Thursday, November 8, 2012

Oddities in the Darkest Space - seriously?

In my last post I wrote how I had this dream I created a scifi rpg. Now I cannot get the idea out of my mind. Here's something I've been thinking.

- It uses modified LotFP rules
- Character classes are from LotFP with some tweaks. Re-naming them and changing a little the rules
- There is no magic but psionics instead. Basically it's M-U spells re-skinned
- There is no Cleric class but a "Medic" (or something). Cleric spells modified so it's this weird computer thingie what has these "powers" like Clerical spells
- Psionics don't learn spells. When they level up they find new abilities rather than learning those
- "Medic" can find chips (scrolls) to use or upload to their computer thingie like M-U spellbook
- Weapons have two values for damage. First is what dice you use and second for firearms when the clip is empty. For example weapon with damage 2/d8 shows that it does d8 points of damage and there is 2 in 8 change the clip must be reloaded
- Mass Effect video game doesn't count ammunition, I won't either. You just need to spend one turn changing the clip/recharging the weapon/let the heat go down
- Demi-humans are actually aliens. Those are based in Halfling, Dwarf and Elf character builds with modifications
- d6 skill system propably where "Tech" class is most advanced in skill usage
- Stances are aggressive, normal and defensive where there are slight modifications for AC/AB like in LotFP
- Encumbrance is from LotFP but CON modifier affects the first encumbrance point. (CON bonus 0 is 5 items, CON bonus +2 is 7 items before first encumbrance point)
- There are powershields what can nullify damage if damage result is in right range

Now I am thinking will I write whole thingie from a scratch or make a small add-on for LotFP explaining the modifications used. So basically you would need LotFP + OitDS to run it. It would save a lot of work writing for me saving time for fluff.

The greatest question is will I write this at all? I like Fading Suns a lot but the rules I'd like to use would be more LotFP like for simplicity. In the other hand I could just use Mutant Future but I want to keep it as its own game/setting/feeling. Also I prefer ascending AC over descending.

So, now the big questions are:
1) Will I write this?
2) Should I use LotFP but only write all the modifications?
3) Should I re-skin LotFP?


Omer Golan-Joel said...

Ever tried Stars Without Number? It's a sci-fi retro-clone which might fit your bill very well, possibly with modifications.

Granger44 said...

Have you checked out the Machinations of the Space Princess funding campaign on Indiegogo ( Your take sounds different enough that I don't want to discourage you from continuing, especially combining the likes of Lamentations, Fading Suns, and Dragonslayers. Instead, it's my hope that their campaign site might further spark some creative juices. :)

Omer Golan-Joel said...

My ideas:

1) Drop the Cleric and M-U. Instead, you'll have an Engineer (with Tech powers) and a Psion (with Psi powers). Tech and Psi powers work similarly but have different flavours. They come either as Minor powers (usable once per round) and Major powers (usable once per turn/60 rounds). Psi powers are mostly telekinesis and mind control/influence/reading powers; Tech powers are hacking, EMP and electronic warfare.

3) The Dwarf becomes the Cicek, a tough-as-nails and aggressive race of lizard-like aliens. Instead of Architecture, they have the ability to hold their breath for 3 turns (30 minutes) and to swim at their full move rate. The Elf becomes the Reticulan (Grey), naturally psionic but less so than a proper Psion. The Halfling becomes the Fleid, a "cat" alien good in stalking and with a lucky reputation (note: Felids are "sneaky hunters" rather than "proud warriors").

4) Architecture becomes the Science skill, used in computer hacking, decryption, chemistry etc. Tinker becomes the Repair skill, used in fixing starships, picking locks (both mechanical and electronic) and so on.

5) Hit Points are replaced by Shield Points (SP). They work like Hit Points but fully regenerate in one turn of non-combat activity. If you run out of SP, you start losing Life Blood (LB). You have a number of LB points equal to your Constitution. LB generates VERY slowly unless you use MediStims (which should be uncommon). If you go down to -10 LB, you die.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

I've heard about both Stars Without Number and Machinations. Gotta check them both out.

Unknown said...

1) Cleric is called "Medic" now but Engineer sounds better! I thought that those powers can be used as in LotFP spells but not yet sure how often. Maybe minor once per turn and major once per encounter so I don't have to count turns too much. Psionics have also access to pyromancy and other. Engineers can heal, tinker etc.

3) Dwarf are now bug like tough and big. Elven are sophisticated alien race with minor psi powers and combat abilities. Halflings are "grey". Smaller than human and intelligent.

4) I got new skills already. Like electronics (including security, computers etc.), mechanics (repairing, crafting), pilot etc.

