Reboot the campaign setting?

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Re: Reboot the campaign setting?

Post by ripvanwormer » Mon Jun 08, 2009 2:53 am

Big Mac wrote:I've spoken in the past about making SJ worlds self contained "as if they were campaign settings in their own right", but I don't think I have gotten across the problem as well as your sentence about SJ strategy. The fundamental problem I have with SJ design is that the assumption that "orcs come from Borka" and "elves come from Spiral" implies that Orcs do not interact with Elves unless both parties have access to spelljamming ships.
Since Oerth and Toril both have orcs and elves sharing the same lands on the same world for centuries or millennia (the exact dates are fuzzier in the case of Oerth), I don't think this is a problem in Greyspace or Realmspace, or the Greyspace-Krynnspace-Realmspace triad that comprises the original Spelljammer campaign setting (such as it was). It's not a problem in Shadow of the Spider Moon either, since in that setting the conflict is between dwarves and orcs (who shared a homeworld), not elves and orcs. It would be a problem in a hypothetical Spelljammer setting that excised Oerth and Toril from itself but retained the Unhuman War background history.

I assume that the animosity between elves and orcs that eventually led to the Unhuman War originated on a groundling world somewhere. In my Greyspace history, it actually originated in the Adri Forest on Oerth, with the elves banishing their foes (not all the orcs in the world, obviously, but all the ones in the area) to another world, resulting in the origin of the orcs and goblinoids of Gorka (the world had been inhabited before, but not by orcs and such), so that when the orcs and goblins acquired spelljamming technology they had a millennia-old grudge against their ancient enemies stemming from memories of long-ago banishment.. That's not intended to be the only time such an interplanetary feud began, just how it began in Greyspace.

Of course, more broadly the animosity originated as a personal feud between the deities Gruumsh and Corellon Larethian, dating back before their respective races even existed.
In other words, I think that Greyspace does need to be an entire setting by itself.
I'm afraid I'm not sure how that sentence related to the ones that preceded it. You were explaining that you think elves and orcs have to exist on the same worlds in some areas. I think you made a good case, and I agree with you. Are you suggesting that Greyspace has to be a setting that's playable independently from its neighboring spheres, or simply stating that you believe it needs to be as detailed as a campaign setting typically is? I don't necessarily agree with either conclusion. I certainly want Greyspace to be detailed much further (and this is a goal I've set for myself), but I don't think it's essential. I think a campaign where Greyspace is detailed only a third as much, with the other two thirds of the energy spent on Krynnspace and Realmspace, would be just as reasonable. I think setting up the setting so that Greyspace requires the other two spheres to complete it is a valid way of doing things, and perhaps even desirable because it encourages inter-sphere travel. I kind of like the idea that the PCs are forced to travel to neighboring spheres in order to find the headquarters of all the allies and enemies that are major elements of the campaign. By spreading the primary action of the setting throughout several spheres, the PCs interact with more of Spelljammer's features (phlogiston navigation, portals, and things like slightly differing magical mechanics in each sphere).
This level of SJ play is as flawed as the original level of SJ. You have an area where the PCs can't go without being killed. But rather than this area being a country, or even an asteroid, it is elevated to the size of an entire sphere.
I agree that this isn't ideal, but I don't think it's necessarily a dealbreaker. The more worlds there are in a campaign, the more worlds can be declared "off limits" (under most circumstances or at least lower levels) while still leaving plenty of other worlds where the primary action takes place. In a campaign where there are only two worlds (or two spheres, or two nations, or two villages), having one of them utterly unapproachable is a big deal. In a campaign with dozens of worlds, a single world isn't as necessary. The larger a scale your campaign is built on, the broader a brush you can use to paint individual worlds and cultures.

To some extent, the existence of "death worlds" can add verisimilitude to a campaign. I think it's "realistic" that, in a vast universe, there are a few places where characters simply can't go. The alternative - that every known planet just happens to exist in the narrow range where standard characters can readily exist - seems like it would potentially interfere with the suspension of disbelief.

So while I agree that it might be fun to add pockets of resistance to Glyth (for example) where PCs don't have to worry about having their brains eaten, I think it's also a valid approach to say that Glyth is simply unavailable to any but extremely high-level adventurers who can handle it. For others, it simply exists as a way to explain where all (or some of) the mind flayers are coming from.

I'm partly just playing devil's advocate here; I certainly have no problem with adding more variety to Glyth or any other world.
What I would actually like to see is the ability to turn the Vodoni Spheres into an alternate SJ setting where players can play wereboar PCs (or other good lycanthropes) and have full-on lycanthrope vs lycanthrope action. This way, you can still have an uber-villain in control of the area, but there is still potential for good player characters to be natives.
That sounds like fun.
To be fair, you get some of this "disconnect" in conventional RPGs.
True.
I have been calling for homeworlds for ages, but I would like them to be the planet where the first people from that race went into space.
Part of me would rather that was left a mystery. Where did the first orcs achieve spelljammer flight? No one remembers, perhaps not even the arcane. But about a thousand years ago, space-traveling fleets of orcs from a variety of worlds first allied into a semi-unified force under the reign of Kargan Jenkror.

