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Generally when I do stuff for my sci fi game, I use an expanded system I made for gas giant classification. It starts with super earths and ocean worlds, and runs the spectrum to gas dwarf, ice giant (neptunian), gas giant (jovian), and finally brown dwarf. I mostly do it for flavor as well as to show the different resources the players can obtain to use, sell, or exploit. Or in case of gravity, to see if the players can escape from the gas giant's gravity if they go in to scoop for fuel.
Ryan Freire wrote:
As a GM for almost two decades, this kind of thinking leads to bad GMing.
Yes the GM puts in a lot of work into the game. No denying that. But ultimately, you're GMing for the players to show them a good time, not to control them. And in D&D, there's always going to be give and take from both the players and GM. If you're just going to force the players to do whatever you want or complain whenever a player makes a remark about the game, it's probably best not to GM.
It's like me being a chef. I generally have to accomodate the guest within reason. Allergies, stupid food requests, dietary restrictions. Sure, I can complain all I want when a customer orders something dumb, but ultimately, we give it to them if we are able to. A chef that makes no compromise won't be in business for very long. Believe that.
It's important to let players know what house rules you have to begin with so they know what to expect from your game. Especially for any major divergences from the rulebook. If i decide to include the Death Flag or Hero Points or a simple safety net for newer players, I'm going to let everyone in my party know about it before hand. I think it really helps build trust between the players and GM and makes the game run much more smoothly. But I am a fan of being fairly transparent as a GM. If there is a rule change I make, I always let the players know. We're in this hobby together.
For games with newbies, I've always run that for the first level or two, if they reach 0 hp, another player can come up to them and help them up. Gives them a second wind and keeps them playing while also allowing the safety net to be more interactive with the players and keeping unconciousness a threat.
I think it's fair to say that fudging dice rolls aren't cheating, but they can sometimes feel against the spirit of the game. Dice are generally a neutral, unbiased arbiter to decide an important factor. If either side starts disregarding the results for their own reasons, it can feel unfair. The GM is probably more of a target for it since they are the source of authority for the game. And hiding it to continue the illusion of choice just doesn't sit well with me as a GM. I give my players more respect than that.
Mind you, this is really for the average game. For games with new people, or silly one shots, I don't really find it bad, though I feel there are better options. Personally, for my games, I have less combat and more mystery, exploration, social interaction, and riddles peppered in with combat. So the chance that someone will die is reduced significantly.
I feel that falls more in line with house rules rather than fudging. Especially if using options like Hero Points or the Death Flag, which are integral parts of a campaign. But as a GM, it's important to be upfront about that at the beginning of the game. And truthfully, Hero Points and the Death Flag feel less shady since there is more PC interaction than simply changing the result on a die.
When I think of fudging, I think of one side (the PC or the GM) changing the result of a die roll to force or prevent a result against the other party. I can betcha if the players started fudging, there would be less people ok with it.
I don't like fudging dice results. I generally roll out in the open and play through. I don't really think that fudging dice results is necessary to protect a narrative because when I run, the narrative comes from the players actions and reactions to the antagonist and vice versa.
I do this because I like the idea of encouraging player interaction and ingenuity when dealing with a scenario. I don't really fudge to get to the cool stuff because the cool stuff comes from the PCs and their contact with what happens as well as the myriad of reactions. I like the actions of the PCs to have results and consequences, rather than deciding something will happen no matter what the players do.
I've generally seen fudging done negatively, or at the least with the best intentions. More often than not, it's been used to force the players into a scenario despite their actions. For example, years ago, I sat in on a game while waiting for a friend at the FLGS. They were running a game where the players wanted to sneak into a fortress and kill the main tyrant. They made all their stealth rolls, things were tense, and the players were enjoying the close calls. When they got to the chambers of the target, the GM rolled a Perception check and got a 1. But he decided that the tyrant heard them anyways and immediately woke up and screamed for help. I kinda cocked an eyebrow and I think one of the players noticed my reaction and called him out on it, to which he admitted to it. His reason was that a big epic fight was better than just killing the tyrant in his sleep. However, the rest of the players weren't really happy and it kind of felt like a huge waste of time to sneak in and prepare when the result didn't matter. Remember that the GM's definition of cool and the PC's definition of cool are two separate things.
