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Thread: Hypothetical PBP

  1. Default Hypothetical PBP

    Quote Originally Posted by Umiushi View Post
    That's a complicated question, so let me decompose it a bit in my reply.


    Feng Shui supports a wide variety of genre elements. Besides martial arts, it's got guns, super-science, magic, monsters, time travel, alternate realities, and probably other stuff. I use some of that in my Feng Shui game. More specific details are covered in the first five posts of the Old, Dark Road thread in this sub-forum. However, like most rpgs with "rules-lite" leanings, I have found the Feng Shui mechanics to be lacking when compared to the promise of the setting. Therefore, I do not think I will be running a Feng Shui pbp game, where I'm likely to be stuck with the system for months or years to come.


    However, I have said in the past that it would be difficult for me to run another pbp but not completely impossible. I'm willing to discuss the matter further. In such a case, I'd to briefly discuss each element you proposed in terms of whether or not I would be willing to incorporate it into a hypothetical pbp.
    guns - I don't mind guns in an rpg setting. However, for aesthetic reasons, I don't like to deal with guns in a medieval fantasy-like setting.
    character customization (like implants) - I'm fine with this in most cases.
    near future or post apocalyptic setting - I particularly mislike post-apocalyptic settings and don't run them. Similarly, I would prefer to run either a contemporary setting or a far-future setting as opposed to a near-future setting.
    magic-like classes/roles (maybe enabled by technology) - I'm usually fine with this, but again, it depends on the setting. I'm planning to use magic as a stand-in for Clarkesian technology in my THOSE game, but I need to at least satisfy myself that there is some rationale for the magical effects, even a flimsy one.
    ballistic armor - I'm neutral on this. Ballistic armor in Feng Shui isn't that great because everyone is good enough to dodge bullets and is either a crack shot or else so inaccurate that there's no need for armor in the first place. In THOSE, personal force screens usually take the place of armored clothing.
    classes/roles which can summon or create "pets"? - This purely depends on the mechanics of the system. I don't want to manage a character's pet as a separate entity all the time, because I don't wish the additional work. I also look at whether a character who employs a pet gains an uncompensated advantage over a character who doesn't use one. I especially don't like systems where there are vast random tables of possible summoned creatures that each have to be individually written up when they appear. None of this is a problem in 4e, so 4e-like summoned creatures and pets are generally fine.
    I think guns have no place in a medieval setting, so we are agreed on that. So this limits us to contemporary and far-future settings. In far-future, are you talking Culture-like level future or more like 15-20 years? The concern with a more contemporary setting is that it wouldn't be fantastical enough. I think a far-future setting could be very interesting and compelling.

    In terms of armor, I was hoping to have a more advanced system than light, medium, heavy/ cloth, leather, metal. If the armor system allows for more types of armor or different technologies then it would likely be something we could both enjoy using.

    I would be happy with a pet system that could run like 4e, but I particularly like the idea of having a very limited number of pets or companions that a player can customize and "summon" for use in a particular situation. If you are familiar with Shadowrun this would be the decker type which would allow you to use specific types of drones based on whatever the player decision is. The 4e system creates a simple pet (like the ball of flame) which allows you to move and attack, but once the encounter is over, it disappears and cannot be used in non-combat situations.

    I would be happy to play experimental systems with you that try to incorporate these different things if you are willing.
    Ariellana, Noxias, and everybody in July.

  2. #2
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    If you don't mind dealing with a work in progress, I would be happy to attempt to run a parallel THOSE playtest in pbp format. By far future, yes, I do mean a Culture-like future. The Culture is one of my major influences, and the overminds in THOSE are directly inspired by the "minds" that administer the Culture.

    Currently, the chat playtests are going to focus on curules and lictors, and work up to shells, starships, and d-craft in order. A pbp playtest could follow the same scheme, but wouldn't have. If you wanted to begin with d-craft and work downwards or start with shells, for example, I'm sure I could work something out.

    If you don't want to deal with an unfinished and ungainly system, we can try for something different, but be advised that the only reason I'm working on THOSE is because of my long-time dissatisfaction with the state of science fiction rpgs. Unlike some of my colleagues, my idea of fun does not include putting together role-playing games. That said, I own some science fiction rpgs that I would be willing to try out. I do have a concern that none of these have any staying power:

    • Dream Park - This is a multi-genre rpg that can be adapted to a science fiction setting.
    • Mekton Zeta - This is my favorite among all the mecha rpgs I've encountered. In terms of mecha, it's terribly out of date; it was published before Neon Genesis Evangelion. Still, I haven't seen anything better come along. An added plus: with some tinkering, it can be made to work together with R. Talsorian's Cyberpunk rpg.
    • Star Frontiers - This is a rayguns and spaceships rpg. I'm listing it because I think the mechanics are better than many of the other sf rpgs I've seen, but it does next to nothing in supporting things like body modifications or network hacking.
    • Tenra Bansho Zero - I've never run it. Looking it over, I suppose it could count as a "magitech" setting.

