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 Here be miniature giant space dragons: Revengeance

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Snowy
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PostSubject: Here be miniature giant space dragons: Revengeance   Wed 14 Aug 2013, 1:36 am

Space, the Final Fron

The stars have captured people's imagination since the dawn of time. It didn't take long for them to cease being contented with just playing connect the dots in the sky; they wanted to go up themselves and see what the stars were for themselves. Of course, some civilizations start trying this earlier than others. Long before an Apollo astronaut ever played golf on the moon, or before a poor dog found her way into orbit but not back again, many less well-publicized attempts were made with less... conventional methods. Chinese mandarin Wang Tu once attempted to fly by attaching forty-seven fireworks to a chair, but ended with severe burns and a paddling from the emperor; a young Greek man by the name of Icarus neared the sun, but fell to his death when his wax wings melted; and a bored Golvan noble pointed a trebuchet skywards and invented takeoff and flying, but not landing. But in between those extremes, of late successes and early failures, there are other efforts that see much more success.


Thulai is a diverse world in both nature and culture, located in what it believes to be a nice, quiet neighborhood in the universe. Of course, this opinion isn't terribly well-informed, other than that nothing has come down from the heavens and tried to annihilate them yet. Since the invention of the aether sail and assorted other important magitechnologies some hundred years ago, Thulai's races have figured out how to make their boats sail not only in water, but also in the great Void that begins where the air stops, leagues above the planet's surface. The problem, though, is that anywhere beyond the Moon has been the Void's equivalent of the open ocean, and current void-ships are mere rafts - up until now, with the great ship Reisender about to make its maiden voyage.


Or so is the premise of the new novella series by an enterprising Thulai author. Golvan scientists have just recently announced the first trials of the aether sail, and the very first experiments are beginning. Our author, who shall remain unnamed and unidentified for now, has his own outlook and his own messages that he wishes to convey at the state of society, and like the rest of Thulai, his imagination has been captured by the possibility of travel beyond the range of conventional flight. As such, he is about to, depending on one's viewpoint of Thulan literature, either completely redefine or invent from scratch the genre of Science Fiction.

~~~~~~~

The World According to the Author


~~~~~~~



So some of you may remember this: http://rpproject.forumotion.com/t246-here-be-miniature-giant-space-dragons-ready-to-start-on-characters-unless-you-want-to-play-a-cockatiel-person If you don't, no big deal, you don't actually have to read it. I'll go over everything you'll need to know here.

At the behest of certain people, I've been slowly gearing up to actually run it, with something like a proper plot.

The idea is, you're all from one particular planet taking its first tentative steps into space beyond its own moon. But this won't be done on rockets - this isn't the real world. It won't be done on warp-driven starships: this isn't Star Trek. It won't be done by blowing the moon catastrophically out of its orbit and out into the deep cosmos: this isn't Space: 1999, thank god. It will be done with clockwork and magic: this is actually a fantasy RP, not a scifi.

Your vessel is the Reisender, a state-of-the-art prototype void-sailer, powered by the latest in magickal and clockwork technology. To get an idea, take a galleon (as in, the boat), then take another one, and join them at the bottom halves, so you've got a ship that's vertically symmetrical. This is what will carry you through space.

You are the best and brightest from the nations of the world, chosen to represent them to whatever other civilizations may exist among the stars.

This will be like Star Trek, in that you're blazing new trails through space, going out and meeting new people in a roughly episodic story structure. This won't be like Star Trek in that unlike the Federation, your society hasn't magically waved away all its problems. There are still major political divides. There is still war. There is still hunger. There is still racial tension, even more so than in the real world. You're all in this for your own ends, and your countries have definite reasons for putting you specifically on this spaceboat. In many ways, this mission is propaganda as much as anything else. You will also realize you have much to learn; universally applying your own value judgments may have worked for Captain Kirk, but it won't necessarily end well here.

It's a big set of worlds out there, and it's up to you to go explore it.

