Glorious Dawn -- (Another?!) Space Opera hack for ApW

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Glorious Dawn -- (Another?!) Space Opera hack for ApW
« on: March 18, 2014, 11:23:15 PM »
So I guess I'm far enough into the development of this hack that I feel okay posting what I have here for all your insight and comments. I find I'm most creative when I have a board to bounce my ideas off of (pun intended).

GLORIOUS DAWN is a space opera hack of Apocalypse World. It's basically a love letter to Dan Simmons's Hyperion Cantos in particular, and a host of other works besides, including Asimov's Foundation trilogy and Alistair Reynolds's Revelation Space universe. It also draws to a lesser degree from Neuromancer, Ringworld, Ender's Game, the Uplift series, Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars, and (as before) more besides.

I'll also give a quick nod to John Ryan's Rogue Trader: Apocalypse hack for being inspirational, as well.

Here's my back-cover pitch for the game, in true lumpley fashion:

Glorious Dawn:
A game about the human race in the far future. A game about dealing with the dark, mysterious, and--above all--unimaginably vast universe and the unknowable motives it has for humanity. A game about a group of people trying to change events that are far greater in size than any of them can imagine. A game about travelling the galaxy. A game about scope.

More info and specifics in the next post!
« Last Edit: March 19, 2014, 12:06:24 AM by aerothopter »

Re: Glorious Dawn -- (Another?!) Space Opera hack for ApW
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2014, 11:39:42 PM »
GM Stuff! (player stuff in the next post)

GM Agenda:

  • Treat the universe as if it were real.
  • Make the characters’ lives exceptional.
  • Play to find out what happens.
GM Principles:

  • Look at the stars through the eyes of a child.
  • Address the characters, not the players.
  • Begin, follow through, and end with the fiction.
  • Never speak the name of your moves.
  • Think Big.
  • Catalyze change.
  • Think offscreen, too.
  • Be a fan of the player characters.
  • Respond deviously and occasionally generously.
  • Ask big questions and lean on the answers.
  • Sometimes, disclaim decision-making.

And, particularly for the first principle, some elaboration:

Look at the stars through the eyes of a child.
The universe is vast, sublime, and mysterious. “Through the eyes of a child” means not only with a sense of adventure, optimism, and gleeful wonder; but also with an instinctive fear of the unknown and a constant feeling that things are happening beyond your comprehension. Make the players feel like children, too. Give yourself and the players goosebumps. Impress upon them the scale of their surroundings and actions. Relish both the broad sweep and the fine details.

This is not to say that the stories you tell should be juvenile or simple. “Look at the stars” means you describe the universe--not the players in it--like a wide-eyed child. Painting the backdrop in bright colors makes the darkness living in it that much more mysterious and threatening, and allows the characters’ grand deeds to feel at home in their history.

Fronts and Threats!

Creating Fronts:

When you make a front, do these in roughly this order:

  • Choose a Trajectory for your front.
  • Create 3 to 4 threats for your front.
  • Describe the front in a couple sentences.
  • Pose 2 to 4 stakes questions.
  • Write the Event Horizon for your front. (for now, this isn't a thing)

  • Expansion, as in expanding borders or influence
  • Destruction, as in destruction of property or life
  • Evolution, as in evolving beings or technology
  • Decay, as in decaying civilization or decaying energy
  • Assimilation, as in assimilating people or pursuing homogeneity
  • Collision, as in colliding galaxies or incompatible goals

Threat Types:

  • Organizations // structured groups with a coherent goal.
  • Agents // aggressive, powerful individuals with agency in the universe.
  • Conditions // as "afflictions" in ApW
  • Populace // normal people who, in groups, can get in your way.
  • Locales // as "landscapes" in ApW
  • Others // as in aliens or unintelligible forces of the universe.

I have some threats already figured out. I'll post those later.

« Last Edit: March 19, 2014, 12:01:42 AM by aerothopter »

Re: Glorious Dawn -- (Another?!) Space Opera hack for ApW
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2014, 11:58:59 PM »
Player Stuff!

Some Playbook Blurbs:

The Scholar: a well-read figure in an age of mass entertainment. Someone who proves that ideas are as important as actions.
The Engineer: the classic tinkerer that every ship needs. Someone to invent the next big thing.
The Executive: a high-powered bigwig with huge sway, but huge responsibilities. Someone who has connections everywhere.
The Pilot: you have to be pretty quick to dodge a missile that travels faster than light. This guy's your man.
The Runner: in and out in a hurry; always stylish deadly. Think Trinity from The Matrix.
The Soldier: bred for combat and outfitted with the latest weapons and armor. A natural-born killer.
The Priest: somehow, the huge blackness of space gets to people and they find religion. Someone who has the answers they seek.
The Diplomat: practically the essence of tactful. Someone who can pull a whole lot of strings.
The Trader: where would the galaxy be without commerce? Someone who knows just where the big money is and how to take advantage.
The Android: they may have less rights than humans, but sometimes being artificial has its advantages. Someone who is in many ways better than human.
The Ultra: why stick to the boring old homo sapiens model when you can have so much more? Someone who takes human to a whole new level.
The Child Prodigy: whether through gene therapy or just pure luck, in a galaxy with trillions of people, someone like this is bound to pop up.
The Cowboy: a hacker extraordinaire. Someone who flies through the datasphere like a fish in a sea.
The Refugee: a tough survivor who's fallen through the cracks and has to pick up somewhere else. Someone who won't let their dark past stop them.
The Gun for Hire: someone who likes a good fight but doesn't like having to think too hard about why.
The Uplifted: maybe that project was scrapped because the genes just didn't match or maybe they didn't like what they saw. Someone who lives life anyway.

