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Lloyd Dupont

repair, science, rule ideas...

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Continuing (quite slowly) my Master of Orion settings I am porting all the technology to BRP.
MoO tech list:
http://www.moo3.at/moo2/technologies.php

So there will be 8  science fields, i.e skills: Construction, Power, Chemistry, Sociology, Computers, Biology, Physics, Force Fields
Also each discovery (ex: "Star Base" is the 2nd discovery of Construction) should be learned (much like spell and stunts, costing 1 INT point) provided they are available to your civilisation, of course, or the skill will incur a hard penalty (skill%/2).
While there are more than 100+ discovery.. a good part are planetary improvement that are only here to set the background and not essential the PC (except to get a good job perhaps?)

Now I am trying to gauge the benefit and what should I do with Repair and Science specialisations.

Repair... I guess will repair existing gear, like in the BGB. And would, of course, require access to appropriate tool and spare parts and the Discovery to be known. Perhaps, for simplicity sake, I should use the same Repair speciality as the Science? What else?

Science, I guess could be used to......
- build new items / facility when access to a manufacturing facility to craft an equipment related to known tech
- reverse engineering a piece of tech

However.. I would like the reverse engineering the be a bit challenging... perhaps a hard roll (skill%/2) in science can be used to repair unknown tech (at bigger cost and slower time than repair), and a critic (on first attempt only) allow to acquire the tech, if desired (cost 1 INT, though might be passed onto manufacturing android)

mm.... what about that?
Wondering if I should make higher level tech somewhat harder.. maybe give a level to tooling.. which limit what tech can be repaired and reverse engineered perhaps?!...

(though I wonder where sociology fits here..)
Also it's missing some cryptographics tech, some old world tech(you know sword, gun, bullet, car, fridge, etc......), some space / asteroid habitats tech and some mind extension tech.

Any suggestion Idea? Other?
 

Edited by Lloyd Dupont
fixed the URL

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9 hours ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

Any suggestion Idea? Other?
 

Here are a few ideas you can toy around with:

 

First off I suggest that repair and reverse engineering tasks, should require a certain number of successes to complete, rather than just a single roll. The more difficult, or time consuming a task would be, the more successes. You could have specials count as two successes, and criticals as three or even four successes. This will help in making things take time without it being "dead time" to the characters. It can also make it easier to break up repair task among multi[ple characters. If the engines have taken ten points of damage and require ten success to fix, then two characters can both work on them at the same time and accumulate successes. And both can suffer a setback when one fumbles, ruining all the work they have done so far. 

As far as working on unknown/alien tech goes you could just increase the number of successes required to say double or triple to reflect the fact that the character is in over their head. This would give you a sliding scale. For instance if you introduce some sort of tech level to rate tech, then it could factor into the success required and/or the difficulty. To simulate the fact that the character might not understand the scientific principles the tech is based on of, you might also require the player to make a Luck roll along with the repair/science roll to get a success. You could also have a botched Luck roll lead to bad things and a critical one lead to a better understanding of the tech.  Otherwise  their actions might have been right according to thier understanding of the technology, but they failed to fix something that worked on principles that they didn't understand. A example of that would be someone from the 1930s trying to wire a modern cell phone into the phone line to "fix it". It makes total sense if you don't know that cell phones done work with a land line, and confusing if  they later pick up a cordless phone that is connected to a land line.

Tech Level: as Mentioned previously, this might be a good way to handle technology beyond the characters understanding. You could apply a penalty of -10% or -20% to the characters skill per TL it is above them, and increase the number of success required by one, two, five, ten, whatever, per TL. You could also treat each TL and/or alien tech as a sort of knowledge skill. When a character's skill with a given TL reaches a certain point (say 40% per TL is is ahead of what they already know), their penalties are reduced or eliminated as they now have a greater understanding of that tech.  This would give you a game mechanic that allows the players to advance thier tehcical capabilties without having to increase thier normal skills to ultrahigh levels.

Edited by Atgxtg
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Hi Atgxtg!