Except, actually, it isn't. Your adventures haven't happened yet. And likely won't, since you're all fictional characters. Your world actually isn't quite this far along. It has magic, it has clockwork, most importantly, it has the printing press, and the technology that gets you into space is in its nascency. While your adventure will start from the moon, the "real" world is still wondering what's up there and working out how to reach orbit safely. Meanwhile, this has all captured the imagination of an aspiring author, and you are the stars of his work of speculative fiction - again, hence the episodic format; the episodes as we go through them are the novellas the author publishes.

~~~~~

As far as making your characters and working out the setting goes, there's a system of magic and fantasy physics I have in mind and will elaborate on later. I'll provide a brief list of starting races, which you may either choose from or add your own. The only requirements for a new species are these:

That you have a clear idea of how they interact with the other races

That if you submit a custom species, anyone else is welcome to use it.

If you share a custom species with someone else, you can't be from the same nation/culture. This crew is diverse, for better or worse.

I'd like to keep the list of the planet's species relatively short if we can, in that it will make it convenient and keep things consistent for when you tend to meet planets with only one or two races on them.

No humans. The closest you'll get on your world is a D&D-type elf.



I was going to use the Fate system and run this on another forum. We can try said system here, if people are interested - it's simple, and there's minimal number-crunching involved; there's just dice. If not, no big deal.

If people are interested here, I'll bump writing this up to high on the priority list and get a real OP up as soon as I can. For now, I need to see how many people I can expect.

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PostSubject: Re: Here be miniature giant space dragons: Revengeance   Wed 14 Aug 2013, 1:39 am

For the sake of full tally, I am one such person who can be expected.
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PostSubject: Re: Here be miniature giant space dragons: Revengeance   Wed 14 Aug 2013, 4:33 am

Here and interested. No idea where we're going, but the framing device sounds like a very nice touch.

Hoping to run an orcish knight serving the God of Progress (assuming it is sufficiently politically correct to exist, literally or otherwise, in the author's setting). Awaiting details of party composition, the magic system - particularly shapeshifting and/or sigils, - and established races.

Am interested to see the Fate system in use. I'm curious which other forum is being considered - but aside from populace, the only distinguishing feature I can think of would be a dice roller, which hardly seems necessary.

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PostSubject: Re: Here be miniature giant space dragons: Revengeance   Wed 14 Aug 2013, 4:35 am

We actually have a dice roller here. We've tried running TTRPG's in the past, but had few takers.
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PostSubject: Re: Here be miniature giant space dragons: Revengeance   Wed 14 Aug 2013, 4:53 am

I even gave us Fudge dice for this. It's accessible through the add reply button.

The other place I was considering was Myth Weavers.

I can provide you with the PDF for Fate Core if you need it.

Party composition wil be the command staff of the Reisender, plus a mission overseer who will be my GMPC (for purposes of not taking any of the cool roles a player might want). Someone in the party will have to be Captain, I'm not letting you guys off that easy.

If you want to play an orc, the elves won't be there. I'd like to only have the one race on this planet that's that close to human - gives me more fodder for you guys to run into. Heck, if you wanted to use the Ja'tazak here, that'd be cool too. God of Progress is cool; I've not specified the pantheon, but if it's muddled and different across the whole planet, all the better. So, worship whatever you feel like.

If you've ever played Exalted, the in-universe workings of magic are pretty similar. Since you're all heroic mortals, the likelihood that any of you will actually be able to spellcast is extremely small. Magic is like electricity here: you can use it for things, but not through sticking your finger in a wall socket. You use it to power machines that make things happen. You will all have a talisman with you that gives you a minor magic effect as a stunt. You can use this to operate powerful magitech equipment or provide the stunt. You can upgrade its usefulness, probably at the cost of refresh or one of your other stunts, I've not decided on the details yet. I could see sigils at the very least being possible, if you had a special bit of equipment to make them work. We'd need to work out exactly what you'd want them to do, though.


Established races, such as they are pending players picking their stuff, would be the elves or orcs, the Sene, roughly foxlike desert nomads (Ji's chosen), some multipurpose avians, and the Sqamik, who actually have a writeup in the old OP.

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PostSubject: Re: Here be miniature giant space dragons: Revengeance   Wed 14 Aug 2013, 5:51 am

I've neglected to investigate all the novel BBCode tags here. Quickly rectifying that.
'hide' tags don't seem to work:
 
Ah, I tried and failed to remember the name of that site yesterday. Never did figure out how to lurk there.

