As I’ve written last week, I doubt I will get my NaGa DeMon project done. Today is November 28th and Astronauts is far from being playable. But since it’s a very interesting project I hope to finish it over the next months. I don’t play to hurry things but instead I want to work on it until I am happy with the result.
I also promised you a first look on what I’ve done so far. So here’s an excerpt from my manuscript:
Astronauts uses a simple dice pool mechanic to determine if actions attempted by characters are successful or not. Astronauts uses two kinds of six-sided dice: Skill dice (blue) and Complication dice (black). The blue dice represent the character’s skills and any favorable conditions that may help the character. Black dice represent anything that hinders success. Whenever it’s unsure whether a task at hand may fail or not, the dice pool is assembled. The pool starts with one Skill die. For each character trait helping in that situation another Skill die is added. The GM then may add additional Skill dice if there are favorable conditions making the task even easier. Then the Complication dice are added. Stress, unfavorable conditions, sometimes even trust issues between the characters can account for that.
The dice pool is then rolled. Each die that comes up 5 or 6 is counted as a success. Successes on black dice negate successes on blue dice. If no successes on Skill dice remain, the check failed. If only one success on a blue die remains, the check was partially successful. The task succeeded but just by a very small margin. At least two remaining successes on Skill dice are needed for a full success. Further successes imply that the task at hand was performed with superior skill or in less time than initially thought.
This core mechanic is actually pretty close to which I came up for another unfinished project, but I like it a lot, that’s why it makes a reappearance here. To put the mechanics into a bit more perspective, let me share another excerpt:
Each player in Astronauts plays one member of a team of astronauts on a mission of human space exploration. The scope of said mission is up to the players and the GM. But we’ll talk about Missions later.
Characters in Astronauts are described by Traits. Each trait is a word or a short sentence that describes different aspects of a character, what makes the character stand out. Player characters use the following Traits:
The Physique trait describes the physical aspects of a character.
Examples: Nimble, Tough, Ambidextrous, Quick, Strong Stomach, Fleet-footed, Athletic, Strong.
The intellect trait describes the mental (intellectual and emotional) aspects of a character.
Examples: Quick-Thinker, Knowledgeable, Observant, Math Genius, Eidetic Memory, Charming, Stoic.
The Technical Skill trait describes what technical skill the character is trained in. Please note that all characters have undergone an extended astronaut training and are capable of doing repairs on equipment, handling scientific and technical equipment and are familiar with various space craft and space suits. The skills listed under this trait is the one where the characters stand out among their peers.
Examples: Shuttle Pilot, Paramedic, Electrical Engineering, EVA (Extra Vehicular Activity), Hydroponic Farming, Space Ship Systems.
The Scientific Skill describes the field of science the character has specialized in.
Examples: Physics, Astronomy, Medicine, Planetology, Geology, Biology.
The Social skill trait describes the characters’ interpersonal skills that help to make the isolation far away from the rest of humanity bearable.
Examples: Empathy, Leadership, Conflict Management, Self-Discipline, Psychology, Diplomacy.
I have a few more things to share with you, but this should suffice at the moment. Please let me know what you think. Your feedback is highly appreciated!
This blog post over at Hobby Games Recce — http://hobbygamesrecce.livejournal.com/14866.html — offers some encouragement for those who didn’t finish the National Game Design Month (NaGa DeMon) challenge: “Never give up…never surrender!”
I like what Stargazer’s shared here and hope to see more, whether in future blog posts or, hopefully, in a complete game someday.
I did give up on the NaGa DeMon challenge but not completely. I will definitely get back at the project as soon as creativity strikes me. I just wanted to share my thoughts with my readers and perhaps get some feedback on what I’ve written so far. 🙂