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The Price of Destiny

PostPosted: Fri 02 Jan 2015 13:10
by Lomn
Not really a "campaign fiction" thread as such. This is the collection point for the 2015 forum Solar game. This provides me as the SM a centralized place to dump information to the players and other interested parties.

And if participants want to chronicle their empires, hey, that's fine with me. But I figure it's no fair for the SM to spill intel like that while the game is live.

Rules in Force

PostPosted: Fri 02 Jan 2015 13:33
by Lomn
Rules in Force for "The Price of Destiny":

Rules are Solar Starfire 6.02, plus errata.

Optional and House Rules:
From-the-book optional rules are noted via the rule listing in BB (with explanatory text as needed); house rules are prefixed "[HR]" and note the associated rules as well as the text of the house rule.

  • C10: Ramming is permitted.
  • D2.06.1: Wrecks may be created in battle.
  • D3.03.4: Rings affect combat.
  • [HR] D5.04.1: WP Visibility Data (from transits by starships with X) reports "Closed" for all WP visibility types that cannot be detected by that particular generation of X. For example, a ship with Xa could determine Open or Closed. A later transit by a ship with Xb could expand that determination to Open, Concealed, or Closed.
  • F4 Crew Grade (NPR): Lock NPRs' crew grades to BG. Noted as potentially in-use, but not necessarily used by all NPRs.
  • [HR] K2.03 Racial Traits: Players may elect to use the default racial trait scores or to roll them. Players may separately elect to choose or roll their successes. Players may not use government types to adjust racial statistics (but may of course reference them for roleplay purposes).
  • [HR] K2.05.4 Starting Fund Mixing: Players may exceed the limit of any one fund (but only one fund) by up to 50 MCr so long as the total spending in all three funds does not exceed the composite 12000 MCr limit.
  • K3 Race Design: Players may customize their races. See the errata about restrictions on Advanced Science.
  • K3.04 NPR Race Design: Noted as potentially in-use, but not necessarily used by all NPRs.
  • [HR] L4. Leasing: Ships must meet the errata for Hb to be eligible for leasing to the CFN.
  • [HR] L4.11.1 In-System CFN Capacity: Treat the in-system CFN as using 1/10 normal capacity for shipments between bodies in orbit about the same star (just like the regular CFN). This is a rules error we're keeping due to the error being in the calculations of the Solar spreadsheet file.
  • L4.12 Arming the CFN: Players may arm the CFN.
  • L7.06.3.2 System Defense Fund: Squadrons are eligible for the SDF.
  • M1.03.5 Class Units: Narrow-scope refits may avoid the new-class fee.
  • M1.03.5.1 New Class Fees: New class fees are 5% list cost + 20 MCr.
  • M9.01 T&M Ally Construction: T&M Allies may build units for each other.
  • N5.03 R&D Shortfall: R&D shortfall is allowed.
  • N11.04.1 Breakthroughs Above EL: Per Cralis' clarification on table intent, breakthroughs may be attempted at SLs up to EL+3, using the 0 row of the table.
  • P4.01.1 Lightspeed ICN: Lightspeed comms within 5 transits of (CAP) or (ICC) are instantaneous.
  • R2.02.6 Approximate WP Locations: WP surveys progressively refine WP locations.
  • S Graded Leaders: Graded leaders and specializations are in use.
  • [HR] S1 Starting Graded Leaders: Players may not select the Grower specialization for a Governor at the start of the game.
  • [HR] S1.04.1 Off-Specialty Promotions: Leaders acting off-spec may not be promoted, unless the player desires to permanently change the type of that leader. Players may attempt a promotion roll on an LG+1 or higher leader acting as another leader type; if successful, the leader loses one grade, loses all specializations, and changes to the type of leader they were acting as.
  • T Multiple Political Offers: Multiple political offers may be made per month.
  • T1.01.4 First Contact: Players may adjust their First Contact behavior via SOP.
  • T1.05.1.3 Conquered Population Communication: Long-term attempts to communicate are allowed.
  • T1.05.7 Player Race Communication: Results of Impossible/Rejected between players are ignored.
  • T2.01.1 Player Political Choice: Players choose to accept or reject political offers made to them.
  • T3.02.1.3 Intermediary Charges: Intermediary races may charge fees.
  • V3.01.3 LEL Ground Forces: LEL forces are restricted to Qtc.
  • [HR] W Universe Generation: Used Elminster's SysGen, which was last updated for Solar 6.01. In particular, doesn't distinguish Yellow-White and White stars; some other anomalies may exist.
  • W7.01.2 Extreme AST: ASTh and ASTf belt types are in use.
  • W7.06 Rings: Rings are in use.
  • W8.02 WP Bearing and Distances: WPs and Planets may be located off the exact bearing radian.
  • Y3 NPR Government Types: NPR Governments are in use.
  • Y3.04 NPR Race Design: As K3.04
  • Y19 NPR Government Specials: NPR Government special traits are in use.
  • AppAA-Con.01.3 Mobile Bases: Mobile base hulls are in use.
  • AppAA-Con.04 Generational Hulls: Generational hulls are in use.
  • GG2 Random Events: Random events are in use.
  • GG4 Sanitizing Asteroid WP: Asteroid WPs may be cleared.
  • GG5.07 Command and Control: Fire Additional Units First (first option for initiative bonus) is in use.
  • GG5.09 NPR Ownership Policy: NPRs use Ownership Policies to help determine behavior.