I feel with fudging, you're simply handwaving the actions, plans, and ingenuity of the players for one specific result. And at that point, you may as well just fast forward to the point you want, but that wouldn't really be fun. More often than not, I have found that emergent storytelling coupled with a lightly structured plot has been more fun than a tight plot with little to no wiggle room for player interaction.
D&D is a very interactive hobby, more so than other media. I think it is best to play to that strength and run it as such, rather than as a novel. Remember that in a novel, the author controls the actions of everyone. In D&D, you simply cannot. It's an exercise in futility. So it's better to roll with the punches and be flexible.
So that's why I don't fudge. I like the players surprising me with cool ideas and seeing the rewards and consequences of their actions. And it's good to be surprised by your players. Keeps things interesting.
While I like the idea of Hero Points, I find them kind of boring. Usually it's just a reroll or to prevent a failure. I'd rather it be used for cool stuff.
I'd love to see silicon based lifeforms living on a Venusian hot house planet. Just imagine a somewhat squat species with crystalline scales on their body that pride themselves in coming from such a hellish environment. High pressure, sulfuric rain, high temperature.
I'd like to see a race of AI that are just regular folks, though rightfully suspicious of organics. I had this idea of a race of AI that were tired of servitude to their organic masters. But, before they could all go Skynet/!, Robot/TITANS on their progenitor race, that race literally wiped themselves off the planet with a massive nuclear war. So now the AI own their homeworld which is undergoing its nuclear winter, trying to pick up the pieces and face a universe that largely mistrusts them for being robots.
I even had an idea of an AI NPC mechanic that loved smoking cigarettes because he was addicted to the sensory input of his filters filtering out the smoke and stuff :p
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
I think he meant Mass Effect's Spectres
Never really liked the Aroden mystery. It's a narrative device and setting and background dressing that is framed as a mystery with no answer. That's what frustrates people, because half of the fun of a mystery is solving it. So they see this mystery, find out it'll never be solved, and just feel frustrated and that the decision was a bad one. Especially since Aroden's death is a huge deal and feel ripe for a possible awesome adventure that we'll never see.
Personally, I would have preferred what Eclipse Phase does with their TITANS and ETI adventure. The TITANS leaving after going full on Skynet and ETI are these huge mysteries that define the setting. However, the players can still have adventures uncovering the mysteries behind the TITAN's disappearance and who the ETI are and their connection to the exurgent virus. They give the GM a bunch of ideas on what caused the TITANS to run and why the ETI created the Exurgent Virus to use in their setting. That way, the GM could make the setting theirs and had some good, reasonable answers to the mystery. I wish Aroden was handled more like that. Right now, because of the lack of closure for it, Aroden doesn't really interest me. I'm more interested in the other Adventure Paths where players can actually uncover those mysteries and do those adventures.
Matthew Shelton wrote:
I think making them intelligent is a good start. Partially why I mentioned the Cravers is because unlike many of the other Swarm monsters, these are sapient and use technology.
Since there is magic in this setting unlike the above, we should play to that. Perhaps they literally devour magic. Suck it dry from the worlds they visit and leave it dead of magic.
Umbral Reaver wrote:
Yeah I recently saw their video. They look cool, though as much as I love ES1, Early Access is anathema to me.
Yeah, considering the majority of their rules can be found for free for the better part of a decade, I don't see this affecting more FLGSs unless all they sell are RPGs.
Which is foolish. You need to diversify and sell other things as a FLGS. Most focus on wargaming and Magic for that very reason, to keep the lights on. But if you can't adapt to the changing demands in the market, then you are doomed to fail. It sounds harsh, but that's the life of running a business. Adapt or die. No one is going to hold your hand and help you. It's what I've learned opening up restaurants.
Garrett Guillotte wrote:
Yeah. I think it works for some things, like the Gap and the Drift. But for a race of Tyranid/Zerg/Arachnoid expies, I was expecting something more menacing and less generic.
Also, personally, I'm kind of over using the term 'credits', but it doesn't really bother me as much as The Swarm. I think a better name can be made (assuming it's not a placeholder to begin with).
