Thursday, July 12, 2018

Patreon Post: Let's Build a Vehicle (the Ground Edition)

Those following this new Tech Series of Psi-Wars might have caught a whiff of GURPS Vehicles and, if so, you're exactly right.  I'm too dissatisfied with GURPS Spaceships for all of this, so I thought I would dive in with both feet to see if I could bring Vehicles into 4e.  With the conversion of propulsion, power and materials, that begins to look possible.

This patreon post contains three design diaries:

  • A generic hover-car
  • A generic hover-bike
  • A generic hover-tank
In these design diaries, I check to see if I like the results my numbers give me and look for holes or problems.  This post is available to all $1+ patrons (while it contains some preview information, it's more about a larger project to see what it would take to get Vehicles into 4e, which I think interests more than just the Psi-Wars fans).  If you're a patron, check it out!  And thank you for your support.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Psi-Wars Material Technology

In the far future of the Psi-Wars galaxy, industry makes use of new materials from which to construct their buildings, factories, starships and to armor their soldiers. Most of these materials resemble modern materials, but typically are far stronger and lighter, able to stand up to the firepower of a blaster and to shrug off more primitive attacks with ease. Some are the results of far superior crafting technology, but others are mined from the depths of planetary cores, or taken from exotic asteroids who passed too close to hyperspatial anomalies.

This post has two companion patreon posts:

  • For Fellow Travellers ($3+) I have a more detailed look at these materials, including using them for armor design, vehicle design, building design, and some advanced and primitive materials.
  • For Dreamers ($1+) I have some research notes on real-world sci-fi materials, as well as conversion notes for GURPS Vehicles 3e armor and GURPS Spaceships armor.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Psi-Wars Propulsion Technology

Psi-Wars features vehicles of all sorts, from hover cars for high speed chases to starfighters zipping around great and mighty capital ships in battles that look surprisingly reminiscent of WW2 battles.  This post takes a look at what technologies the Psi-Wars setting uses to traverse its planets and the galaxy, including:

  • Hyperspace drives
  • Hyperdynamic technology and aerospace engines including plasma thrusters, impulse drives and the grav drive
  • Ground-based propulsion technology including repulsorlift technology, legged vehicles and tracks.
  • Aquatic propulsion technology and why it is slowly becoming obsolete.
For those who want additional details about the design process, including the specifications (compatible with the design process of GURPS Vehicles 3e, and with the previous power post!), $3+ patrons can find the design notes here.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

On the Demise of Star Wars

"You were the chosen one"? Or maybe "Strike me down
and I shall only become stronger."
Forgive the provocative title.  My part of the internet bubble churns with much rage at the current incarnation of Star Wars, and especially at Kathleen Kennedy, at whose feet the perceived "Ruined Forever!" has been laid.  There is much angst and schadenfreude over the failure of Solo, but Solo is the crux of what inspired me to write this, as it's the first Star Wars movie in a long time that wasn't an instant "yes," though not the first Star Wars product in a long time that I had looked forward to, and then changed my mind about.

Then I put this post on ice, because I hesitate to post anything that sounds remotely political in this day and age as discourse is getting extremely divisive and it's hard to please both sides (and there are sides here) when you say anything, and because I have better things I should be putting my attention towards (the next post is almost done, I promise!). But as news continues to evolve and the corporate narrative of "a few disgruntled trolls vs the Last Jedi" explodes to reveal that the Star Wars franchise is Not Okay, I wanted to get my two cents in, especially given how my blog seems to eat, drink and breath Star Wars.

I hope you forgive this opinion piece.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Psi-Wars Power Technology

As discussed last month, I wanted to dive into the Psi-Wars technological infrastructure in greater detail, carefully defining how everything works.  Today, I have power technology.  There's a companion post on Patreon for all $3+ patrons, which goes into making this technology compatible with GURPS Vehicles, looks at the values behind the technology and the design process I used to come to those conclusions, and then looks at some additional technology that I don't discuss here (technology unique to artifacts or ancient civilizations).  So if you're a patron, check it out!

Power Technology

Like most advanced societies, most of the Psi-Wars galaxy runs on electrical power (though a few ancient civilizations ran on psionic power!). Power generators create this electricity, which is transported along cables, and then used to power everything from small appliances to towering industrial infrastructure. However, the power technology of Psi-Wars has advanced to include fusion reactors, advanced power cells, and high efficiency energy transportation technology.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Ultra-Tech Framework Post-Script and Comments

I wrote my Ultra-Tech Framework articles with a couple of readers/patrons in mind, who often had questions about how I put together my own technology frameworks in my campaigns, so I thought it might be nice to loosely document how I handled it.  It is, of course, more art than science, and I could do an entire series on game design elements, but I hoped it was useful.

Given that it might be useful to them, it might be useful to you as well, dear reader, so I thought it might be nice to make it generally available, and I was right!  It seems quite well received, and it generated quite some discussion.  I wanted to tackle, broadly, some of the comments and questions I received over the course of the series.  All the questions are paraphrased, because I received many of them on Discord, and I didn't save them at the time, thus they are remembered, rather than directly quoted.  Apologies if this makes some inaccurate.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Ultra-Tech Frameworks: Step 5 - Putting it All Together

Once you’ve created your technological framework, you need to get it into your players’ hands. Players will interact and learn about your framework via a setting description, a gear catalog or alternate rules; optionally, they might use it during character creation (but we can treat this as a gear catalog).

Setting description is typically the most key point, as it will occur for any and all sci-fi settings, whether or not the players even have access to a gear-list. Typically, Familiar-Tech is not worth mentioning at all; it should be implied in the basic premise of “Like X but in the future.” The exception to this is Weird Safe-Tech; you don’t need to be very explicit about it, but painting the technology’s differences helps. Convenience-Tech and Standard Issue Sci-Fi Tech also doesn’t need a great deal of discussion, at least not in the setting description, as they are meant to be familiar or to simply remove problems. These tend to come across nicely in the broader descriptions of the setting itself. In short, unless it drastically changes how the characters interact with the setting beyond default assumptions, it doesn’t need to be stated outright; it can be implied instead.

Miracle-Tech definitely needs a discussion and should be set aside and highlighted. These are the technologies that largely make the setting. You should also discuss whatever limitations are in place, or any variant rules you’re using, or how people see that technology. This can and should be fairly explicit.

When it comes to a gear catalog, preface it with any sweeping mechanical changes, including the base TL, the effectiveness of power cells, special rules for handling computer programs, etc. The gear catalog, after that, should tackle only the things that matter to your game, typically things that the players will want to get for their characters. This can be as detailed as you want, and may be divided up into different markets (“This technology is available only to Alphan players; this technology is available to everyone, but Betans get a 10% discount”) and sections. Use GURPS Dungeon Fantasy or GURPS Action as a guideline.

If your campaign framework revolves around something innovative or requires substantial changes to the rules, make sure those rules are available to the players. For example, if you have detailed hacking rules, players should be able to access those so they know what it is that they need to buy.

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