STGOD 2020 Concept/Planning Thread

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Re: STGOD 2020 Concept/Planning Thread

Post by Crossroads Inc. » 2020-10-02 11:36am

Usually “try” to. It is good for keeping tabs on things. As far as backstory? I am kinda up for a General “ancient ones meddling in younger races” for the galaxy as a whole.
Some of them have died off,
Some are still around but keep out of the way...
Some are “gone” but may return...

I know I have my own “great old ones” in my sector of space. Others could have their own that end up perhaps serving as an end game plot device
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Re: STGOD 2020 Concept/Planning Thread

Post by Rogue 9 » 2020-10-02 11:52am

I'm going to take this evening and weekend to clean up the handbook on the Imperial Wiki and write a slimmed down combat adjudication guide without specializations as an alternative option (which I think I can make system agnostic so we can bolt it onto SDNW4 or a simpler points based system). If anyone else has ideas, feel free. :)
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Re: STGOD 2020 Concept/Planning Thread

Post by VX-145 » 2020-10-02 12:09pm

I might poke around and see if I can't find a decent map to use - maybe overlay like a hex grid over it so we can assign territory, if people want.

Ancient old ones can work - someone certainly seems to have blown up all the habitable planets in my space, for a start, not to mention the other references to similar things in people's overviews.

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Re: STGOD 2020 Concept/Planning Thread

Post by Rogue 9 » 2020-10-02 12:25pm

We used a hex map for 2k8. I might have it saved still for a template.
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Re: STGOD 2020 Concept/Planning Thread

Post by Crossroads Inc. » 2020-10-02 01:01pm

Oh also
I asked this earlier in discord but wanted to also mention it here.... What are we looking at for opening points to spend?
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Re: STGOD 2020 Concept/Planning Thread

Post by Rogue 9 » 2020-10-02 02:01pm

Crossroads Inc. wrote:
2020-10-02 01:01pm
Oh also
I asked this earlier in discord but wanted to also mention it here.... What are we looking at for opening points to spend?
Going to depend on the rules we choose. SDNW4 has a variable amount based on a die roll and how you arrange your economy at start.
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Re: STGOD 2020 Concept/Planning Thread

Post by Rogue 9 » 2020-10-02 03:54pm

Okay, so it turns out I didn't save the 2k8 map for some reason, but do have the 2k9 node cluster map, and my original map of the Nashtari nebula cluster done in Paint back in 2004. :lol: Of course, those don't really help us. Doing a hex grid shouldn't be too hard. I suggest random placement, to avoid deliberately grouping up natural alliances together.
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Re: STGOD 2020 Concept/Planning Thread

Post by Beowulf » 2020-10-02 04:01pm

We can have someone make up a map background, then I could do a slippy type map up, and we can use some normal open source tools to draw areas on the map. So when we fight and take territory from each other, it's a bit easier to update the map. Doesn't matter whether it's a hex grid or ortho grid for this, though hex might be a bit for people to count distance on. I think can have the slippy map do the distance calc for us though.

*slippy map - something like google maps, where you can zoom and pan on the map.
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Re: STGOD 2020 Concept/Planning Thread

Post by VX-145 » 2020-10-02 07:18pm

That sounds pretty cool. My vague plan was to find a decent picture of the Milky Way galaxy or something that was public domain - that got derailed by my internet deciding to crap out for the past couple hours. I'll poke around if I have time tomorrow.

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Re: STGOD 2020 Concept/Planning Thread

Post by Crossroads Inc. » 2020-10-02 10:01pm

I just had an idea.......

So, like past games, as has been said, they often bog down before the game even starts, everyone is making alliances with everyone else, so on page 1, the whole galaxy is already split up into huge power blocks where everyone acts as if we have all known each other for hundreds of years...

So......
In the interest of speeding things up, what if we skipped a lot of that? IE, much of "space" is unknown in terms of who is where, whats out there, we could have an "age of exploration" game with civs meeting for the first time.

