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almenac

Would Mythras or M-Space be a good fit for my scifi campaign (d100 vs GURPS vs Savage Worlds)

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EDIT: I pasted this from VS Code, I have no idea how I managed to get the background color like this.

TL;DR I need a system for science fiction campaign and I have trouble deciding.

I'm putting together a science fiction campaign and I'm trying to figure out what system to use. The previous campaign I ran was traditional fantasy with D&D 5E and this time I want to try something different.

The campaign takes place in my own homebrew science fiction setting. The characters are shipwrecked with a military vessel in an unknown planet with hostile elements. The main idea is that characters are trying to get out, but how they do it will be mostly up to them. The campaign will have sandbox elements with numerous adventure seeds dropped in. If the campaign is succesful, I'd like there to be an option to continue with the same group but with different focus (from the shipwreck scenario to becoming bounty hunters or space traders with their own ship). 

My main candidates are Mythras/M-Space, GURPS and Savage Worlds. I own and I've read through most of the core books and some supplements of these, but haven't run or played them. My group doesn't have experience in the systems either, if we don't count original Runequest way back.

The main reason I'm asking is that I'm having a huge analysis paralysis and I'd like to get to writing the actual campaign material. Of these three I leaning towards Mythras/M-Space. I'd rather not have to buy any more books, but I'm open to suggestions. Any help and comments would be greatly appreciated.

My wishlist for the system is:

* Not integrated into some particular setting
* Preferably no classes or levels. Loose careers or templates are fine.
* Flat power curve. Characters should increase in power, but not in contemporary D&D superhero style.
* Ability to handle tactical combat with modern/futuristic weapons.
* Combat resolves quickly. I have six players and D&D 5E fights in higher level could easily take hours.
* Nonviolent problem and conflict resolution is viable, noncombat characters are fun to play.

Here's my breakdown so far:

Mythras pros:

* Unrestrictive career system
* Cool and deadly combat system 
* Organic character growth
* Decades worth of combatible material from d100 world

Mythras cons:

* No special abilities like powers, feats or edges. Could this be modeled with Gifts?
* Too deadly?
* Might be difficult to model scifi concepts like droids and AI 

GURPS pros:

* Can model anything
* Vast supplement catalog

GURPS cons:

* Putting together campaign and chargen takes forever
* The combat system has a reputation of being very slow
* Support isn't very good nowadays

Savage Worlds pros:

* Can model anything action-oriented
* Resolves combat quickly
* Very well supported
* Low prep time

Savage Worlds cons:

* Pulpy, might not support more serious tones
* The game is designed around combat and action
* My players may dislike cards and bennies as metagamey and quirky

Edited by almenac
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1 hour ago, almenac said:

Mythras pros:

* Unrestrictive career system
* Cool and deadly combat system 
* Organic character growth
* Decades worth of combatible material from d100 world

Mythras cons:

* No special abilities like powers, feats or edges. Could this be modeled with Gifts?
* Too deadly?
* Might be difficult to model scifi concepts like droids and AI 

You can use Special Abilities from Legend for powers, feats and edges. 

Mythras is as deadly as you want it to be. In a SciFi setting, stock up on Medikits and so on and you can treat any wound but a fatal one, in fact you might use a Medikit to stabilise a Fatal Wound and then require surgery to downgrade it. 

I model AIs as NPCs with skills. They have access to a lot of data, but, in essence, they have skills that they can roll to do things. Droids just work as normal, they might have higher Hit Points, depending on how you see them, or they might be really sensitive to damage, whichever you prefer. Again, they have their own skills and abilities, just like any PC.

I have written a Legend SciFi system, based on my RQ Scifi rules, and they seem to hang together nicely.

I haven;t played GURPS or Savage Worlds, so cannot answer those.

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(I posted this on TDM’s forums but I’m repeating it here for clarity).   

Hi almenac,

I’m happy you’re considering M-Space for your campaign. 

I’ve played some GURPS over the years but never used Savage Worlds. As you say, GURPS can model almost anything. The problem is its complexity and that it can be time consuming to make all the right choices - both for the GM and the players. 

I designed M-Space partly as a reaction to the complexity of GURPS Space and Traveller. I wanted a quicker, more intuitive system that didn’t turn simplistic. 

For special abilities, there are several ways to go. The easiest is to re-cast the system for mystics in the Mythras rulebook. A second option would be to use the feat mechanic from Chaosium’s Blood Tide. Both are flexible enough to use in many types of campaigns. 

When I worry about the deadliness of a campaign, I usually up PC’s Hit Points to a straight CON+SIZ. Or give them more build points at character generation. Installing an advanced autodoc in the PC’s ship will also help if they get into serious trouble. 

Regarding droids and AI, I’m working on a modular system that will cover both. It will be published in M-Space Companion, to be released at the end of the year. It will also have a new magic/gift system that might suit you. 

Your campaign idea sounds fun. How much of the hostility will come from the enviroment and how much from aliens?

