Monday, June 30, 2014

Mixed Bag

This post is a mixed bag as I am still recharging. My first subject, appropriately enough is downtime.

Downtime
In most RPG downtime is when your characters aren't in danger of being eaten (or slightly less danger YMMV.) It is when you do your campaign bookkeeping, apply experience increases and gloss over what your character do to keep from going nuts. Let's face it their quality of life on an adventure is pretty shitty and you can get eaten as I might have said.

I may have mentioned I am a school teacher and downtime is very important to us. In a way for ten months of the year we get very little downtime and almost no break on the job. In return we get generous time off. In spite of this lengthy vacation we never get people flocking to become pedagogues. During the summer many of us take additional courses to stay ahead of the game etc. So in a way it's like a roleplaying campaign. This is the time of year when we apply our experience increases and de-stress.

Downtime probably shouldn't be about yet another life and death situation because again, how is that different from actual scenarios? then again people who risk life and limb regularly might have a wild idea of what's fun. the ex-Imperial Marine for example joins a diving club, from orbit. Far more relaxing than what he's used to -they give you a vacc suit and heat shield! A fantasy style wizard joins a dueling club (any offensive spells up to minor curses allowed.) There's some risk (that is usually minimized by support, regulations, and drilling.)

So the Marine might get a positive modifier for landing a vacc suit without being char broiled. The wizard learns a bunch of variant spells. That lets you individualize your characters.

More to the point they are also meeting people who can keep cropping up. the wizard may discover the person who has a tome he needs was the one he cursed with boils in obscure places for a month. This is will make negotiations a little harder. The Marine might use the Re-Entry Clubs activities as a cover to board a ship in orbit the group needs to investigate.

Clubs and social networks can provide contacts and allies. They can provide allies and enemies. In fact an enemy might be quite congenial if he's in your club regarding it as neutral ground. After all lobbing laser beams or fireballs around could get him kicked out. It might also be an opportunity for social combat. That is decidedly non-lethal but can also sting.

Finally downtime can be used to set up things for the next story arc!

Tuning Tech Levels
I ran into a slight problem with my near future setting. The Tech Levels in Traveller cover very long periods of time (at least a couple of decades.) There's also a decent amount of progress between TLs and a wide range of TLs across space. None of this seems right for a setting a couple hundred years from now. I did want to differentiate worlds a little more than having them be TL 7,  8, or 9. So I further refined the Tech Levels using + and -.

Basically a - means the world's technology is deficient in some way from the standard TL. A + means it has some elements of the next TL. I also did a conversion chart bearing the max TL 9+ in mind and the further gradations. Note I added in androids and dropped the TL for robots from TL 12 to TL 9 (using the JTAS system.)

TL Roll      Adjusted
7                 7
8                 8- R-Drives 1-3. Air/Rafts 100m max
9                  8 R-Drives 4-6. Air/Rafts 1 km max
10               8+ Low Berths (Survival 7+), M-Drives 1-3 gees, Air/Rafts 10 km max
11               9- Low Berths (Survival 6+), Air/Rafts orbital max, artificial gravity, Jump 1 (x4 fuel)
12               9 Low Berths (Survival 5+), M-Drives 4-6 gees, acceleration shield 1-3 gees, TL 12                              Robots
13+             9+ Androids, TL 10 Small Arms, Reflec armor, TL 13 Robots