Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Science Fantasy Space Opera Game

One of the things I am working on lately (because apparently I don't want to have any spare time to rest) is a science fantasy space opera game based on S&W:Whitebox. I like the streamlined mechanics and simplified character system. I've been thinking that there should be three character classes available to players for human characters: Adventurer, Psychic Warrior, and Scientist. Adventurers will be the general sort of adventuring character. Psychic Warriors take a cue from Star Wars, Lensman, and Blue Öyster Cult. Scientists will be of the sort who want to learn about the universe and build new inventions (and there is absolutely no truth to the idea that any of them are "mad", that's just absurd; "mad" they call me - but it is not I who am mad, it is they, with their blind adherence to "convention" and "morality"!). I plan to adapt the invention rules from the original Space 1889 for them, changing the specifics to fit the setting.

After that, I want to allow robot characters, but they won't get experience points. Instead, they will spend money to buy better equipment for their bodies and software upgrades, or even backup copies and extra bodies. The idea is that robots don't actually "think" or "learn" as such, but act in a way that is very sophisticated otherwise.

Alien races will probably have 1 to 3 character classes available for each, and I'll probably include a couple in the base rules that are just variations of Adventurer. I also might include one alien race that is more complex, as a sort of example of how it can work. I don't know if I'm going to adapt some of the ideas I had for the Flanaess Sector to this, but it would be pretty cool to have at least one or two of the aliens be from D&D. Gulguthra are pretty alien and fit the tone, and I've always liked the Neogi/Umber Hulk pair (though, of course, I'd have to use one of the Umber Hulk simulacra out there, since that is one of the monsters that WotC has reserved to themselves; I like the Underground Goliath of Adventures Dark & Deep). Not sure if those are suitable for beginning players, though.

I'm going back and forth on adopting an idea from the WotC Star Wars game and having the Psychic Warriors power their abilities with Hit Points (and then have a second pool of Body Points based strictly on Con). Right now, I am leaning away from the idea and just using a regular pool of Psychic Power Points for Psychic abilities.

I'm also going back and forth on genetically modified beings. I think that, if I do include them, they'll just be another sort of alien species, game mechanically speaking. I kinda want to have a space nation that is all about bio-tech, full of gene-lines that act as a social stratification, and such. Not sure, though, how I would make it so that players wouldn't just choose a genetically "improved" gene-line as a matter of course. Maybe I should take a hint from Dragonquest on that.

I'll include a form of alignment, based on the idea of Light Side/Dark Side Force (actually, I plan to draw on the ideas of community power as opposed to individual power), but it will only be important at all to Psychic Warriors. I like that idea of a sort of "paladins", "fallen paladins", "anti-paladins", "redeemed paladins", and so on.

I want the setting to be centered around a Terran Federation of some sort, but one that is teetering on the brink of collapse, like Rome in the early 5th century or so. I have some ideas for surrounding stellar states that can act as the barbarians getting ready to overrun the Federation. I also think that it might be worthwhile to provide hints that could lead to the Star Wars storyline of an evil manipulator setting up conditions for the Federation to become an autocratic state, but that a Referee could ignore if she wanted.

I do want the Federation to be an increasingly militarized one, with police forces that set up checkpoints where they check people's papers at random, engage in warrantless searches in force, and so on, because that stuff can lead to fun adventure, I think.

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