I don't think there's necessarily anything wrong with saying definitively, "In the year 1202, the arcane first contacted Kargan Jenkror of Gorka and offered his people a way into space. From there, Jenkror's minions traveled from world to world, recruiting more of their kind to their cause."
I think that Realmspace is far more complex than this. Kara-Tur, Al-Qadim and Maztica have given us totally different religious systems that were mostly ignored when Realmspace was built. All of these alternative-themes really need to be addressed. And if Toril can have so many cultures, then why would the other worlds of Realmspace not be as weird as Toril?
Granted. This is especially true of Kara-Tur, since it's that part of the world, not Faerun, that has the largest presence in the Spelljammer setting. I also think that perhaps Kara-Tur and Zakhara should better reflect Faerun's themes, however.

There should certainly be more variety on the other worlds in the system, but I think, as I said above, it's okay to paint them with a broader brush than you would in a groundling campaign that's only set on a single world. The level of detail you'd give a world in a single-world campaign is simply not as necessary in a campaign with many worlds. That doesn't mean that including a variety of factions, philosophies, races, and cultures in a world isn't useful. It is. Falx could have several distinct cultures of illithid, for example (perhaps one considerably more conquest-oriented, and another more trade-oriented), several different religions and philosophies (gods other than Ilsensine, godless illithids, etc.) and more information on other races such as aboleths that might share the world.

I don't mind the idea of most of the Spelljammer factions originating in Greyspace, and I agree that it's very possible that the Seekers of the Arcane became the Seekers of the Spelljammer setting. Associating them with Krynn's own Seekers in Krynnspace is an intriguing idea for local flavor. Exactly how much you want your campaign centering around (or centered in) Greyspace depends on how much motivation you want to give the PCs to travel elsewhere. If you want them to travel between all three local spheres fairly evenly, it makes sense to spread the points of origin around somewhat.

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Re: Reboot the campaign setting?

Post by Davane » Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:01 pm

I was skimming this thread, but I just had to respond to this idea.
Big Mac wrote:The arcane provide those ships, but lets not forget that there was a time (in the past) when the arcane were not selling ships and these races were all groundling races. I can not believe in a SJ universe where scattered races go into space and suddenly start to have a fight with their typical fantasy enemies.
Why not? The reason fantasy races typically get into fights is because they have different characteristics, positions, and issues over things, and one side or another may have a warlike or aggressive tendency. Why isn't it possible that scattered races will go into space and start fighting in pretty much the same way?

In fact, this makes it more likely that that such groups will clash upon meeting. What needs to be taken into account is whether all races gain the ability to travel through wildspace at the same time. If one race gains dominance and starts harassing another, this can lead to all sorts of politics, such as revolution and counter-insurgency. Maybe groups of rogues have been causing diplomatic tensions for their own ends, possibly for a third party, it might be that a stranded tribe of orcs are hostile to elves, causing elven and orc animosity in a given sphere, so that when the elves finally get the ability to travel through wildspace, possibly by reverse engineering what they can salvage from anything they scavenge from the Orcs, they already consider Orcs hostile.

The fundamental problem with Spelljammer design is that it basically functions as science fiction, rather than fantasy, and thus has the issues of scale. When you are dealing with a setting which allows characters to travel through space between planets as a fundamental part of the game, then anything smaller scale than planets tend to fall away very sharply. This sort of viewpoint is known by the sci-fi space opera trope of "Planet Town" - because functionally, in terms of story and pacing, each planet is basically being treated exactly the same as a town, city, or other settlement and key site or point in a story, rather than being treated with the same diversity that Earth displays. This is because, as scales of travelling get bigger, the distance and thus isolation between stories gets bigger.

Think about it for a moment. You have your typical historical/fantasy game where you basically have vilages, dungeons, and so forth, and your basic unit of separation in land travel. Most people never travel far outside of their village, so having a character make it from their village, to the capital city of the kingdom, to the heart of the empire, across the barren deserts, then sailing across the trackless seas, through the underdark, and so forth, is quite a globetrotting trek. But not so much when you can easily fly or teleport around the world. At that point, you are looking at truly international adventures, pulp like action in deepest peru, or a paddle steamer or zepplin around the entire globe in an empire upon which the sun never never sets. You add magic to that mix, and then you've got the multitude of the transitive, inner, and outer planes to explore as well - every plane is a different adventure, a different story. Throw in space travel, from Spelljammer or standard sci-fi, and you've basically got a campaign setting of infinite spheres of infinite planets, each one a different story. The differences and scales keep increasing, because you can travel further and faster between each story. You can stop at any point, go back to any surface world, and go back to exploring the individual villages and farmsteads, but can you really say you want to do that once you've been given the ability to travel through space?

