[Planet of the Week] (Gritty Sci-Fi Space game) Now with very* updated Basic Moves

edited April 2017 in Game Design Help

ANNOUNCING PLANET OF THE WEEK

I am excited to introduce my Space Adventure Game that I have been tinkering with for months and months.
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What its not, it is not a sexy, new, original, or an innovative leap forward in gaming.

It is a dirty and effective conversion of Monster of the week and Apocalypse world into a general science fiction space adventure game!

I have been wanting to run a game like this for years! But I never found a system I liked. In part because all of the one's I found seemed to thrive on complexity (something about the sci-fi fans maybe?) So what I have made here keeps the thematic, fun, theatre-of-the-mind aspects of Monster of the Week, but IN SPACE!

-Playbooks work the same, single page, little to no cross referencing. (Now there just sci-fi)
-Very few new rules. (Just sci-fi-ified)
-System is generalized, meant to stretch to fit many different types of sci-fi stories

But what is it then?
Play as your favorite gritty space traveling archetype, trying to make your way through a harsh universe. Inspiration includes the dirty feel of Alien and Firefly, the adventure of Farscape and Stargate SG1, and a little of the exploration instartrek. More gritty than space opera-y.

BREAKDOWN

Here are some of the changes and or concepts I've introduced in this game

General theme
-Futuristic, but familar, not far-fetched
-Gritty, or at the very least like the universe is a hard to live in place
-Resources are more available in civilized places but so is bureaucracy and rule of law
-Space travel sucks (for the characters),
-loooooooong flight times, extended cold-sleep, families and friends dead
-Crappy backwards planets
(I said all that but I still made the system flexible enough that you can disregard notes on theme)

STATS
-Weird changed to WILL
-No stat lines, just pick one each

Basic Moves
-Re-skinned and renamed (like every hack)
-Will Moves added
-keep acting when dying
-Resist character flaws/environmental harm

New Classes:
-Some of the same material in new configurations
-Brand new material
-Each class has some version of a flaw built in
-Thematic science fiction/modern archetypes from films/tv/video games

New history System
-A player picks a role, leader, follower, expert, paramour..etc
-Then a player picks two other players, one that likes that role, another that hates it

New fatigue system (replaces luck)
-A replenishable pool of points available to all characters
-Represents exhaustion/stamina and environmental harm/shock
-Can be used to modify dice rolls
-As fatigue is spent, character flaws come into play
-Acting out character flaws replenish some fatigue

Assets
-Stuff has been pulled out of most of the classes and put on a separate sheet
-This includes rooms, workshops, teams (gangs), bases (hard holdings)
-Players can choose assets instead in place of a new move when they level up

Gear
-Players pick a kit and an extra or two kits
-A kit has whatever would make sense for that category
-Kits suggestions listed under gear reference, but otherwise players can establish on the go

Station moves
-My attempt to hack a catch all for beginning session moves and Space ship battle stations
-Can also be used to encourage players to help worldbuild

So this hack/conversion/re-skin needs too be looked over as I move into more to actual play. I promise the move descriptions are fun to read at least. Also I guess I'm wondering if anyone else wanted something like this.

Here are the Files again, thoughts on changes, mechanics or general comments welcome.

***Updated basic moves Sheet***

Comments

  • OK, here's my take, after skimming your post and the linked files:

    First of all, I love the design of the files. It's clean, it's easy to parse, it's concise, and it just plain looks good. Seriously, noisy or messy-looking documentation is a serious obstacle to my interest in investigating a system.

    The weapons seem to be identical to those in AW. That strikes me as a bit odd in a spacefaring setting, but maybe it's a conscious design choice.

    The distinctions between some moves, and the precise natures of some moves, might come across as unclear. I'm thinking specifically of Defend (nomenclature), Investigate/Perceive (which to use), Persist/Resist (similar nomenclature), and Use Tech/Technobabble (which to use). Personally, I would rename Defend to Protect, dispense with Investigate altogether, rename either Persist or Resist to something more distinct, and either combine Use Tech and Technobabble into a single move, or otherwise rename and recolor Technobabble to make it more obviously distinct from Use Tech.

    The condensed GM reference looks like a great cheat sheet for semi-experienced PbtA MCs.