Just downloaded the Fate Core PDF from Evil Hat's site, will skim shortly.

I'm okay with ruling out elves unless someone else wants to play one. I think I've got more material regarding Cirannah than I'd have for a Ja'tazak, as the setting closer resembles her native one.

I'm not particularly familiar with Exalted, but did have a look at some of the Hearthstones linked from the previous thread. Just those and sigils and magitech, then - should be plenty.

Regarding sigils' function, in truth, I'm thinking of Dragon Age's glyph spells - an amusing, if fiddly means of battlefield control. But by analogy to circuits, perhaps hacking of magitech would be more suitable. Connecting guns (having galleons, I suspect we have some form of those... hopefully armor's still in) to pressure plates, or short-circuiting wards, or such things.


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PostSubject: Re: Here be miniature giant space dragons: Revengeance   Wed 14 Aug 2013, 6:47 am

Okay, so magitech hacking. SO you could, say, apply something to one item, then apply it to another, to link them up? And not everything's going to be magic-powered. There's still rather a lot of stuff that's just gears powered by a big wind-up spring.

Your ship has a combination of magic-firing "cannons" and ballistae - gunpowder is a nascent science, and they have cannons, but the expedition favors items that require as little resupply as possible. Crossbow and ballista bolts can be relatively easily manufactured; gunpowder, less so.

Also, just for information's sake, the standard weapon that you'll find (plot) number of in the armory is a spring bolter - it's like a crossbow, but instead of pulling back on a leaf spring, you have an underslung ratchet that winds back a coil spring, which pushes the bolt out of the device; imagine a lever-action rifle, basically, only it fires wooden bolts. Since the firing chamber is enclosed and of ample size, you don't *have* to use bolts, either. You can fire anything that fits inside.

How we're handling armor mechanically relative to weapons is still up in the air, but weapons will probably at least have their own aspects associated with them - else what's the point of all the cool equipment?

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PostSubject: Re: Here be miniature giant space dragons: Revengeance   Wed 14 Aug 2013, 7:16 am

But aha, a knight. Good, good. The party should be adequately capable of beating things into submission now.
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PostSubject: Re: Here be miniature giant space dragons: Revengeance   Wed 14 Aug 2013, 6:39 pm

Simple item linkage sounds workable. To gloss over the (supposed) details of control-flow vs power-flow resonances, reliable switching, and other physical considerations, anyhow (assuming said fluff is okay). Not sure how to stat it yet.

I'll leave physical mechanics to someone else's character. Speaking of, this doesn't seem like a full party yet. Are we waiting, then, and perhaps migrating to the Myth Weavers fora?

Crossbows... should call for a somewhat tactical approach to combat, I imagine, but that's workable. I plan to seek routes into melee, since my character's aim is unlikely to be exceptional even before accounting for her helmet's visor. (Say - would a great helm be okay, or anachronistic? If the latter, I'll take a look at closed burgonets or somesuch.)

I imagine armor could be statted up as an extra, using stunts and stress / consequences. While I'm not read up on the combat mechanics yet, perhaps a helm and breastplate could grant 'Keep on Ticking', usable against piercing or slashing blows to the chest and relatively light blows to the head. Of course, that could be negated by 'Armor/Flesh/Bone Piercing' shots and such.

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PostSubject: Re: Here be miniature giant space dragons: Revengeance   Wed 14 Aug 2013, 7:53 pm

My only issue with that is we start to limit player choice, when everyone needs to start wearing armor and using armor piercing weapons to maintain their normal level of operation. And now all the characters are wielding the same weapons, and wearing the same armor. You've sacrificed all their individuality for a null sum.
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PostSubject: Re: Here be miniature giant space dragons: Revengeance   Wed 14 Aug 2013, 8:04 pm

Sounds good. You can take that as an aspect, and you'll be provided with a kit that's basically magical material chalk, for sigil-drawing.

Well, we're waiting for more than two people to respond, as far as filling a party goes. If we don't get enough people over here, we'll move over.

I'm going with the gear as aspect/stunt extras, rather than weapon ratings, most of the time. Unless your armor is special, it will probably just grant a stock damage reduction stunt of your choice. Melee weapons (since Ji is also going melee) are also viable; there will be some stock melee weapons available, or you can take something else of your own design. Standard-issue will probably be a simple one-handed buzz-axe: buzz saw on a stick, release the catch to set the blade spinning and get extra damage for a turn.

As for what would be anachronistic, anything up to the renaissance is legit. In a world of augmenting weapons with clockwork, I don't imagine the rapier will have caught on yet, but that's about it. Take whatever you want.

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PostSubject: Re: Here be miniature giant space dragons: Revengeance   Thu 15 Aug 2013, 4:54 am

