Friday, 24 April 2015

Into The Oort: Ships

Chargen in Into The Odd is one of the fastest things I've seen for a game. 3d6, 3d6, 3d6 and a d6 and then mechanically it's done. Sure, you might want to make up some details of what your person looks like or talk about how they know the other players' characters, but after a brief flurry of rolling you're done.

I want the same thing for chargen in Into The Oort, but also for shipgen as well; a starting group of players has their own ship, which has three stats that are related to different mechanical aspects of the ship. Roll 3d6 for HULL, 3d6 for DRIVE and 3d6 for SCAN, along with a d6 for shield points. Shields are always on, as a kind of energy shield to deflect dust and particles. In a pinch they absorb and redistribute weapons fire; once they're overloaded damage is taken by ship systems, but it only takes a short break from combat before the shields are back online.

Some combination of highest/lowest stat and the d6 for shield points will index a table that gives some details on what else the ship has - type of weapons, armour, special systems, and so on. I'm looking at ways to make other aspects of shipgen as simple. I think that there are possibly three other aspects which could be done quickly, and I've tried something for them recently at my second playtest game.

I had a short table of six entries for each of three aspects: TYPE, CREW, CARGO. Players roll three d6 as a group, and then use each result to pick out what they want. 6s are generally better than 1s. So at the playtest I think they got 6, 6 and 1. They assigned the 6s to TYPE and CARGO and the 1 to CREW. For the purposes of the playtest this meant that they had a decommissioned warship, two valuable cargoes but a small cargo hold, and they only had a skeleton crew of two others.

I liked this, but it also seemed slightly at odds with the other mechanical setup. That may or may not be a bad thing. I liked the aspects of choice rather than totally random gen. The discussion at the table - "We want an ex-warship, but do we need a good crew? Would it better to have no cargo?" - was great, and didn't take long. I can see that it might take a different group more time deciding what ship they want. I'm not 100% sure about it yet, so it might change.

What do you think? Any questions? Maybe in the next post I'll say something about how the different main ship stats work, mechanically, in the game.

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