Micro Settings

I saw a discussion on the Tenkar’s Tavern* discord server today. One participant pitched a suggestion for a game setting to get feedback from the community. I will call him the Pitcher as it is nicer than participant. The Pitcher was actually looking to do an entire world building job. I had already read a initial draft of the first book and that ran to 86 pages without any game stats, maps, NPCs or art.

The general reaction of the active people was that they thought it would be fun to play for four or five sessions.

I was quite surprised at that at first and it got me to thinking about what makes a setting have longevity?

I suspect that deep down we all want to win. Role playing games are not supposed to be about winning. They are open ended stories that could play out forever. In reality they don’t. After the third time you saved the world it is time to hang up your shield and enjoy your rewards. You have faced impossible odds and won.

The pitch I heard today was such a bleak world that winning would have no purpose. It may have been a case of there is no point in trying to win in a world full of so much suffering and little comfort.

I skimmed the list of most recently released games and eight out of ten were dark, grim and very negatively portrayed worlds. Skipping back a ten years and the games were much more upbeat and about exploring rich worlds and looking for adventure.

Even my own RMu adventure path is about a conflict between two evils, not between good and evil.

I wonder if this is a case of follow my leader. I could imagine one publisher thinking that they could make their game stand out by going all dark and moody. Other publishers see the sudden success of the trend setter and next thing is that we have a fashion or a movement for bleak game settings. Will these games have longevity?

Game of Thrones was bleak and miserable but that has now gone. I am guessing that everyone who wants a bleak and miserable game setting already has one. So how big is the market for more of the same?

More interestingly, I don’t think the setting writers and world builders are going to fall back to high adventure heroics. They have done that and would want something new.

Pugmire, Ironclaw and Ponyfinder all seem to have zeroed in on a particular niche, of animal heroes. In Pugmire you play talking dogs, Ironclaw you can be different woodland creatures and in Ponyfinder you play horses.

Although I read and enjoyed the Martin the warrior and Redwall Abbey books I don’t want to roleplay them.

I think in the fantasy genre people still want elves, dwarves and the rest of the Tolkien races along with vampires and dragons.

The question is how will the world builders pitch that so it is neither high adventure or bleak and pointless?

*An OSR centric discord server.

RMU Update: An Action Point System in Action — Divinity: Original Sin 2

Tell me if this sounds familiar: Each character gets 4 Action Points to spend on activity each round. Spells like Haste increase that number. You can spend action points to move.

That sounds much like RMu’s new action economy, but in fact it is also the system in the videogame Divinity: Original Sin 2. I am blogging about this because I think the RMu’s new action point economy sometimes gets dismissed by players before they’ve really tried it — who wants to change a system you’ve been using for decades? But I wanted to suggest that if you are on the fence about this issue and really want to experience a game with an action economy like RMu’s, you can try Divinity: Original Sin 2. (I recommend you try Divinity 2 rather than 1, because for reasons I explain below, Divinity 1 had a somewhat different system). If you liked the old isometric Baldur’s Gate games, I think you will probably like Divinity. And note that the studio that made Divinity (Larian Studios) is now busily at work making Baldur’s Gate III.

Basically, the idea behind an action point economy is that instead of actions costing a percentage of your round’s activity, they instead just cost points. This simplifies the game math because you’re never left with 17% activity remaining in your turn, trying desperately to find your calculator to figure out what 17% of your BMR of 45′ is, and whether that will get you within melee range of the orc archer over there. You either have a point left for movement or you don’t, and you either spend it to move up to your BMR or you don’t. You also don’t need separate rules for all the combinations of things you can do in a round, like ‘move-and-melee’, ‘move-and-cast-spell’, ‘react-and-attack’, ‘press-and-attack’ and all of the other combinations RM2 and RMSS tried to account for. You just spend your points and combine your actions any way you want.

I’ve learned a few lessons from playing Divinity’s Action Point system. First and foremost is that everything is easier if you just charge Action Points for movement rather than if you try to make movement some sort of different, special action that doesn’t cost points and has its own rules. Making movement a different beast creates a whole host of problems that you can already see in 5e Dungeons and Dragons, which treats movement differently than all other actions (a backwards step, IMHO, from what 4e DnD did in that regard). One problem is that you need to write entirely different rules for the different types of actions: not just normal actions vs. movement, but interactions (for opening doors, drawing weapons, etc.), bonus actions, reactions, etc. Not only does this lead to rules bloat, but these types of actions are now even less comptabile and interchangeable now than they were in 4e DnD. In 4e for example, you used to be able to spend your standard action to charge (move-and-attack), but you can no longer do that. In 5e, characters have to buy a feat in order to be able merely to charge! Similarly, our group has been playing 5e (on and off) since it was released, but it was only last month that we realized that casting a spell as a bonus action prevents you from casting another spell as your normal action in the same turn. Who knew?

