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Low-G characters?


clarence

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I've been watching The Expanse this past week (and found it to probably be the best sci fi show I've seen since Firefly) but when I started thinking about describing BRP characters growing up in low G it became a bit problematic.

STR -3 and CON -1 works fine, perhaps lowered HP. But what about SIZ? Those people are easily 2+ meters tall but really skinny. Should I raise SIZ because they are tall? Lower it because their weight is low? Or keep it as it is because body volume is the same as for earthlings, just slightly stretched out?

IIRC weight is the determining factor for SIZ in BGB, but it seems very unintuitive to lower SIZ for people 0.5 meters taller than most.

How would you do it?

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Yes, keeping SIZ might work. If height/weight is written down too.

Regarding workout I think you're right - most of the effects can be dealt with that way. But in The Expanse low-G characters seems stubbornly proud of their adaption to the new conditions in space, and for every generation born in space the effects are more and more amplified.

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If their adaptation to the new conditions of space is not true, that is just a description feature. But if it is true, if they are really more adapted to space than normal humans, you can give them a bonus of +10 to +20 % (choose what you prefer) to all physical skills used in low gravity environment to compensate their -3 to STR and -1 to CON. You can even decide that the -1 to CON only applies on normal gravity environment (heart and breathing problems).

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43 minutes ago, clarence said:

Yes, keeping SIZ might work. If height/weight is written down too.

Regarding workout I think you're right - most of the effects can be dealt with that way. But in The Expanse low-G characters seems stubbornly proud of their adaption to the new conditions in space, and for every generation born in space the effects are more and more amplified.

I have heard from someone that read the books that the change each generation was a kind of cheat by the TV when adapting the book. They have that one seen where they show a guy who an extreme case and it is mentioned that everyone will look like him in a generation or two.

In the books, that guy is what everyone born in space looks like. However, in a TV show it is a pain to portray, so they made it a generation by generation change, allowing them to show a quick flash of someone that looks like the book while still keeping most of the cast in the normal human. 

The generation by generation change makes no real sense, space-born people still have the same DNA. They are just developing under unusual circumstances. Their children will have the same DNA, and grow up under the exact same conditions, meaning they won't be any more extreme. 

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On a slight tangent, anyone else think that The Expanse is a worthwhile IP to get hold of? I know there are a lot of Transhuman/near future games out there, but I'd love to see a D100 game based on this IP. It would bring the kind of attention that this corner of the RPG universe could do with.

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4 hours ago, clarence said:

I've been watching The Expanse this past week (and found it to probably be the best sci fi show I've seen since Firefly) but when I started thinking about describing BRP characters growing up in low G it became a bit problematic.

STR -3 and CON -1 works fine, perhaps lowered HP. But what about SIZ? Those people are easily 2+ meters tall but really skinny. Should I raise SIZ because they are tall? Lower it because their weight is low? Or keep it as it is because body volume is the same as for earthlings, just slightly stretched out?

IIRC weight is the determining factor for SIZ in BGB, but it seems very unintuitive to lower SIZ for people 0.5 meters taller than most.

How would you do it?

I think you proposal works fine for STR and CON. Remember the scene in the first episode... lack of strength was an issue.

In this case though,  you really have to revert SIZ back to a base of Mass, rather than a combination.

Perhaps take a look at Ringworld (if you have access) or 2300AD (Boxed game) for more ideas. 

SDLeary

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9 minutes ago, Jae said:

On a slight tangent, anyone else think that The Expanse is a worthwhile IP to get hold of? I know there are a lot of Transhuman/near future games out there, but I'd love to see a D100 game based on this IP. It would bring the kind of attention that this corner of the RPG universe could do with.

I'm only three episodes in so far, but it seems to have enough depth as a setting for an RPG, and it is getting a good reaction in geek circles. I'm a little wary of licensed settings in general though.

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9 hours ago, Baulderstone said:

The generation by generation change makes no real sense, space-born people still have the same DNA. They are just developing under unusual circumstances. Their children will have the same DNA, and grow up under the exact same conditions, meaning they won't be any more extreme.

I think you're right! Evolution doesn't change lifeforms that fast - the driving force I guess is growing up in a low-G environment. The DNA changes will take many more generations and only if the trait is beneficial. I just may have to read the books while waiting for the second season...

 

5 hours ago, SDLeary said:

I think you proposal works fine for STR and CON. Remember the scene in the first episode... lack of strength was an issue.

In this case though,  you really have to revert SIZ back to a base of Mass, rather than a combination.

Perhaps take a look at Ringworld (if you have access) or 2300AD (Boxed game) for more ideas. 

SDLeary

Yes, Ringworld uses MAS and separate weight/length values. Makes more sense in this case. I've never read 2300AD though. How do they approach it?

