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Old 05-20-2015, 08:06 PM   #1
Crzyraccoon
 
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Default TL11 and Species advantages

So I'm on my develop on a TL11 Space Oprea/Military I'm making playable alien species and I need to know, what archtypes or type of species will fit best in a TL11 setting, especally in combat?

The big, strong orc isn't going to be much useful when armor penetrating lasers fill the battlefield but a speedy raccoon will, or is that true?

I just don't want to create obscure unbalance and make every species playable.
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Old 05-20-2015, 08:47 PM   #2
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Default Re: TL11 and Species advantages

Strength is quite useful for carrying around gear and weapons if you don't have powered armor and exoskeletons to make biological muscle unnecessary.

That said, being big is in almost all respects bad. It makes you easier to hit, and doesn't come anywhere near letting you carry enough thicker armor to make up for it. Being small, on the other hand, is awesome.

DX is always good as long as you actually have biologicals engaging in direct combat. Which may be questionable at TL11, but you are probably assuming it.

Personal mobility advantages don't do much good, since they can be replaced or bettered by personal mobility hardware.

The benefits of IQ in a technology-dominated battlefield should be obvious. Will is also useful (if you're using Tactical Shooting combat psychology anyway), and by the book so is Perception, though I'd suggest that technical aids should be able to make that redundant too.

Interestingly, HT actually may be more useful than at lower levels. A lot of weapons are either piercing, and thus subject to the Body Hits rules from High Tech, or tight-beam and thus should be. Consequentially despite the high damage values, there's a considerable chance that you'll be shot (right through) but not actually knocked out or killed. High HT lets you stay in action briefly after taking that hit to improve your chances of making it back to somewhere with proper medical care, which can then have you back in action fast.
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Old 05-20-2015, 09:16 PM   #3
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Default Re: TL11 and Species advantages

Star Wars is Space Opera, yet has big strong primitives aka Wookies.
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Old 05-20-2015, 09:52 PM   #4
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Default Re: TL11 and Species advantages

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Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
Star Wars is Space Opera, yet has big strong primitives aka Wookies.
Star Wars can't be reasonably rendered as TL11, doesn't care about balancing races, and barely makes any pretense of having combat run on realistic rules.

That said, it's certainly the case that at the very space opera, not so much science fiction end of the scale big strong primitives are fairly common and often not just there to be chopped to bits by automatic weapons. However, for that sort of fiction you need some combination of cinematic rules switches and a tech base that looks shiny but doesn't work like any sort of remotely plausible ultratech.
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Old 05-20-2015, 10:31 PM   #5
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Default Re: TL11 and Species advantages

Space Opera is a sub-genre of Science Fiction.
And nothing perfectly fits Gurps tech levels.
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Old 05-20-2015, 10:47 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
Star Wars can't be reasonably rendered as TL11,
.
Sure it can. It has forcefields, blasters, anti=gravity, full AI that can be housed in a human-sized chassis.
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Old 05-20-2015, 11:20 PM   #7
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Sure it can. It has forcefields, blasters, anti=gravity, full AI that can be housed in a human-sized chassis.
Force fields are TL^, Star Wars blasters have nothing to do with what GURPS Ultratech calls blasters (and also don't perform like what GURPS calls plasma guns despite having corresponding technobabble), antigravity is TL^. Their AI is only allowed in droids and shows no evidence of acting like a digital mind in any substantive way, but that could support claiming a half-crippled TL10 in computation...
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Old 05-21-2015, 03:34 AM   #8
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Default Re: TL11 and Species advantages

The playable sci-fi "racial archetypes", from what I can boil things down to, are: Human In Funny Makeup, Reptilian, Insectoid, Android, Furry Animal, Big Strong Primitive, Proud Warrior, Greedy Opportunist, Super-Brain, and Ultimate Telepath.

Star Wars, Star Trek, and Babylon 5 all have Humans In Funny Makeup, and all three have the Proud Warrior (Wookiee, Klingon, Narn), Greedy Opportunist (Squib, Ferengi, Centauri), and Super-Brain (Bith, Vulcan, Minbari).

(Okay, the Centauri and Minbari don't fully fit those archetypes, but we can say the archetypes were played straight or even subverted there rather than just pigeon-holing the species into them.)

Go nuts. Combine these as you see fit :)
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Last edited by Phantasm; 05-21-2015 at 07:02 AM.
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Old 05-21-2015, 03:50 AM   #9
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Default Re: TL11 and Species advantages

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
Star Wars can't be reasonably rendered as TL11, doesn't care about balancing races, and barely makes any pretense of having combat run on realistic rules.

