A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #61
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    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: Hyperspace Opera: Retro-Futuristic Swashbuckling and Gunslinging

    Do you have rules for starship design in mind yet?

    The Mk1 Frontier Freighter, TL3

    The Mk1 is a flexible workhorse, relatively inexpensive, and, depending on the manufacturer, can be extremely reliable, or a deathtrap. Most are tough enough for sustained use in border regions without advanced shipyards.

    A typical Mk1 has a substandard computer which can process navigation programs for hyperspace and solve real space navigation, with a limited capacity for expansion.

    The required crew is typically a pilot, navigator, engineer, and a purser. Optional crew may include stewards, gunners, medics, and cargo handlers.

    Crew quarters include 8 berths in 4 staterooms.

    Another 4 berths in 2 staterooms allows additional crew, or can allow additional customers. There are also 8 single private use staterooms for use of passengers.

    There are two gun positions which may hourse a variety of primarily defensive weapons if the vessel is to be armed.

    About 100 tons of additional mass may be caried. Some of this mass is fuel tankage, the rest cargo. The proportions determine how far from a viable fuel source the vessel may travel.
    Last edited by brian 333; 2021-09-27 at 11:11 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #62
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    Default Re: Hyperspace Opera: Retro-Futuristic Swashbuckling and Gunslinging

    So one thing I think that would happen in a lot of sci-fi scenarios (including yours) is that the home-world would become dominated by historic districts.

    Consider Picard's brother in Star Trek, the vintner. I'd imagine he's not at liberty to use his land for much else than growing grapes. If he doesn't like it, he can move to one of the dozens of very different historic districts in France alone, or to one of thousands of off world communities.

    If we're not being utopian, historic districts can have a way of pricing marginalized people out. If there are good alternatives, this may not be seen as a problem that needs fixing.

    Most every modern people in rural areas don't get to own a farm but future people will be able to make it a reality.
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  3. - Top - End - #63
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    Default Re: Hyperspace Opera: Retro-Futuristic Swashbuckling and Gunslinging

    i am afraid I don't follow.

    Most people in rural areas don't have a farm because they don't want to.
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  4. - Top - End - #64
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    Default Re: Hyperspace Opera: Retro-Futuristic Swashbuckling and Gunslinging

    Re: Reasons to Colonize

    Given that Habitable planets are abundant, I feel like a quick shorthand system for different types of worlds, which establish why this world in particular was colonized.


    Gentle Worlds: Are planets that are generally just nice to live on. These colonies primarily function as a place to put people. Might be set up as a way to relieve population pressure, or by a group seeking to run their own society as a utopian experiment (or a religious cult, whatever), or just a government looking for the Prestige of having thriving colonies.

    A Gentle World colony is likely to resemble the Homeworld culture as much as possible, except in the instances where it's established by a breakaway group ("Utopian" colonies).

    Treasure Worlds: A Treasure World is one that contains some valuable resource, and a colony is set up for the purpose of extracting it. The classic example is valuable minerals, but as has been mentioned, resource extraction by traditional mining is super inefficient compared to asteroid stripping. Treasure Worlds are far most likely to be valuable due to something in their biosphere. For example, some native fauna that has a valuable pelt, but doesn't grow well in captivity might have a colony based around hunting and trapping these creatures. Usually the "Treasure" isn't something intrinsically valuable, but some luxury good that people have decided to pay a lot of money for.

    This can mean that the economies of Treasure Worlds can fall apart if the market they were supplying collapses due to shifting fashion trends.


    Spectacle Worlds: A spectacle World is a planet that has something stirring and unique about it, like a world with mountains made of pure diamond, or a constant Aurora Borealis effect, or a brilliant, ever-shifting technicolor sea. These planets are technically colonizable, but unless they also fall under the "Gentle" or "Treasure" Category, they're usually not home to any "True" Colonies, instead you've got a small settlement (maybe a few hundred people at most), built around a Research Station or a Trade Baron's Palace. Some Spectacle Worlds are home to Resorts, where wealthy tourists can visit.

    A Spectacle World is often home to multiple such settlements. Usually, a Trade Baron will construct a palace there (Often just as an austentatious show of wealth). Then, once regular supply ships start arriving, other groups will set up their own settlements elsewhere. Spectacle World settlements are rarely self-sufficient, so it usually takes somebody wealthy to "break the ice" as it were and get the Planet on the map.

    Once it is, a handful of settlements can be scattered across the globe to the point that they each may as well consider themselves the sole residents of the world.


    Edit: Similar shorthand for different colony types

    Settler Colonies: Are "Places to Put People", usually set up by the Governments of a homeworld, they tend to resemble the homeworld culturally.

    Utopian Colonies: Are set up by groups seeking to establish a "Better Society", usually some sort of religious or social movement, either with separatist leanings, or seeking to inspire change back home by demonstrating their ideal society.

    Industrial Colonies: Most often seen on Treasure Worlds, built around some specific industry, unless a corporation just decided to build a bunch of factories somewhere for Tax Purposes.

    Military Colonies: Are usually what happens when a millitary builds a planetside base because they want a place to keep ships and troops in a specific system, and the resulting support system just kind of grows into a colony.


    Re: Merchant Aristocracy

    So, the classic take on Aristocracy is that it's hereditary, but what if instead these aristocracies, based as they are on roles in the corporation, are algorithm driven.

    Third Sun Industries was built by Reginald Moneyface I, he was as charming as he was ruthless and Greedy.

    In order to identify good executive candidates, Third Sun Industries built a machine learning algorithm, using Reginald Moneyface I as it's model, since he built the Company, finding people similar to him would ensure it's future.

    People selected by the Algorithm as having traits similar to Reginald Moneyface I are chosen for special training and promotion, creating a self-sustaining corporate culture and giving each corporation a strong Identity, since in order to get into a position where you might be able to be Impressive, you must first be chosen by the Algorithm.

    In this way you can have "Dynasties", not of blood, but of character, as Corporate Executives choose and groom successors due to superficial similarities.


    Although it depends, how much do you want the Corporations to be faceless corporate monoliths vs extensions of given characters.
    Last edited by BRC; 2021-09-28 at 01:35 PM.
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  5. - Top - End - #65
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    Default Re: Hyperspace Opera: Retro-Futuristic Swashbuckling and Gunslinging

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Most people in rural areas don't have a farm because they don't want to.
    A modern farm represents a lot of capital (much closer in terms of land to a medieval lord than a peasant, plus hundreds of thousands of dollars in machinery), so no, for most people wanting a farm is doesn't mean they can get one.

