Sunday, February 9, 2014

FATE GALACTIC: Civilization Creation, Stars First

More specific notes and constructive thoughts on the Fate Galactic.  Star creation first.  It took me awhile to think out how to properly do star skills, and I think I hit on the best way to do them.  All input is welcome!

Previous Chapter: Galaxy Creation

Here is how civilizations are going to be created.  Its a top down process, starting with the Star System the Civilization comes from, then its homeworld.  Once those have been created, then the nuts and bolts of each civilization can be created.

There is my own personal twist to this process, too.  I've decided to grant Stars and Planets their own skills as well.  These skills are intended to be used for providing opposition against Civilization roles, if possible, and to maybe help inspire flavor in each system.  I'm going to avoid throwing around too many aspect slots, even at the Civilization level.


Stars refer to Star Systems as whole bodies.  They include the central star, which can vary from the average yellow dwarf to binary systems to the huge blue giants, as well as all its orbiting bodies.  These can be its outer ice and rocky clouds, whatever gas giants orbit it, dwarf planets, asteroids and anything else in system of note.

Creating Stars can be done through random rolls (most often when you need a new system during a game) or you can generate them as follows.

Before any Aspects are created for a Star, the player to your left picks one of the three Star Skills: Resource Difficulty, Hazards or Gravity.  That skill is set to the lowest rating.  This way each player is responsible for choosing the weakest skill for each player's home star sitting on their right.


Resource Difficulty
Resource Difficulty sets how hard it is to acquire and gather resources in the Star System.  All Star Systems have resources of some value, its just a matter of how locked into whatever bodies they in.  GMs can use this skill to cause wrinkles in some of the resource obtaining goals of Civilizations.
Attack: Resource Difficulty doesn't attack.
Defend: This is the main purpose of the skill, acting in resistance to skills like Industry or Survival that try to pry resources away
Overcome Obstacle: Resource Difficulty doesn't overcome obstacles.
Create An Advantage: Resource Difficulty can trigger labor strikes, riots or destabilize markets.  Sometimes other Civilizations try to trigger Resource Difficulty to create such problems, but it isn't a thing they can directly control.  Sometimes a important mineral vein acts on its own accord.

Hazards sets how difficult the various hazards in a Star System are to deal with.  Asteroid belts, solar storms or other phenomena can create obstacles for Civilizations to overcome.  They can cause disasters that might harm or disable populations those Civilizations care about as well.
Attack: Hazards can cause harm directly to a Civilization's population.  Storms and other natural disasters cause problems and lead to the deaths of thousands.
Defend: Hazards doesn't use the Defend action.
Overcome Obstacle: Hazards can overcome any sort of safeguards created to try and contain them.  Shields and other structures can be torn apart by the Hazards if its storms and other effects are strong enough.
Create An Advantage: Hazards also can create long lasting crises, system-wide storms, catastrophic meteor showers and anything else that can cascade into even larger problems.  Feedback loops can be formed where a series of meteors trigger a mass ejection of plasma from a the main star.

Gravity is how strong gravitational forces are in the Star System.  This is a key to most forms of FTL travel, as well as interplanetary travel.  The stronger the local gravities are, the harder it is for starships to navigate without problems.  Note that Gravity is being presented here as a narrative force, not necessarily acting exactly the same as the nominal physical force.
Attack: Gravity acts in the form of inertia.  Most often this is acting as setting the difficulty for traveling in a hurry.  FTL travel often has to deal with a variety of complications, and Gravity covers the wide variety of different sorts of mass in objects that can't always be easily predicted.
Defend:  Gravity doesn't use the Defend action.
Overcome Obstacle: Gravity doesn't overcome obstacles.
Create an Advantage: Gravity sometimes can cause or contribute to cosmological phenomena that bar or alter travel in a region.  In especially heavy gravity regions, eddies of gravity can appear without warning, causing travel issues for anyone in the vicinity.

After each player has their Star's weakest skill chosen, they then choose the rating on the other two skills.  One is set as Average (+1) while the other is set at Fair (+2).  Players are now free to provide explanation and background to their star based on its skill set.   It is suggested that they try to come up with a single sentence to describe their civilization's home star system.

However, if players cannot think of something, don't waste too much time on it and move on.

Based on whatever background they have for their home star, players can create a single Stellar Aspect for it.  This aspect applies to all planets and civilizations located in the Star System.  You can leave this blank if you can't think of something specific.

This is a chance to customize the star system however much a player wants to do.  If they want to establish this system as a Binary Star System or having being located within a wormhole, this is their chance to do that.  Whatever is established as this Aspect is true, and always true, unless something seriously big later allows you to change it.

Self explanatory, but it helps at this point to give it a name, even if its M8990 or Contag Prime.

Star Stunts are handled a little bit more oddly.  Each player identifies the player who is the furthest away from them at the table.  This is your first stunt.  Write down that star's name; this is the furthest star away from your star.

This stunt is simple.  Any travel between your star systems takes longer to happen, be it actual turns or whatever in narrative reason.  It costs at least 2 shifts worth of effort to make it easier to happen.

The next two stunts will be your Star's closest neighbors.  We'll get back to these during the Star-By-Star phase.  Leave them blank until then.  All stars will have up to two stunts that name their closest neighbors, although others may be added to them over time.

If you need to visualize it, each star created could be written on Index cards and put on the table.  Over time more stars will join them, right now you have a basic enough of an idea of whose systems lie where, and what each star system is like.  Like actual stars, their exact position is fuzzy.  It changes because stars move.  Galaxies shift.  More stars get added over time.

Including Home planet creation and the basic steps to Civilization creation itself.  I'll also have rules for handling Roleplaying Civilizations and handling the abstraction of that too.