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1  Products / Spycraft 2.0 / Re: Emergency Evacuation Question on: April 22, 2008, 04:09:29 PM
Cool.  Thanks for the answers guys!
2  Products / Spycraft 2.0 / Re: Emergency Evacuation Question on: April 22, 2008, 02:43:46 PM
I honestly have no idea what the range on copters are nor did I pay attention to Palmyra's exact location.  I knew it was in the Pacific but really didn't see the need to get any more specific than that.  The team had been notified of a Japanese bulk carrier that suddenly appeared just south of the Atoll after not being heard from since 1974.  I had the team jet down to Honolulu and then board the copter to Palmyra.  The flight was originally intended as just filler to get to the mission, but it turned into more after some unexpected events occurred. 

If you could point me in the direction to show me the range of various aircraft, that would be appreciated but it still doesn't answer my original question; are there any rules concerning emergency evac? Smiley
3  Products / Spycraft 2.0 / Emergency Evacuation Question on: April 22, 2008, 02:09:44 PM
In my last game, the team was stranded when their helicopter crashed.

Backtrack - They had jumped out of the helicopter and the NPC pilot crashed it on a nearby island.

I had planned on them repairing the helicopter but instead they called for an Emergency Evac. 

I tried to find a quick answer for the Evac. ETA and made a 1d6 hours roll resulting in 5 hours, but I was wondering if there are any official rules covering this situation.

Just in case specifics are needed: They crashed on the Palmyra Atoll and radioed base in Washington State.
4  Products / Spycraft 2.0 / Re: WWII Naval Ship Deckplans Needed on: March 16, 2008, 09:03:24 AM
32,000 DWT Bulk Carrier. 31,150,000. Ready in 2009.
http://www.wright-international.com/wil1730-32000DWTBulkCarrier.php

With some work, this one will help me out.  Thanks OverNinja!
5  Products / Spycraft 2.0 / WWII Naval Ship Deckplans Needed on: March 12, 2008, 11:26:48 PM
Does anybody have or know of a good place to get a set of deckplans for a WWII ship, preferably a battlehip or destroyer.  I need something that clearly labels the main deck and the decks below.

I've found some blueprints, but I'm hoping to avoid drawings covered in dimension lines.

Thanks for your help!
6  Products / Spycraft 2.0 / Re: Web NPC Builder on: February 27, 2008, 01:55:05 PM
Our group is moving away from P&P entirely with the use of such programs as CB Lite and MapTool.  My entire Spycraft character is programmed into CB Lite with a complete list of all stats and I never use a character sheet anymore.  I've been gaming off and on since AD&D 1st edition and I have to say that I am happy to see the move to digital format.  We've got 1 or 2 guys that *claim* to miss the tabletop battlemats and metal/plastic miniatures but nobody complains about the huge savings and ability to use interactive images of the PCs and NPCs rather than having a D6, a Monopoly Hat, and a Dorito representing the current encounter.

Plus its also nice to hear the sound of a Mace hit or a gunshot with each attack roll instead of the rattle of dice. Wink
7  Products / Spycraft 2.0 / Re: GalaxyCraft or Farthest Star? on: February 20, 2008, 12:28:34 PM
Good. Smiley

PDFs are good.  In fact, I much prefer them to print versions.  If we can get the core book and a batch of "customizable" supplements, I will be good.
8  Products / Spycraft 2.0 / Re: GalaxyCraft or Farthest Star? on: February 19, 2008, 11:15:25 PM
Don't get me wrong. Portability and even flexibility is a crucial goal with me. I'm considering the inclussion of a number of builder's guidelines and supporting commentary, so that you can maybe make your own races and ships from the ground up. Those tools seem to be near-universal in the local genre-space and valuable to GCs working thair home brew. I'm just not planning to expound upon lots of technologies and concepts that aren't part of the setting.

I'd say some of Farthest Star's tools will be useful in that fashion. We'll all be able to have a lot more cogent conversations about ship building with an established baseline that people are tweaking to match a favorite movie/series or to fulfil their own vision for example. But trying to out guess all the ways even a small sampling of gamers will want to jump for their starting point (much less where they'll want to go in a year when they launch a new campaign) is a good way to bog down to where the product will never occur at all. OTOH, once Farthest Star is out, it's also easier to tackle individual topics of futuristic-gaming interest in individual .pdfs. Different business requirements there. A well built universal toolkit promises to be at most 20% useful to anyone, because you know going in you're gonna ignore 4 out of 5 of the options offered. That's a threshold that gets books (and the company/game line that makes them) killed. A pdf can get around that by being 100% useful to 20% of the interested players, meaning it sells. Maybe not magnificently, but it sells. Lower buy in threshold. And sometimes .pdfs happen because the Muse commands it, rather than any finacial concern Smiley.