If you have a dock in space for spelljammers, what point does the individual farming village have? You quite possibly also have the technology to fly to anywhere on the planet, and at least one person is going to turn that into a service to facilitate people dealing with off-worlders if they are aware and have such a spacedock. And you know that any society that is so aware IS going to have such a dock for the same reason they would have a standard sea dock and city gates - commerce and taxes.

In most cases, unless you are using an existing world, in which case the campaign may well be more that campaign world with added space elements than a spelljammer campaign if it focuses too much on any particular world, most Spelljammer campaigns simply don't focus too much on the planets themselves, because the planets are the backdrop context and the smallest unit of the setting in many cases.

It's like having a swashbuckling Pirates of the Caribbean campaign, and then focusing entirely on a single island, with the party never really getting on a ship and sailing the high seas. That's not really what the setting is about, and misses much of the point.

That's why you normally get things like elves come from A and orcs come from B and they don't conflict until they get into space. Because normally the planets aren't given much detail compared to the conflict because you are supposed to be adventuring in space. If an adventure takes place on a planet, then that planet gets a bit more detail, in which case you might get something like planet C, where the elves and orcs have outposts in their contested zone or something basic like that.

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Re: Reboot the campaign setting?

Post by xorial » Fri Sep 23, 2011 4:52 pm

I would like to get a Pathfinder conversion project going. It looks like if it does, it will be starting sometime after the UWII. That said, as a personal project, I am looking to reboot the setting. Mainly because I have a wicked idea for running Under the Dark Fist as a long campaign.
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Re: Reboot the campaign setting?

Post by xorial » Fri Sep 30, 2011 7:12 am

Ashtagon wrote:This isn't about converting the mechanics, but rather the setting.

Technically of course, the fluff doesn't, cannot, and shouldn't be converted. However, the problem with the 2etake on the SJ setting was that it was rather... lacklustre.
How about a project that does this using Pathfinder. I know my previous thread was derailed so I wouldn't mind starting again. This time, to cut down on some of the disagreements, let's start this project as a reboot. New rules, new setting. Revamp the Rock of Bral, and it's Sphere. Expand that Sphere into a full-blown base setting. Get that reworked, then rework some of the adventures to be more expansive, and consistent. Maybe make a "Bible" for how to include settings & make adventures. Mainly because the old 2e stuff sometimes seemed to be written by people that didn't know Spelljammer. make a dynamic setting, then fill in with shiny parts.
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Re: Reboot the campaign setting?

Post by Ashtagon » Fri Sep 30, 2011 7:57 am

The way I was planning on rebooting the setting was to take the universe of Star Fleet Battles, strip off the serial numbers and hi-tch, and replace them with fantasy elements. Each group of a half-dozen or so sectors on the Federation & Empire mapwould be replaced by a single crystal sphere, with large amounts of unclaimed space -- essentially, only the core sphere would be controlled in any meaningful sense. The rest would be mostly wild with military/mining/trading outposts. Races would be substituted for fantasy equivalents, as follows:

Federation: Humans, elves (vulcans), and associated races
Klingons: Orcs and humanoids
Romulans: Dark elves
Kzinti: Rakasta
Gorn: Giff
Tholians: Originally pencilled in as dwarfs in my early drafts
Orions: Hadozee
Hydrans: Merman/triton alliance
Andromedans: Undead
Lyrans: Rakasta
WYN: refugee ogres, orcs, and rakasta (plus many others)
ISC: High elves (and allied races)
LDR: ogres
Jindarians: Ogres and ogre magi (dwarfs would be more appropriate though, since these guys live in asteroids permanently)
Seltorians: ?
Vudar: ?

I quickly came to realise that most people aren't after this sort of setting in SJ, since the aim is to have a more "pirates" feel, with vast unclaimed areas rather than vast empires. Certainly it does need a reboot, but since I am not sufficiently familiar with the original setting, I'm not in a good position to work on the project that people want. There's also the problem that I don't really know PF well enough either.

btw, if you want a separate project forum, make your request known here.
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Re: Reboot the campaign setting?

