A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #61
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    Default Re: What changes in Space Adventures?

    It's based on a movie whose premise is that immortal alien warlords used to worshipped by ancient humans as gods. Events in the present being tied to events 5,000 years ago was the original selling point, so when you expand the setting, exploring ancient history is a requirement to stay true to the premise. A very similar show could have been possible without that aspect, but its part of it's identity, and writers used that as something to work with. (I think, only watched a bit of the early seasons back when they first ran.)
    As many people say, having to work with preexisting restrictions often works really well to get something that is different. If you can just do whatever, everyone's whatever often comes out looking pretty similar.

    Just yesterday I was thinking how Starcraft, FreeSpace, Halo, and Mass Effect are all basically the same broad stroke story. And that's probably just the few most famous ones. There must be dozens more.
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    Default Re: What changes in Space Adventures?

    Quote Originally Posted by SimonMoon6 View Post
    Of course, for a notable exception, there is Stargate SG-1.

    Of course, this show did a lot of things that were not typical. The main characters were modern day Earth people who didn't start off with any of the cool technology that all the space-faring races had. All they had was one Stargate. Then, they explored the galaxy through the Stargate, learned about what was out there, and slowly gained new technology from their travels in a way that doesn't usually happen in most science fiction TV shows. And a big part of their exploration was learning about the history of the galaxy and the various races. They even had an equivalent of an "ancient demon lord" in the form of Anubis, as well as several ancient (and Ancient) pieces of technology to be recovered.

    And you've got to love a show that actually has a satisfying ending with all the main bad guys having been defeated.
    Note the intentional lack of definites in the but you quoted, I was talking about major trends.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Just yesterday I was thinking how Starcraft, FreeSpace, Halo, and Mass Effect are all basically the same broad stroke story. And that's probably just the few most famous ones. There must be dozens more.
    Revelation Space as well I believe. It actually made me really disappointed in the Reaper's eventual motivation, despite their utter ruthlessness the Inhibitor's goal at least made some form of sense.

    There are other popular be strokes plots at different points. But we might be starting to get into 'there are only X plots' levels where we're staying out back to such a basic level it might as well be meaningless (to say nothing on how many stories can have multiple plot types woven together).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

  3. - Top - End - #63
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    Default Re: What changes in Space Adventures?

    The problem is not that there's only a few plots (and whether that statement makes sense is a different topic altogether). What I am complaining about (and it is complaining) is that these works also use the same setting elements. If you see hand drawn concept art, it would be really hard to tell the difference between a Protos, Covenant, Vasudan, Asari, or Minbari ship. (I forgot to mention Babylon 5 in that list, but it gets a pass for coming before all those other ones.)
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    Default Re: What changes in Space Adventures?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    The problem is not that there's only a few plots (and whether that statement makes sense is a different topic altogether). What I am complaining about (and it is complaining) is that these works also use the same setting elements. If you see hand drawn concept art, it would be really hard to tell the difference between a Protos, Covenant, Vasudan, Asari, or Minbari ship. (I forgot to mention Babylon 5 in that list, but it gets a pass for coming before all those other ones.)
    ... Which is not what your post said. You mentioned story, how could I know that you meant setting?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Default Re: What changes in Space Adventures?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    The problem is not that there's only a few plots (and whether that statement makes sense is a different topic altogether). What I am complaining about (and it is complaining) is that these works also use the same setting elements. If you see hand drawn concept art, it would be really hard to tell the difference between a Protos, Covenant, Vasudan, Asari, or Minbari ship. (I forgot to mention Babylon 5 in that list, but it gets a pass for coming before all those other ones.)
    I mean, part of it is that visual archetypes form a shared language that make it easy to communicate stuff.

    Let's look at the Covenent and the Protoss

    Covenent:
    https://3dwarehouse.sketchup.com/war...c-84669dfaa550
    Protoss:
    https://liquipedia.net/commons/image...arrier_sc2.png

    They look different, but in both cases we have visuals of curved, rounded designs which don't easily break up into distinct, commonly recognizable geometric shapes.

