Tuesday, September 20, 2011

[Derelict Delvers] Hyper-Rockets.

Spaceships in Derelict Delvers are things I've circled for a while. I've done so in the hopes I would fall upon something brilliant that isn't too crunchy, or too simplistic.

I think I've come up with something. Every ship is built up of a number of "pods."
An actual cargo hold, cockpit, or engine room may be bigger than a single "pod," but they count simply as multiple "pods." Since, "pods" are just essentially a measurement they've decided to use to represent a space and the necessary additional support equipment for that space. Although additional support equipment is necessary the more pods there are in a ship.

A basic ship layout consists of a cockpit, a crew deck, an engineering deck/hyperspace engine, and reaction mass, and a support systems pod (this simply that for every 4 pods, you need a fifth one to help keep the systems balanced.) This means your smallest hyper-rocket will always have five pods.

Every team member in an ARCHIVE Exploration team will have one additional pod per person. These can be split between having a personal crew room for every three people, adding a specialty pod: Laboratory, Microfacturing, Weapons Pod, Vehicle Pod, Medical Pod, and Additional Cargo Pods among other things.

The primary pilot can give the craft a tag for every level of the Pilot skill. Other characters can add tags by expending the merits they earn towards them. Basically using their allies, prestige, knowledge, and the like to get upgrades for the ship.

How good are the pods? Well that's what I must figure out..

Friday, September 09, 2011

[Derelict Delvers] Trappings and Kit

I've solved the equipment problem for the most part in Derelict Delvers. It may need some fine tuning, but I've found a solution that makes me happy and fits the genre well.


Trappings are iconic gear, things the hero always tends to have. Items they carry that is so important as to be a part of "them." Such items as a specialized space suit, a favorite weapon, and so on. These items make a large difference in play and will come up often. Indiana Jones' Whip, Bond's Walther PPK/P99, and so on.


Kit items are things that gamers often worry about but the game does not. Things which can usually be found in the environment but if someone wants a list it is possible. These are things few characters will make important, other than their basic nature. Kit includes things like flashlights, sealant, rope, and food. These things are usually not prominent in play. In fact if the hero spends an Action Science Die they can find or fashion a temporary replacement for the scene. Or they may return to their ship and use its resources to replace the items in question. Derelict Delvers doesn't have matter transmutation though--at least not in ARCHIVE's hands. Instead this takes the micro-manufacturing tools, time and SCIENCE! They couldn't feed a whole city, but a small group of people would be possible--but it drains their resources.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Gear systems and point of view.

Gear is an interesting thing in role-playing games. Many games follow the old path of "spend money, buy gear," which on the surface if familiar to all of us--except most of us acquire gear in steps. Food and clothing as needed, but things like rope? How many of us have actual rope. Candles? First Aid Kits?

Usually we pick these things up over time, a piece here a bit there. Some games have differing systems for owning stuff--resources in general, assumed gear, and so on.

MSH, that is Marvel Super Heroes assumes you have an a rank that represent how much you have in general terms and it can be pushed for bigger purchases. High Valor assumes you can eat, drink, and have clothes, ordinary things you'd have for your profession. Shadowrun you spend points which gives you cash, which you spend on gear.

The issue comes down to what do I want to do in Derelict Delvers, being a D&D "retrofuture" clone, it was clear it work on credits and be typical, spend money on gear. Yet now that it is just space opera, and not a clone at all, it changes what we need to do. I began testing a point based system. Since gear impacts play.

You spend 15 points to have 15 points of gear. Gear of course varies from handlights and rope, to weapons and armor. Yet an interesting thing arose that I like. You can spend different points on your gear and decide on its quality and functionality.

Ghyren the Pilot might have a really good handlight for doing those repairs. While Dr. Hend might not, instead putting more points into diagnostic gear.

The problem? Playtesters want consistent items. That is they want a handlight to always be +1, unless of course its got a specific adjective added to it like "High Quality" handlight. Which of course doesn't bother me, but just goes to show how framing an element in a game can change its perception. Since zero is an average in the game (that is it provides no enhanced benefit to ones roll.) A +1 item is therefor a "Good" item, but where do we stop? Since virtually magical technology of the agents could exist, that goes beyond any arbitrary stopping point? I'm thinking of 1-3 for ordinary use, and only higher for really special gear.

