Jump to content

Far future or what?


Marty Jopson

Recommended Posts

I'm confused...

Nothing new I realise, but will the soon-to-be-released BRP rules have a full suite of rules to tackle far future games, a bit like Traveller? So, in addition to weapons and spaceships will it have star system creation rules? I am looking to start a Traveller-like game in the new year and I'm trying to decide which system to use - BRP or the Mongoose Traveller. I fear the new version of Traveller will make my potential players recoil in horror. They are used to CoC rules and other systems are not viewed favourably.

Cheers

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm confused...

Nothing new I realise, but will the soon-to-be-released BRP rules have a full suite of rules to tackle far future games, a bit like Traveller? So, in addition to weapons and spaceships will it have star system creation rules?

Not as far as I am aware. Theplay test draft didn't include such genre specific subsystems as Planet generation or Starship design systems. You can stat a starship usin the guidance in the equipment chapter, but it's not a system a la MegaTraveller, nor is there the equivalent of a full planetary generation system either.

I am looking to start a Traveller-like game in the new year and I'm trying to decide which system to use - BRP or the Mongoose Traveller. I fear the new version of Traveller will make my potential players recoil in horror. They are used to CoC rules and other systems are not viewed favourably.

Find a set of SF rules (for Planets, Starships etc - Google Cthulhu Rising and ignore the tentacles for example...) that do th ebits not in BRP{ and use BRP for the Character orientated stuff - its what I do.

Cheers,

Nick Middleton

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm confused...

Nothing new I realise, but will the soon-to-be-released BRP rules have a full suite of rules to tackle far future games, a bit like Traveller? So, in addition to weapons and spaceships will it have star system creation rules? I am looking to start a Traveller-like game in the new year and I'm trying to decide which system to use - BRP or the Mongoose Traveller. I fear the new version of Traveller will make my potential players recoil in horror. They are used to CoC rules and other systems are not viewed favourably.

Cheers

Depends on what you mean with "full suite". It will have some futuristic equipment and weapons, but I am sure not with traveller in mind. OTOH it should be no problem to modify the BRP/CoC rules for traveller. I did this several years ago and we really loved it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, in addition to weapons and spaceships will it have star system creation rules?

I guess not, but there are plenty of such things out there - google it (here's just one Star Map Generation). Some even give you pictures of the planets/systems. I found plenty when looking for a backdrop for a 40K campaign (oops, did I say that out loud?) but in the end knocked up my own tables for it, which were a laugh (I ended up generating far more star-systems than I needed, just for fun).

I fear the new version of Traveller will make my potential players recoil in horror. They are used to CoC rules and other systems are not viewed favourably.

What discerning potential players you have! Go BRP!

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For planet creation:

Well, there is no BRP SPACE game yet, but when one comes out maybe.

But, You can dig up a lot of the info you will need from another RPG and port it over. 2300AD and the Worlds Supplment for Decipher Trek both have excellent Star System Generation stuff.

Since both base their math on real world data it all good to port over. A Type G2V star is the same regardless of what system you are running.

If you are comfortable with math, I can give you the formula for things like figuring out a star's habitable zone.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As others have said, cribbing planet generation tables from elsewhere seems doable; you can probably even find ones that used percentile rolls. :)

Spaceships are more problematic, which is why Atgxtg and some others are doing some work in that direction, albiet more in definition than purchase.

Well, if I can get workable rules, and write up a bunch of vehicles it wouldn't take much to turn it into a viable product.

System Generation tables would be easy. A lot easier than working up the armor rules for vehicles has been. Once you got the life zone forumla or a table like Star Data Table the rest becomes a mix of inspiration and math.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One thing that's worth thinking about when doing Star System design is the amount of cool software that's out there.

There's Astrosynthesis, which more or less does 3d starmaps for you, and programs like Fractal Terrains, Worldgen, & some very neat Photoshop plugins like Lunarcell which can create some amazing planetary maps and orbital images.

One of my biggest bugbears with Traveller has always been the "space is 2 dimensional" thing - it's just always felt *wrong* to me, especially when so much of the other chrome in Traveller felt *right*. If you can make sure you're Star System Generation rules don't contradict any current science or available cool software, you have something very usable indeed.