    Compare to, say, The Starship Enterprise, which is a circle and some rectangles, or a Starcraft Battlecruiser, which is mostly a bunch of rectangles with some greebling.

    Similarly, stuff like big shiny crystals works to communicate Power that we recognize, but don't understand (Protoss use crystals everywhere).

    It's roughly the same reason every fantasy world uses Orcs and Goblins, it's easy shorthand for "These are the bad guys". Crystals and smooth, curved metal ships are "This is Powerful Alien Stuff". They're using shared archetypes to communicate effectively when they're not just straight ripping off each other.

    Bringing this back to your space game, if your PC's recovered a photograph from a lost probe showing "A vast alien city, with smooth floating structures built around giant crystals spires", your players will probably assume "Ah, this probe discovered a Powerful Alien Civilization With Advanced Technology".

    It's possible that the civilization pictured sucks at everything except building floating buildings and growing giant crystals, but smooth buildings and crystals is a handy shorthand for "Advanced Alien Race".
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  6. - Top - End - #66
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    Default Re: What changes in Space Adventures?

    Yeah, I'm not expressing myself very well. Language is hard. But also, what is "story"?

    Coming back to the space battles thing, I've started getting into the spacehip part of Stars Without Number, and I was really surprised how much there is. This clearly is not just some slapped on thing. Only 28 pages, but that's in a game where the PC rules are only 15 pages. Ships appear to be made to be highly customizable, with each frame having a power budget for addons, internal spaces for additional systems, and mounting points for weapons. And then you can also tune them with additional mods. There is of course an off-the-shelf version for each ship type with a default loadout, but this clearly seems to be intended to work similar to an elaborate stronghold construction system.
    I also like that there are rules with which mechanics can build temporary replacement parts from scrapyard junk, to make the ship at least make it as far as the next repair facility. Being stuck in some backwater system with a broken ship and only enough fuel for one or two more short jumps sounds like it could be a really cool adventure in itself.
    There's also an elaborate looking system for PCs controlling the ship in a fight, but I have not gotten to that yet.
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    Default Re: What changes in Space Adventures?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    What on earth is the science officer doing in the middle of combat? It's a very important position sure, but like the medical officer the role's duties probably begin after combat.
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    Default Re: What changes in Space Adventures?

    Considering how soft you want your sci fi you might consider reading normal aquatic adventures for material. There is little difference between islands and planet with floating in an endless sea and stranded in the void of space.

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    Default Re: What changes in Space Adventures?

    Definitely. Two of the three sea battles I know the most about are Denmark Strait and Rio de la Plata, both of which had only 4 ships of battleship and cruiser size each, which I think are great models for space battles.
    (The third one is Midway, which was 7 carriers, 2 battleships, 7 cruisers, 27 destroyers, and 600 fighters. The complete opposite of what I have in mind. )
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    Default Re: What changes in Space Adventures?

    If you go for a reactionless drives that's hard to detect submarines are also a good model. If detection is as easy as with real world rocket drives bare in mind that the only real method of stealth is to manage to get your emission between your observer and a big source of whatever you're emitting.

    I'm ignoring having to dump heat because of the pretty soft nature you're going for. Which means any space stealth arms race is going to be based around cloaking and picking out drive emissions.


    Also yes, common design aesthetics are a thing. If I'm not aiming for hard science my preference is to go for a mixture of classic rocketships and spheres (rarely saucers though), or just rip off the Lighthugger look for anything truly massive. Sometimes you'll see something that looks relatively unique (40k had the Imperium flying around in war cathedrals) but as ideas propagate and people both homage and nick we get broad archetypes. These designs can help us understand more about the characters or factions, the difference in look between Naboo's royal spaceship and the Millennium Falcon says a lot about the difference in the groups that created and use them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

  11. - Top - End - #71
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    Default Re: What changes in Space Adventures?

