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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 31 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Free Spacer Excerpt 1 - Chargen Chapter  (Read 1229 times)
Christoph
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Posts: 6


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« on: March 20, 2012, 03:42:16 PM »

So I've been working on an Indie Sci-fi RPG for... way too long... now. I have a beta excerpt from the book it is only the 30 page Commissioning (Chargen) Chapter plus Character sheets. It would be cool if you guys would check it out and give me your opinion from a game design point of view: http://www.freespacer.com/archives/633
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- Christoph
My Precious
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Posts: 10


« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2012, 07:15:39 PM »

I realize you've asked for feedback from a game design standpoint, and not about presentation...but I did want to take a minute to say your project looks nice. It has clean layout, nicely rendered figures, and good use of gray scale.

If you post combat or task resolution chapters, I can comment on that. I don't feel I get a good sense of how the system works just from the chargen chapter, which is a little overwhelming. There's a lot there. I prefer a little "less" in a game, and I don't like point-based chargen but that's obviously just a matter of personal taste and has nothing to do with the quality of your work. For an in-depth, lengthy campaign, presumably for players who enjoy a Travelleresque setting, I find little fault in what you've shared so far. I like how by skimming the charts and tables one can get a sense for what your universe is like with a casual glance. Those are the biggest selling points for me. As a GM who prefers to "do my own thing" I would never use any setting as presented by its author. But you've got a lot of great stuff here to inform anyone's more-or-less generic science fiction setting. Well done!

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storyteller
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Posts: 11


« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2012, 12:38:01 AM »

really nicely done, I only had time to briefly go over the material, to scan it, but it looks very professional.. From a design standpoint I see a lot of options and content, always good. You put a lot into the science and realism which is also a plus. Overall, I too found it overwhelming, but I hacvent read the whole book and immersed myself. I think you are off to a good start and Im interested to see where it all leads. The system looked pretty straightforward but without conflict resolution and probability outlined it was hard to see what meant what. It looks like you have a nice system for ships and crews but I didnt see quite as much on individuals as Im used to. There didnt seem to be much on character background or uniqueness, not much in traits and merits and flaws or quirks. For a straightforward system for say wargaming or tactical combat I think it would be fine, but Id like to see characters fleshed out a little more. You describe the universe, the milieu but not the characters themselves. Why is my character on this ship, what drove them to it, what do they freak out over that say their crewmates might not?
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Christoph
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Posts: 6


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« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2012, 08:21:05 AM »

Thanks for the great feedback "My Precious", I find presentation to be an important part of game design for RPGs as it affects the players understanding of the game. This is actually my first time using layout software and it is nice to see that the effort paid off. I'm happy you could sense a lot of the setting and system from this chapter. It is important that you can get a basic understanding from just this chapter as many players will look at Chargen without looking at the other crunchier chapters.
You mention a couple critical points that I'd like to talk on:
...and I don't like point-based chargen
It is interesting you took the system as point based and I will have to tweak some copy is that is a common view as the Commissioning system, unlike point buy systems doesn't provide the players with a point value to purchase their Skills, rather you receive a package of skills for many of the aspects you choose as you move through the Commissioning process. There are a few numbers to crunch at the end of both Crew and Ship Commissioning, but that is to ensure that the Crewmembers are not over min/maxed with skills greater than four and aren't breaking any rules such having a null skill at greater than 1. I do see your point about these characteristics of Chargen and it is definitely fair to call them point based.

As a GM who prefers to "do my own thing" I would never use any setting as presented by its author.
Good point, I believe many GMs would agree with you, and although it is not evident from the excerpt, the game and setting are designed so that only the galactic scale setting is fully fleshed out and the sector/star system settings are grouped into clusters that the GM and the group have complete agency over; I even include tools and advice to develop this most important part of the setting.
I believe it is the my responsibility as a Game Designer to give you as a GM and your group the tools, hooks, and framework in which to tell their stories and I have been careful to avoid stepping on your agency while simultaneously trying to give you as much to work with as possible.
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- Christoph
My Precious
Member

Posts: 10


« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2012, 09:27:55 AM »

Yeah, I like that - the book paints the big picture, I fill in the details. Can't wait to see the rest of it. Did you do the art yourself? I like it.
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Christoph
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Posts: 6


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« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2012, 09:45:05 AM »

Thanks Storyteller, I'm glad  you noticed the science and realism I started my design with the speculative fiction of the setting. Both you and "My Precious" agreed that the excerpt was overwhelming. Was this due to the lack of the Preface chapter? Does this chapter need some sort layout solution such as numbering the Commissioning stages? Or more explanation?
As for your critique:
There didnt seem to be much on character background or uniqueness, not much in traits and merits and flaws or quirks. For a straightforward system for say wargaming or tactical combat I think it would be fine, but Id like to see characters fleshed out a little more. You describe the universe, the milieu but not the characters themselves. Why is my character on this ship, what drove them to it, what do they freak out over that say their crewmates might not?
I believe the different Aspects such as Motivation and Outlook should, if players flesh them out, handle this part of the game; perhaps not as fully as some social story games, but more than most other Sci-fi offerings. Besides players can always add these ideas into how they play their character without mechanical support.
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- Christoph
Christoph
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Posts: 6


WWW
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2012, 09:53:14 AM »

Thanks "My Precious", I cant wait to see the rest done either ;)
As for the Art, no I'm not that talented, but I was lucky enough to marry an 3D game artist and she is taking care of the art direction. On top of her efforts, we bought eight of the ten alien sketches from a guy in Texas which Lisa tweaked, inked and coloured so that they would fit the art style.
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- Christoph
My Precious
Member

Posts: 10


« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2012, 11:09:38 AM »

Regarding my observation that it seemed overwhelming:

Lots of settings have turned me on, but when I get to the rules, I don't want it to take longer than a 15-20 minutes for me to read and digest them, which is why I prefer rules-light systems. Your core mechanic may be quite simple but I would be unlikely to slog through all that text. It's just a matter of personal taste, and not a value judgment. There is probably nothing you could do, layout-wise or organizationally, that would make me feel less overwhelmed. But that has nothing to do with the quality of your work.

One thing I really like about it is that the character creation seems to teach you the setting, to a degree, which I like. My players refuse to read anything longer than a few paragraphs of background (which has been a gift, as it's forced me to adopt a minimalist writing style for handouts and stuff. If they were to play this, I think they'd feel they knew enough about the background by the time they were through rolling up characters, and that's a plus in my book.
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