Author Topic: Planet of the Week - Sci-Fi space hack in alpha  (Read 3125 times)

Sestuss

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Planet of the Week - Sci-Fi space hack in alpha
« on: June 28, 2016, 08:32:26 PM »
Hello BFA forum,

Would it be cliche to start with "long time lurker, first time poster?" Well I just did it, so get over it.

Let's get started, I made a hack. I didn't start in the forum but I did find advice here, but I did it. And now after many, many months of work with the only person hearing about it (or caring about it) being my GF, I am ready for advice moving forward. And maybe soon even play-testing (cringe). But first some description.

What is it?
Ever wanted to travel to exciting, exotic planets, learn exciting skills. Meet exciting and exotic cultures and... do whatever, Well Planet of the week is for you. Heavily inspired by sci-fi TV tropes, characters and subjects matter. Play as your favorite gritty space traveling archetype, trying to make your way through a harsh universe in this hack inspired by alien, firefly, farscape, and yes even star trek.

In this exciting world you can be...
I made a LOT of classes, too many classes, here are a few:

Adept: Practitioner of mysterious Arts who is surprisingly deadly

Artificial: A manufactured being capable of inhuman feats

Doc: Keeping people alive is your business

Explorer: A well traveled experienced jack of all trades

Hired Gun: Enough said

Hacker: Master of computers and networks

Investigator: Obsession and Keen eyes for detail

Lowlife: Criminal, or at least criminally minded

Personality: Good at talking their way in or out of trouble

Pilot: enough said

Psychic: Someone with a mind that can reach new hidden depths

Survivor: Forged in on a harsh world tough as hell to kill

Techie: Drones, gadgets, and fixing things

Veteran: Scarred, seasoned, and capable

Also

The basic moves are reworked, and I separated out rules for vehicles and major assets not to mention made my own hx(ish) descriptions.

What I need

I have wanted to make a space/sci-fi game for years now, but was never able to do it from scratch. I seriously looked at so many options, started and abandoned adapting no less than three other systems to my purposes, until I came across Apocalypse world, and Monster of the week. I finally found a system that would general help rather than hinder the type of gaming I've always wanted. And boy did I run with it.

But I've never made a game before, and while I can guess on what to do next, I would appreciate any advice on moving forward. Not to mention just wanting to see some validation for all my work, that someone other than my GF and I seeing it. So thoughts, comments, advice?

Once I find a place to host it, (and maybe make some last minute edits) I will post what I have for critique. For now though ask me whatever your interested in and I shall provide!

James Mullen

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Re: Planet of the Week - Sci-Fi space hack in alpha
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2016, 09:06:41 PM »
I'd say, get your work-in-progress document hosted somewhere (I always use Google Drive for mine) and then ask for critique, questions and feedback; at the moment, it's more like you're saying "I'm making a game," so all I can say is "Sounds good, can't wait to see it!" :-D

Sestuss

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Re: Planet of the Week - Sci-Fi space hack in alpha
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2016, 10:11:19 PM »
@James Mullen

See! Your already helping! I will post them as soon as get to my other computer (I thought I had the most up to date on the ol thumb drive but alas...).

Sestuss

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Re: Planet of the Week - Sci-Fi space hack in alpha
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2016, 11:46:47 PM »
Here are the files for comment:

https://1drv.ms/f/s!AuxPp1f9zqBth0xe7QvZ4Jxmqt9m

-K.P. Jacobs

Hildy

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Re: Planet of the Week - Sci-Fi space hack in alpha
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2016, 11:28:14 PM »
Great idea! ..and great spin off of Monster of the Week. I never considered doing that. I'll take a look at your stuff.

Sestuss

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Re: Planet of the Week - Sci-Fi space hack in alpha
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2016, 05:24:48 PM »
@Hildy

Thanks! I thought so. I've wanted a simple thematic sci-fi game for like forever

If you do look it over let me know your thoughts.

