[Uncharted Worlds] A space-opera game of exploration and debt

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  • Alternatively I could bite the bullet and come up with an 'In-' word for Mettle (Courage/Discipline/Shooting) stat and the Physical stat :P

    Instigate
    Indestructible
    Influence
    Ingenuity
    Interface

    (note: this is a terrible idea)
  • And change the title to "ALL IN".
  • edited June 2014
    *groan* ... that was awful. Bravo.

    Expertise does seem to be gaining traction from various corners of the net where I posted this querry. I just worry that it's a bit too all encompassing, as if it was a measure of your overall competence with everything.

    -----------
    Typhon Gend
    Sniper (Frontier Clandestine/Military)

    Mettle +2
    Physique +1
    Influence +0
    Expertise -1
    Interface +1
    -----------

    Is that readable/understandable to you guys at a glance? Like, can you look at that and get a general impression of what the character is good at/bad at?
  • Scrappy short guy with no education. Marines trained him to shoot and use commos/milsec intarwebz. Is not officer material, will remain in specops unit 'til dead.
  • edited June 2014
    Haaaaaa. Awesome. 'Not Officer Material' is such a great description of low Expertise for a military character.
  • edited June 2014
    Ended up putting together a new version of the character sheet for someone over at the Uncharted Worlds subforum at BFA, so I figured I should post it here too. Obviously these aren't final or anything, I'm just messing around with layout and space and stuff.

    photo CharSheetSideA_v2_zps4ea6c0f3.jpg

    photo CharSheetSideB_v2_zps174fc012.jpg

  • edited June 2014
    So from the various playtests, it's become obvious that the leveling system is a bit confusing or ends up with unsatisfying results ("I don't know where to put my points, I guess I don't get any"). This is a Bad Thing (tm). I'd designed the leveling to be a logical progression, achieving milestones related to a skill before earning that skill. However, the nature of the game means the characters will often not accomplish an act that is close to a skill they want. This leads them to either pick a skill randomly ("good enough") or just abandon the idea of getting a skill ("meh").

    I've been toying with the idea of centralizing character definition and advancement into the careers themselves, rather than in the individual skills.

    Description: Taking a page from other *World games, I'd give a choice of one-word descriptions ("rugged", "emaciated", "portly", "scarred", etc). These lists would be in the origins and careers; you'd choose 1 from your origin and 1 from each career to give your description. For example: 'Filthy' from a Poverty origin, 'Palid' from an Academic career and 'Wiry' from a Clandestine career. (kudos to Sharnett for this suggestion, I really like it)

    Quarters: The description of your personal quarters in the ship would be picked from a list in your career, rather than a per-skill list (so any Academic could have a lab in their section of the skip if they wanted, etc).

    XP: At the end of each session, you earn 1 XP towards a single career (assuming you meet a milestone for it), and when you earned enough XP in that career, you'd level up and pick a Skill from there. This would lead to broader milestone achievements, which fit with the general outlook/personality of the career, rather than the minutea of individual skills. Your own careers start with 1xp already (making it faster to earn a level in that career), but you can earn XP in any career.

    Thoughts?
  • Quarters: While at first it sounds weird that one character might select a lab if they don't know how to use it (didn't take the "lab move" or whatever), actually if you write the options in a certain way, it lets one player pick something for the ship that helps support another player's character, instead of their own. In general, I like the idea that you have a choice between options that make your character "better" and options that make the ship "better," if you know what I mean, so if one player can pick something that is more for the ship as a whole than just for them, cool.

    XP: Yeah, probably a lot easier to do it that way. Now you have to go through painful edits as you trim the lists down, though, right? Ha ha sucker.
  • edited June 2014
    Oh God this is beyond "edits", I'm in full rewrite mode kill me now. :P
  • edited June 2014
    I ended up making a mockup for the new career layouts, with the changes I've been working on for the past little while. They end up kinda like 2-page career 'playbooks'.

    Sample career pages

    (Best viewed as a 2-pager.)

    Thoughts, comments, questions?
  • This game is coming along so awesomely. Very VERY exciting!

    The new career pages look great.

    The advancement milestones look great.

    I love the Sabotage skill.

