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TOPIC: Creating a Sci Fi Setting

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Dream_Knight
Creating a Sci Fi Setting


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Friday October 7, 2005 5:34 AM
Let's gather up some tips about creating a Sci Fi setting. So if any of you game mastgering types out there, what are some of your tips and suggestions in creating a sci-fi setting?

Chung
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 Message #280914
Pillage
RE: Creating a Sci Fi Setting

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Friday October 7, 2005 6:08 AM
I'll go on my knowledge of sci-fi writing here, and advise that avoiding cliches makes the game a whole lot more fun. Essentially, anything that you see in every sci-fi game, book and movie, becomes predictable, and as such you'll know exactly how it ends.
Here's a fairly helpful list, since I can't find that massive page of a thousand or more sci-fi cliches.
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hi iam new lol
 Message #280920 - This was a reply to message #280914
Arandur
RE: Creating a Sci Fi Setting

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Friday October 7, 2005 7:55 AM
I don't know Pillage, Sci Fi cliches can actually be quite fun and useful when running some games. They can help set up a sense of familiarity with the setting as sometimes Science Fiction is very hard to convey to your players without a base to start with.

I mean for example what about these few cliches? The players are rebels fighting for freedom against the evil tyranny of the galactic overlords? Or how about the players are the last hope against an invasion from beyond their universe? Or the players are the only ones who can harness the power of some alien technology needed to fight the invaders? All very cliched but if used by the proper GM can still be very entertaining.

Besides I find that once you have established a nice comfortable understanding for your players it becomes so much more fun to tear it all out from under them.

Arandur





[[Edited by Arandur on Friday October 7, 2005 7:57 AM]]
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I hereby reclaim this thread in the name of Dark Emperor Chung. All bow before his benevolent gaze or suffer his wrath and be slapped to death with a drunken french lobster. The RPGC will ALWAYS belong to the loyalist faction.


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 Message #280931 - This was a reply to message #280920
Ronyo_Telithel
RE: Creating a Sci Fi Setting

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Sunday October 9, 2005 10:42 AM
One of the interesting aspects of a Sci-fi setting is space flight, more to my point of, how it is done, so far i've found three methods of this being acheved

Super Fuel: A new element has been found that can be used to produce phenomenal amounts of energy and alows faster than light travel through pure combustion. This is the aproach that is taken in old 'Battlestar Galactica'. Such a fuel would probly form the backbone of the known universe and would probly be the cause of wars if suplys where low. Posible adventure hooks: Need to find a new sourse of the element as previous sources have been cut off or dried up. The element is not %100 safe and problems have arisen and need to be investigated

Warp Drive: Techloagy has developed so that a spaceship can distort space around its self in a way that faster than light speed can be achieved. Prime example of this idea is Startrek and as such I don't feel the need to elaborate any futher on it.

Inter-Dimensional: Faster than light speed has not been acheived or has been but is unreliable. Travel over long distances is acheved by leaving this universe and traveling trough one where either the laws of distance or the laws of physics differ or symply do not apply. Any alternate plains from a fantsy setting work well to describe what this dimention would be like Posible adventure hooks: Navigation was off and reappear somewhere unknown with no (known) bearings of how to get back. It was a one way trip and you cant get back to reality.

There is a fourth that I have come across, Folding Space. Although verry interesting it leaves little for Role Play as ships become little more than big teleporting platforms. This is the method used in Dune and is touched on in Robotech.

Hope this is the kind of thing you where looking for.

[[Edited by Ronyo_Telithel on Sunday October 9, 2005 10:44 AM]]

[[Edited by Ronyo_Telithel on Sunday October 9, 2005 10:46 AM]]
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"Those who fear the dark, haven't seen what the light can do" -Unknown
 Message #281012 - This was a reply to message #280914
Silveran
RE: Creating a Sci Fi Setting


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Sunday October 9, 2005 2:42 PM
There is a fifth FTL system that I have used in the past for homebrew sci-fi gaming. It's something created by E.E. "Doc" Smith in his Lensmen series: Inertialess drive. In essence, the vehicle is taken out of the concepts of Newtonian motion by removing the intrinsic inertia of the vehicle. Because of this, the E=mc^2 equation becomes altered to a point that the energy needed to push matter past the speed of light no longer becomes infinate. Additionally, the vehicle can move faster with the reducion of loose matter in the universe {friction becomes the defining speed limitation, i.e. a ship moves faster in intergalactic space (little to almost no matter) than in a nebula (high amounts of space dust and gases)}. Ship to ship combat becomes much trickier in this kind of system, as the ships have to be held in place to be attacked (i.e. an inertialess ship shot with a energy blast without being held isn't damaged, it's pushed away from the attack.) Additionally, intrisnic velocity become a consideration when a ship is brought back to "inert" (the opposite of inertialess). The starting inertia of an object prior to inertialess actions resumes at the same level. Thus, two objects from different starting points of inertia travel will rip through each other if not buffered in a way to handle the changes in inert speeds. (It takes special training for the pilot and special inertia absorbing equipment to make this change for non-living objects, while living creatures have to deal with these changes in seperate ships. This process requires both ships to go inert, match intrinsic velocities, make the transfer of personell, and then they can return to inertialess drive.)