Post by Havard » Fri Sep 30, 2011 8:40 am

xorial wrote:How about a project that does this using Pathfinder. I know my previous thread was derailed so I wouldn't mind starting again. This time, to cut down on some of the disagreements, let's start this project as a reboot. New rules, new setting. Revamp the Rock of Bral, and it's Sphere. Expand that Sphere into a full-blown base setting. Get that reworked, then rework some of the adventures to be more expansive, and consistent. Maybe make a "Bible" for how to include settings & make adventures. Mainly because the old 2e stuff sometimes seemed to be written by people that didn't know Spelljammer. make a dynamic setting, then fill in with shiny parts.
I like your enthusiasm for Pathfinder, but the disadvantage with having rules conversion and setting reboot in a single project is that you exclude alot of people from participating. This is why I suggest that a setting reboot/alternate spelljammer be kept as one discussion where fans of all editions could participate. System conversion OTOH should rather stay true to the original setting since that way you wont exclude the ones who prefer the setting as is, and you could always throw in the alternate stuff later on.
Ashtagon wrote:The way I was planning on rebooting the setting was to take the universe of Star Fleet Battles, strip off the serial numbers and hi-tch, and replace them with fantasy elements. Each group of a half-dozen or so sectors on the Federation & Empire mapwould be replaced by a single crystal sphere, with large amounts of unclaimed space -- essentially, only the core sphere would be controlled in any meaningful sense. The rest would be mostly wild with military/mining/trading outposts. Races would be substituted for fantasy equivalents, as follows:
Do you really need a reboot of the setting to do this? Why not instead create a cluster of Crystal Spheres somewhat removed from the canon ones, where you could have the same sort of scenarios/groups, but which people can also adapt to the published setting? I definately see the appeal of an unclaimed space type scenario, but I think it would be more interesting to see it worked into the existing framework. YMMV :)

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Re: Reboot the campaign setting?

Post by xorial » Fri Sep 30, 2011 7:49 pm

Harvard, I don't understand the conversion & reboot problem. It would be silly to reboot into 2e, then convert. It would be just as silly to convert it to Pathfinder, THEN reboot. Besides, whatever anybody thinks, if you truly convert the setting into ANY other system, you are partially rebooting. That is, if you do it right. Rules change a setting. It is subtle, but it does change it. As Ashtagon has said, while fun, the original setting was lackluster. there are also inconsistencies through out the modules. I truly believe a few of them were written by people that only skimmed the setting rules.

Second, not everybody here is gung-ho to keep it all the same all the time. I want the flavor, but do not want to try & shoehorn Pathfinder rules into a 2e mindset. What is the point of converting if you don't allow, or use, the rules of the game you are converting to. I see it simpler to convert the setting, then apply whatever Era template you feel is needed. Loki showed what could be done by showing a taste of his hombrew setting. He used the settlement rules to stat out the Rock of Bral. NPCs need to take advantage of the NPC classes. They represent training & experience in their areas.

Constant derailing from people that don't want to even play in the rules system is what keeps projects from being finished. If this was to get started, i would ask anybody who just wants to come in & tell us why we shouldn't do it to please stay away. That isn't constructive. That's just frustrating. It's like what WotC did to 4e Forgotten Realms. I don't like it, so I just stay away from it. I don't keep showing up on their boards and bashing WotC for 4e & "ruining my favorite setting." I thought that type of negativity is what made you guys create this site. Then why on Earth do the majority of you do the same thing to everything I suggest? Seems hypocritical to me. By majority, I mean those that post on the threads I participate in. You sure don't make me feel welcome with my input. Constructive input, even if you don't like the project's direction, could still lead to ideas that help the projects you do like.

One other thing. About excluding a lot of people from participating. I am sorry, but if you don't like the project, then you shouldn't participate. I don't like 4e. That is why I keep out of that project. I would not have anything to input. Furthermore, doesn't that make that project exactly the same as the one I propose? It is exclusionary by definition.
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Re: Reboot the campaign setting?

Post by AuldDragon » Fri Sep 30, 2011 8:36 pm

The point Havard is making is that ultimately there really is no connection between the setting and the rules. If you reboot the setting, you can play in that reboot with Classic D&D, Pathfinder, Gurps, 4e, 2nd edition, etc. There is nothing game specific in saying "Planet A is filled with elves who have a Celtic-like Culture. Planet B is at war with them, and they have Roman-culture like Orcs. They fight in open decked ships in space with an air envelope." If you want to introduce Warforged, that's fine.They're not actually edition specific. You can add them to any game rules you want. So there's no reason to tie a reboot to a rule set. You and I can both wok on the reboot, for example, despite playing different editions. The only thing we need to agree on is the direction of the reboot, story-wise.

On the other hand, a ruleset conversion is independent of the setting details. If we convert Spelljammer ship to ship combat to another ruleset, it can be used in the basic campaign setting, your reboot, Ashtagon's reboot, or any other. If you tie your rule conversion to a reboot setting, then you eliminate those people interested in one but not the other. There are a lot of people on this forum who like and play various d20 rulesets (in fact, despite your impression, 3.x/PF and OD&D are by far the most popular rulesets here, NOT 2nd ed; people who prefer 2nd ed are by far a minority, although many tend to post here in the Spelljammer forum for obvious reasons); many of them would probably be happy to help convert to Pathfinder, but not at all in the reboot. On the other hand, there might be people who don't care about Pathfinder, but would be very interested in helping to write a new setting.

