Core Rules, all hail Mongoose Publishing.

I’ve decided to use the reprinted and revised Traveler RPG rules by Mongoose Publishing as a major source of character creation, planet building, trade, etc, the rules seem simple enough to use via text-back and forth gameplay, won’t get in the way of the story, and I can flesh them out if I need more depth.

Ran across the core rulebook at Barnes&Noble and am reading through it. I still love the career path concept where you pick a number of 4 year terms in a character class and accumulate experience, money, contacts and possessions through this pre-game character history. It also can be used to provide quite a bit of background history by me since I can see exactly where the PCs have been. PLUS I can use the same thing for NPCs who populate the game.

Wow.. I am so glad Traveler (the original, not Megatraveller and such) has been redone by another company. It deserved to be reprinted.

The Milky Way Galaxy, Earth 2538.1(365).0000(2400)

Game start: Year 2538, Day 1, 0000 LST (Earth Local Standard Time)

Earth is not a unified world government, several major conflicts (timeline will be covered in detail elsewhere) have resulted in a disbursement of most of the population to nearby stars. Earth’s population stands at 213 billion (partly due to unrestricted gene-labs and the Vazyor-Kushima Fertility Virus), outsystem population is 45 billion across 29 stars. FTL Capability is maturing since the technology was discovered in 2017.54(365).1730(2400). Nanotechnology is limited by the Unified Preservation Accords of ’23.

There are 7 major power blocs, trade between the Earth and the 29 core systems is heavy, popular consensus among political figures is that all powers want to be in strong positions in and out-system and that a large scale war is not viable nor desirable until the blocs are much more widely scattered.

11 alien races have been contacted in several outlying systems (inside the farline) and are not hostile toward Terrans. A new system of trans stellar highways is being put in place and will facilitate much larger transfers of cargo and organics between the 29 core systems and potentially new systems out to the farline.

Trading

So I am trying to wrap my head around it, and after seeing how successful EVE Online is, one could do worse than try and emulate portions of it.  The simple fact of the matter is that until one has huundreds of thousands of players, a living breathing economy is really only something that can be simulated.  I wish I could go back and see what the EVE system looked like when they first started it (as a closed system) and when they changed it to an open system.

The concept is simple, really: Buy a cargo at a given price, transport it somewhere you think people will want to buy it and sell it for more than you originally paid.  After all expenses are taken into account, were you profitable?  Stocks are a whole other world of hurt.

So we need a system that can offer the following:

1. Speculative Cargo that can be bought and sold.  Brokers can come in handy.

2. Commodities (items which are usually mass produced by a local economy) which can be transported from one economy to another.  The trader bids for the opportunity to carry these commodities.

3. Stocks (shares of companies) which can be bought and sold either short or long term, and which depend upon the company which offers the shares becoming more valuable by what it produces.

So, anybody have any input on this?

How do we start? At the beginning…

Trying to get a grip on how players begin the long journey to become masters of their domain, the guys who sit in the center of the web and make the new PCs as well as NPCs dance to their tunes.

I would think the bare minimum starting equipment would consist of:

1 Player Character (with 5 copies of their gene-template in stasage)

x points to modify some of the basic skills they know from PC creation process, this lets the players customize their PCs a little.

1 FTL-capable starship

1 loadout package for said ship which will depend somewhat on the path they choose (straight up ex-military, trader, explorer, researcher, etc)

x Credits to buy ammo, etc.

The PCs will start in a part of the Universe depending on their race/species and within THAT space depending on one of several choices they make generating their PC.

I kind of like the old basic Traveler character generation system, which would start the PCs not as babes in the woods but with a detailed background and years of experience before they start their current PC career, it also allowed them to accumulate various possessions, money, and what-not.

Game Terms:

stasage: a form of storage where a bubble of no-time forms around something, instantly freezing it so when it the package is opened later it is in exactly the condition it was in when the stasage was created, no time passes inside.

gene-template: used to clone living organisms, this is a small cube 6 inches on a side that stores everything about an organism including memories at the time it is created.

Character Attribute/Stat Definition

In EVE Online, characters are defined by several attributes, Intelligence, Perception, Charisma, Willpower, and Memory.

Intelligence is helpful with things involving mathematics and physics, and also social and industrial things.

Perception is used for determining how well the PC can sense his environment and how quickly and effectively he reacts to this information.

Charisma is a measure of how well the PC interacts with other people, be it personal, social, or political interactions.

Willpower is probably best described as how the PC does in stressful situations and how long he can maintain focus during those times.

Memory measures how well a PC can retain and recall information.

