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Thread: Space Force 2010

  1. #1
    Inceptor Prince Charon's Avatar
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    Space Force 2010

    This was originally going to be 'Space Force 2017,' but issues with the timeline and the slow pace of my writing (and the difficulty of finding players), I really doubt that I'll be running this before the end of the year, so I decided to just set it in alternate 2010.

    Space Force 2010

    In 1989, aliens resembling creatures from myth and fantasy came to Earth in spacecraft that they called 'spelljammers.' Many stayed on Earth to teach, and to enjoy the relative peace and safety of this world. In the twenty-eight years since, humanity has learned much. Now, we send out our own spelljammers to the stars. Their mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life, and new civilizations, to boldly go where no-one has gone, before!

    (In our history, TSR brought out an AD&D supplement called Spelljammer, about fantasy spacecraft, in 1989. In the timeline of the setting, actual spelljammers arrived on Earth, instead.)

    Spelljammer.org

    Spelljammer Wiki

    3.5e Spelljammer on DandD Wiki
    5e Spelljammer on DandD Wiki

    I'm currently imagining this as a PL6 campaigne with few or no powers beyond some Devices and racial or 'class' abilities, though PL7 or 8 with limited powers is an option. Spellcasting will generally involve the Ritualist and Benefit (Readied Rituals) advantages.

    The default idea is that the PCs are the senior officers (and perhaps one or two senior NCOs) of a Space Force/NASA armed explorer (blatantly Star Trek style, as implied above), but if the players prefer, junior officers (NCOs, enlisted) are an option, and civilians in this setting might also be explorers, possibly space merchants looking for new markets, or just curious folk out to go beyond Known Space. Likewise, they could be military personnel for some other space service, spelljamming crews from other worlds, colonists looking for/building a new home, and so forth.


    The Tech Level and Equipment Availability chart in the Cosmic Handbook (p32) is one of those areas in which I feel that M&M goes too far in the direction of 'less granular,' so as an option, I suggest using the Progress Levels system from d20 Future (abbreviated 'PrL,' to avoid confusion with Power Levels), or the Technology Level system from GURPS (abbreviated TL), unless you and your players agree that the difference will not be that important in your game. Modern Earth in-setting is d20 PrL5 or GURPS TL8, with various technomagic items that in many cases imitate tech from higher PrLs. Most of the cultures in Known Space are PrL2 or TL3, roughly equivalent to the Middle Ages, which gives Earth a fairly significant advantage over them. (A few worlds are more advanced, like Eberron, which is roughly in the area of PrL4 or TL5, while still being pretty much Tech Level 0 - or 'between 0 and 1' - on the M&M scale.) On the other hand, living on monster-filled death worlds as they do has lead many alien races (and a number of individual aliens) to develop Powers of their own, rather than being dependent on equipment, rituals, and Devices.
    "Loyalty to petrified opinion never broke a chain or freed a human soul."
    -- Mark Twain

  2. #2
    Inceptor Prince Charon's Avatar
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    Re: Space Force 2010

    Timeline

    1989: The first spelljammer to contact Earth is the Faerunian vessel Mystra's Laughter, landing in Hawai'i. Among other things, the crew are given a world map, and warned to avoid certain nations because 'they don't make good deals.' The captain-owner decides to direct his rivals & enemies to those nations. Some crewmembers choose to remain on Earth.

    1990: The Calufrax, a spelljammer made from the hollowed-out corpse of an ancient red dragon of that name (and owned by a rival of the captain-owner of Mystra's Laughter) lands in Russia, outside Moscow.

    1991: First (confirmable) local Ritualists trained. First Earthborn half-elf born in Nevada.

    1993: First (confirmable) local Artificers trained.

    1995: First Earth-built Spelljamming Helm created.

    1996: United States Space Force formed from the US Space Command, and space assets of all US armed services.

    1997: Space Shuttle OV-101 Enterprise adapted into a spelljammer. First Psions arrive on Earth, and begin teaching. The style rapidly becomes popular.

    1999: Discovery that it is possible to become and Artificer without first becoming a Ritualist. After many in-system tests, Enterprise performs a survey of the Alpha Centauri trinary system, and surprisingly discovers a reasonably-habitable planet orbiting Alpha Centauri A, and a mostly uninhabitable planet, resembling an easter egg with a band of habitable territory, tidally locked with Proxima Centauri.

