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Old 09-16-2008, 09:08 AM   #1
vicky_molokh
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Default [Spaceships] GURPS EVE, and related ideas . . .

Greetings, all!

The first time I stumbled upon this idea, I thought it almost ridiculous, but another GM pointed out that it can be done with a certain level of open-mindedness and changed concepts. Now, I'm not planning to do it anytime soon (I've got a totally different campaign to prepare!), but:

Has anyone considered a campaign where each PC has his/her/its own spaceship, and spaceships are so highly automated that they only need one pilot/captain? The base assumptions are that such captains are millionaires, and their jobs are highly profitable and highly demanding (so much that most pilots are essentially parahumans). Of course, most physical disadvantages will be irrelevant, and some traits will be essential.

Furthermore, the ability to change ships depending on mission/job demands adds variety to the game.

Thanks in advance to anybody willing to discuss the topic!
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Old 09-16-2008, 04:03 PM   #2
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Default Re: [Spaceships] GURPS EVE, and related ideas . . .

Transhuman Space has AI controlled ships and you can build large totally automated ships with Spaceships. So a ship with one crew member is perfectly acceptable. Indeed the crew member needs no capablity but to think and give orders.

Spaceships doesn't really model this for small ships, but just remove all but one bridge station and don't bother with Engineering and you have a legal craft. In a setting with near sapient AIs then the AIs can automate most of the crew positions with the human providing the orchestration.

The original Elite computer space game was single player fighter/trader ships.

Not sure how party play would work. Unless you were effectively a fighter squadron or like mecha? Ships are usually means to an end rather than an end in themselves.
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Old 09-16-2008, 08:24 PM   #3
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Default Re: [Spaceships] GURPS EVE, and related ideas . . .

Point of information - those who play Eve play the pod-pilots who command their ships cybernetically, but the ships, themselves, have crews. Only shuttles are single-person. Even interceptors are frigates, with small crews.

As for single-man ships, I have to ask about the goal of the campaign. If you exist to fly around and fight Berzerkers (Von Neumann killing machines), or something, that might be okay. What makes Eve fun is the interaction with the other *players*, whether that's cooperative or adversarial, and the game is designed to require group play to succeed in the larger sense.

So, why would the campaign require the existence of a small squadron of spacecraft, each commanded by a single pilot?
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Old 09-16-2008, 11:00 PM   #4
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Default Re: [Spaceships] GURPS EVE, and related ideas . . .

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Originally Posted by tshiggins
Point of information - those who play Eve play the pod-pilots who command their ships cybernetically, but the ships, themselves, have crews. Only shuttles are single-person. Even interceptors are frigates, with small crews.

As for single-man ships, I have to ask about the goal of the campaign. If you exist to fly around and fight Berzerkers (Von Neumann killing machines), or something, that might be okay. What makes Eve fun is the interaction with the other *players*, whether that's cooperative or adversarial, and the game is designed to require group play to succeed in the larger sense.

So, why would the campaign require the existence of a small squadron of spacecraft, each commanded by a single pilot?
1. I remember a piece of fluff that told how the new pod-tech allowed reducing the crew to one, because that one pilot could see from the ship's 'eyes', feel how engines work etc.

2. It's just a weird idea. IMO, it's not very different from an infomorph campaign where infomorphs jump between various 'shells (ship or humanoid or whatever).
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Old 05-21-2009, 10:37 AM   #5
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Default Re: [Spaceships] GURPS EVE, and related ideas . . .

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So, why would the campaign require the existence of a small squadron of spacecraft, each commanded by a single pilot?
Real reason precedent:
I mentioned that my next campaign (once COC either dies off or is finished) will be a space opera of sorts. Two players immediately started figuring how to build pilots with their personal ships. The third seemed half-ready to jump the bandwagon.
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Old 05-21-2009, 12:06 PM   #6
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Default Re: [Spaceships] GURPS EVE, and related ideas . . .

Wow, that was a long delay between responses. :)

As for characters with individual ships, I suppose that could work out. It certainly works okay in Eve. It makes an RPG campaign even more about ships and combat than character interaction, which is OK, I suppose.

While you can create fully-automated ships for your campaign (or anything else you like, for that matter; it's your campaign), in Eve that's not how it works. One piece of fiction in Eve's magazine, Eon, told how crewmen thought they had great jobs, because most of the time they got paid a lot of money to do fairly routine work.

Moreover, when the fecal matter hit the whirling blades, they didn't hesitate to bail out in an escape pod, as soon as the main defenses dropped. They didn't even wait for the secondary defenses to kick in. As soon as the combat started to go against their ships, the crewmen bailed. Once the ship blew up, the insurance company sent death benefits to their families, and the crewmen signed for the next trip -- sometimes even on a ship piloted by the same person.

Rinse and repeat.