And it is entirely possible to work on both at the same time.

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Re: Reboot the campaign setting?

Post by xorial » Fri Sep 30, 2011 9:11 pm

I have no intention of including Golarian, the Pathfinder setting, in any of this. Never said I would. It is already based in a Universe that has high technology. there is a crashed starship in one of the countries with robots walking around. If I did anything with that world, it would be to include it in Dragonstar. Rebooting doesn't have to be exclusionary, unless somebody is just coming in to say, "You can't do that." I see that TOO many times here. If you don't like it, ignore it & go on; OR, even better, try to say something besides, "You can't do that."

And yes there is a connection between setting & rules. Case in point, Dwarves. Dwarves in 2e have no mages, and there were never enough clerics to offset that. So, the rules came up with the Dwarven Citadel. Now let's look at 3.Xe (meaning 3e thru PFRPG). Dwarves can be mages. If you truly convert to this assumption, you need to do one of 2 things. Handwave a backstory as you suddenly have a number of mages housed in dwarven clans. Retconning sets even worse with most people than rebooting. The other thing is to reboot. I do not see ignoring the new status quo, as has been told to me numerous times as the way to go.

Cannon can be a straight jacket, if you make it inviolable. The basic stories can be held true, but the details around it need to be flexible enough to be explained in various rules. Also, you can't scream cannon, if you are going to ignore conventions of the new rules. that is VERY hypocritical. I understand what everybody tries to tell me. You guys just don't get the concept that I do not agree. I would just reboot the core of Spelljammer. That is the Rock of Bral, and add the Rock's system into the mix. Maybe afterwards, I would add one more system. From there on out, the GMs can add whatever they want. I don't propose to rewrite every last thing ever put out. You provide a core, then go from there.
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Re: Reboot the campaign setting?

Post by Baron » Fri Sep 30, 2011 9:32 pm

"Canon."

Please.

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Re: Reboot the campaign setting?

Post by xorial » Fri Sep 30, 2011 11:43 pm

Baron wrote:"Canon."

Please.
Please on the spelling or for the content. :lol:
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Re: Reboot the campaign setting?

Post by Jaid » Sat Oct 01, 2011 8:07 am

*shrug* even the assumption that dwarves got the forge because they didn't have enough clerics is an unproven assumption. they could have simply had dwarves have more clerics, or have them hire on pilots (like the giff do), or they could have them use furnace helms, etc.

did you consider that maybe they added the forge because they thought it would be cool to have dwarves flying around in gigantic stone fortresses? i mean, there's absolutely nothing preventing dwarves from having regular helms. there's nothing prevent dwarves from flying around in regular spelljamming ships. but if they did, we'd miss out on having dwarven citadels flying through wildspace, providing a source of abandoned ruins, strongholds for various other races, etc.

but again, we're assuming that dwarves being unable to be wizards was an unbreakable rule. dragonlance has at least one example of a dwarven wizard in it's books, for example, and dark sun had halfling wizards for a while as i recall (might even have kept them and simply lost the wizard/psion multiclasses, not sure). i don't think it was ever a matter of dwarves being completely *unable* to be mages, it was simply that they were super-mega-extreme-ultimate rare, and they aren't especially good at it.

allowing dwarven PCs to be mages doesn't somehow mean that all of a sudden, every dwarven clan is going to be 5% wizards or anything like that. 2nd edition (or indeed, OD&D or any of the older versions of D&D) i don't think was ever written with the intention that you would follow the rules like they are the law. the assumption was that if you wanted to make a dwarven wizard, you'd talk to your DM and say "hey, i want to have a dwarven wizard even though that's not the usual thing, can i do that?" and the DM would say yes or no based on what (s)he felt comfortable with.

a setting should be separate from the rules, and if you need to make a special case then you just make a special case. the only setting material which might "need" (and i use that term loosely) to be intrinsically attached to the rules would be NPCs... and again, if the setting calls for a special case, make one.

if you think some fluff could use cleaning up, that's fine. but it's not a setting reboot if you change the level split of a former thief/mage to be a rogue/wizard (or sorcerer)/arcane trickster, nor is it a setting reboot if you let dwarves be wizards (which they were essentially allowed before, but required a special DM exception for).

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Re: Reboot the campaign setting?

Post by ripvanwormer » Sat Oct 01, 2011 4:18 pm

Is the definition of "reboot" really worth arguing about, though?

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Re: Reboot the campaign setting?

