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?



  1. 1 is great – love it!
    2 part 1 would be better titled Governments than left blank. Part 3 I would add “Several (2-12 Governing bodies) 3-5” and change Many to 6-8. It should also be first, before Governments, so you know hom many governments there are.
    Culture I would make into a matrix – by column: *Roll 1d10*, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10; *Aggression*, Peaceful, Peaceful, Peaceful, Moderate, Moderate, Moderate, Moderate, Warlike, Warlike, Warlike; *Stance*, Cultured, Expansionist, Expansionist, Extroverted, Extroverted, Introverted, Introverted, Isolationist, Isolationist, Xenophobic; *Attitude*, Introspective, Pacifist, Shallow, Changeable, Proud, Traditional, Rigid, Impressionable, Shallow, Neophilic. You would roll once for each column – Aggression, Stance, and Attitude – giving you a mixture of possibilities – like Warlike, Introverted, and Proud or Peaceful, Expansionist, and Changeable.
    In 3, you are mixing size and function. Our own moon is Mercury sized. Maybe another matrix, including #4 Atmosphere? I would go for Size, Atmosphere, Warmth, and Water. These matrices generate a lot of combinations for little complexity. they also leave a lot of room for GM and party interpretation.


    Comment by clash bowley — March 5, 2010 @ 8:50 am

  2. See, this is why I need your help with Nebuleon man!

    Comment by bilbo — March 5, 2010 @ 9:20 am

  3. You got it. You know I love Neb!


    Comment by clash bowley — March 5, 2010 @ 9:24 am

  4. The Culture angle is great, you have to be careful that folks dont jsut accuse you of taking the Traveller ratings and importing them directly here though (but heck, parrallel develpment and all that,and it all equates to the same stuff needing covered for the most part)

    I think having a ‘History’ section would be a good fit for the NEB
    seeing as how culture and a cultures history (to my eys at least) drive the NEB setting

    some sort of IMPORTANT historical event chart
    kind of thing maybe

    Comment by alan hume — March 6, 2010 @ 4:53 am

  5. again culture could affect the cost of certain items (and some may be outright prohibited)

    ie, on a planet where the mass of the ‘regular’ population dont eat K’tar meat on religious grounds then
    K’tar meat would assuradely be scarce and thus have its price driven up just by natural economic factors (supply and demand) – this is of course me assuming that the ‘actual’ demand will still be higher than the actual supply (which is low)

    basically, anything which is illegal will be more expensive anyway (assuming you can find it in the first place)
    but anything that is ‘frowned upon’ by mainstream culture (assuming it is still legal and available) will be naturally far more expensive than it would be elsewhere

    Comment by alan hume — March 6, 2010 @ 6:08 am

  6. 2 – Basic Civilisation

    could also have – Anarchy and Matriarchy/Patriarchy perhaps

    Comment by alan hume — March 6, 2010 @ 9:28 am

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

    is 3 (Planned/command economy) the same as a Communist economy

    does this list cover the following?

    Feudal Economic system

    Barter economic system

    Communal Economic system (such as Anarchism, and no, I am not a proponent of anarchism even though I mention it twice here)

    Buddhist/Religious based economy (strives to build an economic system to benefit the greater good)

    Comment by alan hume — March 6, 2010 @ 9:36 am

  8. Ah, you don’t cover TECH LEVEL of the planet

    huge Traveller imitation but something I think you need

    as are Law Levels and the like (but again a straight copy)

    Comment by alan hume — March 6, 2010 @ 9:37 am

  9. Based on Alan’s History idea, how about Recent/Current Events? Civil War, Plague, Famine, Technologic Breakthrough (i.e. recent advance in TL), Victim of Invasion, Invasion Repulsed, Independence, etc. All these things may play directly into PC & GM plans.


    Comment by clash bowley — March 8, 2010 @ 10:13 am

  10. As for TL, that wouldn’t be considered a Traveller-ism any more. Traveller came out with the TL concept 33 years ago – it was the first game I ever bought back in 1977 – and since then virtually every SF game has some version of it. TLs should definitely be covered.


    Comment by clash bowley — March 8, 2010 @ 10:17 am

  11. Perhaps to keep with the percentile theme you could do all of these charts in percentile. This would allow you to weight the more common choices in each category appropriatly. GM’s could still just choose if they have something specific in mind, but have a truly random world if they wish, as well.

    I like the second option for the price index, but again, if you could convert everything to percentiles, it really simplifies things. Use exploding dice rolls for 0 and 100, roll again and add or subtract. (This could be changed to 10 and below or 90 and above, or whatever range seems appropriate for that particular chart.)

    Basic civilization could have Feudalism added.

    I like Clashes ideas for matrixes. All of these can be done in percentiles so you can weight the more common factors, while keeping to one dice system for all generation and use of the game.

    Comment by scott — March 8, 2010 @ 12:04 pm

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