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

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  • The "opera" in "space opera" refers to soap operas, not Classical operas! Something cobbled together from tropes and clichés. It was originally pejorative. The term was "reclaimed" in the '60s and '70s and applied with nostalgia to the "epic" stuff of the '20s-'40s—in other words, "what they used to write when we were kids and first got excited about sf," the Buck Rogers kind of stuff.
  • Yeah, that's why I use the word 'theatrics'. The 'opera' in soap opera was for the operatic quality of the plots.

    To quote: "-about the lives of melodramatic characters, which are often filled with strong emotions, highly dramatic situations and suspense." Which is fitting, I feel :)
  • Back to the actual design (not that the Space Opera etymology isn't fascinating!).

    For the "Cramped Quarters" move, do you guys feel that it would be better as a GM Move to decide a certain kind of interaction, rather than a player rolling? Maybe have specific Travel GM moves that are called upon every few days (I still prefer 'every few days' rather than 'once per trip', mainly because I envision longer voyages, and I'd like two or three such interactions.)

    Actually, I think there may be some merit to looking at Torchbearer's Grind mechanic and applying it to the ship and its crew. Like, every d6 days of space travel, choose either a minor mechanical malfunction or a social malfunction between two of the crew.

    Also, on the subject of minor malfunctions, I kinda like the idea that the ship has X number of permanent, annoying, but non-threatening malfunctions/quirks that just won't go away. I almost feel like it should be a character creation question or something, to give the ship a bit of personality. Stuff like "the loud hum" or "the creaks in the piping" or "the smell of the recycled air".
  • edited April 2014
    Oh, cool! I guess when I think of Space Opera, maybe I take it too literally. Like, I'd want my plots to be Wagnerian. Like, Ring Cycle in Space.

    I guess the specific element to the genre I'm trying to name here would be the central characters are usually generals, princes, lords or of some knightly rank. Ring Cycle in Space and and Warring States Period in Space are two that come to mind.
    The "opera" in "space opera" refers to soap operas, not Classical operas! Something cobbled together from tropes and clichés. It was originally pejorative. The term was "reclaimed" in the '60s and '70s and applied with nostalgia to the "epic" stuff of the '20s-'40s—in other words, "what they used to write when we were kids and first got excited about sf," the Buck Rogers kind of stuff.
    This would be an important point to note that with very few exceptions (The Magic Flute, Peter Grimes, for example) Opera is all about cobbling together from tropes and cliches; even such oddball operas borrow plenty from their more standard brethren. But even most truly brilliant operas areridiculous and melodramatic and most of even the best would be utter tripe were it not for the awesome music. In particular the height of Italian Opera was just copy-cat blockbuster after copy-cat blockbuster. We remember the more unique and interesting ones as canonical and forget how much of it was just silly melodrama with formulaic singing and composition.

    Put differently, there's a reason they're called "soap operas" and not just "soap theater."
  • What about the, uh, other side of close quarters? You know, space travel has a lot of cold, lonely nights.... Kn'a'm sa'in'?
  • That's why I had the 'On a 10+, describe how you and that character bonded in some way in the past few days.' *waggles eyebrows*
  • Oooooh, yeah. Love between the bulkheads. A little Defying Gravity in your Traveller. Works for me!
  • edited April 2014
    I think upkeep rolls like that are fine. I use them in my Traveller/AW game (it's more concerned with space trading economics, though, and less with good old adventure). But probably once per trip is a good number. If you don't like the idea of a longer trip having just one upkeep roll, break it up into multiple legs. Only give ships enough fuel to go X far (or 1 upkeep roll far) before they have to refuel at a starport or gas giant. Then you can also introduce side encounters along the way, at each "rest stop" (as it were).