Regarding an IP, that was my thought exactly. It would be an interesting world to play in. But the RPG market may be too crowded already in this area. The whole concept could actually have developed straight from a Transhuman Space campaign. For BRP the best combination to simulate this at the moment is probably Cthulhu Rising (hard sci-fi bits) with River of Heaven (the cybernetics).

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19 hours ago, Baulderstone said:

The generation by generation change makes no real sense, space-born people still have the same DNA. They are just developing under unusual circumstances. Their children will have the same DNA, and grow up under the exact same conditions, meaning they won't be any more extreme. 

Well ... almost.

The odds of mutation presumably go up, due to a slightly-higher radiation environment; but it takes a LOT of generations before the "direction" of evolutionary pressure becomes clear.  Having each generation uniformly closer to a new conceptual "ideal" just ain't evolution... genetic engineering, maybe?

HOWEVER:  we really have VERY LITTLE IDEA what a Zero-G / Low-G environment would do developmentally, either in the womb or growing up.  There's an interesting survey-article on the topic (in Business Insider, of all the weird places!):  http://www.businessinsider.com/space-born-animals-adjust-to-gravity-2013-10   That whole "lean spindly look" is, so far as I know, entirely a presumption, based on zero evidence...

Then, presumably, a woman who was conceived & gestated in a low-G / zero-G environment will be a bit different from mainstream 1-G population, and HER offspring may in turn develop differently because of that.  But again, it won't necessarily be anything that we would, a priori, expect or associate with such environments...

 

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16 hours ago, Jae said:

On a slight tangent, anyone else think that The Expanse is a worthwhile IP to get hold of? I know there are a lot of Transhuman/near future games out there, but I'd love to see a D100 game based on this IP. It would bring the kind of attention that this corner of the RPG universe could do with.

If it is worth picking up, I am sure Margret Weiss Press will do it.  MWP tends to get the trendy TV licenses.  Part of the if it is worth it really depends on who owns the rights and how much.  It is based on a novel.  It is possible the author still holds the rights.  On the other hand, Universal could own the rights.  That would likely cost a lot more money.  However, you will usually have permission to use still shots from the TV show. 

In any case it comes down to ratings.  If it is popular enough, then it will sell. I don't really know how popular it is.  If the show was on the CW, I would say it would be more worth it than SyFy.  SyFy generally has lower ratings and a tendency to cancel shows at the worst time. 

As mentioned, there is Eclipse Phase.  I do not think that is a concern for licensing.  You are licensing the IP because you think that the IP will bring people in.  Eclipse Phase is an original product not based on an IP.  Anyone who is interested in the IP won't care that Eclipse Phase is out.

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18 hours ago, clarence said:

Yes, Ringworld uses MAS and separate weight/length values. Makes more sense in this case. I've never read 2300AD though. How do they approach it?

2300AD characters have one of four body types, Normal, Ectomorphic, Endomorphic, or Mesomorphic. These are determined by a roll of a d10 on a table, and cross referenced with the type of gravity environment the character grew up in (Zero-G, Low, Normal, High).

Strength is determined solely on Size and Body Type, adding or subtracting points. Dexterity and Endurance are both rolled 4d6-4, and then modified by Body Type. (All attributes are between 0 and 20+)

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Regarding an IP, that was my thought exactly. It would be an interesting world to play in. But the RPG market may be too crowded already in this area. The whole concept could actually have developed straight from a Transhuman Space campaign. For BRP the best combination to simulate this at the moment is probably Cthulhu Rising (hard sci-fi bits) with River of Heaven (the cybernetics).

I would certainly use Cthulhu Rising as the baseline, but keep in mind that there is no FTL, everything is taking place inside the Solar System, which I actually find quite refreshing. In fact, I was thinking that the could go well with a Cyberpunk campaign as the tech level doesn't seem to be that far off Gibson.

SDLeary

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On 1/28/2016 at 9:19 PM, clarence said:

I've been watching The Expanse this past week (and found it to probably be the best sci fi show I've seen since Firefly) but when I started thinking about describing BRP characters growing up in low G it became a bit problematic.

STR -3 and CON -1 works fine, perhaps lowered HP. But what about SIZ? Those people are easily 2+ meters tall but really skinny. Should I raise SIZ because they are tall? Lower it because their weight is low? Or keep it as it is because body volume is the same as for earthlings, just slightly stretched out?

IIRC weight is the determining factor for SIZ in BGB, but it seems very unintuitive to lower SIZ for people 0.5 meters taller than most.

How would you do it?

 

The RQ Scifi document that I put together separated Length/Mass (LEN/MAS), using SIZ as the average of LEN and MAS if required. It turned out that LEN is nowhere near as useful as MAS in most situations. In low-G environments, I gave a bonus to LEN and an equivalent reduction to MAS.

