Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Wiki Showcase: ARC Robots Part 2

I'm on vacation, so you'll have to forgive me for missing my posting schedule.  With the announcement of a coming playtest, I've been busy putting all sorts of things on my wiki, so sometimes I forget to pop onto the blog and give you an update.

I have three ARC robots available to you on the wiki.  I discussed some of the the theory previously, but some commonalities:

  • All ARC robots are attractive in some capacity. These robots are as much fashion accessories as tools, so naturally a noble would want them to look good.
  • All ARC robots can talk.  Similar to their being attractive, ARC robots need to interface with people more than they need to interface with other machines.
  • All ARC robots are humanoid.  Similar to the above issues, ARC robots need to relate to humans, so they need humans to relate to them.  Thus, even when they look odd, they have an identifiable humanoid quality to them.  That said, they're always sculpted and one would never mistake an ARC robot for a human.

Monday, December 9, 2019

WIki Showcase: ARC Robots

Last week I discussed robots in general.  Today, I have two new Wiki posts available for you.  One discusses robots in general (which I probably should have launched last week) and one detailing ARC robots.

I wanted to showcase both because just discussing robots would probably repeat a lot of last week's material. Instead, I wanted to discuss the "rubber-meets-the-road" reality of how I put last week's ideas into practice, and use ARC as an example.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Wiki Showcase: the Fighter Ace

If you're a Disciple or better on Patreon, you already know that I've announced the coming playtest for the Action Vehicular Rules: Tall Tales of the Orochi Belt. I'll detail more as we come closer to the first session. Naturally, to run this playtest, I need to work out the sorts of characters that would use all these fighters we've been builing, and that means working out the Fighter Ace and putting it on the Wiki.

This was actually the first of the new templates I revised for Iteration 7. I started working on it after I finished the Action Vehicular Rules, because it changed a lot of how they functioned, and I wanted to capture that.  That said, it's probably changed the least of the new templates; mostly, I just migrated the advantage/disadvantage choices based on who they worked for to lenses, and updated their techniques to use the new techniques.  I've removed the "Maverick, Wingman, Bomber" distinctions of their techniques as I expect everyone to be adult enough to understand what to do with that, and I've discussed that in their customization notes (this could be expanded, though).  I've integrated their "Power-ups" into the template rather than leave them as distinct, "Fighter Ace only" upgrades (this means they lose their "fighter gizmos," but we can bring that back if people really miss them).  I do intend to create a "cross-class" fighter ace specialization, so people who want to play as space knights who can also fly fighters can do so.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Psi-Wars: Let's Talk Robots

When I set out to do the military doctrine project, I knew I would need to break it down into the following pieces:

  • Weapons
  • Armor
  • Ground Vehicles
  • Space Vehicles
  • Robots
Realistically, I'd also add the resources and machinery that make it all possible.  A factory and the supply line is as much a part of a military doctrine as a rifle or a tank is, and those with superior factories and supply lines win wars just as well as those with superior tanks and rifles.  But given that players don't interact much with these, I figured we could push them into the background a bit (in a sense, the "corporations" providing all of these stand in for the factories and supply lines).

We've completed everything but robots, which represent a unique element to our doctrines.  Robots are fairly new, militarily speaking, though I can say with confidence that we do use robots militarily right now (there's a 21st century sentence if I ever read one), and a lot of time and research goes into perfecting those robots.  We see them more obviously in Star Wars, which has a rather unique take on robots, if I'm honest, as it integrates them directly into the military infrastructure: an R2-unit is a military robot, meant to interface with a fighter (fighters even have socked specifically designed for R2 units). It doesn't fight directly, but it definitely aides in military operations.

I wanted to mimic that in Psi-Wars.  Robots assist people in Psi-Wars like mobile, intelligent tools.  I built the ARC fighters and the Redjack fighters with the assumption of robotic assistance.  Similarly, many ARC vehicles come with med-bays, which suggests a need for a medical robot.  Thus, we can see robots as part of an integrated whole: an ARC-equipped space knight, as one example, is surrounded by tools that assist him in battle, from his force sword to his diamondoid armor to his medivac vehicle that tends to his wounds or his speeder bike that rushes him to the enemy to his fighter or his carrier that brings him to the right system, to his robot that maintains his fighter or assists him in donning his complex armor.

So I wanted to take some time to stop and revisit robots.  I've talked about them already back in Iteration three and looking back on that material, it's pretty good.  Sometimes I look at old material and cringe, but sometimes I look back and go "Oh, I need to remember that" or "Oh, that's actually pretty useful."  This was the same here, so I found myself reusing a lot of material.  Over the next few weeks, I'll touch on some of those topics and expand them.  Today, I'm going to talk about some polling I've done of the community, why I took the route that I did with my design and what some other routes might be, and how I broadly see robots fitting into the integrated Psi-Wars setting.

I wanted to immortalize these words

Every one of these (Star Wars) movies is a particularly hard nut to crack. There’s no source material. We don’t have (Star Wars) comic books. We don’t have 800-page (Star Wars) novels. We don’t have anything other than passionate storytellers who get together and talk about what the next iteration might be.” --Kathleen Kennedy

Monday, November 25, 2019

Should I lower the cost of ST in Psi-Wars?

I don't check Warehouse 23 every week like I used to, but I really should.  The stated reason for killing my beloved Pyramid was that the SJGames team could focus more attention on creating supplements and this has proven true.  I think I'm seeing a supplement a month again, sometimes more.  And not just Dungeon Fantasy stuff as I feared (I don't mind Dungeon Fantasy, I just don't want GURPS to fall away and have DFRPG replace it), but instead, we get all sorts of fun things.

This month, we got Alternate Attributes, which proved a meatier tome than I expected.  Without going into a full review (I just got it and I've only paged through it), the core of it is meditating on the costs of attributes, what they connect with, and how to re-arrange everything.  And I do mean everything.  They break the skills out by broad categories, they offer ideas on how to turn GURPS into a WoD knock-off with three sets of three traits (plus HP equivalents for each), they offer suggestions for raising, and lowering, the costs of all the attributes and various sub-elements.

What caught my eye is that this book finally acknowledges that ST isn't worth as much at higher TLs, which is a point I myself continue to struggle with as I do a lot of sci-fi gaming and often interact with high TLs.  Given that we have full "canon" support to do this now, I pose a question to you, dear reader and fellow fan of Psi-Wars: should we lower the cost of ST in Psi-Wars?

Friday, November 22, 2019

Patreon Poll: Trader Tech 2

Continuing from the poll earlier this week, I have a new set of polls for Trader Tech.  These cover the elements of their military technology that lie outside of the individual.  This includes:

This poll is open to all Patreons of the Companion ($5+) tier.  As usual, please leave a comment as to how you see their doctrine working or what nuance you'd like to add.  I definitely take comments into account.

I know I've not yet released the more detailed robot rules, but hopefully you'll have a sense of what you can do with robots and how they might serve the Traders militarily.  You guys seem very interested in giving the Traders robots, so I hope that particular poll will be useful to you even without worked examples of robots from other cultures.

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