)
    Last edited by Durazno; 2013-01-24 at 10:16 PM.

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    Default Re: FATE space opera-- system musing and development

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    Personally, I liked the archetypes idea. Characters in naval/military skill-based games are by necessity much more "class-like" than in other skill-based games. There's no real benefit to having wizard or mortal archetypes in Dresden Files (the main other FATE game I know), for example, as there's lots of variety among wizards and mortals, but there are a finite number of officer classifications on a starship and troop classifications on the ground, and each officer/soldier needs to be competent at their area of expertise.

    Further, from a thematic standpoint people tend more naturally to want to fill roles when it comes to starship games. Again with a DF comparison, you don't really set out to build a "blaster wizard" or a "healer" in DF like you would in D&D, but when making a character for Star Wars, Star Trek, Firefly, etc., people tend to want to make "a pilot" or "a mechanic" or the like. Ask people to describe Harry Dresden, Harry Potter, and Gandalf in a few words and they'll probably talk about their personalities, magical strengths and weaknesses, and so forth, since "wizard" isn't all that descriptive in those universes, but ask people to describe Han Solo, Wash, and Sulu and "pilot" or similar will be one of their defining traits.

    It's up to you how you want to do things, but I think that based the above combined with the excellent way the archetypes tied into the FATE character-creation-as-background system you should reconsider dropping them.
    Mmm. It was, largely, an issue of "how the holy god do I fit these adjusted skills back into the archetype system?" But... I think, yes, this can work. With a bit of fiddling with the list, giving us something like:

    {table=head]Role|Type|Associated Skills
    Physical|Civilian|Athletics, Physique
    Honest|Civilian|Empathy, Rapport
    Streetwise|Civilian|Deceit, Burglary
    Professional|Civilian|Discipline, Resources
    Charismatic|Civilian|Presence, Performance
    ||
    Helmsman|Military- Naval|Pilot, Sensors
    Tactical Officer|Military- Naval|Electronic Warfare, Computers
    Gunnery Officer|Military- Naval|Gunnery, Missiles
    Engineer|Military- Naval|Engineering, Science
    ||
    Scout|Military- Personnel|Awareness, Stealth
    Intelligence Officer|Military- Personnel|Contacts, Investigate
    Marine|Military- Personnel|Fighting, Shooting
    Medic|Military- Personnel|Medicine, Scholarship[/table]

    And

    {table=head]Skill|Uses
    Athletics|Simple physical actions such as running and climbing, as well as dodging ranged attacks.
    Awareness|Observational skills and combat initiative.
    Burglary|Lockpicking, casing targets, and security systems.
    Computers|Hacking and information gathering
    Contacts|Gathering information, knowing people, and rumors.
    Deceit|Lying, disguises, and so on.
    Discipline|Force of will, self-control, and mental stress. A social defense skill.
    Electronic Warfare|Jamming sensors and defending against indirect fire weapons.
    Empathy|Reading people, getting them to open up, and social initiative.
    Engineering||Building things, fixing them, and making them break.
    Fighting|Melee attacks, defense, and tactics.
    Gunnery|Direct fire with naval and artillery weapons.
    Investigate|Searching, surveillance, and examining clues.
    Medicine|First-aid and long-term treatment, along with medical knowledge.
    Missiles|Indirect fire with naval and artillery weapons and defenses against the same.
    Physique|Exercises of pure strength and endurance. Determines physical stress.
    Pilot|Driving cars, aircraft, and spacecraft, along with dodging direct fire in such vehicles.
    Performance|Composition, performance, and artistic criticism
    Presence|Command, charisma, reputation, and intimidation.
    Rapport|Befriending people and worming information out of them.
    Resources|Wealthy, equipment, and bribery.
    Scholarship|Academic knowledge and research.
    Science|Scientific tests and knowledge.
    Sensors|Working starship targeting systems— the equivalent of Awareness in naval combat.
    Shooting|Ranged attacks and knowledge about small arms.
    Stealth|Sneaking, hiding, and ambushes.
    ((Thrust))|An inherent skill of starships, used for accelerating, towing, and other exercises of raw engine power.
    [/table]

    (Oh, and I think I'm going back to the Dresden Files "you cannot have more skills at any level than you have one level down from that" instead of the skill pyramid from FATE Core, which seems just a little bit more restrictive to me. I'd almost tempted to ditch the guidelines altogether, and just keep the archetype-based limit on Great (+4) skills, but I'm not that experienced with the system, so I'd prefer not to mess with something so fundamental)
    Last edited by Grod_The_Giant; 2013-01-24 at 10:55 PM.

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  29. - Top - End - #29
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    Default Re: FATE space opera-- system musing and development

    Had a brief playtest today. There's still maybe a little bit of tweaking to do, but the system as-is is very, very functional, and quite fun.

    STaRS (and STaRS Lite)
    A non-narrativeist, generic rules-light system, by me. Now officially released!

    Grod's Guide to Greatness
    A big book of player options for 5e, by me

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use
    Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 class fixes and more.

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    Default Re: FATE space opera-- draft is go! (Based on Dresden Files RPG, PEACH)

    MAJOR UPDATE

    • Revised Skill List-- I've consolidated a few things
    • Provisions for special powers-- this is more of a for-the-game-I'm-going-to-run thing than a the-system-needed-this thing, but it's there, now. (Without psionics, Conviction becomes pretty useless, but...)
    • Revised rules for ship construction
    • Tweaked starship combat
    • Rules for boarding actions and fighters


    Besides feedback/tweaking, I guess the main remaining thing is to shuffle around the Dresden Files list of stunts to match the new list, write new stunts for the new skills, write some ship stunts, and stat out a few alien races.

    (And hey, if anyone wants to help write some stunts... there are pretty concrete rules for making 'em up...)

    STaRS (and STaRS Lite)
    A non-narrativeist, generic rules-light system, by me. Now officially released!

    Grod's Guide to Greatness
    A big book of player options for 5e, by me

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use
    Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 class fixes and more.

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