  3. Default

    As a first foray into the SF space (at least in this forum) I'd be interested in trying out THOSE in pbp format. If that is successful I would appreciate the opportunity to incorporate some of the other items we discussed if you are not too opposed to them.
    Ariellana, Noxias, and everybody in July.

  4. Default

    But also, don't feel obliged if it is just me. I don't want you to expend the effort if there are not enough interested parties.
    Ariellana, Noxias, and everybody in July.

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    It might be good to start with you as the only player, since this is a play-test. I'd rather new players join the Aucothian campaign first. That said, I'll try to be accommodating to anyone else who wishes to join.

    As mentioned on the THOSE thread, you will be playing an overmind, and you will have multiple components that you will use as PCs at various times depending on the scale of the adventure. In broad terms, you are tasked with facilitating the reunification of humanity (and related sentients) under the auspices of the Solar League, the dominant interstellar government of humanity. This reunification effort is to proceed under mutually voluntary terms, but there is no shortage of lost colonies to be contacted and assessed. In addition, you are encouraged to engage in activities ultimately helpful to the Solar League, such as trade, resource acquisition, and threat response. More specifics will be discussed once I have a better idea of your character.

    The outline to creating an overmind is currently as follows:

    • d-craft creation (An overmind is in control of up to one d-craft.)
    • starship selection (An overmind is housed on one starship.)
    • shell design (Your overmind's starship has four shells, though you do not need to design more than one of them for now.)
    • curule design (Your overmind's design will be influenced by your curule. Later it will be the other way around. Your overmind controls four curules, but you only need to design the one that will serve as the model of your overmind for now.)
    • lictor design (Your overmind controls 16 lictors, of up to four different types. You only need to design one set of four lictors for now.)


    Although overminds control multiple shells, curules, and lictors, I would like you to only design one of each specimen to start with. Of course, you are free to make more, but I will use only one of each sort in the initial play-testing.

    D-craft
    Your d-craft is a gigantic spaceship that is capable of hyperspace travel. Hyperspace is a different realm of spacetime and is subject to a number of exotic effects. Hyperspace has different access points, known as "soft points." In the physical universe, these soft points are usually found in accumulations of dark matter, because they are influenced by no force save for gravity. Although immense in size, the delicate equipment d-craft employ renders them relatively fragile, so they rely on starships and shells for protection. However, only d-craft possess weaponry that functions in hyperspace, as such weapons employ the same means as hyperspace travel and require the same equipment. D-crafts also store an archive of your overmind that can potentially be restored if your overmind is physically destroyed.

    You start with six points that determine what type of d-craft you possess, or whether you have one at all. Assign zero to six of your six points to me and keep the remainder for yourself. If you have one or more points left for yourself, you possess a d-craft of the appropriate capabilities, otherwise you have no d-craft and must rely on those controlled by other overminds. The more points you have for your d-craft, the more capabilities it possesses and the more complicated it will be to manage. Any points you assign to me will be distributed to other players who may join later or will be used for allied NPCs.

    Starships

    Starships are able to warp spacetime and travel at several times the speed of light. Even at top speed, however, galactic distances are prohibitively far. Starships can travel from one star to a neighboring star in a reasonable amount of time and can "tug" a d-craft from soft point to soft point in physical space. Starships possess powerful weapons and defenses affecting the physical universe. Overminds are typically housed on starships, being the most secure environments for them.

    Starship creation rules are not fleshed out, so please select one of the following rough starship designs:

    1. compact, no-frills military starcraft with generally strong weapons and defenses, and the toughest hull
    2. another military starcraft with an emphasis on "close" (ten of thousands of kilometers) and "short" (several AU) range weapons as opposed to long range (a few parsecs) weaponry; its hull is the second-toughest
    3. this ship uses an exotic technology "transcendent manifolds" and resembles a D&D cleric in its role: it has good defenses, decent weaponry, and very good repair capabilities
    4. a relatively fragile ship with good weaponry and some access to transcendent manifolds resulting in an enhanced repair capability
    5. another somewhat fragile ship with decent weapons and an unusual amount of hyperspace support equipment that gives it long-range capabilities resembling electronic warfare


    You will note that all available ships have at least "decent weaponry," because I don't want you to start out with a poorly-armed vessel.