    The Torchbearer-style grind is a valid approach too, I think it's mostly a matter of which style you think fits better.
  • edited April 2014
    That's a good compromise; 'once per leg of the journey, one of the players makes a Cramped Quarters move'. Allows for more than one on longer trips, plus adds a nice 'pace' between external events and internal events. Good call.
  • edited April 2014
    Time-warp ninja'd. :P
  • edited April 2014
    "Between the Bulkheads"


    This would be an important point to note that with very few exceptions (The Magic Flute, Peter Grimes, for example) Opera is all about cobbling together from tropes and cliches; even such oddball operas borrow plenty from their more standard brethren. But even most truly brilliant operas areridiculous and melodramatic and most of even the best would be utter tripe were it not for the awesome music. In particular the height of Italian Opera was just copy-cat blockbuster after copy-cat blockbuster. We remember the more unique and interesting ones as canonical and forget how much of it was just silly melodrama with formulaic singing and composition.

    Put differently, there's a reason they're called "soap operas" and not just "soap theater."
    Yeah, I appreciate that Opera as a term is quite expansive and covers many different creative periods and themes - but I would feel a bit pushed to call Firefly a Space Opera when it's certainly a Space Soap or a Space Western (more of a soap...). Certainly it is Space Opera, just still can't shake the feeling that Opera proper needs to be Operatic - not simply melodramatic but extravagantly theatrical!
  • edited April 2014
    That's what melodrama is. Seriously, if you don't think Soap Opera and Opera are really, really, really close together in terms of how over-the-top and extravagantly theatrical they are you have a very limited sampling of both. The Ring Cycle, Tosca and similarly famous operas have been staged with particular extravagance by particularly major troupes/houses, but if that's what you're getting at there really isn't much on television that compares. Ostentation is a big thing in live stage arts--musicals, operas, magic shows, circuses. But beyond ostentation and (of course) musical composition, you need look no further than day time television in particular on the Spainish Language channel to find Opera's equal.

    Wagner is a really unusual force in opera in quite a number of ways. Verdi is a much better conceptual average, I feel, of what Opera offers--and take the music away from Verdi and you've got Days of Our Lives and General Hospital episode arcs ready for camera with only a few tweaks.

    I wouldn't call Firefly Space Opera, for my part. It's too ... slick and down-tempo. I don't say that just because it's not "campy" either. The Vorkosogan Saga isn't campy and that's very Space Opera, to me. The drama is thicker and more up-tempo. It's more high-strung and sprawling. If Miles, Murder and Mayhem is an Opera, Firefly is a low-key stage play.

    Mass Effect? Space Opera.

    Halo? Not Space Opera for all that it is schlocky and campy and high-octane.

    Farscape? Space Opera.

  • I wouldn't call Firefly Space Opera, for my part. It's too ... slick and down-tempo. I don't say that just because it's not "campy" either. ... Farscape? Space Opera.
    Huh. I'm only a season and a half in with Farscape but it feels like basically the same genre as Firefly to me. Dysfunctional family living on a starship, outlaws, a web of obligations and debts. Farscape's got aliens, Firefly's got the "western" skin superficially applied. What do you see as the critical distinction between the two?

    Also, Battlestar Galactica: space opera, or no?

  • edited April 2014

    I wouldn't call Firefly Space Opera, for my part. It's too ... slick and down-tempo. I don't say that just because it's not "campy" either. ... Farscape? Space Opera.
    Huh. I'm only a season and a half in with Farscape but it feels like basically the same genre as Firefly to me. Dysfunctional family living on a starship, outlaws, a web of obligations and debts. Farscape's got aliens, Firefly's got the "western" skin superficially applied. What do you see as the critical distinction between the two?

    Also, Battlestar Galactica: space opera, or no?

    It's a tonal thing. I haven't watched BSG so I can't say one way or the other.

    Farscape has a feeling of ... grandness, bigness, legend, pomp-and-circumstance. With Firefly the scale and the stakes feel different; the focus always comes back to the characters as people. Firefly feels smaller and more intimate. It doesn't feel big. Farscape feels big. It feels sprawling. BSG could go either way, not having seen it--the premise is rich with over-the-top potential with the fate of humanity hanging in the balance, the whole Skinwalker thing, etc ... but from what I've heard it plays those cards fairly close to the chest and focuses on smaller things a lot of the time.