Another lesson that the developers of the Divinity series learned is to resist the temptation to give quicker characters more action points. Divinity 1 actually allowed this: characters got a bonus to their number of action points dependent on their Speed stat. This was unnecessary, however, because Speed already gave boosts to distance moved and initiative. It also created balance issues. So, in DOS2, all characters get the same number of AP to spend each turn (barring spells and special abilities).

The big news recently, which I mentioned above, is that Larian Studios is now busily at work on Baldur’s Gate III, which will use the 5e DnD ruleset. I will be eager to see what they do with it. Will they try to implement the 5e DnD style movement rules, which treats movement as a separate action that has different rules than all other types of actions? Or will they try to implement a more streamlined system like the one they used for the Divinity Games? I’m guessing the former, but I will be eager to find out.

For now, if you want a preview of what the RMu action economy is like, you can get a pretty good picture by playing Divinity. I have to say, it is not only simple and intiutive, it is also a lot of fun!

Edit: I just realized I should have noted that RMu currently offers two ways of handling movement: it allows you to pay AP to move, as I explained above (it calls this ‘Sequential Movement’); but it also allows you the alternative of not paying AP and instead incurring pace penalties to your actions for how far/fast you move. So if you really want to require your players to pull out a pace chart every time they move, you do have that second option (yes, that’s sarcasm!).

Edit2: One last thing to note is that Pathfinder 2 is going the Divinity route, and making movement just another action like all other actions (and without separate rules). In Pathfinder 2, players get 3 actions per turn instead of 4, but the basic idea is much the same. The developers quite eloquently explained why they made this choice, and how it enabled them to simplify their action economy and reduce the number of special rules they needed for unique types of actions, right here: https://paizo.com/community/blog/v5748dyo5lklh?All-About-Actions

Rise of the Nerds.

Image result for nerds arise

For those following this blog you might have noticed that I’ve been pretty quiet for the last year. Happily, my schedule is now settling down and I’m going to get back into regular postings on the Rolemasterblog and start uploading new material here and on the Forums.

One of the recurring themes over the past year is the recognition and growing popularity of Dungeons and Dragons. Here are just a few articles–all in MAJOR news publications:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/how-dungeons-and-dragons-somehow-became-more-popular-than-ever/2019/04/18/fc226f56-5f8f-11e9-9412-daf3d2e67c6d_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.982fc7e2c824

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/15/dungeons-and-dragons-is-more-popular-than-ever-thanks-to-twitch.html

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/the-uncanny-resurrection-of-dungeons-and-dragons

https://www.thestar.com/life/2018/01/05/when-did-dungeons-dragons-suddenly-become-cool.html

https://www.syfy.com/syfywire/dungeons-dragons-had-its-biggest-sales-year-in-2017

To me, there are a few takeaways in these articles.

  1. D&D hit the bullseye with 5th edition. The shift to narrative and story was well-timed and it appears to have erased some the of the negative factors in earlier editions. Does this lesson lend itself, in anyway, to the future release of RMU?
  2. A rising tide raises all boats. Arguably, D&D has always been the doorway to new gamers. Niche games, alternative rulesets and even other genre games benefit from the D&D halo effect. RMU has been in production for over 6 years, and can still benefit from the resurgence in table top gaming. This doesn’t require another reset of the rulemaking, but perhaps a rethink of the marketing strategy.
  3. “Trickle down effect”. Even if many new gamers are casual, the enormous number of new players will still result in some of them seeking out other games systems. Rolemaster is positioned to appeal to players looking for more realism (verisimilitude). The original ICE marketing could work again!

I know every Rolemaster fan would love to see a resurgence in our chosen game system and it can be frustrating to see D&D explode in popularity. Our goal here at Rolemasterblog is to carry the torch and continue to produce “d100” content and Rolemaster appropriate products. It’s a small effort in the grand scheme, but helps keep the flame alive!

As we have mentioned, we encourage everyone that has a thought, idea or comment to contribute to the blog and the Rolemaster community.