As far as interstellar travel is concerned, I'm inclined to err on the side of "exciting" rather than "realistic" - although there's certainly a balance. Space Opera by FGU has a cool, very WW2 dogfight, non-vector based space travel system, with the TISA (Transgravitic Interstellar Subspace Anomaly Drive or some such!) or "Torch" drive for sublight, Warp Drives, Nova Guns, and MegaBolt Torpedoes (honest!) which actually all hang together with no more handwavium than Traveller uses - but which feel considerably more fun. 2300AD is very hard-tech on space travel & combat, but a good realistic feel with its "Stutterwarp" drives. And of course Ringworld was very cool with its transparent indestructible General Products Hulls and stasis fields.

I think a lot of cherry-picking is in order, depending on the feel you want for your campaign.

Which brings me to a question: what do people think, would a SF BRP book be best as a "generalist" book, with lots of modules for people to cherry-pick from as above, or a "setting" book, which makes a set of assumptions about the universe and sticks with those? I mean, star system generation probably can't vary that much, but starships, interstellar travel, and space combat certainly all can.

"The Worm Within" - the first novel for The Chronicles of Future Earth, coming 2013 from Chaosium, Inc.

Website: http://sarahnewtonwriter.com | Twitter: @SarahJNewton | Facebook: TheChroniclesOfFutureEarth

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...Space Opera by FGU has a cool, very WW2 dogfight, non-vector based space travel system, with the TISA (Transgravitic Interstellar Subspace Anomaly Drive or some such!) or "Torch" drive for sublight, Warp Drives, Nova Guns, and MegaBolt Torpedoes (honest!) which actually all hang together with no more handwavium than Traveller uses - but which feel considerably more fun...

Ahh, Space Opera starships - glorious stuff. To be honest, I usually just pinch what's is SO for ships and planets - it has the right feel, works well, is reasonably coherent and fun to play an dis easy to interface to BRP...

Cheers,

Nick Middleton

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest the Bromgrev

If you want to use Traveller for world generation, be aware that there are serious realism problems with it. You could check out Evil Doctor Ganymede's fixes for the system, though, which will help out a lot.

One of the problems with starmaps is that they are maps. A distance chart like the back of a road atlas might be a way to get around the 2D thing, but it would be pretty big and not really give you an idea of what the place actually looks like. I guess we'll have to wait for everyone to start bringing laptops to the gaming table ...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of the problems with starmaps is that they are maps. A distance chart like the back of a road atlas might be a way to get around the 2D thing, but it would be pretty big and not really give you an idea of what the place actually looks like. I guess we'll have to wait for everyone to start bringing laptops to the gaming table ...

Actually, most SF RPGs manage to map 3d space quite successfully on to a 2d piece of paper - basically the conventional X and Y axes lie on the paper vertical and horizontal axes, and the Z axis is marked as a number next to the stellar body in question. Straightforward pythag allows you to calculate the distance between 2 bodies. Space Opera, Ringworld, 2300AD and Alternity all use variants on this system perfectly well.

My beef with the Traveller system is that it claims space is ACTUALLY 2d! Flat, completely. There is no Z-axis, and no attempt to provide one. You can navigate forward, backward, left, and right from a star system - but not up or down. It's the single most unrealistic thing about the whole game, and is a crying shame IMHO. It requires a massive amount of suspension of disbelief, especially when all the other tech stuff is pretty hard SF. Basically, space in Traveller is a 2 dimensional disc, with four dimensions - effectively N, S, E, W. There is no attempt at all to cater for above or below that single 2d plane.

I believe this dates from an abstraction used in the early GDW boardgames which more or less preceded Traveller (Imperium springs to mind - I can't remember what it's very first incarnation was called), when simple tabletop gameplay was the goal. Unfortunately the whole Jump Number system is pretty tied in to space remaining 2d, so it's more difficult to fix than you might think (believe me, I've tried...).

"The Worm Within" - the first novel for The Chronicles of Future Earth, coming 2013 from Chaosium, Inc.

Website: http://sarahnewtonwriter.com | Twitter: @SarahJNewton | Facebook: TheChroniclesOfFutureEarth

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of the things I always wondered about traveller is that it makes extensive use of totally non-science parts like 2D maps incorporating the cosmic law of "1 main planet every 2 parsecs". Traveller also uses cheesy alien species (dogmen, catmen and horsemen in space) which seem to come out of a pulp mag of the 50ties. Additionally there seems to be almost no scientific progression the last few thousand years despite having myriards of scientists working in the Imperium. Even the cheesy alien races dont have any remarkable innovative and unique technologies.

OTOH the traveller fans pretend that the setting is mostly "hard SF". I find this laughable. Its not more hard SF than Buck Rogers. Its only created 40 years later and with more stuff available.