I like your idea of multiple rolls.... have to give it some thoughts

I graded all the tech from 1 to 15 (instead of 50 to 15,000) and was hesitant to give a level tag number to the science skill... But I guess its needed for the tooling, and perhaps I also should tag the skills with it.... Then I can add a -30% malus by tech level difference.
I think I will have to switch the grades to 4 to 19 (1-3 being ancient, medieval and modern tech ratings)

I dunno about independent luck roll... but combined luck roll (i.e. min of (science - malus) and luck) for higher level tech is a good idea! :)

Otherwise Repair is for repair of known item and Science is for building known things or both reverse engineer or repair unknown tech. Repair use part and is quick, and Science use raw material, and a lot more time. Does that sounds alright?

Edited by Lloyd Dupont

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1 hour ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

Hi Atgxtg!

I like your idea of multiple rolls.... have to give it some thoughts

I graded all the tech from 1 to 15 (instead of 50 to 15,000) and was hesitant to give a level tag number to the science skill... But I guess its needed for the tooling, and perhaps I also should tag the skills with it.... Then I can add a -30% malus by tech level difference.

If your characters come from someplace with one Tech Level, such as all from a fruture Earth or some such, you don't really need to grade the skill. They can be assumed to be familiar with thier own Tech. 

 

My idea was that if they find an alien spaceship that was more advance than thier own tech, or just so alien and different from what they knew, then that Tech could be a skill. Once that skill hit a certain threshold penalties would be reduced and eventually eliminated. 

1 hour ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

I think I will have to switch the grades to 4 to 19 (1-3 being ancient, medieval and modern tech ratings)

Fine a scale that works  for you. You probably don't need more than a handful of TLs, unless you want a lot a variation for some reason. Basically you got the player character TL, and two or three TLs above that. Maybe a TL or two below that for less advanced colonies or aliens. You shouldn't need to make any more TLs that you plan on using. In fact you might not even need at actual number and can just use TL+1, TL+2 etc for more advance tech. Maybe even streamline things to -10% per TL difference. 

1 hour ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

I dunno about independent luck roll... but combined luck roll (i.e. min of (science - malus) and luck) for higher level tech is a good idea! :)

I mean't a Luck roll is required along with the Science roll. If the PC make the Science roll then what he did looked like it should have worked, but the Luck roll determines if it actually did work. You could have some fun with that too, like a character who fails his science roll, but crticals the luck roll, and so fixes something without really knowing what he did right. 

1 hour ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

Otherwise Repair is for repair of known item and Science is for building known things or both reverse engineer or repair unknown tech. Repair use part and is quick, and Science use raw material, and a lot more time. Does that sounds alright?

Depends on how much you paired down your skill list. Normally I would see science being used to invent and design new things, build a prototype and work out the bugs. I don't think it would apply to just building something that you already know how to make. I'd probably let Repair or some other skill cover that. For instance, let's say a character wanted to design anew gun. I'd see that taking a lot of engineering science and knowledge of firearms, pressure tolerances of metal and such to get a working design. But then I would expect any competent gunsmith to be able to manufacture more guns like that from the blueprints. 

But then I might be a bit biased. When I worked in electronics there was a bit of a divide between the engineers who designed things and knew a lot of theory, and the bench techs who did the troubleshooting and repair work. The techs were usually much better with a soldering iron and doing stuff hands on. Even the assemblers, who didn't know any electronics and just followed a fabrication sheet were better at hands on work than most of the Engineers. And when I worked for an Electrician he'd always have me do the soldering- especially when it was M/S connectors.

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35 minutes ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

And... what is the significance of all those white spaces?! 😮

I spilled White-Out on my screen trying to edit my post. ;)

Edited by Atgxtg

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Oops, I got the URL wrong (fixed, for reference it is: http://www.moo3.at/moo2/technologies.php )

There are about 15 levels, 8 science, 60 research topics.. each having about 1~3 applications, which I call "discovery" (required an INT point to learn). Simply following this table to scale the science level as desired... (will have to make a gear table that rely on it). So yeah, 19 levels... (and I am going to add a few more topic for math/cryptography, astrohabitat, transhumanism/augment/cybernetic/mindextension). But yeah players will more or less be stuck at their civilisation's level in each science...
Though I considered not using level and just discovery.. But tooling obviously need a level (not gonna fix a smart phone with just a a saw and a hammer).. tricky.