    I know the hard things I found in space RPG's has as much to do with how do the players interact with the game world.

    Firstly how do you make it feel like you are dealing with something of enough scale. Space is BIG! and trying to comunnicate that in game can be very tough. When a single science/sensor roll turns a whole planet into the one spot that the PC's need to go, why have the whole planet. It may as well be a different neighborhood with spherical introduction art and the guards are chatted with via radio than face to face in the mud before the town gate. The idea that there is whole rest of that planet out there can be hard when they can both kinda see all of it but have no real feel for any of it. Also with instantaneous travel, or time skip travel how to the PC feel that this new place isn't next door to the last place? But if you spend too much time in the spaceship that can become boring if not handled well and even hopping from interior of ship A, to spacestation B, to office of planetary magistrate etc it can be tough to make it feel that it isn't just a cutsceen on a sound stage. Also this kind of microsampling of places as the PCs make a grand tour tends to lead a lot of the worldbuilding weirdly monochromatic (like the one world environment that is so damn common) it can quickly turn illogical very quickly. It would be like England being only pubs Italy only vinyards, and Russia only snowy industrial zones. . . it gets weird if you are not careful.

    How do you get around the idea that the PC's are not needed. Basically space travel needs infrastructure. Someone has to collect materials, process them, design them, teach everyone how to do all the other things, make them and generally ship them via lots of steps to get basically anything to the players. There are lots of steps and people involved. And organizing all those people includes protecting them et all. So Space travel needs powerful, organized, moderately functional social systems to even exist. Now why can't those systems solve the problems the PC's are tasked with solving. Again the problem is not insurmountable but has to be dealt with.

    As a blend of the two issues above you get scale of the PC's actions. There is a big temptation to "scale up" the events the PC's interact with. Saving the planet of the week is damn tempting from point of view of many storytelling situations. But that can lead to scale imbalances (planet wide threat but the PC's can only effect things within a short range of their physical location) and also planet wide threats would logically pull in whatever systems (political, military, corporation, etc) is powerful enough to set up such a planet anyway. And thus the players are sidelined. Again this CAN be worked around but needs a degree of awareness that isn't found in many pseudo medieval games.

    Specialization. More than most game types space based games lean toward particular rolls for people. This classically starts with people like pilots (who end up taking the lead with the in space parts but sit in the background on away missions if not careful) and computer specialists (great at their one thing and a pack mule much of the rest of the time) but does expand to lots of people eventually. This makes sense in a worldbuilding sense, greater complexity of society and greater training needed for filling a role (esp dealing with tech needed) does push specialization. But it can be a trap for an unwary DM/ST/GM.

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    Default Re: What changes in Space Adventures?

    part of the change is lexicon...

    The kind of game I am thinking of is more swashbuckling and pulpy adventures. In SPACE! Things like Star Wars or Flash Gordon.

    In many ways, these kinds of settings take a lot from fantasy and westerns, even more so than from science fiction.
    If one just told me "space adventures" I wouldn't necessarily think of Star Wars or even Flash Gordon (and if someone mentioned Flash Gordon I would instead think of "Flesh Gordon" the light erotic spoof I actually have seen). I would expect a game with emphasis on space ships (in Mongoose Traveller I am more likely to know about the ship my character is in than what is on the character's sheet). Take The Fellowship of the Ring and reskin them as sci fi and not much changes. Same with urban. The reason is the emphasis is on the narrative and characters.


    So if you plan to offer to run a sci fi you might want to try and get everyone on the same page. Dungeons and Dragons (and its many clones) fosters a zero to hero mentality which helps keep people on that same page even if most of it is slightly unorthodox; something your game might lack.



    Scope and scale also changes but often doesn't... (or shouldn't)

    A group of heroes walk into the capital city of the nearby kingdom they happened to be dungeon spelunking in. They are likely to be just one in a crowd. The DM (regardless of medium) is unlikely to put too much description into the crowd but it will still seem populated.


