Aslan Preview

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Postby rust » Wed Jun 24, 2009 11:56 am

Ishmael wrote: they're just a starting point
And a very good one. The worst alien species and the worst planetary
ecologies I have seen were the ones that ignored the necessity to gi-
ve plausible answers to those seemingly simple questions.
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Postby atpollard » Wed Jun 24, 2009 1:03 pm

BP wrote:
kristof65 wrote:... convey a planet having a cooler sun, polluted air, and 1.5Gs of gravity with anything other than words, maybe pictures.
Dim the lighting, fart and put wrist weights on all your players :P
ROFL
Nobody else mentioned it, but I thought that it was funny.
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Postby MrUkpyr » Wed Jun 24, 2009 3:02 pm

EDG wrote:
kristof65 wrote:As for why people might care more about Aslan psychology and physiology rather than the planet being the right distance from the star? Well, I chalk that up to interactivity. An Aslan PC/NPC is going to interact with the PCs on a more detailed level than most planets will. And look at the ways a GM can convey an NPC to a group of players, versus the way they can convey a world to them. NPCs can be conveyed with mannerisms, physical motion, facial expressions, voices as well as pictures, and verbal or written descriptions.
Yeah, but what does that interaction have to do their what the skeletal structure of their hand is, or on how many livestock they need to be able to feed a community, or what the male:female ratio is? None of that would really come through in normal interaction with the species, any more than a planet's detailed physical evolution comes through when characters land on it. So arguably it's as irrelevant a detail fo revery day use as the planet stuff.
One of the PCs in my game is a Droyne of the Sport class.
The skeletal structure of his hand has come up more than once, an example being when someone tossed him a gun and he couldn't fire the thing!

As for the details on planets, *every* planet is an NPC. The Matriarchal Beaurocracy on planet *goombah* means that the male captain is ignored while the female steward is the one having to answer questions.

Or the fact that the planet was invaded by aliens in green a 10000 years ago and occupied the planet for another 4000 years, so now green is a taboo color and wearing it causes people to ignore you.


Do you *need* to know all the minor details. Probably not. But for those who enjoy them, they can add all sorts of details to the game
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Postby kristof65 » Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:56 pm

MrUkpyr wrote: As for the details on planets, *every* planet is an NPC. The Matriarchal Beaurocracy on planet *goombah* means that the male captain is ignored while the female steward is the one having to answer questions.

Or the fact that the planet was invaded by aliens in green a 10000 years ago and occupied the planet for another 4000 years, so now green is a taboo color and wearing it causes people to ignore you.
But those aren't the kind of details that typically involve planetary science. Sure, they should be affected and derived from knowing the basic underlying planetary sciences and physics - afterall, a quite different culture is likely to emerge on a high temperature world with a polluted atmosphere than on a coller world with abundant fertile soil.

But like that grouchy old PC who just hired you, you often don't need to know if he is 61 or 62, likewise, very few players will care if a planet is 90 or 95 million miles from it's sun., as long as they know the climate.
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Postby BP » Wed Jun 24, 2009 5:04 pm

MrUkpyr wrote:...so now green is a taboo color and wearing it causes people to ignore you.
Love that = 'Hey guys, put on these green sheets - none of these noobs will even see us as we leave the vault!'
:D
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Postby captainjack23 » Wed Jun 24, 2009 5:09 pm

kristof65 wrote:
MrUkpyr wrote: As for the details on planets, *every* planet is an NPC. The Matriarchal Beaurocracy on planet *goombah* means that the male captain is ignored while the female steward is the one having to answer questions.

Or the fact that the planet was invaded by aliens in green a 10000 years ago and occupied the planet for another 4000 years, so now green is a taboo color and wearing it causes people to ignore you.
But those aren't the kind of details that typically involve planetary science. Sure, they should be affected and derived from knowing the basic underlying planetary sciences and physics - afterall, a quite different culture is likely to emerge on a high temperature world with a polluted atmosphere than on a coller world with abundant fertile soil.

But like that grouchy old PC who just hired you, you often don't need to know if he is 61 or 62, likewise, very few players will care if a planet is 90 or 95 million miles from it's sun., as long as they know the climate.