Also, one additional idea, is that while a topic is mastered, not all practical application are discovered along side, unless the civilisation is of a creative race (like Psilon). That's for the video game. For the RPG settings, to make things simpler and more friendly to human GM, the civ will have everything under its tech level except for a few select piece of tech specifically excluded (it create trade opportunity and achievable research goal for player, so totally worth it to exclude a number of them purposely)

While repair has a clear use I was wondering what's the point of Science? Where and when would it be used in game? So I though it could be used for manufacturing (as opposed to repairs)...

You said.. invent new things.. Hmmm... I will not let player create things beyond their civ's tech. Creative use for creative piece of equipment, sure.. but limited to the given known "Scientific principles", hence it's why I am thinking to make it akin to manufacturing skills....

Although I do think "prototype" are fine (i.e. things that are at the upper limit of the known tech) but... probably unreliable.... (few HP, very bulky, tend to break...)

Now, from what you said, and what BRP said, there should be an entirely different skill for Manufacturing, that is neither Science nor Repairs. But that make Science kind of useless in play... mmm, Let's see again for argument sake....

would your suggestion be:
Repair[x], Manufacturing[x], Science[x], where x in (Construction, Power, Chemistry, Sociology, Computers, Biology, Physics, Force Fields), i.e. 24 skills.
Repair, as in the BR
Manufacturing, create known equipment type
Science... create unknown equipment (to the player, but not the civ) type equal or under science level? create prototype beyond tech level)? Paired with secret luck roll by the GM
Known Equipment: use INT slot for each discovery of interest

 

Edited by Lloyd Dupont

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On 7/15/2020 at 1:48 AM, Lloyd Dupont said:

Hi Atgxtg!

I like your idea of multiple rolls.... have to give it some thoughts

Yes, a good idea. I must have read something similar, I just cannot remember where :D

Seriously, guys, everyone is free to invent a "rotating device for reducing the attrition produced by moving carriages". But there may be better options.

The solution to this problem exists, it is tested, and it is applicable with little effort to ALL iterations of BRP.

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4 hours ago, RosenMcStern said:

Yes, a good idea. I must have read something similar, I just cannot remember where :D

 

2 hours ago, lawrence.whitaker said:

Yeah, I'm struggling to recall where I saw a similar system too... ;)

Sorry guys, but I think I fist saw something like it in MegaTraveler, and later in Icon's Star Trek RPG. I've seen variations of it in several RPGs since then, mostly Futuristic RPGs, for obvious reasons, although I've seen and used it in some modern day and "Steampunk" type games, and Harn's armor and weaponsmithing rules touch upon it too,. I'm an ol' timer, familiar with a lot of old RPGs, and a multi-success task resolution thing is common to many hi tech RPGs in some shape or another. 

So I honestly wasn't thinking of either of your "sister" systems when I posted. Not that those games shouldn't be given a look when trying to solve a problem in a BRP related game, and I did not intend to overlook their contributions to dealing with this sort of situation, they just weren't what came to mind.

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58 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

 

Sorry guys, but I think I fist saw something like it in MegaTraveler, and later in Icon's Star Trek RPG. I've seen variations of it in several RPGs since then, mostly Futuristic RPGs, for obvious reasons, although I've seen and used it in some modern day and "Steampunk" type games, and Harn's armor and weaponsmithing rules touch upon it too,. I'm an ol' timer, familiar with a lot of old RPGs, and a multi-success task resolution thing is common to many hi tech RPGs in some shape or another. 

So I honestly wasn't thinking of either of your "sister" systems when I posted. Not that those games shouldn't be given a look when trying to solve a problem in a BRP related game, and I did not intend to overlook their contributions to dealing with this sort of situation, they just weren't what came to mind.

