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 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?


December 12, 2009

Compulsion of Technology in Sci-Fi

Filed under: Games — Tags: , , — bilbo @ 10:49 am

I have often heard how Nebuleon (and other settings) should somehow embrace a technological trope because they can. That is, the have the tech for transhumanism and do not use it. See, here is how it works. In Neb, you have the ability to make a copy of your neural net, map your neurons and general brain chemistry in order to download it later into a clone “blank”. This makes a great deal of sense to me as it is a path to immortality and thus people would pursue it with great vigor. The critics would then say that it is only logical that you would be downloading these copies into machines and all sorts of variant clones and thus you have transhumanism.

I disagree.

In the setting, there is a sense of self. This is not a transfer of your mind but a copy, an image that is translated. Many philosphers int he setting question that a clone is truly alive. People who are cloned are those who:
1) have no choice due to severe injury, death, or disease.
2) have the resources due to a contract with a megacorp, a military entity or personal wealth

In some cultures, the Gren particularly, it has a stigma and it is unlikely a clone will get a mate. The Gren are very conservative though and dislike cybernetcs as well as most body modifications.

Now, this is not to say it cannot happen and I think that is what folks get bent out of shape on. A Group could most definitely decide a group of humans (viewed as a deviant race anyway) would engage in these acts. In fact, I could see a whole adventure set around a group of borg-like body modders or an AI adventure where the transhuman humans are aiding the Resistance. However, it is just not within the general norms to say “I am going to chuck my body”. I think folks, if they were honest and thought about it as “What would I do?” would see it as very much the kind of thing they would reject. It is nice to think about transferring into Brad pits body but the downsides are often glossed over.

And that is why some tech is used but not embraced. Clash touched on the this in his Persistence of Old Technology blog from the much more practical and easier to understand tech side;i.e. if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. My point would be, there are times when a tech does not fit a need in the culture it serves and is set aside. Does not mean it is not used but it does mean it may end up being used in strange and interesting ways, albeit less than generally.

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