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Jason Mosher wrote:
I disagree to a point. As we've seen in today's world, there is a great deal of misinformation on the internet. And that having the information to do something doesn't actually mean you can use it effectively. If I ready a WikiHow on doing brain surgery, that doesn't mean I can suddenly do it. Or that the WikiHow was even correct.
I think knowledge skills still have a place in sci fi games, both as a way to do specialized things and as a way to spot misinformation.
Depends on the ship I imagine. Star Wars and Traveller low balled how good computers would be in the future. Eclipse Phase gives some good ideas on how to do Stealth. Thing to remember is that not every ship will have those capabilities. Especially low end military and most civilian ships.
There's also hacking. It's doubtful that ships will have super advanced sapient virtual intelligence, so you can hack the ship's computer to leave you undetected from such measures.
As for knowledge checks, the way I've seen it done and I do them is to have basic knowledge freely available, but specific stuff that requires a degree take a bit longer to find, and with a higher chance of finding misinformation. Just because it's on the internet doesn't mean it's true :)
Also it's better to focus on using information in an age where information can be found fairly easily.
Honestly, I always found that mindset silly, especially in a game where everything including the loot is imaginary. That's why I play the game to have fun, face challenges, and chill with friends. Because gp isn't real.
Reading Cepheus Engine, which is a retroclone of T1, there were rules for increasing skills. You could also get some stat boosts, but the importance of progression was based more on getting more money and doing the adventure, rather than getting experience for better stats. Which for me, I've honestly preferred adventuring and gaming for fun and the excitement rather than getting loot and XP.
Stellagama has a PWYW pdf that has a great deal of the stars around the sun. It's come in handy in my sci fi games, so I think you guys might enjoy it. It's more of the standard Traveller hexagon star map, but that is a bit simpler on the table than going full on 3d Cartesian map.
The link is here
There is also the level of automation that a ship can have. Earlier science fiction like Star Wars and Trek don't have a significant level of automation since that didn't fit the thoughts of science at the time. Especially Star Wars has a level of analogue tech (which I personally dig) that requires a person to run it. So ships like that would require a larger crew.
I like having the option to pay for automation for certain functions. Gunnery, Life Support, Engineering... things that you don't need a lot of people for. Maybe it costs less than hiring out a person, but you get a more limited use out of it. Or conversely, it costs more than hiring a person but there isn't a monthly salary/wage to pay the computer.
Not really. Space opera is generally defined by it's melodramatic tendencies, space warfare, romance (the classical term), and interstellar travel/communication. Science fantasy is simply science fiction with fantasy tropes in it. Supernatural, archaic governments, swords... It's really not hard to combine the two or eschew one for the other. Hell, Star Wars is a good example of a space opera/science fantasy mash up. So given that the main difference is in tone and not really rules, I think it should be easy to convert science fantasy to space opera.
Now, trying to turn Starfinder into a hard science fiction is probably a lot more hard and probably not worth the effort. Especially with games like Traveller/Cepheus Engine and Eclipse Phase that already does it.
This is very true. A constant issues I've had with games like Traveller/CE, Stars Without Number, M-Space, etc, is that there is a fairly limited amount of premade ships for use. Usually you have to find those with third party companies, but it'd be nice if there was a sort of bestiary for space ships. Call it the Shipyard or Fleet Log or something.
Of course with a souped up warp drive, you'll end up turning into salamanders.
Honestly, I'm really glad that they have avoided doing the Star Trek monocultures gimmick with a lot of the races. I get that simplifying aliens and their cultures makes it easier to describe them to players, but I always found that terribly dull, limiting, and uninteresting. So I'm glad that they didn't make the Shirren the standard 'hive mind collective insect race'.
What I've done in my current M Space game is that I have a race of insectoid-like creatures called formacids that are very much like ants. I gave them a haplodiploid reproduction cycle similar to ants and I try to set out how I imagine their culture, society, and government would generally play out.
The interesting thing about haplodiploidism is that males come from unfertilized eggs and have one X chromosome, while females come from fertilized eggs and have two X chromosomes. This has a peculiarity where the male drones don't actually have fathers or sons, but they do have grandfathers and grandsons. This makes the family unit really interesting.
I too went with two sexes but multiple genders based on their class (worker, soldier, etc), which affects classism in their society. However, I also subverted the ant social structure by trying to see how a democratic government would work for a eusocial alien race.
I don't know, other sci fi mediums give inspired names to their Swarm creatures and it seems to work out fine. Zerg, Tyranids, Rachni, Arachnoids.
I just feel like there could be more creativity in some of these names.
Good thing is that I left it open for editing if you want to add more stuff to it.
Get some green stuff and other sci fi models and kit bash them together, and you've got yourself a lizard man alien.
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.
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