    I'm envisioning a supplement product that has ship layouts in the book with blank spots for rooms and stickers off all the optional rooms; peel 'em off, stick 'em in place and BAM you have a ship. Any unused rooms are cargo holds are something.
  • The character sheet design is hella cool! I would think about adding very faint horizontal lines inside the open text boxes, for the benefit of people who can't write in a straight line.
  • edited June 2014
    Looking for a bit of inspiration; I'm thinking of putting together a very computer/programming focused Career path, but I need a name for it. It has to be something that more or less fits the current naming (Military, Clandestine, Academic, etc). "Programmed" doesn't quite work, "Technical" is too boring, "Digital" sounds too Tron. Any thoughts?

    [edit] Technological? Technophile?
  • edited June 2014
    To me "Tech-" implies more than just software.

    What 'role' does the "programmer" career play? What about "Analytical"?

    EDIT: I take it back; within the game's vernacular, the TECH stat specifically references computers and electronics, so Technological could fit well.
  • edited June 2014
    In a related question:

    What would you guys consider to be an iconic action/skill of a Scientific or Academic archetype in SciFi? I already have 'Study', 'Medicine' and 'Chemistry'. I'm trying to avoid overly engineering-related skills or programming-related (since those are in other careers). So what other scientific disciplines would be ripe for a sci-fi setting? What scientific skills would be of use to a Commercial character, or a Military character, or a Personality?
  • edited June 2014
    What would you guys consider to be an iconic action/skill of a Scientific or Academic archetype in SciFi? I already have 'Study', 'Medicine' and 'Chemistry'. I'm trying to avoid overly engineering-related skills or programming-related (since those are in other careers). So what other scientific disciplines would be ripe for a sci-fi setting? What scientific skills would be of use to a Commercial character, or a Military character, or a Personality?
    The special trait of science-oriented characters in the type of sci-fi that UW is emulating is the ability to analyse the details of a situation, and provide information for future action. In that sense, the exact type of scientist the character is (physicist, biologist, etc.) doesn't matter, so much as the fact that the character thinks scientifically.

    Now, some of that is already covered by the Assessment move in Basic Moves, but what if you gave a science character a skill like Form Hypothesis and have it act like a combination of DW's Discern Realities and MotW's Investigate a Mystery; a sort of super-Assessment?
  • edited June 2014
    Come to think of it, the Expert playbook from MotW has loads of other moves that model some of what I'm talking about. I've Read About This Sort Of Thing, for instance, or Often Right; even The Woman (or Man) With A Plan could be used as a template for the prime skill of a hypothesis-spouting science character. Think of all those scenes from Next Generation where the crew gathers in the Conference Room to listen to Data and Geordi spout some technobabble, and then recommend a course of action to the captain.

    Wow, just thinking about it, there are two skills right there: Spout Some Technobabble and/or Recommend a Course of Action.
  • ... fantastic! That's a great path of design, thanks so much! There's a good chance one of the new skills will be 'Technobabble' because I'll be damned if that isn't exactly what 90% of Space Opera is.

    (Man I love Story Games, you guys are such an awesome resource)
  • My pleasure, but really, you're the awesome one, Archangel, putting your time into designing a game I am only dying to play.

    Me, I just pop in here (occasionally, when life allows) to throw out some suggestions, but you're the one doing the work, and I hugely admire that.
  • Just skimmed through version 0.82 on the Apocalypse World forums. Shaping up. One suggestion: Chemistry, as a skill name, seems very limiting, and a little too twenty-first century for a sci-fi game (I mean, will people even be doing chemistry in the far future, instead of, you know, advanced nana-exothermy or whatever). It also means that every Academic who picks this skill is, by default, some kind of chemist, which just doesn't make sense.

    How about renaming the skill Labwork, or something along those lines: it keeps the core concept of the skill, but doesn't jar so much with the surrounding fiction.

    (Also, of course, it ties in with an Academic character taking Laboratory as a room.)

    PS. Love "Technobabble" by the way.
  • edited July 2014
    One other comment, and you can totally completely ignore this, because it comes from the really, really pedantic side of my character (which I'm not happy the I possess, but it pays the bills; I work as an editor in my day job).

