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clarence

Odd Soot - Sci-Fi Mystery in the 1920s

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6 hours ago, seneschal said:

"No, Azaroth!  You may not help staff the party's fireworks stand."

<toothless Billy Crystal>:  "You ARE the fireworks stand!"

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19 hours ago, clarence said:

Interstellar space travel relies on a technology left behind by an advanced alien species called luminarians, which fled The Soot 200 hundred years ago. They used a device that unfolds curled-up dimensions, transferring the ship into extra-dimensional spaces. As space-time works differently there, a spaceship can travel vast distances without moving. The devices are ’black boxes’ for the remaining species and they have almost no idea how they work. Repairing them is impossible. 

Regular space travel is powered partly by rockets, partly by the energy released by partial unfolding. 

Nifty, thanks Clarence. Does local space travel inlude calculating vectors, gravity, and fuel/mass, instead of just winging it through the space ala Star Wars?

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The rules wing it even worse than Star Wars. But starships have quite a different role in Odd Soot. PCs are unlikely to own a starship and most travelling is more similar to being a passenger on a 1920s steamship. Most of the technical aspects of space travel are hidden from the PCs. 

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9 hours ago, clarence said:

The rules wing it even worse than Star Wars. But starships have quite a different role in Odd Soot. PCs are unlikely to own a starship and most travelling is more similar to being a passenger on a 1920s steamship. Most of the technical aspects of space travel are hidden from the PCs. 

I prefer my sci-fi this way. Unless the campaign really focuses on the ship itself, like Firefly, then I'd much rather have space travel be a thing that happens rather than a thing the characters do.

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28 minutes ago, clarence said:

I’m quite fascinated by hard sci-fi space travel. But for RPGs it quickly gets cumbersome with all the rules. 

I will suggest that there is no "hard sci-fi" FTL ...   Oh, there are interesting speculations, but no hard science.  YMMV.

Cryosleep is pretty boring RP, for interstellar space travel!

That leaves space travel within our solar-system, with very "Age of Sail" timeframes for travel (but likely minimal/zero piracy) and storylines accordingly.  Shipboard RP can be a serious thing... espionage, romance, etc etc etc.

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34 minutes ago, clarence said:

I’m quite fascinated by hard sci-fi space travel. But for RPGs it quickly gets cumbersome with all the rules. 

That used to be a problem, but nowadays you can use e.g. an Android-device as a prop to calculate courses, travel times, fuel consumption etc. with little effort.

For Odd Soot, such a prop would probably have to be clockwork brass instruments, depending on how much Tesla-tech you want to include.

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3 minutes ago, Joerg said:

That used to be a problem, but nowadays you can use e.g. an Android-device as a prop to calculate courses, travel times, fuel consumption etc. with little effort.

Cool. I can easily see a near-future RPG that moves a lot of complex rules (like combat and healing) to smartphones, hiding all the complexity behind a user-friendly UI.

For Odd Soot, something like this might do the trick:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antikythera_mechanism#/media/File:Antikythera_model_front_panel_Mogi_Vicentini_2007.JPG

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Just reading Odd Soot (and having a great time). One thing occured to me: Where do the nuveri get "replacement bodies"? If the question is answered in the book, I couldn't find it.

If replacement bodies are "donated" by nuveri whose head has been destroyed, leaving an intact body, that would probably mean that they are in very high demand - which would imply that there must be some kind of criminal activity, probably involving murder, to sell bodies, even with the nuveri taboo against violence.

Or are the headless bodies "grown" in some way? Or can nuveri give birth to headless bodies? Would that be something that just happens, or something they are able to do willingly? Which brings me to the question of sexual reproduction ...

Anyway, Odd Soot has some fascinating aliens!

Edited by Jakob

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Nuveri body recycling is a fascinating topic poorly understood by human scientists. In general terms, empty bodies come from someone who die of old age.

As a nuveri dies a natural death, internal organs wither. Soft tissues dry out and withdraw from the body ’shell’. Organs can then be extracted by a gentle pulling of the head upwards and all the internals follow (it looks somewhat like a jellyfish, with the head at the top). The paper body is left empty, ready for someone else to occupy.

Ethically, this procedure is acceptable to the nuveri. As long as the person is already dead, it is not viewed as an act of violence. 

In general, a nuveri will have to take whatever body is available. But as The Soot spreads, some retrieve bodies in advance, just in case. And, as you point out Jakob, this has the potential to turn into a market. Who wouldn’t want the body of a hero or a successful businessman?

Scientists are experimenting with ways to turn sterile nuveri eggs into functional outer bodies but they have not succeeded so far.

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