HinterBlog

September 25, 2011

Design Note: When a mechanic works properly

Filed under: Games — Tags: , , , — bilbo @ 9:24 pm

So, it has been a while but I had a bit of inspiration the other day. I thought back on the many vehicular combats in Nebuleon and how happy I am that they work out well most all the time. This comes from having envisioned how I wanted a mechanic to work and then putting to paper just how to do it. More than that though, it is the realization of a idea in a corporeal form.

Example: A team was sent to a polar region of the planet Dons-Kal-rien, a Dremin world. The arctic region was a corporate preserve and proving ground for W.A.R. Ind. These jokers were supposed to use their formidable stealth skills to infiltrate and do some espionage. What they found surprised them. It turned out to be an illegal clone farm for elite Dremin looking for spare organs and such. Well, lots fo adventure later, they end up in a hanger for experimental vehicles with a ton of security. Basic running fire-fight (remember, stealth). They come across a crate of AP shoulder mounter ground to air missiles. One of the security guys is a pilot and powers up a vtol with an experimental (and illegal) particle cannon that basically melts flesh. They get the drop on the pilot as he has to roll piloting to take off (weapon wont fire on the ground) and a weapons tech check (usually you have a gunner to handle that) at a minus. Joker ex-marine has a Heavy weapons skill. Whips out the Missile launcher and fires.

Here is the part that filled me with joy. The weapon hit. We determined the location randomly, and it turned out to be the weapons pod holding the beam weapon. Bam! Taken out. But this monster has high velocity rapid fire gauss rifles on it as well and the pilot switches over to auto-fire and blazes away taking down one of the Jokers. The medic is on her in a flash and begins life support. Ex-Marine joker fires a second missile and this one hits the engine taking the vtol down.

What is missed in that description is the effortless back and forth of the system. It PLAYED like that. The system did not get int he way, it faded but emphasized, it guided but did not dictate the actions.

In short, the system was informative to the outcome of the actions of the players. That, to me, is cool.

March 18, 2010

Nebuleon SE: Planet Gen – The summing up

Filed under: Games — Tags: , , , — bilbo @ 9:28 am

So, putting together the comments from previous threads let’s try to sum up.

1. Price index seems to be good as is.

2. Basic Civilization – Add History, reworked some charts.
1 None
2 Hierarchy
3 Republic
4 Despotism
5 Theocracy
6 Parliamentary
7 Totalitarian
8 Plutocracy
9 Kleptocracy
0 Corporatism
11 Timocracy (Property owners rule)
12 Tribalism

Economy
1 Basic Trade
2 Market (Capitalism)
3 Planned (Command Economies)
4 Mixed (Part Capitalism, but regulated)

Unification
1-2 World Governemnt
3-8 Many (tens of different governing bodies)
9-10 Great Many (hundreds or thousands) of governments

Aggression
1. Peaceful
2. Peaceful
3. Peaceful
4. Moderate
5. Moderate
6. Moderate
7. Moderate
8. Warlike
9. Warlike
10. Warlike

Stance
1. Cultured
2. Expansionist
3. Expansionist
4. Extroverted
5. Extroverted
6. Introverted
7. Introverted
8. Isolationist
9. Isolationist
10. Xenophobic

Attitude
1. Introspective
2. Pacifist
3. Shallow
4. Changeable
5. Proud
6. Traditional
7. Rigid
8. Impressionable
9. Shallow
10. Neophilic

History
1. Civil War
2. Plague
3. Famine
4. Technologic Breakthrough (i.e. recent advance in TL)
5. Victim of Invasion
6. Invasion Repulsed
7. Independence from a planetary invader
8. Mounted an invasion
9. Economic Collapse
10. World War
11. Religious War
12….
Note: This has been edited
3. Environment – Not much changed here but I am not pleased with it. Not sure why. Maybe not enough options or some such. I will think on it more.
Type
1 Artificial habitat
2 Asteroid
3 Moon
4 Rocky planet
5 Gas planet