I'm a firm believer in DOWN (Detail Only When Necessary); that said, I do find it helful to have some data available more than just the UWP -although that is a surprisingly good resource, I have to admit. So, the details you mentioned would likely be the kind of thing I'd have generated on spec -if it looked like the players were headed there, I'd have enough seed data to get an interesting (or boring) scenario set up.

very often, I find anomalies to be useful in grabbing the players attention, which (for my bunch, anyway, rocket scientists and all) usually means providing them with some "universally expected" data. An example: this race lives on a low g planet, but shows problems with skeletal development, maturation and bloodflow -unlike typical lower G sentients. The clue was to suggest that they weren't from there originally, but had settled the planet long, long ago.
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Postby captainjack23 » Wed Jun 24, 2009 5:11 pm

BP wrote:
MrUkpyr wrote:...so now green is a taboo color and wearing it causes people to ignore you.
Love that = 'Hey guys, put on these green sheets - none of these noobs will even see us as we leave the vault!'
:D

Of course, if the guards just happen to park their armored car in the "empty space" right there....... :twisted:
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Postby EDG » Wed Jun 24, 2009 8:02 pm

captainjack23 wrote:I'm a firm believer in DOWN (Detail Only When Necessary); that said, I do find it helful to have some data available more than just the UWP -although that is a surprisingly good resource, I have to admit. So, the details you mentioned would likely be the kind of thing I'd have generated on spec -if it looked like the players were headed there, I'd have enough seed data to get an interesting (or boring) scenario set up.
"DOWN" is all well and good so long as the detail exists somewhere beforehand and you're just bringing it to the fore, because then whatever it is your describing is self-consistent. If you're just making up the detail as you go along then you're more likely to run into problems.
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Postby captainjack23 » Wed Jun 24, 2009 10:48 pm

EDG wrote:
captainjack23 wrote:I'm a firm believer in DOWN (Detail Only When Necessary); that said, I do find it helful to have some data available more than just the UWP -although that is a surprisingly good resource, I have to admit. So, the details you mentioned would likely be the kind of thing I'd have generated on spec -if it looked like the players were headed there, I'd have enough seed data to get an interesting (or boring) scenario set up.
"DOWN" is all well and good so long as the detail exists somewhere beforehand and you're just bringing it to the fore, because then whatever it is your describing is self-consistent. If you're just making up the detail as you go along then you're more likely to run into problems.

Which is pretty much what I described. Long gone are the days of rolling up a dungeon and all the encounters as the players moved thru it. :shock: "When Neccessary" for me means: "At least the day before the session when the players get there"; DOALTDBTSWTPGT is a bit clunky as acronyms go, though.

Still, I do look at it as seed data -or perhaps compressed detail. A UWP for me is a good chunk of reference data, which references the planet I developed from it, even if it was only in my head; but then, I also make sure that the players won't go somewhere I haven't considered.

Level of written detail invariably varies with my knowlege of the subject. For me, if planetology needs to be relevant, I'd probably look it up and write it down; for biology or OTU history (say) much less so; besides, I've learned that no matter what detail you record, players always ask one extra question. So winging it confidently, if not knowlegably is generally a good GM skill.
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Postby BP » Thu Jun 25, 2009 4:37 am

I prefer Detail On Demand... and so do many players :)

As EDG points out (the way I read it) if this detail is consistent then it mitigates the demands that can become real distractions.

Balanced rules, especially those that mimic readily available RW data, leave less room for doubt and debate. The distance of a planetary orbit is not in and of itself important - but it does directly effect numerous details that are 'important' to players, like: How hot?; How much daylight?; How long till any sun hidden Cruiser could get here?

Having instant, consistent answers to these questions can make a Referee's job easier and play more enjoyable for everyone.
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Postby The Chef » Thu Jun 25, 2009 6:48 am

i must be really lucky, my players don't ask and if something to do with environment comes up then i generally wing it.

but most of my sessions are ad hoc, made up as i go along or with just a general idea. we fill the gaps in as we go along.
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Postby Gee4orce » Thu Jun 25, 2009 1:35 pm

I really like the style of the line drawing illustrations - way to go. I don't much like the content of them though - the Aslan were only every supposed to be suggestive of Terran felines, not look exactly like big cats on two legs :?