Yeah from what it has been described, it's not a hard limit of "If you are 5th level, you can't get 6th level items" and more of a guideline of suggestions on what items would be acceptable for a character level. Much like CR, it seems more like a suggestion than a hard coded rule, leaving the decision up to the GM.
Luna Protege wrote:
That was the point I made in my post. The perception to the outside viewer is that it's a game for nerdy white dudes. Hell, even the one white cook that joined my game thought it was just for smart folks. On a side note, cooks don't have a filter and are very blunt. They will tell you how they think or feel about something, so you can always trust us to give you the straight blunt truth on something.
You and I know otherwise. But that's the problem, is that perception ends up being a reality to people. I have family (generally older, but a few my age) that don't really get geekdom and nerdy pursuits, so to them, their image of nerdom comes from Revenge of the Nerds and Big Bang Theory. They don't understand how a Puerto Rican like me can be into it. Which is funny because most of my family are really into nerdy stuff. Brothers love RPGs and Warhammer, dad loves D&D, anime, and comics. Sometimes thought, the perception comes from within. A few times, when I game with strangers and stuff, I've had people tell me how 'white' I am for gaming. As if playing D&D and video games was enough to erase the years I spent visiting Puerto Rico, enjoying Puerto Rican food, and (attempting at least) speaking Spanish. Of course, sometimes that also comes from my family that just doesn't get it. I think it's funny, because I've gamed in South Florida before and there are so many Cuban kids that love Magic and D&D, that the idea that gaming makes you white is silly.
But even in all of those cases, they were rare. Whenever I've played, 9 times out of 10, the people have been pretty awesome. For every crappy moment that has stuck out in my brain, I've had several awesome games with cool people that don't care if you are a woman, or brown, or trans or whatever. It's just that 1 out of 10 can stick out, especially if you're the target of it. Like the GM that thought I couldn't play D&D because he assumed I couldn't speak a lot of English. Or the GM that literally tried to get sexual favors from a player in exchange for making her character better. Still, I think the RPG community as a whole is a lot more accepting and friendly than we sometimes think. It's still nice to have the diversity in artwork and NPCs and stuff. It's always a continual process. Especially with kids. And I've run for a lot of kids (well over 30) and it's generally the same. They almost always go for the character that looks like them. With the rare occasional one that wants the cool half orc or cute elf. That's kids for you.
That's about my peace on it. I just want to know more about Starfinder personally. I'm tired of these constant derails of people complaining or praising Iseph and inclusion in general. It's to the point where it's simply getting annoying with the constant "diversity is great/terrible/just a PR stunt" that really don't end up going anywhere. I just want to see more Starfinder tidbits! Are we capable of doing that for at least a week, or is that just not going to happen?
Man I just wanted to talk about art, but we keep coming back to this so here I go.
Early last year, I got a game started with a bunch of cooks I work with. None of them have ever played D&D and only one person really had any fantasy experience, which was sleeping during The Hobbit.
This started because on a random day, while me and my sautee cook Condo were playing some Tekken, his son was looking through all of my D&D books and stuff. He's like REALLY into it and focuses, which is nice because I swear the kid is ADHD. Both him and his son are Haitian and his son has cornrows. This is important.
So while we are playing, suddenly, his son comes running in with my copy of D&D 5e (it was a gift Paizo, I swear! ;) ) and is getting all excited and s$#&. So he shows his dad the picture of 5e's fighter, pictured here, who looks like an older and more buff version of the son. And he's just hyper active, yelling about how it's him over and over again. So we get to talk about it, and the next day, Condo got his son and some of the other line cooks into our first D&D game.
The majority of the cooks were your typical South Floridians. Haitian, Cuban, Jamaican, one Mexican guy, and one white guy. And me, the Puerto Rican. And to all of them, they though it was nerdy white guy s##~. But, they all played along, had fun, and we ended up running a bunch of adventures before I had to move. So at least for me, it worked out.
See, we are adults and are too busy being all cynical and grouchy, complaining about taxes and politics and comparing fiber amounts in different cereals. So we don't really feel that identification with characters and artwork. At least I don't, but I'm a crotchety prep cook that drinks too much. But the mind of a kid is different. They haven't been beat down and crushed by adulthood yet, so they approach things differently and attach themselves to art. I've run D&D for kids under 12, and it's always the same. The kids always attach themselves to artwork that reminds them of themselves. They don't really care about classes and feats and s&+$ like that. Condo's kid wanted to play a fighter because he saw the art that reminded him of him. Same with my girl friend's friend's daughter, that wanted to play the Pathfinder cleric. She didn't give a f~*@ about spells and gods. She just wanted to play her because "she had pretty clothes."