    I'm a little too tired to explain it very well but the crux of it is that: it's a tonal thing. It's about the sum of the parts, not the parts themselves. Not all operas are melodramatic and/or ostentatious in any case.

    If you break it down to plot elements the way you do in your post (family living on a starship, outlaws, a web of obligations and debts), we could essentially erase all genre and tonal distinctions entirely. We could similarly equate Harry Potter and Mistborn or Mistborn and Ocean's Eleven. There are contexts in which that kind of barrier breaking is useful and fruitful but I don't think this is such a context.


  • I dunno if it should be a flat Roll, or if it should be Roll+Influence.
    Seems like Influence would be more accurate. Conflict isn't just who clashes with whom. Higher influence would likely mean people weren't as likely to start something with them.

  • edited April 2014
    Ha ha, I'm feeling like the debate over Space Opera is getting a little confused. What is and isn't sounds like its very much up for debate - some of you want to label huge swathes of Sci-fi as it, whereas others want to work on a Grandness of Scale or something. New thread? New thread.
  • edited April 2014


    I dunno if it should be a flat Roll, or if it should be Roll+Influence.
    Seems like Influence would be more accurate. Conflict isn't just who clashes with whom. Higher influence would likely mean people weren't as likely to start something with them.

    Yeah I'll try it with Influence first. On a gut level, it feels like it should make it easier to have good interactions with other players. My main concern is that Influence is already quite useful, for all social rolls and Command. None the less, I'm going with my gut.
    Ha ha, I'm feeling like the debate over Space Opera is getting a little confused. What is and isn't sounds like its very much up for debate - some of you want to label huge swathes of Sci-fi as it, whereas others want to work on a Grandness of Scale or something. New thread? New thread.
    New thread, please. It's an interesting topic, for sure, but it's a bit of a distraction. :P
  • Posted a separate topic about leveling/advancement here, just to get some ideas inspiration. It's one of the areas of Uncharted Worlds where I'm still unsure what to implement.
  • edited April 2014
    So after the advancement thread, I have a mock-up of a leveling system that might work.

    The reward of advancing is earning a new skill. It can be any skill from any career. New skills are earned by achieving milestones; performing actions or experiencing events that are directly related to the skill in question. The player needs to accomplish a number of milestones equal to the number of skills they already have (i.e. 4 at the start). All skills in your careers start the game with 1 milestone earned already, so it’s faster to earn skills within your careers than outside of them.

    Milestones are specific to each skill, and a player can only earn one milestone per session (if they do stuff that falls in multiple categories, they choose which one applies). They can accomplish the same milestone multiple times in consecutive sessions, but they have to be different situations/actions; a continuation of the same action/situation won’t earn a second milestone.

    Here’s an example.

    Thoughts? I worry it might be a bit of extra work to get suitable milestones for all the classes. That said, I'm kinda liking it. It has a bit of Mouse Guard/Burning Wheel in there, but with a much more story-driven focus.
  • If players can get the same milestone more than once, you need more than one circle in front of them.

    Otherwise, that looks like an pretty elegant method for advancement.
    (Doesn't really feel like MG/BW though, but I guess you mean in the sense that you have to actually use a skill to improve it.)
  • edited April 2014
    If players can get the same milestone more than once, you need more than one circle in front of them.

    Otherwise, that looks like an pretty elegant method for advancement.
    Thanks :) I was thinking of checkboxes along the bottom of the skill or something; those milestones listed are just suggestions, and the GM could reward milestones for other actions as well. Heck, you get one 'check' just for having that career.
    (Doesn't really feel like MG/BW though, but I guess you mean in the sense that you have to actually use a skill to improve it.)
    Yeah, it wasn't specifically patterned after MG, but it does have a bit of that philosophy; you have to do specific stuff to learn.
  • I love the idea of specific character achievements. More, please!
  • edited April 2014
    Funny you should say the word Achievement, because on the bus this morning I realized that's sorta what these are; Achievements (in a video-game sense) for performing certain actions, and earning the skill is the Meta-Achievement.

