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Old 10-31-2015, 09:27 PM   #11
starslayer
 
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Default Re: Setting building help with intrigue and sci-fi

What type of psionics are you thinking of.

Mind control/cyber control would be my thought, for a TL10 world its one of the few expressions that would still 'do anything' (In that, if people can wear TL10 armor, and use TL10 weapons, a psi who can crush someone with TK is really only better that an armed and armored person in that they cannot be disarmed).

This also feeds into the shadow world, mind control is scary, to have the final bastion of privacy being stripped away (IE the thoughts inside your own head) would be a very scary concept.

As well, mind/cyber control is not obvious and, while an order of magnitude more effective then memetics and remote hacking, remains in the realm of 'they are just that good'- so psi's can be superstars without making their power obvious; people will just believe that they are epically good hackers/social engineers and situations where there is NO way to do that with technology will be very rare.

So as for what the PCs do in this world- make them psis, and they do work for one of the shadowy organizations that knows about, shepherds, and cleans up after psis (After all the secret has been kept this long, someone is doing some work to keep it that way).

For a bit of an extra 'oomph' the psis are the result of genetic engineering with genetic information from a long extinct alien race, and so far no one knows what wiped them out.
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Old 10-31-2015, 09:29 PM   #12
Peter Knutsen
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Default Re: Setting building help with intrigue and sci-fi

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Originally Posted by starslayer View Post
What type of psionics are you thinking of.
Visible psionics like telekinesis or pyrokinesis? Versus a setting that only has invisible non-blatant ones like telepathy and mind control and ESP?
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Old 10-31-2015, 09:44 PM   #13
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Default Re: Setting building help with intrigue and sci-fi

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What kind of world do you want?

If you want a realistically extrapolated TL 10 setting, then you're going to get something like Transhuman Space, something that is very alien and unfamiliar to your players (and to yourself) due to having a very high delta-W.
And yet most/all long term predictions of technology trends are going to be wrong on a timescale of more than a few years.

Thus any extrapolated technolgy setting will feel.. well... extrapolated.. to many people who think too deeply.. :)

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Or you can scrap realistic extrapolation and go for something much more familiar, much more recognizable, much lower delta-W, something more like typical written space opera settings (or movie settings), such as the Traveller RPG, Poul Andersen's Flandry/Falkayn/Van Rijn novels and novellas.
Well, traveller actually feels a lot retrotech in many things due to being based on tech predictions from so long ago.

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GURPS Space is highly recommended.
I would echo this with the caveat that if you do not do not want to have any interstellar travel and very little interplanetary travel this will certainly be slightly less useful as most of it focuses on other places and such.

It is afterall a fully plausible thing to have a TL 10 campaign with really no space travel.

In the range of: yeah country X sent a mars mission soon 50 years ago, but we do not really have that technology to do it anymore. (Sound familiar?)
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Old 10-31-2015, 10:08 PM   #14
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Default Re: Setting building help with intrigue and sci-fi

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With optimism, fully self-sufficient small space habitats (mobile or not) can be achieved at TL9. More reasonably at TL10. I think it might be just barely defensible to postpone full self-sufficiency to TL11, though, and that is roughly the case in my space opera setting.
The problem is the number of nines after decimal dot and before the first non-nine digit the on the self sufficiency %.

Basically in today's economically hyper-interdependent world there are a lot of rare things that are only produced in few places either because that is cheaper(normal reason), because the construction facilities are stupendously expensive or because the actual production contains things like trade secrets.

Our daily lives today are filled with things that are manufactured that way and where even the manufacturing requires other things manufactured that way and so on.

For increasing self sufficiency you need to be able to do more and more of those locally.

That increases both the complexity of what different types of things you need to be able to manufacture, and thus both the machinery and the library of things to manufacture.

Today the processes and machinery to manufacture say a drug compared to say a computer chip are very different. This is the machinery aspect.

Also the leading companies in different businesses want to keep their manufacturing processes secret so as to not give competitors an edge to catch up. So even if you had the machinery capable of building the newest Inter processors you would not know how to program them to do that. That is the library aspect.

You would have to postulate a very different society if small manufacturing is competitive with large and all manufacturing technology is easily available.
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Old 10-31-2015, 10:35 PM   #15
Arith Winterfell
 
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Default Re: Setting building help with intrigue and sci-fi

Just to clarify, when I refer to Victorian steampunk in flavor, I'm generally talking about a history where things went from TL 5 and then progressed in a different sort of direction, not necessarily all the way to TL 10. Really maybe not even all the way to effective TL 8, though some super science would be in there too, mostly following a divergent tech based around a different set of physics.

I'm not really focusing so much on space travel in this case (though I do own GURPS Space 4e, as well as Classic GURPS Steampunk, GURPS Bio-tech 4e, and a number of GURPS 4e books about magic/fantasy/psionics).

When I mentioned psionics I was mostly talking about mind manipulation/mind control, mind reading, and some telekinesis. But generally if I lean toward magic, I'd want to make it subtle and hidden (so no fireballs, but very possibly manipulation of chance, transmutation of substances, and mind control/manipulation/reading powers).
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Old 10-31-2015, 11:35 PM   #16
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Default Re: Setting building help with intrigue and sci-fi

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When I mentioned psionics I was mostly talking about mind manipulation/mind control, mind reading, and some telekinesis. But generally if I lean toward magic, I'd want to make it subtle and hidden (so no fireballs, but very possibly manipulation of chance, transmutation of substances, and mind control/manipulation/reading powers).
For subtle magic none of the GURPS ready systems works as such directly.