    Shells

    Shells are combat vehicles that can take many forms, the most common resembling mecha or fighter craft. Although much weaker than starships on an individual basis, they have the same level of weapons and defenses. They are used to attack and defend starships as well as other shells. In non-combat situations, shells are used to transport curules and lictors to places unreachable by the massive starships and d-craft.

    Shells are the first "non-vital" component of an overmind in that an overmind is not greatly disadvantaged if a shell is lost. However, starships and d-craft lack the resources to manufacture replacement shells, particularly in terms of their weapons and defenses. Therefore, they must be replaced at permanent stations and colonies.

    Shells have four abstract attributes: operations, processing, transcendent manifolds, and hyperspace transmission. Roughly speaking, operations is how well a shell does its job (mainly combat) and processing is how fast it does its job. Transcendent manifolds and hyperspace transmission are both hand-wavy exotic technologies that can provide a shell with special abilities.

    To design a shell, choose either one or two of the four attributes as your shell's "focus." You can also choose to have no focus, which lets your shell dabble in a bit of everything.

    Operations and Processing both start at level one. If you have a focus in transcendent manifolds and/or hyperspace transmission, that attribute starts at level one. If you have no focus, then both transcendent manifolds and hyperspace transmission start at level one. Otherwise, they start at level zero.

    You have six bonus levels to distribute among your four attributes. However, no attribute can start above level five. If an attribute is at level zero, you are not allowed to increase its level.

    OtterKnow's post here http://thetangledweb.net/forums/show...361#post875361 gives four correct examples of shell creation.

    Curules
    Curules are physical bodies in close communication with overminds. They are often cyborgs to some extent. At the very least, they have to be implanted with hyperspace transmission circuits in order to share data with the overmind. Otherwise, they can be any mix of biological or mechanical. Biological-leaning curules are favored, at least in outward appearance. Hyperspace matter, energy, and information transmission give curules capabilities far in excess of what their physical bodies alone would imply.

    Curules can be grown and/or manufactured by a starship, though overseeing this requires a portion of an overmind's processing power. Because curules are fully sentient in their own right, it takes some time to properly "raise and train" new ones, usually several months.

    Design a curule as you would a 4e D&D character at level 13. You start with three free magic items: one is level 14 or less, one is level 13 or less, and the third is level 12 or less. You also have 13,000 gp in funds with which to purchase your equipment, including additional magic items. There is no compensatory bonus for choosing an item lower than the maximum level allowed.

    All your powers and equipment will be reworked to be setting-appropriate. With that in mind, please concentrate on quality over quantity when making your purchases; it will save me a lot of trouble and you can always design another curule down the road.

    Almost all weapons will be converted to ranged weapons of some sort. Melee weapons will have ranges of 5, 10, or line of sight. Ranged weapons benefit from enhanced targeting for extra-long range. Some might represent satellite weapons or remote drones. I am in the middle of working out the details. Ranges for attack powers will be dealt with in a similar manner.

    Some skills, especially knowledge skills, are also getting replaced or at least renamed. I will have a post about that in the THOSE thread later tonight.

    Lictors
    Lictors are physical bodies that are controlled by curules. Although they are or at least can be made to be sentient, lictors are not privy to the thoughts and personality of an overmind in the way that curules are. Lictors are not outfitted with expensive hyperspace transmission implants and are only about as durable as the bodies they are given. However, this makes them easy to replace: a new lictor can be thawed out, or grown, or manufactured in a matter of hours or days as opposed to months for a curule.

    Your lictors will have similarities to D&D minion-type monsters, though they are a bit more durable. You will design them in sets of four identical units, to make bookkeeping easier for me. To design a set, first pick a combat role. Your available choices are:
    • artillery (like a controller, but specializing in ranged attacks; example: 4e wizard)
    • brute (brutes are good at withstanding attacks but not good at avoiding attacks; they are good at dealing damage but not good at maneuvering; they have some aspects of both defenders and strikers; example: 4e barbarian)
    • controller (manipulate and penalize enemies; example: 4e druid)
    • lurkers (weak but stealthy; 4e rogues have some typical lurker attributes but are usually more like skirmishers)
    • skirmisher (like a striker, skirmishers hit hard and often, and usually have some sort of enhanced battlefield mobility; example: 4e warlock)
    • soldier (like a defender, soldiers have good attacks and high defenses, and keep enemies away from weaker allies; example: 4e fighter)


    You can optionally add the leader sub-role to whatever you pick. This simply changes some of the character's combat bonuses into support bonuses. A 4e shaman is an example of a leader-skirmisher.