    A ship carrying the heroes arrive in high orbit over the system capital of the kingdom they are adventuring in. Some DM's fall into the trap of "space is vast and empty" and it kinda is; so everyone congregates into small easy to get to locations because that is where the resources and trade is. So instead of finding one or two transponders in a bunch of emptyness;

    Let us say the system is Sol (our system that contains Earth). In Stellaris (a PC game) the system has numerous resource nodes apart from the main planet (and mars which is unused until terraforming). For this example we will say there are 9 nodes scattered around. This means 9 government run shuttles will be in constant existence ferrying people and goods from these remote locations. Even if they can do a round trip in less than a week (assuming monthly shipments) they can still be employed from surface to orbit of Terra and thus about half should always be "in sight" of Terra doing something. Then you have the high port and any support ships (which may double the number of craft). Now you have to consider any orbital defenses, the navy they might have. How many corporations have space ships? Which aliens civilizations have embassies? more and more ships which need vary little other than a transponder and maybe a vary vague ship class.

    In a PbP game I would roll of random transponder numbers and codes for all of them and hand the PCs a list of which ones they pick up on sensors. Around the table you might want to mention them or the PCs might not realize they are there and assume they just entered orbit of a normally empty planet. If my players walked into an empty city they will get abnormally cautious.

    This is one way that scale just shouldn't change without providing a reason.



    Depending on how hard your sci fi is will also change whether combatants can even visually see each other. Often they are shooting tiny pin picks a whole planet worth of space between them. Not too different from some "scry and fry" tactics or even lobbing big rocks over a wall by catapult.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KillianHawkeye View Post
    The biggest issue in my experience is when you have to do spaceship combat. To put it simply, it sucks.

    Inevitably, you have characters who have basically nothing to do. If you're the ship's pilot or you're shooting the guns, that's great. If you're anyone else on the ship, your options are generally limited to just making a skill check to repair something or scan something or adjust something. Or assist someone who has an actual job.

    For a movie example, let's look at the escape from the Death Star in Star Wars: A New Hope. They've just rescued Princes Leia and watched Obi-Wan get killed by Darth Vader, and the party escapes on the Millennium Falcon. Han and Luke rush to man the guns. With Han occupied, Chewbacca gets to fly the ship. R2-D2 briefly repairs something, while C-3PO and Princess Leia do literally nothing. If it were being played at a table, this combat could take an hour in real time to resolve (at least, the way my group usually plays). It's bad.
    The Rogue Trader RPG had a decent go at giving everyone something to do--using social skills to motivate the crew, for example. The problem I find with spaceship combat is that the PC's can't really lose any encounter in the sense of getting their ship destroyed, because that's pretty much a TPK.

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    Default Re: What changes in Space Adventures?

    Only in the csse that ships magically explode for some unspecified reason before they become inoperable. Which admittedly, 99% of sci-fi does. Space ships don't sink, so the preferred method to show that a ship is out of combat is to make them blow up. Somehow.
    The Expanse is the only case I know where ships frequently get shot with so many holes that they shut down. Those that exploded either were blown up to keep them falling into ebemy hands,, or were hit by huge nuclear warheads.
    Stories about damaged ships from World War 2 are quite interesting. There are many cases in which there wasn't much of them left before they eventually started to think. There's really only one famous case in which a lucky hit made a battleship just explode and disappear in seconds, but that's the one all space battles seem to use as reference.

    If a disabled ship doesn't instantly explode, then losing a space battle is no different than losing any other battle.
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    Default Re: What changes in Space Adventures?

    That can be something difficult to train out of D&D veterans as well, the idea that you only lose when you're combat ineffective and every fight is to the death. But in many cases, its easier to run away in space than it is in a dungeon, so retreating from a fight you are going to lose means keeping your ship intact. The trick is convincing players that this is viable.
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel, on quest rewards View Post
    "Is a stack of ten pancakes too many pancakes to give to the party, even if most of them fell on the floor and one or two were stepped on? I wanted to give my party pancakes as a reward but I'm unsure if it's too much. The pancakes are also laced with blowfish poison so the party would have to get an antitoxin before they could eat the ones which weren't pulverized by shoes."