Using a powers based system with very limited allowed things and harsh requirements for spell casting, particularly long preparation/casting times will force the casters to work in secret. I have been working on a simplified such a system for a while.

An excerpt from the intro in the current version
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Originally Posted by Creating Historical Spells With Powers
Many of the magic systems in historical traditions and literature have described spells as being very difficult to cast and yet very subtle in effect. In fact often the effect is so subtle that you cannot even know if it actually happened. That is in high contrast to typical high fantasy spells and magic effects that create flashy instant effects.
And so on..

Alternatively Thaumatology has an expansion to the ritual magic based casting. Such casting combined with heavily pruned spell lists might work too.

Note that the psionic system is more subtle and suitable for hidden powers thing by virtue of it's design. so using it you would likely need to prune less than using any of the published magic systems, but still some.
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Old 11-01-2015, 02:22 AM   #17
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Default Re: Setting building help with intrigue and sci-fi

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Originally Posted by Arith Winterfell View Post
JBut generally if I lean toward magic, I'd want to make it subtle and hidden (so no fireballs, but very possibly manipulation of chance, transmutation of substances, and mind control/manipulation/reading powers).
Thaumatology's Path/Book system is capable of appearing as the results of coincidences and accidents. You may have to edit it down a little, but the GURPS Voodoo system it was based on had that as a requirement.
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Old 11-01-2015, 08:55 AM   #18
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Default Re: Setting building help with intrigue and sci-fi

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For subtle magic none of the GURPS ready systems works as such directly.
I disagree, RPM RAW can handle this if using the monster hunters definition of a greater effect ('is this obviously magic to an outside observer')
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Old 11-01-2015, 10:25 PM   #19
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Default Re: Setting building help with intrigue and sci-fi

Don't let people turn you off Sci-fi (or any setting) just by making you think you need to have all the answers to all the setting questions, because you don't. And I find I am unable to even create campaigns this way. Too overwhelming and seems to block my natural creative process.
Instead of worrying about all the high level setting/campaign details first, why not just dream up a few "scenes" that you think would be cool to play out. You must have something in mind or you wouldn't have wanted to play a Sci-fi Intrigue based game in the first place. I would start with scene description like:
While being marched across a bridged chasm inside a large ship by the patrol some sort of mutiny breaks out; a hand full of Imperial elites start attacking star patrol officers. The PCs are caught in the cross-fire/brawl on treacherous footing while artificial gravity starts to fail.

So there's something I might like to play out with my PCs. I'd go from there fleshing out why they are there in the first place (maybe this is the opening scene and they're all being held captive on a patrol ship for various crimes or false accusations etc.). The mutiny is actually an inside job for a competing faction, who are after something.... maybe one of the PCs. The double cross will try to be covered up somehow, etc.

Then take the PCs into account. I have a player who wants to be a martial artist. Fine, maybe the location of the fight is near sensitive ship systems so larger weapons are holstered and a close-quarters brawl/melee/pistol fight breaks out giving the martial artist equal chances. I have another player wanting to play a techie. He can attempt fix the gravity-generator issue etc.

There, now I've got a scene (maybe an opening scene) that gets the game rolling and will start answering setting questions simply by being talored to PC specific fun factor.
And the beauty of sci-fi is you can make use off a very wide range of tech and even force the PCs into using old tech if necessary. I am just building a TL10 space opera game myself and have decided I don't want to bother knowing what factions are where or even how space travel works since they stated they pictured themselves starting out as bounty hunters on a backwater planet on the fringe of some galaxy. Once they finalize their PCs I will tailor the setting to them. If for some reason none of them took Energy-Rifle skill I will probably stick them in a poor planet where these things are rare. Heck maybe they are using slug throwers and knives and driving around old diesel powered rovers.
Start small, don't plan big scale if you don't have to, and when you do let the character sheets answer the questions as much as possible (unless you have a more fun idea). After all, a character takes certain skills because he thinks it would be fun to do that kind of thing. This all helps me avoid burn out and creating awesome setting details no one ever discovers. Also builds in fun-factor for players.
If this style sounds like it might work for you PM me for more details (I'm currently trying to document the process to make it an easy step-by-step process for myself and can share with you for "testing" purposes).
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Old 11-03-2015, 07:53 PM   #20
jason taylor
 
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Default Re: Setting building help with intrigue and sci-fi

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Originally Posted by Arith Winterfell View Post
Iím working on a sci-fi setting but find myself having trouble constructing a clear idea of the setting in my mind. I generally have a sense of it being Tech Level 10 or maybe late TL 9 sci-fi. The central element I want to go after is a setting with various factions who are all engaged in intrigue centered on various individuals who have natural psionic powers. Part of my inspiration for this is things like Vampire: The Masquerade/Vampire: The Requiem in the sense that it focuses on intrigue among ďmore than average humanĒ characters who live in the shadows of secrecy influencing the mundane peoples world in secret.

Part of my problem I think is that Iím having trouble visualizing the feel of a TL 10 world and what an average personís life would be like.

Secondly Iím trying to figure out how to construct the sense of intrigue and plotting among various factions as I largely have my experience with RPGs coming from things like D&D and havenít really played in games like VtM/VtR in style, but am intrigued by the ideas but feel unsure how to approach designing my campaign in sci-fi and GURPS.

[Added Note]

Later in the post, I shift away from sci-fi, toward Victorian steampunk style setting with other elements remaining the same largely.
One thing you might try is to set it after a Long Night. That way any schizo-tech can be justified. Setting it on a fringe world can work similarly.
It doesn't have to be all in a TL that you can't imagine, only the stuff that helps the plot.
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