5) Hit Points are hit points. But there are shields you can buy. Shields protect certain amount of damage fully (ie. 1,2,6+) and leak very low or high damage depending on shield type (light, medium, heavy, experimental). Shields have charges. Every time shield protects from damage one charge is used. Maybe after an encounter shield is reloaded so you don't need to carry and bookkeep extra batteries that much...
Hit Points are class die x CON (Mutant Future, Gamma World). Hit points are slower to heal. 1 per day but can be hasten with "Medic"/Engineer powers, items etc.
0 HP is out of combat. Fleeing or hiding.
-5 HP is incapacitated. Not dead but badly wounded.
-9 or lower HP is dead.

When you level up you get class benefices and roll d6 and check the table. From the table every time you level you might get + to AB, AC, abilities, HP etc.

I was concidering some kind of skill tree. When your skill is high enough you get a bonus to something. But that I am not so sure about. I want to keep things simple!

Good ideas though!

Jonas said...

1) Of course, do it!
2) Sort of but not, I would like to see whole write-ups on the classes for example. Not stuff like "check elf class but with following modifications".
3) Re-skin only parts.

Keep stuff simple.

Also you wrote about your regular LotFP campaign and curious houserule that instead dying folks migh opt to come back with half the XP, in this scifi-thingabob you have in-game justification for it, they might be like clones with personality back-up, not everybody come back as fine as Shep as that sort of thing is crazy expensive and rare. Regular clonemeat back-ups have severe memory loss and thus the xp loss (the backup mind and memories might be really limited, not transhumanist scifi style full copies).

Also, check out X-plorers for ideas to nick, because I hesitate to point people at stuff that costs I will point you at free download version of it, avaible for example here:

Unknown said...

2) Yep, new write-ups. Kind of re-skinning to fill the holes ment to be, but still different enough. I think Halfling, Dwarf and Elf can be easily modified to types: Brute, delicate, grey (you know, greys). Point is that the alien races are different enough from each other to give enough options for those players who don't want to play human profession classes. And I try not to go too gonzo. There's gonzo games for that already. Basically I try to do something what both me and my player like.

3) Yeah. Re-skinning is easy enough but there will be things what should be fresh and new. Otherwise I could just use LotFP and make one a4 sheet to "translate" some terms ;) I thought it is easier to use already made rules than invent the wheel again. I tried to make new rules (Ydin) but it was too much time consuming to focus on rules before you get to do all the "fun" stuff...

Yep, half XP if you "continue". It's up to GM how that "continue" happens. Maybe with magic or similar to how Luke was captured by that yeti. I've blogged about that already...

That cloning idea is pretty neat. There could be a limit how many times character can be resurrected? Once per level you don't get back?
Level 6 character can die 6 times loosing ½ of his current xp (lvl remaining). When he reaches level 7 he gets one resurrect more. So if he died 5 times already and lvls up he now has 2 resurrects left.

Would that be silly? How you would meta-explain that? More copies you make more "soul" you loose? To make a copy you need a "part" of the original. Something misty you put into a tube. Part of his essence, spirit, soul, what ever. Or is that just too much? Because in OSR games you don't need to explain everything. Or if player wants to know the details you could just say "it's high science so shut up."

Jonas said...

That is some mighty interesting stuff you got there. Gonzo is easy to avoid by thinking even a stupid or unlikely explanation instead of going only by rule of cool, instead of for example dwarves in space you might have stocky pseudohumans or humanoids that are genetically adapted to survive on high gravity worlds, maybe they genetically modified colonists or their species just developed on such enviroment, they might not might be short at all or you could have some kind alien that has physique more similar to Earth reptilians, really good immune system, higher tolerance to injuries and radioresistance which would explain traditional "dwarven" traits like high hit points, tolerance to poisons and different senses.

I have never viewed experience levels as "soul", I would approach them as exactly what it says on the tin, advancement in group of skills and talents PC gets better at by doing stuff. I mean if player character gets a level he becomes better at killing and avoiding being killed. Am I right? This is all pretty clear if consider that old school D&D is descendant of games that model combat. Level 0 or 1 dude is rookie or recruit and level 3 dude is grizzled veteran. Enough of that though.

Meta explanation is simple to cook up, we could assume you have no soul and that experience level is sum of all learning and experiences in your brain, clone resurrection is somewhat inferior backup of that wonderful clusterfuck of acquired information that makes up a person. Loss of experience is not loss of "soul" but data loss due error conditions of transmission and processing. Technology that allows the "continues" is not perfect.

Level draining abilities of monsters have never made really sense to me, you could easily drop them in scifi game, or you could make them something like gogolpirates of The Quantum Thief, people or things that fry your brains while forcibly aqcuiring data out of them.

Unknown said...

You got great take on meta-experience points there. Really great thoughts.