Mark Plemmons

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Re: Planet of the Week - Sci-Fi space hack in alpha
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2016, 08:10:18 PM »
Looks cool! Just some quick thoughts so far, and I admit I haven't had a chance to read it all:

- I don't think military service should be optional for the "Veteran."
- The term "Personality" feels more like a Role than a Class. Maybe narrow the focus and make it a space prostitute; something like how the Orion women were re-imagined in Star Trek: Enterprise, or like Inara in Firefly.
- Some of the classes are based on professions and others on abilities. Why isn't there any overlap? For instance, what if a player wants to have a Psychic Pilot who was a Survivor of a harsh environment (ala Anakin Skywalker)? Perhaps there's a way to make them more distinct, like changing all classes to professions, or requiring a specific Origin that no one else can have. Make the Survivor have some sort of professional requirement, like a Space Cop/Ranger, or require the Psychic to be a member of a mystic order.

Mark Plemmons

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Re: Planet of the Week - Sci-Fi space hack in alpha
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2016, 08:12:34 PM »
One more. Do you need a Battle move and a Defend move, or could these be combined into one?

Sestuss

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Re: Planet of the Week - Sci-Fi space hack in alpha
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2016, 04:10:02 PM »
Looks cool! Just some quick thoughts so far, and I admit I haven't had a chance to read it all:

- I don't think military service should be optional for the "Veteran."

-Actual literal military service is optional, some sort of similar allegory isn't. I just threw that in there because I hate pigeonholing people, but its just descriptive text it could probably be removed since a player/gm can re-imagine if they want anyway.

- The term "Personality" feels more like a Role than a Class. Maybe narrow the focus and make it a space prostitute; something like how the Orion women were re-imagined in Star Trek: Enterprise, or like Inara in Firefly.

-The name personality is one my least favorites, I just couldn't come up with something I liked more, however calling it "space prostitute" or more likely for searching for "companion" is a little too narrow. It can also be played like a kind of leader class. I will try and think of a better name.

- Some of the classes are based on professions and others on abilities. Why isn't there any overlap? For instance, what if a player wants to have a Psychic Pilot who was a Survivor of a harsh environment (ala Anakin Skywalker)?

-Its my understanding of the AW philosophy on class design is that you orient the playbook around what makes them distinct, not based on a modular approach like background, profession, abilities. I kept with this philosophy. And as for wanting to play a "Psychic Pilot who was a Survivor of a harsh environment" All you have to do is pick the class that you are most in this case Psychic, grab some moves from the other classes as needed. Also there is nothing stopping you from creating whatever background you want for your character. If you want your Psychic to have had a harsh life, done! But if you want the moves from the Survivor class your going to have to spend a level up.

Perhaps there's a way to make them more distinct, like changing all classes to professions, or requiring a specific Origin that no one else can have. Make the Survivor have some sort of professional requirement, like a Space Cop/Ranger, or require the Psychic to be a member of a mystic order.

I don't think any of that is necessary. The rules only need to come into play for mechanical balance. The rest is just fictional positioning.

Quote from: Mark Plemmons
One more. Do you need a Battle move and a Defend move, or could these be combined into one?

Defend is putting yourself in harms way of another character, Battle is exchanging gunfire, or blows with an enemy. I think it possibly could be combined, Ill give it some thought.

Mark Plemmons

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Re: Planet of the Week - Sci-Fi space hack in alpha
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2016, 08:08:07 PM »
Yes, if you're going to call the class "Veteran," I'd state a military background as part of the class origin. As you say, players can re-imagine if need be. If you want it to be a class that's open to all 'tough guys', maybe consider a class name change.

If you can use the Battle move to defend yourself, I'd say you can use it to defend other people too. Combining them would make the moves list a bit more streamlined.

Just my two cents. Ignore at will.  :)

Sestuss

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Re: Planet of the Week - Sci-Fi space hack in alpha
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2016, 03:21:59 PM »
Yes, if you're going to call the class "Veteran," I'd state a military background as part of the class origin. As you say, players can re-imagine if need be. If you want it to be a class that's open to all 'tough guys', maybe consider a class name change.

If you can use the Battle move to defend yourself, I'd say you can use it to defend other people too. Combining them would make the moves list a bit more streamlined.

Just my two cents. Ignore at will.  :)

Yeah I think a change to the motivation text will do that nicely, The class already has a "specialization" choice that basically describes what you did in the military.