    I'll try to write up more this evening! It was actually really fun to come up with the achievements for the Scoundrel, it really made me consider 'what does someone who has/wants this skill do'. I even tweaked some of the skills because of that up-close examination of the spirit of the skill. Honestly, I'm really quite pleasantly surprised with how good this system feels on a gut level... too happy, in fact; I keep expecting some horrible flaw or realization that will bring the whole system down :P
  • I was thinking similar for OSR leveling but I couldn't agree on what made a good landmark. How would you parse a Figher or Magic User?
  • Hmm, good question. OSR favors a vertical progression, yes? Fighters become numerically better Fighters?
  • edited April 2014
    Fighter*: Kill someone in cold blood (from behind, while they're unarmed, while they're asleep). Kill something remarkably stronger than you (more hit dice, better-armed, better-armored). Lose a fight (get legitimately dropped to death's door or unconsciousness). Be ambushed/surprised.
    Magic-User: Learn how to cast a spell your character didn't know existed at character creation. Reach an arrangement with something more than mortal. Cast an ineffectual spell (botched roll, lowest possible damage, could have saved someone's life with a better roll). Be cursed/mind controlled/lose a save vs magic.

    * I assume melee for all of these. We're not talking setting a trap here, or firing random arrows over a wall and waiting for the level-up ding. Hands bloody or it doesn't count.

    A little grimdark, but you learn more from failure than from success. Edit: as an aside I kinda like how this subverts straight-18 characters. You can minmax a golden boy that shines under all circumstances, but they'll never grow. Meanwhile, the average peasant that survives those first rocky outings will end up stronger and more capable.
  • @Archangel3d: OSR D&D does, but I see more Traveller influence in Uncharted Worlds. Traveller had basically no progression (other than acquiring better ships and equipment), so I feel like we aren't really beholden to any existing trope.

    Achievements seem like a great way to track progression. I certainly like it better than 'if I kill fifteen dudes, I get better at lock picking" It makes sense, drives fiction, and is fun to pursue.
  • I really really like the idea here, but I do have one reservation: if you can earn skills from other careers, doesn't that mean you have to keep track of ALL the milestones in the game simultaneously? That's a lot to remember!
  • I don't think you'd be tracking all milestones for all careers, only the one/two you're interested in. Or similarly the one/two "skillsets" you're interested in. (Or you've only got like ten skills for the entire game.)
  • edited April 2014
    Considering you only get one milestone per session, it probably won't be too difficult to track simply because the player will naturally gravitate towards accomplishing milestones in one or two skills at a time (otherwise they would never advance!). Should a session happen that doesn't allow you to accomplish anything in the few skills you're actively 'watching', I think it's cool to be able to put that milestone in an unexpected skill that cropped up.

    Though I can see tracking getting heavy after dozens and dozens of sessions, especially if the player keeps performing 1 or 2 milestones for each skill. It's possible, but enough of an edge case that I'm willing to let it slide.
  • I have always been enamored with the Era Ten Ignobles... perhaps there's something useful in there to borrow.

    You had to do each of these things to advance, then it reset and you did them all again, which made you keep doing in-genre things without being too focused on the metagame. The ( ) parts are my own notes, I believe.
    1 Adventure(Travel/Danger/Intrigue)
    2 Ambition(Profit/Power/Revenge)
    3 Battle(Strategy/Military Engagements/Actions)
    4 Cunning(Cleverness/Ingenuity)
    5 Events Beyond Comprehension (Aliens/Technology/Unknown)
    6 Growth(Leading/Learning/Comradeship/Political Authority)
    7 Heroics(Courage/Boldness/Audacity)
    8 Judgement(Prudence/Restraint/Care/Forethought/Precautions)
    9 Publicity(Fame/Notoriety/Triumph)
  • That's a really good list AP, especially your parenthetical notes. They're a good source of inspiration for the various milestones (and I have to write a LOT of milestones; 200 in total! (4 milestones per skill x 5 skills per career x 10 careers))
  • edited April 2014
    I updated the example with 2 more careers; Scoundrel, Military and Personality, and wrote up the general rules of advancement.