    I can't really get into real life issues, but the economic situation in many rural small towns is pretty terrible.
    Excuses and explanations are different.

    Sometimes when there can be no excuses we must look the hardest for explanations.

  6. - Top - End - #66
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    Default Re: Hyperspace Opera: Retro-Futuristic Swashbuckling and Gunslinging

    I keep coming back to the question of "What are the Corporations doing, if resources are so plentiful".

    Like, yes, economy of scale is a thing, before a certain point it isn't worth it to set up the infrastructure to turn lithium into cell phones or whatever, but planets are big. Why would somebody who wants cell phones move to a colony world not big enough to have it's own cell phone factory when there is, theoretically, plenty of room available on existing colony worlds?


    And the answer I arrive at is "Controlling technology" and "Trying to keep Colonies small and dependent".


    I imagine that, out of the home sectors, most heavy industry is in corporate controlled void stations. Built around an asteroid, on a small moon, or just floating in space, these massive factory complexes exist to take in raw materials and churn out finished goods.

    Which, yes, is less efficient than a more distributed supply chain. A given colony world has all the resources it might need to make a Space Cell Phone, and you could just build some land-based factories there and export Cell Phones, but by keeping most of the supply chain out in space, the Corporations keep the colony worlds dependent, and keep all the technical know-how about how to build things like jetpacks and water purifiers in-house, with minimal risk of anybody running off with the schematics and building their own water purifiers.


    Which brings me to Swords.

    The thing the Corporations most want to keep colonists dependent on them for is Security and Protection. It's not just that they won't tell the colonists how to turn raw materials into Railguns, they won't even give the Colonists railguns if they can help it. They want the Colonists to hire expensive corporate mercenaries to wield the Railguns for them. Corporate Railguns have all sorts of in-built systems to make sure they can only be used by Approved Corporate Security Contractors on Official Assignments.

    It's possible to take a Corp gun and strip all that out, so it just shoots whenever the trigger is pulled, but doing so makes it wonky and unreliable, and often takes a lot out of it, since you have to circumvent all the anti-tampering stuff.


    This means that your average Colonist, Adventurer, or Space-Pirate's choice of weapons is either

    1) Jailbroken corporate weapons, with the associated decrease in power or reliability that comes with ripping out all the bits designed to make it only work for the corporations.
    (Jailbreaking a Corporate Assault Rifle ends up with something that can only shoot once every few seconds and has half the stopping power).
    2) Weapons that any colony can produce on their own without access to the advanced manufacturing tech that the Corporations hoard.
    3) Weapons weak enough that Corporations feel comfortable selling them to colonists (Shotguns, hunting rifles, ect).

    Which means Swords, Hatchets, Crossbows, throwing weapons and the like are common.

    It means that full automatic weapons are very rare outside Corporate Kill Teams or the occasional official military units. The setting's equivalent of a rare, powerful magic weapon is an Assault Rifle that could have it's Oversight Controls circumvented without destroying half the gun in the process. It's rare because as soon as they heard about the exploit the corporation stopped producing these things.

    Edit: This also means, that since most Corporate holdings are on space stations or ships, where you don't want people blasting away with high powered weapons anyway, you get a situation where the Corporations HAVE Fully automatic weapons that can gun anybody else down, but the only time they would use them is when they're on a planet (Or on somebody else's ship).

    On a Corporate Ship or space station, Corporate Grunts might be fighting with shock batons or railguns with their power turned down low enough to not breach the hulls, so swashbuckling still works.

    Edit: This also a fun justification for Corporate Bigwigs to be dangerous opponents, even if they're not necessarily that experienced in combat. They (And their bodyguards) have enough pull to use high-powered weapons without needing to jump through the usual hoops of clearance and authorization to make sure they're not running the risk of damaging company property.


    If a Heroic Adventurer is storming a Corporate Ship, most of the security guards are limited to shock batons and low-powered weapons until some bureaucrat decides that the situation is dangerous enough to warrant letting them risk damage to company property by using The Good Stuff. The Junior Vice President of Colonial Investment and Development gets to carry a giant gold-plated revolver (Keyed to his fingerprints of course) that can blast through most armor, and shoot it without worrying about getting any paperwork signed.


    It's possible for a crew of swashbucklers to capture a corporate ship so long as they do so fast enough that the ship is taken before the guards get permission to use the big guns.
    Last edited by BRC; 2021-09-28 at 03:49 PM.
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  7. - Top - End - #67
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    Default Re: A Retro-Futuristic Space Opera with Swashbuckling and Gunslinging

    The work continues. Actually has been going the entire time, I just didn't have anything new to show. But I managed to get over the biggest hurdle in worldbuilding that always gets my stuck with getting things more concrete. Naming cultures.
    Naming places it also not great, but it's not so bad if you have a remote planet or spaceport that sounds a bit goofy. Having an alien species with a bad name will bother me forever. But I have settled on these names for a good while now and they still sound good to me. I can even remember all but one of them without looking up after not doing anything for a week with species.

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    Enkai: population 18 billion, Tech Level 4.
    Most numerous, but spread out over many large independent colony worlds.


    Udur: population 16 billion, Tech Level 4.
    The biggest center of power and technology in known space.


    Netik: population 13 billion, Tech Level 4.
    One of the three main players in industry and shipbuilding. They have no main homeworld.


    Damalin: population 10 billion, Tech Level 4.
    Leading in science and high tech.


    Ruvikar: population 12 billion, Tech Level 4.
    They don't very often visit worlds where everything is designed for humanoids, but are great traders in very high grade electronics and biotech.


    Chosa: population 9 billion, Tech Level 4.
    Though their region of space is quite small and they don't trade much, they are one of the more technological advanced with fusion power and their own space industry.


    Mahir: population 5 billion, Tech Level 4.
    While their own industry is quite advanced, they don't have much weight in regard to interstellar trade.


    Seniak: population 14 billion, Tech Level 3.
    Despite their large numbers only very minor players. Their industry runs on bio-ethanol, but they are very adapt at figuring out much more advanced machines and they buy cheap old ships to fix and travel between their worlds. Once a colony is established, they can grow their numbers very quickly as resources permit.


    Lomi: population 10 billion, Tech Level 3.
    Only 200 years of spaceflight. Reliant on imported space technology, but very interested in colonizing new worlds in their part of space.