RMU Update: Power Point Regeneration

One of the problems playtesters of the RMu beta often encounter is that they find it hard to keep up with the latest changes in the beta. The beta rules are free to download, but as the developers work towards completing the system, they are also continuing to make changes, and discussing them vigorously on the ICE forums. So as a way to bring our discussions together and update people on RMu, I thought I might try a series of RMu updates in blog form. The first is on a topic we’ve been discussing here on the blog recently: Power Point Regeneration.

But first, a little history lesson. Here is how different editions of Rolemaster dealt with power point recovery as well as hit point recovery (I am going to discuss them both together, because the systems are often parallel, and I want to blog about hit points soon too):

–RM2 allowed characters to regenerate 1 hit point per hour when resting, and 1 every three hours when active. By contrast, it allowed characters to regenerate all their power points only after a long period of ‘sleep or meditation (usually around 8 hours)’… and if the sleep was interrupted, you got nada. This was a very simple system, but you can already see the problems: hit point regeneration didn’t scale well, since a 100 hit point person would take 5 times as long to heal as a 20 hit point person; and there were two very different systems for regeneration (hits versus power points). It also raised questions such as, ‘Can I sleep multiple times in a day, and thus get my full PP pool back multiple times per day?’ That was ripe for abuse.

–The RM2 Companions (especially Companion 2) introduced the concept of PP development: that characters could develop PP as a skill. The companions also cautioned, however, that this would enable characters to have much larger PP pools, thus potentially wrecking game balance. It suggested options to address this problem, including introducing exhaustion penalties when a caster’s PP fell below certain thresholds (75%, 50%, and 25% of maximum), or increasing the time necessary to recover all PP via sleep from 6 hours to up to a week.

–RMSS/FRP brought the two systems (hits and PP) together by allowing the regeneration of 1 hit point and one power point per three hours when ‘active’. It also differentiated ‘resting’ from ‘sleeping’, giving accelerated hourly rates for regeneration during both of these inactive times. Resting allowed a character to recover (Co bonus/2) hit points and (Realm stat bonus/2) power points per hour. Sleeping allowed the recovery of (Co bonus x 2) hit points and (Realm stat bonus x 2) power points per hour. The only difference between hit-point and power point recovery now was that three hours of continuous sleep regenerated exactly half your PP (the same rule was not applied to hit point recovery as far as I can see). RMSS/FRP also implemented the RM2 Companion 2’s suggestion of applying exhaustion penalties to casters when their current PP fell below 75%, 50%, and 25% of maximum.

–The RMU beta initially tried to keep this parallelism, but clarify the language and simplify the equations with a new system. The idea was that characters would get their ranks in Power Point Development back every four hours of rest (e.g. if you had 8 ranks in PP Dev, you got 8 PP back for every four hours rest). Later, this was changed to ranks in PP Development + Realm stat bonus in PP every four hours. This raised some problems, however. One was that the scaling was erratic. Another was that the rapid pace of regeneration for casters with a good stat bonus seemed a bit too high, because in RMu, many of the other traditional limitations on casters — the size of their pp pool, the time needed to prep spells, the number of spells that casters can acquire through individual spell purchase, etc. — are all being lifted or adjusted in favour of casters. Compared to RM2 casters, RMu casters can have far more spells and more than ten times the power points. RMu’s initial system also kept in place the fiddly exhaustion penalties for falling below max pp thresholds.

This gets us then to today, and we now (in the last few days) have a new, more streamlined and I think much better scaling system for PP regen in RMU. The new system expresses PP regen in a simple percentage of your maximum PP per 2-hour period of sleep. The rates for the different power levels of game are as follows:

Average: 5%. Superior: 10%. Heroic: 15%. Legendary: 20%. Epic: 25%.

This keeps the equations simple and solves the scaling issue by using percentages, which remain constant across all character levels. This new system also ensures the equation to give you your hourly rate is simple: just calculate your normal regen per 2-hour period, then half it.

Example: A sleeping Magician with 30 maximum pp in a game set at the Legendary power level regenerates 6 pp every two hours (30 x 20%), or 3 per hour.

Overall, I think this new system of pp regeneration is a big improvement on previous editions. It allows a fully smoothed curve of scaling: no longer will your rates of regeneration vary erratically from level to level. It also allows us to dispense with the fiddly penalties when you fall below your 75%/50%/25% thresholds (those were a massive pain to track as a GM). I also like this new system because I think it can easily be applied to hit points in a way that makes the two systems of recovery exactly parallel. But I’ll blog about that next.

I hope you liked this update. Please feel free to say what you think of the new system, and also to let me know if you like the idea of me doing a series of RMu rules updates on this blog.