    Anyway, you might consider renaming Colonist, Frontier, and Spacer. They are nouns, while all the other origins are adjectives (Advanced, Productive, etc.)

    Some suggestions include Colonial for Colonist, Pioneer for Frontier, and Void for Spacer. Now I know that, yes, these alternative suggestions function sometimes as nouns, but they also function sometimes as adjectives; and that in a nutshell is how my mind works... :-(

    Having said that, I love the new origins; I think you've managed to cover all the genre bases with them. Kudos!
  • edited July 2014
    Thanks for the review so far Sharnett, I'll be sure to reply soon. But first, I must link to the fixed version of 0.82!

    Uncharted World v0.82 Fixed

    The one I posted yesterday was a bad copy, missing some pretty important changes to Injuries and Leveling!
  • edited July 2014
    Okay, so: the terms/words.

    Chemistry - I don't exactly agree that 'Chemistry' is any less sci-fi than other sciences. Physics, math, medicine, archaeology, psychology, biology; they all have a place in most space operas. Now, I'll admit that they tend to add on prefixes to specialize the fields and make them sound more sci-fi (especially prefixes like 'xeno'; xenobotany, xenobiology, etc. But those are more narrow specifications (a common sci-fi trope about the microspecialization of the future workforce) that still fall under their scientific branch. All that said, I'm not opposed to a name-change.

    Colonist - It may be my Pakistani heritage, but the word "Colonial" has veeeeeery different connotations to me than 'Colonist'. I know they're of the same etymological roots, but "Colonial" refers to a not-very-nice era of humanity, and belongs in textbooks. 'Colonist', on the other hand, belongs in such staple sci-fi phrases as "We've got to get there in time to save the _____" and "This creature has been eating all the ______" :P
    (Not that a 'Colonial' space opera setting wouldn't be interesting. Conquistadors. In. Spaaaaaaace!)

    Pioneer - That works

    Void - Not quite the adjective I'd look for. That said, I toyed with "Stellar" instead of "Spacer". The main issue is the slang usage of "Stellar" as a superlative rather than an adjective denoting "of the stars". Also "Astral" is too sword and sorcery fantasy a term despite being accurate. "Interstellar?"

    And don't worry about a light bout of pedantic wordsmithing; if that kind of thing bothered me, I wouldn't have married an English major.
  • Hm. In my experience, "colonial" refers to the white dudes that move in and treat Indians like shit, and "colonist" refers to the white dudes that move in after the Indians are all dead and thus have the privilege to ignore them (the other Indians, I mean). To put it bluntly.

    I think more people than not will probably have your reaction, where "colonial" feels more oppressive than "colonist," but I also think the pulp sci-fi colonist narrative is more often a way of recontextualizing the American colonial experience in a way that erases the Native peoples, and less often an actual intellectual exercise that imagines what would really happen if humanity left Earth for other planets. I mean, part of the allure of colonizing exoplanets is exactly that: it offers all the glory of colonialism without any of the Natives. As such, the only real human experience it can reference without erasing people is the conquest of Antarctica, which is a far shallower well than even the smallest area of the Americas.

    Obviously, your game, go with what you're comfortable with. To me, both words seem pretty similarly full of white privilege (also: Settler!), and there will be others who feel the same. Not that I feel personally bothered by either one being used in a game or anything (or games that romanticize the colonization of space). I might even prefer Settler because it has a specifically Canadian context and would thus feel (to me) to be more aware of its oppressive origins. Other names you could use instead of Colonist could be Migrant and Diaspora, with the connotations of having left somewhere less-than-enthusiastically, or even having fled.

    Anyway, on the subject of names, it doesn't seem entirely clear to me, just from the descriptions, what the difference between Colonist, Frontier, and Spacer is, exactly. Colonist sounds like an advance terraforming mission? You could call it Terraformer maybe? I feel like Pioneer is a better name for the Colonist description than it is for the Frontier description.

    Frontier sounds like people who live on Dune? But that doesn't have to be on any sort of actual frontier, because of space. Also, if they live on a world that is actually hostile and not just hard to live on, they're kind of the same as Spacers, because people living on a world with boiling seas and corrosive air live the same as people who live in space, right? They both live in entirely built environments. Or are these people just supposed to be isolated and low-tech? Isolated, low-tech, and hostile environment don't automatically go together in my mind. Maybe Isolated is a better name?

