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Old 09-20-2017, 09:10 AM   #71
ericthered
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Default Re: Spitballing a Space Opera Boxed Set

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
"Star Marshals". Working for the "United Planets" or some such body, in a thinly-colonised galaxy, providing law enforcement, disaster relief, and so on.
I'm sorry, I'm not picking up your entire point from context. Are you trying to replace the definition, providing a counter example, or supporting the statement?
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Old 09-20-2017, 09:54 AM   #72
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Default Re: Spitballing a Space Opera Boxed Set

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You over simplify. Monster Hunters is not a simple combat slog. Its "Track down hidden monsters and kill hidden monsters." It also has a few forays into breaking curses and curing plagues.
Yes, I don't play Monster Hunters, so I could not express its zeitgeist. Neither do I play post-apocalyptic games.

The point is you can't come up with three core activities for a box set of the kind we're considering. If you want all of them to play a part, you have to figure out the overarching statement that puts them all together.

This is an old problem. I am reminded of Star Frontiers. In that game, which some elements at TSR wanted very much to turn into "Dungeons and Dragons in space," it's very unclear from the rules just what exactly you're supposed to be doing. I've pieced together, from hints in the rules and interviews with the designers, that the original idea was that the PCs were troubleshooters for hire, and that their adventures fighting criminals and Sathar spies would feature ultra-tech environments like alien cities. Getting paid was the equivalent of finding treasure. Then Tom Moldvay came along and wrote the in-box adventure that set the tone for the entire series: explorers crash-landing on a desert planet. Clearly, TSR didn't know what the zeitgeist of SF was supposed to be.

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Old 09-20-2017, 10:34 AM   #73
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Default Re: Spitballing a Space Opera Boxed Set

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What's The Orville?
The Orville is a new TV series that premiered on Fox a couple weeks ago. Stars and produced by Seth MacFarlane; it is a bit campy and tongue-in-cheek but not out-and-out comedy, and a bit of an homage to Star Trek - especially Next Generation era. Kind of like the movie Galaxy Quest. While it probably fits within the umbrella of "Space Opera" it is not what I would call a prime example of the genre nor something I think would work for a core box set to show off GURPS as a Space Opera RPG.
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Old 09-20-2017, 10:35 AM   #74
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Default Re: Spitballing a Space Opera Boxed Set

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Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
I'm sorry, I'm not picking up your entire point from context. Are you trying to replace the definition, providing a counter example, or supporting the statement?
Sorry, I was providing an example of a game framework that fitted your definition. I'm pretty sure that some kind of framework would be necessary for any Space Opera boxed set, simply to allow appropriate equipment, templates pre-generated characters and an adventure to be included.
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Old 09-20-2017, 11:16 AM   #75
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Default Re: Spitballing a Space Opera Boxed Set

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So it shouldn't support new space opera?
I'll admit, I haven't read much space opera stories that have been published in the past few years, and the movies/TV that I've watched that I'd say fall into the genre have largely been based on older franchises.

Can you give me an example of recent settings that fall into space opera where the protagonists are significantly technologically enhanced?


As for the discussion of the core activity of the boxed set, I'd argue that you can describe it as "Action adventures in space, with human concerns and motivations". It's not as focused a mission statement as Dungeon Fantasy, it's true, but I'd say it's about as focused as, say, the Action line. I don't think the hypothetical Space Opera boxed set should be as focused as the DF RPG anyway - Dungeon Fantasy is the single most popular sub-genre in the gaming industry, so it can afford to be more focused than other genres can be, I think.

That said, I do think that "Star Patrol" framework is a decent idea to put center-stage in the boxed set. I think it straddles the three sub-genres I've been talking about pretty well. It's a military organization, so there's your military sci-fi. It involves substantial exploring of new worlds and space anomalies, so there's your space exploration. And if the Patrol operates mostly on the fringes of Human Space/The Federation/The Galactic Empire, on a shoestring budget, and has to go into enemy territory on covert missions frequently, that gets you scoundrels in space. There should be discussion of other campaign frames, I think, but making Star Patrol be the default campaign frame makes sense.
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Old 09-20-2017, 11:27 AM   #76
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Default Re: Spitballing a Space Opera Boxed Set

Three TV shows that spring to mind:
The Expanse - spaceships, guns, power armour, cybernetics
Dark Matter - spaceships, guns, androids, synthetic nanite enhanced humans, cybernetics
Killjoys - spaceships, guns, cybernetics, genetic enhancement

Common themes - spaceships and guns.

Modern space opera should probably include augmentation by mechanical and biological modification.
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Old 09-20-2017, 11:30 AM   #77
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Default Re: Spitballing a Space Opera Boxed Set

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Can you give me an example of recent settings that fall into space opera where the protagonists are significantly technologically enhanced?
The citizens of the Culture are generally enhanced, or are AIs.
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Old 09-20-2017, 01:11 PM   #78
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Default Re: Spitballing a Space Opera Boxed Set

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The citizens of the Culture are generally enhanced, or are AIs.
Fair enough. I haven't read the Culture novels (well, except for the first chapter of a couple I started and bounced off of), but I think from general cultural osmosis I have a picture of what they involve. It seems to me that they still involve humans (or at least people we can relate to, even if they aren't biologically human) having adventures, and problems are addressed by human capability, not merely by having better technology. And as I understand it, while its possible to modify humans with Culture tech, most characters don't radically do so - Transhuman Space-style cybershells and radical biological engineering aren't the norm. Is that correct?

I guess I should correct my earlier statement anyway - I don't so much mean that "technology can't improve the individual human" as "Technology shouldn't overshadow the individual human". That is, when a problem is solved, it should feel like it mattered that the character who solved it was there, and not that anyone with access to the same tools could have done as well. Similarly, you can have things like strong AI, as long as they either perform about as well as humans do, or are limited by circumstances or design so they can't solve all humans' problems (which I understand is sort of the situation with the Minds from the Culture - they're vastly powerful, but not so omnipotent that they can just make human effort unnecessary - they can do stuff from light-years away, but require the human on the spot to ask them to do that, usually. Again, correct me if I'm wrong.).
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Old 09-20-2017, 01:43 PM   #79
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Default Re: Spitballing a Space Opera Boxed Set

Essentially correct, but most Culture biological sapients have drug-glands and appear to be free from disease (which implies gene-fixing and enhanced immune systems) and nearly biologically immortal.

Special Circumstances tends to have to do things that the Minds could do, but can't be seen doing.
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Old 09-20-2017, 03:24 PM   #80
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Default Re: Spitballing a Space Opera Boxed Set

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Originally Posted by Kelly Pedersen View Post
Can you give me an example of recent settings that fall into space opera where the protagonists are significantly technologically enhanced?
They are not the most recent books, but the Revelation Space series features a character who has melded with a spaceship, a hyperpig, an artificial intelligence, and a cybernetically enhanced human, to name just a few.
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