I like using this system, as it causes the players to THINK about their combat actions before they do something, or they can destroy themselves with their booty.
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 Message #281027 - This was a reply to message #281012
Aaron
RE: Creating a Sci Fi Setting

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Friday October 14, 2005 12:58 PM
I think that that is a big cliche if one always has space being the main focus of Sci Fi...probly more of a misconception than a cliche. Not bashing space travel, my preferred method is the sleep chambers just because you dont have to find some big ol answer to explain how it works if someone asks. The ship moves, character sleeps, time flies, and youre there.

As for settings I prefer a mirrored world of our own. Shows like the Fifth Element or BladeRunner create these hover car riding, gigantic shiny looking buildings and that is the most youd see of technology, is in construction and transportation. In both Fifth Element and Blade Runner they used basic hand guns still, and that all purpose gun in Fifth Element is a copy of the gun in Beverly Hills Cop III.

I prefer the Back to the Future II way. Technology has gone on the same trip it always has, having people want to buy it to have more of a convienience. The older and more developed an area gets, the more cheaper versions of a product there are. TV phones, Electronic Advertisement boards, Stuff such as hover vehicles and other more 'advanced' tech Id leave just for military use....a hover tank with a rail gun. I find that doing it in that way, where its tech like, but still the same setting makes it fun to play in. It shows where we are at in our time and how it can blossum, or mushroom into the future.
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 Message #281483 - This was a reply to message #281027
Mica
RE: Creating a Sci Fi Setting

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Thursday October 20, 2005 9:02 AM
A familiar setting allows player to play the game without constantly referring to the GM for information about society and technology.

This is very important for having fun and being able to contribute to the game rather than the session turning into 1001 questions.

For this reason basing the game in a pre-defined universe is always preferable.

Having the players and the GM work together to create the universe will obviously create the familiar setting. The alternative is to base it on a book that everyone has read or a film etc. Cliches therefore work quite well.

The only other alternative is copious hand-outs.
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 Message #281983 - This was a reply to message #281483
yami_kitsune
RE: Creating a Sci Fi Setting

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Friday November 11, 2005 2:46 PM
I agree with Aaron about mirroring our own world. Sci-fi and Fantasy are believable because they are based on reality. For example, there have to be Scientific Laws and theories. In Star Wars light speed is obviously based off of traveling at the speed of light. If you go any faster you are light particles and you can't go back. There has to be a limit to how advanced a civilization or sci-fi setting can go before they meet the boundry that is the laws of the universe.
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 Message #284234 - This was a reply to message #281483
TheShadowlord
RE: Creating a Sci Fi Setting

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Monday November 14, 2005 3:51 AM
QUOTED  Star Wars light speed is obviously based off of traveling at the speed of light. If you go any faster you are light particles and you can't go back



ummm, wrong.
Hyperspace is not travelling at c. The use of the term 'lightspeed' is simply as a border-term. Travelling at 'lightspeed' means you have passed beyond the lightspeed barrier, into a realm of existance that isn't subject to all the same laws as the normal universe.
They obviously travel much, much, much faster than light. Otherwise interstellar, not to mention galactic civilization, would be impossible.

And there have to be some physcial laws, of course. Otherwise we wouldn't be able to understand the sotry being portrayed.
What is important is that the laws they break are done so in a consistent manner, so you don't get the Star Trek situation of wildly varying power levels, abilities and whatnot.
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 Message #284481 - This was a reply to message #284234
gamergirl
RE: Creating a Sci Fi Setting
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Sunday December 11, 2005 12:46 AM
My group has started a campaign using the heros system. It worked well for us to all create different aspects of the sci fi world like the planets and what is on each planet. It has worked well because we all know our universe. We explore and interact with a lot of different planets and beings. It really is endless. It is a lot of work to get started, But hopefully you will play your universe for some time to come.
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 Message #286451 - This was a reply to message #281983

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