    Next, you will further specialize your lictors by giving them two bonus specializations or one double-specialization. These specializations can either be in combat areas or non-combat areas. They reflect certain additional "ready-made" skillsets that are hardwired into the lictor to enhance or support a curule.

    Combat Specialization Areas:
    • long-range combat (beyond line of sight)
    • ranged combat
    • close combat (melee and hand-to-hand)
    • demolitions


    Non-Combat Specializations
    • biomedical systems
    • cybernetics (technological systems involving or implanted in motive units)
    • embedded systems (technological systems involving sessile units, that are not necessarily integrated or controlled by whatever they are placed in)
    • information systems
    • psychology
    • survival


    In terms of capability, a lictor will be somewhere between a 5th level minion and a 5th level companion character.
    Last edited by Umiushi; 12-05-2015 at 02:57 AM.

  6. Default

    This is what I'm starting with... Is this the right direction? Am I correct in thinking that there is never really any reason to specialize a shell? You only get +1 in that one skill if you specialize rather than +1 for both skills if you don't.

    Overmind Aurelius
    D-craft - 5 points - I expect I will be the only one so therefore I will be quite selfish
    Starship Vexillarius - A fragile ship with decent weapons and an unusual amount of hyperspace support equipment that gives it long-range capabilities resembling electronic warfare
    Legionary Shell -
    Operations
    5
    Processing
    3
    Transcendent manifolds
    1
    Hyperspace transmission
    1

    Speculatore Shell -
    Operations
    1
    Processing
    5
    Transcendent manifolds
    3
    Hyperspace transmission
    1

    Venator Shell -
    Operations
    1
    Processing
    1
    Transcendent manifolds
    4
    Hyperspace transmission
    4

    Medius Shell -
    Operations
    1
    Processing
    1
    Transcendent manifolds
    3
    Hyperspace transmission
    5

    Curules TBD
    Lictors TBD
    Ariellana, Noxias, and everybody in July.

  7. #7
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    The intention is for every mechanic to have a purpose. Right now, my intention is for specializations to determine options and versatility within an area. A shell that's single-specialized in Operations and has Operations 4 will probably be better at Operations-based activity than a shell that's dual-specialized in Operations and something else, or a shell with no focus, even if the latter two shells both have Operations 5.

    I will make a comparison to a D&D fighter with 16 Strength and a wizard with 18 Strength. If the two are the same level, I would still expect the fighter to do better at melee weapon combat than the wizard.

    At 5 points, you have a choice between two vessels for your d-craft.

    • D-Fortress - This is a very rare mobile base station. It maintains a civilian population from 10,000 to 10,000,000 of lesser human-based and AI intelligences. A d-fortress would be a one-of-a-kind d-craft that would project major strategic military and diplomatic influence in a volume of several parsecs. Some conceptual examples in fiction would include the eponymous Macross from Super Dimension Fortress Macross; the Subtle Shift in Emphasis, a Plains class General Contact Vehicle (GCV) from the Culture series; the Kukai Foundation mobile colony from Xenosaga; the Musashi from Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere; the Sidonia from Knights of Sidonia; and Leopard, a brain colony from The Girl Who Leapt Through Space. A primarily military example would be the Death Star from Star Wars. Because a D-fortress maintains several concurrent trade and industrial operations, its discretionary storage capacity is usually only a fraction of its theoretical maximum. Humanity has only just achieved the technological capability to construct such a craft, so a d-fortress would not be more than thirty years old.
    • Xeno-Dreadnought - This is a (usually) gigantic alien-built d-craft battleship that somehow fell into the hands of humanity. It is unparalleled in terms of raw capability: no starting d-craft will excel it in either firepower or cargo capacity. Most of its systems are incompatible with human technology, so it is already about as modified as it can be. Beyond the basics of attack, defense, and transport, its functions are largely unknown and inaccessible. For this reason xeno-dreadnoughts are usually devoid of civilians with the possible exception of research missions, though some might be large enough that entire civilizations might be found squatting within their depths. Conceptual examples in fiction would include Fulbtzs-Berrentzs class Zentradi motherships from Super Dimension Fortress Macross; the Gnosis Cathedral Ship from Xenosaga; and the White Comet Gatlantis from Space Battleship Yamato II, all on the large side. On the small side, the Liberator from Blake's 7 would count in terms of its alien origin and relative power in the context of the setting. The eponymous space battleship Yamato could provisionally count, since its main systems function through barely-understood Iscandarian technology. A xeno-dreadnought could have a similar feel to Nostalgia for Infinity from the Revelation Space series, though that spaceship had a human origin.