The defend move is a holdover from Monster of the week, and now that I think of that it was likely in there because the "kick some ass" is different from the AW move, and mine is more like the original. MoTW has changed it to encourage players to not let all the bystanders die, or to encourage teamwork. I always looked at it more like battle was a choice to engage and defend was a reaction to another character receiving harm. But your right I'm looking at it now and the only difference is that on defend (or protect someone) you can't give or receive advantage. I'm thinking I could just add "You redirect an attack to yourself," or "You take harm in place of someone else."  Even that may not be necessary.

Oh sorry I didn't really say thanks for the feedback, so....thanks for the feedback! Even if I disagree on a particular point, it gives me a chance to look at and discuss my design decisions. Which is why I'm here :)


Mark Plemmons

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Re: Planet of the Week - Sci-Fi space hack in alpha
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2016, 04:31:55 PM »
No worries, and you're welcome!

Sestuss

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Re: Planet of the Week - Con Actual play
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2016, 02:55:25 PM »
So I I didn't have anyone signed up ahead of time to play this RPG and to be honest I wasn't sure I would get any playtesting out of this event.

BUT I did have a person stop by the table and ask what this was all about. I must have said something right because he sent over his friend and she asked me about it, and before I knew it I had 5 players sitting down at the table.

Character creation
I had no prep for this game, I wanted to see how it ran without a scenario in mind.

Hacker - She decided she was a Hacktavist.

Artificial - This guy seemed to have the most elaborate ideas for his character. He was clearly a RPGer but had never played PbtA. He picked decided he was a part of a religious order that uploaded their minds into cyborg bodies and the most devout act as agents of the church.

Veteran - He was brand new to RPG's and mostly watched.

Hired gun - He told me he was playing the character he always did, a shoot first never ask question kind of guy.

Psychic - This is a player that has played twice before. She used her character from the first game, She decided her character is an iridescent purple alien and she works as a freelance diplomat.

We picked roles (leader, paramour, believer, etc..) and decided on the play world.


The scenario
As I said I did no prep for this. And so we worked off the characters. We decided that the Psychic had hired everyone except the veteran on the team for her current mission. We decided that the psychic was hired to mediate a mining dispute on Bordaria a planet that is unique for its independence from corporate control. The corporations want to have more control due to the planet's rich resources, including the famed ore that makes space travel possible. The veteran we decided that worked for the planet as a liaison and as head of security.

Right away talking with our Artificial we realized they were actually on different missions, The roles they picked outlined that they were at odds in terms of who was leading, and we went with the idea that he was only brought along because this planet was suspicious of outsiders and a member of the church went a long way to vouch for them.

The Artificial's mission had nothing to do with the mining dispute, once he made contact with the head of the church on the planet he was instructed to remove the current minister of trade so that a new one could be installed that was more friendly to corporate interest.

The psychic asks the Hacker to do some digging for information, she gives her a few names. One of which seems to be contacting someone off world. Its not the leader of the miners but it is one of the prominent protesting miners, the one pushing for open revolt. The psychic asks for the minors demands, and the hacker just says better conditions and pay. I hadn't established the demands but I liked that the players were participating in world building so I simply added that even though the mine in this capitol city was state of the art much f the rest of the planet was very poor and the mines at other locations very dangerous. Her jumping in made me think of it, and that felt pretty cool.

With this information in mind the psychic travels to where the miners are located outside of the mine itself. To her chagrin the Artificial goes with, as does the hired gun, who at this point has said his only job is to protect the psychic. (I think he was a little surprised how much the game seemed headed towards intrigue rather than open violence, but he seemed to be having fun with all the world building backstory). The veteran stayed behind with the hacker at the conciliate.

The Artificial says he wants to stop off and pick up food for the miners. He does so and makes a big show of handing out the food and being pious. The miners seemed surprised because the local church had threatened to excommunicate them for the strike. He tries to talk to the miners leader who seems pretty hostile towards him. So he decides to just make a speech to everyone gathered instead. He rolls his Inciter move and decides to fill the crowd with uncontrollable joy.

The psychic rolls a manipulate roll and succeeds making the mining leader very friendly toward her, he agrees to do his best to resolve the strike at the upcoming negotiations. Afterwards the crew gets back in their motorcade intending to travel back to the conciliate.