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9 hours ago, almenac said:
Mythras cons:

* No special abilities like powers, feats or edges. Could this be modeled with Gifts?
* Too deadly?
* Might be difficult to model scifi concepts like droids and AI 

I faced these issues in my M-Space game too, and solved them by making up a pdf of Additional Combat Style Traits that I can send you or post here if you like. They weren't well received by the people here though, however, they work great in my sci-fi game. It gave the PC's an edge in battle, so I didn't have to nerf things for "balance" issues. I think part of it is that your typical Mythras GM is used to magic being the most powerful, which of course sci-fi has little to no magic; and I don't even use psi in my game. Droids I make like regular characters, as I see it, there would be too many manufacturers to have any standardization. AI is common, but of various levels as well, from non-sentient lobotomized "zombie" AI (the military wouldn't want its multi-million credit weaponry developing its own emotional responses) to God-like machine intelligences like Culture "Minds" that defy the description of AI.
 

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6 hours ago, clarence said:

Yes, combat style traits are cool. You can do a lot with them. Good to hear they work so well in your campaign @dragoner!

Hi @clarence !

My players are aggressive, so combat is quick and lethal, the traits are simple while giving the players an edge, I also use it for character building, as I have them write a couple of sentences as to why. I can see you giving greater hit points as a good solution, esp if they are more measured and thoughtful players. Traits can work well, as long as they do not promote going back into the rules too much to look them up, then again gun battles are pretty straight forward. I haven't used melee rules too much.

One thing I don't do is mess around with computers that often, as I figure 'ease of use' has reduced them to a voice interface connected to some sort of AI, that just pulls code from libraries to perform tasks. Hacks still can be done, often it's more hardware hacks than software. Computers are sort of ubiquitous, so the simpler dealing with them the better.

I Have had a player choose to be a robot, a combat model that was then seconded to an officer as a valet, and then worked on a merchant freighter. I had them run them up through various career profiles we worked out together (mainly the combat mod).

I have found M-Space to be a very elegant set of rules, and easily modifiable to suit various needs of the setting.

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12 hours ago, dragoner said:

I faced these issues in my M-Space game too, and solved them by making up a pdf of Additional Combat Style Traits that I can send you or post here if you like. They weren't well received by the people here though, however, they work great in my sci-fi game. It gave the PC's an edge in battle, so I didn't have to nerf things for "balance" issues. I think part of it is that your typical Mythras GM is used to magic being the most powerful, which of course sci-fi has little to no magic; and I don't even use psi in my game. Droids I make like regular characters, as I see it, there would be too many manufacturers to have any standardization. AI is common, but of various levels as well, from non-sentient lobotomized "zombie" AI (the military wouldn't want its multi-million credit weaponry developing its own emotional responses) to God-like machine intelligences like Culture "Minds" that defy the description of AI.
 

Thanks for the advice! I would very much like to see your take on the additional combat styles. Even if I didn't use them as is, I can use them as guidelines when designing my own.

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9 hours ago, almenac said:

Thanks for the advice! I would very much like to see your take on the additional combat styles. Even if I didn't use them as is, I can use them as guidelines when designing my own.

Message with the link to the Additional Combat Style Traits PDF that I made, sent in pm's. Modify away, they are something "active" to give players for their characters as a bonus.

 

Welcome to M-Space, it's a great system.

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Hello, I'm new here and new to Mythras. I don't own M-Space yet, but since I often run Science Fiction adventures I'm seriously considering it. I've run SciFi adventures with Travelers, True20 and the MechWarrior RPGs. That said, I've run more SciFi with Savage Worlds than any other RPG. Which leads me to disagree with these 2 bullets listed by the OP as CONs for Savage Worlds:

On 1/19/2019 at 2:05 AM, almenac said:

* Pulpy, might not support more serious tones
* The game is designed around combat and action

Savage Worlds has been a toolkit RPG from its inception with adjustable knobs and sliders, enabling a GM or setting creator to tweak it the way they want. IMO the "pulpy", "action"  and "combat focused" labels are often applied to it, because action and combat do indeed play out very fluidly in it (it's marketing blurb is after all "fast, furious & fun"), and its acing dice can compliment pulp archetypes and settings well. IMO though, SW is by know means restricted to that sort of or genre or style of play. Especially if the GM encourages players to roleplay their PC's hindrances and occasionally incorporate those into plot hooks.

Beginning with Savage Worlds Deluxe (previous edition released in 2011), narrative play mechanics like Social Conflicts, Interludes and Dramatic Tasks in social scenes, have made it more conducive to a narrative style of play.  While Networking has been added as a new social play mechanic in the most recent version (Adventure Edition) of the rules. If potential risk to players is what the OP meant by serious tone, that can be easily set by implementing optional rules like, blood & guts, gritty damage and critical failures; all detailed in the CRB.

Anyhow...it's not my aim to convince the OP to choose SW over Mythras + M-Space, just to clarify what I consider some common misconceptions about SW. Although I'm new to Mythras, I can well envision where it'd play well for SciFi with the right cultures, professions, combat styles and weapon details. Hence my interest in also acquiring M-Space and trying it out with my players by running some adventures.

Edited by kronovan
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Good to hear your reflections on Savage World, @kronovan! I’ve only skimmed the rules and can’t say I read it closely enough to form an opinion. It seems many enjoy it though. 

Let me know if you have any questions about switching between SW and M-SPACE. 

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