    Tubaki population 7 billion, Tech Level 3.


    Buzak: population 4 billion, Tech Level 3.


    Amai: population 2 billion, Tech Level 3.
    Last edited by Yora; 2021-10-21 at 05:27 AM.
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  8. - Top - End - #68
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    Default Re: Hyperspace Opera: Retro-Futuristic Swashbuckling and Gunslinging

    So, I know you want to avoid things like "force fields", but what about at least having spacecraft project some kind of magnetic field to, say, fend of cosmic rays and UV light, the way the Earth's magnetic field does? And what about micrometeoroids/debris?

    (It's probably not a big deal if you'd rather not bother about that sort of thing, given the theme of the game is pulpy space adventure. Just thought I'd raise the point, since IIRC those hazards are a typical reason for some kind of "deflector shield" in such settings. Also IRL there is Whipple shielding.)
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  9. - Top - End - #69
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    Default Re: Hyperspace Opera: Retro-Futuristic Swashbuckling and Gunslinging

    I would assume that whatever strengthens the hull against radiation would be build into the entire hull of the ship instead of being some exterior mounted generator that creates a magic bubble around the ship and the space close to it.

    Whipple shield spaced armor is how I assume most ship armor to be constructed. An outer hull that will cause incoming projectiles to shatter as they penetrate, followed by multiple inner hulls that resist a spray of small shards much better than a single solid projectile. Not sure how they would hold up against a 100 kg tungsten block coming out of a rail gun, but it's "close enough to real principles" for me.
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  10. - Top - End - #70
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    Default Re: Hyperspace Opera: Retro-Futuristic Swashbuckling and Gunslinging

    Maybe a cushion of water in between layers of the hull, considering how good a radiation dampener water is.
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  11. - Top - End - #71
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    Default Re: Hyperspace Opera: Retro-Futuristic Swashbuckling and Gunslinging

    I got an idea for adding a supernatural component, but I am not entirely committed to it yet.

    As mentioned earlier, I really like to expand physics rather than mangle it, which is why the setting has Hyperspace and artificial gravity. Same approach here.

    A fundamental assumption of astrophysics is that the laws of physics are the same everywhere in the universe. But that does not mean that everything that can exist exists everywhere. We have the same physical laws that create black holes here on Earth, but we happen to not have any black holes here, which is why for thousands of years nobody had an idea that they could exist.
    The idea for the setting is that there are enormous clouds of particles that are found everywhere in the galaxy, but are not distributed evenly. In some parts of the galaxy their concentration is very high, while in other regions they are essentially completely absent. In the regions where these particles have no meaningful presence, many physical processes that require them can not happen. Titan is full of methane, with methane clouds, methane rain, methane rivers, and methane lakes. But there is basically no oxygen in the atmosphere of Titan and as such there is no fire on this extremely flammable moon. The laws of physics that make methane burn are still there, but a critical component for fire to happen is just not there.
    As it happens, the homeworlds of all (or is it most?) of the species in known space are located in parts of the galaxy that have almost none of the special particles. On these worlds, and the nearby colony worlds where the vast majority of the population lives, all the physics you can see in everyday life are the same as on Earth. (Except hyperspace and artificial gravity, of course.) Things behave "normally", because they are in regions with physics-. But further away from these centers of civilization, there are vast invisible clouds of particles in which things happen with physics+. As you get to systems on the edges of the empty bubbles, things start to get strange and you can see phenomenons that never happens inside the bubbles. And some parts of the clouds are much denser in these particles and there are stars and planets inside them, where things get really freaky.

    This is a very convenient approach, since it means the homeworlds and native cultures of the species don't have to account for physics+. It plays no part in how their societies evolved or how people live. It's only in the remote parts of the space where you can encounter physics+. And it's also a way to have these supernatural elements tie into the overall idea of giant exploitative companies. Not only can physics+ allow for new phenomenons, it can also allow for the formation of new substances within planets that can not occur under physics-. Some of these new substances have very valuable uses in technology. Maybe I even make it that artificial gravity relies on one of these enhanced minerals. They are valuable resources that are only found far away from the homeworld and major colony worlds (probably there's something about physics+ that is not conductive for intelligent live to evolve), which justifies traveling to the edges of known space to mine them.

    So what does physics+ do? I am not really sure about this yet. But I really do like the weird stuff that happens in Stalker and Metro. I still want to keep things relatively subtle. Physics+ is not magic and it doesn't allow you to shoot lightning out of your butt. Or teleport or time travel. Since the species of known space all(?) evolved in regions of physics-, they would have no natural abilities to interact with physics+, so no space-wizards, but possibly space-fairies or space-demons. (Intelligent life is much more common in physics-, but not necessarily unique to it.) However, you could use new special materials that are created by physics+ processes to interact and create physics+ effects. Again, no shooting lightning or teleportation, but there could be a lot of interesting possibilities for a unique setting. Maybe I do add some cybernetic implants to all of this.
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  12. - Top - End - #72
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    Default Re: Hyperspace Opera: Retro-Futuristic Swashbuckling and Gunslinging

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    I got an idea for adding a supernatural component, but I am not entirely committed to it yet.

    As mentioned earlier, I really like to expand physics rather than mangle it, which is why the setting has Hyperspace and artificial gravity. Same approach here.

    A fundamental assumption of astrophysics is that the laws of physics are the same everywhere in the universe. But that does not mean that everything that can exist exists everywhere. We have the same physical laws that create black holes here on Earth, but we happen to not have any black holes here, which is why for thousands of years nobody had an idea that they could exist.
    The idea for the setting is that there are enormous clouds of particles that are found everywhere in the galaxy, but are not distributed evenly. In some parts of the galaxy their concentration is very high, while in other regions they are essentially completely absent. In the regions where these particles have no meaningful presence, many physical processes that require them can not happen. Titan is full of methane, with methane clouds, methane rain, methane rivers, and methane lakes. But there is basically no oxygen in the atmosphere of Titan and as such there is no fire on this extremely flammable moon. The laws of physics that make methane burn are still there, but a critical component for fire to happen is just not there.
    As it happens, the homeworlds of all (or is it most?) of the species in known space are located in parts of the galaxy that have almost none of the special particles. On these worlds, and the nearby colony worlds where the vast majority of the population lives, all the physics you can see in everyday life are the same as on Earth. (Except hyperspace and artificial gravity, of course.) Things behave "normally", because they are in regions with physics-. But further away from these centers of civilization, there are vast invisible clouds of particles in which things happen with physics+. As you get to systems on the edges of the empty bubbles, things start to get strange and you can see phenomenons that never happens inside the bubbles. And some parts of the clouds are much denser in these particles and there are stars and planets inside them, where things get really freaky.