I don't have playbooks for all of these (or really any of them, in full). I have some cool moves/ideas for some of them--they're "stubs" for now.

The Stats:

Grounded is how much you live in the moment. Many people’s thoughts are simply elsewhere for their whole lives, so being where you are can make all the difference in the world. Grounded means perceptive, composed, shrewd, opportunistic, or inquisitive.
Basic moves that use Grounded: Assess a Situation, Think Quickly

Quick is how fast your reflexes are. You might not move at the speed of light, but being light on your feet can mean the difference between life and death. Quick means spry, acrobatic, nimble, athletic, graceful, or strong.
Basic moves that use Quick: Offensive Action, Act Quickly

Tactful is how well you get on with others. There are a lot of powerful people out there, and it helps to stay in their good graces. Tactful means social, gregarious, wily, seductive, manipulative, persuasive, or influential.
Basic moves that use Tactful: Size Someone Up, Convince Someone

Technic is how adeptly you use the technology all around you. Almost unlimited power is afforded to those who can truly master the use of the wonders of technology. Technic means savvy, nerdy, trained, weird, or jacked-in.
Basic moves that use Technic: Tap In

Tough is how much old-fashioned grit you’ve got. In this era of high-powered weapons and gene therapy, sometimes you just need to look like you mean business. Tough means brave, stubborn, intimidating, defensive, or stoic.
Basic moves that use Tough: Defensive Action, Threaten Someone

The Basic Moves:

Offensive Action (+quick)
When you take offensive action against an enemy who can fight back, roll+quick. On a hit, you deal your damage and your enemy deals his. On a 10+, choose 2:
-Your attack confers a tactical advantage.
-You take 1 less damage from you enemy.
-You do 1 more damage to your enemy.

Defensive Action (+tough)
When you take defensive action for yourself or others, roll+tough. On a 10+, choose 3; on a 7-9, choose 2:
-Your maneuver confers a tactical advantage.
-You deal 1 damage to your enemy.
-You take 2 less damage, minimum 1.
-You deflect attacks onto yourself, and take 1 less damage from the total
-You don’t lose something valuable or pick up something dangerous.

Threaten Someone (+tough)
When you threaten someone with force with the intent to follow through if necessary, roll+tough. On a 10+, they either do what you want or force your hand and take the hit; on a 7-9, they can instead choose one:
-Get out of your way.
-Secure their position.
-Give you something that you want (or that they think you want)
-Tell you something you want to know (or that they think you want to know).
-Back away slowly, not making any sudden moves.

Convince Someone (+tactful)
When you give an NPC some evidence to convince them of your point of view, roll+tactful. On a 10+, they take your word at face value. On a 7-9, they’ll agree if you back your words up with actions.

Size Someone Up (+tactful)
When you size someone up while interacting with them, roll+tactful. On a 10+, hold 3; on a 7-9, hold 1. During the interaction, you can spend your hold to ask their player a question:
-Is your character lying?
-What is your character feeling?
-What does your character want or intend to do?
-What does your character want me to do?
-How could I get your character to … ?

Assess the Situation (+grounded)
When you assess an extraordinary situation, roll+grounded. On a 10+, ask the GM 3 questions; on a 7-9, ask the GM 1 question:
-What’s my best way in, out, through, or around?
-Which enemy is most vulnerable to me?
-Which enemy is the biggest threat?
-What here isn’t as it seems?
-What here is useful or valuable to me?
When acting on the GM’s answers, take +1 to your rolls.

Think Quickly (+grounded)
When you think quickly to defy danger in a perilous situation, roll+grounded. On a 10+, you do what you set out to do without problems. On a 7-9, you hesitate, choke, or lose control: the GM will offer you a hard choice or a worse outcome.

Act Quickly (+quick)
When you act quickly to defy danger in a perilous situation, roll+quick. On a 10+, you do what you set out to do without problems. On a 7-9, you stall, trip, or falter: the GM will offer you a hard choice or a worse outcome.

Tap In (+technic)
When you have some sort of access to the datasphere and tap in to do some research, roll+technic. On a 10+, you find pertinent information: the GM will tell you what you find. On a 7-9, you find information, but it may be vague or less useful.

Re: Glorious Dawn -- (Another?!) Space Opera hack for ApW
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2014, 12:57:00 AM »
Interesting stuff. Do you have a plan for including alien abilities, or will you just have a playbook for each species?