Author Topic: Uncharted Worlds - Space opera hack  (Read 19137 times)

doc_cthulhu

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Re: Uncharted Worlds - Space opera hack
« Reply #30 on: March 25, 2014, 05:16:15 PM »
How about changing it a bit. Something more genetically engineered perfection? The stat boosts are nice but they do not actually add anything to the game as a story. I wouldn't pick that to start with and I have some doubts about the kind of players who would...
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doc_cthulhu

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Re: Uncharted Worlds - Space opera hack
« Reply #31 on: March 29, 2014, 05:28:33 AM »
If folks have the chance, I invite any of you to give the rules a read-through; I'd sincerely appreciate any and all feedback, suggestions or questions. I'll be popping in regularly to answer any queries while I prepare myself for the next phase of development (seriously, it surprises me just how much anxiety the whole Kickstarter/publishing causes me. If anyone has any experience or advice about <i>that</i>...)

I really like this hack and have been reading through it a couple of times. But since I haven't added anything concrete to this thread (and I know that each hack needs comments/criticism) what follows is a simple list of things I thought of. This list is in no way a list of things that need to be fixed. Just thing I would reconsider and thus would like to point out.

Basic Moves
- Get Involved-move: Though I understand the idea Baker has with the change of order of things I really don't like this approach where help only comes in after you fail. My main reasoning behind this is "the feeling". It just doesn't seem right. When someone helps you they are tied to your result. But if you help them only after they have already failed, they become tied in to your result. This is really just a matter of opinion though.
- Assessment-move: Someone pointed out to me that players really like the lists of questions they may ask. It also helps you to build in the feeling you might want to enhance in a hack.
- Patch up-move: You might want to consider giving a more precise amount of time than "a moment" or remove this part. "youíve reached the limit of what you can do" reads more like a partial success than allowing the character to try again after eating a Snickers.
- You have given each stat one basic move but this removes the option for players to influence other characters. Command-move targets a group of people so RAW it cannot be directed against other characters. As you have established that the characters area dysfunctional family I would expect the players to search ways to manipulate each other and gain power position by influence. Is this considered to be a Face Adversity-move? If so you should probably indicate it somehow.

Backgrounds
- The Criminal-move from Poverty-background allows you to gain a favor from a criminal faction. Though this is simple to establish given the description of the factions have you considered [tag]s for the factions? Something like "choose a faction and give it 2 tags from the following list".
- You raised a point of Artificial background being problematic. How about replacing it with Transhuman background? Something like Eclipse Phase and various scifi-books offer. Possible moves could include "at the beginning of session re-arrange your stats (a stock of clone bodies you could install your mind into), changing skills on the fly (maybe giving some major drawbacks with them like treating 10+ as 7-9 etc.).
- Frontier-background: Tenacious-move is pure gold but Toughness is a bit over the top in comparison to moves from other backgrounds.
- High Tech-background: Please, pretty please, do not use the word "slot" in Techonphile-move. With Calibrations-move I would re-consider this kind of "auto-success". How about allowing to re-roll any failed check (the second roll stands). Artificial intelligence -move " 2-4 word description of its personality" is a bit restricting. Maybe removing the constrains or offering a list for the players to choose from.

Other stuff
- Heroes of Might and Magic 4 had a cool table of classes depending on the skills your characters starts with. As you are considering Kickstarting this hack it might be a good idea to include something similar as an optional rule. It would allow those who want to get playing asap to simply pick up a cool sounding career and check what background they would need to become one. This would also allow you to add a complete (maybe optional/additional) list of moves that would be specific for that particular mix of background careers. (FYI I'm already considering of writing this kind of table.)
- A pdf with drop-down menus for each skill and background option would come in superhandy.

 I'll pick up my commenting from the careers and carry on when I have the time.

Thanks for a great hack!
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Archangel3d

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Re: Uncharted Worlds - Space opera hack
« Reply #32 on: March 30, 2014, 12:02:23 AM »
Hoooooly crap that is some stellar feedback! Thank you so much! I'll try to write up my thoughts on it once I've given it the consideration it deserves, but right off the bat: fantastic stuff.