So these are the basic stats in EVE Online, should there be a different system for Adam?  More or fewer attributes?  Percentage based stats, or should we keep it simple since the game will need to minimize game lag while PC orders and roleplaying shoot back and forth between the Admin and the players?

Example of System Suggestion, FTL Flex-drive

An FTL drive concept I am really interested in developing is called an FTL Flex-drive.  Basically, a starship with this technology can designate two points in space, the point it occupies when it activates the drive, and a destination point.  Between these two points, space is attenuated so that the distance between the points is shortened relative to normal space.  It creates a tube that the ship can grab ahold of and twist like a corkscrew.

Depending on the way it is twisted the ship is dragged one way or the other between the two points.

First Thoughts on Adam Offline PBEM

So let’s see if we can get this party started.  I used to play EVE Online heavily (3 seperate accounts) but finally just had enough of it.

Main downsides (as of Revelations when I quit) are:

1) If you get killed by some punk with higher skills in the game, you LOSE EVERYTHING you spent months building up.

2) All the best blueprints are taken by those who have been in the game since the beginning.

3) Its extremely hard to get research slots in stations.

4) Gate campers suck (though I understand gate camping is pretty easy to avoid if you know what you are doing.

Over New Years I was talking to my brother Sean about it and he shared some of the same concerns.

It started me thinking about maybe using the internet and some old-school RPG and Boardgame stuff to create a play by email version of EVE Online.

The things I want in such a game are:

a. A large persistent world with (potentially) billions of star systems and unlimited number of galaxies (100 billion in our observable universe spread over 43 billion light years) for player characters (PC’s) to live (or die)  in.

b. Exploration of (a) by PC’s from differing star nations.

c. Creation of Corporations run by PC’s along with NPC (non player character) corporations.

d. All kinds of in-game roleplaying:

d. 1 ) Military Operations.

d. 2 ) Espionage.

d. 3 ) Trading.

d. 4 ) Scientific Research.

d. 5 ) Stock Market Trading.

d. 6 ) Exploration.

d. 7 ) Mining and related activities.

d. 8 ) Mercenary Ops.

d. 9 ) Colonization of frontiers.

That’s a short list off the top of my head.  I want to be able to set up a game where people can make up a character, be it a pilot, mercenary, ex-military, spy, trader, scientist, whatever, and let him start with a basic package of skills and possessions and then go out into the Universe and do whatever he or she wants to do.

Think EVE Online with maybe not the greatest graphics like you have in the game, but rather using your imagination to do whatever, literally whatever you want to do, the goal being to rise to the top of the society you belong to and become a mover and shaker, or just a really really bad-ass combat pilot who drops into his enemies face with fleets of dreadnoughts and kicks their butts to the next galaxy.

Oh yeah, and 7,000 systems EVE?  I’m aiming for BILLIONS of systems, with probably an online database of star systems that anyone can see but you can gather local contacts and info that other people never even have an inkling of.  Information is power.

How can you play this?

You play in several levels:

1) You make a PC (Player Character) who is you in the game.  They can augment themselves with skills, cybaugs (cybernetic augmentations), neuraugs (neural augmentations), hypnaugs (temporary skill levels which can be learned using hypno-training), psiaugs (psionic augmentations) and normal skill training which allows you to do more things more efficiently over time.

2) You buy, trade, steal, inherit (or whatever) possessions which can be ships, skills, hypno training, real estate, stocks, slaves (where allowed), planets, corporations, you name it.

3) You interact with other PCs or NPCs in the game, form alliances, research technology, build things, and all of this will be plotted in a game log which tells the administrator running this particular world-arc how to see what happens when the various players in the world-arc all have their actions played out by the admin.

Game Terms:

Administrator (Admin): The person responsible for resolving the actions and game logs of all active players who appointed him to take control of their PC’s.

Game Log: Some kind of spreadsheet or word doc or PDF, anything which the players turn in to the Admin to resolve.  It will probably have a uniform layout and list all the actions the players PCs is wanting to do for a certain block of time (1st week of January, etc).  It will also have any PC to PC actions that the Admin will share with whatever PCs are mentioned (like Bob’s PC, Captain Brightyear wants to contact Regina’s PC, Mercenary Commander Kimdanear and set up a hit and run on a Liv’yean Scoutship Yard).  The Game Log is the primary means of players actually playing the game.

One thing that might make this even more interesting is that you can potentially avoid a lot of the grind by pre plotting actions you want to do, as an example: you could plot several weeks of mining in w system x asteroid belt with y assets under control of z minions.

So far, what do you think?  Any suggestions?  Just imagining everything you ever wanted to see in a game like Eve Online but just isn’t possible for a computer shooter/simulator like EVE.