    I don't think anyone would want those pancakes even if you paid them to eat them.

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    Default Re: What changes in Space Adventures?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    That can be something difficult to train out of D&D veterans as well, the idea that you only lose when you're combat ineffective and every fight is to the death. But in many cases, its easier to run away in space than it is in a dungeon, so retreating from a fight you are going to lose means keeping your ship intact. The trick is convincing players that this is viable.
    I remember my first game of z Unknown Armies. Almost all the group has only played D&D and or overconfidence led to a near TPK in session 2. Despite not a single gun sitting on the whole game surrendering quickly became a preferred tactic (after running away). Chases became much more common in the game as whichever side was outgunned would almost immediately cut and run.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Default Re: What changes in Space Adventures?

    In SWN, ships kind of do explode (or break apart) when reduced to 0 hull points, killing all hands on board. But except for small fighter craft (which can be destroyed instantly) there are 2d6 minutes to get to the escape pods (you had the good sense to install escape pods, didn't you?) and / or make a last ditch effort at damage control to stabilize the ship.

    The players can also decide to negate one enemy hit per round (thus avoiding hull damage) and roll for some crisis instead, giving them the power to ask for bad things other than sudden dead. Typically, a particlarly brutal fight neither ends with "ship spontaneously exploded and TPK" nor with "ship at 25% hull points, but otherwise fully operational and everybody on board alive and well".

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    Default Re: What changes in Space Adventures?

    Indeed, which I found strange. If you approach space battles without the preconception that space ships have to explode when they are defeated, then this mechanic feels quite random and without reason. Instead of "when the ship is destroyed, engineers have X minutes to prevent it from exploding", you could very well have "if the engineers try to restore some minimal power, make a skill check after X minutes". Or a whole range of other options.
    Ships exploding is only there because it's the default assumption that ships in sci-fi always do that.
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    Default Re: What changes in Space Adventures?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Indeed, which I found strange. If you approach space battles without the preconception that space ships have to explode when they are defeated, then this mechanic feels quite random and without reason. Instead of "when the ship is destroyed, engineers have X minutes to prevent it from exploding", you could very well have "if the engineers try to restore some minimal power, make a skill check after X minutes". Or a whole range of other options.
    Ships exploding is only there because it's the default assumption that ships in sci-fi always do that.
    In real life what makes the spaceship explode is the missile hitting it.
    Exploding without explosives from the opponent(like you got hit by a railgun) might happen if the destruction do mix the fuel and the comburant but who knows if spaceships will still be using fuel and comburant when we will be doing space battles?
    Last edited by noob; 2021-09-19 at 02:42 PM.

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    Default Re: What changes in Space Adventures?

    Quote Originally Posted by noob View Post
    In real life what makes the spaceship explode is the missile hitting it.
    Exploding without explosives from the opponent(like you got hit by a railgun) might happen if the destruction do mix the fuel and the comburant but who knows if spaceships will still be using fuel and comburant when we will be doing space battles?
    You could always use the Lensman model: ships blue up because anything that's powerful enough to take their screens down will just vaporise the ship into incredibly energetic plasma.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Default Re: What changes in Space Adventures?

    This is why repair and maintenance is a good thing. People stop fighting when their ship has too many holes in it, either to surrender, run away or allow the other guy to go away.

    The problem is the “must fight to the bitter end” mentality of gamers. Some systems that I have seen that discourage this
    - allowing ships to drop into non powered flight which makes targeting impossible. The cost is that re-powering the ship takes a long time.
    - a social/legal taboo against killing. Winning the fight but killing the other guys leads to serious military pursuit to put you on trial for murder.
    - cost/scarcity of ships means every hole in a ship costs you significant money either to repair or in reduced salvage.

