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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 36 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Solar System's Demons: Sorcerer Science Fiction  (Read 4003 times)
Judd
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« on: October 02, 2008, 09:24:18 AM »

The setting is the colonized solar system.  Pluto and some robot probes on Charon are as far as we've gotten.  Space travel is slow and clunky.  When you go to another planet, it is more or less leaving everyone you know and care about forever.

Sorcerers are people affected by technology, special people, people who will make history and change the course of humanity.

Demons are pieces of technology that make people more and/or less human.  The technology that you have isn't something that is mass produced or if it is, you have found a loop-hole or a new way to utilize it.  You are a prototype, a rare genetic mutation, a laboratory myth or scientist's spook story.

Lore is navigating technological advances.

Humanity is empathy with other beings.

When Humanity hits 0, your character becomes a cautionary tale, their technology overcoming them.  Even worse, their demon/tech goes out to effect the world in a terrible way, narrated by the player (or should that be narrated by the GM?  Hm).  If the player's Humanity hits 10, they become a paragon, they transcend their human shell and their tech goes on to revolutionize the human worlds and make it a better place.

Only when one of those two things happens can aliens by contacted and can humans move beyond the solar system.

Aliens will be created using the Angel rules from Sorcerer's Soul.

Inspirations:

Richard K. Morgan's Takeshi Kovacs novels, Altered Carbon, Broken Angels and Woken Furies.  Also his novel, Black Man or as it is known in the states, Thirteen.

I am picturing getting a map of the solar system, putting it up next to where we gather and covering it with sticky notes as setting details emerge through play.  If this were to be a published setting, I picture a really pretty solar system map and a really simple booklet.

Any thoughts or suggestions on humanity or demon definitions would be great.
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Judd
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« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2008, 09:33:45 AM »

Unless it wasn't really clear, this was entirely inspired by Chris' post on using Sorcerer and Sorcerer & Sword as a framework to run Traveller, making me bust out my old black boxed set that I bought a while ago off of e-bay while listening to an audio-book by Richard K Morgan.  It was a triangulation of awesome stuff going on all around me.
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Judd
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« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2008, 09:41:25 AM »

When Humanity hits 0, your character becomes a cautionary tale, their technology overcoming them.  Even worse, their demon/tech goes out to effect the world in a terrible way, narrated by the player (or should that be narrated by the GM?  Hm).  If the player's Humanity hits 10, they become a paragon, they transcend their human shell and their tech goes on to revolutionize the human worlds and make it a better place.

Damn my inability to edit.

The player's next character's demon, after hitting 0 should be the next jump from that tech to the next stage.  The demon can be entirely remade but it is related, kissing cousins to the old demon.

If their Humanity hits 10, their next character should be a relationship or disciple of the former character.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2008, 10:12:59 AM »

I guess that's another author I gotta read now.

What I thought about when reading the posts were the stronger features of Babylon 5, and the science fiction it drew upon.

Best, Ron
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Judd
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« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2008, 10:20:08 AM »

To quote Vincent from Pulp Fiction, "You'd dig it the most!"

I think you would really like Altered Carbon, Ron.  Give it a go.  It is really smoking hot sci-fi noir.
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Judd
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« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2008, 11:21:07 PM »

Descriptors ahoy...

Stamina

How did these humans mold their bodies?

Military: Training, conditioning and violence.

Healthy: Exercise, nutrition and cleaning living.

Fragile: Diseased, scarred or too long in zero-g.

More than human: Cyborg, nano-bot host or vat-bred super-human.


Will

What formed these humans' psyche?

Hierarchy: Family, corporation or military.

Recidivism: Crime, prison and repeat.

Belief System: Religion, philosophy or dogma.

Politician: Mover, shaker, policy-maker

Lore

How do these humans relate to bleeding edge technology?

Science: Laboratory, experiments and funding.

Test Subject: Guinea pig and positive control.

Nexus: Birth, environment, and circumstance.

Hack: Standard technology + innovation = something new

Merely Human: Luddite, fragile, endangered species.
(for 1 Lore only, possibly only available after a first character has gone to 0 or 10 Humanity)


Other thoughts:


I am worried that in making space travel too slow, I might end up with a map of the solar system where no one will go anywhere because it would mean the death of every NPC on the back of their sheet or a real isolation between characters over vast gulfs of time and space.  I'll research up real travel times as they currently exist and see what there is to see.

Thoughts appreciated...
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Christoph Boeckle
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« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2008, 04:45:22 AM »

Hi Judd

I like the questions that introduce the descriptors, and the descriptors themselves.