Archangel3d

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Re: Uncharted Worlds - Space opera hack
« Reply #33 on: March 31, 2014, 03:22:27 AM »
First off, let me say that your list was very useful because it made me stop and consider why I chose to do things a certain way, and whether I still agreed with the philosophies that drove those decisions.

Basic Moves
- Get Involved-move: Though I understand the idea Baker has with the change of order of things I really don't like this approach where help only comes in after you fail. My main reasoning behind this is "the feeling". It just doesn't seem right. When someone helps you they are tied to your result. But if you help them only after they have already failed, they become tied in to your result. This is really just a matter of opinion though.
- Assessment-move: Someone pointed out to me that players really like the lists of questions they may ask. It also helps you to build in the feeling you might want to enhance in a hack.
- Patch up-move: You might want to consider giving a more precise amount of time than "a moment" or remove this part. "youíve reached the limit of what you can do" reads more like a partial success than allowing the character to try again after eating a Snickers.
- You have given each stat one basic move but this removes the option for players to influence other characters. Command-move targets a group of people so RAW it cannot be directed against other characters. As you have established that the characters area dysfunctional family I would expect the players to search ways to manipulate each other and gain power position by influence. Is this considered to be a Face Adversity-move? If so you should probably indicate it somehow.

Get Involved: I totally get what you're saying here, and it's something I wrestled with for a long time. I too prefer the players to commit to helping before a roll is made, it just feels better. That said, 'arriving to save the day' is also a legitimate way to Get Involved, so I wouldn't want to remove that. And, honestly, committing yourself to assist a roll that turns out to be completely successful is not super fun. As it stands, the Get Involved After The Fact is just a simpler, cleaner way of doing things. That said, in my more verbose detailed explanation of the Move (which I am currently writing), I'll definitely mention that it's the GM's prerogative to require that a character narratively commit to assist before the action is undertaken.

Assessment: I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable putting restrictions on this. In my playtesting, Assessment has been quite a wide Move, both in the information they gathered and how they went about gathering it. I really couldn't even begin to collate a simple list to accurately capture the wide range of subjects that the players have asked about, without being super vague. Assessment has definitely been more of a 'GM makes you roll' rather than a 'Player opts to roll' kind of Move; the GM feels that the information the player has naturally requested during the flow of the story requires an Assessment.

Patch Up: Noted.

Influencing Players: It so rarely comes up, since my regular players are usually super non-confrontational. A lot of the power/decision balance happens narratively with player consent. That said, I'll be adding a negative version of Get Involved, where you can lower the success margin (and influence the consequences on a 10+). So you can Influence to pull rank or cajole/bribe/plead, Physique to restrain, etc. Note also the Sabotage custom Move in Clandestine. You do NOT want them to pull that on you. Mwahahaah.

Backgrounds
- The Criminal-move from Poverty-background allows you to gain a favor from a criminal faction. Though this is simple to establish given the description of the factions have you considered [tag]s for the factions? Something like "choose a faction and give it 2 tags from the following list".
- You raised a point of Artificial background being problematic. How about replacing it with Transhuman background? Something like Eclipse Phase and various scifi-books offer. Possible moves could include "at the beginning of session re-arrange your stats (a stock of clone bodies you could install your mind into), changing skills on the fly (maybe giving some major drawbacks with them like treating 10+ as 7-9 etc.).
- Frontier-background: Tenacious-move is pure gold but Toughness is a bit over the top in comparison to moves from other backgrounds.
- High Tech-background: Please, pretty please, do not use the word "slot" in Techonphile-move. With Calibrations-move I would re-consider this kind of "auto-success". How about allowing to re-roll any failed check (the second roll stands). Artificial intelligence -move " 2-4 word description of its personality" is a bit restricting. Maybe removing the constrains or offering a list for the players to choose from.