    As a GM you have to be careful because if you start running religious fanatics/aliens/etc. who never surrender the players will feel they should act the same way.

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    Default Re: What changes in Space Adventures?

    In the end it always comes down to what the writer wants to happen in a battle. Some want battles to play out and look in a certain way they have already envisioned and then make up justificiations for how this could make sense in the internal logic of the setting. Others are interested in what a battle would look like if you'd apply known physics and technology in such a scenario, and work out what should logically happen.
    I'm a big fan of the later, but I completely endorse just making stuff up with no explanation on other subjects, so who am I to argue about it?

    Damage control is a very fascinating subject that is way more involved than being a technobabble term in Star Trek. In real naval warfare, ships don't have a percentage counter that goes down when it's hit, but have extremely complex internal structures and machinery. And most importantly, a hole in the side keeps taking on water, and a fire keeps on burning amd spreading after the innitial explosion. Damage control is less about fixing the ship, and really all about the damage not getting any worse without the enemy even landing more hits.
    One of the most famous examples is probably the Yorktown in the Battle of Midway. Three Japanese carriers had been destroyed very quickly (in the same dive attack run, very epic) and the fourth one got also hit and burned out over a few hours. The American carrier Yorktown also got hit similarly badly, but the crew was much better trained, coordinated, and equiped to get the fires under control and keep the damage contained. They even almost managed to save the ship, but the ship that was trying to tow it back to harbor was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine the next day and took the Yorktown with it.
    I think that's the main story that inspired me to have sci-fi with ships that remain a ship after being shot to pieces. Especially since space ships can't sink, and fires run quickly out of oxygen.
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    Default Re: What changes in Space Adventures?

    Random thoughts:

    In a war game? Sure, pitting ships against each other can be fun. But in an RPG? Not so much.

    "Playing the game" = "making meaningful decisions". Most ship fights, controlling just a single ship, there aren't a lot of meaningful decisions to make. Especially not without extreme contrivance levels.

    Now, what might be funny is, run a fleet scenario, and give each player an identical ship (with identical crew) to run. That way, they're all making equally meaningful decisions. Then, after the fight, of the valid¹ ships, pick² one to be the PCs' ship.

    -----

    Characters created "at random" (ie, not with the specific goal of having a fun role to play during ship-to-ship combat) are even less likely to enjoy the "ship combat" minigame.

    -----

    You can absolutely do "dungeon crawls" in space (or PlanetSide) without it turning into "fight everyone all at once". In fact, IMO, some of the best I've seen are such. Some examples:

    A) both you and the Orcs are using "whisper" brand Laser Pistols, as none of you want to awaken the sleeping Dragon. Using comms is similarly right out.

    B) zombies, killer robots… some "unified" but uncommunicative force.

    C) monsters, often unintelligent, of diverse sorts, that aren't actually allied with one another any more than the crocodiles and the Beholder are allies (ie, your classic D&D dungeon).

    D) stealth.

    E) disable comms.

    F) wait for natural event to disable comms.

    G) use their comms against them, to know their movements.

    H) use their comms against them, to issue false orders (and maybe send them out an airlock).

    I) monsters (zombies, killer robots, your own crew mutated by the warp, whatever) now infest your own ship; you've got to "dungeon crawl" through it to reclaim it.

    -----

    Space is 3-dimensional, and mostly empty. But the interesting stuff usually happens at the parts of space that aren't empty.

    Most human minds struggle with things (like ships) that aren't oriented "correctly".

    -----

    Speaking of things human minds struggle with: movement & firing arcs in 3 dimensions.

    -----

    "Scope" becomes a bigger issue/question.

    For example, how does travel work? FTL? Cryo stasis? In system only? Or "well, you're there - it's 1,000 years later, what's your new character?"

    In Star Wars and (new) Battlestar Galactica, there's a definite "they're shooting and… poof, gone" feel.