Gravity
1 Artificial G
2 Light G
3 Moderate G
4 Heavy G
5 Super Heavy G

Water
1 Dry
2 Arid
3 Watered
4 Wet
5 Aqueous

Life
1 Lifeless
2 Scarce
3 Abundant
4 Thriving
5 Riotous

Note: Old table
1 Artificial habitat
2 Asteroid
3 Moon
4 Mercury sized
5 Mars Sized
6 Earth Sized
7 Neptune Sized
8 Jupiter Sized

Atmosphere
1 Hazardous, protective gear needed
2 Hazardous, breathing mask needed only
3 Thin Atmosphere, breathable
4 Standard Atmosphere, breathable
5 Thick Atmosphere, breathable
6 Exotic Atmosphere

Note: the following has been edited
4. Tech Level – This the only way I can address tech level in a manner I can stand. So, here is my idea, I am MORE than happy to modify it.

We have several areas that can have independent ratings. The base though, is the following:
Physical Science (Physics, Chemistry, Geology)
Biological Science (Biology, Medicine, Psychiatry)
Social Science (Archaeology, Racial Studies, Social Engineering, Language, Law)
Applied Science (Engineering, Communications, space craft)

The tech level is chosen then modifers for the above areas applied. The mods are:
— Very Low
– Low
+ High
++ Very High
This effectively adds to the TL of the area the mod applies to. So, for instance, you have a TL5 + Applied, – Social, means that the civilization has a general TL of 5, an Applied Science TL of 6 and a Social Science TL of 4. All mods should sum to 0.

Start with a base Tech Level.
0 None
1 primitive
2 basic applied results
3 basic knowledge
4 basic applied knowledge
5 Moderate
6 moderate applied knowledge
7 Moderate theoretical
8 Advanced
9 Advanced theoretical
10 Advanced theoretical and applied

I could see an 11 and 12 where you have Hyper Advanced and Hyper Advanced Theoretical and Applied. The above range is open with an effective bottom of 0. Now, the tags of Theoretical means they understand but cannot do, Applied means they are able to apply the theoretical and no tags means they are limited to observed results (I put this plant on Bob and he died, o.k. that is bad).

Alt TL:
Instead of a range like the above, we say 0 is the Nebuleon norm level. From this, Neb civilizations actively involved with space travel can range from -5 to +5. Below -5 and they just do not possess the understanding to be more than cargo. More the 5 and they are most likely not directly in contact with the rest of the Nebuleos.

The range would be broken up with primitive orbital craft at -5 and advanced FTL at 5. Wormhole travel would be beyond 5. Non-space travel would be below -5.

The same problem for me pops up. What do the gradations mean? What values do we assign. Grrr.

So, thoughts?

March 4, 2010

Neb SE : Planetary Generation II

Filed under: Games — Tags: , , , — bilbo @ 7:57 pm

So, I like the sheet and I like the idea of just whipping ideas in the form of Aspects out there. However, a lot of times it is not the description that is the issue but the inspiration. Well, folks (clash I am looking at you) have convinced me that tables can help here (or random rolls). First, the primary points that i think need to be included in the Planetary Gen system. In no particular order.

1. Price index – This is how much something will cost compared to normalized charts. In a perfect world we would have about 500 products to establish a basic strength or buying power of our currency but lets keep it a bit less painful. I can see two ways to approach this. A generic multiplier, for example, .7 or 1.3 times the cost of an item if the world is an ample or wealthy one as opposed to a scarce economy. This might be a good initial, quick and dirty, solution but I feel the second is a better way. Second, we could list broad categories like Weapons, Electronics, Food, General Supplies and transportation. Maybe 1 or 2 more but keep it under 10. This could be used to flesh out the planet once things get rolling or even as they are happening. In general, a d10 could be rolled with a d6 (or even another d10. The first generates a 1-10 range and the second wither it is + or -. Thus we get a range from -10 to +10 which then reflects the PI from 0 to 2. Now, this could be interpreted that a result of 0 is a hyper common and thus undeveloped item. No one uses horses and they run wild but that makes them even more difficult to find. On the other end, we could have a 2 indicate hyper-scarcity and indicat a second d10 roll that is added as integer increments to the 2 and thus generate a PI of 3 to 12.