That means players will need to tweak what they have now, in the playtest. Le sigh.

Quality Value
Good +1
Excellent +2
Amazing +3

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Information Overload.

I'm working on so many different things. What that means is a lot of research, a significant amount of research. It also means a lot of play. I'm not a fan of writing things without trying to examine the genre or style of material it belongs to, and doing that well.

Derelict Delvers has me reading Space Opera, various molds of Sci Fi (Military, "vanilla", and others.) It's interesting because I wouldn't have discovered so many interesting things to read, and in my case been able to re-read anytime soon, without the need to research. I love the characters I've discovered.

I will probably keep up my reading and return to reading some of the science magazines I used to devour. What? You used to read science magazines? Yes. When I was young (child to teenager) I was driven by science fiction to become a scientist. Sadly, my math studies were not up to being a good scientist, or so I thought. Turns out the education system failed me.

It turns out I can do more of the mathematics/algebra etc, than I thought. It just has to be properly motivated. I won't be a scientist as a profession at this point, but I can focus on reading up on wondrous things and enjoying ideas. Maybe if I get some money together I can go back to tinkering on old personal projects. I was on the right track with some of them--as teams of scientist have done what I tried to do as a teenager. It is awesome. Sure I wish it had been me, but I'm happy I was mostly on target. (Most of my interest was in directed energy weapons and projected energy of various sorts.)

I know Derelict Delvers will make far less sense in terms of hard science fiction than most people would want in a Sci Fi game, but that's why its intentionally pulp space opera. Loose and fast with the rules, and lots of old school SCIENCE! As opposed to real science. I'm alright with that.

In other news I've had to pause in reading Wuxia, for the moment. I love the stuff, but it is very dense depending on what I'm reading and I've got to pause now, or burn out. I'll be going back in a few weeks. My space opera wuxia game may be hampered due to needing native Chinese speakers to assist me. I was being assisted by one but he fell ill, and I've not heard from him in a while. The last message I had was disturbing and made me worried about his health more than about finishing my game. I hope he recovers, even if his assistance is done on the RPG.

I'm still trying to figure out what "Pure" or Open Science means in E.o.N, mostly because the desire to seek knowledge is often turned into fodder for leaving one open in horror games.

I want true scientists to be strong, just as faith is against the evil of the stigmatim. Mostly because the desire to seek answers, real answers should be encouraged. Faith is resistance because of its nature (and the fact stigmatim are really demons, so faith repels them.) Science--the desire to continue seeking answers, and not resting on the laurels of past discoveries, should also repel or make one resistant to their powers.

I want a balance, rather than a denial of either aspect of humanities nature denies value. Yet I still want stigmatim to have power over those that simply accept what is, without curiosity or conviction.

Lastly, I've been writing short, of course, blurbs about various supervillains in H&S2E on Twitter

All two of you who read this should be aware if you weren't already...


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Confounding Spirit...

I've not had a lot of game writing spirit lately. Or novel writing. Just seem bereft of the focus. Hopefully, as I catch up on sleep I can get things done.

I came up with the worst alternative name for Derelict Delvers I think possible. The Archive Science Service. Yep. Worst name. Ever.

In the mean time I'm running multiple games and threading the needle on which way to direct other game writing.

I wonder if I should leave the three-pool design in tact for my wuxia game. Letting it be Kung Fu, Yin, and Yang. Allowing you to use Kung-Fu with either is an interesting concept, and of course vice versa. On the other hand Kung-fu seems deeply tied to chi of the other two pools.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Archive Space/Derelict Delvers

Science Action Dice!
I've added to the extra dice one can roll to do pulpy-space opera action things in play. They also allow a better chance of success at anything if a reasonable "SCIENCE!" explanation can be given. Allowing for the sudden brilliant moments, interesting explorations of ideas given in early space opera fiction.