    If Spacers are supposed to be growing up in microgravity, the unique feature of outer space, you could call them Zero-G, Low-G, Low Grav, Flyers, Floaters, etc. If this one is supposed to include people who live on space-station-like environments on inhospitable worlds, maybe you need a different name. Sardines? Troglodytes? Can't think of one right now.
  • edited July 2014
    First of all, I meant no offence by suggesting "Colonial", and I'm sorry if any was caused any. I wrote that post quickly, without reflection. As a citizen of a former British colony and a graduate of a post-colonial studies programme, I should have been more sensitive.

    Anyway, Johnstone, Terraformed for Colonist and Isolated for Frontier are dynamite suggestions.

    How about something like Offworld for Space? This does sort of imply, however, that all the other origins are, by default, which is patently not the case; I notice, for instance, that the Crowded origin includes characters who grew up on space stations...

    Hmm.
  • Hang on! Just had a thought: given the title of the game, one obvious name for the Frontier origin is, surely, Uncharted... ;-)
  • edited July 2014
    (deleted my post because I didn't want to start a thing)
  • Yeah I didn't mean to start anything on the socio-political aspects of Colonialism vs Colonization. It's an interesting topic but not one for this thread. And no offense taken, by the way, it just had connotations that were not where I was going. I'm not enamored with 'Settler' for the same reason as 'Colonial'; it feels like a term from an older age.

    Also, a secondary consideration for an origin name is how it 'reads' when you say it as part of your character. People tend to call their character by "Origin Career/Career", so you have a Privileged Clandestine/Explorer, etc.

    Frontier: Isolated gets the gist of where I'm going with it. I do like Uncharted, though :)
    Colonist: Pioneer is not bad but doesn't have the "improve/terraform" vibe, Settler does have that vibe but feels like covered wagons. Terraformed doesn't quite work in the 'Origin Career/Career' naming.
    Spacer: I'll be going with Galactic, it works both as a descriptor and a nickname for those born in space rather than planetside. (Side note; I am assuming artificial gravity rather than microgravity for those raised on ships and space station)
    Violent: Changing this one to Brutal, a small change but the connotations line up better with the description.

    Great stuff, folks. Thanks! (Keep it coming!) :)
  • That's quite the linguistic challenge you've set yourself: to devise a list of career and origin descriptors that make sense no matter what the combination.

    Thing is, I think you've more or less pulled it off! Of course, if I'd actually read the new release a bit more closely, I'd have spotted that this is exactly what you were trying to do, and wouldn't have been so quick to jump in. My bad.

    Anyway, if that's the case, then Brutal definitely works better than Violent (a Brutal Academic Scroundel, for instance, sounds like a hell of a lot of fun to play!), and all the others are solid too, although Crowded should probably be Cosmopolitan or something (Cosmopolitan Commercial Explorer makes more sense than Crowded Commercial Explorer), and, regrettably, Colonial is still the best fit in the sense that Colonial Military Starfarer works better than Colonist Military Starfarer, in terms of scansion; the historical baggage it carries is a whole other issue...).

    There has to be a better word! I think Johnstone's suggestion of Migrant is kind of on the right track, but that's not exactly what you're looking for, is it? Maybe Transplanted?
  • edited July 2014
    More important question, to do with game play. It is implied in the LEVEL UP section that characters can gain milestones in careers other than their starting careers. Am I reading that right?

    Have you playtested this? It's hard to tell from just reading it if something's going to work or not, but that seems like a really, really smart advancement system.

    Another question: do the players have to state their intention of achieving a milestone, or can it be retrospectively applied? Could a player say during the end session, "Hey look, my character met this milestone from X career. Can I get XP for that?" Would that work?
  • edited July 2014
    Uncharted should be a special background you have to unlock in play by discovering new worlds. New characters introduced into the same setting could take it, but not the original PCs (because then their homeworld would be charted at the start of play).
  • Brutal is really good!

    I like Transplanted a lot. You could also consider Emigre. Is there a word connected to "expedition" that might work? Expedited, Enterprising, Voyaging, Exploring, Exploratory...