Armor offers protection at the cost of resources and mobility; is there no character unable or unwilling to spare one or both of the latter? To say nothing of different kinds of armor, at least those which are not obsolete, which hopefully offer different degrees of that tradeoff, in addition to aesthetic distinctions. Provided we don't stat them all the same.

More than one kind of weapon pierces armor, besides. Kinds which don't may not be on the leading edge of the arms race, which would make them undesirable to well-funded armed forces, but... how can that be helped?

There's usually room for individuality within the bounds of practicality, I think, especially at this level of not-that-much-detail. Especially in a game which can accommodate multiple valid approaches, even for adventurers.

Self-Trained Syntactic Engineer - how does that sound? I can't see someone with an established clerical career path being taken on as an apprentice, but I guess some of the tradeskill made its way into textbooks. A couple points in Burglary might synergize, though I'd better sort out why a knight would know about hacking and escaping from places. Cheaper than paying ransoms?

I asked GrandEnder to take a look at this thread, but he'll need time to go through the ruleset. Is there any preparation we can do to keep the thread active while awaiting further developments?

Sounds like wear & tear on equipment won't be modeled, then. Okay. I'll just... wait for a charsheet, and thereupon lump together the various armor pieces and maybe a shield.
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PostSubject: Re: Here be miniature giant space dragons: Revengeance   Thu 15 Aug 2013, 5:58 am

Well yeah, the system doesn't even normally bother with weapons and armor.

As for the trade offs, that's another part of the system not modeling them. The listed ways to model armor make armor entirely better than none. Mobility never factors in. It's just kinda... I don't know, I want to keep my character in things that aren't full plate, or wielding a top of the line sawblade. For the sake of variety, you know?

I don't know, I'll just stop talking. I think this is getting away from me, it's late.


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PostSubject: Re: Here be miniature giant space dragons: Revengeance   Thu 15 Aug 2013, 6:12 am

Fate normally ignores the issue entirely. Choose the stunts/aspects your stuff provides in the manner that makes the most sense to you. You're likely not getting blanket bonuses from your equipment without putting a very strong investment into it. It will serve you well for specific purposes, and sometimes those purposes counteract the other person's purposes.

I'm less concerned with "technically this shouldn't work" as "is it at least plausible if you tilt your head a bit to the side?" and "is it awesome?" So if you feel it would be cooler for you to go into battle with a khopesh, even though that's technically a bronze-age axe, go for it. We'll figure out a way of modeling it that works, and it will be just as good as the other guy's longsword he put the same amount of investment into.

That would make sense as an aspect, though the term you might want here is "thaumaturgical hacker." One of your aspects should include your race, so keep that in mind as you plan.

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PostSubject: Re: Here be miniature giant space dragons: Revengeance   Thu 15 Aug 2013, 8:21 am

Ah, I hadn't seen the Weapon and Armor Ratings rules (and subsequent disclaimer). So I misunderstood the context of your comment, wolfji, hence derailing the argument. Sorry.

The regular extras rules do seem to suit the system better. I'll probably just declare an armor-related aspect and/or stunt, anyways, and grab a buzz-axe unless an urge to wield a two-hander strikes.

I'm thinking 'syntactic' is specific enough to keep, as it describes the linking of symbols (in this case, devices) into functional units. Self-Trained Syntax Hacker, then.

And Savage (Orc) Spirit, contrasting a more thoughtful daily demeanor. Though I don't want to blame any wrathful tendencies entirely upon nature. Maybe take a racial aspect pertaining to armor or taciturnity, instead. Mouthful of Fangs? A bit misleading, since I'm really only concerned about the canines and associated honing complex.

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PostSubject: Re: Here be miniature giant space dragons: Revengeance   Fri 16 Aug 2013, 3:24 pm

Also going for a touch of the savage? I hope the rest of the party is sophisticated to make up for our deficiencies.
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PostSubject: Re: Here be miniature giant space dragons: Revengeance   Fri 16 Aug 2013, 10:48 pm

I'd have to reconsider my skill plans were I to play the party face. More hoping for a touch of the sinister by playing civil 'till the right battle pushes the right button, really. Maybe I'll pull it off this time.

Come to think of it, taking something like Hold It Back might work better. At least until getting dinged in combat and/or trod on socially becomes a bother. And take the Fate cost to resist a compel once the emotional payoff is worth it. Can we subvert our own aspects like that?

Biding time & reading up on Stunts shortly.

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PostSubject: Re: Here be miniature giant space dragons: Revengeance   Sat 17 Aug 2013, 12:49 am

This was my current skill block made over the course of a short time. It's mostly a half joke, because I'm trying to play against type. So I tried to make a race that was at first glance harmless, then on second entirely not, and playing some unholy union of a barbarian/trained warrior-monk. The provoke is because seriously, it's fun to imagine it's the two foot tall thing that scares off the enemy boarding party.