Okay, so we've got the "storyline" in one half of the book and the mechanics in the other.  Would it be possible to keep them separate?  As I mentioned before, the Rifts line was notorious for mixing storyline with rules and I hated trying to weed through the "fluff" to get to what I considered relevant.  Keep it separate, throw in the rules for a few basic constructions such as power armor, robots, vehicles, aliens and planets, and I *should* have enough to work with to keep me happy without having to look elsewhere, as I have already had to do for material not covered in the Spycraft core book and convert it to the Spycraft engine.

Always design with the actual play experience in mind Smiley.

I completely agree.

If it's a source of enjoyment for about 20-25 months I'll be perfectly happy Smiley.

I guess a 2 year run is pretty good, but wouldn't you really like to be the next flagship of the roleplaying community?  Isn't it about time that Dungeons and Dragons took a back seat to somebody else's brainchild?

I was re-reading that today. I think my reaction remains the same as my initial one: meh. The follow on books were IMO both considerably better, largely because of the focus they offered rather than the 1 inch of top-soil survey that the hardbound represented Wink. It tried to do 6-8 sci-fi things (still little more than an appetizer platter) and devoted 5 whole pages to each of them. There are individual gems and nuggets, but the overall structure worked against it.

I think the only structuring that failed me was the introduction of PL5, PL6, etc.  It failed me because it was an attempt to take control out of the GMs hands.  It was as if Wizards was trying to say, "If you live in a PL5 world, you can't have PL8 technology".  This is a real sore spot for me because I recently went through their offerings along with a great amount of other sources to try and cobble together a decent set of cybernetics rules to use in my Spycraft game.  The next headache I face is the introduction of Psionics.

Not that I would mind seeing a series of toolkits.... (Book 1: This is My Plasma Gun TL 16 Man Portable...)
Personal Weapons
Starship Tech
Starship Weapons
Alien Races
Cybertech
and so on and so forth.

What it comes down to is that I trust myself to design my own settings more than I trust others to come up with a setting to my tastes.

The Auld Grump

I agree completely. Smiley
9  Products / Spycraft 2.0 / Re: GalaxyCraft or Farthest Star? on: February 19, 2008, 07:30:39 PM
Because when you define "the basics" as "you know, the thing I want" it sounds short, but when you define "the basics" as "the topics I can come up with in ten minutes after reading sci-fi all my life" it becomes pretty obvious that 'the basics' of sci-fi would be longer than the 2.0 core book was. Sci-fi is such a wide range of possibilities that trying to satisfy everyone individually is just beyond the scope. Should I cover transporters? Space to surface shuttles? Beanstalks and skyhooks? Time travel? Time weaponry? Probability fields? Force fields? Lasers? Masers? Phasers? Phasing out? Geneticaly engineering your own species? Cloaking devices? Shading devices? Sensors (oh, now there is an unending deluge...)? Reaction/reactionless/impulse/gravity drives? To FTL or not FTL? Hyperdrives? Jump drives? Wormhole networks? Ancient gates?Generation ships? Recreational chemistry? Recreational genetics? recreational surgery? M-class planets? Anomalies? Body armor? Power armor? Mecha? Planet sized ships (that's no moon...)? Planetbuster weapons? Mysticism in the future? AI as tools? AI as players? AI as the enemy of all that is organic and good? imaginary substances as the basis of trade? The list doesn't just go on, it goes on functionally forever. And most of that is still pretty much 'the basics'.

As a designer I have to settle on creating something that is interesting in it's own right, grounded in a number of recognizable forms to make it intuitive and easy to explain - me to the first customer, him to his circle of players - and (hopefully) easily broken down into parts that can be transplanted to other people's creations beceasue we know and love that people do dismantle our stuff for parts. We don't attach stuff to settings because we delight insticking you (the do-it-yourself setting designer) with 'useless fluff', we do it to give focus to a vast nebulous field of maybe's and to demonstrate how those tools and parts can weld into a cohesive whole.

Is it really any easier to narrow the scope to what you, as designers, feel is relevant?

Is the game setting of choice similar to Andromeda, Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica, Blade Runner, Buck Rogers, Farscape, Firefly, The Matrix, RoboCop, Time Cop, Star Wars, Star Trek, Starship Troopers, complete with Terminators (Both kinds), Aliens, and Predators (Oh My!) or is it going to be a mix of all of these to create something new and different? 

I'm willing to bet its going to be a mix because if you base your design around any one of the titles listed above, alot of Sci-fi fans are going to feel cheated.  Why would I ever buy a book based in the Farscape universe when all I really want is Firefly?  The short answer is, "I won't".  And I'm sure I'm not alone in that decision.

But I'm not telling you anything new.  As a designer, I'm sure that you are already planning on breaking down and removing the fluff from your top picks, creating something that combines your favorite elements in a cohesive manner, and eventually creating an entirely new contender in the vast demographic of Sci-Fi.  And it is going to be great!  Shiny and new, at least for awhile.  Then, just like all of the other examples listed above, it will become old news.  Instead of having the setting become stagnant, why not give GMs the tools to continue expanding the Spycraft engine to form their own vision of the future? 