    A few non-comprehensive details concerning the Vexillarius:
    • 1650 meters along its longest dimension
    • Armor Class 8 (The relation of starship AC to D&D AC is still being worked out. The theoretical minimum is 0. The spaceships I designed range from 4 to 12, so this one is squarely in the middle.) The ship's armor class is based on the strength of its two defensive systems: an entropic interference layer (force field generated by the ship's power plant) and distortion sheath (deflector shields generated by the ship's warp drive) as well as the speed and effectiveness of the ship's evasive maneuvers.
    • Structure Points 25 (Most starships I designed have 25 Structure Points, which is also the minimum. So far, the most resilient PC starship has 54 Structure Points. Shells universally have 10 Structure Points at this point in time. D-craft critical installations have 1000 Structure Points and weak spots (those pesky exhaust ports) have 100 Structure Points.)
    • Cruising velocity is 350-400 times light speed: one parsec every four days or so.
    • Maximum safe sublight acceleration is 4G.
    • Armaments
      • Spinal Mount Neutron Cannon - This is the primary close-range weapon. Against evading targets, it has an effective range of 30,000 km. It is effective up to 2 AU against targets whose position can be accurately calculated. It is powered directly by the ship's power plant and has effectively unlimited ammunition.
      • Causality Lance - This is the primary long-range weapon. It creates time-space paradoxes that traps targets in closed time-like loops. The universe's strong resistance to such effects means that the weapon is more awesome-sounding than actually effective, but its main advantage is it's extremely long range. It has a minimum operating range of 7 parsecs and a maximum range of 21 parsecs. It is powered by a pseudo-electrical current that carries a complex charge. The ship has a complex capacitor bank that is capable of firing the causality lance up to twenty times, but it is only 60% charged for a total of twelve shots. Only major colonies or planetary settlements can produce complex current to recharge such a capacitor bank.
      • Drone Missile - This is basically an unmanned shell with a subsentient AI and a once-off warp drive. (The warp drive at this scale of construction is inherently unstable and doubles as a self-destruct device. This "feature" cannot be deactivated.)
      • Drone Missile Swarm - Lots of smaller, dumber shells with a single SMITE-style warp inducer. The effect is similar to a giant shotgun blast with an interstellar range.
      • 2x Transluminous Lens Cannon - These are experimental long-range weapons designed to bridge the gap between the neutron cannon and the causality lance. The transluminous lens confers a negative effective rest mass to photons, accelerating them past the speed of light. It has a theoretical range of at least 5 parsecs. Unfortunately, they still need to be test-fired. Fortunately, they are contained in external modules that can be activated remotely, in case you're worried about them blowing up and destroying the ship. However, without being attached to the ship's power-plant, each lens only has enough power to be fired once before being retrieved and recharged.

    • Hyperspace Transmission Equipment - Although a starship is not large enough to carry hyperspace transit engines (which d-craft use) this starship is filled with advanced hyperspace communications gear. Simple hyperspace communication of data can be achieved through even microscopic components. Where communication is possible, logic weapons are also possible, and this starship specializes in being able to use its communications equipment to attempt to compromise other starship and shell systems across a range of several parsecs.
    Last edited by Umiushi; 12-10-2015 at 09:47 AM.

  8. Default

    In the case of logic weapons via communication channels, is this referring to disrupting or attacking the command and control signals between one or more different shells? More like ECM/ECCM? More like simple signal jamming? Or all of the above?
    Ariellana, Noxias, and everybody in July.

  9. #9
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    All of the above. Specifically, while all starships are capable of basic ECM and such, this modification gives you a chance to even disable or take over shells, starships, or locations on a d-craft.

  10. Default

    Hi Umi,

    I agree, let us focus a bit on this over the remainder of the year and see if we can get some characters created...

    To that end I feel that I am flying a little blind. My goal is to go with a long range theme focusing on the use of lightening and stealth. In the creation of the Curules using the DnD rules I'm not sure what magical items or even what attributes would be beneficial.

    If you have some thoughts on what might be a good direction to go or could provide me with a bit more detail on how THOSE maps to DnD that would be super!
    Ariellana, Noxias, and everybody in July.

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