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Setting Showdown: FutureWorld vs. Ring World


Nakana

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Haven't played either one. I know that FutureWorld was Chaosium's futuristic setting included with Worlds of Wonder and Ring World was licensed from Larry Niven. 

 

What are your thoughts? How do they compare? In your opinion which is more fun/engaging? Which is simpler?

 

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      I would prefer a generic set of Sci-fi rules. Something that can easly adapted for hard sci-fi to over the top space opera. If they put in a setting make it a small system with a couple of competing factions and maybe an impending doom plot, just to get you started.

 

People's tastes vary quit a bit so a tool box approach might be a better choice.

 

Miles

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Haven't played either one. I know that FutureWorld was Chaosium's futuristic setting included with Worlds of Wonder and Ring World was licensed from Larry Niven. 

 

What are your thoughts? How do they compare? In your opinion which is more fun/engaging? Which is simpler?

 

Future World is much more basic. It was one of the three genre books boxed in the Worlds of Wonder set, and is a series of add on rules to basic BRP (all of 8-10 pages IIRC) for space opera -ish SciFi. The other two books were Magic World and Superworld.

 

As a result Future World is simpler, though Ringworld had some interesting bits to it. The Impluse action system, and Root/Branch skills. Both of these were considered somewhat cumbersome by the rank-and-file. In addition, Ringworld was the only BRP game to use Mass instead of Size.

 

SDLeary

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Have a look at 'Operation Ulysses' - it is so much more than a simple adventure. In the back of the book (about 1/3 of it) you get alien races, technology, vehicles, armor, weapons, etc.

I would not say it is a setting - but  a good starting point to get your own setting up and running. In my opinion generic enough to be useful. And lots better than the Ringworld book.

BTW: the BGB has something similar to the Ringworld Root/Branch skills. Some skills like Technology or Science have a sentence in it that 'allows' you to just use the 'main' skill for all skill tests (waiving the need to specialise in one area). It is simple enough to say you can build the governing skill up to a max of 40% and from there on you need to specialise in an area. Easy enough foe one-shot games.

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The Ringworld game is different with a unique appeal, flavor and atmosphere. To get the most from the game, it helps to be a fan of Niven and Known Space and the character he gives his universe. I would hazard to suggest that it is different than most sci-fi games. It is foremost a game of exploration and discovery, one in which players need to be a bit committed to the Ring and willing to centralize their experience there. It also needs a GM who wants to offer that kind of experience.

 

Now, that being said, Ringworld is vast and there's plenty of room to establish just about any situation and circumstance, but if you're players are Jonesing for light-sabers, blasters, Battle mechs, and starship combat, I would not recommend the setting.

 

Cheers!

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Haven't played either one. I know that FutureWorld was Chaosium's futuristic setting included with Worlds of Wonder and Ring World was licensed from Larry Niven. 

 

What are your thoughts? How do they compare? In your opinion which is more fun/engaging? Which is simpler?

There is no comparison really - Ringworld is a game crafted to evoke a specific licensed "hard SF" setting in some detail; Future*World was a "sample setting" design to show case how one could capture more pulp / Space Opera SF adventures in the Worlds of Wonder framework. One is about carefully tailoring the Chaosium house rules to the setting of a specific novel, the other about providing a sample base setting and basic generic rules for people to adapt to settings of their choice (and possibly invention).

I'm very fond of Ringworld, but I think even at the time it was a mistake to try and tackle something as both huge and specific as the ring world in an RPG. And, as my Outpost 19 monograph demonstrates, I always though Future*World deserved more exposure. A quick and dirty SF game is remarkably easy to throw together with Future*World, provided one is prepared to hand wave some of the intricate gear-head stuff and focus on other things.

Cheers,

Nick

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I'm very fond of Ringworld, but I think even at the time it was a mistake to try and tackle something as both huge and specific as the ring world in an RPG. And, as my Outpost 19 monograph demonstrates, I always though Future*World deserved more exposure. A quick and dirty SF game is remarkably easy to throw together with Future*World, provided one is prepared to hand wave some of the intricate gear-head stuff and focus on other things.

 

 

Yes, it would have been better to have a generic SciFi version of RuneQuest, then to have different settings that incorporate various aspects of the rules. 

 

Ringworld has a lot of things that might not be usable in other SciFi settings.