House Rule Explanations

PostPosted: Fri 02 Jan 2015 13:52
by Lomn
Some additional explanation for House Rules:

D5.04.1: You won't know that a WP's visibility is Hidden unless and until you transit it with an X system capable of detecting Hidden WPs. Without that, it's just "Closed" (and you won't know if that means Hidden, Secret, Undisclosed, whatever). WPs that you initially know as "Closed" may be refined to their actual visibility when you transit them with an appropriate X-equipped unit (no survey necessary), or if you conduct an appropriate survey in that system.

K2.05.4: I don't really like the extreme min-maxing that the initial spending encourages (don't exceed the number, forfeit any unspent) -- so this is a little flexibility. Any one fund (Battle, Survey, Other) can overspend by 50 MCr, but the other two funds cannot overspend and must collectively underspend by at least as much as the overspending fund went over. So, Survey could overspend by 45 MCr if Battle underspent by 15 MCr and Other underspent by 30 MCr. You cannot have both Survey and Battle overspending by 20 MCr, no matter how much Other underspends.

L4. This clarifies the errata for CFN FTs and Hb. Any imperial ship leased to the CFN must also meet the Hb errata (maximum number of Hb for its hull) to earn any lease income.

L4.11.1: Due to an error in the Solar spreadsheet in the download section, we're treating the in-system CFN as using 1/10 normal capacity rates just like using the regular CFN for in-system shipping would. At some point in the campaign we'll revert to the correct rule, but for now, substantially more free shipping capacity.

S1: When picking starting specializations for leaders, players may not elect to have a Grower Governor.

S1.04.1: This is a two-part house rule. First, leaders acting as another leader type may not normally roll for promotion. Second, there is an exception to the above if you want to get a leader to permanently change his type: in that case, you can attempt the promotion roll, and if successful, change that leader to the acting type, reduce one grade (requires you to start with an LG+1 or better leader), and lose all specializations. At that point the leader is now a normal leader of the new type.

W: The universe deviates somewhat from Solar 6.02 rules due to the sysgen program used. Primarily, it means that very few White stars exist (and many that do are actually Yellow-White stars that are labelled incorrectly). I'm trying to fix these as I encounter them, but some discrepancies will slip through.

Initial Empire Setup

PostPosted: Fri 02 Jan 2015 14:04
by Lomn
Empires will be set up per K2, with a few modifications.