Thoughts?
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Re: STGOD 2020 Concept/Planning Thread

Post by Rogue 9 » 2020-10-02 10:29pm

A lot of the reason STGODs do that is because of the "bangbus effect," i.e. whoever strikes first gets jumped by everybody else because they've weakened their fleets. There are other ways around that; I believe it would be perfectly reasonable for the moderators to rule that we can't all have our fleets ready to go on offensive operations at the drop of a hat all of the time, for instance, to hamper immediately attacking the homeworlds of whoever doesn't have all their ships at home.

In that vein, I've just worked up some provisional planetary assault rules to stick into the Imperial Wiki handbook, since it basically didn't have any. I've attempted to make taking a planet take a significant (though not insurmountable) amount of time, cribbing some concepts from the SDNW4 ruleset, but adding time frames because it suggests that just having 3x the number of troops means instantly taking the world (which seriously discourages taking your fleet away from home). Here they are. They accompany an edit to the production rules permitting buying ground troops with the same pool used to buy ships. (If this gets used, I'd support raising the starting cap from what we'd have otherwise used.) This is just what I wrote off the top of my head in the past hour, and could be full of holes. Please weigh in.
===Laying a Siege===
Tempting as it might be to simply shell planets into submission, Earth-like worlds are rare, and glassing them will seriously impact the interstellar economy and food supply, as well as deny you the industrial benefit of possessing the planet, and could invite moderator action. Warships may selectively bombard a planet (points in '''Bombardment''' are especially handy for this) to reduce its planetary defenses, but doing this while leaving infrastructure intact is a painstaking process. Every full production turn spent bombarding a planet lowers its garrison strength by the base attack value of the bombarding fleet (so a fleet with a total 100 base weight will reduce the planetary defenses by 20 points), but also lowers its category (and thus industrial output) by 1. A planet reduced to a category of 0 is effectively useless.
===Taking Territory===
A planet is assumed to have garrison forces, be they reservist formations or militia, equal in power to ten times the planet's value - a class 1 colony has a garrison equal to 10 points, and a class 10 world has a garrison equal to 100 points. This may be enhanced by troops purchased with industrial points. In order to successfully take a planet without leaving pockets of resistance, troops equal to three times the power of the garrison must be landed. Given that, fully securing a planet takes a number of production turns equal to half its category rounded up.
===Population Assimilation===
This is a matter for roleplay. Assimilation is an extremely subjective thing that does not lend itself to hard rules; an oppressed population might greet invaders as liberators or one that was well treated before and treated badly by the invaders might resent occupation for years. This will mostly be a moderator call. Until the population is ruled assimilated, the conqueror must continue to garrison the planet with regular troops, does not gain the use of free planetary militia, and the original owning power does not need to undergo an assimilation period if they take back the planet.
Need to develop methods to pay industrial points to repair planetary infrastructure to its pre-bombardment status so you can't just use this to permanently cripple someone without actually landing troops? Also need to figure out what a planet not being assimilated actually does, if we use the concept at all. I find it strains credulity to have a planetary population just universally roll over and accept a conqueror, but at the same time being stuck fighting an insurgency that makes the planet useless for the whole game doesn't help gameplay either. Thoughts?
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Re: STGOD 2020 Concept/Planning Thread

Post by Elheru Aran » 2020-10-02 10:51pm

So, here's my faction, more or less subject to change/tweaking/adjustment as necessary. No points at the moment, all this is just fluff.

The Theophanic Empire

History

Long millennia ago, Humans from the Cradle travelled into the stars. In the cluster of Chi Persei, the genia (families) that became the Eugenis found homes. The most powerful members of the Eugenis claimed titles for their genia-- Drakon, Hapax, Geraki, Raubvogel, and so forth. Soon enough, there were struggles for dominion between the Eugenis. The kyria (shipmasters) of the vast expeditionary fleets and the epistimonai (scientists) found alliance against the Eugenis, who attempted to claim the fleets to use against each other. Together the kyria and the epistimonai became the Union, the cult of science and knowledge. R. Walter F. O'Padick, the leading Technognostik (rough synonyms: scientist-machine-priest-librarian) of the Union, proposed a peace between the Eugenia and the Union by an unique solution.

