Friday, May 13, 2011

It's tough to realize how old modes of thinking hold us back.

I started this whole adaptation of Freedom in the Galaxy to a rpg to do something different. I didn't want the same old "open the box and play the setting they give you." (Not that there's anything wrong with that; the AD&D game I'm in is set in the World of Greyhawk and that's working out well.)

My latest sticking point has been races. There are several races; it's a space opera.

And I was getting worked up over how to apportion special abilities to each of the several races, when a thought occurred to me: Why?

Just because every game that has ever had different races (yes, including D&D) has had some mechanical difference between them.

In other words, "because we've always done it that way." If that's the only reason to do something, it's not a very good one.

The dominant race in the game is the Rhone -- this is basically human. Once upon a time, all of the other races in the game were genetically modified, crossbred, by the Rhone. So while they look different, they share many of the same characteristics. Kayns look like dog-men, Leonids like lion-men, Saurians like lizard-men, etc. But there's really no mechanical difference.

So I'm just going to leave them alone.

Except in cases where a specific environment requires a change. Some races are flyers; they'll need a racial ability to fly. Some live in Liquid environment; they'll need gills or something.

And if I feel the need to 'balance' any of these advantages, I'll come up with something. But it doesn't seem that important.

This is a real breakthrough for me. It means the characters will be easier to create, which in turn means I'll be able to get the first adventure going sooner. And that's always a good thing.

(I was going to post this yesterday, but I'm glad I didn't -- blogger probably would have eaten it.)

Thursday, May 5, 2011


I've been worried for a while now on how to handle spaceships in Freedom in the Galaxy.

* I could just handwave them, and assume that all fighting is ground-based. But that's just not the way the boardgame works.

* I could dream up some complicated, Traveller sort of construction system. Sounds like way too much work.

* I could adapt the 'system' used in the Big Yellow Book (BYB). That doesn't seem to cover what I want.

I want unique ships, as well as cookie-cutter masses of vessels. I want personality! I also want a system that will be easy for me to use.

And I thought about the ships and their characteristics. I'd need a way to rate their strengths, their agility, their resilience to damage...


Why not use the same attributes as characters? It'd go like this:

STR - How heavily armed the ship is (damage bonus)

CON - How much damage it can take

SIZ - How big it is

INT - How good its sensors are (idea roll)


DEX - How agile it is, i.e.; how good it's defenses are (dodge roll)

CHA - How good its countermeasures are (persuasion roll)

This is all sort of hazy, but I want to make smaller ships hard to hit. So I'll use Defender's SIZ as a modifier on the Attacker's roll. But do I use INT for the attack attribute, or POW? Still haven't decided on that one.

Let's say POW. (INT for detecting, POW for attacking). It would go like this:

Ship with POW 10, firing on ship with SIZ 2 (say a Millenium Falcon size...), would effectively be a POW 12 on the Resistance Table. Cross reference with the DEX of the defending ship to see if a hit is scored. If it is, the defender still gets a Dodge roll. If that fails, roll damage (and larger STR ships get a bonus to damage...) Take damage off CON (or HP, if you will...) and when the ship reaches 0 it cannot fight any longer.

Oh, wait, I still need a relative accounting of speed -- maybe POW could be that?

Like I said, still a work in progress. But I'm definitely MAKING progress.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Quick post

No, I haven't forgotten this blog!

April is over, and with it the A to Z challenge. I was stuck on K anyway, so I won't be continuing in that format.

However, despite its detractors, the A to Z challenge did give me the impetus to actually blog for 10 days straight. That's a new personal best! I think I got some good stuff down, but I also wrote some crap. Oh, well.

As far as the detractors go: Some bloggers don't seem to understand that some of us need structure. Without the A to Z challenge, I wouldn't have done half the work I have done on my project.

It's like a poet. Some thrive with free verse (or blank verse, although I couldn't tell you the difference to save my life). But others need a formal structure, such as a sonnet. It has specific rules, and within those rules you can say absolutely anything. Look at Shakespeare.

Anyway, I'm working on pre-generated characters for Freedom in the Galaxy!, and I'm having some problems. I need to work out a skill list, for one. Not so hard, you might say, and that's true.

But then I need to work out racial characteristics for at least a dozen alien races (although I don't need to do them all at once.)

Plus, I'd like to faithfully adapt the characters from the boardgame. I know, it's not easy; I didn't sign on for this because it'd be easy, I signed on because I thought it'd be fun.

And as far as fun goes, after a session or two I should be able to put together some character creation rules. I was going to just go for pre-gen/adaptations for the whole thing, but I get the sneaking hunch (having spent so much time as a player myself) that players won't like that. They'll want to create their own characters.

And why not? That's the fun part for players, isn't it?

Anyway, I'll keep plugging away at it.

Also, don't forget Free Comic Book Day this Saturday! Check your local stores for participation. Me, I'm going to The Source, a store which in past years has given away 10% of ALL comics given away in a given year! It's not just an event, it's a party!