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Genship Exiles & Consoles and Controllers

A topic by Loreshaper Games created May 01, 2022 Views: 60
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Genship Exiles

Genship Exiles is a project that I "started" a few years ago, in the sense that I started working on it and even commissioned a bunch of art, then wound up having issues with completing the project and couldn't really figure out even where I wanted to go with the system.

Genship Exiles is a setting-agnostic science fiction game, that tells stories of travelers heading through space to find a new world for themselves.

While I haven't yet gotten into the full work on the project (because I'm wrapping up another project, Carrion Birds while working on my major project for this year, Kenoma), I have some ideas that I'd like to set out now and get feedback on.

Meta-Characters

Genship Exiles is a game that can be played as a bunch of sessions with the same characters, but it's also inspired by games like The Quiet Year to have a bunch of elements that go beyond any single player's character.

Although still a "traditional" TRPG with mechanically represented characters and a player-character assignment, Genship Exiles is also designed around a community that has left their homeworld (for reasons determined by the players) aboard a ship. The community, the ship, and a "lineage" (representing not necessarily just families but also organizations; you might see a family as a lineage, but also the Engineering Department) are each fleshed out with qualities, and characters can draw on them as well as each other.

The community, ship, and lineage components are handled in a separate "character creation" process, but also develop during play.

Connected Core

The idea behind Genship Exiles is to have character progression handled entirely in narrative, without a need for explicit character advancement rules. Character creation involves a "gestalt" which represents the basic mechanics of a character and a social connections process.

In the gestalt process, the nature of a character is determined. They have a Persona, which reflects their personal qualities, and a Schema, which reflects their know-how and modus operandi.

Then the social connections process happens. Characters pick relationships, choosing from the community, ship, lineages, and other player characters to explain how they relate to the world around them.

The Persona determines the type of die rolled for a test. The Schema determines how many dice are rolled for a test. Connections can be used either to upgrade a die or roll additional dice. This is still work in progress, but the plan is to have a success system based on results greater than 5, with a d6 being the lowest die available, d8 being "average" and a d12 being the greatest. A result of 10+ is a special success. Characters roll 2-5 dice. More difficult tests require more successes.

Spotlighting and Multigenerational Progression

As play continues, characters may (in keeping with the generation ship setting conceit) draw connections to their predecessors, either PCs or NPCs that served as mentors, parents, or inspirations (e.g. the spouse of a former PC may be a PC in a future "generation," or a PC may have a connection to a figure in distant history that they model themselves after).

Connections give powerful boosts, but are (temporarily) expended. As the game carries on, the various characters or meta-characters gain Legends, which are connections that can be used as often as a character likes at the cost of being more specialized. For instance, a character with a connection to Engineering can use it whenever it would make sense (both to boost technical skills and to negotiate for a part, for instance), but a character with a connection to an Engineering Legend involving a tense situation with a warp-drive is really good with warp drives at the expense of not drawing other connections.

The goal of this is to let Genship Exiles "reset" power levels fairly often while giving Legends as an additional meta-currency. 

Each generation inherits Legends from previous generations, which can once again be drawn from either the community, the ship, a lineage, or a previous character. For instance, a legendary pilot may have a special maneuver named after them, which functions as a non-consumed connection. Each PC chooses one Legend from each prior generation, which each represents one character or meta-character's accomplishments in that generation.

Characters may return, living out their own Legend again, if the timeframe and setting permit (picture going between the Star Wars trilogies), but this is not required. Since each generation generates at least 4 (community, ship, lineage, PC), and as many as 2+2x players (community, ship, one lineage per player, one PC per player) Legends, this gives the opportunity to develop perks and other opportunities.

I may also make rules for Legends from the start of the story, which would take part of the collective or GM-led worldbuilding into account.

GM or Oracle

Although I plan for Genship Exiles to be a traditional GM-driven system, I also intend to have more options for oracle-driven play, both by making parts of the setting collaborative and by making it as simple as possible to drive mechanics. Genship Exiles will follow the footsteps of my Glassmakers' Fall and use a Setbacks system rather than a traditional combat/injuries setup. Each Setback applies in certain narrative conditions, and removes dice from characters. 

A character who would roll no dice cannot attempt an action and is incapacitated or otherwise futile (e.g. a character who has caused too much offense to continue in a conversation, or a character who has used up every last ounce of energy in their body and needs to rest after a hike through the wilderness).

Because of this, the only "number" the GM ever needs to worry about is a difficulty number, which determines the number of successes needed on any given test, making the game very fluid for oracle-driven play and letting any oracle mechanics focus more on broad brush-strokes and limiting the need for content references or mechanical arbitration beyond a narrative sense of how difficult something is.

Consoles & Controllers

While talking in the Lucky Newt Jams Discord, people suggested that I submit my light-hearted video game metaverse title Consoles & Controllers to this jam, so I did. It was already submitted to the Charge creation jam, since it's Powered by Charge, but there's enough overlap with the themes that I think it's fun.

I did feel a little bad about submitting it to two jams simultaneously. Because I'm a fan of free, you can access it through this coupon link (https://loreshapergames.itch.io/ftgpkn3tcj) and get a FREE copy. Anyone can use it, but it expires at the end of May.