Real hard SF settings are 2300aD, Transhuman Space and Blue Planet. (although even these settings needs some handwavium)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I believe this dates from an abstraction used in the early GDW boardgames which more or less preceded Traveller (Imperium springs to mind - I can't remember what it's very first incarnation was called), when simple tabletop gameplay was the goal. Unfortunately the whole Jump Number system is pretty tied in to space remaining 2d, so it's more difficult to fix than you might think (believe me, I've tried...).

It was Imperium. There has not been a "first incarnation". It was planned as trilogy. Only 2 parts appeared. Imperium and Dark Nebula. And you are absolutely right that the 2D maps are coming from this game. Maybe they found these maps easy to use and fun enough for the roleplaying game. This shows that our hobby has its roots in wargaming. Eg. the Braunstein games in the 60ties of G. Gygax gaming group where the participants played whole countries on a ping-pong table sized map.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've never really seen the point of Generation Tables for worlds.

As a GM, if I want the PCs to go to an Ice World then it's an Ice World and I can worry about the details when they get there. Tech Level might be important, but what's more important is how it links into the campaign and what's useful about it.

As for space being 3D, it's probably has a lot more dimensions than that. But that's irrelevant. The important thing is how long it takes to travel between worlds, not how far away those worlds are from each other. If three planets are one jump apart from each other then that's all I need to know.

So, Star Maps are all well and good, but I could do with just a table showing how many jumps it takes between planets, or what the power cost is to travel, or how many days it takes to travel or whatever. I don't really want to have to work it out from the distances between solar systems.

As a GM, I would want a setting to have major planets and systems mapped out at the start of the campaign, so I can hang things off it. Each planet should have a sketch and a short history, but nothing too detailed.

As a Player, I'd like to know where planets are, who the bosses are, whether they are friendly and so on. Everything else comes from the game and what happens in a camapign.

I wouldn't particularly want, as a Player or GM, to have masses of details on every planet and solar system in a campaign. There's no real need. Nor would I need to generate masses of stats for new planets or solar systems.

However, I do understand that people who like playing SciFi games like this sort of thing.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've never really seen the point of Generation Tables for worlds.

As a GM, if I want the PCs to go to an Ice World then it's an Ice World and I can worry about the details when they get there. Tech Level might be important, but what's more important is how it links into the campaign and what's useful about it.

The issue is when you have parts of a system the PCs might interact with but that you _just don't care_ what they're like. You still need something, and you don't necessarily want it to start looking the same (which is the risk if you just write whatever comes to mind down) but you have no opinion one way or another what it should be.

Its like almost all random generation; its useless for some styles and virtually a necessity for others.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was Imperium. There has not been a "first incarnation". It was planned as trilogy. Only 2 parts appeared. Imperium and Dark Nebula. And you are absolutely right that the 2D maps are coming from this game. Maybe they found these maps easy to use and fun enough for the roleplaying game. This shows that our hobby has its roots in wargaming. Eg. the Braunstein games in the 60ties of G. Gygax gaming group where the participants played whole countries on a ping-pong table sized map.

Generally the 2D maps get used because most players and GMs don't like figuring out distances with X, Y ans Z coordinates.

And there are some other ways to do 3D maps other than a 2D map with +/- coordinates. There is graph paper made in 3 quarter perspective (diamonds) that can be used to give good depth.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've never really seen the point of Generation Tables for worlds.

As a GM, if I want the PCs to go to an Ice World then it's an Ice World and I can worry about the details when they get there. Tech Level might be important, but what's more important is how it links into the campaign and what's useful about it.

Do you do that with the Kingdoms in your fantasy campaign? Do you send your adventurers to an arctic environment and worry about the detail when they get there? I know a DM who does that. He couldn't figure out why the group stopped in mid-adventure and started backtracking the river that flowed from the sea to the mountains. We figured that the wizard we were chasing had to be responsible for a making water flow uphill.

If you are running a campaign set in a location, like at a particular station or patrolling a certain sector of space, it is nice for the players to have the major star systems and planets worked out.

World generation does have some perks. For one thing if you know a little science, it can go a long way to springing other adventure ideas. Things like where resources are, what stars can support life are all useful bits of info. Plus a lot of good adventures can be had when something happens that shouldn't. Like a world with a Earth-like climate being somewhere that it has no business being, like out past Saturn.

