Recently in my ears
Become a close personal friend!
I'm on the Facebook.
Every generation annoys the previous with its louder, faster, more aggressive music.
For the last several years, I've been disappointed in the next generation's music, but because it's boring.
I mean, we had punk and metal and industrial - we didn't necessarily start them, but we sure embraced 'em.
New music has been lame for quite a while. It was placid and didn't go anywhere. It was whiny. I was sad that we had reached some sort of musical pinnacle, and seemed to be coming down the other side.
Then came dubstep. And the cycle continues.
AKA "The Streetbeater." From the Jazz At The Santa Monica Civic '72:
I tend to be a fan of game systems that are simple and elegant rather than crunchy, yet whenever I start hacking a system, I have a habit making things overly complex. With that in mind, I'm considering getting away from some of the more fiddly bits I'd planned on using in adapting Space: 1889 to Cortex Plus.
I had intended on having career templates providing benefits in addition to their normal abilities. That is, if a PC meets the requirements of a template, they would get some concrete game-world resource (let's say the Aristocrat template requires simply that you have a Gentleman or Lady role of d12, and gives you a manservant or maid, respectively), or ways to alter the rules (the Mercantile template might require a Gentleman or Lady rating of d8 or lower, Merchant of d8 or higher; expertise in Eloquence at d6 or better and Bargaining d10 or better, but allows your starting fortune to be based on your ability as a Cunning Merchant rather than a Resolute Gentleman).
Also, I was a kinda hip to having a bit of a "mini-game" to handle inventions and scientific advancement, as it is in the original Space: 1889 - it helped the process feel more significant. I still would like to do this, but what I've come up with has been a fairly kludgey and inelegant so far.
I'm still not ruling out either the career templates or R&D mini-game as they both seem to have potential for fun, but I've got a couple of notions that would simplify things quite a bit for both. I'll likely revisit them later, but here's a speed-rap version of character creation:
The original set of manners I had in mind were Aggressive, Cunning, Graceful and Resolute (distributing a d4, d6, d8, and d10 among them). However, in going over the Fate Accelerated Edition, I'm considering broadening the manners to reflect something similar to FAE's approaches: Careful, Clever, Flashy, Forceful, Quick, and Sneaky. Heck, I might snag them outright (probably renaming a couple along the way). Taking that route, I'd have players distribute 1d4, 2d6, 2d8 and 1d10 among them.
The standard dice distribution should probably be one of each die from d4 to d12, plus one extra d6.
Plot Points might be exchanged when distinctions come into play.
The way I'm pondering using assets is derived almost entirely from Danger Patrol. Each asset will have a rank that indicates how many times it may be invoked before it must be refreshed, and the first asset used in a roll adds a die (probably d12), with each additional asset contributing another die at one step lower than the previous.
There's still some appeal to earning the benefits by fitting a template but I can get over that, but I do still like the R&D mini-games.
The invention system for this setting should be something pretty cool, since it really is what sets it apart from the real world, as well as other games. That being said, this is pretty disjointed right now, and I plan on revisiting the topic as things occur to me or are suggested. If you've got an idea, let me know - I want this to shine.
My initial idea to emulate the Space: 1889 invention process pretty closely in Cortex Plus is slowly and happily giving way to something that may end up being (hopefully) a bit more elegant and, well, Cortex Plus-like.
The method that I'd planned on importing almost whole-cloth from Space: 1889 would've gone something like this:
I wasn't terribly happy about some of that.
First, what if the player's character concept is to be an inventor of some renown, and the rolls are just plain lousy during the research period before the game begins? That's solvable through the setting's narrative: Perhaps the character now becomes obsessed with creating the first functioning foistboinder, rather than having already done so. That's the easiest way to handle it, and is a great hook for drawing the inventor into action.
What about running out of money (or other resources - rare elements or something) during the prototype phase? Borrowing (with interest) from investors (maybe the other PCs could become benefactors) is one possibility (and larger amounts might come with more strings attached, and would always come from folks who you would never say anything bad about. If you know what's good for you.), as is going out and looking for the rare elements yourself.
What if you run out of research points just before you know you would have made that tremendous breakthrough? Maybe your dedication and focus is so great that other areas begin to suffer - some exchange of dice levels in Roles, Manners, and Expertise for research points, perhaps: you've spent so much time in the lab, ignoring social functions, that your Gentleman die shrinks; some chemical you've been exposed to has made you a bit shaky and makes you less Graceful. Maybe something more specific (and colorful) - not having the appropriate safety precautions and going forward with the experiments anyway might make scientific progress but reduce your number of limbs or senses. This could get dangerously close to flaw balancing or some kind of Character Build Point thing, which I'm not terribly a fan of - I'd like something cleaner, more directly cause-and-effect, and with narrative hooks.
As for the process and game mechanics of invention...
Heck, this is Cortex Plus. Get rid of all those static ratings for the inventions and replace them with a GM's opposed die roll.
The effect die of the last research roll could be new device's reliability rating, but that removes the discrete crafting step as well as the need for decent Merchant and Inventing expertise rating. Further attempts may be made to refine and improve the device, but that's your first prototype's reliability.
For something emulating historical technology: d6 for something available from the current game year until the end of the Victorian era, d8 for something from Edwardian times, or d10 for technology from the Great War, and d12 for WWII and beyond. I may want to step up those dice a bit to prevent too much of the real world from interfering.
Any of the ivnentor's dice that rolls a 1 could create a snag - increasing the task's difficulty because you got bad information, having a lab accident, or getting side effects or unintended behaviors from the device.