    I gotta say, I'm kinda excited as to how this is coming together. The skills you do have actually allow you to accomplish milestones for skills you don't in a very organic sense. Take Performance; with it, you could set up situations to earn a milestone in Authority, Reputation or Crew: Followers. And it totally tracks, narratively. Spend enough sessions leveraging your performance/art from Performer, and you'll eventually earn yourself a Reputation, too!

    Super excited about this, this was one of the biggest holes in my design for the longest time. And once again I really appreciate all the feedback from you guys here at Story Games.
  • I did a semi-similar milestone thing for D&D a long time ago, HERE, if that helps at all. Not very sci-fi though.
  • Pretty quiet week, only a few updates:

    - Uncharted Worlds has it's own subforum on Barf Forth Apocalyptica (Apocalypse World's forum). It's a bit bare-bones right now, but I'll try to toss in some updates when I can. Feel free to pop in with any feedback, suggestions or questions!

    - I reworked injuries and Brace For Impact (the armor Move), added Cramped Quarters and changed the philosophy behind Assessment. I also gave the Clothing more customization, like Weapons and Vehicles. With the changes to Brace For Impact, Armor values have been slightly increased; there is a much more significant difference between wearing armor and not wearing armor, but it limits the other choices you have for your Clothing.

    - A few skills are getting modified to a) make them cooler, and/or b) keep them in line with updated mechanics.

    - I will hopefully be in mechanical lockdown by this time next week. No more major rules changes; I'll be writing the detailed explanations of the Moves, GM Moves, skills, and other elements of the game. Verbosity!

    - If anyone has experience with self-publishing/Kickstarting thsi kind of stuff and has some free time, I'd appreciate the opportunity to ask a few more specific questions as to your experiences. Send me a PM/whisper/whatnot, if you can.
  • The Ignobles list from Era Ten was a reworked/generified version of an earlier system, originally part of "Crimson Cutlass" (written by the same author, George "Red" Rahm). Since the "nautical" angle has been brought up here, I shall reproduce the original version of the Ignobles:

    - Sea Voyages, Training and Maritime Management
    - Treasure, Prizes and Profiteering
    - Ship Engagements, Mutinies and Action at Sea
    - Individual Fighting, Brawling and Duels
    - Conflict of Arms (Military Battles and Strategy)
    - Personal Risk and Audacity
    - Display of Skills and Savior-Faire
    - Personal Growth (Character Development)
    - Fame, Notoriety and Taleworthy Experiences

    The performance of one of these deeds was called an "Exploit".
  • AsIf, those are great. I had just popped in with the Supers Ignobles to add, for completeness' sake. I don't have any parantheticals for these, though. (I didn't have all the magazines and now all I seem to have are my notes.)

    =Supers=
    Action
    Awesome Power
    Danger
    Discipline
    Heroics
    Morale Dilemma
    Public Opinion
    Sense of Community
    Strategy

    Sigh. I'd love to see Red PDF those games. I see someones's got the Barony magazine with the random story generator for $50. And another someone else on BoardGameGeek has it for trade but I don't have anything on his list. I know there's more good stuff in there but .... anyway, enough digression.

    Lots of good stuff in Uncharted Worlds, too.
  • Just a small update this week. Lots of stuff going on with the writing, hammering together the How to Play and How to GM sections, cleaning up the formatting of the careers, etc, but none of it ready to be published.

    Thought I'd post the freshly written GM Moves; if there are any that leap out as being especially unclear, or that could be said better, or if there's a GM Move that should be in a sci-fi game that isn't there, by all means please suggest it!

    GM Moves:
    • Use a Faction move
    • Make something malfunction
    • Cause collateral damage
    • Cause Harm
    • Foreshadow a looming threat
    • Reveal an immediate danger
    • Divulge troubling information
    • Expend their resources
    • Present a vexing choice
    • Declare a cost and let them choose

    Faction Moves:
    • Get drawn in
    • Interfere
    • Demand tribute
    • Seize by force or guile
    • Lay a claim
    • Make a show of strength
    • Withdraw or retreat
  • edited May 2014
    Design stuff: I've know I'm supposed to be in 'soft lock' for mechanics (hah), but I ended up re-evaluating the Execute Program (the +Tech standard Move). It felt cluttered and it rarely came up in play; most of the time, the situation that could have delt with that just called for a Face Adversity using +Tech. At the same time, commanding robots or AI used +Influence because of the Command move.