  • Homeworld type (T/ST) will be assigned by the SM.
  • Benign / Harsh / Hostile habitable worlds in the initially-adjacent systems will be set such that adjusting HI Range in K3 won't adjust the habitability category of these worlds.
  • There will probably not be 5 to 7 outgoing Open WP links from those systems (that's a lot of WP links, relative to standard universe generation), but I've visually checked to ensure that start positions are roughly comparable and won't get quickly bottlenecked.
  • As above, the starting Governor (K2.02.4) may not have the Grower specialization selected.
  • As above, racial traits may use the K2.03 rule, or the player may ask the SM to roll traits and/or successes as desired.
  • As above, some flexibility in the K2.05 funds is allowed.
  • K3 modifiers like Construction Cost apply before K2.05 funds are spent! Spend your K3 race design points first if you're going to adjust Construction Cost, or change your starting systems with Advanced Science, or whatever.

System Data Formatting

PostPosted: Fri 02 Jan 2015 20:35
by Lomn
System data is based on Elminster's Universe Generator output.

Here's an example system:
Code: Select all
156    Type: Single Star System               
Primary: White Star

Radius LM: 2tl   Brg: 2    Type: V    Mass: 2    REI:  N    HI: 3

Radius LM: 7   Brg: 11    Type: V    Mass: 2    REI:  R    HI: 7

Radius LM: 12   Brg: 7    Type: T    Mass: 2    REI:  P    HI: 4

Radius LM: 22   Brg: 6    Type: B    Mass: 1    REI: VR    HI: 7

Radius LM: 42   Brg: 11    Type: G    Mass: 3    REI: VR    HI: 2
mB/6/4/N     mB/6/14/VR     mB/1/20/N     mB/2/27/N    

Radius LM: 82   Brg: 10    Type: G    Mass: 2    REI:  N    HI: 2
mB/4/4/N     mB/5/9/N     mB/3/13/R    

Radius LM: 162   Brg: 4    Type: I    Mass: 2    REI:  R    HI: 3
mF/3/3/R     mF/4/4/R     mF/2/8/R     mF/2/11/R     mF/5/14/VR    

Number   Type   Capacity   Bearing      Distance   Visibility      Destination
1        C        36         9      15+3  (180)           Open         158
2        C        36        12       7+1   (84)      Concealed         162
3        C        36         2      15+4  (180)      Concealed         165
4        D        43        12      28+10 (336)         Hidden         154
5        C        36         4      23+3  (276)         Secret         155

At the top is the system ID, general system type, and special effect
Code: Select all
156    Type: Single Star System

There's a section for each stellar component, and then planet and moon listings
Code: Select all
Radius LM: 42   Brg: 11    Type: G    Mass: 3    REI: VR    HI: 2
mB/6/4/N     mB/6/14/VR     mB/1/20/N     mB/2/27/N

This planet orbits at 42 light minutes (or 4 sH), and is on the 11 radian (on a 1-12 clock face). It is a type G planet of mass 3, is Very Rich, and has a Habitability Index of 2.

The second line is its moons (and this line is blank if there are no moons), listed from inner to outer. Each moon entry is Type / Bearing (1-6) / Distance (tH) / REI. The first moon is an mB orbiting at 4 tH and on the 6 radian of a 1-6 scattergram (double this number to get the clock face radian, so this moon is at 12 o'clock). It is Very Rich. Moons are all mass 0, and so this is not listed, and have no HI.

Tidelocks for planets and moons are both noted as "tl" with the orbital radius.

Finally, there's a section for warp points:
Code: Select all
3        C        36         2      15+4  (180)      Concealed         165

This is WP #3 (which is arbitrary). It is a type C / size 36 HS WP. It is on the 2 radian. The x+y distance is for the W8.02 WP placement optional rule: the first number is the distance from the primary in sH, and the second number is the distance offset from the radian at that radius in a clockwise direction. This WP is 15 sH from the primary along the 2 radian, and then 4 sH clockwise of that point (still 15 sH from the primary). The number in parentheses is distance in LM, useful for checking to see if it reduced a planet to an asteroid belt. This WP is of Concealed visibility and connects to System #165.

Re: The Price of Destiny

PostPosted: Fri 20 Feb 2015 16:41
by Vandervecken
It's been a while since you posted anything to the masses.

How is it going as a NEW GM? What, except time (Which is always an issue, eh? Hehehee.) are your largest hurdles? Is there anything the players can do to help?

What turn has the group gotten to?