Other stuff
- Heroes of Might and Magic 4 had a cool table of classes depending on the skills your characters starts with. As you are considering Kickstarting this hack it might be a good idea to include something similar as an optional rule. It would allow those who want to get playing asap to simply pick up a cool sounding career and check what background they would need to become one. This would also allow you to add a complete (maybe optional/additional) list of moves that would be specific for that particular mix of background careers. (FYI I'm already considering of writing this kind of table.)
- A pdf with drop-down menus for each skill and background option would come in superhandy.

 I'll pick up my commenting from the careers and carry on when I have the time.

Thanks for a great hack!

Criminal Skill: I've changed it to read 'appropriate local faction' rather than 'criminal faction'. I'll leave it to the GM and players to decide which local faction would grant Favor for the crime the player described.

Toughness Skill: Toughness is no longer part of Frontier, but is instead part of Artificial (more on that later). I also removed the +1 Critical wound. I like infinite Minor Wounds but it might not be all that amazing. Or maybe it will? So far most injuries have been Major or Critical.

Technophile Skill: Hehe Fair enough. I'm considering changing up the Technophile move anyway. TBD

Calibrations Skill: The reroll is do-able. I'd have to run the numbers on it. Also, possibly have it be Codex Entry -driven: "When you spend significant time calibrating a computer, vehicle or other piece of technology, you can gain a Codex Entry about it. You can expend a Codex Entry about a piece of technology you are currently using in order to reroll a failure or partial success. You keep the new roll." Allows you to make an Assessment (Tech) as well to activate the reroll, and has a nice synergy with Dismantle and such.

Artificial Intelligence: "give a short 2-4 word description of personality" is a common line I use for all player-defined NPCs. It doesn't mean you can't have a more detailed idea for them; those 2-4 words are a very bright primary color view of the NPC so the GM can play it easily. (Principle: Paint in Primary Colors)

HoMM4 chart: Nice! Mine will have to be a bit bigger (10x10), but that's real cool! The main thing is that because of the skill choices and the Origin, the same Career combination can have a good 4-5 'archetypes' within it. But still it would make a cool jumping point in character creation for those seeking a bit of inspiration.

PDF: I'm actually considering making a character builder program for the release, maybe as a Kickstarter goal or something. For the moment, however, I believe Gornul (who posted on the previous page a few days ago) is building up an online Excel-style character sheet. Obviously, since the skills have been swapping around like crazy, he hasn't really written them in as drop-downs :)

doc_cthulhu

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Re: Uncharted Worlds - Space opera hack
« Reply #34 on: March 31, 2014, 05:31:19 PM »
Outsider view always helps to get things moving again and usually points out something that might have been otherwise missed. I'll go through the remaining part of the hack during this week).
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doc_cthulhu

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Re: Uncharted Worlds - Space opera hack
« Reply #35 on: April 04, 2014, 08:38:25 AM »
Ok. Let's start with those

Careers
All - How much is a "handful" with Crew: X? And are you sure you want to allow the characters to choose same moves, there are a couple of duplicate moves and at least Baker was really strongly against this kind of thing (iirc).
Personality - You are deliberately leaving out a basic move for seduction/charm but Subversion kind of demands it. Leaving it in the open like this might cause some serious "negotiations" between players and GM. I know that many players like to just roleplay conversations. But when you are making a hack/game for a broader public you need to consider what you think is relevant and what your readers would like to have. Social moves are in most hacks for a reason. If not as a basic move, then a peripheral move to be used for those groups that enjoy them (Also: the Performance move is superb.)
Commercial also has those "gadget slots". :D
Scoundrel: Getting me to play some other career than Scoundrel/- would be facing adversary. I also imagine that most players would agree with that. Maybe you should add some kind of limit how many players may choose the same career? Or the same moves? I have always favoured bidding during character generation if there are conflicting interests.
Academic: While I understand the principless behind Experiment-move it is way too overpowered as it is. If you dedicate your character into something with AWengine failure can be pretty rare. Thus this move would allow the character to build universes and Green Lantern-rings aboard the space ship. Adding [experimental], [dangerous] etc. tags could help. Check out tremulus playbooks "The Inventor" (playbook set III) or The Scientist (playbook set I) for ideas?
Engineering: Some goes for the Tinkering move as for the Experiment-move above. Do not underestimate the power of players screwing around with these kind of free options.
Starfarer: Again I would suggest the opportunity to get involved with their own roll or re-roll it for Calibrations.
Cybernetic: Did I totally miss that you need to face adversity when attacking opponents with ranged weapons or is it written only here?
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Archangel3d