That's because the crewmen don't matter. Not in the same way the pod-pilot does. To the cybernetically-enhanced transhuman floating in the tank, the crewmen have no more meaning than any other of the ship's replaceable parts. He doesn't know them, he doesn't care to know them, and his only concern regarding them is that, when he sends commands through his mindlinks, they efficiently carry out their tasks. They're just slots that need to be filled and, as long as the slots get filled, that's all he cares about.

Eve doesn't concern itself overly much with issues of morality. It is an exercise in naked self-interest, in which cooperation is good because it increases the probability of positive outcomes. Alliances can and do shift, frequently, and today's friends are tomorrow's targets.

Some groups do engage in ethical behavior (my group is one such), but that has as much to do with annoyance at griefers as much as a desire to make New Genesis space a better place for everybody.

Eve works well as a computer game, in which nobody has to care (particularly) about anybody else who plays. However, as the basis of a table-top RPG setup, it would have some issues, I think.
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Old 05-21-2009, 12:16 PM   #7
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Default Re: [Spaceships] GURPS EVE, and related ideas . . .

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Originally Posted by tshiggins View Post
Wow, that was a long delay between responses. :)

As for characters with individual ships, I suppose that could work out. It certainly works okay in Eve. It makes an RPG campaign even more about ships and combat that character interaction, which is OK, I suppose.
I'm not so sure. A large portion of Eve is about diplomacy, social climbing, economics etc. I think even MMORPH giants such as WoW are no match to it in terms of noncombat complexity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tshiggins View Post
While you can create fully-automated ships for your campaign (or anything else you like, for that matter; it's your campaign), in Eve that's not how it works. One piece of fiction in Eve's magazine, Eon, told how crewmen thought they had great jobs, because most of the time they got paid a lot of money to do fairly routine work.

Moreover, when the fecal matter hit the whirling blades, they didn't hesitate to bail out in an escape pod, as soon as the main defenses dropped. They didn't even wait for the secondary defenses to kick in. As soon as the combat started to go against their ships, the crewmen bailed. Once the ship blew up, the insurance company sent death benefits to their families, and the crewmen signed for the next trip -- sometimes even on a ship piloted by the same person.

Rinse and repeat.
I haven't seen that bit when I skimmed the introductory fluff.

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Originally Posted by tshiggins View Post
That's because the crewmen don't matter. Not in the same way the pod-pilot does. To the cybernetically-enhanced transhuman floating in the tank, the crewmen have no more meaning than any other of the ship's replaceable parts. He doesn't know them, he doesn't care to know them, and his only concern regarding them is that, when he sends commands through his mindlinks, they efficiently carry out their tasks. They're just slots that need to be filled and, as long as the slots get filled, that's all he cares about.
Well, that's part of what the players said about space opera games: that for a pilot, things such as 'Racial Template' are mostly a matter of Šsthetics. Once I get to race-building, I'll definitely try to prevent such a thing. I don't want aliens (even human aliens!) to be men in funny suits and forhead makeup.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tshiggins View Post
Eve doesn't concern itself overly much with issues of morality. It is an exercise in naked self-interest, in which cooperation is good because it increases the probability of positive outcomes. Alliances can and do shift, frequently, and today's friends are tomorrow's targets.

Some groups do engage in ethical behavior (my group is one such), but that has as much to do with annoyance at griefers as much as a desire to make New Genesis space a better place for everybody.

Eve works well as a computer game, in which nobody has to care (particularly) about anybody else who plays. However, as the basis of a table-top RPG setup, it would have some issues, I think.
That's an interesting consideration.
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Old 05-21-2009, 03:31 PM   #8
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Default Re: [Spaceships] GURPS EVE, and related ideas . . .

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Originally Posted by Molokh View Post
I'm not so sure. A large portion of Eve is about diplomacy, social climbing, economics etc. I think even MMORPH giants such as WoW are no match to it in terms of noncombat complexity.
Well, that's certainly true. It's why the game's age demographic skews about five years higher than average, for most MMORPGs. Well, that and the fact that, when you lose your ship, it's gone. You have to go buy and equip a new one. Which, in turn, is what makes the economic model so realistic. Stuff may not wear out or need constant maintenance (Who would want to play, if it did?), but hostile fire makes up for the lack of rust.

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Originally Posted by Molokh View Post
I haven't seen that bit when I skimmed the introductory fluff.
As I posted, it was a piece of fiction in the game-related magazine. It was a conversation between a veteran crewman, and somebody new. The n00b was shocked by the veteran's casual attitude toward the safety of the ship. The veteran's response, of course, went along the lines of, "I care about the pod-pilot's profits about as much as he cares about my existence, and I don't have the fancy implants to write my consciousness to a new clone body if I die."