As far as Farthest Star (or any other supplement for that matter) being as large as the core rulebook isn't a problem for me.  If it has to be 500 pages, then so be it.  Better to be 500 pages and cover almost any scenario than be 200 pages and not have what I need when I need it. 

Wizards of the Coast made a good attempt at covering "the basics" with D20 Future in a book that was less than 200 pages, but the rules failed them.  After switching from D20 Modern to Spycraft, I can say without a doubt that I believe the Spycraft engine would not suffer the same fate. 
10  Products / Spycraft 2.0 / Re: Web NPC Builder on: February 19, 2008, 03:14:56 PM
Quote
1. Is there a way to generate actual bonuses by cross referencing Threat Level and Roman numerals?
This was the original plan but the crafty guys requested I leave out any actual game mechanics, this includes the stats.

Bummer.  Thanks for the reply though. Smiley
11  Products / Spycraft 2.0 / Re: GalaxyCraft or Farthest Star? on: February 19, 2008, 03:09:37 PM
I suspect it will turn out looking something like World on Fire

Pure toolkits really aren't practical when it comes to sci-fi, because every setting has different conceits, particularly when it comes to space travel. The Honor Harrington series has some fine writing, but it leaps through some awesome hoops to create an environment were relativistic and FTL combat resemble old style naval engagements. Anyone who has dealt with the Star Wars universe as a free form environment rather than a runs-on-rails experience immediately notices that the hyperdrives move at exactly the speed of plot.

Farthest Star has picked a set of conceits designed to be "firm" sci-fi (remaining close to known physics any time breaking them isn't required to make the universe fun), but that's not going to be universally appealing to people's tastes. I unveiled an adventure at GenCon and have had some arguments with Pat about artificial gravity (and the lack of it in the setting) already. So believe me, I've abandoned trying to be all things to all people. It's going to be a thoughtful look at what people might do with their lives and the universe around them given a few more tools than we have today. Those people have rejected some possible advances that show up in fiction these days (particularly this strange obsession the current crop of authors have with us screwing ourselves beyond all recognition with technology), and they have embraced others. Those tools will be portable to other settings, but I'm not going to waste time trying to present all possible tools - for example the setting doesn't particularly focus on cyberware, which will be appearing later in Shatterpunk anyway. Slugthrowers are still the primary means of killing one another (sorry, not a lot of ray guns or blasters, whch curiously in the movies are generally far inferior to real life guns...). I talked a lot about the thoughts that guide the world design at our last seminar, which I believe is still available on line Smiley.

I was really looking forward to World on Fire before I heard some reviews that suggested that only 60 or so pages of the 160+ page book dealt with actual game mechanics and was usuable in their campaigns.  If I could just get the mechanics - New skills, feats, gear, etc., I would be all over it, but I'm not really looking for a pre-generated world setting complete with a list of important NPCs and agencies.  I would just much rather have the tools I need to design my own so that they balance with everything else rather than trying to remember the details of somebody else's storyline.

I am looking forward to Farthest Star and Shatterpunk, but if they are gong to force the GM into working with a set storyline, I'm not so sure they are for me.  Why can't a Sci-fi supplement offer a variety of options for building the galaxies as the GM and Players want?  I'm not suggesting that everything be covered, but instead list the majority of popular options that are in actuality limited to a handful of concepts.  Cover the basics and offer the tools necessary for GMs and Players to design their own if the basicss don't cover what they're looking for.
12  Products / Spycraft 2.0 / Re: GalaxyCraft or Farthest Star? on: February 19, 2008, 12:52:58 AM
I would be more interested in a toolkit.  Give me the crunch I crave to build worlds, spaceships, mechs, and aliens named Bob, from concept to completion!  One of the greatest things about the Spycraft rulebook is that it tells you how the mechanics work for nearly any situation without bogging you down with world details. 

RIFTS is a prime example of what I'm talking about here.  I really dig the concept of Rifts, but the rulebook is nearly impossible for me to read through because they constantly flip back and forth between rules and background story.  I don't care that the hyperdrive was invented by blah blah blah during the time of yada yada yada.  Just tell me how fast I can go and how much its going to cost me.

13  Products / Spycraft 2.0 / Re: 2nd Printing Binders on: February 19, 2008, 12:34:03 AM
PDFs ROCK!  Grin
14  Products / Spycraft 2.0 / Re: Complex Task = Montage?! on: February 19, 2008, 12:30:36 AM
I think its a great idea for both complex task and dramatic conflicts.  Over My Head was a great choice! 

I already use music and sound effects at most of my games, but it has been limited to combat and scenes where music is playing such as in the car or possibly a nightclub.
15  Products / Spycraft 2.0 / Re: Web NPC Builder on: February 19, 2008, 12:22:58 AM
Good stuff!

Not knowing anything about the design process, I do have a couple of questions though...

1. Is there a way to generate actual bonuses by cross referencing Threat Level and Roman numerals?

2. Is there a way to add pulldown of various gear based on caliber?
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