Wednesday, June 8, 2016

To Vesper Skies: Prologue

So recently, Paizo announced Starfinder, their science fantasy game. It got my sci fi creative juices flowing and I ended up picking up White Star to get my fix. Between that and some games of Eclipse Phase I've run in the past, I've been thinking of ideas on what I want to run using ACKS and other OSR systems.

In the sci fi game I want to eventually run, I want two things out of it. Transhuman technology and aliens. For the first one, I feel a lot of sci fi games fall flat on this. Some may have cybernetics or bio-engineering, but usually it's too expensive. I'd rather it be more readily available to players, like normal equipment. I find that Eclipse Phase and Nova Praxis do a better job of having cybernetics more readily available to the populace. 

The second is where EP and NP fail. I like aliens dammit. There's just something awesome about a massive galaxy teeming with crazy types of life. From the pulpy blue women of Scorpio, to the more exotic ammonia-based life forms of Kalcyon VI, to the 2001-esque ascended aliens, I just love aliens. The crazier, the better. So I want my game to have a decent amount of playable alien races from the get go. Of course, you have to wonder, where humans fit in all this. With exotic races with some weird abilities, how do you make the baseline humans more interesting? 

I like the idea of making humans lucky. Maybe giving them luck points that allow for rerolls or adding bonuses to a roll for success? While I'm not a stickler for balance per se, I do like having options that aren't clearly crappy. And I do like the idea of humans being the scrappy underdog that occasionally makes it through with luck. Whether I do it with Hero Points or a Luck stat is still on the table.

With all of this, here is what I have for cybernetics, eugenics, and digitization. These do threaten to make PCs much more powerful than in traditional OSR games. These characters are going to wreck a normal, baseline human or elf, pound for pound. So how do you challenge players that are stronger than the average person, or have infrared cyborg eyes? Luckily, since players will have these, so will enemies. Plus, there are all kinds of hazards you can have in space and on exotic worlds that you don't really see all that often onworld. EM storms in space, extremes in temperatures, exotic lifeforms. So I think it will balance itself. And then, of course, it's not like players will start out with cutting edge technology. Just like there are second hand cellphones, bootleg Playstations, and used cars, players can have this lower end cyberware. Plus, if you want bleeding edge tech, that'll also come with some unreliability issues.

These next couple of posts, I want to brainstorm these topics and how I plan to implement them in-game:

  • Cybernetics vs Eugenics
  • Digital Consciousness and Shells/Sleeves
  • Mental Disorders Gained from the Above
  • Exotic Alien Races
  • Space Exploration