March 30, 2010

Stars in Neb SE

Filed under: Games — Tags: , , — bilbo @ 10:09 pm

So, out of the planet generate arises the question of stars that the planets would be orbiting. On one side, we have the “Be as scientifically accurate as possible”. On the other we have my preferred method of operation “Whatever is cool and fits”. Either way, I suppose there should be some sort of chart. So…

O Blue stars
B Blue-white stars
A White stars
F Yellow-white stars
G Yellow stars (like the Sun)
K Yellow-orange stars
M Red stars

Single Primary
Variable (this is assumed Intrinsic i.e. the star swells and shrinks over time varying output).

Size is often related to color so I am not sure having a second chart works here. Perhaps a notation on the color chart?

Anything else?

Thanks guys. I will hopefully be writing up all the ideas here shortly.

March 25, 2010

I really dig this music station

Filed under: General — Tags: — bilbo @ 2:41 pm

Yeah, I try to avoid posting non-hinterwelt things here but this is really pertinent. Music is important to my game experience and I really dig this station.

Warning: the music will play when you go to the site.


March 22, 2010

Aspects as applied to Ships in Neb SE

Filed under: Games — Tags: , , , — bilbo @ 9:31 pm

I have been giving some thought to Aspects as they could be applied to ships in Nebuleon SE. A few things I think would be useful:
1. Ships should still be divided up into 10 areas that are the systems of the ship. So, you might have
1 – Main Computer
2 – Propulsion
3 – Life Support
and so on…

2a. Aspects are specific characteristics of the ship. So, you might have “Over protective” for the AI in the computer.


2b. Aspects are the abstract characteristics of the ship. So, one example could be “Battered but never falls apart”.


2c. Aspects are game mechanics applied to the ship. For example, “Built for Atmospheric Speed” receives a +20 to any piloting in the atmosphere.

I can see advantages to any of those. What to you think?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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
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.
1 Artificial habitat
2 Asteroid
3 Moon
4 Rocky planet
5 Gas planet

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

1 Dry
2 Arid
3 Watered
4 Wet
5 Aqueous

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

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 15, 2010

20 Minutes of Fun in 4 hours of Play

Filed under: Games — Tags: , — bilbo @ 11:18 pm

At the Who’s Yer Con in Indianapolis, I played in a demo by Mike Noorman from the MU Skulls. In the group was a guy who made this statement crystallize and understandable to me. I had seen the elements for years before this but not put it together until that night. This guy was a “Serious” gamer. I have encountered this type before but never connected it to Dancey’s “20 minute” remark. He probably only had about 20 minutes of fun. Now, ask him and it would be a litany of reasons including but not limited to the system, the group not taking the game seriously, the guy who was drinking beer or having the designer sitting in. What it really happened was a mix of game styles, on a fundamental and incompatible level.

You see, he was there to play a game, a certain kind of game, and no other would matter. This could have been defined by system or setting or attitude of the group (are the laughing and cracking jokes about the A-Team or immersing themselves in their character roles) but in the end, it was like he was sitting at the table alone. That is not fun for anyone.

So how do we fix it? I mean, I have seen this problem many a time. I have seen the guy who just takes it all a bit too seriously or more to the point, more seriously than those around him. This can work if it is not too big a delta…or it can make for a guy who is terse, “a dick” or even gets up and leaves early. Unfortunately, the only thing I can thing of is to ask the guy to leave. This is not very practical in a demo game and can be hard to determine in time to make any difference. Unfortunately, by the very definition, it is almost impossible to set up the level of “serious” play that will satisfy the “serious” gamer and not alienate the rest of the group. There may be no solution to this one except for the “serious” gamer to find a group that engages in the same style of play but in the interim, a fair number of games may be destroyed by a bored player.