That said, it's certainly the case that at the very space opera, not so much science fiction end of the scale big strong primitives are fairly common and often not just there to be chopped to bits by automatic weapons. However, for that sort of fiction you need some combination of cinematic rules switches and a tech base that looks shiny but doesn't work like any sort of remotely plausible ultratech.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
Space Opera is a sub-genre of Science Fiction.
And nothing perfectly fits Gurps tech levels.
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Johnston2 View Post
Sure it can. It has forcefields, blasters, anti=gravity, full AI that can be housed in a human-sized chassis.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
Force fields are TL^, Star Wars blasters have nothing to do with what GURPS Ultratech calls blasters (and also don't perform like what GURPS calls plasma guns despite having corresponding technobabble), antigravity is TL^. Their AI is only allowed in droids and shows no evidence of acting like a digital mind in any substantive way, but that could support claiming a half-crippled TL10 in computation...
I see Star Wars as TL 11^ but (for the most part) lacking nanotechnology, following the retarded tech progression as listed in Ultra-Tech. Almost all of its superscience is TL11^, and there's enough regular TL10 tech that's been in place for thousands of years that it should receive the listed benefits of TL11 advances.

I don't understand why you say SW blasters don't act like UT blasters. On screen, we see the blasters penetrate armor (and thick tables at point-blank range) in what amounts to semi-automatic fire. (I agree that they are not plasma weapons.) The only difference is the pathetic ranges given for the games which somehow make it into the novels and Essential Guides, but those are the authors not understanding the limitations of video game mechanics, not "doesn't conform to UT blasters". As it is, I've made several SW blasters using the Pyramid laser and blaster design article - including a sniper blaster and a heavy gatling - that I plan to use the next time I run a GURPS SW game.

That they're not constantly reloading can be explained by having several Gun Fu options - most notably Infinite Ammo - in play as setting switches.

But let's not derail this conversation any more by discussing SW technology, 'k?
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Old 05-21-2015, 04:08 AM   #10
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Default Re: TL11 and Species advantages

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
Force fields are TL^, Star Wars blasters have nothing to do with what GURPS Ultratech calls blasters (and also don't perform like what GURPS calls plasma guns despite having corresponding technobabble), antigravity is TL^. Their AI is only allowed in droids and shows no evidence of acting like a digital mind in any substantive way, but that could support claiming a half-crippled TL10 in computation...
And yet if you use TL 11 as a base, Star Wars works pretty well. It won't give you exactly Star Wars, but just grabbing TL 11^ will work decently enough for psuedo-Star Wars.

But Ulzgoroth has a point about Star Wars that I think should be emphasized. There's really no such thing as "TL 11." A tech-level is a guide-line, a starting point, for world-building. Saying that it's TL 11 gives us all a vague idea of what you're trying to do, but your TL 11 will be different from my TL 11, because our campaigns will be different.

I'm building a TL 11 campaign that features some emergent super-science (Teleporters, conformal forcescreens, regeneration rays) and lots of retrotech/safetech (no cybernetics, no volitional AI, no nano-/micro-tech) and very limited weaponry choices, mostly to keep things focused and centered on spaceship action, rather than fussing endlessly over armouries for ground troops.

Based on the design choices I made, I've built and balanced some races around that, but the balance is not just around the tech choices, but what I intend to do with the setting (it's mostly about exploration, so most of the aliens are about fussing over odd social considerations and the occasional weird technology or negative space wedgie).

You'll want to do something similar: Don't just say "TL 11!" and slot all the TL 11 tech into your game. If you did, then an ST 20, SM +1, DR 20 alien is more expensive (point-wise) and less effective than a human in dreadnought armor wielding a semi-portable gravgun. If that's what you want, that's fine: If your premise is "Taking realistic TL 11 technology, what sort of aliens would be useful?" then go do that. Tinker around with what the best tech would be, what realities that creates, what fights will tend to play out like, and then build aliens around that.

On the other hand, if you have a specific vision in mind, then build towards that vision. If you want to have a game where the speedy raccoon alien and the giant bear alien and the human are all equally competitive, then build your technologies around that. That might create highly unrealistic scenarios, but that's not necessarily a bad thing: I would argue that 90% of your video-game- or movie-based inspirations will be highly unrealistic. Star Wars, Star Trek, Starcraft, Warhammer 40k, Guardians of the Galaxy, none of them are exacting explorations of the future of warfare. Arguably, most of them pick an era (or two) that they wish to emulate "only IN SPAAAACE!" and then wrap their fundamentals around that.

For example, in Starcraft, marines can shoot at the spaceships that are making orbital strikes at them. A good 10 marines are enough to take one of these ships down, and one of these ships is large enough to take down about 10 marines. And a single orbital blast might damage a major structure... but these structures are tough enough that while a direct nuclear strike might kill one, it'll only set one on fire if it's a few feet away. There are lots of ways to interpret this, but there's clearly something funny going on in there, and it's not really realistic so much as emulating a sort of 1960s-era combined arms of infantry, tank, close-air support and commandos in a sort of compacted battlefield. If you wanted to do the same, you'd want your final tech to look a lot like modern combat tech, only sufficiently better that people will nod their heads and accept that it's FROM THE FUTURE.

(This gets especially tricky when you want to emulate, say, medieval combat like Star Wars or Warhammer 40k arguably do, and it becomes hard to explain why armor that can stop a blaster can't stop a thrown rock, or why blasters have a slower RoF and worse accuracy than modern combat rifles, but if your players don't look too close, you'll be okay)
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