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I like them both for different reasons... different flavors of scifi. I never ran a straight Ringworld campaign but I did borrow from those books a lot and ran a tweaked version of at least one of the adventures for it.

At this point I'd welcome a return of an Expanded Future World, similar to what Magic World is for BRP fantasy (or at least what I think it could be if it gets support).

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Have both games. Played Ringworld many years ago, but the players were not used to the game system and the game was switched to another game.

 

I have been running a Future World game since October of last year. At one point I had 13 players. Now down to six core players. And still going strong.

 

I prefer Future World Because:

 

Ring World is a beautifully crafted universe, but when you have players who have read the books and have a better memory than you, they can get frustrated with non-cannonized introductions of different ideas and complicated rules.

 

Future World (as someone already stated) is pretty basic, but it has allowed me to introduce ideas, races, technology, worlds and Things that I have created into the game. I am able to borrow things from other BRP Compatable books and introduce them into my game. Ringworld, Worlds Beyond, and Other Suns have all played in submitting new races into the game. (different names of course and just basic concepts with them.) BRP Starships, Traveller and 0-hr miniatures and deck plans. And maps from dundjinni and Adventurer's Atlas. I also use the BGB if there is a need for a new rule or clarification. Right now I a getting ready to introduce my players to the wrong end of a barrel from Basic Roleplaying Mecha. And that is "THE" advantage I like about Future World, it's adaptability.

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At this point I'd welcome a return of an Expanded Future World, similar to what Magic World is for BRP fantasy (or at least what I think it could be if it gets support).

 

That was my thought exactly when I started work on BRP Space. It seems like a missed opportunity to have all those old and new BRP sci-fi games and supplements that's just almost there, but none of them really goes all the way. Future World is a bit too basic, Ringworld is deep but is too much tied to Ringworld, Worlds Beyond is good but hard to find and the sci-fi monographs are too limited in scope.

 

At the moment River of Heaven would be my first choice, probably together with Luther Arkwright. Or perhaps Future World with bits and pieces from those two.

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What are your thoughts? How do they compare? In your opinion which is more fun/engaging? Which is simpler?

 

Future World is definitely simpler. There's not that much of it, really. I'm not sure how fun/engaging it would be; as a GM, you'd have to invest quite a bit of time fleshing it out and borrowing from other sources. Unless you stuck with a very minimalist approach and hand-waved a great deal.

 

I've owned Ringworld on two occasions over the past 10 years, and each time I've resold it. The first time, I read it and it didn't really strike a chord with me. It just wasn't that interesting. 5 years after selling it I questioned why I got rid of it in, repurchased it, and then realized, "Oh, yeah. That's why." I don't know if it was the presentation, its focus more on setting than system, or what. 

 

These days, River of Heaven is probably just a better option. It's not perfect, but if you can get past some of the OpenQuestiness of it, there are a lot more options than it provides.

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For me I would say that Future World is the way to go as far as the basis for a set of universal Sci fi rules. Ringworld is just too focused on the subject being emulated, as it should be.

 

However as a huge fan of all things Nivin, and Ringworld specifically, Ringworld is hands down my favorite licensed BRP supplement, and I wouldn't sell or trade it for anything. Part of it is having read the books and been overwhelmed by the possibilities of the setting; the game was the gateway to those possibilities.

 

Now with that said, with no former knowledge of the Ringworld setting, or interest in the novels, I think Future World is the better purchase.

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These days, River of Heaven is probably just a better option. It's not perfect, but if you can get past some of the OpenQuestiness of it, there are a lot more options than it provides.

My reaction to River of Heaven ran hot and cold as I read it. As a resource to mine for equipment and such RoH certainly has more on offer than Future World... but even with its minimal content there's a vague 'something' I prefer in FW... maybe just that its flavor of scifi is slightly more retro. River of Heaven leaves me wanting to play Eclipse Phase (which isn't all that far off from BRP itself).
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These are two RPGs at opposite ends of the gaming spectrum for a GM.  Ringworld requires a deep knowledge of the Niven books and presents you with an insanely vast area to adventure in.  Future World will need some work to flesh out the setting, but is wide open for adding things from any number of other settings. 

 

From a GM perspective I would go with Future World, but as a player I'd happily play Ringworld again (which I did a few times back in the 80's). 

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