System Colony Review

Hey Folks! Mostly a writing day today, as I primarily spent it looking over Michael's System colonies.

Before that, however, I did sneak in a bit more design work on character creation. I hit a bit of a roadblock on social strata, as I'm now rethinking its role in the game. I still think there's something important there to be recording, but maybe it shouldn't be treated like a stat.

It might make sense for players to start with full citizenship where applicable, and depending on the place, they can opt for lower-class status to gain some bonus points. E.g. take "work visa holder" or even "undocumented person" status for extra chargen points, in exchange for the trouble of not being an official member of the colony.

Of course, some colonies just have no "official" anything, so I'll have to test this theory out.

On to colony review, Michael recently put the finishing touches on his tour-de-System, so it was time for me to take a look. And so far (10/12 of the way through the docs), it's all looking good! Some minor edits here and there, and the occasional question. But they're really solid places now. Locales in which to hang more plots, people, and adventures.

In fact, I'm already starting to see some really cool player origin story possibilities. And I hope to be able to make those a part of the chargen process once the basics are covered.

Languages are still a bit of a concern, however. Given the diaspora of Earth cultures during the System colonization rush, and the space elevator funnels they pass through, a lot of different outcomes are possible.

I still think English and Mandarin are far and away the big players in language. And maybe that's just the end of the story. After all, things like air traffic control have standardized around English, despite worldwide participation. And it might've continued into space were it not for China/Xinhua's absolutely massive sponsorship of so much activity. And now, we have parity between lingua francas of space.

On the other hand, I really wanted South America, Indonesia, and Africa to be major players here. I think there are a lot of fresh ideas that would stem from their cultural dominance. And, to a degree, that's already the case in the various brands and colonies we have. Nigeria, Brazil, Indonesia...they all have front and center influence in the tapestry of The System. (E.g. your ship is owned and insured by a Nigerian mortgage brokers, your food and coffee is almost certainly Indonesian in origin, and a large number of places you dock start with "Porto")

Maybe that's the influence. The languages echo those of current global trade, but the cultural fabric of the new world has shifted away from US/Russia/Europe.

Whatever the case, this is turning into one heck of a setting. It's already grown well past my ability to keep it all in mind at once!


spacemedic's picture

I think you could use the points in the character generation for stuff. Like, I mean, instead of stats (like DEX, STR, PER) you could use it for the classification of social status that character is in. You could also use it for things like skills (someone might be good at medical application and another might be a computer wizard). Also traits, so beyond the homework ones like Insomnia and Hypovolemia, positive traits like being Optimistic or Team-Worker could take points away and you could add points by taking a negative trait, such as having a Bad Temper or Unprofessional. Something like that. Just throwing it out there.

Rovlad's picture

I'm instantly reminded of those nifty text blurbs for planets on the galaxy map in Mass Effect series.

dcfedor's picture

@spacemedic, that's sort of the plan. Everything attributed to a character (or items, even) uses "conditions" like the NS ones. So "strong" uses "IsStrong" as a condition, and a crew member good with interpersonal relations would have "IsCharismatic."

So for social standing, there may be similar setups. Something like "IsCitizenHangzhou" vs. "IsVisaHangzhou" if they're legal, and neither if there illegally.

@Rovlad, that's good! Michael's task was to make wiki entries for each of these places. So the tone of each is meant to be more editorial/reference style, as if it was something the in-game Wikipedia had.

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games