It’s once again time for a summer RPG, as run by me. I expect it’ll be run for one or two sessions in July, exact dates to be worked out later.
The premise: In the far future, the Terran empire spans the galaxy. Old and decadent, its collapse is now irreversible, though it could be years or it could be centuries, and the final blow could be struck by internal strife and politics or one of the smaller and hungrier empires that pace its borders. Out on the edge of the galaxy, where you are, contact with the government is scarce and planets can be isolated, but the empire still has crushing force it can bring to bear when it chooses.
The characters are heroic rebels seeking to break free of its dark grip, or heroic officers rooting out hidden threats in an attempt to hold back the darkness that threatens to overwhelm the empire. Or more morally-gray versions of the previous, perhaps smugglers looking to make a fast buck via corrupt officials here on the edge of the galaxy.
Psychic powers and high technology exist side by side; psychic powers aren’t exactly common and can be tiring to use, but the nobility are well-advised to have a psychic on staff if they can afford it. Similarly, blaster pistols are a good thing to have but the well-prepared will have personal defense shields, requiring you to get up close and personal with fist or laser sword.
Since this is Space Opera, there are also various alien races and droids around, but humans and near-humans are the vast majority of residents and the rest are discriminated against to varying degrees. Also since this is Space Opera, there are computers but the only actual thinking computers are in the form of droids.
References: Star Wars, Lensmen, Ensign Flandry, James Bond (books more than movies, probably), Dune, Foundation series
The system: This is going to be FATE again, with a couple of tweaks as usual. Specifically, using story aspects and boons. So, in place of the normal aspect and stunt rules, you pick five permanent aspects. These work like regular aspects, and in addition you pick an associated stunt-like mechanical benefit: Notorious Smuggler aspect might give +2 to social rolls involving illicit goods, Survivor of the Elzern Purges could let you spend a fate point to drop into a death-like coma, etc. See the boons link above for more rules, but basically anything that’s a stunt now is fine; in addition, you can use a boon to be psychic: your choice of Telepathy, Mind Control, Telekinesis, or similar.
Beyond the permanent aspects, you have two story-aspect slots you can fill in as the session goes on (these don’t give an additional mechanical benefit, but they’re still aspects and work as such).
Updates: We’ll be using SotC-normal skill points (ie, 35) to build characters with the procedure mentioned last time — skills costs their rank in points, and you must have at least as many of the rank below as as the current rank. Furthermore, in this setting, Good is normal human maximum, so if you have a Great or Superb skill, consider whether that comes from being an alien or having cybernetic implants or latent psychic ability or what (this probably doesn’t have mechanical implications, but please note it anyway).
We’ll also be using the SotC-normal skill list, with the following modifications:
- Drive and Pilot are condensed into Vehicles
- Burglary also covers computer hacking stuff; “normal” computer interactions are part of whatever skill is appropriate for the activity in general, like Investigation or Art or Vehicles or whatever
- Deceit absorbs Sleight of Hand
- Gambling and Contacting are condensed into Socializing and cover all social interactions with groups (vs Rapport for individuals)
- Leadership is renamed Bureaucracy and covers most dealings with the Empire as an institution (and also other bureaucracies as appropriate)
- Mysteries is renamed Psychic and covers the theory and history of psychic ability; it is usually not the skill rolled for using a psychic ability
- The Fists/Weapons/Guns trio are replaced by a similar set: Primitive covers unarmed combat and all low-technology weapons (ie, stuff that existed pre-WW2 or so), Blasters covers normal energy weapons, and Exotics covers other high-technology weapons (most notably, laser swords).