    I can see the utility of the roles system for getting players on the same team in the first place, and I like that it's not the FATE phase trio. I like when anything isn't the FATE phase trio. So the roles system is easily comprehensible, but it also seems immutable, and in my experience some of the most interesting roleplaying moments come from (or result in) changes in relationships between PCs.

    The fatigue mechanic seems mildly confused – you say it represents exhaustion/stamina and environmental harm/shock, which leads to giving in to character flaws, which makes sense, but then giving in to those flaws replenishes fatigue? This strikes me as an odd mixture of fiction and metafiction – fate points are similar, except they're completely metafictional, so there's no concern about whether they make sense based on fictional positioning.

    Overall, apart from the moves, I think it looks relatively easy to pick up and play, and it's built on some tested-and-true core mechanics. Note that I did not look at the character classes in any detail – I'm sure those were fun to write and that they'll be fun to peruse as a prospective player, but as an innocent bystander I usually find those sorts of things tedious to read.
  • edited July 2016
    Hey there! Thanks for the read!
    OK, here's my take, after skimming your post and the linked files:

    First of all, I love the design of the files. It's clean, it's easy to parse, it's concise, and it just plain looks good. Seriously, noisy or messy-looking documentation is a serious obstacle to my interest in investigating a system.
    Thanks, I obsessed over it a lot, but my graphic artist GF still says she can make it better.

    The weapons seem to be identical to those in AW. That strikes me as a bit odd in a spacefaring setting, but maybe it's a conscious design choice.
    Yes and no, I was going for familiar vs fantastical (far future), I had planned to generalize the weapons, but I got somewhat stalled. On the Gear page it has a little bit about "calling them rayguns, if thats what you want."

    The distinctions between some moves, and the precise natures of some moves, might come across as unclear. I'm thinking specifically of Defend (nomenclature), Investigate/Perceive (which to use), Persist/Resist (similar nomenclature), and Use Tech/Technobabble (which to use). Personally, I would rename Defend to Protect, dispense with Investigate altogether, rename either Persist or Resist to something more distinct, and either combine Use Tech and Technobabble into a single move, or otherwise rename and recolor Technobabble to make it more obviously distinct from Use Tech.
    This is a fair complaint, I was worried about just such confusions. Not to mention another user mentioned that I could possibly get rid of defend entirely, which I think I might. My design decisions in these names was just meant to simplify, I'm not sure that is the case,

    As for investigate, I think I need to better differentiate it from the perceive move. Perceive is meant to be in the moment what jumps out to you, while investigate is an action over time, Its supposed to be both an opportunity for worldbuilding as well as represent a devoted effort somewhat off screen effort.

    Use tech (never could I ever think of a better name) and technobable are just like Monster of the week, Technobable is simply a multistep extension of use tech. But l like with your other suggestions I think it would be good to look them over with fresh eyes.

    The condensed GM reference looks like a great cheat sheet for semi-experienced PbtA MCs.

    I can see the utility of the roles system for getting players on the same team in the first place, and I like that it's not the FATE phase trio. I like when anything isn't the FATE phase trio. So the roles system is easily comprehensible, but it also seems immutable, and in my experience some of the most interesting roleplaying moments come from (or result in) changes in relationships between PCs.
    Hmmm, I will look it over and give it some thought. I think there could be something I could add in regards to ongoing relationships. Great point.

    The fatigue mechanic seems mildly confused – you say it represents exhaustion/stamina and environmental harm/shock, which leads to giving in to character flaws, which makes sense, but then giving in to those flaws replenishes fatigue? This strikes me as an odd mixture of fiction and metafiction – fate points are similar, except they're completely metafictional, so there's no concern about whether they make sense based on fictional positioning.
    It was partially inspired but D&D 5e's inspiration system (ha!). But also just house rule stuff where players get rewarded by role playing character traits. It definitely needs playtesting.

    Overall, apart from the moves, I think it looks relatively easy to pick up and play, and it's built on some tested-and-true core mechanics. Note that I did not look at the character classes in any detail – I'm sure those were fun to write and that they'll be fun to peruse as a prospective player, but as an innocent bystander I usually find those sorts of things tedious to read.
    That's fair, thanks for your thoughts!