Task resolution systems have been around for yonks, and they're certainly not unique to Mythras or Revolution. But it's always interesting when a solution presents itself that does have an equivalent in a BRP game. :)

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12 minutes ago, lawrence.whitaker said:

Task resolution systems have been around for yonks, and they're certainly not unique to Mythras or Revolution. But it's always interesting when a solution presents itself that does have an equivalent in a BRP game. :)

Convergent evolution:lol:. Since the various BRP game systems are closely related to each other, solutions to a given problem will likely be similar. And, as the BRP games are all a subset of RPGs, which themselves share similar traits, this probably hold true among different RPGs to some extend. Just think of what percentage of RPGs use some form of Hit Points and thus have similar injury/wounding mechanics. This is problem further reifnroced by the fact that RPGs tend to model a reality that has a lot os similarities to out own. 

Hmm, with that in mind, I wonder just how much a given game mechanic can vary. For instance, falling. There are probably only so many way to model it without inventing a new way to handle game mechanics.

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7 hours ago, RosenMcStern said:

Yes, a good idea. I must have read something similar, I just cannot remember where :D

 

5 hours ago, lawrence.whitaker said:

Yeah, I'm struggling to recall where I saw a similar system too... ;)

Alright, alright... I should have seen that coming...

Now perhaps it is a good time to ask for guidance... I tried to used generalised conflict in my game, mostly for crafting so far... But unlike combat that all works well, alternatively, with multiple rolls, I didn't feel like it was... mmmm.. clicking? like it should...

Now, I know many people swear by conflict and, I am sure, some people used them with great success in their game. I put the failure of conflict in my game entirely on my lack of... appreciation? understanding? imagination? experience? I mean I know I am missing something.....

Could you share perhaps a link to podcast or live play on youtube where I can see conflict successfully implemented in play to get a better feel for it, please?

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1 hour ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

 

Alright, alright... I should have seen that coming...

Now perhaps it is a good time to ask for guidance... I tried to used generalised conflict in my game, mostly for crafting so far... But unlike combat that all works well, alternatively, with multiple rolls, I didn't feel like it was... mmmm.. clicking? like it should...

Just chiming in with a more generalized response but game specific rules aside for the moment, the core idea with any RPG, or any story for that matter, is that of the protagonist dealing with some form of adversity/opposition for something they care about. 

Now most RPGs tend to focus on combat because it is the easiest way to get the point across tot he players and get them invested in the outcome. The opposition ends up being some sort of creature, and the stakes are often the lives of the characters. Easy. But...

...the opposition/obstacle can be literally anything, provided the GM can frame it in such a way that it challenges the player character. Instead of combat it could be a game of chance, race against time,something as simple as mowing the lawn,or as boring as filling out your taxes. As long as the GM can present in in such a way that it challenges the player character is some way, and as long as the player cares out the outcome. That last bit is key, and why RPGs often focus so much around combat. With combat the players will pretty much be vested in the outcome automatically, as they don't want to die. But with something else, the GM has to do a little work to make sure that the players actually care about the outcome. The High Stakes Poker game  only works when the players care about the outcome. If they don't, then it just a background and fluff. But...

...the contest/conflict can ber about anything, as long as the GM can present is some sort of test of character ability and get the players to care about the outcome.  

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Thanks for the link Lawrence! Gotta check it tonight

And yea, Atgxtg, I thought about it when I went to bed.. Maybe I was the one who didn't care about it, the loss of conflict was mostly inconsequential.. It should matter and it should be given some forethought...
For example in this case, trying to put future tech product to good use, I should offer multiple outcome, link in this case:
case 1: analysing
- fully reverse engineer it
- failed to reverse engineer and broke it for good
- being stumped by it, but thing still working. can't try again, but someone else might.

case 2: repairs
- repaired it
- broke it for good
- not repaired, but someone else might try
 

Edited by Lloyd Dupont

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You might even expand upon you outcomes with coem grey areas. For instance thinks they broken it, but instead adjusted in sin some way, such as changed bands, or functions to some new, unknown thing.  If you consider just how many things a modern smart phone can do, and all the non-phone related stuff (GPC, take and play back photos and video, motion and balance sensing, etc.) it's easy to see how confusing it could be to someone if the future communicator "stopped working" because they accidentally put in into "toothbrush" mode or some such. 

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7 hours ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

Oh Nooooo! Not the goddamn toothbrush mode again! 😲🤣

As least I think it's a toothbrush. :blink:

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