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View Poll Results: What about a new sci-fi setting?

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64. You may not vote on this poll
  • IF it's something completely new. Don't need more of the same Thank You.

    10 15.63%
  • I like having SOME of the standard stuff in there, but you need to bring SOMETHING new to the table.

    31 48.44%
  • I don't want or need ANY new sci-fi setting Thank You.

    1 1.56%
  • If I find it interesting, maybe. Otherwise, I don't care.

    22 34.38%
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Thread: What about a new sci-fi setting?

  1. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by tesral View Post
    Frankly I've found that as an RPG setting Star trek is not great for group play. The hierarchy of Starfleet puts someone in command.
    Prime Directive, set in the "Star Fleet Universe" of Star Fleet Battles, centers on an away team or "alpha team". In typical Star Trek, Kirk, Spock, and a redshirt beaming down to the planet, which unrealistically endangers the command staff on every mission and raises the issue of rank. An alpha team usually consists of low-ranking officers from various specialties who don't directly report to each other; like PCs in other games, leadership is informal and depends on circumstances, e.g. the diplomat might take over in first contact missions and trade negotiations, the security chief leads in combat, the scout leads in exploration missions or survival situations, and scientists/engineers/technicians do their thing with non-technical staff in supporting and "gofer" roles. If players really want to command the starship instead, maybe each has a second character among the command staff (captain, helm, sensors, weapons, damage control, etc.) during space battles.

    Quote Originally Posted by tesral View Post
    Why does D&D work, or Hero for that matter. What is it about the Heroic Fantasy and the Super Hero genres led themselves to enduring role-play?
    Power creep and ready access to that power breaks the typical D&D dynamic, as ashewyntr noted. Another problem, noted in a blog post on a site I'm too lazy to look up, is that fantasy role-playing games all have a catchy elevator pitch, usually "medieval times with magic". Everyone knows (or thinks they know) about the Middle Ages, and everyone can imagine what magic does even if the actual system works completely differently. On the other hand, there's no ISO Standard Science Fiction Setting, so GMs have to a) pick a specific franchise and deal with players' superior knowledge of canon, b) list the premises of that particular setting, or c) do both with the advantages and disadvantages of both.

    To paraphrase the unspecified blog post from memory, fantasy games allow Gandalf, Conan, and the Gray Mouser to hunt down Dracula, but a setting that allows Obi-Wan Kenobi, James T. Kirk, and The Doctor to defeat Ming the Merciless is far harder to find.

    EDIT: I overcame my laziness: Sci-Fi Goulash at Grognardia.
    Last edited by fmitchell; 02-27-2012 at 06:31 AM. Reason: add links
    "On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
    - Charles Babbage (1791 - 1871)

  2. #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by ashewyntr View Post
    Once the power dynamic is broken, it's hard to stay excited about adventuring. "More treasure? Nah, thanks. I already bought a planetoid with the investments from the last haul."

    A Scifi game needs a story-based design, where the rules complement telling the story, instead of adventuring - which, I might add, in our civilization we call murder, robbery, desecration, and grave-robbing.
    That is one factor, no argument. It is one reason Star Trek does work as an RPG. While there are lots of toys you cannot phaser a social problem into submission. Likewise Serenity, or Star Wars.

    Star Wars is plot Velcro. Any plot can be played out in the Star Wars game. You have a whole galaxy to deal with. But we want something new. How do we take the parts of the various SF genre that work for gaming and put a new face on it that isn't used furniture?

    ---------- Post added at 06:07 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:44 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by fmitchell View Post
    Prime Directive
    To paraphrase the unspecified blog post from memory, fantasy games allow Gandalf, Conan, and the Gray Mouser to hunt down Dracula, but a setting that allows Obi-Wan Kenobi, James T. Kirk, and The Doctor to defeat Ming the Merciless is far harder to find.
    You can actually, if you break them down to what they are not who they are. Obi Wan is the wise teacher, Kirk the smart action hero. Ming the nefarious tyrant. Star Wars or Star Trek both are "generic" enough to insert these types. Obi Wan = Surak, Kirk = Han Solo, Ming =- Palpatine.

    So story and characters must come first. Characters must be in situation where they can have adventures. Another day at the Imperial Ministry of Dull Affairs does not a RPG make.

    Oh and one forgotten. Traveller. Again the open ended galaxy where anything can happen.

    One Idea I have seen exploited to good effect was River World. The basic idea of famous people from history and or fiction encountering each other. It was a amorphous shaped changing race that considered taking on the personality and shape of a figure from their vast library of personalities a religious experience. The change is complete and the blob believes to the very core they are that person. No using blob shape. Some of the people escape the world by building ships. Any number of character concepts can be played out on the planet or in space.

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
    My favorite game console is a table and chairs.
    The Olde Phoenix Inn

  3. #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by tesral View Post
    Oh and one forgotten. Traveller. Again the open ended galaxy where anything can happen.
    Out of the box, Traveller can't emulate Jedi lightsaber duels. Its equipment list lacks a sonic screwdriver or TARDIS, and "regeneration" isn't listed among possible alien abilities. You can always house-rule something like those abilities; no D&D magic-user is exactly like Gandalf, so the "laser spanner" won't be a Universal Plot Device, for example. However, a house-ruled Jedi probably won't play the same as a Jedi in Star Wars D6, and a house-ruled Time Lord probably won't be able to flim-flam or jerry-rig the way he could in Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space.

    And what happens when Caprica Six, Aeon Flux, or River Tam want to join in the fun? One's a cyborg that can upload its consciousness into an uncounted number of copies, one's a dystopian freedom-fighter/terrorist who uses gadgets and improbable acrobatics, and one's a crazy psychic who can beat up an entire bar full of people by herself. (Together they fight crime?)

    Every SF RPG makes some assumptions about technological progress, how psionics works (if it exists), and the realm of possibilities beyond known science, and they're all different. Contrast this with fantasy roleplaying, where everyone knows (more or less) what chain mail is, how a sword works, and how a horse travels the vast gulf between one village and the next. Magic differs in every set of rules and house rules, but hey, it's magic, A Wizard Does It.
    Last edited by fmitchell; 02-28-2012 at 12:18 PM.
    "On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
    - Charles Babbage (1791 - 1871)

  4. #109
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    Quote Originally Posted by fmitchell View Post
    Out of the box, Traveller can't emulate Jedi lightsaber duels. Its equipment list lacks a sonic screwdriver or TARDIS, and "regeneration" isn't listed among possible alien abilities.

    Every SF RPG makes some assumptions about technological progress, how psionics works (if it exists), and the realm of possibilities beyond known science, and they're all different. Contrast this with fantasy roleplaying, where everyone knows (more or less) what chain mail is, how a sword works, and how a horse travels the vast gulf between one village and the next. Magic differs in every set of rules and house rules, but hey, it's magic, A Wizard Does It.
    I've never considered the game out of the box as the limits of the game. My gaming philosophy is more inclusive. My game can have anything in it I or my players want. Yes the general flavor of Traveler is different than Star Wars or Star Trek. However that by no means closes off the font of the possible. Different flavors are good.

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
    My favorite game console is a table and chairs.
    The Olde Phoenix Inn

  5. #110
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    I voted for interesting background.
    I'm wise enough to know that I don't know half as much as I think I know. Y'know?

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