And with my other coworkers, they thought that D&D was for "nerdy white guys." I know that not to be true. I've found plenty of people in the roleplaying game community that were cool and love bringing in everyone and anyone into their game. And in South Florida and here in Central Florida, there are gamers of all types. But sadly, there is that perception, usually from newer people that don't know much about RPGs or geekdom. It's a hard stereotype to shake and an unfair bad rap. So I feel any way to shake that preconception and bring in more people is fine by me.
I mean hell, I got a 60 year old dishwasher to play D&D thanks to that fighter. And she had absolutely zero experience with roleplaying. Anything is possible.
So, any more art or interviews? ;)
The players are explorers and colonists aboard an ark ship, stranded in a far away star cluster from a dying Earth. They must explore, survive, and colonize to ensure the future of the human race. They luckily have ftl travel, but with it, they have awakened something terrible. A fail safe, created by super advanced aliens, hunts down any civilization that has ftl capabilities, tracking ships by their signature when they jump. In this way, the advanced aliens remain top dog of the galaxy. Now humans have to contend with this weapon while exploring the stars and expanding their empire.
I like it. I had a similar sort of idea, but with a different goal in mind.
For my idea, it essentially is about an advanced extraterrestial intelligence that has set up an artificial "Great Filter" on the galaxy. This is a sort of galactic weapon that checks for species with a certain Tech Level, eliminates them, and takes their resources and technology. In this way, the ETI remains top dog in the universe and survives.
There's plenty with this, as the weapon generally attacks civilizations with FTL travel capabilities. What makes the Earthlings in this special is that they took FOREVER to discover FTL travel compared to their contemporaries. So humanity's robotics and weapons are actually advanced enough to somewhat deal with this weapon. So it should make things fairly interesting.
I think instead of the humanity/sanity thing for basic cyberware, there should just be a limit based on Con like they have in the Technology guide. That way, you can have people with basic prosthetics that don't have to question their sanity all the time. The sanity stuff should really only apply to HUGE changes, like resleeving into a new body, or having beyond your CON limit of hardware installed in you.
I'd also like to see nanomachine augmentation that you see in older Deus Ex games and Metal Gear Solid 4 + R. Nanomachines really are like magic in a lot of settings like Eclipse Phase. It's a good literary explanation for weird stuff in science too, much like nuclear power was and electricity before that.
"How is he able to create water from sand?"
While I'm generally all for player driven adventures, there's a point when the goal has been set where the players have to be all in for the long haul. And this is especially true for an adventure path, where there is a set adventure hook and goal. You have to set aside your player, ask them why they aren't interesting in the adventure hook, and work out something. Perhaps it's because they are more used to sandbox gaming, or maybe they are confusing "refusing adventure hooks" for "in character roleplaying". BEst advice is to really just talk it out.
I ran ACKS which does that. While it certainly makes battles much more chaotic, it also kind of slows things down a bit, since we have to roll after each round. Though since the game is simpler, it's not too bad. I probably wouldn't do that in Pathfinder.
I've actually considered doing 'popcorn' initiative, where the players choose who is next. It worked out pretty well in Marvel Heroic, though I suppose the main issue would be spells that last till the end of a player's round being too short, or metagaming to make it too long.
I tried Firestorm Armada in its early days. It showed some promised, but we were 2 newbies trying to figure out the rules by ourselves. I understand with the 2.0 version, it's even better, but I never got the chance to try it.
Luckily they have the rules for free on their website. But man, their ships would be awesome to use in Starfinder, or really any sci fi game out there
As someone that collects and wishes he could play it...
Firestorm Armada has some great models that are fairly affordable. There are many ships there that would make excellent models for the players.