The arcane, but sanctified by time and proven trustworthiness, machines of the Union took genetic samples provided by each genis of the Eugenis and blended them together in crackling energies powered by esoteric devices. In the deep heart of time, the perfect being, the Yellow God/dess, the asexual Emperoress, whose sacred characters are tattooed inside the lip of every child born in the Empire that its name may ever be upon their mouth, was born. As It appeared from the vortex of Its immaculate conception, the Lords of the Genis and the Technognostiki all fell upon their faces, incoherent glossolia flowing in a chorus to praise their Divine Emperoress as bloody tears flowed upon the floor of the techno-womb's chamber.

Its first command to Its children was to be at peace. Its second command (well, nobody much kept track, but this is where they put it in the history books, what remains of them after a couple of millennia's worth of editing)was to build the Mitra tou Theouautokrator to encase the techno-womb that was the holy birthplace of the Emperoress, and to form a palace worthy of a God/dess who was of every genia and of none, holding the allegiance of all in one hand and offering the other hand open. With gladness in their hearts and ambition in their eyes, the Eugenis and the Union plundered their own massive resources. The metal-rich planet of Verurteilt was scoured of its precious metals, and Petradi vomited its gems. The last great foundry-ship, the Hephaistos, was stripped completely and its massive crucibles and gargantuan forges put to work, while the unique Gnostiploios vanished into the heart of the Mitra tou Theouautokrator as it was built. Some say a massive black tower stands at the heart of the Mitra, others claim a massive beating heart, still others an inhumanely forged carcass awaiting only a mighty weapon to bring the Apocalypse-- but people say a lot of things, and there are worlds other than this.

The Eugenis were more than happy to create a home for the Sacred Being to keep It safely away from claiming any of their own worlds. What the Eugenis didn't foresee was that the Adelig (the heads of each genis) would forevermore spend their lives upon the Mitra, constantly serving the holy Emperoress. Their children would be tasked with the leadership of the genia and their worlds, to take their forefathers' places in the Imperial Enclave in their own turns. The Union of the Technognostiki was forbidden from holding planets, but in exchange they were allowed to preserve their monopoly upon shipping and technology. Open warfare between the Eugenis was strictly forbidden, and to preserve peace between the genia, the Emperoress would bring the Mitra to each of their planets periodically. As the people adored the star of the Mitra shining in their sky, radiating iridiscent aurorae for thousands of kilometres through the sky and the empty space around it, peace would be exalted.

Thus the Empire of the Theophany was born. Thus the Empire existed for thousands of years (maybe only a couple, but who's counting), stable and triumphant.

Society

Paramount is the holy Emperoress, Beloved By All. The Emperoress is Mother, the Emperoress is Father of all. The Emperoress is Forever; Its Birth was but a new incarnation in this universe. And many more phrases, titles, and other fluff; we shall spare you at this time.

Around It, protecting Its body and the Mitra and by extension the Empire itself, are the Imperial Protectors. Each Wachter (soldier)is full-thread Hume stock, many born from the servant hordes aboard Mitra but many also drawn from the great kypseli-towers (rough synonym: city) of the genia worlds. Their only allegiance is to the Emperoress. Eugenis are free to join, and many do, but it means forsaking any claims they may have to position in their genis. Nevertheless being an Imperial Protector is considered a noble duty. By Imperial dictate, the most powerful ships in the Empire are solely the property of the Imperial Protector Fleet, the ancient and terrible twenty-kilometre-long Thorikto dreadnoughts.

No less noble are the Eugenis. Soi Drakon, Soi Foinix, Soi Raubvogel, and so forth-- these are the oldest and greatest genia in the Empire, controlling planets and space within the boundaries of the Empire, supporting the Imperial Protectors during the rare occasion the Wazirs (rough synonyms: counsellors, prime ministers) declare a voyage of expansion. The cluster of Chi Persei is however mostly empty of habitable planets, the initial explorations of the Union having discovered most of them in the early years of the Empire. Thus most planets are either dead rocks being strip-mined for their resources, or otherwise unhabitable worlds being exploited in similar fashion. On the inhabitable planets of the cluster, most have giant kypseli towers on them, but Ten Raab, the first planet reached by the gigantic hab-craft from the Cradle World, is mostly covered by city blocks. Not coincidentally, it is also the home of the most powerful genis, Soi Drakon.