    This is a very convenient approach, since it means the homeworlds and native cultures of the species don't have to account for physics+. It plays no part in how their societies evolved or how people live. It's only in the remote parts of the space where you can encounter physics+. And it's also a way to have these supernatural elements tie into the overall idea of giant exploitative companies. Not only can physics+ allow for new phenomenons, it can also allow for the formation of new substances within planets that can not occur under physics-. Some of these new substances have very valuable uses in technology. Maybe I even make it that artificial gravity relies on one of these enhanced minerals. They are valuable resources that are only found far away from the homeworld and major colony worlds (probably there's something about physics+ that is not conductive for intelligent live to evolve), which justifies traveling to the edges of known space to mine them.

    So what does physics+ do? I am not really sure about this yet. But I really do like the weird stuff that happens in Stalker and Metro. I still want to keep things relatively subtle. Physics+ is not magic and it doesn't allow you to shoot lightning out of your butt. Or teleport or time travel. Since the species of known space all(?) evolved in regions of physics-, they would have no natural abilities to interact with physics+, so no space-wizards, but possibly space-fairies or space-demons. (Intelligent life is much more common in physics-, but not necessarily unique to it.) However, you could use new special materials that are created by physics+ processes to interact and create physics+ effects. Again, no shooting lightning or teleportation, but there could be a lot of interesting possibilities for a unique setting. Maybe I do add some cybernetic implants to all of this.
    I think you already have your location: hyperspace itself. Your realspace matter may have a damping effect on hyperspace phenomena, which is why ships must be far from a mass to jump. Inside hyperspace different laws apply, with possibly some leakage between them causing strange stuff to happen where the leaks are.

    (On the real-side material voids allow traces of hyperspace to leak in, and super-dense accumulations of material allow traces of real space to leak out.)

  13. - Top - End - #73
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    Default Re: Hyperspace Opera: Retro-Futuristic Swashbuckling and Gunslinging

    I have been thinking about connecting it to Hyperspace. But Hyperspace has to be fully accessible throughout all of known space, while physics+ can only apply at the edges.
    But materials for creating cheap hyperdrives could be among the advanced substances that are only known at the frontier. The technology could have been first invented in a system that has very little of the material because its at the very edge of a bubble, which made it extremely expensive. But with those early hyperdrives, the inventors could explore other systems where the material was much more abundant, making the technology much more cheaper. And then they could share the technology with other species they encounter and provide them with the materials needed to establish their own mining outposts on the frontier.
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    Default Re: Hyperspace Opera: Retro-Futuristic Swashbuckling and Gunslinging

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    I have been thinking about connecting it to Hyperspace. But Hyperspace has to be fully accessible throughout all of known space, while physics+ can only apply at the edges.
    But materials for creating cheap hyperdrives could be among the advanced substances that are only known at the frontier. The technology could have been first invented in a system that has very little of the material because its at the very edge of a bubble, which made it extremely expensive. But with those early hyperdrives, the inventors could explore other systems where the material was much more abundant, making the technology much more cheaper. And then they could share the technology with other species they encounter and provide them with the materials needed to establish their own mining outposts on the frontier.
    I think you should split stuff into three categories: Things that can only be DONE in Physics+ zones, things that can only be FOUND in Physics+ Zones, and things that can only be MADE in Physics+ zones.

    If the idea is that Physics+ is just certain phenomena that can't happen elsewhere (Fire on Titan), you get rare materials that need those phenomena to naturally form.

    You can also get Machines that rely on those phenomena to work. To continue the Fire metaphor, you can't run a forge in a place that doesn't have the oxygen for Fire to happen. Some of these "Magic" Machines exist to build "Mundane" machines that can't be built in physics-, because while their operation doesn't rely on Physics+, their construction does.
    And finally, Machines that DO need Physics+ To work, and so must be kept there to do weird stuff. This might be something like a Supercomputer that sits in Physics+ doing otherwise impossible amounts of computing, and sending the data back home on courier ships.

    It might also mean you get some sort of mad-science wizard pirate flying around in Physics+ with a super ship that would shake itself apart if it ever tried to fly into Physics-.

    There's also a fun idea of Machines that can operate without Physics+, but need Physics+ to turn on, starting whatever reaction is integral to their functionality.

    This gives you a fun way to stage "Weirdness"

    "This thing requires Materials gathered in Physics+" is Mildly Weird. It's rare because it relies on rare materials, but ships can nip into Physics+ and pick up some stuff.

    "This thing must be manufactured in Physics+" Is weirder and more rare, because somebody has to actually set up a factory in Physics+ to make this stuff.

    "This thing only works in Physics+" Is maximally Weird.
    Last edited by BRC; 2021-10-21 at 02:17 PM.
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  15. - Top - End - #75
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    Default Re: Hyperspace Opera: Retro-Futuristic Swashbuckling and Gunslinging

    That seems quite sensible.

    Here is one little mechanism that nobody really needs to know and likely never will come up, but which I find neat to know: The magical magictron particle that floats through space in clouds can collide with neutrons inside atoms and turn it into a third type of nuclear particle different from either protons or neutrons. A carbon atom with 6 protons and 6 neutrons can be turned into a new atom with 6 protons, 4 neutrons, and 2 specialtrons. This turns them into atoms very different from the elements.
    For the nuclear physics nerds, in theory any number of neutrons in atoms of any element could be turned into specialtrons, but most of them are unstable and quickly return back into normal atoms. But there are a few combinations of protons, neutrons, and specialtrons that remain stable for millions of years. (The same thing actually happens with neutrons in atomic cores. In most combinations the neutrons don't want to stay neutrons and decay into protons, but a few combinations remain stable for trillions of years. Don't understand why, but they do.)

    Planets in areas with magictrons produce specialtrons all the time and keep replacing the specialtron-elements that decay with new ones. But once the material is removed from magictron rich areas, they will decay back into ordinary atoms. By the time asteroids flying through interstellar space reach another system, they will have lost all their specialtrons unless they remain in magictron-rich areas of the galaxy. Which is why even with supernovas throwing material into space, the specialtrons don't survive long enough to form planets in areas without magictrons.