On the way the convoy is stopped by a burning car in the center of the road and they quickly realize they are under attack as the hacker reports seeing gunman approaching their car on a satellite feed. The hired gun quickly exits the car on the side with one less attacker and fires off a few shots, unfortunately rolling poorly and taking a hit. His roll was low enough that adding any points from his fatigue pool wouldn't help. He decides his priority his to get the psychic diplomat out of fire. She is not defenseless however and decides to blast the shooter with a psychic attack move, deciding to focus her telepathy on him and knocking him senseless. He is dismayed and the hired gun and psychic are able to move past into one of the buildings along the street.

The Artificial can see with his infrared eyes that the third attacker is slumped for the moment behind cover a isn't currently a threat, and has decided he wants to ambush the two attackers on the other side of the car, he pulls out his shotgun and waits for them to move around to the side he exited. He rolled the Battle move and rolled really well choosing to do extra harm to the gunman he attacked and dismay the other who promptly ran. He gets close to the first shooter who was blasted by the psychic. He threatens the attacker and asks who sent the attack. He succeeds and the shooter says that they were specifically after him, and they were sent by the second in command of the minors. He then uses his hidden blade to kill him. Meanwhile the hacker watches everything through satellite imagery.

Everyone regroups back at the conciliate. The hired gun requests armored air transport, and I'm inclined to say they get it. The artificial gets a secure call from the local church leader. We all had fun deciding that her virtual self looks like a giant medusa head. The hacker uses deep access to set herself a secure connection to the government building where the talks will be held, and the Artificial discreetly asks the hacker to find info on the current minister of interstellar trade, who he has been ordered to take care of. She does it in exchange for a future favor from the church, some classified research she wants for her rig.

Finally everyone heads to the government building to commence the mediation of the minors dispute. It just so happens that the minister of trade's office is in the same building though he is intentionally not participating in the talks. They get in the room and everyone sits down for negotiations, the Artificial rolls his inciter move, and asks if he can hold it until it makes more sense, I tell him that this is fine. We decided to zoom out at this point and just summarize that a half day of talks seemed to be going ok but no significant progress yet. The hacker picks up that someone in the room is communicating with a secure connection off world. everyone is pretty sure its the miners second in command. She also notices a strange signal and realizes the readings are coming from the Artificial. She then attempts to hack his brain. She rolls ok and only gleans some of his surface information, but enough to surmise his plan.

When there is a lull in the negotiations the artificial decides he wants to use his hold to make the people in the room be overtaken with anger, and he denounces the minors representatives saying that they are working with for corporate interests, (which one of them is, but so is he really). While everyone starts to fight he uses the distraction to get out and head for the minister of trade's office. The psychic was clued in by the hacker to his real plan and she goes after him. She catches up with him just as he stabs the minister of trade.

The psychic unleashes her telekinesis to throw the artificial away from the minister, and the hired gun says he won't get involved unless the Artificial physically assaults the psychic diplomat. They have a verbal confrontation where he says that she is deluded if she thinks change comes without bloodshed. She then blasts him with another hit of telekinesis, he attempts to prepare for the hit and doesn't succeed, he then goes flying out the window. He takes quite a bit of harm, but focuses his energy on using inciter yet again to yell convince anyone around him that the psychic killed the minister. He dumped all but one of his fatigue points into the move (likely sensing this was the end of the session).

We wrapped up with an epilogue and that was that. We had a lot of fun and it was interesting to see the game go towards intrigue which it hadn't done in previous games.

Sestuss

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Re: Planet of the Week - Sci-Fi space hack in alpha
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2017, 03:09:27 AM »
I've been quiet for some time, but I'm back and have been working hard on incorporating your feedback and the feedback from playtesting. I still have a lot to go but here is the new basic moves sheet! Your thoughts and critiques welcome.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6V1QEnf-U00aHhTMnhsY2ozTU0/view?usp=sharing

Summary:
-Moved to 6 stats. Alert, Bold, Calm, Sly, Smart, Weird.
-Significantly cut down on moves, 6ish basic, and 4ish peripheral (you'll see what I mean by ish)
-Re-named moves, more traditional, less confusing
-Abolished Use tech, replaced it with something way shorter/simpler
-Trimmed down battle, generalized choices
-Re-worked the perceive stuff, more general.
-Re-worked Stamina (also renamed fatigue to stamina)
-A lot cleaner, and more straightforward.   

More design and formatting is still to come, and I'm sure I missed some typos/spelling errors. Just let me know if you see them.  But all in all I'm happy with the way things have changed.