Although it is very early in the game, have you been surprised by player actions or re-actions? (Without going into specifics, of course). Have you been intrigued by any Empires or decisions of an empire?

Has the wife been tolerant of the time outlay for running a Solar Starfire game? By the time I got to turn #25 in my 'Three Empires' campaign, my wife would roll her eyes when she saw my spreadsheets open and dishes (A job I usually take care of) were not done yet. Trying to explain that things were just getting interesting didn't "cut the mustard" as an excuse in my house, heheheee.

We see a lot of write ups from the Player or empire viewpoint. I'm looking forward to some data from the GM perspective, if you can find the time. Along with your other project, budding GM's can get some valuable insight into running a small campaign. Thanks, and thanks for everything. I am also look forward to hopefully seeing some player Fiction (Delayed, of course, for security of the empires) out of "The Price of Destiny".

Re: The Price of Destiny

PostPosted: Sat 21 Feb 2015 20:19
by Lomn
So I've just sent back Turn 5 results in the past couple of days, which is enough time for initial warp surveys to be completing and therefore the players to be moving out into the great unknown. I used Elminster's sysgen to create the universe and let it tag NPR-occupied systems, but I haven't looked ahead at where particularly they're located -- so my first warning is only shortly before the players find out, generally.

At some point soon, when I've got some extra free time, I'm going to sit down with the master star chart and pick out areas to establish multi-system NPRs so that they've got buffer systems in place when the players encounter them. Hasn't happened yet, but I've got time before it becomes essential.

I've spent a lot of time continuing to hammer on Xveers' spreadsheets, based on how the players are using them and what sort of issues they're encountering. Most stuff on my to-do list for that work is complete; rigging the R&D section so that the double cost for RPs at the start of a project is an auto-effect instead of a manual toggle is the main task I have remaining (shortfall would be a good extra project, but that's substantially more work -- and it may make more sense to just track that manually in the long run). Several new features I'm incorporating are directly suggested by the players, such as pulling incoming colonists into the population growth calculations.

Most of the player race choices aren't too outlandish, but the strategic approaches taken are interesting to watch -- my default first-turns-choices are in no way being universally adhered to (I'm inclined to ignore returns from colonization on Turn 1 in order to lay down a CL hull and get the prototyping done, and then go for colonization in an adjacent system for Turns 2 - x). I've also got a few players who aren't at all wedded to the notion of symmetric survey forces that I prefer.

As the players move past one jump from the homeworld, communication lag is increasingly becoming an issue. It's interesting to watch whether the players take action to mitigate that or just elect to live with it.

R&D has seen the most surprising result so far: one player got an unfocused breakthrough before starting any tech projects; when the rolls on the Breakthrough Objectives list all failed, the breakthrough was effectively lost. Lesson: have at least one SL project running when you start SA research so that you've got something to apply a breakthrough to.

Re: The Price of Destiny

PostPosted: Sat 21 Feb 2015 21:43
by Cralis
Lomn wrote:R&D has seen the most surprising result so far: one player got an unfocused breakthrough before starting any tech projects; when the rolls on the Breakthrough Objectives list all failed, the breakthrough was effectively lost. Lesson: have at least one SL project running when you start SA research so that you've got something to apply a breakthrough to.

You literally have to have no SL or Tech Item projects that weren't started this month, for this to happen. You had that happen?

(N11.04 Point B says "active project" except EL R&D, which means either SL --OR-- Tech Item project.)

Re: The Price of Destiny

PostPosted: Sun 22 Feb 2015 00:31
by VoidStalker_WoE
I too am interested in seeing how things go in this game! I was going to try my hand at a solo game, but then I moved into my new place, and started taking classes again. Finis to free time, lol.

How many players are you SM'ing for again?

Re: The Price of Destiny

PostPosted: Sun 22 Feb 2015 10:46
by Lomn
Cralis wrote:You literally have to have no SL or Tech Item projects that weren't started this month, for this to happen. You had that happen?
Yep. For the tech item part, though, it's really tough to have an independent tech item project running in the first 4 months, since all your items are fully researched to starting SLs. Early combo projects are a different matter, but they can't be accelerated.