    One thing I know that I want there to be several of these new specialtron-atoms that have industrial uses. There are so many settings in which every technology is explained with the same magic rock. With this system, there can be countless specialtron-atom types. But I gurss for practical reasons, limiting it to only three or four types that are industrially mined would be best. Like green tyberium, bkue tyberium, and tyberium gas.
    There could be one type for Hyperdrives, one for artifical gravity (which I guess there has to be hover technology, since people will ask about that immediately), and one or two for other stuff.

    The hyperdrive and gravity material need to work just by themselves. They need magictron to create their specialtrons, but after that they can do their magic without them.
    Having specialtron-devices that work only in magictron clouds is a really cool idea. I was thinking that even inside clouds the magictron density is extremely low (like how all the expected dark matter in the solar system is estimated to have the total mass of only a small asteroid) and as such magictron interactions with any devices would be extremely unlikely, but the idea for devices that can't do their work outside if magictron clouds is really fun.

    As I might have said before somewhere here, I really like the anomalies in Stalker. Mineral deposits that have the atoms for gravity devices would likely have gravitational anomalies around them. Minerals mined for Hyperdrives could subtly warp space around them in disorienting ways. And many of the atoms with no industrial uses can have different anomalous effects of their own. Since I established that magictrons turn only neutrons into specialtrons, the proton numbers remain unchanged, which means their chemical behavior stays the same specialtron carbon is still carbon, so you could have it in trees, and certain anomalies only happen in forests.
    But continuing that thought, that would also mean food grown in magictron clouds and settlers could get that stuff into their bodies. There is a potential here for special mutations found only in the natives of such system. That would be a big step, so I'm probably not using any elements found in animal bodies as anomaly sources for now. But it's absolutely an option that I could expand on later.

    Another fun thing is that the refined materials for hyperdrives and gravity could be extremely dangerous. You'll need only a few kilos inside a hyperdrive to create a Hyperspace passage when you eun the right electricity through it. If several tons of that stuff would get into contact with a current, it could lead to giant disasters. (Note: There will be giant disasters in Hyperdrive factories.) Accidents with gravity atoms could lead to micro black holes that then immediately evaporate instantly in giant explosions. There's no way freighters with that stuff are allowed near homeworlds, so that's another dangerous job for the frontier settlers.

    The possibilites for other devices that make use of anomaly effects is endless. Weapons are an obvious choice, but I really love my big ass railgun cannons and missiles that don't blow up any ship they hit instantly. So I think no (conventional) weapons. I also like all my ideas about communication, so no faster than light communication either.
    Stealth tech would be tempting, but I don't want to throw out all the things that sci-fi should do right more often, and No Stealth In Space is one of them. Some kind of unrealistic sensor tech might be in the cards, though.
    Some kind of life-saving medical implants could be fun, and those would be great candidates for devices that requite magictrons to function. So people who have them can never travel into magictron bubbles where all the big planets are located.
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    Default Re: Hyperspace Opera: Retro-Futuristic Swashbuckling and Gunslinging

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    The possibilites for other devices that make use of anomaly effects is endless. Weapons are an obvious choice, but I really love my big ass railgun cannons and missiles that don't blow up any ship they hit instantly. So I think no (conventional) weapons. I also like all my ideas about communication, so no faster than light communication either.
    Stealth tech would be tempting, but I don't want to throw out all the things that sci-fi should do right more often, and No Stealth In Space is one of them. Some kind of unrealistic sensor tech might be in the cards, though.
    Some kind of life-saving medical implants could be fun, and those would be great candidates for devices that requite magictrons to function. So people who have them can never travel into magictron bubbles where all the big planets are located.
    Some ideas

    Lifesaving medical devices (Or things that turn people into superbeings)

    Supercomputers vital for advanced research.

    Standard Artificial Gravity devices don't need magitrons to function, because they're fairly simple. Plates in the floor that generate artificial gravity towards themselves. However, in Physics+ you might get "Artificial Gravity as Telekinesis" type devices capable of far more elaborate physical manipulations.


    Between Supercomputers and Hyperdrives, you could get a form of communication that only works with Specialtrons. Basically a hyperspace railgun that can quickly shoot a message beacon through hyperspace towards a planet, where it can be picked up by waiting sensors. It's only one-way, but it's faster and cheaper per-message than courier ships, so outposts in the Clouds might use it.


    While we might not have more POWERFUL weapons that rely on specialtrons, you could have cheaper weapons that match-up with more powerful stuff.

    Like, in a Cloud, you could have pirates scrape together a superpowered gravity gun that can throw asteroids with enough force to match up against military grade railguns.

    Or have tactical hyperdrives that let them "Teleport" (They're just hyperjumping a very short distance) to the other side of an enemy ship. (This is theoretically doable with normal hyperdrive tech, but it's so energy-intensive outside the Clouds that nobody does).
    Last edited by BRC; 2021-10-22 at 10:25 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dsurion View Post
    I don't know if you've noticed, but pretty much everything BRC posts is full of awesome.
    Quote Originally Posted by chiasaur11 View Post
    So, Astronaut, War Hero, or hideous Mantis Man, hop to it! The future of humanity is in your capable hands and or terrifying organic scythes.
    My Homebrew:Synchronized Swordsmen,Dual Daggers,The Doctor,The Preacher,The Brawler
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    Default Re: Hyperspace Opera: Retro-Futuristic Swashbuckling and Gunslinging

    Nyeka M.A.K., Lic is a personal gun manufacturer which has an excellent line of chemical explosive powered sport, target, and self defense weapons which are available where the law permits, manufactured at tech level 3 worlds. (TL2 worlds may treat them as military grade weapons.)

    But on TL4 worlds, the Neyka M.A.K. line includes the E,G, and R brands.

    The E line includes weapons which fire chemically, but which can use a variety of programmable munitions. Grenade-like bullets which can detonate after traveling a certain distance or after penetrating a certain thickness of material, self-guided bullets which will follow a programmed path to a specific target, or bullets which will avoid hitting the wrong target are some options. These weapons tend to be bulkier than regular guns.

    The G line offers a line of handguns and rifles which use magnetic coils to launch 2mm to 8mm fletchettes with excellent armor-penetration and long range accuracy. Although the civilian versions of these weapons are powered by capacitors which hold enough of a charge to fire 6 to10 rounds, those with replaceable capacitors are considered military grade.

