Friday, April 18, 2014

In a Spacesuit, Afloat On Water In a Current Towards Shore

Waking up at 3:32am when one has to be at work at 8, gives a person a bit of time to reflect on things. For me I got to write my take on a Sphere Romance (John Carter, et al) novel in my head for about 20 minutes, before my mind slipped into my rewrite of Spacers. I wrapped my mind around how I could make the game easier to compose.
Working in mental mode I took Ken St Andre's Starfarers and placed the tidbits more succinctly written for role-players, not strategists and map makers, onto a generated format that copies Tunnels & Trolls 5th Edition. Worked in the artwork that I have bought already, daydreamed about getting with the artists on finishing the pieces I still need. Rough sketched some maps (well graphics actually) to get to the under-employed cartographer that I know. Mentally, I cut and paste them onto the imaginary pages. And then the topics and segments that I've already written. But then I scrapped all of it, some 32 pages in. Then suddenly a couple rule ideas occur to me, that make the game play easier and the text crunchier-- If only I had thought of them before I wrote the first edition of Spacers, dammit. Hey, I wanted to play some sci-fi in a hurry back in the late 90s and the Naughts.

The combat is still TROTT, not T&T, but the Types of characters stick to the classic Warrior, Rogue, and Wizard concept. I have the Scrapper, the Spacer, and the Scientist, which anybody familiar with Spacers, the original system (Spacers TOS). I kind of freed myself from mental mumbo-jumbo involving the KISS principle, and moving away from Types and genre archetypes and went into rote list making. By 5:45 I am up, drinking tea and OJ,  and dressed and making notes while looking through my T&T 7.5 booklet with its paperclip book markers.

After the start of work, I kept my Kindle word processing program busy, continuing to make notes throughout the day. Technobabble suddenly has some legs to stand on. I am pretty proud of that, as Technobabble has been pretty important to me and my games over the years. It just hasn't been easily translatable to other folks experimenting with the game. Tinkering, Piloting, and assorted Psychic abilities are based on aptitudes not the Type of character one has. There are still Types, and they still have perks that differentiate themselves from the others, and there is no Traveler like encyclopedias of skill listings and explanations for the most mundane of things. Overall though, my six pages of notes will save about one hundred pages of padding.

This will of course leave room for my multiple examples of space-based adventure settings, that are more sci-fi than sphere fantasy, from the nearer future and spanning into fictitious millennia ahead. Damn, that's more maps and a lot of art yet.

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