Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Another splat of thoughts on the subject, although now I'm starting to find limits and problems, but those are on my end.  I'm still going to post this one, though.  Partly because I try to post some sort of writing everyday.   And partly I want to see if anyone else has thoughts to add to it.  Here we go.


Exploiting resources is a form of Creating an Advantage- Survival, Science, Industry, and Exploration are skills capable of taking resources from a planet (or star or whathaveyou).  Industry is better at acquiring Red or Black resources, and Survival is better at acquiring Green resources.  Stunts can change this, usually.

Spending resources, well, thats a different matter.  You can spend resources to create extras that act for you.  State what the thing is- organization, corporation, fleet, machine, whatever- spend the resources needed, and there you've got that thing.  Its not important enough to get its own aspects, and it doesn't have its own skills.  These proxies are just, lens through which your Civilization acts.  To finish it, and to see how long it'll last, you roll whatever skill you have that creates that sort of thing, opposed by the resources' opposition skill that applies.

When you create something with either Black or Red resources, there is some risk of hazards polluting the planet the proxy is being created on.  There is a added roll here, a sort of resist Hazard roll (Suvival vs the resources Hazard skill?)

And again, you aren't going to be able to be super-specific.  That is, you aren't going to be naming every city, every ship and so forth.  That isn't the point.

What about those scenes I mentioned about taking place before?  Lets get to that.

Icons: If you spend a point of your Civilization's fate refresh, however, you can make something Iconic.

All Civilizations start with 1 Icon for free.  Icons have names, and these names are their primary aspect.  They can be leaders, celebrities, flagships, robots, cities, etc.  If they are a person, then that person represents your civilization, acting as a sort of avatar of what its trying to do.

Icons are lens for your civilizations skills, or at least thats my current idea for them.  They use your skills to roll.  But they get their own aspect which can be brought to bear.  And they have another thing too: their own stunt.  This stunt is the trick, the thing they bring to the civilization.  They also have a second aspect, their fatal flaw.

Now, there are some crazy ideas you can permuate here.  What if you have two leading Icons in your Civilization?  What if they disagree?  Hmm.

Thats a collary here: Civilizations can split, merge or fade away if one of their Icons lead them astray.  But thats the risk.  You get a great bonus, a great boon, but it comes with its own risks.

Icons also die.  They go away.  They are mortal, whilst the great thing they worked for continues on.  But the Civilization doesn't lose that expenditure of Fate Refresh when a Icon goes.  Someone or something new replaces it, or the Civilization advances technologically because of their sacrifice and it learns a new stunt, or the Civilization's Fate Refresh goes up.

Using Proxies and Icons.
Like using anything in Fate, it requires you to roll the right skill to get it done.  All civilizations start with the same space capability.  That is, they can get things into space, but they don't have FTL.  You want FTL?  Take the stunt for it.  Otherwise, it takes years for them to get from star to star.

Each turn players can only use one proxy or icon during their turn.  Each turn represents a bit of time, like a six months to a year.  This means for civilizations without FTL, star travel can take a long time.  Things in transit are an exception.  Once in transit, they stay in transit, continuing to move the same way they you first directed them.  Only if you use them during your turn would they stop, if you thought that necessary.

Exploration: You can use your Proxy to uncover new planets, new life and potentially meet one of the other civilizations out there.
Industry: You can use your Proxy to get more out of the resources you take from a planet or star, sometimes getting some sort of bonus amount.
Trade: You can use your Proxy to trade Resources with other players, maybe getting a better deal from them, sometimes not.  Economy is the same as this, but it can allow both players to recover some of their spent resources in tariffs and the like.
Culture: Your Proxy can create works of art or new stories- inspiration that leads to new projects or leads an Icon to arise.  Also you can use it to create a boost of sorts.  Art also does this, except that its creations can become memetic, lasting long enough that they might spread to other civilizations.
Aggression: Your Proxy can attack or take care of a something that requires a violent approach.  Warfare functions identical to this, except that it can also allow a Proxy to intimidate others, preventing the need for conflicts from time to time.
Faith: Your Proxy takes care or overcomes some obstacle facing your civilization, like a civil war or public discontent.
Survival: Your Proxy can help your civilization recover, sometimes bring back lost Population.  It could also establish new advantages, sometimes colonies or outposts on new worlds.
Covert Ops: Your proxy tries to perform espionage, trying to perform an operation to obtain a intelligence objective about another civilization.
Science: Your proxy can focus on performing research and working toward new technologies.  This allows you to expend resources or fate refresh toward buying new stunts.
Engineering: Your proxy can build another proxy, but does so at a discount.
Psionics: Your proxy can use Psionics to learn something about a planet, something cosmic or something about a people or another time.
Pacifism: Your proxy can attempt to broker peace between other civilizations, trying to get them to the table to talk.

Costs and Things.
I'll try to make a precise price list at some point, or have some examples, I guess.  Here are the flavors of proxies and what not.

Black Proxies and Icons: Things that require Black Resources either require a massive power source or a big deadly weapon of some kind.  They all carry a hazard potential.  Black proxies and Icons require less than other resources do.  A city's power plant might need 1 Black to power it, while a starship would need 2.

Red Proxies and Icons: Things that require Red Resources can be any sort weaponry or war vessel.  It can also be any sort of mass industrial device, like a stardock or a industrial city.  It also might be needed for cybernetics or robotics, albeit the mostly metallic kind.  The price here is usually set at 2 Red for something like City, 3 for any sort of starship.  A fleet of starships might cost 5 or 6, although some stunts could change this price around.  Red Proxies and Icons that cost more than 2 can be supplemented with other Resources.  1 Black can create the power source, reducing the cost by 2, while Green can replace Red on a 1 for 1 basis, often using carbon and organics instead of metals.

Conversely, Red can be used rather cheaply to found organizations, corporations and the like.  For the same cost of a City, a proxy Corporation can be made.  Red resources cover most metals that interest business, and this could create the backbone of one of the major movers in your civilization.

Green Proxies and Icons:  People.  Farms.  That sort of thing.  Also, it can represent genetic mods and biotech of various kinds.  Your biopunk leviathans sort of can be inserted here.  I guess you could use a combination of Green and Red resources, and the right justifications to make one.  I price creating a Icon that is also person as costing 1 green.  Biohazardous weapons, lets set at 2.  Terraforming I'd imagine would cost 1 or 2 green over multiple turns.  Thats a thing I'll have to come back to.

Blue Proxies: Super-tech.  The advanced, space twisting kind, like time machines or weapons that explode stars.  Dyson spheres and the like.  Information networks that enable instant communication over many stars might cost 4 Blue, while a ultra-advanced starship might cost 2.  1 would be some sort of new life form, perhaps the civilization's evolution into a new form?  Or just something new, I suppose could work too.

Blue can be used in place of Red, Black or Green resources too, so any of the other resources' proxies could be created with it too.

This is the tricky part, and the one I'll be trying to figure out.  Here is a prototype idea, and I'll try to rework it once I've let it percolate awhile.  At the end of each players' turn, there is a scene for that civilization.  Each player comes up with a question about what happened for the civilization this turn.  The player of that civilization picks that question, and the players all create or use NPCs that would've been present and act out that scene.

We know the mechanical results, but the scene is, like in games like Microscope or Fiasco, the focus point.  Its where we get our big story beats, and so forth.

I'm still trying to decide if this is a hack that needs a GM or not.  Among other things I suppose.