    The R line is restricted at this time to three weapons: the pistol, carbine, and rifle. These are powered by an external capacitor pack which can hold enough power to fire the rifle 6 times, the carbine !2 times, and the pistol 24 times. These weapons are miniature rail guns.
    All can fire very high velocity projectiles at ewtremely long ranges, but the pistol sacrifices accuracy beyond fifteen meters. It packs enough punch to defeat most body armor or damage the motors of unarmored vehicles. The carbine has vastly improved accuracy over the pistol and improved armor piercing capability. The rifle is capable of defeating most civilian vehicle armor and military grade light vehicle armor with excellent accuracy at extreme range.

    Naturally, starships are reluctant to carry such weapons unless in sealed and locked cargo containers out of the reach of any passenger.

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    Default Re: Hyperspace Opera: Retro-Futuristic Swashbuckling and Gunslinging

    Some Planet Drafts

    Everything has been basic groundwork somfar, but I do also have several outlines for the planets of Sector A8. These are the homes of 99% of the sector's population.

    Ordos: Ordes is the largest population center in the sector by a wide margin, being home to over a third of its population. It is a very hospitable planet covered in highly diverse forests and several major seas, and home to a Damalin colony consisting of several cities with a total population of over 40 million. Even though space is endlessly available, the centers of the city are covered in gleaming skyscrapers that recreate an image of the wealth of a homeworld. Ordos is the commercial center of the sector and the main market for imported goods from Enkai, Netik, and Damalin space. The main spaceport has a seizable alien population, but the other settlements appear as if they are cities on the Demalin homeworld.

    Lupai: This planet is one of the two main Enkai worlds in the sector. Lupai has a very hospitable atmosphere and climate, but limited amounts of surface water and relatively little moisture in the air. This makes the planet quite unpleasant for Danalin and Amai, but suits the Enkai population very well. The environment of Lupai ranges from tundra at the poles to rocky deserts at the equator and is dominated by grasses and shrubs, but also various species of trees with hard needly leaves.
    Unlike Ordos, Lupai does not have a unified government but instead consists of a dozen clusters of small colonies established by various Enkai nations and copanies, which together still reach a population of 30 million. Most of the population are Enkai, but some settlements have small populations of Netik and
    Tubaki.

    Dresat: This planet is a mining world through and through, covered in camps and outputs of various Netik companies. Even with 20 million inhabitants, people in the sector often say that Dresat does not have a population but a staff. People don't come to Dresat to start a life, but to work.While there are several cities with hundreds of thousands of people living in them, almost all of them have rented accomodations and leave the planet within 10 to 20 years. With a constant nearly complete turnover of the population, there really isn't much on Dresat in terms of a society and culture. True Dresatians are a small minority on the planet, most of which are owners of small businesses catering to the miners and company employees, such as bars and stores for specialized imports not stocked by the large stores run by the mining company. There is something of an administrative aristocracy on Dresat, who are families that are born into the business of running the mines, and learn the trade from a young age, which makes them better qualified than young administrative workers who only came to Dresat because they couldn't find any other jobs in the field.
    Dresat is an unpleasant planet with little in the way of complex life other than lichens and some small bugs, but the murky seas are home to forms of algaes that provide the atmosphere with oxygen. The sky is almost permanently overcast with clouds and dust storms, with many cities seeing only a few days of sunshine every couple of years. There are many volcanoes on the planet that constantly release all kinds of gasses into the atmosphere, and depending on the wind, cities frequently experience acidic rain that doesn't bother the Netik but can quickly cause skin irritation for most other species. Not getting showered quickly after getting soaked by rain water can cause skin damage that can take months to recover from.

    Kolpin: Like Lupai, Kolpin is an Enkai colony world, though with a much smaller population of 4 million. Kolpin is a world dominated by mountainous jungles, but the humidity makes it a less attractive place than Lupai to most Enkai.

    Ataris: This planet seems to have little to offer for settlers other than breathable oxygen, being a rocky, barren, and mostly frozen world. While most species would regard it as uninhabitable, to Mahir colonists it was a planet that they could make work as the site for an outpost in the sector. With most of the more hospitable planets in the sector already occupied, Ataris seemed like a good location that would invite little competition. The mountains of Atris have many fissures and crevases of monumental size below the glaciers, which the Mahir settlers expanded into subterranean cities, including docks for small space ships. While still chilling, the climate inside the underground cities is much less harsh than outside, and they provide himes for 3 million Mahir.

    Kamara: Kamara is a rocky planet less hospitable then Lupai but much more forgiving to colonists than Dresat. It's surface consists of of shtublands and rocky deserts and while daytime temperatures are quite bearable to most species, nights regularly become freezing throughout much of the year. The planet was originally settled by Netik who had fled the awful conditions on Dresat, but over the last century has gained a large population of Tubaki, who now make up 40% of Kamara's 2 million inhabitants. The resources on Kamara are much less abundant than on Dresat, which makes it less atractive for large companies, but have attracted many small independent mining businesses. There is no primary city or planetary government, and instead only numerous small mining towns. The planet has one small spaceport with full facilities where large cargo ships come to load and unload their cargo, but moat other planets have only concrete landing pads with fuel depots and basic repair shops.
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    Default Re: Hyperspace Opera: Retro-Futuristic Swashbuckling and Gunslinging

    How does character advancement work? Is it level-based, skill-based, or through aquisition of equipment?

    I have an idea for a physics+ character, and how advancement works may affect how the trait works.

    Essentially, the idea is that the character with this trait has grown up in a physics+, gravity poor region, and uses the enriched particles in her body to control gravity.

    At low levels of power this allows her to walk normally or 'fly' if in a micro-gravity environment, (even if pseudo-gravitic effects such as centripetal force are present.)

    At higher levels of development this allows the creation of gravitic fields of varying strength which can be used to manipulate objects, so the creation of a 'floor gravity' would be possible in micro-gravity conditions, the area and intensity governed by the power of the character. This ability could also be used to reduce the effects of natural and artificial gravity.

    Another use would be to warp trajectories of moving objects or to move or stop them.

    Such a character would gradually grow weaker as the physics+ particles in her body decayed to normal matter, and would have to spend time recharging in a physics+ environment after spending time in normal space.

    How the game functions of the trait are defined would depend on how character improvement works.

