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Old 01-07-2022, 05:39 PM   #21
Anthony
 
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Default Re: What RPG has the best spaceship design system?

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Originally Posted by Michael Thayne View Post
One thing I should clarify—the hardest problem of good space combat rules is probably coming up with sensible rules for kinetic attacks. Ones that actually do things like take relative velocity into account.
That's mostly a question of doing vector math for 'can this projectile hit at all'. Which is most easily solved by putting the attacking ship in the reference frame of the target, and then figuring out how large a vector change you need to get a projectile to have zero perpendicular velocity.
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Old 01-07-2022, 09:05 PM   #22
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Default Re: What RPG has the best spaceship design system?

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Tr
Do you also want to dismiss that, or have I gotten close enough to Officially Approved Definitions?
I would describe Star Frontiers as an extremely (and deliberately) simple rpg with a retro design esthetic (even for the 80s) and leave hard science out of it all together.

I also happen to like Star Frontiers. I've handled my copy until the pink box that Knight Hawks came in has gotten broken at the corners.

The hard science thing is something of a pet peeve. Some people want to call Traveller hard science but that's because no one has a blaster pistol in his holster and ignore seventeen kinds of superscience in the setting.

I'm assming that you want to call Star Frontiers hard science because it has ships that look like rocket ships even if they use no real fuel and also lack artificial gravity.

I don't particularly like hard science games and fiction but i know what they are and isn't and i try and discourage use of the term in ways that (IMHO) spread misinformation.

I should probably also say that what you seem to have taken as virulent hate started out as mild amusement on my part. I find it amusing that Star Frontiers "atomic engines" have the core of a Nagasaki-type nuclear bomb inside them.
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Old 01-07-2022, 09:29 PM   #23
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Default Re: What RPG has the best spaceship design system?

When you say the best, what purpose is it supposed to be best for? I remember one science fiction RPG (I've long since forgotten the name and lost the book) were spaceships were defined in five stats, size, speed, defense, attack, and luxury. Each was rated one to five. As were two optional stats Computer/A.I. and Cargo. It was quick easy and fairly detailed. Enough detail for games focused on things like adventure, storytelling, and mysteries, which is how I used that game. In terms of technical detail it was nothing.
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Old 01-07-2022, 10:37 PM   #24
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Default Re: What RPG has the best spaceship design system?

"Space Opera" from FGU had a ship design system and space combat system, in fitting with the same "total campaign"* concept as "Chivalry and Sorcery."

That said, I don't recall enough about it to say if it was good or bad, but it was definitely on the very soft end of the scale.


* That the players would not just play PCs in man to man fights, but also dukes, generals, kings etc. fighting out wars with miniatures rules.
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Old 01-07-2022, 11:47 PM   #25
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Default Re: What RPG has the best spaceship design system?

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"Space Opera" from FGU had a ship design system and space combat system,, I don't recall enough about it to say if it was good or bad,

.
I remember it well enough. I ran a couple of long campaigns for it back in college. It was all rather Star Wars-ish. Much more so than Traveller, probably because it came ou a year or two later.

It was a pretty standard "run through the list and add up all the stuff". sort of thing. What I remebr msot was that if you were wiling to sacrifice cargo space you could find room for everything else.

It had standard hull sizes and limited things like caliber of weapons that would fit in each size of hull.

If i was to pick one thing to admire (and possibly steal if I could) it was the way that each hull size had a maximum speed in both normal space and FTL. and this kept going down as hulls got larger. It pushed ships toward roles fitted tot ehir sizes and meant that he PCs' hopped up "freighter" _could_ outrun that Imperial Star Destroyer and it would have to send fighters after them.

The combat system simply was not good and bordered on the unplayable. FGU games of that vintage accumulated House Rules the way lint collects in your clothes dryer's air filter.

Oddly enough, even with this workable design system FGU started bringing out Naval ship guides for various militaries that had ships you couldn't build with the standard design system. The explanation given was that those rules were for civilians and the military had cutting edge stuff that was jsut plain better. The secret military rules (if they really existed) were never published to my knowledge.

One of the oddest things about if for a game of this vintage is that you can still probably get everything (new) if you want. It's apprently still being published sporadically.
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Old 01-08-2022, 08:25 AM   #26
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Default Re: What RPG has the best spaceship design system?

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One of the oddest things about if for a game of this vintage is that you can still probably get everything (new) if you want. It's apprently still being published sporadically.
Thanks for the details.

I don't know about getting actual paper books, but most if not all of the SO stuff is available in PDF, including a couple of books that never made it to print back when.
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Old 01-08-2022, 05:04 PM   #27
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Default Re: What RPG has the best spaceship design system?

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Thanks for the details.

I don't know about getting actual paper books, but most if not all of the SO stuff is available in PDF, including a couple of books that never made it to print back when.
You can get the PDF on Drive Thru RPG. I think I got my print copy there too.
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Old 01-08-2022, 05:22 PM   #28
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Default Re: What RPG has the best spaceship design system?

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I suspect spaceship combat systems being terrible is a bit fundamental, though, because in the end space is a kind of boring tactical environment.
Not to mention "unforgiving" to the point of being relentlessly hostile. There doesn't seem to be a way for crewed ships to defeat uncrewed ships or for biosophont crews to survive space combat, win, lose, or draw.

It's enough to make a GM wonder whether there might be some sort of adventure possible other than for naval officers in time of war. I'm of the opinion that SF RPGs need spaceship design and combat systems about as much as, and for the same reason that, GURPS Cliffhangers needed a naval combat system.
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Old 01-08-2022, 05:37 PM   #29
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Default Re: What RPG has the best spaceship design system?

SPI's Universe had modular spaceship design and a Newtonian combat system in it that some of my friends (who were mathematicians and physicists) liked, but that (a) had FTL travel, and (b) gave the highest-tech drive a thrust/endurance envelope better than a photon drive. I think Universe is available for cheap download somewhere.

ForeSight first edition had a similar system except with "1 compartment" corresponding to half a "pod" in Universe, and re-jigged for that instead of choosing what drive and armour systems you had and calculating performance you chose the performance required and calculated the drive and armour systems necessary.

ForeSight included misapprehended meson weapons ŕ la mode du »Traveller«. I don't know whether Universe had them too.
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Old 01-08-2022, 07:11 PM   #30
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: What RPG has the best spaceship design system?

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SPI's [I]
ForeSight included misapprehended meson weapons ŕ la mode du »Traveller«. I don't know whether Universe had them too.
I do not recall such. Indeed, I recall very little about the Universe space combat system. It may have been in a supplement in Ares Magazine I think and I may never have seen it.

The highest tech in the personal combat system was a dubious sort of double-barrelled laser pistol. I'm sure there were no mesons in personal combat.

I know Universe did have a big pretty fold out map made with real astronomy of the time (late 70s). It won't have aged well.
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