Two quick (nitpicky) notes on the Solar System as we know it today: Pluto and Charon are very near one to another. Pluto is 70% of our Moon's diameter, Charon 35%. Their masses are only a factor 10 apart (whereas the Moon is a 100 times less massive than the Earth). All this leads to a intricate system where they both rotate around an axis that is outside of either object's physical structure (one can say that the Moon rotates around the earth, because it's centre of rotation is roughly at the centre of the Earth). All this is to say that if somebody reached Pluto, they might as well have reached Charon, whereas your note seems to suggest that Charon is another beast. Yeah, very nitpicky eh?

In 2001 NASA estimated a trip to Mars to last five and a half months, if the distance between Earth and Mars is optimal. Now, there is lots to be said about gravity assist of big bodies to speed up a spacecraft, so it's unrealistic to just do a proportional rule. A trip to Pluto is under way by a probe, it should reach it in 2015, after less than ten years. The way back would probably be longer, because Pluto cannot give as big a "slingshot" as bodies in the vicinity of Earth.

Now you could extrapolate into the future and cut these times some. An interesting scaling would be to bring the durations to similar things as the first explorers in the 16th century had. Say 3-4 years for a trip around the globe (<=> Pluto and back?) Makes travel an important investment in time, but you don't get the big delays one reads of in some SF. Also, at such scales, time-dilation is negligible: a gross estimate with those sizes suggests that the average speed of such a spacecraft would be under 500'000 km/h, which is about 4/10'000 of the speed of light, whereas relativistic effects are considered to become important at 1/10 the speed of light.

I haven't given it much thought, but even if you went the speed of light route, the relativistic effects wouldn't be that important on one trip (a voyager first has to accelerate, and the decelerate). Pluto is a bit less than 6 light-hours away from the Sun. So at most, a trip to Pluto and back would make you save 12 hours compared to somebody left on Earth. Probably less because of the time spent accelerating and decelerating. Let's say it's half of that. I'd have to travel back and forth 1'460 times to save a year compared to those left back on Earth.

That should give you the framework for space travel in the Solar System. I wouldn't worry too much about the diagram being outdated too often. If it happens, it's because of some very significant event.

Anybody is welcome to check those figures, I might have messed them up a bit.
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Regards,
Christoph
Judd
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« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2008, 05:48:54 AM »

Christoph,

That all isn't nitpicky, that is absolutely awesome.  Thank you.

3-4 months to Pluto is just about right, I think.

Thanks again, great stuff.

Judd
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Joel P. Shempert
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« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2008, 12:32:00 AM »

One other thing, given that this is Sorcerer:

You can roll Cover or Lore (or Cover plus Lore, with appropriate narration?) for travel, and adjust travel time by the rollover bonuses.

Maybe that's obvious, I dunno., But it seems like it could become a big fucking deal when you're in the thick of the story to determine just how drastically you're going to be separated from your key relationships.

peace,
-Joel
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Story by the Throat! Relentlessly pursuing story in roleplaying, art and life.
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2008, 06:27:02 AM »

Not Cover + Lore, unless I'm mis-remembering something in the rules. It'd be one or the other rolled first against some handful of dice, then any victories would apply to the next, primary roll.

Best, Ron
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Joel P. Shempert
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« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2008, 10:09:48 AM »

Y'know, that's actually what I meant. Sorry 'bout the sloppy wording.
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Story by the Throat! Relentlessly pursuing story in roleplaying, art and life.
Judd
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Please call me Judd.


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« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2008, 03:00:09 PM »

One other thing, given that this is Sorcerer:

You can roll Cover or Lore (or Cover plus Lore, with appropriate narration?) for travel, and adjust travel time by the rollover bonuses.

Maybe that's obvious, I dunno., But it seems like it could become a big fucking deal when you're in the thick of the story to determine just how drastically you're going to be separated from your key relationships.

peace,
-Joel

Joel,

That is an interesting solution.  Could you give me an example of how that would work with the dice hitting the table?  I can't quite picture it.
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Joel P. Shempert
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« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2008, 07:37:22 PM »

Well, I got the idea when Christoph said this:

Now, there is lots to be said about gravity assist of big bodies to speed up a spacecraft, so it's unrealistic to just do a proportional rule.
I pictured it as a character using Cover such as "navigator," "astrophysicist," "gravimetric engineer" or what have you, with or without Lore for application of transcendent technology, to beat the system and plot the best course, choose the best conjunctions and travel windows, etc. to surf the gravity wells of the solar system and shave time off their travel. I'm not sure what baseline or what scale of variance you would use, but if each victory was a month, six months, a year, whatever, it could mean all the difference in the world for involvement in the relationships you leave behind.

peace,
-Joel
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Story by the Throat! Relentlessly pursuing story in roleplaying, art and life.
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