I also had a skill of Zero-G that acts as a limiter of activities in Zero-G environments, with a Heroic Ability that removed the restriction for experts.

 

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

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55 minutes ago, soltakss said:

 

The RQ Scifi document that I put together separated Length/Mass (LEN/MAS), using SIZ as the average of LEN and MAS if required. It turned out that LEN is nowhere near as useful as MAS in most situations. In low-G environments, I gave a bonus to LEN and an equivalent reduction to MAS.

I also had a skill of Zero-G that acts as a limiter of activities in Zero-G environments, with a Heroic Ability that removed the restriction for experts.

 

Aha, LEN/MAS is good. I will check it out.

And a Zero-G skill is what I had in mind too. If a character doesn't have it s/he will operate with a penalty in all low-G situations. For those that have it most skill checks I reckon will be as normal, only in certain situations the Zero-G skill will be called for (or act as a cap). Do you have a Vacc suit skill too or do you bake them both into Zero-G?

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1 hour ago, clarence said:

Aha, LEN/MAS is good. I will check it out.

And a Zero-G skill is what I had in mind too. If a character doesn't have it s/he will operate with a penalty in all low-G situations. For those that have it most skill checks I reckon will be as normal, only in certain situations the Zero-G skill will be called for (or act as a cap). Do you have a Vacc suit skill too or do you bake them both into Zero-G?

I wouldn't bake both Vacc Suit and Zero-G together. Those born in Zero-G would be naturals in that environment, but not necessarily have the skills to work in vacuum. In this case I'm thinking large ships and stations that do not have artificial gravity.*

SDLeary

* For example in the Expanse, it appears that ships only have gravity when under either an acceleration or deceleration burn. Though space stations seem to have gravity despite not having rotating torus'.

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In GURPS, there are both. Vacc suit (Environment Suit) and Zero-G (Free Fall). But they have different purpose. Environment Suit is the skill of getting into the suit quickly and operating it, while free fall is the skill of moving in zero gravity environment. Having said that, both skills are a cap to the action you are trying to do in zero gravity environment. For instance, if someone with Brawling 14, Environment Suit 12 and Free Fall 13 tries to punch another guy in space while wearing his vacc suit, he will roll against the worse of these three skills: 12.

You can give a penalty to a skill used under Zero-G environment for the characters who don't succeed a Vacc Suit roll or, as GURPS do, consider that this skill is a cap for every other skill used in zero gravity environment. Both works well but the second solution is better during combats because it reduces the number of dice rolls.

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2 hours ago, clarence said:

Aha, LEN/MAS is good. I will check it out.

And a Zero-G skill is what I had in mind too. If a character doesn't have it s/he will operate with a penalty in all low-G situations. For those that have it most skill checks I reckon will be as normal, only in certain situations the Zero-G skill will be called for (or act as a cap). Do you have a Vacc suit skill too or do you bake them both into Zero-G?

I have a Vacc Suit skill as well. The rationale is that Adventurers with the Vacc Suit skill can operate in many environments, from Zero-G to High-G, as a planet with a high gravity can still have a toxic atmosphere that requires the use of the Vacc Suit skill. Similarly, an Adventurer in a space station can be in a Zero-G environment without needing a Vacc Suit.

 

My rules are at http://www.soltakss.com/rq_scifi.pdf - They are for MRQ1 so have a few things to sort out, but should be useful.

 

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

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4 hours ago, clarence said:

I enjoy your rules very much. Excellent to use as a reference. Do you make any updates to them?

 

Thanks.

I am working on a Legend version, which will contain all the updates. Those rules were for MRQ1, which is long dead, hopefully a Legend version will last longer.

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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

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I wonder whether low-G characters would be used to high accelerations as a matter of their life away from the gravity well. Distances in the belt or the Jovian Trojans are a magnitude greater than in the Earth-Moon orbital system (including the Lagrange points 4 and 5 with their dust collections). I wouldn't necessarily reduce CON if these guys have taken biological or technological measures to deal with high-G stress in acceleration situations. Moving around under standard or higher G will still be difficult without support, but with an exoskeleton harness support or other invalid help they wouldn't black out.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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5 hours ago, Joerg said:

I wonder whether low-G characters would be used to high accelerations as a matter of their life away from the gravity well. Distances in the belt or the Jovian Trojans are a magnitude greater than in the Earth-Moon orbital system (including the Lagrange points 4 and 5 with their dust collections). I wouldn't necessarily reduce CON if these guys have taken biological or technological measures to deal with high-G stress in acceleration situations. Moving around under standard or higher G will still be difficult without support, but with an exoskeleton harness support or other invalid help they wouldn't black out.

A big variable based on setting. In The Expanse, it looks like it could be dealt with by pharmacology of some type. Ships chairs have a tube system which feeds passengers something during burns.

SDLeary

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