    I took a step back and examined what I really wanted out of the move; a way to interact and give commands to computer systems, AI and robots. Ultimately, Program should be a variant of Command (the +Influence standard Move) but for technology; getting 'loyal' programming/electronics to perform a dictated action to the best of its ability.

    As a side note, this means that Artificial Intelligence (the Academic career/Artificial origin skill) allows you to make systems loyal enough to Program, and greatly expands the scope of what that system can be commanded to do; you couldn't Program the ship to pilot itself (or not very well), but if your AI was in the piloting console, then the AI could auto-pilot the ship, and you'd use your +Tech to order it to do so.

    I feel that it makes the Move much more robust and sci-fi.

    The new Move:

    PROGRAM (+Tech)
    When you transmit instructions to robots, AI or other computer systems that are open to your directives, Roll+Tech.
    On a 10+, they follow your instructions to the best of their ability.
    On a 7-9, they follow your instructions, but suffer degradation, bugs, glitches or other breakdowns. They get a cumulative -1 to Program them again until the source of the breakdowns is fixed.
  • edited May 2014
    Newest version is published. You can check it out here. This should be the most playable version, if anyone wants to take a stab at running a game, I'd be super interested in hearing the results. As always, feel free to ask any questions, give your comments, etc.
  • edited May 2014
    Running a couple of games, doing general Beta testing with the new 8.0 rules. Considering a small change to Explorer; Tenacious might get the boot for a more 'daring' Move:

    Recklessness
    When you attempt something unpredictable, unprecedented, desperate and dangerous, choose 1 of the following before rolling if it's your first time you've ever attempted it.
    * I Got This: Allies cannot Get Involved with this Move. Your allies will be spared any negative consequences specifically caused by your Move.
    * At Any Cost: A result of 6- counts as a 7-9 but the consequences for you and those involved will be exceptionally harsh.


    Tangentially related:
    Question for you guys; do you feel that each Career should have a Crew as one of their optional skills? Something like: Crew: Laborers for Commercial, Crew: Pilots for Starfarer ("Red 3, standing by"), Crew: Away Team for Explorer, Crew: Agents for Clandestine and... uh... I dunno for Cybernetic. Crew: Droids?
  • For most careers, having crew as optional skills makes great sense. Others feel, to me, like a forced fit though the right twist makes it alright.

    Not everyone gets a ray gun, thematically. But Droids can optionally pop in for the Engineer's Crew nicely, I think.

  • Archangel3d

    I really love the way this game is coming together; it looks like the science fiction game I've been waiting to play ever since I bought MegaTraveller, back in the day, and thought I was stupid because I couldn't get it to work (never occurred to me then that it might be the game that was broken, not me).

    If you ever do crowdfund it, you'll have my money as soon as the campaign is announced!

    Apart from that I don't really have anything else to add, though I do intend to playtest this with my brothers in the next month or so (when we can schedule some time; between babies and studies, it's not easy), and maybe I'll have more concrete comments then.

    I do have one question, though: one of the things I love about the *World games is the way that requiring players to choose a name/look/gender/etc from a set list means that even during character creation the game is (a) reinforcing its themes and mood and (b) kickstarting the process of collaborative world-building.

    Is that something you're planning to include?

    I noodled around with a list of body-types, miens, and outfits this morning, each associated with one of the origins or careers; with the thought of having my brothers choose one item from each playbook to create a list of three that defines their character. For example, you might choose the body-type "brittle" from Space, the mien "pallid" from Academic and the outfit "antiquated gravsuit" from Explorer. I haven't decided if a player should be restricted to picking just one item from each playbook (i.e., if you choose an outfit from one playbook, you have to choose mien and body-type from the other playbooks) or being more flexible and allowing the player to choose any combination of items from his or her three playbooks (i.e., allowing a player, in theory, to choose his/her body-type, mien, and outfit from just one playbook).