The Union of Knowledge and the Engine is independent of the Eugenis, and powerful in its own right. Millions of souls labor in the depths of its forges under the cold-eyed gaze of the Technognostiki, while esoteric Bibilothikari experiment and study in gigantic laboratories. After the sacred Emperoress, the Yellow God/dess that all hold sacred in the Empire, the only other thing the Union reveres is knowledge... and money. While many genia have their own craftsmen and forges, the Union supplies the vast majority of the Empire's manufacturing. Vitally, the Union also has a near-complete monopoly upon interstellar transport and ship-building; many a genis has run afoul of the Union and found its war-fleet incapacitated for a lack of operating parts or willing engineers.

There are lesser genia, often referred to as kleiner-genia, many formed after the birth of the Emperoress (beloved by all). The Verkaufreisen (rough synonym: merchant prince) grew in power under the Eugenis and claimed authority for themselves. Most hold no worlds, but have managed to find positions in the hierarchies of society. Many have valuable links with the Union's Technognostiki, and frequently supply manpower to the vast manufacturing city-spheres floating in orbit around the genia worlds.

Most of the Eugenis are effectively run by the Thronfolgeren (rough translation: throne-follower, heir apparent) as the Adelig are bound by Imperial commandment to serve eternally upon the Mitra tou Theouautokrator. It is common practice for the Eugenis to marry young and reproduce rapidly, and large families are not unusual. Most Eugenis, with a few distinct exceptions, are linked by intricate webs of intermarriage to the point where wags make jokes about drinking with a cousin one night and then shooting them the next; this is one of those cases where the comedy is in the truth of the matter. Conflict between the genia is frequent. Open warfare, as noted, is strictly forbidden; but if a genis is considered to be holding on to desirable resources or lost technology, there is little preventing other genia from political maneuverings reinforced by sabotage, live-fire military exercises deploying in contested sectors, and outright (but deliberately understated) invasions in order to take possession.

Finally, there are the untold masses, all loyal ultimately to the Emperoress (is not It beloved by all?) but also loyal to their patron genis. Most are born, live and die upon the one world; but a rare few are fortunate enough to either join an Eugenis force or the Imperial Protectors and travel beyond the air-envelope of their homeworlds. There are a few alien species that the Empire has encountered, but most are at a primitive level of technology and outside of a few curious Union Bibliothikari scientists, most Humes simply don't care that much about them.

Technology

Size Matters. That might well be the credo of the Union when it comes to building ships. The Tektons (rough trans: 'builder', 'architect') believe in deep layers of redundant armour and equipment. Their space-jump technology, created upon the millennia-long voyage to Chi Persei, requires massive engines to distort the fabric of space-time; and thus if a ship is to travel the void in less than hundreds of years, it must be around three to four kilometres long at the smallest. Most are in the five to eight kilometre range, to maximize transport capacity. For such monstrous ships, most are crewed by only a few thousand people, mainly commoner loyal to the Union or genia forces. Union transports can move entire genis military forces and then some in one vast ship.

Firepower is minimized in favor of survival. Missiles are the primary weapon of long range void warfare, enormous mag-launcher cannons for close range. Interstellar ships are expensive, rare and valuable; frequently the most common tactic of space combat is to release boarding craft on ballistic trajectories, covering them with missile and coilgun fire, and if the boarding craft makes contact with the opponent's ship, heavily armoured troops will deploy quickly and attempt to take over the ship. The Union space habitats may have more exotic weapons, but since the Union are neutral in Eugenis conflicts, nobody has found out yet what exactly those are...