    In Star Wars, any star/planet in the entire galaxy is only a few hours/days away. If the PCs are on the run, and decide, "we'll hide there", and pick a random point of light, what do?

    Similarly, anyone they're chasing could have gone anywhere.

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    Most ships have more of a "chain of command" than most parties.

    -----

    ¹ ship survived, all (PC) crew survived, whatever.
    ² highest "valor" rating, player vote, at random, whatever

  24. - Top - End - #84
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    Default Re: What changes in Space Adventures?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Most human minds struggle with things (like ships) that aren't oriented "correctly".

    -----

    Speaking of things human minds struggle with: movement & firing arcs in 3 dimensions.
    Does this impact play?
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    Default Re: What changes in Space Adventures?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Does this impact play?
    In the combat minigame hell yes. If one side (GM) or the other (players) grok 3d and the other doesn’t space combat becomes space murder.

    Having said that most space combat games treat space as a flat plane, but if you do use a 3d combat system it is a huge issue.

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    Default Re: What changes in Space Adventures?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pauly View Post
    In the combat minigame hell yes. If one side (GM) or the other (players) grok 3d and the other doesn’t space combat becomes space murder.

    Having said that most space combat games treat space as a flat plane, but if you do use a 3d combat system it is a huge issue.
    The reason most space combat systems aren't 3D is, I believe, mostly because it's an increased in bookkeeping and maths. The same reason most use Speed scores instead of Acceleration scores (although it's nowhere near an accepted standards).

    But yeah, just like how if one side understands tactics and the other doesn't in normal combat, the side with the best grasp of 3D vectors will do the best in 3D space combat. Also whichever side has the best understanding of orbits will have an advantage in neat-space battles.
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    Default Re: What changes in Space Adventures?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pauly View Post
    In the combat minigame hell yes. If one side (GM) or the other (players) grok 3d and the other doesn’t space combat becomes space murder.

    Having said that most space combat games treat space as a flat plane, but if you do use a 3d combat system it is a huge issue.
    ImE it doesn't make much difference. You need at least 4 participants before the action is beyond a properly aligned 2D plane. And even then the number of tactics properly using the 3rd dimension is pretty limited because space is pretty empty and everyone aware of each others position. Usually it is not worth it moddeling 3D.

    Acceleration instead of speed however does make a big difference and is worth implementing.

    What i would avoid completely however, are relativistic effects on ship battles. That causes only problems and inconsistencies.

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    Default Re: What changes in Space Adventures?

    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    ImE it doesn't make much difference. You need at least 4 participants before the action is beyond a properly aligned 2D plane. And even then the number of tactics properly using the 3rd dimension is pretty limited because space is pretty empty and everyone aware of each others position. Usually it is not worth it moddeling 3D.

    Acceleration instead of speed however does make a big difference and is worth implementing.

    What i would avoid completely however, are relativistic effects on ship battles. That causes only problems and inconsistencies.
    Relativistic effects on ship battles do not matters in game rules: ships are not going to be moving at even a tenth of the speed of light relatively to each other(else they would zoom away from each other in an instant or collide in an instant and so there would be no ship battle) and they are not going to be in a gravity field strong enough for relativity to matter because then they would be probably completely unable to escape the gravity field and then would die crushed.
    It would not cause relativistic problems and inconsistencies to implement the rules for that: the effect would be invariably negligible in any situation where the ships can fight.