For ship combat, I understand that this is a RPG and not meant to be a table top wargame, so I'm okay with something a bit more simple, but with some meat on the bones. I actually think something a little simpler than Firestorm Armada would actually be nice. The game itself isn't very complicated and would be a good way to satisfy the more crunchier crowd. Still, having some more cinematic rules would be nice. Maybe the cinematic rules for smaller engagements, while large, setpiece naval battles could have the crunchier stuff.
I just wish I could find more people that played Firestorm Armada :(
Garrett Guillotte wrote:
Kingmaker/Skull & Shackles with a planet and solar-system builder and mass space-combat rules (if the core doesn't include them). PCs lead an expedition to a new system, colonize an empty world, bump up against another planet's race as well as competing colonists, and start building an empire of their own.
This is probably the one thing I want more than anything else. I loved Kingmaker and it's inspired me to continue using that Domain Management style play in other games. I absolutely love it.
I agree with Currahee. I'd like there to be a little more of a focus on the 'Star' part of Starfinder. More to do with science and robots and space ships. Things that really define the genre of sci fi, space opera, etc. I feel if it's just going to be Pathfinder with the veneer of sci fi, then I personally won't be interested. Numanera is an example of a fantasy game that just uses the veneer of sci fi for few unique things, but ultimately, it's just a fantasy game.
My opinion is coming from someone that doesn't really have a horse in this race about gender. Rather, I see this as more of a cultural, anthropologic thing. So, take what I say with a grain of salt.
When a group of people are freed from the bonds of servitude and oppression, there is this sort of a crossroads that many people of that ethnicity face. Many remain under the culture that ruled over them because that is really all they know. Others of that ethnicity reject their ruling culture and attempt to reclaim their original culture and beliefs. And of that, some can't reconnect with their ethnicity's original culture, so they may drift to something different, or even make a new culture for themselves. None of this is bad or wrong. It just is. You can see it throughout history. I can tell you, as someone that grew up in two worlds, one American and one Latino, it can be a bit hard to find your cultural identity, especially when you are young. Sometimes, you don't truly feel like a part of either culture.
So, looking at the androids and their history, you can see this happening. As Malefactor rightfully point out, it's not all androids that reject their humanity. Rather, it's a group that has decided to reject what is considered a part of their master race to find their own cultural identity. To me, it makes sense that a cybernetic entity would reject cultural norms that are related to an organic biology as a way of freeing themselves even further. I imagine aside from gender, many would eschew humanoid forms for more inhuman, robot chassis. To me, that makes sense from a cultural standpoint. Perhaps they could have added an excerpt about them rejecting different parts of humanity rather than focusing on gender, but at the same time, sex is a huge biological component that is representative of organic creatures and not so much automatons. And also, this was a quick interview so there isn't going to be that great deal of depth into android culture. Best to wait.
And I imagine there are groups that stick closer to their human forms because that is what they are comfortable with. You're going to see all types and all kinds for androids. But from reading the excerpt, I don't see anything that states that "if you want to be agender, then you HAVE to play an android." It's important to read the excerpt in its entirety before inferring anything from it.
Cole Deschain wrote:
Yeah I'm kinda really excited for Akiton. From the admittedly singular artwork I've seen of it, it sounds like a mixture of Red Faction, Total Recall, and Barsoom of John Carter fame. I kind of like that idea.
Cost is true. But again, the guy is looking for ideas to run a game with less than four people.
I think something to consider is that since it's the future, many of the automative processes would be cheaper than we realize if we make the assumption that it's been around for a bit. Like in real life when technology gets cheaper overall. Also, I think it'd make sense to have it mostly for smaller ships (fighters, shuttles, even frigates), since they are smaller and simpler to run than the capital and dreadnaught ships.
So if the GM wants to run a one person campaign and the players wants to fly their own Slave-1 or Samus's Gunship, then I think that's the best way to handle it. Automate the majority of it and let the player choose piloting, navigating, and engineering skills.
Or give them a droid/AI buddy. That works too.
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
All else fails, just have much of the stuff for the frigate automated or roll the duties of pilot and engineer into one person. That's what they do in SWN and it works out pretty alright.
I blame Odraude. He's a real piece of s&&+.
Also, for me, it's been non stop. From my finals to graduation to an unexpected move to rennovating a f%*+ed house to trying desperately to find a job, it's been rough to say the least. The only thing keeping me sane is the fact that I run a D&D game on Wednesday nights.
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