Land combat is largely a matter of vehicles. Treaded tanks, trucks, locomotives, hovercraft and such, fusion-powered when bought by a powerful genis, otherwise internal combustion is the budget option. Aircraft are largely fixed-wing and fusion-powered, but rotary-wing and VTOL craft do exist. Soldiers wear either medium flak outfits or heavy shock armour. Powered armour is rare and mostly used either by Eugenis nobility or specialized troops for shock assault. Firearms typically use bullets, but a few wealthier genia or the Union may have laser or plasma weapons on hand.

Computing technology is both miniaturized, in common devices used by Empire citizens, and incredibly massive and powerful such as ship- or city-brains. Automation, however, is carefully scrutinized. Out of a certain fear of rogue robotics, possibly due to revolting mechanical minions in the distant past, the Empire does not tolerate artificial intelligence. Non-sentient, human-controlled bots are another matter; for example, the Imperial Protectors use gorilla-shaped automatons to carry heavy weaponry on their backs and generally act as mobile gun platforms.

Agricultural and food technology is highly optimized to maximize productivity whether it be ploughed land on rural worlds, hydroponic banks in kypseli towers, or nutrients squeezed out of reprocessed waste on starships.

Genetic technology is somewhat of a taboo subject. Nobody particularly denies that the Technognostiki do research into it, and many genia openly display hallmarks of genetic engineering such as heavily bulked up shock-troop regiments, but past that, it gets into highly uncomfortable territory. However it is largely frowned upon and considered... for lack of a better word, cheating.

+++More details anon. I'm about to fall asleep, but I hope this is some decent flavor text. +++
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Re: STGOD 2020 Concept/Planning Thread

Post by Rogue 9 » 2020-10-02 11:13pm

I've just done a full editing pass on the Imperial Wiki to remove speculative language, what should have been out of article notes on what to put where, and so forth, as well as put in perfunctory provisions for buying ground troops and the above provisional planetary assault rules. Simon, I know you said the introductory text made it hard for you to get into it, but at the same time, that's what the wiki's hyperlinked table of contents is for; I believe that if the article is going to purport to be an STGOD handbook, it should explain the basic concepts of what the game is. The SDN World rules article saves a lot of words on not doing that, but if people who didn't know what the game was (new players, say) were to read that in isolation they'd have no idea what it was talking about.

Tomorrow's project is stripping down the rules to take out all the specializations, and a lesser stripping down to take out some of them and rewrite the ones that affect roleplay (stealth, speed, sensors, maybe jamming so sensors have a purpose beyond counteracting stealth) to not reference offense, defense, etc. I'll put those up provisionally as new subpages on my Imperial Wiki userpage so we can keep all the options accessible without overwriting one with the others before we vote. I'm going to try to make everything I work on as clean as possible and invite comment at every step, so we can have a viable backstop no matter what we decide on.
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Re: STGOD 2020 Concept/Planning Thread

Post by Beowulf » 2020-10-03 12:00am

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Re: STGOD 2020 Concept/Planning Thread

Post by Rogue 9 » 2020-10-03 12:07am

Beowulf wrote:
2020-10-03 12:00am
OMG Huge galaxy image
Wow, it's been a long time since I've seen a still image load top to bottom like that.
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Re: STGOD 2020 Concept/Planning Thread

Post by MKSheppard » 2020-10-03 07:39am

Rogue 9 wrote:
2020-09-30 09:47pm
mean, you always need at least one of those or the game gets boring. :lol:
I'm vaguely interested in bringing back Shepistan and General Shepurraf:

Image

back.

But actually writing stories for SDNW is time consuming, hence the idea of returning Shepistan as a moderator controlled NPC nation to basically be a generic foil for tonnes of players.

Need superdicks to make your race look good? :D

We got you covered!

Need someone to run a "YOU CROSSED MY LINE OF DEATH" scenario to showcase your race's new weapons against, while not actually annoying any players by blowing their stuff up?

Also, this way, the Moderator can use Shepistan similar to the TV commercials/ads in the original ROBOCOP to do background hints and pieces for other players.