    Also an assumption about ship battles is that they generally occur in places where the environment is interesting(else it is a "who shoots first" situation that is desperately similar to what real life space battles would look like) with plenty of stuff and the stuff have positions thus making them fit on a plane might be harder.
    The reason for that assumption is because manoeuvring does not matters if there is no cover(Space weapons are often stuff like lasers, railguns and missiles and none of those do miss if aimed by an ai while the targeted ship can only accelerate/slow down/turn at 10g(else the people in the ship dies) and thus not change their trajectory a lot) and generally in space battle simulation in rpgs there is the assumption a piloting check can reduce the amount of incoming fire taken thus indicating that there is stuff you can use as cover between two of your shots (because just changing movement pattern would not help when you can barely change direction because you can only accelerate at 10g). Or you can have really realistic space battles where the crew(pilot included) evacuates immediately because ultimately a computer does the ship fighting better especially if there is no pathetic vulnerable flesh men in the ship capping the acceleration then the players switches over to saying how the ai was programmed and which kind of decisions it would take instead of controlling the crew.(or they focus on escaping at a crawling speed with their escape shuttles that can not accelerate beyond 10g and take decisions like "we spread so that they will have an harder time killing us all" or "we stay grouped because we know reinforcement is coming and is going to kill our opponents soon")
    Last edited by noob; 2021-09-20 at 08:27 AM.

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    Default Re: What changes in Space Adventures?

    The two big issues with space combat are:
    1. Who participates?
    2. How much effort do you want to use to model it?

    Skipping #1... You can use a full on 3d boardgame that implements heat, facing, acceleration, etc., like Attack Vector: Tactical (not as complicated as it sounds as serious serious design effort went into playability & ease of use). But you're basically switching game systems at that point, even if you keep the same "characters". You can do a "simplified" board game of any complexity that just ignores 3d & acceleration/velocity. But again its switching systems and can be even more complicated than a real board game, yet infinitely more boring, depending on the system bells & whistles & bad math from designers.

    You can go full 'theater of the mind', which can be pretty good if there are only a couple ships involved and relative positioning is fairly simple. Partial totm methods can be found in classic Traveller. One a simplistic 2-fleets method with a front line & reserve, the other a simple (but decently 2d accurate) acceleration & vector by ruler & paper method that can deal with multi-turn missile tracks.
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    Default Re: What changes in Space Adventures?

    For the most part, in popular fiction space combat, the only same-size combatants that can delete each other in one pass without truly ridiculous luck are usually fighter-types, and that's not always the case; main characters/popular side characters can limp off for repairs/exciting solo adventures, but unnamed NPCs probably just get vaped. Otherwise, you need to have significant size and firepower differences between the two combatants, such as DS2 vaporizing MonCal cruisers in single shots with the superlaser in RotJ.

    Same-size or close-size ships tend to need to be battered down until they stop fighting, barring exceptionally lucky hits where the magazine or reactor goes up; reference the Profundity from Rogue One, which was severely damaged, but could still launch the Tantive IV. On the other hand, the luckless Nebulon-V got cut in half on the engine spar. Even at Wolf 359 against a single Borg cube, the Federation fleet was mostly wrecked ships that retained sufficient hull integrity long enough to let off escape pods prior to warp core breaches, rather similarly to (say) what happened with HMS Glowworm at the hands of the Admiral Hipper.

    Interestingly, I can't think of any light-freighter/PC party-size ships getting vaporized on screen. To be absolutely fair, the ones we tend to see have the media's main characters on board, and so can't be allowed to be blown up unless the author is horribly tired of it all.

    I feel like using main battery weapons on the PC-style ships is probably a) overkill and b) inefficient, since the main batteries might not be terribly good at aiming an hitting those small wiggly things, and instead you have your ship's secondary batteries for those (rather like how all-big-gun ships rapidly got secondary armaments added back to deal with torpedo boats and their destroyers); these have the play advantage of not vaporizing the party's ship in one go, and instead hitting it enough for it to be crippled and taken on board/boarded...allowing the PCs time to figure something out to not get hit any more than they have to. Think of ESB where the Millennium Falcon is being chased by an ISD; clearly they're not trying to vaporize the ship, since it has valuable intelligence on board in the form of Leia (and the rendezvous coordinates with Han/Chewie); sure, they might get super lucky, but the Falcon can take enough of the shots that they can probably get it incapacitated without killing everyone on board.

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