Fuck yeah, Space Pirates!

  • 4 Replies
Fuck yeah, Space Pirates!
« on: June 09, 2014, 06:38:37 AM »
   Hi guys, I got myself knee-deep in it last night after talking to some people about running a super-pulp space-pirates game where players loot space-traders, fight space-monsters, flee the curse of the space-kraken and stick it to the space-man whenever they can. And long story short, I have to find or build an appropriate system in the upcoming weeks to do so.

   I mastered a game of Shadowrun to the same group but it didn't go too well with them, I think due to the heavy rules, super-long character creation and deep world. And unfortunately, the only rpg that I found that was pre-built for that sort of system was a game called Metal Adventures that, if perfect for the setting (Because the whole rules are about being metal and dashing) is also rules heavy. So I thought to go narrative or at least rules-light with this one and maybe hack a bit here and there, maybe keeping ideas from metal adventures in the process.

   So I thought of two systems: Savage Worlds, which I have never played nor watched but seemed to be recommended for that kind of things by the internets, mainly because it deals with spaceship combat in a supposedly cool way (But is not as light on rules as it claims: A table of modifiers for climbing? Really?), and Apocalypse World, which has been on my mind ever since I have watched the "rollplay r&d" on the itmejp youtube channel, and seems to be fairly close to what I want, along with having some of the most amazing mechanics I've ever seen.

   However I'll have to hack it, but not wanting to mess it up too bad, since I have never gm'd the thing, I wanted to ask you, people who actually love and play the system, for whatever tidbits of advice you could give me, contributions or pointers to other hacks would also be appreciated. Quite frankly, anything. I think this is a cool project, and as such I'll really get to it, but I also know that there is such a thing as experience with a system and messed up rules, and as such I won't dismiss anything that you give me.

   So, my objectives are:

-To have a very narratively focused game where combat is a breeze and not a hassle.

-To have a non-frustrating experience as much as possible.

-To have a tactile experience, meaning having the players manipulate physical objects as often as possible, as I have had great success in the past with small gimmicks that involve playing cards and the like. It gives players the feeling that they are doing something concrete and is very good for the overall theme. This is the main reason I have been thinking about using Savage Worlds at first.

-To give the ship the players are in a sense of place. I want them to feel the ship, love the ship, give it a personality. I don't know if it is clear, it is fairly hard to express.

-Be fast, be pulp, hit hard.

-Give the players the option to be whatever race/robot kind they want.

   My problems are:

-I don't think Apocalypse world has the systems I need to get the ship to feel alive and give everybody something to do while in combat.

-I am not a native english speaker and will have to translate basically everything to the players. And unfortunately my language does not have what I would call the "cool culture" of English that is so prevalent in everything Apocalypse world does, one if its strengths in my opinion, but I don't think you can help me with that, I am just putting it out here just in case.

-Apocalypse world is a class system, which means classes will have to be adapted to the setting, maybe the most fun problem to solve though. The gunlugger will translate nicely, but I'll have to work on the driver for example. I'll also have to create other classes from scratch. Which will be tough since I have never mastered the setting.

-I have no idea how to deal with race. Not a clue.

-Introducing non-dice tactile elements to Apocalypse world.

-Making healing fast and easy.

   In order to do this I was thinking about:

-Using the HP system from dungeon world and not apocalypse world, as it feels a little less abstract. But I might be wrong on that one.

-Get some cybernetics in place. You loose an arm? Who the fuck cares, metal is stronger than flesh anyways! And hide a gun in it while you're at it.

-I'll deal with ammo with a tarot deck. Every weapon will have an abstract ammo capacity, for example a revolver would have an ammo cap of "dramatic", while a heavy machine gun would have an ammo count of "Enough", and a battery-powered laser melter would have an ammo count of "infinite". After each round of going aggro players draw a card from the deck and the ammo cap of the gun compared to the draw determines if they run out (An "Enough" weapon would run out on a 1 to 3, maybe, whereas a "dramatic" weapon would run out on a 1 to 8, infinite breaking on a 1 only.). However if they do run out, they'll also deal more damage for cinematic effect. I was thinking about building some of the moves around that system, with class moves like "Hidden Ammo", bypassing the first bad draw, or "Make it count", which would increase the damage bonus by a huge margin if the players has a bad draw. Would love some input on that as It sounds too much like a good idea to me, which is always suspicious.