Like if you plan to have the Vong invade SDNW XVLI, you can do a piece about "Shepistani Navy forces are engaged at Dick's Star, blah blah, spokesmen assure the community everything is under control..."
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Re: STGOD 2020 Concept/Planning Thread

Post by Rogue 9 » 2020-10-03 10:35am

MKSheppard wrote:
2020-10-03 07:39am
But actually writing stories for SDNW is time consuming, hence the idea of returning Shepistan as a moderator controlled NPC nation to basically be a generic foil for tonnes of players.

Need superdicks to make your race look good? :D

We got you covered!
If this follows the traditional line of development, there will be a "minination" thread where players can submit NPC nations for the moderators to use. Usually these are smaller than the player powers, but I suppose there's nothing saying you couldn't give them a superpower to work with if they want. :P

Anyway, I just got done stripping down the 2k8 rules to remove all references to ship specializations. Link is here. I also didn't include the intro text about what the game is, good gameplay, etc, so it will hopefully be easier to read. Next project is to put back in the specializations that affect roleplay as I outlined above, which will take more time since it involves more rewriting than just deleting things.
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Re: STGOD 2020 Concept/Planning Thread

Post by Dark Hellion » 2020-10-03 11:02am

I have actually thought on more than a few occasions of try to start up an STGOD again and have given a great deal of thought to past STGODs, their rulesets and how to improve upon them. I am gonna be churning out a slow set of posts over the course of the day or so with a lot of those thoughts.

That being said I am gonna be brutally frank here. Nothing I have seen so far in this planning thread is making me think that we are even trying to avoid making the mistakes of previous STGODs on anything approaching the level of conceptual thought necessary to actually make the game function. I would go so far as to say that nothing I am seeing is making me think that the game will actually make it past a turn or two even if it manages to begin. STGOD2k8mkII made it 2 turns with I think some decent storylines but didn't go anywhere too much. SDNW4 actually made it really far although we didn't even complete a single in game year. However, Shroomy really carried that story because he made up a ton of interesting side stuff for other people to write about and was super open to leaving hooks and letting others use his ideas in their own way. But both games died well before any real long term plot or narrative developed. Same with so many other games. Because we keep trying to fix things that aren't problems thinking this will fundamentally fix the game.

Honestly, I want to play STGOD because I want to play a semi-competitive collaborative storytelling game. I don't want to play a pen and paper 4S with some narrative attached. If I wanted a 4S game I would buy one, I'm a 35 year old man with a steady job, not a 24 year old underemployed grad schooler who can't afford to drop a few hundred for a game and some expansions. I can't just spend money to tell silly stories about Space Greeks fighting Space Squids with their Space ABS. That is what STGOD is about for me.

I will be posting my thoughts on points systems in a bit. I'll follow this with some other stuff if I don't get too busy today. I am not meaning to be overly disparaging and I think that the efforts of the posters in this thread are coming from a place of general helpfulness and goodwill but I really would like to play STGOD again and have it actually go somewhere and I am not sure we are close to there yet.
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Re: STGOD 2020 Concept/Planning Thread

Post by Rogue 9 » 2020-10-03 11:55am

I look forward to your ideas, but 2k8 and 2k9 died because of player dropout. Nephtys got sick, Thirdfain got a new job and girlfriend, Ohma started a new job with a commute from hell, etc.

But I played in older STGODs and remember why we developed rules in the first place. STGOD 4 and 5 went longer, but they went longer straight into strategic deadlock and then died from that, because we wound up with someone attacking near start, getting destroyed by a coalition of players who wanted to not be next and/or gobble up his now-vulnerable territory, and then the rest of the players took the example and the game settled into pre-WW1 style alliance blocs. Cue a whole bunch of diplomatic maneuvering followed by a massive smash and grab by one coordinated alliance against one or two members of another bloc to weaken it, compounded by there being no production limits so players who were willing to arbitrarily increase their ORBATs just plain beat players who didn't, which led to arguing (which I was complicit in, though in my defense I was 19) over whether the victims had to just roll over and die because lol80battlecruisers, or could have system-bound fighters and static defenses which would mean something and enable an actual fight since our production clearly had to have gone somewhere, and hell, they're in the OOB and should do stuff (which Nitram in particular argued against because he hated turtling).