Post by Big Mac » Sat Oct 01, 2011 7:57 pm

Ashtagon wrote:The way I was planning on rebooting the setting was to take the universe of Star Fleet Battles, strip off the serial numbers and hi-tch, and replace them with fantasy elements. Each group of a half-dozen or so sectors on the Federation & Empire mapwould be replaced by a single crystal sphere, with large amounts of unclaimed space -- essentially, only the core sphere would be controlled in any meaningful sense. The rest would be mostly wild with military/mining/trading outposts. Races would be substituted for fantasy equivalents, as follows:

Federation: Humans, elves (vulcans), and associated races
Klingons: Orcs and humanoids
Romulans: Dark elves
Kzinti: Rakasta
Gorn: Giff
Tholians: Originally pencilled in as dwarfs in my early drafts
Orions: Hadozee
Hydrans: Merman/triton alliance
Andromedans: Undead
Lyrans: Rakasta
WYN: refugee ogres, orcs, and rakasta (plus many others)
ISC: High elves (and allied races)
LDR: ogres
Jindarians: Ogres and ogre magi (dwarfs would be more appropriate though, since these guys live in asteroids permanently)
Seltorians: ?
Vudar: ?

I quickly came to realise that most people aren't after this sort of setting in SJ, since the aim is to have a more "pirates" feel, with vast unclaimed areas rather than vast empires. Certainly it does need a reboot, but since I am not sufficiently familiar with the original setting, I'm not in a good position to work on the project that people want. There's also the problem that I don't really know PF well enough either.
I think we all derailed your thread here back in 2008. Sorry. :oops:

I think I responded to the thread title as a question (to which my own answer would be "no thanks, but good luck") rather than looking at how your idea might work.

To get back to the original topic, I do agree with the assessment that Havard had. This could easily work as a cluster of spheres.

I've had a thought of using spheres in layers (with the Known Spheres as a single layer on one level) and it would also be possible for you to "spelljammerise" Star Fleet Battles (or anything else with a predefined universe you can convert) and drop it on a layer above or below the Known Spheres. (I know we spoke about Traveller/Spelljammer, in person, and you could probably do, Star Fleet Battles and Traveller reboots and use them with each other or with each other and the Known Spheres. Layers could be a good way to join them together without stopping either from expanding.)

My layer concept involved having (undiscovered) vertical flow rivers that would connect one layer to another. I was thinking of having them be in area of the flow that are nowhere near to crystal spheres, but it might also work to connect them to the zenith and nadir of specific spheres. Something like that would allow people to use this either with or instead of the original SJ setting. If that was not enough, you could also connect the Seven Sisters (from Greyspace) to the Bajoran Wormhole (from the Star Trek Universe).

Going back to your "ripping stuff from Krynnspace, Greyspace and Realmspace" post, while I initially said that I would not do that myself, a better answer (from the point of view of your OP) is that you could file the serial numbers off of most of the celestial bodies and mix bits of them up to the extent that they are totally unrecognisable.

I said later in your thread that almost every crystal sphere needs a Bral-like asteroid, but that sort of rebooting could be done on all sorts of levels. You could shrink Falx, Reorx or Spiral down to be an asteroid. You could make a Bral-like city on a planet. You could even look to Greyhawk, Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms and use cities on those worlds to be asteroids floating in space. (I'm fairly sure someone else suggested doing this for another project at one point.)
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Re: Reboot the campaign setting?

Post by blackdaggr » Mon Oct 03, 2011 3:24 pm

Ashtagon wrote:The way I was planning on rebooting the setting was to take the universe of Star Fleet Battles, strip off the serial numbers and hi-tch, and replace them with fantasy elements. Each group of a half-dozen or so sectors on the Federation & Empire mapwould be replaced by a single crystal sphere, with large amounts of unclaimed space -- essentially, only the core sphere would be controlled in any meaningful sense. The rest would be mostly wild with military/mining/trading outposts. Races would be substituted for fantasy equivalents, as follows:

Federation: Humans, elves (vulcans), and associated races
Klingons: Orcs and humanoids
Romulans: Dark elves
Kzinti: Rakasta
Gorn: Giff
Tholians: Originally pencilled in as dwarfs in my early drafts
Orions: Hadozee
Hydrans: Merman/triton alliance
Andromedans: Undead
Lyrans: Rakasta
WYN: refugee ogres, orcs, and rakasta (plus many others)
ISC: High elves (and allied races)
LDR: ogres
Jindarians: Ogres and ogre magi (dwarfs would be more appropriate though, since these guys live in asteroids permanently)
Seltorians: ?
Vudar: ?

I quickly came to realise that most people aren't after this sort of setting in SJ, since the aim is to have a more "pirates" feel, with vast unclaimed areas rather than vast empires. Certainly it does need a reboot, but since I am not sufficiently familiar with the original setting, I'm not in a good position to work on the project that people want. There's also the problem that I don't really know PF well enough either.
As another source of inspiration, I remember the old Galactic Empires CCG. They had a variety of races. Furthermore, they had conversions for some of their ships to SFB (and at least one quasi-canonical connection to ST).