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Originally Posted by Molokh View Post
Well, that's part of what the players said about space opera games: that for a pilot, things such as 'Racial Template' are mostly a matter of Šsthetics. Once I get to race-building, I'll definitely try to prevent such a thing. I don't want aliens (even human aliens!) to be men in funny suits and forhead makeup.
There are no alien races in Eve, as most science fiction settings understand them. All four "races" are merely derivations from common human stock, given several centuries of isolation, followed by increasing uses of (more or less successful) pantropic gengineering.

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That's an interesting consideration.
It's a cold and cynical setting. If your players decide to play Low-Sec pirate-hunters, you need to enforce the concept that, while they'll get some thanks from the industrialists and miners they save, they'll get nothing in the way of financial recompense, other than what comes from looting the pirate ships. Meanwhile, the miner and industrialist "carebears" will happily take the opportunity to increase their profits as free riders who benefit from the party's risk. Moreover, if the party decides to charge for their services, said free riders will promptly accuse them of coercion, and would rather pull up stakes and mine elsewhere, than pay for security.

It's an incredible economic model.
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Old 05-22-2009, 06:02 AM   #9
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Default Re: [Spaceships] GURPS EVE, and related ideas . . .

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Originally Posted by tshiggins View Post
Well, that's certainly true. It's why the game's age demographic skews about five years higher than average, for most MMORPGs. Well, that and the fact that, when you lose your ship, it's gone. You have to go buy and equip a new one. Which, in turn, is what makes the economic model so realistic. Stuff may not wear out or need constant maintenance (Who would want to play, if it did?), but hostile fire makes up for the lack of rust.
Well, there are insurances. Although I can't figure how to insure actual subsystems within a ship (weird if it isn't possible). Conversely, GURPS Spaceships allows insurance for the whole ship, and not just the frame, which seems more logical.

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There are no alien races in Eve, as most science fiction settings understand them. All four "races" are merely derivations from common human stock, given several centuries of isolation, followed by increasing uses of (more or less successful) pantropic gengineering.
Yes. But IIRC they used to be quite distinct. As of now (about a year since I last tried playing EVE), I created a character, and all I got is a very mediocre entity with (IIRC) a single attribute different from the rest. Even skills weren't linked to his heritage, unlike the old EVE where I could choose backgrounds.

If I'm gonna ever make a space game with 'human aliens', I'd try to make them as different as those in THS and/or BIO.

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It's a cold and cynical setting.
One interesting thing is that despite the coldness [I don't think Cynics have anything to do with EVE] of the moral map of the setting, there are some notions of goodness and honour. Notably the opinion that pod-killing is some sort of atrocity (which, BTW, I'd like to duplicate in any Space game I ever make, even if it will include outright war).
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Old 05-22-2009, 12:19 PM   #10
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Default Re: [Spaceships] GURPS EVE, and related ideas . . .

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Originally Posted by Molokh View Post
One interesting thing is that despite the coldness [I don't think Cynics have anything to do with EVE] of the moral map of the setting, there are some notions of goodness and honour. Notably the opinion that pod-killing is some sort of atrocity (which, BTW, I'd like to duplicate in any Space game I ever make, even if it will include outright war).
I'm only moderately familiar with the setting, but from the other comments I suspect the lack of pod-killing doesn't have much to do with honor. The fact of the matter is, you gain nothing by destroying someone's pod - all you do is cost them money. An action that does nothing but cost someone else money (and might cost you a little bit, on account of ammo) is not economically feasible and is senseless beyond feeding your own bloodlust. Thus, pod-killing is looked down upon because, if it were not, it would simply cause everyone to burn through more money. Destroying an enemy ship insures it will not bother you again, and also yields some salvage that can be used to pay off repairs and restocking (and probably have some more besides). Destroying an enemy pod? No gain there.

That said, some EVE-style spaceships in GURPS might make for a rather interesting setting/campaign.

EDIT: So far as war goes, I suspect the policy on pod-killing will depend on how long the concept has had to become corrupted. Assuming the concept was originally purely economic (not abhoring pod-killing leads to an all-around loss of money), it would be dropped in times of war. This is because part of the strategy for winning a war is to deplete your foe of resources - and making them constantly replace clones and cybernetic enhancements would help on this front. However, if the concept has had enough time to become corrupted (into a sort of Gentleman's Code of Honor, or "What seperates us from the murdering pirates"), it would probably be maintained during time of war. The fact that it's perfectly legal (or at least was the last I read) to pod-kill sufficiently abhorred pirates indicates that the policy maintains its economic roots, thus meaning it would likely be abandoned in war time. The exception made for dread pirates may instead be due to it being considered part of a gentleman's code of honor - it does not apply to those who are not gentlemen (thus it doesn't apply to pirates). If the default assumption is that the individuals on each side of a war are, in fact, gentlemen, the ban on pod-killing would remain.
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