Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Revisiting Old Systems: fading suns

I realized that I have a good number of game systems and settings under my belt. It helps that we three brothers were very prolific in gaming and love to share in the "cheese" of breaking a system or trying a new game. Looking at these old systems with fresh eyes and better math skills has given me revisiting so much inspiration.

I am actually interested going from first edition to the current edition and what were the problems that the game designers were facing. For me it's like stepping back in time when I look at the old systems and figuring out the values and knowledge the designers had at the time.

I'm right now revisiting fading suns and looking at how it differed through the versions and versus now. Human/Alien and Ego/Faith is not part of the character sheet.

First thing I try to do is make a well rounded build. Already you can get a lot of what the designer was thinking with what he considers well rounded. Often you don't need to build the character, it is enough to look at the sample characters. Although it takes exposure to a number of systems to see the differences in values and focus.

Second is breaking the system, making a character that exploits enough of the weakness that a gm would to busy to house rule delicately. I'm beginning to see some breaks in the systems although fading Suns non-magic rules are pretty solid, can't say the same about their combat rules. Being old, my mind is not that effective in memorizing useless details, I need paper and pen and make a chart of the measurable elements of the system.

One odd bit is that move is vigor based. Taking multiple actions to run is faster than run as a single action. Even at bare score of 3, a character can run 9meters in multiple action but only runs 10m on a single action. At a score of average, like 5 on vigor and 3 Dex, I have a 15m move while running as a significant or major action is 10m with a one in twenty to move in 15m. I think it would be sounder to just base it on vigor anyway the performance variance when people run is very small, not worth a die roll. Simply vigor x3m plus margin of success with no penalty unless critical fail would be ok. Movement should have penalties when they are not simply running forward, strafing or backing up movement should be cut simply to half.

I think the system lacks sample characters and NPCs but that is a personal preference.
What may be preference is the description of economics and relationships given. Exposed to traveller, farming holdings enough to buy technology should be said in the the scale of farming tenant cooperatives or cooperatives (mining, agricultural, utilities). I could detail out the economics of the world which gives sandbox tools in case the PCs would want to go financial or economic strategy.

A different take on fading suns have come to mind if I apply a different set of morals or ethics. Like applying secular humanism, objectivism, vs the medieval virtues given. Objectivism happens to be perfect for the setting, particularly among the nobles, and is the kind of point of view that give a lot of RPing opportunity. What the nobles did with indentured servants despite coming from an advance society fits in well in a total Laissez faire system.

Gurpsifying this all is not an easy feat. It would probably take me another 60-80 hours but what would result is another GURPS lite for fading suns. I would incorporate my traveller ships, economics and with mechs. I would also make a handout about the structure of the setting mapping out political and economic relationships for sandbox GMs to do as they please.

I finished my first system analysis cast for the Crunch inclined for mongoose traveller. Hope to find the time to edit for a version two. Basically me going through breakdown of a system in a process.
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