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Re: Reboot the campaign setting?

Post by Bonetti » Wed Oct 05, 2011 11:30 pm

For what it's worth, I would love to see this idea developed further (but have no time myself). I always wondered how viable a Star Trek-styled SJ game would work out (and sort of imagined the Elven Navy was, effectively, the Federation). Steve Marsh had some ideas on how to run a Star Trek game back in the old weekly Pyramid days, including naming adventures like episodes, doing a pre-title sequence, and having each player run one character in each subgroup (bridge crew, science crew, engineering, away team) to allow it to work better. That has the added benefit of making a two-parter (i.e. continuing the adventure to a second night) have a real impact. It had been my intention to adapt that style whenever I finally reached a Spelljammer-like stage in my own game, but nothing ever came of it...

That being said, my two stabs at SJ were:
  1. Groundlings into space. This went badly, mostly because one of the players thought the setting itself was "stupid" and pitched a fit (to the point of walking out after yelling at me) when he realized what had happened. Campaign (and group) collapsed shortly there after.
  2. Colonial setup: new world, new background, no relation to any existing D&D world. The idea was there was some spelljamming empire which had started a colony on this planet, and when the second wave arrived the colony had disappeared. The PCs were part of the second wave... (This is assisted, of course, by the length of time it takes to get anywhere -- if there's no nearby trade route, it's going to be a long time between visits.) I vaguely recall I had some gentle, psionic apes as local fauna, and some reason for the colonists to have simply faded away.
Anyway, no intent to derail. I just think the fundamental idea is worth exploring. Would it be worth sketching out a couple episodes as adventures, to see how well it would work?
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Re: Reboot the campaign setting?

Post by Big Mac » Thu Oct 06, 2011 12:38 pm

I think the main difference between most SF universes and Spelljammer, is that SJ usually has a number of habitable worlds in a single system (and therefore a level of in-system commerce not found in a SF setting).

Not knowing Star Fleet Battles, I wonder how the actual planetary systems are set up. Could you easily make it more like a SJ planetary system (perhaps turning all habitable worlds into the "big groundling worlds" and making the other worlds into spacefaring worlds)? Or would that be something that wasn't desirable?

I think I'd need to see your project goals for spheres to be able to tell which way you wanted to go.
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Re: Reboot the campaign setting?

Post by Sock Puppet » Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:24 pm

Of course, SFB star systems basically follow real world physics. The only exceptions are the energy barrier at the edge of the galaxy (in SJ terms, this would be a particularly severe storm in the phlogiston), and the WYN Star Cluster (a small cluster of habitable systems inside a hollow spherical radioactive cloud). The WYN cluster is ripe for a custom crystal sphere.

Generally, systems with habitable worlds will be converted into a single habitable planet. Systems which are not habitable will be converted into non-habitable worlds. All the 'worlds' from a cluster of SFB provinces would then be merged into a single sphere, and the results mashed together into a hopefully-entertaining fashion. Extra worlds might be added to these spheres for interest. This approach also allows for a single SJ world to have pre-made multiple interesting destinations.

Most worlds will not be "groundling" as such. If a world is isolated, it will either because it hasn't yet been contacted, or because of a prime directive law going on, or because of a lack of resources by the local empire, or because it is sufficiently strong in its own right that the local empire has come to an arrangement with the world's major nations.
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Re: Reboot the campaign setting?

Post by Big Mac » Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:15 am

Sock Puppet wrote:Of course, SFB star systems basically follow real world physics. The only exceptions are the energy barrier at the edge of the galaxy (in SJ terms, this would be a particularly severe storm in the phlogiston), and the WYN Star Cluster (a small cluster of habitable systems inside a hollow spherical radioactive cloud). The WYN cluster is ripe for a custom crystal sphere.
Star Trek has a few more things that break real world physics (Warp Speed, FTL comunications and teleportaion spring to mind). I assume they will all be staying.

I can see Impulse Drive speed being turned into Spelljammer Speed (within a crystal sphere), but Warp Speed doesn't directly correspond to travel in The Phlogiston. I think you have the choice of making crystal spheres (and using the SJ mechanics) or creating a "Warp Plane" and using a Plane Shift effect to hop a ship over into a plane that allows travel that is much faster than the Shadow Plane.
Sock Puppet wrote:Generally, systems with habitable worlds will be converted into a single habitable planet. Systems which are not habitable will be converted into non-habitable worlds. All the 'worlds' from a cluster of SFB provinces would then be merged into a single sphere, and the results mashed together into a hopefully-entertaining fashion. Extra worlds might be added to these spheres for interest. This approach also allows for a single SJ world to have pre-made multiple interesting destinations.
That will crunch the universe down a bit, but that might not be such a bad thing.
Sock Puppet wrote:Most worlds will not be "groundling" as such. If a world is isolated, it will either because it hasn't yet been contacted, or because of a prime directive law going on, or because of a lack of resources by the local empire, or because it is sufficiently strong in its own right that the local empire has come to an arrangement with the world's major nations.
Star Trek has quite a high "tech level" so I would guess that grounding worlds (as we know them) would be very rare. But again, you have a choice. Do you bring in advanced "technology" or at least make smoke powder weapons common, or do you convert that down to hand crossbows? And what of communicators and the transporters? You could swap them for something akin to SJ's Cones of Communication (but with the "pair" logic removed) and teleportation circles. But do you want to tone that down to force ships to land more?
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Re: Reboot the campaign setting?