The objective isn't to make a 4X game. The objective is to have something to fall back on when the roleplay almost inevitably devolves into that. When their backs are against the wall, very few players are going to want to just roleplay their own inevitable demise, with no choice other than to respond to "my massive fleet opens fire" with "my ships all explode and the planet lies helpless before you." What I'm trying to do is both codify what happens in advance so someone presented with that will have already agreed to it, and make "what happens" involve meaningful choices for the defender - which is likely to be me, because Nashtar doesn't go conquering. I don't have fun with "N+1>N, you lose" from either side of it. Neither is it fun to go on the attack and have someone say "my ships all punch their hyperdrives before you attack and I'll be back with my whole damn navy, bye sucker." What I'm trying to do is make it possible for battles to have incremental rather than binary outcomes, so a tactical defeat doesn't have to mean you're strategically doomed (certainly disadvantaged, but not doomed).
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Re: STGOD 2020 Concept/Planning Thread

Post by Elheru Aran » 2020-10-03 03:10pm

Personally: I am willing to oblige by rules and points and such if that is what is eventually decided.

That said: I lean towards the sentiments Hellion and Simon have expressed. Most, if not all, of us have lives off the board and limited time to actually figure things out. For my part, certainly I won't be able to contribute significantly more than a couple nights a week, outside of quick comments in the OOC thread.

I do understand a desire to have rules and structure in order to avoid chaos. If we're agreed that we're not 'playing to win', we can have instead a gentleman's agreement on a few basic points and abide by those throughout, reinforced by moderation. Writing a good plot should be the priority here. If things take a wild turn, a moderator can step in and request that issues be worked out in the OOC thread. I think it should be obvious, from past experience (speaking generally here, obviously not mine) that cheesing, rules-lawyering and min-maxing are things to be avoided.

For convenience I suggest postulating a basic scenario to start with. Something along the lines of 'x event has just happened in [this part of the galaxy]. everybody here is first-contacting everybody else (unless your background means you've met some of the other factions however that works for you), but ultimately we are going to have to deal with this Big Event. And, go.'

But that's my two cents. I'm not going to make more of a fuss than that. If we want to use points and rules, awesome, I'll try. The main thing to me is simply to DO it, one way or another.
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Re: STGOD 2020 Concept/Planning Thread

Post by Rogue 9 » 2020-10-03 06:09pm

We are simply going to do it, one way or the other. I plan to, as promised, put up a poll now five days hence outlining every extant option. One of the poll options is going to be no-rules freeform. One will be SDNW4. If Hellion comes up with an actionable plan, his will be on there too. We'll vote on it, then go with the results. I just want to get a game off the ground; everything else is secondary and we can try to avoid the strategic deadlock in other ways if need be.
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Re: STGOD 2020 Concept/Planning Thread

Post by VX-145 » 2020-10-03 06:24pm

I did have some thoughts on the question at hand, so I'll share them.

I'm going to talk a little from a fundamental level here, since that's pretty much the only level I'm qualified to talk from. Seriously, I've designed systems in the past - it did not go well. I can play systems, but I just can't design them to save my life. Anyway, so the point of rules in an RPG like this is to encourage behaviour that is desired, discourage behaviour that is not, and guide players in how to display said behaviours.

I'll list what behaviours I think belong to both catergories. So, we want players to interact with one another and come up with interesting stories - we may not necessarily need rules to incentivise (as opposed to guide) this, but it's worth thinking about. In order to get players to interact - well, a star polity on our scale probably needs functioning trade in order to build those 1.6km-long battleships, for a start. Rules for telling interesting stories are a more difficult matter, but there's all manner of narrative-only RPGs to take inspiration from.

An example to illuminate the concept, and nothing more: in the case of a fleet combat, instead of wargaming it, a set of questions could be asked. Things like "Does Fleet X or Fleet Y achieve their objective? Is this a victory for Fleet X or Fleet Y (note that "achieving the objective" and "winning" may not be the same thing)? What does it cost [winning fleet] to win? How does losing help [losing fleet]?".