Who’s Yer Con

Filed under: Games — Tags: , , — bilbo @ 11:05 pm

I went to Indianapolis and it was a pretty good time. Mostly, I went to see Mike Noorman from the MU Skulls who has done a great job Demoing Shades of Earth. He ran an adventure called Thor’s Hammer. We were a group of Department 12 operative recruited by from the British military and some Americans. We were parachuted into Germany where we were set to meet Annette and Anna, spies already in place. They were to help us find Thor’s hammer and keep it from the Germans who hoped to harness it for a weapon in the upcoming war. Hijincks ensue and I end up stabbing an SS soldier int eh face and draining him of all his spirit points while the rest of the team take care of finding the magic belt, gauntlet and book that will allow us to open a gate in the ancient Oak that is the source of all this trouble. It is hoped that the Hammer is hidden inside the Oak but it turn out to be a gate to another world where there is a blue oak with blue pseudo-humans guarding it. We also find some German soldier who went in before us and we enter the fry with me throwing grenades with abandon and the others reading the book to get the hammer. In the end, the thing nearly kills the engineer but we drive off the bad guys and leave the strange land.

All in all, a good demo and a fun time. The criticisms I have, upon reflection, are ones Mike has mentioned himself. This was a combination of two adventures. I think it suffered a bit from the compression and his knowledge of the uncompressed version. I think it would have worked best to go through the tree and ended up in the past (part of the adventure had us finding German weapons from 1200 years ago and the tree obviously acted as a portal), tracking a band of rogue Germans (or even a group of German soldier who joined with the local tribe) to recover the hammer. The problem being you would need to compress the leading a bit in order to get it all in a 4 hour slot.

Overall though, it stressed something I have always believed. There are people who run games like I do. That is to say, in an almost system-less manner. He could have run that game with any system and made it work. The fundamentals were there. Mike is a great GM and I am very lucky to have him demoing my games. I cannot tell him how much I appreciate that (although I sure tried).

Here is a picture.
Mike and MU Skulls

March 8, 2010

Nebuleon SE : Classes

Filed under: Games — Tags: , , , — bilbo @ 12:56 pm

Now, even more so than in V1, Iridium V2 has essentially classes with little meaning beyond character generation. So, classes become life path short hand for skill packages. Essentially, you are picking what you have done for X years. One idea I have is to allow a package to be picked for each 10 years of age beyond 10. For instance, I might be 30 years old and I have been a spy and a soldier garnering me 2 groups of skills.

The problem I have with this and with any life gen system is that I have seen more than once, a group of impossibly old traders bumming it through the galaxy. I am not sure I will incorporate this but it is an interesting idea. You could also stack the packages taking spy twice and getting a better initial package.

Now, all of that said, this is the “classes” from V1:
Fighter Types
Bounty Hunter Pilot Police Soldier Specialist
Performer Types
Actor Artist Craftsman Reporter Tech
Intellectual Types
Medic Engineer Psi
Thief Types
Criminal Investigator Politician Raider Smuggler Spy

The two classes I have received the most flak from are the Reporter and the Politician. These are not popular. I was thinking of cutting them. Thoughts?

Also, I am considering adding Marine, Scientist, historian (although I expect the same “They are worthless”) comments.

So what do you think? What should I cut, should we go with the more life pathy setup?

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

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

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

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

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?


March 3, 2010

GM’s Day Sale 25% off!

Filed under: Press — bilbo @ 4:56 pm

Stop by and treat the GM with 25% off all HinterWelt PDF and Print+PDF products at the HinterStore, Your Games Now and OBS. Hurry though, as the sales end March 7th!

Size and concise writing

Filed under: General — Tags: , — bilbo @ 4:52 pm

For what it is worth, as I write more I find myself to try and say more with fewer words. This is not to the detriment of understanding or clarity, in fact, it is in aid of clarity. I have found my squirrel books at 60 page of big margin digest format say a whole lot more than some of my larger books. I have had more than one newbie to role playing thank me for a clear rules set. To me, at this point, that is what I am talking about. It is what I prefer.

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