  • I think "ambiguous moves" is the most obvious pitfall for any PbtA game, since the outcome can be very different depending on which move you think applies. Contrast this with 5e skill checks – if you're not sure whether an action should be modeled as Acrobatics versus Athletics, or Investigation versus Perception, it hardly matters which one you choose, since the stakes are the same in either case. "I'll let you roll either" is something I commonly hear in 5e and Pathfinder games.

    With regard to fatigue, fate points, and inspiration, I should disclaim that I'm personally suspicious of these and practically any other system element that rewards role-playing in terms of game mechanics. But the fact that I just named three popular systems that use such mechanics probably indicates that plenty of people out there would disagree with me ;)
  • I am, as you might imagine a fan of them :) That being said, I was attempting to create an elegant way to have it AND do other stuff, hence the tired/flaw mechanic. And any set of players who picked up the game could easily use it without the role-play bonus
  • edited September 2016
    Hi. Haven't had a chance to try this out yet, but it looks fun.

    I did notice something that jarred a bit. The names of your stats are grammatically different.

    "Cool", "Sharp", and "Tough are adjectives that describe the PC. You wouldn't say, "The Captain has sharp."

    But "Charm" and "Will" are nouns that refer to the qualities themselves. "The Captian has charm." make sense.

    I won't say one way is better than the other, but consistency is good.
  • Hi. Haven't had a chance to try this out yet, but it looks fun.

    I did notice something that jarred a bit. The names of your stats are grammatically different.

    "Cool", "Sharp", and "Tough are adjectives that describe the PC. You wouldn't say, "The Captain has sharp."

    But "Charm" and "Will" are nouns that refer to the qualities themselves. "The Captian has charm." make sense.

    I won't say one way is better than the other, but consistency is good.
    Yeah I see what you mean. After looking through many many other hacks that almost every single one had made up their own terms and I just didn't have any desire to add to the complexity.

    We shall see if they change in future updates, but I appreciate your feedback.
  • I should probably add this link, http://planetoftheweekrpg.launchrock.com/

    I've been using this to collect interested people on an contact list. I will move this to another site eventually.
  • I think this looks promising! I don't have anything new to add, but I will echo two comments from above:

    This has more basic moves than it needs. It's a little overwhelming.

    I love Monster of the Week, but I hate that it has one stat as a noun and the rest as adjectives. Please do not repeat its sin. If you like Charm and Will so much that you'd rather not convert them to adjectives (e.g., Smooth and Bold), consider changing the other stats to nouns too (e.g., Grit, Wits, Discipline, etc.).

    Looking forward to reading more as you update!
  • I think this looks promising! I don't have anything new to add, but I will echo two comments from above:

    This has more basic moves than it needs. It's a little overwhelming.

    I love Monster of the Week, but I hate that it has one stat as a noun and the rest as adjectives. Please do not repeat its sin. If you like Charm and Will so much that you'd rather not convert them to adjectives (e.g., Smooth and Bold), consider changing the other stats to nouns too (e.g., Grit, Wits, Discipline, etc.).

    Looking forward to reading more as you update!
    Thank you! I do plan to fix the noun problem, AND the too many basic moves. My new version will split up the sharp stats and add weird back in. Will will be dropped lol. It just doesn't fit honestly.

    Thank you for your interest and I hope to post the new version, incorporating all the feedback soon!
  • edited April 2017
    I've been quiet for some time, but I'm back and have been working hard on incorporating your feedback and the feedback from playtesting. I still have a lot to go but here is the new basic moves sheet! Your thoughts and critiques welcome.

    UPDATED BASIC MOVES
    Summary:
    -Moved to 6 stats. Alert, Bold, Calm, Sly, Smart, Weird.
    -Significantly cut down on moves, 6ish basic, and 4ish peripheral (you'll see what I mean by ish)
    -Re-named moves, more traditional, less confusing
    -Abolished Use tech, replaced it with something way shorter/simpler
    -Trimmed down battle, generalized choices
    -Re-worked the perceive stuff, more general.
    -Re-worked Stamina (also renamed fatigue to stamina)
    -A lot cleaner, and more straightforward.
    More design and formatting is still to come, and I'm sure I missed some typos/spelling errors. Just let me know if you see them. But all in all I'm happy with the way things have changed.

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