2. Basic Civilization – I am torn on this. I believe it is vital but the truth be told, it might need to be derived. Well, if we are going to have a table how about:
1 None
2 Hierarchy
3 Republic
4 Despotism
5 Theocracy
6 Parliamentary
7 Totalitarian
8 Plutocracy
9 Kleptocracy
0 Corporatism
11 Timocracy (Property owners rule)
12 Tribalism

Economy
1 Basic Trade
2 Market (Capitalism)
3 Planned (Command Economies)
4 Mixed (Part Capitalism, but regulated)

Unification
1-2 World Governemnt
3-8 Many (tens of different governing bodies)
9-10 Great Many (hundreds or thousands) of governments

Culture
1 Peaceful, cultured, introspective, pacifist
2 Peaceful, expansionist, shallow
3 Moderate, extroverted, little cultural memory
4 Moderate, introverted, culturally proud
5 Moderate, isolationist, culturally rigid and traditional
6 Moderate, extroverted, culturally impressionable
7 Warlike, expansionist, culturally shallow
8 Warlike, xenophobic, culturally traditional

3. Environment. Something needs to be said about this but I really do not care to get into the planetary science of it. To me, it should be a setting descriptor. Need an earth-like planet? Then do it. However, if folks are looking for inspiration…
1 Artificial habitat
2 Asteroid
3 Moon
4 Mercury sized
5 Mars Sized
6 Earth Sized
7 Neptune Sized
8 Jupiter Sized

Atmosphere
1 Hazardous, protective gear needed
2 Hazardous, breathing mask needed only
3 Thin Atmosphere, breathable
4 Standard Atmosphere, breathable
5 Thick Atmosphere, breathable
6 Exotic Atmosphere

Honestly, I could run a game on such a thing. However, do we have suggestions? The numbers could probably be changed to weight it towards certain things. Also, what am I missing?

Thanks!

February 28, 2010

To Percentile or not

Filed under: Games — Tags: , , — bilbo @ 9:26 pm

One of the big things worrying me about Iridium Version 2 is that it is all standardized on percentile. So, unlike V1 where you had percentile for skills and d20 for combat/stats you now have percentile for everything. I am torn. I made the split originally as a sort of easy short hand. I saw no need for combat to have the % breakdown, steps in the 5% range were fine. However, I have had enough customers mention that they want a “standardized” system that uses one sort of dice, either d20s or %. For me, it had always been no biggie since conversion was easy enough. Now, some of the more refined pints might run into trouble with conversion back and forth. I really like how the system has been stream lined and is a very nice system with the conversion to % though out.

Still, I have to wonder, am I throwing the baby out with the bath water. Any thoughts?

Here is the V2 rules as they currently stand.

February 11, 2010

Aspects revisited

Filed under: Games — Tags: , — bilbo @ 1:55 pm

So, with some more input and some play test, the idea of Aspects growing out of critical successes seems to be a keeper. This is a method to build magic in items dynamically. However, an idea was put forth that instead of all chance, make it point driven. So, we played with the idea that you get 1 Aspect point for your item with a crit success. The Aspect Points many be spent but the total is tracked. Aspect points may be spent for modifying rolls or to save the character’s life or to buy Permanent Aspects. As discussed before with Aspects, Permanent Aspects would be those like Vorpal or Teleport the user or some other special ability. However, if the Aspect points are spent then a power is lost.

Now, I can see pluses and minuses to this. On the plus side, more control and a dynamic growth and shrink making weapons almost extensions of characters. On the downside, you are now driven by a list of Aspects an the whole problem of min maxers comes in. I am not too worried about that but weapon bloat could be an issue where weapons become too powerful.

Thoughts?

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