    What do you think?



  • ... Thaaaaaat's a really elegant and clever idea. I am definitely going to tool around with that, if not steal it whole-cloth! Thank you so much. Also, thanks for your kind words. I'm super keen to hear about your experiences, whenever you do get the chance to try it out.
  • edited June 2014
    Whew, a solid three weeks of playtesting has given me a lot of nice data to work with. Pretty big changes coming down the pipe, but I'm continuing with v 0.82 for the time being; there will likely be bigger gaps between versions. Also, looking for ideas/inspiration/opinions, see below

    A sample of the changes in the works:
    - Crews have been removed from all careers. They are now one of the choices a player can take as a starting loadout.
    - The 4 new starting loadouts are: Fighter (better weapon), Survivor (better gear/armor), Driver (simple vehicle), Leader (crew). Each loadout also gets a simple weapon and a common set of gear.
    - New skills have been added to the careers to replace the Crew skills (more on that later)
    - Invention (Engineering) and Experiment (Academic) are being redesigned because they were too vague and open to confusion
    - The Explorer career skills are being revisited to be bolder and more daring. Currently, Tenacious (which was a boring +1 on failure) is being replaced by Recklessness (when attempting something foolhardy/dangerous for the first time, you can assure success at great personal risk and/or protect allies from the consequences of your attempt)

    However, the biggest change/issue I'm currently trying to resolve is a pretty fundamental one; the confusion caused between Tech and Ingenuity. I separated the "mental/logic/creativity" stat in two; the Use Computer aspect alone was so strong and frequently used in a Sci-Fi setting that, as a stat, it had more weight in play than all the other skilled/science/engineering actions put together. So the divide (as laid out below) has to stay more or less as-is...

    However, the names of the stats themselves repeatedly cause confusion because they aren't unique and descriptive enough. So I'm trawling for ideas; if you have a suggestion for unique names for these stats, I'm open to any and all suggestions. I need excellent terms that clearly define what's in each stat without overstepping into the other stat. The boundaries need to be as clear as possible, to avoid confusion.

    Stat A:
    - Repair, Maintenance, Construction
    - First Aid, Medicine, Chemistry, Experimentation
    - Economics, Logistics, Administration

    Stat B:
    - Computer Use, Programming, Hacking
    - Sensors, Scanning, Diagnostics
    - AI, Virtual Reality

    This has been one of the big issues from the playtests, and I'm looking for inspiration. Thoughts?
  • Personally, once I see that "Tech" is a separate stat from "Ingenuity" I don't know what the problem is. Seems totally clear to me. I suppose some players are thinking "ingenuity" can be applied to "tech" problems (and hey, maybe it actually can, at a -1 or something). But that said, here are some ideas...

    Stat A: Smart, Smarts, Brainy, Brains, Knowledge, Intellect
    Stat B: Tech Use, HiTech, Digital, Interface

    (I kinda like using adjectives as nouns. YMMV.)
  • Actually... Interface is very interesting, as a noun and a verb. It feels nicely sci-fi. Still not 100% sure, but I'm interested to see what the general consensus is.
  • edited June 2014
    So, for Stat A (Repair, Medicine, Economics), a few potential words:

    - Expertise
    - Technique
    - Mastery
    - Education
    - Cleverness
    - Wit

    Anything in there sounds good as a stat? Or we could keep it as Ingenuity, since Tech will probably change to Interface (assuming a more appropriate word doesn't come along). Might not work though, because then Influence, Ingenuity and Interface all start with 'In' (not that it's a huge deal, it just isn't as clean and delineated as I'd like; you can't abbreviate them down to one syllable words :P)

    It would be:
    - Mettle
    - Physique
    - Influence
    - [Stat A]
    - Interface
  • edited June 2014
    IMHO "Wits" is better than "Wit" (which might mean "clever humor").
  • Expertise, for sure. Covers all the bases.
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