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    Default Re: Hyperspace Opera: Retro-Futuristic Swashbuckling and Gunslinging

    I still don't know if characters will have special powers and how they would work.
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    Default Re: Hyperspace Opera: Retro-Futuristic Swashbuckling and Gunslinging

    Use, modify, or ignore my proposals as you like. Knowing how character advancement works would make it easier to describe such traits in a way that works with your intended game mechanics.

    Example: if advancement is through equipment aquisition, the same power might be connected to a series of gadgets, perhaps worn on the body, which are incrementally more expensive as they become more effective.

    Thus:
    Gravity boots (common and cheap)
    Reactionless thrust belt (uncommon but cheap)
    Gravity control armband (uncommon and expensive)
    Gravitic manipulation headband (rare and pricy, requires implanted wetware.)

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    Default Re: Hyperspace Opera: Retro-Futuristic Swashbuckling and Gunslinging

    Some thoughts on why there aren't computers everywhere.

    EMP weapons are a widespread thing. Military EMPs (using physics plus+) are able to travel faster than light and through Faraday cages. In battle, one must expected to be hit repeatedly (sometimes by friendly fire).

    Common street gangs are able to get hand held devices good enough to prevent a surveillance state from immediately catching them.

    The best protection is not to use things with tiny circuits; the smaller the circuits, the more vulnerable. This means anything really important runs on a 1970's era computer. Anything life or death has a set of mechanical controls. (BTW, in real life space probes don't have huge computing power an nuclear plants have duplicate analog sensors and mechanical controls.)

    Civilian computers are more fragile, but EMPs are still something of a design concern and most civilian systems are able to at least recover from them. Natural EMPs are also a thing in space and hyperspace.

    Spoiler: Pedantic note on android design
    Show
    Real life PCs store almost all their programming on a hard disk, which gets loaded into RAM. With only the very first, tiny piece of programming coming from a ROM.

    One of the reasons to do this is because almost of all of PC's programming is subject to rapid change. In sci-fi land, hardware and programming have been stable for a while. So about half the RAM is replaced with ROM that permanently holds the essential programming (by way of analogy to PCs, the OS and those five application programs you always have open). The ROM, being un-writable, also has the advantage of being unaffected by EMP.

    Droids generally have two hard drives: a big and vulnerable one and a small and hardened one. The small one holds just about as much as a human's long term memory, including the android's "personality".

    So if (for example), R2D2 got hit by an EMP, he'd be stunned, then reboot, and be temporarily disoriented.
    His small hard drive would remember rebel=good, empire=bad, owner=Leia, objective=deliver telegram to Obi-wan.
    His ROM would hold his basic under standing of how to be an R2 and how to technology everything.
    His big hard drive would be emptied, including the Death star plans and word for word transcripts of every conversation it ever heard.
    Excuses and explanations are different.

    Sometimes when there can be no excuses we must look the hardest for explanations.

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    Default Re: Hyperspace Opera: Retro-Futuristic Swashbuckling and Gunslinging

    I have adapted the position of "technology won't save us". That's something I have taken from thinking about the Cyberpunk genre and why it came to exist. For much of the 19th and 20th century, there was this big belief in "progress". As technology gets more advanced, society will improve. Like there is an innevitable chain of development from primitive and and bad towards perfected and good, and humanity can only go forward or backward. But during the 70s and particularly going into the 80s, there was a growing sense that new technology does not make us more free or save, but instead benefits mostly those who are already in power.
    I'm not quite as pessimistic, but technolgy only provides new tools to make life better. Society still has to use the tools to make things better, and it can also be used to make things worse. Waiting for some wonderful gadget to arrive and solve social issues won't solve anything. Technological limitations were never the source of inequality and bad living conditions. Technological progress provides equal tools for improvement and worsening conditions. Social issues require social solutions.

    A few years ago I happened to work in a village where my grandparents had lived and I spend a very large part of my childhood. And that reminded me of how the future was portrayed in the 80s and 90s. I am just old enough to have felt the wonder of calenders going from 19xx to 20xx. In the 90s, all kind of crap was named something something 2000, and in all sci-fi stories years always began with a 2. But even in the year 2019, a village on the outskirts of a medium city in central Europe still was the same as in the 80s. The only real difference was the cars in the driveways. There are places in Hamburg, Berlin, and Heidelberg that look qute futuristic when the lights come on in the evening, but that's the exception. Even in the years after Blade Runner and Back to the Future 2, most places seemed to have changed little in 50 years.

    All of this plays into why I decided to embrance anachronisms and want to make it a central part of the overall aesthetic. The themes of industrialists, political machines, and revolutionary labor movements are inspired by the 1920s, but even though the violence and suffering are much lowet now than back then, the fundamental injustices are still the same in the 2020s. It plays out more civilized, but the players on all sides are still the same, fighting over the same issues. I think a retro-futuristic style inspired by the early 20th century works great for that. Some things are extrmely advanced, like hyperdrives, artificial gravity, and railguns, but at the same time everything looks also really backwards. Even though amazing new technologies have been introduced to the setting, everything is still like it was ages ago. The new tools have amazing new abilities, but mostly people still use them like the tools they had 200 years ago. Technology has progressed, but people have not.

    - Hyperdrives are required by the genre, it wouldn't work without interplanetary travel.
    - Artificial gravity is a convention, which in hindsight seems naive, and really isn't necessary when you don't have to deal with an effects budget.
    - Hover vehicles are an obvious next step when artificial gravity exist. But when you make them exactly like cars only withoht wheels, I think that can be wonderfully anachronistic in just the way I want. (No walkers, though.)
    - Railguns are my choice of weapon because it's botn the most plausible technology, and because their mechnism looks almost identical to gunpowder canon. Futuristic look without meaningful difference as storytelling is concerned.
    - No faster than light communication is also part of this whole idea. Though you could easily send messages from Asia to Europe by telephon or at least telegraph in the early 1900s, having to wait for weeks for news from the colonies, or having to send a fleet on a long journey to get any idea of what's going on over there are cool story elements.
    - Internet is something I want to downplay. With the lack of faster than light communications, this means every system hss only a local network, and in the kind of frontier setting where I want all the adventures to take place, planets only have the population of cities. So while internet technology exists, it's not really available to the characters.
    - While talking humanoid robots are an old staple of early sci-fi, current technological developments and near-future predictions make them feel more forward looking than backwards looking in my opinion. Super efficien robo buddies seem to be even more common now in sci-fi than in the 20th century, so I want to leave them out. That gies even more for AI supercomputers.
    - I am somewhat conflicted on cyber-implants. It's not really a thing in pre-Cyberpunk sci-fi, and while Star Wars has prothetic limbs, they are normally completely indistinguishable from the real thing. Having crude looking cybernetic limbs that look more primitive than the early prototypes we have now could work with the overall aesthetic, though. Still undecided, but they would remain largely cosmetic and not cool pieces of special equipment that provides new abilities.