Power Point Development

All long term readers will know that I am a fan of ‘fixed’ #hits. It gets rid of a DP sink, removes the concept of people being able to be hit several times with a sword and survive just because they are high level and it makes low levels slightly more survivable. My version is based upon Co and SD and racial bonuses, stats do progress up towards their potentials so there is a slight increase in #hits over time.

Thrud posted on the forums yesterday about the reasoning behind being able to develop power points as a skill and then called into question body development as another example. You can read the post in the link above but I have quoted it here.

Stepping away from the rules for a while and instead just going with reasoning alone. 
Some aspects of a person are innate abilities, others are skills learned. 
Innate abilities grow stronger as you mature, but you can’t really practice them. Skills need practice for you to improve. 
Looking at a person quantified as a rpc. What is a skill and what is an ability?
You could easily argue that as you become better/more proficient at casting a spell, it should become harder to resist. 
You could also argue that it’s not a matter of proficiency, but your overall power that grows when you level up. 
Maybe it’s both?
What other aspects of a character should be seen in the same way? IMHO power points, since I don’t see a magician practicing getting more power points…
What about body development? Does it seem realistic that you practice not dying from wounds? Or is it more reasonable to see hit points increasing as you level up and become more powerful all around?
Shouldn’t there be a similar mechanic in place for resistance rolls?
What else share these characteristics?

http://www.ironcrown.com/ICEforums/index.php?topic=18486.msg229263#msg229263

Power Point Development as a Skill

I can rationalise PP Dev as a skill quite easily. Taking an Essence user as an example, they utilise essence from the world around them. There is essence in everything and everywhere. To cast a spell they gather that essence and then utilise it.

I am going to use an analogy of a juggler. They also gather things from around them and utilise them. An inexperienced juggler can keep control of two or three items whereas a master juggler of far greater skill can juggle chainsaws, chairs, clubs and axes all at the same it. Simply through the training their skill in juggling their ability to gather and control increases.

Don’t like that one? Then here is another analogy.

A biologist may know only a few genes in a specie’s genome. With that knowledge a few medical problems may be addressed. Over time and with study more genes in the genome may be learned and the capabilities in genetic medicine that the biologist has increases with every gene that is understood.

If the genes are power points and the medical treatments are spells you have an example of PP dev as a skill.

Looking at the Skill

I quite like the PP dev skill. As a GM I can tweak the cost to act as a throttle on powerpoints and consequently the prevalence of spell casters in the game. Under RM2/RMC rules one bad stat gain roll on your realm stat can wipe out many or all of your power points for an entire level. Now should anything happen to your realm stat it isn’t good but at least you can function.

I think there is a stronger case for power point development as a skill than there is for body development. You could even go so far as to scrap #hits altogether. Forget them completely even on the combat tables. Just read off the critical from the combat table and roll it. You do real wounds to each other until either one of you is unable to defend themselves or a fatal wound is delivered. Bleeding is simply accounted for after the fight to work out how many minutes you have to live before you bleed out. 20/amount of bleeding would work. By that time your companions have either saved your or you bled out. I am not recommending this but I suspect it would work. Most fights seem to last four or five rounds and end in a debilitating critical. It is relatively rare to grind down someones #hits to zero.

Stepping Forward

I am going to get to the big step forward later but I am going to tell you a story first.

My step son is an artist. He qualified with a degree in Fine Art last year and to the best of my knowledge he is the only one of his contemporaries that is actually keeping body and soul together working in art. He works most of the week as a freelance artist’s technician and the rest working on his own art in a rented studio space. As you expect as a artist, living in London, he has no money.

At the hospital I was in in Aberdeen a local philanthropist had built a 1000 space multi-storey car park for the hospital. The hospital has 1000 beds so he had one parking space for visiting every patient. The parking is also free. His inspiration for the car park was when he wanted to visit a friend in hospital and could find nowhere to park.

When we were talking about this my step son commented that this was the flaw in philanthropy, it is all on the whim on the philanthropist and what else could that money have been spent on.

I counter argued that this was the strength of philanthropy. If more than one person had been involved in the decision process they probably would have argued that improving the public transport links would have alleviated the pressure on local parking and been more environmentally friendly.

Aberdeen Royal Infirmary is actually the main hospital for a massive swathe of rural Scotland and while the arguement for public transport is true, no public transport system can reach every tiny hamlet or cluster of houses and with the frequency to make visits to see patients viable.

I can see the point that if you don’t own a car, that better or free public transport would be attractive. I think that as soon as you get to the committee stage probably nothing would have ever happened at all for years.