As for the base 8 thing - I like it, but I do have a quibble. The Aslan would probably not say "4096 warriors died", he would probably say "ten thousand warriors died", but mean 4096 in base-10. The potential for confusion (and entertainment at the player's expense) is obvious :twisted:
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Postby daryen » Thu Jun 25, 2009 1:46 pm

Speaking of base-8 comments, the example in the PDF is wrong. The PDF says, "1,2,3,4,5,6,7,10,11,12,13,14,15,20". That is incorrect, as it is missing "16" and "17". The author made the mistake of forgetting that "15" is really "13-base 10", and therefore still need to go to "15-base 10", which is "17".

In other words, the author, while explaining base-8, was still thinking in base-10. ;)
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Postby Mongoose Gar » Thu Jun 25, 2009 2:01 pm

Agh! Many apologies.
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Postby kristof65 » Thu Jun 25, 2009 3:21 pm

Gee4orce wrote:As for the base 8 thing - I like it, but I do have a quibble. The Aslan would probably not say "4096 warriors died", he would probably say "ten thousand warriors died", but mean 4096 in base-10. The potential for confusion (and entertainment at the player's expense) is obvious :twisted:
I see your point - however, it will also depend on if the number is denoted with numerical symbols, such as 10,000 or spelled out as a word, IE ten thousand. So it can come down to translation. In native Aslan there would probably be a word for 4096, and that word would always be "correct" in their native tongue(s). However, some might translate it to human tongues as 4096, while others might translate it as ten thousand and still others might translate it as four thousand, a lot of that depending upon whether the original was spelled out as a word, or as symbols.

it seems to me that mathematicians will have less of a tendancy to translate it incorrectly than others will - in my experience, numbers are the easiest things to translate from one language to another, and some careers are quite used to dealing with multiple number base systems - I deal with hexedecimal on a daily basis for work (and anyone who plays Traveller for any length of time probably understands it, too.
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Postby IanBruntlett » Thu Jun 25, 2009 4:03 pm

I'm into programming so I've dabbled with the use of different number bases...

The Aslan, with four fingers (I presume on 4 for each hand) could also count on their hands in base 16 - aka hexadecimal. That way they can count from 0 to FF (in hex), meaning they can count from the equivalent of 0 to 255 in decimal. This isn't as mad as it may seem - one 4 digit hand could represent one hexadecimal digit :)

OTOH, I have a weird notion that humans with 10 digits can count up to decimal 1023, aka binary 1111111111
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Postby The Chef » Thu Jun 25, 2009 4:32 pm

i can count to 20!

but thats as far as i get without electronic aid!

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Postby captainjack23 » Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:11 pm

BP wrote:I prefer Detail On Demand... and so do many players :)

As EDG points out (the way I read it) if this detail is consistent then it mitigates the demands that can become real distractions.

Balanced rules, especially those that mimic readily available RW data, leave less room for doubt and debate. The distance of a planetary orbit is not in and of itself important - but it does directly effect numerous details that are 'important' to players, like: How hot?; How much daylight?; How long till any sun hidden Cruiser could get here?

Having instant, consistent answers to these questions can make a Referee's job easier and play more enjoyable for everyone.

This is a pretty interesting discussion; might I suggest that we move it to its own thread, rather than keep it mixed up in the Aslan discussion ?
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Postby EDG » Thu Jun 25, 2009 7:28 pm

captainjack23 wrote:This is a pretty interesting discussion; might I suggest that we move it to its own thread, rather than keep it mixed up in the Aslan discussion ?
But it won't be a real thread about the Aslan preview if there isn't a raging flamewar going on in it...! ;)
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Postby daryen » Thu Jun 25, 2009 7:41 pm

EDG wrote:But it won't be a real thread about the Aslan preview if there isn't a raging flamewar going on in it...! ;)
Yes. But the flame war(s) should be related to the Aslan. You know, like, "The ihatei can't really be that numerous," or, "How do you have a barely habitable world filled with 10 billion carnivores?" Those would be much more appropriate flamewars. 8)

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