I'm considering ditching Health again and resorting to weapons hitting attributes. I like the idea of hitting Brawn and that being a sudden weak spell, hitting Mind and causing the person to have a foggy, unclear head they need to shake clear. I'm not sure if they would be tested against, or if I'd keep it similar to the current 10 box health system.

Initiative will henceforth be setup so that certain types of attacks/actions simply go first. Heroes will tend to have the first go, but there are exceptions.

1) Fists go first if in melee range. Attacks using the but of a weapon is included in this category.

2) Melee weapons go next.

3) Ranged Weapons (Light) go after Melee weapons

and finally

4) Heavy Weapons go last.

In case of a tie Heroes go first.

If the distance is too great for someone to reasonably engage in melee attacks, they'll be allowed to make a test (Speed) to cross the distance, and go the same action sequence.

It should make the game feel pulpy and make for interesting tactics.

One can always talk, of course during any action, so essentially they can go at O, but that's not likely to matter once the conflict has begun.

I'm taking suggestions for a potential name change on www.rpg.net here.

Although so far ARCHIVE SPACE, sticks better for me than anything else.

Of course ARCHIVE may be changed a bit too: Artifact Recovery Control and Historical Investigation Venture Enclave. (Rather than -Enterprise)

We'll see how it goes.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Derelict Delvers and more.

Derelict Delvers is really clicking now. Just means I need to sit down and set down the exact methods of play, the tools, and the rules.

So its not a matter of I have the concept, the basic mechanics, the rest is all tweaking and explaining as I playtest it. Unfortunately this is usually the slowest aspect of development. I hope I can do it quickly enough and get art, and other materials to put it out at the end of this year.

Starting next week, I'll be tweeting short descriptions of my villains. The "Cover" copy you might say used in longer comic descriptors.

If you don't follow me, that's fine, if you want to: @SilverlionPrime

Monday, January 03, 2011

[Derelict Delvers] The Dilemma

I'm having another dilemma with Derelict Delvers mechanics. I've got two ideas that are oppositional.

The first idea is a fairly simple and elegant mechanic that is tested through a number of games I am familiar with; using it and few tweaks would make a simple but powerful game that I'd love and enjoy. The catch is it doesn't wow me. The basic mechanic is 2d10+Stat+Skill with a build in success scale.

Roll less than or equal to 0: Critical failure
Above 0 but less than 5 is Failure.
6 to X is a partial success.
X+1 to Y is a Full success
and Y+1 to Z is a critical success.

The numbers can be juggled depending on the final Stat+Skill range of course.

The other idea is a lot more complex on its surface, but can be used to create a more dynamic system, the biggest problem is the removing of the "instant" results which is elegant enough to keep the focus on the characters actions, and the mental state of the player being "in the setting" rather than "in the mechanics"

The mechanic for this design is Stat+Skill+floating dice valued in a number of d6-es. Each die is searched for a value, and any dice meeting that value becomes a number of "merits" towards success. In order to keep the scaling of the previous mechanic one needs multiple dice to match the Difficulty assigned by the GM or the default rules. In this mechanic there are two roll types.

Task rolls which are your generic roll when you are checking for success.
The other roll is a Threat roll which comes up when the outcome involves danger and threat.

Threat rolls add another mechanic element, Threat. Threat has three elements. The Threat Rating (or Risk), the Threshold level, and the Trigger Event.

The threat rating is how dangerous something is in severity, and also its difficulty number for how many merits it must get for the hero to "pass" and not trigger the threat. Threshold is how many dice that fall out of the "pass/fail" test that fail the roll and build towards triggering the effect. If the game gets the "fail" dice of the Threshold before it gets the success merits, it activates the trigger event.

It is a bit rough at the moment and needs some balancing (so that failure is not exactly equal to success, thus making the roll simply 50/50 at all times.) The idea is to generate a reason for exploration and investigation: Hero dice are earned by doing the base Task rolls during non-threat instances and gaining information on some threats so it makes it easier to deal with them. Perhaps hero dice can only increase towards the "pass" side of things, and cannot themselves count towards the trigger event. In general I'm aiming for a mechanic that makes the threats tenser, and the tasks important (since the game is "dungeon-crawl" like, I want the entire process to be entertaining.