The point of this story is that I have noticed that I am applying the same principle to Navigator RPG. By keeping it all to myself I can forge ahead without the possible delays in discussion. This is really selfish but when I do ask for help it is when I really don’t know what is the best solution.

The title of this post was Stepping Forward. So the big step forward last night was that I have working rules for stats, species (race), talents, cultures, skill costs and I have one fully working profession. It is now possible to go end to end and create a viable player character.

This weekend I will work on filling in more of the blanks, creating more cultures and completing more of the professions. Neither task is particularly exciting so I will mix that in with writing more of the core rules.

What I am building here is the RPG equivalent of one of these…

Everyone’s vision of a lego house, city or star port will be different but with one of these the only limit is imagination, and we are good at that.

Gamist Elements in Elizabeth Moon’s Sheepfarmer’s Daughter

Recently I read Elizabeth Moon’s Sheepfarmer’s Daughter, one of the most interesting Dungeons & Dragons novels I ever have absorbed. I call it a Dungeons & Dragons novel not because it contains oversized, fire breathing serpents, nor because it portrays sprawling, underground inhabitations of wealthy monsters—indeed, it contains neither of these—but because of its metaphysical system. Reviewer Judith Tarr identifies it in a tradition of “Fourth Age” Tolkienian fantasies—there are mere glimpses of Elves and Dwarves and rumors of Orcs within a mostly human-centric civilization—but, to me, the narrative is most interested in presenting a realistic martial milieu in which forces of magic originating from both the arcane and divine (or Essential and spiritual) sources are tactical components in conflict and warfare.

It’s this second that I want to explore with some depth. The first can be settled by pointing to other writers within the military fantasy tradition. Off the top of my head, two are Glen Cook and Steven Erikson, and only Erikson I have read with regularity. What’s striking to me with these novels—and this is true of Sheepfarmer’s Daughter, as well—is that sometimes a character “party” can be fairly diverse and be occupied with specific missions or quests, but mostly they are involved in military engagements, and usually their shared skills and identities are combat-oriented. In other words, there are few “balanced” parties composed of a Cleric, a Fighter, a Magic-user and a Thief (or their various sub-classes) but entire companies of these various classes individually pursuing their roles in the midst of a military campaign.

Or, in yet other words, these novels that are derived from the first game in the rpg hobby appear to cleave closer than D&D itself to its roots in war gaming. I expect that many a Rolemaster campaign does, as well, since, because of its skill system, parties might be composed wholly of one Profession but still allow for necessary variations within that Profession. The great resources of War Law and Castles & Ruins might provide for this kind of campaign, as well.

One effect that Sheepfarmer’s Daughter contains that I think would be worth exploring in an rpg campaign is the tight focus of a military recruit within the larger strategy of a military operation. I’m envisioning two games being explored at the table. The first would be along the lines of a traditional war game, players moving entire companies into engagements, and the second would comprise the true role playing component of individual endeavor, focusing on PCs within those various companies and the dramatic tales that arise from their actions. This, indeed, appears to be the structure of Steven Erikson’s and Ian Esslemont’s Malazan novels.

A component of Elizabeth Moon’s novel that is more traditional with how D&D has come to be played is its use of divine magic, specifically its use of holy symbols among the faithful. Moon’s perspective character Paksenarrion, Paks for short, appears to be being called to the office of Paladin. As such, she’s able to use holy symbols in a manner different from her fellow recruits. In fact, it may be that her fellow recruits can’t use holy symbols at all, but they wear them merely as dressings of their faiths and that they only believe that they might provide them with “luck.”

When Paks comes into possession of one, it does provide her with luck. She also uses it to Heal a character through laying on of hands. As some readers will remember, currently I’m a player in a 1e game, and I’ve been puzzled by the costs and uses of the two kinds of “holy symbols” in the equipment table. Should my Cleric purchase a wooden or metal one? What are the benefits—if any—of one over the other? My DM doesn’t seem to know or care. Obviously the wooden one is more liable to break, which, in his game, seems to be the only pragmatic consideration.

But the gamist in me wants more. Might the amount one spends on a symbol—the metal obviously is more expensive, and begemmed or artistically crafted would be more yet—confer a greater benefit, one awarded through this form of devotion and the personal “sacrifice” indicated in the expense? I also wonder if holy symbols might indeed confer a bit of “luck” for the casual worshipper, probably in the form of a bonus within certain situations, and have more powerful applications—or even be a requirement—in the hands of an established Cleric of the faith.