Post by Sock Puppet » Fri Oct 07, 2011 8:38 am

Warp speed: I definitely want to keep SJ speeds, rather than clone ST warp. It's not an exact conversion, since a ST ship can warp within a system. But a SJ's tactical speed corresponds closely to ST impulse, since the situations in which it can be used correspond exactly. ST warp speed corresponds to both phlogiston travel and in-sphere strategic SJ speed (ie. when not close to another large body).

I'm thinking that gunpowder weapons will be used to replace SFB "plasma" technology. Since in D&D terms, this is usually phrased as "even more damage, and even slower, than crossbow/ballista technology", the analogy works very well at the crunch level. Plus, our space elves have Big Bertha cannons. May as well make the setting original :D
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Re: Reboot the campaign setting?

Post by Big Mac » Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:38 pm

Sock Puppet wrote:Warp speed: I definitely want to keep SJ speeds, rather than clone ST warp. It's not an exact conversion, since a ST ship can warp within a system. But a SJ's tactical speed corresponds closely to ST impulse, since the situations in which it can be used correspond exactly. ST warp speed corresponds to both phlogiston travel and in-sphere strategic SJ speed (ie. when not close to another large body).
Good logic. They are not exactly the same, as a Star Trek ship will often travel at Impulse Speed when in a planetary system, but from a story point of view, the usage is identical. Impulse Speed is there to allow ship to ship combat while Warp Speed is to get from Plot A to Plot B.

You may also want to think about cloaking devices. From what I recall of Star Trek, some would need to be lowered before combat (perhaps during the same combat round). They could just work like the D&D Invisibility Spell. Other versions allowed a ship to remain invisible.

Pehaps these could translate to "Cloaking Helms" or perhaps they could be something else.
Sock Puppet wrote:I'm thinking that gunpowder weapons will be used to replace SFB "plasma" technology. Since in D&D terms, this is usually phrased as "even more damage, and even slower, than crossbow/ballista technology", the analogy works very well at the crunch level. Plus, our space elves have Big Bertha cannons. May as well make the setting original :D
Melee combat in Star Trek is a bit more like a cowboy gun fight than the sort of guns that SJ has. Are you considering giving them six-shooters or bullets?
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Re: Reboot the campaign setting?

Post by Ashtagon » Fri Oct 07, 2011 8:54 pm

cloaking devices: SFB cloaks don't prevent attacks, or even force you to decloak when you attack. However, they do disrupt your fire control, making it far harder to hit anything while cloaked, and for a while after. This can best be defined as an invisibility spell that also grants all enemy ships (and space monsters) a 50% miss chance due to "soft cover". In-character, people on the ship are out of phase with the rest of the universe on a visible light level, which makes it harder for them to aim at anything. That miss chance would extend one round after the ship becomes fully visible. Any attack from the cloaked ship would also make it really obvious where your ship actually is.

As far as personal weapons are concerned, I think I'd rather keep the primitive aspect of things more -- 16th century tech at most. So, most shipboard crews will be armed with cutlasses (hey, it's traditional navy!), and the ranged weapon of choice will vary according to the favoured heavy weapons of that empire's navy. Dark elves, high elves, and giff get muskets. The United Demi-Human Alliance will be playing with crossbows (at least, the humans will; other races in the alliance may vary), whilst the orcs and rakasta will be mostly using bows.
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Re: Reboot the campaign setting?

Post by blackdaggr » Tue Oct 11, 2011 1:07 pm

Just an observation: there is a lot of difference between Star Trek (proper) and Star Fleet Battles. SFB is much more of a tactical combat game. While there are certainly tactical combats in ST, it has a lot more exploration, politics, problem-solving, etc. To me, SJ should have something of a ST feel to it, though the EIN as Federation doesn't quite work. The Federation is a lot more cohesive, and dominates their area. The elves? Not so much. But I like the mix of problem-solving, exploration, hazards, ship combat, and monster-of-the-week combat.

Cloaking Devices: My character in our current SJ campaign solved this by painting his Triop black. It's pretty hard to see against the black of space, Since the triop is totally enclosed, the inside can be lit normally without giving away the ship's position. It would not work for most ships though.

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