    I've also been thinking recently about making the setting more about a small number of primary planets instead of hopoing between lots of planets of the week.Players would still have a ship to move between planets on their own quickly, but there would be a stronger focus on specific cities and various wilderness locations, and space being more of an interlude thing. Much more KotOR than The Expanse.
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    Default Re: Hyperspace Opera: Retro-Futuristic Swashbuckling and Gunslinging

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    - Artificial gravity is a convention, which in hindsight seems naive, and really isn't necessary when you don't have to deal with an effects budget.
    Well, the thing is, stuff in zero-g works very differently than in a gravitational environment, and it makes a difference. For example, in gravity, when you kill and enemy they fall to the floor. In zero-g, that doesn't happen. Instead the body is propelled along whatever vector dominated it's final motions, which is likely to mean that it's twisting and thrashing about in the middle of your combat. Likewise, blood doesn't fall to the floor either, and instead any combat zone is going to get progressively polluted with little bubbles of blood and viscera floating around everywhere. There's all sorts of little things like this, and they add up rapidly. Additionally, changing from a gravitational environment to a zero-g environment, makes certain things - notably aiming a firearm - operate under different parameters.

    So basically, having artificial gravity as a convention means not having to write a whole separate list of mechanical adjustments for when things start to happen in zero-g. This is analogous to how many sword and sorcery type settings never go underwater because of all those little rules that apply to distort everything the moment you do so.

    Now, you can elide this issue by using rotational gravity, even at fairly low levels - since even if things fall slowly or character can jump really high it still preserves an up and a down - for larger spaces. Aboard ship is harder though, since you really can't make the important parts of a ship spin constantly.
    Resvier: a P6 homebrew setting

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    Default Re: Hyperspace Opera: Retro-Futuristic Swashbuckling and Gunslinging

    You can have the whole ship spinning.
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    Default Re: Hyperspace Opera: Retro-Futuristic Swashbuckling and Gunslinging

    As an aside for post-scarcity* wars and conflict, you might look to some of the Ian M. Banks books. Where-if they have wars, they are typically clashes of ideology, of morality, of systems of sentient ethics that at mutually incompatible.

    *This usually just means something else is the new bar for scarcity. Humans don't fight many wars over farmland or hunting grounds any more....

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    Default Re: Hyperspace Opera: Retro-Futuristic Swashbuckling and Gunslinging

    Since the premise of this setting is based on resource extraction, I think going into some detail about the magic minerals that are being mined actually could contribute something to adventures and not only be irrelevant background fluff. So far, I decided on three primary materials that are critical for the galactic economy and can only by found on remote planets where typical elements can interact with the special particle clouds to give them new properties.

    Substance H: This mineral is the key to the mechanism of hyperspace drives. Under extreme and very precise conditions, it causes a full overlap between normal space and hyperspace that pushes everything inside its field of effect into the other dimension. If the field is not strong enough and the area too small, parts of a ship will get ripped off and left behind on the other side. The Substance H in the hyperdrive can make up half of a ship's total cost. Substance H can be found in very small quantities on planets close to the edge of particle clouds, allowing for the first invention of hyperdrives on one such planets thousands of years ago. The cost of these earliest drives must have been astronomical, but when the exploration ships discovered Substance H to be much more abundant in other system, it started the rise of interstellar industry and made the mass production of hyperdrives possible. Of the currently existing cultures in known space, all of them gained access to hyperdrives from visiting explorers, as none of their home systems have any substential amounts ot Substance H.

    Substance G: This mineral behaves similar to electrically conductive materials that create a magnetic field when a current passes through them, except that instead of a magnetic field, it creates a gravitational field in which one side attracts any mass and the other side repells it. This allows for floors on space ships and gravitational levitation. Inside a ship, each floor pulls down on anything above it, and pulls up on anything below it. Since the range of the effect is quite short, having only pulling force at the feet but not any pushing force on the head feels very strange and easily causes fainting.
    In levitating vehicles, plates pushing downwards are build into the bottom of the hull to make it float, and another set of plates pushing upwards with a lesser force is build into the floor of the interior with some space between them, to keep passengers from getting pressed to the floor.
    Substance G is also widely used in armor for both soldiers and ships, though the plates are constructed with completely different structures. When a high velocity object gets close to Substance G, the material pushes back against it, and turns it's kinetic energy into an electric current and heat. This significantly slows down projecticles right before impact, greatly reducing the impact force. Sufficiently strong plates can make smaller projecticles bounce off and shatter into dust without ever touching it, but this really only helps with protecting space ships against handguns and some micrometeorites.

    Substance S: This metal is a slightly altered isotope of silver that has a massively increased electrical conductivity that is superconducting up to 300K. This allows for very powerful electromagnets that don't require much cooling to keep themselves from melting from the extreme electrical curents.
    While Substance H made it possible to reach other systems to mine more of it and make more ships with hyperdrives, Substance S is what the people in the home systems (where 90% of all people live) really crave for. These electromagnets massively increase the efficiency of fusion reactors, making electricity incredibly cheap and providing enormous boosts to any economy. As most people are concerned, hyperdrives and the Substance H industry are really just a means to provide the home systems with Substance S.
    It also plays a critical role in the construction of railguns. More efficient electromagnets allow for guns that are both much more powerful and much smaller, making it possible to use the technology in handguns.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

    Spriggan's Den Heroic Fantasy Roleplaying

  28. - Top - End - #88
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Hyperspace Opera: Retro-Futuristic Swashbuckling and Gunslinging

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    This allows for floors on space ships and gravitational levitation. Inside a ship, each floor pulls down on anything above it, and pulls up on anything below it.
    I would imagine in this situation they would alternate the orientation of the levels. So level 2's floor is also level 1's floor; level 2's ceiling is also level 3's ceiling. With stairwells being a series of half-mobius strips, with a path perpendicular to the regular floors joining the the strips at their mid-points.
    Excuses and explanations are different.

    Sometimes when there can be no excuses we must look the hardest for explanations.

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