-Making the driver a technician, and replacing the "my other car is a tank" move by "Custom Vac-Suit", giving him a mecha of some sort for good old blasting.

-Giving experience for fails, dungeon-world style. I love that system.

-Making chance a brutally effective thing, given to the players at the start of the game in the form of poker chips, that they have to give to the GM if they use, for him to use it against them. I have played two games with such a system already and it is always a blast. It gives the players the ability to do stupidly overkill stuff whenever they want, at the cost of getting stupidly screwed over at a later point. The mechanic is super-pulp and fits the setting well in my opinion. But I'll have to work on the details.

-Making my players write the pirate-code of the universe they are in.

   I'll go light on background but so far I have decided on these things:
-Ships that are able to go planetside land on the sea or any kind of liquid rather than on land. Landing on land with these hunks of metal is possible but super difficult. Planets without water try to get "something" that is liquid at the local temperature in order to build a port. And if it has to be lava, it'll be lava. Liquid nitrogen is okay too. Hard sci-fi all the way you see...
-There will be a space-empire for the players to fuck with and fear.
-There will be a space-kraken. Probably other space-monsters.
-Ships will fire broadsides and have less powerful turrets.
-Boarding action by cutting through the hull will be a thing.
-Guns will fire bullets or physical projectiles. Pew pew lasers are for wimps, and will be available to hyper-tech aliens or super-powered battle-stations only.
-Probably no space-fighters. Go big or go dead.
-Maybe there'll be space-voodoo action of sorts. Not sure on that yet, would maybe be fun and would allow me to make use of the "weird" stat.

   So here I am for now. I'd like to apologize here for this being my first post, and for any english mistakes I might have made. I know it is kinda weird to ask for help on a first post. And I am not too proud of it, but I'll swallow my pride for good advice any day.

(Btw, just curious, does it get the message through if you choose spambot? That would be awesome)



As If

  • 142
Re: Fuck yeah, Space Pirates!
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2014, 07:57:52 AM »
There's a lot of stuff in there.  Too much to answer right now but I'm sure others will chime in.  For now I just want to give you two links that you might find useful.

Star World *W hack by Rob Wieland and Mark Diaz Truman - includes ship officer classes, special basic moves and ship moves.

Pirate Class for DW by Melissa Fisher - it's the nautical kind of pirate, but it should give you some ideas for piratey moves and color.

Re: Fuck yeah, Space Pirates!
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2014, 09:11:51 AM »
Maybe use Dungeon World instead of Apocalypse World. You can check out Adventures on Dungeon Planet for sci-fi space pulp, including really simple spaceship rules. Another supplement, Inverse World, has a captain playbook which makes use of different vehicle rules.

Or check the science fiction section of The Big List of Apocalypse World Hacks, you might prefer something like Traveller World or Uncharted Worlds.


As If

  • 142
Re: Fuck yeah, Space Pirates!
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2014, 09:53:00 AM »
Mister Metzger has too much couth to link to his descripto-page for Dungeon Planet.  But I don't.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2014, 09:57:17 AM by As If »

Re: Fuck yeah, Space Pirates!
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2014, 03:27:33 PM »
Okay, so this has helped a lot. Uncharted Worlds specifically seems very, very good at making the ship a place the players can feel, and I will shamelessly steal a lot of ideas from them, including tying class moves with things your portion of the ship has. This is just the most amazing idea.

It also has helped me see, by actually making me look at dungeon world's rules in more detail, why I won't use the dungeon world health system and will maybe rework the xp system: It has been built for longer and, I can only guess, less deadly games, which doesn't vibe well with the punkish feel I am looking for.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2014, 05:46:24 PM by Tatourmi »