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Re: Uncharted Worlds - Space opera hack
« Reply #36 on: April 07, 2014, 04:05:09 AM »
The ďhandfulĒ of Crew is left specifically vague. Consider them to be extras in a movie/show. You get a few named secondary characters (the 3 ones you name/define at the start) and there may be others who are tertiary. It leaves both the GM and the player a bit of leeway. Iím a fan of not getting too bogged down in hard rules, being just vague enough to allow the GM to stretch to their most comfortable position.

From playtest experience, while it is a bit odd when more than one player picks the same Skill, it doesnít overly impact the quality of the game. That said, the main duplicate skills are because Origins are entirely composed of duplicates from the careers (well, except for the individual Stat boost). I feel it would be more detrimental to limit who can take what skill. If two players feel that their character concepts benefit from the Reputation skill, then so be it.

Subversion: Technically, the first part of subversion is rather redundant with the changes to Assessment; Iíll be sure to change that. A Seduction/Charm basic move exists already; itís one of the ways you can make an Assessment of a person using your Influence or Physique, or how you can Face Adversity using your Influence or Physique. Itís not a Move in and of itself, itís a way that you can accomplish a Move. Subversion allows you to use a Codex Entry about someone (gained through making an Assessment) to manipulate/control them.

Performance: Thanks! That one went through a few revisions until I found something I liked. Glad it works for you.

Gadgets Slot: :P Already changed in the next version.

Scoundrel: Thatís interesting! In the dozen+ playtests Iíve done, Scoundrel hasnít been selected all that often (the lowest being Military, the highest being Explorer). Though obviously thatís just personal experience, it would be cool to track that. Maybe a poll or something :P Is it the theme of Scoundrel or a particular skill that attracts you to it?

Experiment/Tinker: This one is a bit risky if the GM plays with Rules-As-Written. However, the limiting factor will be the setting itself, and it is definitely constrained by GM approval. Creating Green Lantern rings should not be an acceptable goal unless the table agrees that it fits with the setting. The implicit requirement of all the Moves is acceptable, reasonable goals and methods. Previously mentioned was using Launch Assault to take on a mech with a stick. That kind of stuff is disingenuous, following the letter of the rules rather than the spirit. Iím of the opinion that insulating the Moves in layers of caveats and restrictions greatly limits their flexibility, making the system as a whole far too rule-heavy.

Faster: Ah good catch, thatís a throwback to when combat was more detailed/crunchy. Iíve already rewritten it, but I forgot to paste it over the old one. The new ĎFasterí is a lot less mechanics driven and a lot more narrative/descriptive; it allows you to describe yourself doing things a normal human couldnít accomplish; catch bullets, run up walls, jump super far. Basically cyber-ninja.

Again, thanks for your feedback. The big thing Iíve taken away from these is what I need to cover in the more in-depth description of the moves and the overall philosophy of the game. Stuff like the implied rather than explicit social Moves and the table-approval of Ďfreeformí moves need guidelines how to adjudicate them.

DarkLanternZBT

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Re: Uncharted Worlds - Space opera hack
« Reply #37 on: April 23, 2014, 03:48:19 AM »
Hey Arch, new to boards and your hack is right up the alley of something that's been banging around in my head. Very excited to take a look at this while working on my own homebrew hack; will share anything that seems like it'd help you out! Keep up the good work.

Archangel3d

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Re: Uncharted Worlds - Space opera hack
« Reply #38 on: April 23, 2014, 11:11:05 PM »
Heya DarkLantern, glad you like the stuff. Right now I'm working on a v0.8 that should be my 'final' mechanics version before I start the tedious/fun job of filling in the rules.

By the by, for anyone interested in Uncharted Worlds stuff, the hack has been granted its own sub-forum! Check it out. It's a little empty just now, but feel free to post stuff! (Relevant stuff, if possible :P)