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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