    Offworld sounds more scientific than Galactic, which is a bit science fantasy to me? Maybe Orbital?

    Crowded communicates the origin's premise, while Cosmopolitan has "sophisticated" connotations. I assume you already considered Hiver, Hiveworld, Hive-child, Hive-born, etc?
  • edited July 2014
    More important question, to do with game play. It is implied in the LEVEL UP section that characters can gain milestones in careers other than their starting careers. Am I reading that right?

    Have you playtested this? It's hard to tell from just reading it if something's going to work or not, but that seems like a really, really smart advancement system.

    Another question: do the players have to state their intention of achieving a milestone, or can it be retrospectively applied? Could a player say during the end session, "Hey look, my character met this milestone from X career. Can I get XP for that?" Would that work?
    Gasp, gameplay question woo! :D

    Yes indeed you can gain XP in another career if, by the end of the session, you've accomplished something in line with the career. No need to state intention, though you certainly can just to give the GM a heads up and to remind yourself to keep an eye out for opportunities. Note that already having a career's skills allows you to more easily accomplish the career's milestones in a natural manner, thereby allowing you to easily improve in your own career paths. If you want to gain a non-career XP, you'll have to make a conscious effort to step outside of your own skills/comfort zone and do things you're not already good at. As a side note, it was pointed out that the Origin's 'Stat Move' is a seemingly "better" pick than one of the cross-class skills, because those skills can be earned later. However, having a cross-class skill from your origin makes it subtly easier to gain XP in the career that skill comes from.

    I've playtested a previous version in which each individual skill had its own milestones. Didn't work out at all (I think I posted about it a bit earlier in the thread). This new XP system still needs to be tested. I hope it works :P
  • edited July 2014
    Is there a limit on the number of milestones you can gain during a session? I know it's one per career, but can you gain milestones in multiple careers per session?

    (Back to semantics: love your idea for Uncharted, Johnstone. That's gold.)
  • Right now it's a single xp per session, assigned to one career. That may change when I have a chance to test that out.
  • edited July 2014
    For a bit of a character concept exercise, roll 1d10 three times to determine Origin - Career - Career (rerolling the last if it's the same as the 2nd, obviously) and then come up with a character concept for that mix. My regular group spent an hour on Hangout just rolling dice and trying to stump each other with difficult or esoteric combinations.

    Colonist Industrial Personality? Mayor, or Overseer, or Foreman.
    Violent Academic Clandestine? Chemical warfare specialist, or torturer.

    Give it a shot if you have a few spare minutes. :)
  • An issue that bugged me in 0.75 that's still in 0.82 - in "Stats" on page 8, Armor is described as one of 6 Stats, but in character creation you list 5 values to assign to Stats. It's obvious what's going on if you're familiar with AW etc., but could be confusing to a new player.

    I think it's inherently a bad idea to treat Armor like the other Stats, so maybe in the Stats section you should point out that sometimes you'll roll with one of 5 character Stats, and sometimes you'll roll with some other value like Armor or Availability.
  • edited July 2014
    True. I'll move Armor away from the main stat description, probably make a sub-section for 'non-stat Rolls'. Leaves a bit of design space open for other modifiers as well, should I want to go down that road.

    Honestly I have to get around to rewriting and expanding on a lot of explanatory text. First on the list is detailing how the Basic Moves work, especially Assessment and Acquisition.
  • edited July 2014
    I'm going to play Uncharted Worlds with my regular group on saturday, they've been starved for sci-fi for ages.
    One thing I'll be doing that nobody here's mentioned yet is the creation of the crew. I'll be doing it Monsterhearts classroom creation style to give my players a way to remember who they are, give some reason to care for them when they get sucked through a hull-breach, killed by boarders, die horribly burned by radiation, held hostage, or have a lover's spat.
    Makes it harder than sending red-shirt #316 down to engineering to plug a reactor breach with his thumb.

