Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Weird Science

Was doing a little work today on concepts for Shards of Tomorrow, and I started thinking about how much hard science should be in the game. I'm leaning towards 'soft science', or comic book science, but then I started thinking about Star Wars... and that there is NO science. To whit:

All planets... moons... and even asteroids have the same gravity. In fact, everything everywhere has gravity. And it all works the same.
All planets... moons... and (almost) asteroids have a breathable atmosphere.
All planets... moons... and (seemingly) asteroids have the same day, year, calendar...

I won't even go into how there are explosions that require oxygen in the vacuum of space...

In effect, 'space' itself is just a connective tissue that links other lands together, and where big battles can happen. It is the replacement for 'seas' in mythic tales, which is kind of the point. But in this case, it's very literal.

I'm not sure what to do with this. I feel like as the writer of a game that at least pretends to be a sci fi game on the surface, I should make some effort to emulate scientific reality... right? For example, I'd be very happy with a simplified gravity scale that gives us the following:

- No Gravity (space). No STR checks are ever required. Movement in all directions possible. All characters effectively levitate at all times.
- Light Gravity (our moon). Take +4 on STR checks. Double leaping results.
- Standard Gravity (earth). No modifications.
- Heavy Gravity (a big planet). Take -4 on STR checks. Cut leaping results in half. Take -10 to movement.

This allows the GM to insert some real concepts into the game, but keeps the math simple and application quick. You could always go with 'medium light' gravity that gives +2 on STR checks if you really want to go all out.

This gives variety without any rules bloat, which is always my preference. I am not writing Traveler here...