As for space being 3D, it's probably has a lot more dimensions than that. But that's irrelevant. The important thing is how long it takes to travel between worlds, not how far away those worlds are from each other. If three planets are one jump apart from each other then that's all I need to know.

Sadly in mos RPGs how far apart they are determines how long it takes to travel from one to the other. Not all RPGs use "jump" drives. If you are running something like Star Trek, where ships travel at multiples of the Speed of Light you need to know how far apart the system are. So you can tell how long it takes to get from Point A to Point B, or C, and from point B to C. If you are using a specific setting, like a Space Station or patrol sector then this is useful.

If you are doing "Episode of the Week" then you can get away with making it up as you go along, until the PCs decide they want to go back to the planet with the green animal women.

So, Star Maps are all well and good, but I could do with just a table showing how many jumps it takes between planets, or what the power cost is to travel, or how many days it takes to travel or whatever. I don't really want to have to work it out from the distances between solar systems.

Probably the easiest solution for non-jump/hyperspace games is to just do up a "master table" of the area and write down all the distances/travel times. Then just refer to the chart. That's what I did for a couple of Star Trek campaigns. Most of the locations were mapped out and distances charted.

As a GM, I would want a setting to have major planets and systems mapped out at the start of the campaign, so I can hang things off it. Each planet should have a sketch and a short history, but nothing too detailed.

As a Player, I'd like to know where planets are, who the bosses are, whether they are friendly and so on. Everything else comes from the game and what happens in a camapign.

Oops. :o Yeah like that.

I wouldn't particularly want, as a Player or GM, to have masses of details on every planet and solar system in a campaign. There's no real need. Nor would I need to generate masses of stats for new planets or solar systems.

However, I do understand that people who like playing SciFi games like this sort of thing.

Pretty much like any other RPG there is a certain amount of detail that you need; then a certain amount that you want for color; then all the rest that you would like to have but don't have the time for.

For most of my Sci-Fi campaigns I needed to know who was near whom, who like/hatred whom, and what they all had to play with, deatils for species and cultures, etc. Most of the tech stuff was for color. It is nicer to say "a Red Giant Star" than "Yeah, it got a sun."

Some basic knowledge of science does help, though. Since if the GM doesn't have it and the players do, they might take a abnormality (like the Earth planet out past Saturn) as a plot hook rather than being something insignificant. For instance it is good to know what stars can't support habitable planets if your players know.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As one who acquired the proof-release edition of BRP, I can say it has all the necessary background and equipment stats (and some essential vehicle data) to do far future. But to handle world generation and other data I am supplementing it with GURPS Space 4th edition, which provides a nice set of rules that work cross-system for just such details.

I'm working on a near-future hard-SF based space exploration setting for BRP right now, to kick off next week on New Year's Day.

The BRP core book also has a few alien and robot ideas included, rules on mutations and psionics, a sampling of how to do mecha in the vehicle and gadget rules, and models a variety of SF campaign settings in the campaign section. So it's got a good baseline of support, even if it is not specialized in the genre, specifically. Nonetheless, I think you could easily do Sci fi straight from the book if you borrow world generation from GURPS, Traveller, or Space Hero (for 5th, another good sf book).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

For planet creation:

Well, there is no BRP SPACE game yet, but when one comes out maybe.

Actually, there is/was and I just bought the last copy of it tonight from Chaosium. It's called: Worlds Beyond

It's supposed to give stats for making robots; how to make starships, and gives some in-depth floor plans of some ships. And it has an alternate hit location system.

Plus there's over 20 worlds profiled as well as a number of alien races.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But to handle world generation and other data I am supplementing it with GURPS Space 4th edition, which provides a nice set of rules that work cross-system for just such details.

The world generation in GURPS Space is more complicated than the one in Worlds Beyond. It would be nice if someone could find the author (Frank Shewmake) and ask him if we could put the world generation section of the game into the files section of this site.

http://www.basicrps.com/core/BRP_quick_start.pdf A sense of humour and an imagination go a long way in roleplaying. ;)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's supposed to give stats for making robots...

There is no supposed. There are rules for making robots in Worlds Beyond, but not as PCs. Robots are too tough!

Futureworld has some good rules for PC robots. Come to think of it Futureworld has some very good rules on weapons/ forcefields etc, and its free! I highly recommend Cthulhu Rising as it has almost everything a BRP space game could need, and its free.

http://www.basicrps.com/core/BRP_quick_start.pdf A sense of humour and an imagination go a long way in roleplaying. ;)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...