    I'll let you know how it goes.
  • edited July 2014
    Please do! I'd love to hear the results of a game. Also, tell me if the classroom creation style works out for crew creation, I may toy with something similar if it's a positive experience (ever since I moved Crew from being career-based 'skills' to being part of the "items" along with Weapons, Gear, Vehicles and Gadgets, I feel they may have been downvalued to the point of being forgotten.)
  • Looks like artificial/synthetic people/androids/constructs are out?
  • edited July 2014
    So there are three big sci-fi character types which are in very rough forms, and some of them filtered into various versions of the rules:
    - Cybernetic/Synthetic/Robotic
    - Aliens
    - Psionics/Telepaths

    Over time I strongly felt that those things fall into a much more complicated and advanced design space, and I wanted to do them justice. They fundamentally altered or ignored or added to the basic rules to one degree or another (Cybernetics as purchasable skills? 'Mind' as a 6th stat to use telepathy? Alien diversity/non-humanoid aliens?). Also, on a thematic standpoint, I don't want to make assumptions about another player's campaign universe by including those 3 in the base game; I want the individual GM to have a say as to whether player-character telepaths, robots or cyborgs exist, or whether aliens are playable character origins. After a lot of internal wrestling, I decided to delay working on those three until I have released the core game, to give that tricky design space a much more solid foundation. They will come, I've saved a lot of my design work, but I don't know when.
  • Cool, that makes sense.
  • So we had our first run of Uncharted Worlds last night (combined with a very nice barbeque). We didn't get to see the characters in play as we spent our available 3½ hours creating them and building our little slice of the galaxy.
    We began by jotting down a few base rules for how our universe would work.
    1: There are fixed jump points in a network. Some of them lead nowhere but you can still get back. Jump points are stationary and rather far from the star. It takes at least several days to get there.
    2: You can't fly FTL, and there's no FTL communications. However, there are comm-sattelites that constantly jump back and forth at their designated jump-points, delivering messages.
    3: No aliens. At least, not yet.
    4: Earth is a myth, lost in the mists of time.
    5: Most worlds are shaped by the original Terran cultures that colonized them, although there is, of course, overlap.
    6: There are both single and multi-system governments, with some large empires of 10+ systems.
    7: Only shuttles land on planets. Starships dock at orbiting stations connected to planets via space elevator.

    Here's what we discovered:
    Character creation takes a damn long time compared to other AW hacks due to having to read through and select two carreers and an origin. On top of that you have to set some standards/rules for the universe to get everyone on the same page. You also have to get some somewhat detailed starting factions together. It's fun, but time-consuming.

    What we hacked together:
    We stole a page from Monsterhearts to create the crew. We'd decided early on that actually having a crew was necessary for the gameplay, as that would give me (the GM) some ready cannon-fodder/possible hostages/interpersonal crisis/story hooks. We needed names, and we needed to make them matter, their deaths mean something, other than "We lost redshirts 2, 7 and 15. Hire some new ones next time we dock". We divided them by department and then created interdepartmental relationships. We'll be doing a relationship map to keep better track.
    We also drew the ship, deciding what it would look like and where the various departments were located.
    Mostly for flavour, but also to decide what crew to get sucked into space during battle. I know this isn't covered by the rules, but it really helps immersion.

    What I wish we'd hacked:
    It takes a bit to create a backstory, so what we decided we needed was a Monster of the Week-style backstory generator. It could be located on the origin sheet and would speed things up, not to mention making it easier to remember the basic backstory between characters. On top of that, it's very easy to build upon.
    A faction background generator would be nice as well, as would a ship relationship (how'd you get on the vessel).

    In two weeks, the trade/salvage ship HMMS Pandora, an old but servicable tub of a ship will take to the stars with its crew of miscreants, wash-outs and grizzled veterans.

    I'll crosspost this to the Uncharted Worlds forum on Barf Forth Apocalyptica.
  • Sounds great Tore! Thanks for taking the time to write all that up. Shame you didn't get to play, but I'm looking. As for character creation, I can totally see how indecision paralysis can really stretch it out compared to the traditional *World 'playbooks' (though I hope it's not as long as Traveller's system, which is its other parent).

