So I have been thinking about my Spacemaster idea from last week. There are a few threads I want to pull together today.
Cepheus vs Whitebox
There are two potential ‘original sources’. The first, as pointed out by Egdcltd was Cepheus. This is basically Traveller with the serial numbers filed off. So the core mechanic is 2d6 + skill and roll over target number.
The Cepheus Light rules are a complete set of Sci Fi rules and cover everything from character create to starship combat and planet building. Those rule weigh in at just under 170 pages.
Whitestar by Whitebox on the other hand is a D&D in space game OSR build. It is closer to the original sources as Rolemaster was D&D house rules so this would be Spacemaster as Whitestar house rules. As a d20 system the conversion to d100 is simple and logical. The rules as sold are 134 pages all in including setting, starting adventures and the game rules.
In terms of popularity Cepheus is a Pay What You Want game that has achieved Silver metal status. Whitestar is also PWYW but is a Gold metal product. The PWYW is important as you only get metal ratings if you actually pay for the PDF/book and most people don’t pay when they can have the PDF for free. If only 1% paid then the actual number of downloads would be in excess of 10,000 and 50,000 respectively. Whatever way you cut it Whitestar appears to be four or five times as popular as Cepheus.
Over in Zweihander-land I have been running some collaborative projects. In principle it works like this. I suggest a title, I set up simple shared project management board where people can list the content they are working on and can then list when it is all completed. I then do the page layout and put the book on sale. Profits are shared on a pro-rata basis using page count as the unit of measure.
It works, and works well with that group of developers because there is a real sense of helping each other out. It is very non-competitive. I would go so far as to say it is very supportive.
The most important thing is to leave your ego at the door.
I am not entirely sure if the Rolemaster community could pull off the same level of collaboration. To be fair Brian, Egdcltd and I managed it with the 50in50 adventures so it is possible. Creating an entire game system is a little harder as there will always be the tug of war between simplicity and complexity. That question has never been suitably answered. That is in part why I mentioned right from the start RM2 rather than Rolemaster in general. I find RM2 fans are more open to simpler games because at the start RM2 was a rather simple game.
What’s in a name?
Finally, I have been tossing names around recently and I have rather grown to like Navigator RPG. It is a bit of a nod to Shadow World. If you use a Sci Fi type font it looks quite cool. Also, just as important there is no Navigator RPG at the moment. I say at the moment as there used to a game a Gamma World retro clone but the last update on their blog/site was eight years ago and the game never made it onto Drivethru or RPGnow.