NaGa DeMon: The first step is always the hardest

NaGaDeMon 2012 Sometimes it’s really hard to come up with a good idea if you need one. For the last few days I’ve tried really hard to think about a cool setting for the game I want to design this month. A while back I had decided that I want to work on a Science Fiction roleplaying game and inspired by the awesome Barebones Fantasy I decided to come up with a simple system that uses percentile dice for task resolution. But deciding what kind of setting I wanted to use was extremely hard. I had a few random ideas but when I tried to write them down, I already started to hate them.

This morning I finally overcame my “game design block” (yeah, I know such thing does not exist) and wrote down a short “captain’s log” as inspiration for the setting. The unnamed captain of a Terran League vessel talks about his last mission and some of the things happening in the year 2512.

Captain’s Log November 2, 2512

We are currently on our way back to base after our 3 months scientific mission to the Orion nebula. Everyone is really excited about the work we did there and our lead scientist Prof. Ashikaga can’t wait to finally analyze all the data we collected.

Yesterday, while making a short navigational stop our sensors picked up an alien vessel. We are not entirely sure, but it may have been a Valar vessel. There has been no formal contact with that species, every attempt to communicate with them has failed so far. It seems as if they prefer to be kept alone. Perhaps some day they will break the silence, but until then we keep our distance.

The situation at home still deeply worries me. The leader of the Technologist party, which has held the majority of the Council since we took out first steps into interstellar space, has been assassinated. Tensions are high right now and accusations are thrown. Some people believe it was the work of terrorists. I am sure we can get more information on what happened when we get back to League space. But I hope this is not a sign of things to come.

Tomorrow we will make another stop but this time to allow our Arelian guest Charan to disembark. He has been a great asset for our mission, especially because the Arelian’s knowledge of slipstream technology helped us to fix a few kinks with our drive. Chief Engineer Chantilly is sad to seem him go, but Charan obviously got an important message by his government and need to return to his homeworld. The Arelian Commonwealth has been struggling with a civil war for some time now, so I think this might be related.

Ok, it’s time to return to the bridge. I’ve to relieve my second in command, who’s on watch right now. We’re still in the slipstream, so I doubt it will be an exciting watch, but you never know.

The names are of course still subject to change. The main idea behind this short piece of fiction was to motivate me for the project and to get an idea what the setting might look like. There’s obviously FTL travel using something called a slipstream drive. There’s something called a Terran League ruled by a Council, and the captain mentions several alien species like the elusive Valar and the Arelians who obviously have closer ties with humanity. Everything else still lies in shadows, but more will be revealed over the next weeks (at least that’s my plan).

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

2 thoughts on “NaGa DeMon: The first step is always the hardest”

  1. Love it. My players would make it their business to meet the Valar for hugs and beers. Like some crazed interstellar Elmira. What’s the resolution mechanic like?

    1. I want to design a simple percentile dice resolution mechanic. There will probably a few attributes and a slightly longer list of skills. I have to admit Barebones Fantasy inspired me to try my hand at designing such a system.

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