    As an alternative to the 'in depth' character creation, do you guys feel it would be a good idea to include "playbooks" of premade archetype with a few choices, like which gear package and a choice between two archetype-defining skills? Or should I just stick with the longer character creation?
  • edited July 2014
    Very excited about this. Just found this, so will read through and give feedback ASAP. If it is as good as it it seems at first glance, I will try and get my playgroup to run some playtest.
  • edited July 2014
    As to the various background definitions, I feel that I don't have the same outlook/modus-operandi as your group, Tore_V; I tend to leave backstory undefined or nebulous at best, to be determined during play. As a GM, I absolutely love asking a player to come up with a backstory on the spot for an NPC or Faction or themselves, especially colored/tainted by the character's own personal perspective/biases. That usually means that I leave a whole bunch of background undefined before the game starts, and let that stuff get filled in organically. Same goes for the crew; to borrow a saying from J. Michael Straczynski, they are defined at the speed of plot.

    Obviously, it goes without saying that this is just my personal preference. And though I'm writing UW with that philosophy in mind, I'm in no way opposed to a group sitting down and drawing up the important backgrounds beforehand. Different strokes :)

    Also: Heya Revel911. Hope you like what's there so far, if you have any questions or confusion, don't hesitate to post here or in the Uncharted Worlds subforum over on AW's forum.
  • Oh, we didn't spend much time with backstory, really, just enough to make sure we were on the same page tech-wise and such. We did decide to make up a few sample star systems just as a warm-up.
    As for the crew creation, it makes it a LOT easier for the players to remember the crew consistently and bring them into play. It also helps to have all the npcs out in plain view for all to see, with a word or two of description. It helps cement relationships and make them three-dimensional. It doesn't mean we don't create NPC's on the fly, we most certainly do. And when we do, we write down the npc on an index card and put it on the table for all to see. Otherwise we'd just forget them.
    This has the added bonus of the players being able to draw in npc's they find interesting, not to mention keeping them aware they exist between sessions. In our GM-less Monsterhearts game one of my more artistically minded (and skilled) players drew every single pc and npc.

    On a side note, I just got a chat this morning from one of my players, who'd apparently been inspired by our world-creation, has almost finished sketching the ship. Another player who'll be a guest whenever he's in town, has taken it a step further and plans to build the ship out of lego's :-) So you see how excited my players are about UW (I'll send you some pictures later). Admittedly, they may be going a bit over board :-)

    As for the more technical aspects, I would prefer skins. To me, skins are great at creating a beginning character that's playable from the get-go, and it makes it easy to add back-story as you go along. It also gives you a feel for the type of person you're playing, the personaity behind it. It also makes introductions quicker and, for lack of a better word, deeper. My experience with skins from Monsterhearts and Monster of the Week is that you simply get to play quicker, instead of spending a lot of time having characters meet and greet. You get to the meat of the game a lot faster, and you also get a lot of background in a very short time for the GM to play with.

    What you might want to include at some point in the game is a 3:16-like planet creation list, a basic randomizer. One is also includes one for alien species.
    Neither of these are needed, but they can be damned nice to have as a gm tool for when your head starts spinning when the players are asking too many questions and your imagination is lacking.
  • edited July 2014
    Awesome, that's great feedback! I'll definitely have generators for inhabited planets, wild planets and possibly factions (because who doesn't like random generation charts to roll on? People with no soul, that's who. :) )

    I assume "Skins" refers to something in Monster Hearts? I'm seeing you reference it enough that I should probably look into it in more detail (I'm more of an Apocalypse World and Dungeon World player myself).
  • Ah, I see. Skins are Monsterhearts Playbooks. I highly recommend reading Monsterhearts, because debt, or "strings" in that game, an emotional tie you have with someone that can give them a mechanical bonus against you. You burn the string for the bonus.
    Monsterhearts also has conditions others can play on. Usually social. For instance, if my character has been embarrassed in front of the whole class, that character might have the condition "humiliated". Until that condition is removed through the fiction, anyone can bring it into play in the fiction to get a +1 to their roll against the character with the condition.

    For UW, strings could actually be applied in a slightly different form to illustrate debt or favours or even blackmail to give a bonus in negotiation situations or to manipulate. Conditions could as well, both in social situations as well as combat. For instance, a ship could recieve the condition "Shields down" or "hull breach", and the condition would have a fictional effect that could then be negated through fiction.
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