Behaviours we want to avoid: min-maxing, rules lawyering, coming up with fleets out of nothing - these are all things that can be mitigated through rules systems that I'm not going to talk about because we've been talking about them. However, we also want to avoid people burning out and stopping play before the story reaches a natural conclusion. This is where the absence of rules is most useful, since the number one cause of burn-out is spending an hour of prep for a minute of play. (The number two cause being the aforementioned "I bring a fleet of invincible triremes out of the ether" problem).

Anyway, my hope with that spiel is to contextualise the problem at hand. If that makes sense.

I do like the idea of slightly-scenario-driven play, as Elheru Aran suggested - perhaps as well as a starting scenario, each of us could come up with a long-term objective for our respective polities? And/or work in conjunction with the moderators to come up with a basic, flexible story outline to follow if nothing else happens?

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Re: STGOD 2020 Concept/Planning Thread

Post by Crossroads Inc. » 2020-10-03 06:32pm

Rogue 9 wrote:
2020-10-03 10:35am

Anyway, I just got done stripping down the 2k8 rules to remove all references to ship specializations. Link is here. I also didn't include the intro text about what the game is, good gameplay, etc, so it will hopefully be easier to read. Next project is to put back in the specializations that affect roleplay as I outlined above, which will take more time since it involves more rewriting than just deleting things.
Yo yo, been spending the last hour or so skimming over the rulers and brushing up on things, and LOVING the break down so far, nothing so far seems too complicated or convulated, but all fairly straight forward. I'd say you have done a great job slimming things down
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Re: STGOD 2020 Concept/Planning Thread

Post by Dark Hellion » 2020-10-03 06:38pm

Ok, so here are my thought about points.

I am going to preface this by saying I actually do really like the "broken down" points system where ships have specializations like Offense, Defense, etc. I just don't think that it actually deals with the real problem, which is creating incentive for players to clash/skirmish/harass/etc. in a manner that isn't about just forming power blocs or having every battle become a fight to the death for everyone involved. The reason for this, as I see it, is that whatever the points system/building system we have tried to use in the past the system it is impossible for a player who has "fallen behind" in any way to catch up. Ironically, the system designed to prevent players from gaming the system creates a system that must be gamed in order to continue participation.

One of the ideas I came up with is to actually take the abstraction of points a bit of a step further. Instead of points being used to buy individual spaceships or soldiers point represent a discretized portion of the military might of a nation. This portion may be narratively represented by an individual ship or a group of soldiers but it in actuality consists not only of the ship/soldiers but all the various support, maintainance, etc. and the economy to support it. So, instead of worrying about ship positioning and all that tactical BS its just a point of distributing points around with the narrative being the main driver of the action and the points serving for comparative purposes.

The really nice thing is that abstracting points like this allows us to not only have points for building military forces but we can actually use the points to represent other abstractions that may need to be resolved. For example, we could have political points so if I send 100 points of Space Gandi and Space Lincoln and you only send 1 point of Space Dan Quayle, then my political action should succeed.

The biggest idea is that since the points represent not individual units or people but instead investment of a percentage of total force and economy we can have it so that losses are temporary but meaningful... If you spend a bunch of points doing something you may not have those points for x units of in game time during which you are working hard to reproduce this stuff, narratively allowing you to write hardship/forced production/whatever storylines but not meaning that losing a few forces will quickly lead to a defeat in detail death. Based upon the refresh rate we choose it allows us to to have very dynamic gameplay where people can constantly clash and lose forces knowing that if they can stabalize they can rebuild without falling behind. But an incautious player can easily spend all their points per unit time and then get crushed presevering the primary reason for a points based framework.
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Re: STGOD 2020 Concept/Planning Thread

Post by Rogue 9 » 2020-10-03 06:51pm

I will just say this: If I get to have my stealth frigates, I will make play opportunities (not necessarily combat ones) for everybody, because they're going to be everywhere poking into everybody's business. I learned that lesson all the way back in STGOD 4. :razz:
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