I notice that RM2 Character Law has no listing for a holy symbol in its equipment table. This and the removal of a Turn Undead ability for its clerical Professions is an interesting indication of what that game had become about in terms of the divine component in its role play. Maybe it should be reintroduced. Has anyone done so? How do Clerics and other divines function at your table?

Druids & Demons

I have been musing on this today after my comment on Hurin’s PowerPoint post this morning.

Imagine this setting.

The characters come from an agricultural society situated in a long fertile valley. It supports many villages and even a few market towns. The social structure is held together by Druids who provide all the spiritual support for the society.

Beyond the valley are hostile tribal nations lead by their own Druids.

Beyond those tribes the world is ruled by demons. This is a literal hell on earth setting.

In game mechanics terms the only spell casters are Druids on both the friendly and hostile sides of the coin. There is no magic except that which can be cast or forged by druids or demons.

Players may play druids only with the GMs consent because of their ruling class status.

Further details could be defined but this will suffice for now.

Would RMu work in this setting? This is a very restricted magic world. If you allowed a druid PC how would you stop them grabbing every available list?

With so little magical healing could anyone survive in hostile territory?

My first thoughts were in almost any set of rules this would be easy to run and play but under RMu it becomes exceptionally difficult.

Is this me just struggling with the RMu rules being spread over so many forum threads and the books being virtually obsolete, which means I cannot retain the information?

Personal Update

I will be leaving hospital, barring last minute setbacks, next Monday.

When I get home I will basically be 30% fixed but I am not going to die and there is nothing they can do in hospital that I cannot do as an out patient from home. Just periodic chest scans and x-rays.

What is facing me on my desk at home is nearly a month of real world day job work.

Although I have greatly appreciated you all stepping in and keeping the blog alive I will be coming back up to speed slowly.

I can also feel the pressure of all the hype I have been putting out about my RMu adventure path in the fanzine. I would like to get the June issue out in June.

I also understand that the ice forums have been down while I have been out of it.

From next week. You will get more from me and more frequently but still no promises.

As proof of my progress this is that I look like now…

Navigator Tech

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about this article. After perusing the equipment offerings in both White Star and Spacemaster’s 1e Tech Law, I believe that Peter R probably intends to confine himself to the gear in White Star, though this might cause problems for backward-compatibility with Spacemaster products, an intention of purpose he has for his Navigator RPG.

As would be expected, White Star equipment is fundamental. Its standard gear isn’t more wondrous than modern tools in existence today. Its weapons range from the primitive ones available in most fantasy rpgs to modern “slugthrowers” to laser weapons. Armor in White Star, no matter how it is “skinned,” is just armor—even if it has reflective coating against laser weapons. Shields are either energy or physical, and they can’t be used together. Only with starships do we see some innovations predicated on genre. Here we find Shielding, Targeting Systems, Automated Weapons, Cloaking, Ion Guns, Proton Missiles, Reinforced Hulls and Tractor Beams.

The range of equipment in Spacemaster’s 1e Tech Law is much more diverse, but these raise design questions that aren’t easily resolved. Does armor lacking reflective covering provide any protection against laser beams? How about blasters, which I’m interpreting as a weapon that fires a wall of force? Against these energies, armor might minimize damage, but the character nonetheless should be subject to being knocked prone. Ion blasts should be particularly pernicious to robots and gadgetry, and plasma and matter/antimatter should be particularly lethal: plasma should eat right through physical armor (only energy shields might provide a defense) and perhaps continue to do so for rounds later, and matter/antimatter… Well.

White Star Advanced Equipment (in the White Star universe, this appears to be the equivalent of wondrous items or artifacts—not “for sale” and designed to be extremely rare) offers devices such as an Atomizer (Save or die, 10 uses), Plasma Projector (massive damage, 10 uses), and a Freeze Ray (a stunner?). These, perhaps, emulate some of the Spacemaster tech I have described above.

I guess these considerations merely show, per Peter’s intentions, that there is great potential in these spaces for third party developers. These designers should have opportunities to create very interesting and tactical mini games based on real or fictional “science” and technology.

If the range of science fiction personal gear in White Star is limited, its starship offerings are much more serviceable, and this chassis, as a foundation upon which to build, is preferable to Spacemaster 1e’s opaque method for designing starships, though much—particularly the construction of computer programs and abilities—could be ported in from there. I guess I likewise look forward to the mini games that third parties might develop for spaceship combat and exploration.

Well, those are my thoughts for the emerging Navigator RPG. I’m eager to see it take shape!