4: Fight

3: Provoke, Notice

2: Athletics, Rapport, Physique

1: Will, Burglary, Stealth, Empathy

I could qualify as a face. I just meant the implications of knowing magic and how to hack it give you more of a veneer of civility than I have.
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PostSubject: Re: Here be miniature giant space dragons: Revengeance   Sat 17 Aug 2013, 4:59 am

Ah, whoops, k. Social skills are represented, excellent. Um, wasn't Pyrn a roughly three-foot tall barbarian, though?

I'll try to push my char's usual civility a bit further, then. Was gonna put Fight at 4 too, but since that'd be repetitive, maybe I'll swap in Investigate to roll a not-very-DPSy tank/detective. Gather info, create advantages, and when that fails, get in enemy combatants' way.

4: Investigate
3: Physique, Will
2: Athletics, Burglary, Fight
1: Craft, Lore, Notice, Resources

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PostSubject: Re: Here be miniature giant space dragons: Revengeance   Sat 17 Aug 2013, 7:20 am

I might suggest just taking it at 4 anyway. The unfortunate fact being you'll need it to tank, fight defends against fight. Skill overlap works out usually by virtue of it not bring all skills, and differences in how we end up using it.


Pyrn?


I can change by the way. I was originally going to be serving a ship's engineer role, but I figured more people might want that then "guy who hits it" in this setting.
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PostSubject: Re: Here be miniature giant space dragons: Revengeance   Sat 17 Aug 2013, 4:20 pm

Hm. But I'd like to get away from the peculiarity of how adventurers tend to treat combat as a first or second resort, not a last. Aside from predation, I imagine the latter is how things work in ecology and sociology both. Or is the entire point of adventuring to prey upon predators, more or less?

If I ecourage my character mechanically to refrain from combat, then depending on scenario, maybe more interesing avenues will appeal, or maybe she'll be gimped and I'll have to fix the problem a few skills and stunts later. I'd like to take that risk.

...but maybe with a different character at a later time, as I don't think the background of this one fits right. 4 Fight, 2 Investigate it is. I want her to hit things really well, and then to regret doing it. Which isn't much like D&D or Star Trek in tone, to my awareness.

Pyrn from Soulyst, which briefly existed on the Sporum awhile back. Admittedly, most of his skill points seem to have been in Athletics.

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PostSubject: Re: Here be miniature giant space dragons: Revengeance   Sat 17 Aug 2013, 4:51 pm

Hitting things and then regretting it is actually pretty good for this; Unlike Trek or Wars, I'm much more likely to say that your perceived solution to a problem was actually completely wrong, and you dun goofed.

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PostSubject: Re: Here be miniature giant space dragons: Revengeance   Sun 18 Aug 2013, 12:11 am

Well yes. I'm running the "violence is the answer" as a change of the norm, to be honest. I try to fix problems "properly" way too much.

So it's that, or if we want some party dynamics, I can become the Captain. Get all the social skills.

Actually, my present social skills... might suffice to be a captain. The violence thing is my thing though, but that's why the rest of the crew exists. To make sure I don't ruin everything.

Swap burglary with deceive... ditch stealth for a spot of lore...

Alright. So I think I qualify as someone who could hypothetically be chosen to lead this. Why someone would, I'm not sure, but I guess that's the internal politics at work.
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PostSubject: Re: Here be miniature giant space dragons: Revengeance   Sun 18 Aug 2013, 6:52 pm

I can't help but read that as 'get all of the social skills, all of them!' As though social skills were not, in this context, a thing of finite quantity.

Noted. We'll have to see how much trouble I can reasonably get into through aggressive investigations. Which I guess involve confronting people, rifling through their stuff, and/or making death threats? ...well, that's just standard adventuring procedure, missing a lawful excuse and inordinate emphasis on the slaying of inarticulate monsters.

Sweet. Family connections, perhaps? And/or your char's being used as a proxy by someone, who'd need leverage and a means of relaying orders.

My char's protecting / blessing the vessel against interlopers and negative space wedgies, as per an attached priest, which might make her the security chief. Especially if that'd permit her to personally manage any onboard alert systems and locks and stuff.

_______________________________________________________________________________________
the density function of the normal distribution
exp(-πx²)
a discrete sampling, up to variance and cutoff
1d6 - 1d6

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PostSubject: Re: Here be miniature giant space dragons: Revengeance   Sun 18 Aug 2013, 10:44 pm

Yeah. My assumption is I'm somewhat of a war hero. As such, when they got around to candidates they pressed my name heavily, and to avoid making concessions in "more important" positions, they stuck me as Captain.

Yeah, Head of Security was what I was originally shooting for until you started to seem more appropriate for it.
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