    2000: The worlds discovered by Enterprise the previous year are named 'Centaurus' and 'Easter Planet,' respectively. First contact between Earth and Eberron vessels occurs (Enterprise and Vedykar Beauty; the latter agrees to accompany Enterprise back to Earth, to open trade negotiations).

    2001: Treaty of Canberra ratified, creating the Royal Commonwealth Space Forces.

    2003: Airbus Pachyderm Long-range Transport (spelljammer) becomes available. Mars Terraforming Project begins, despite protests, both coherent and incoherent.

    2004: Boeing Conestoga Colony Transport comes on the market. First units lack spelljamming systems, and are used on Mars.

    2005: Venus Terraforming Project begins.

    2006: The Kingdom of Karrnath on Eberron successfully test-detonates a crude atomic device.

    2007: Cyberpsi developed by a Psion on Earth.

    2008: SM-69 Declaration Long-range Multirole Spaceplane enters service.

    2010: Present day.
    "Loyalty to petrified opinion never broke a chain or freed a human soul."
    -- Mark Twain

  3. #3
    Inceptor Prince Charon's Avatar
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    Re: Space Force 2010

    The United States Space Force was formed in the 1990s, from the US Space Command and the space assets of the US Air Force, Army, and Navy. Ranks are based primarily on those of the US Air Force, with some modification. The space militaries of other Earth nations will tend to have similar templates.

    Basic Space Force Template

    No attribute below 0.
    Stamina, Agility, and Intellect must not be below 1.
    Will and Toughness must not be below 2.
    Dodge, Parry, and Fortitude must not be below 3.


    Advantages:

    Benefit (Military Rank)
    Benefit (Advanced Technology)

    (Most military Ritualists will have some level of Benefit (Readied Ritual), usually equal to PL, as will many alien Ritualists. Personnel serving in an interstellar spacecraft must also have the Artificer advantage.)


    Skills:

    Acrobatics +2
    Atheletics +2
    Close Combat (unarmed, grab, knife) +3
    Ranged Combat (firearms, blasters, throw, grenades, vehicular weapons) +4
    Expertise (Astronaut) +5
    Expertise (various, as appropriate for crew position) +6
    Technology +4 (+6 for Engineering NCOs, +8 for Engineering officers)
    Treatment +3
    Vehicles +2

    (Personnel serving in an interstellar spacecraft must also have Expertise (Technurgy) equal to Technology skill, as they may be called on to assist in repairing, jerry-rigging, or enchanting technomagical equipment. If crew position requires regular use of a skill, the minimum bonus will tend to be higher, in the +6 to +8 range - though someone newly transferred to that department might have a lower skill. On vehicles with smaller crews, Expertise (Astrogation) is often a required skill for all personnel.)


    Equipment:

    Multitool
    Smartphone
    Survival knife
    Vacuum suit
    Shared EP (Spacecraft or Starbase)
    Other equipment, as appropriate for crew position


    Complication:

    Duty
    You are part of the crew of a deployed spacecraft, with the duties and responsibilities thereof.



    Benefit (Military Rank) (modified from the chart in Golden Age, p43):

    US Space Force Ranks - +Wealth Bonus

    0 Spaceman Basic, Spaceman, or Spaceman First Class - +0
    1 Senior Spaceman - +0
    2 Sergeant (any grade) - +0
    3 Warrant Officer; Second or First Lieutenant - +0
    4 Lieutenant Major - +1
    5 Major or Lt. Colonel - +1
    6 Colonel or Brigadier General - +1
    7 Major General - +2
    8 Lieutenant General - +2
    9 General - +2
    10 General of the Space Force - +2

    (A Spaceman Basic is insufficiently trained to be assigned to an interstellar vessel, though a full Spaceman may be. On some vessels, the lowest rank will actually be Spaceman First Class.

    Lt. Major replaces the rank of Captain, which is instead used as the positional title for the commanding officer of a vessel designed for interplanetary or interstellar travel. The commander of a shuttle not intended for either (often a Warrant Officer or NCO) may hold a positional title of 'coxswain.' Either may be informally called 'skipper.' For most campaignes, PCs probably shouldn't start with Military Rank higher than 5, the usual rank for the Captain of a large interstellar spacecraft.

    NASA astronauts assigned to Space Force vessels are generally ranked as Warrant Officers, but may be given an acting commission. In both cases, they have Benefit (Military Rank), because the distinction is more something that should be roleplayed than roll-played. They share the same template, save that they are not required to have combat skills (though most can at least operate a stunner competently), Dodge may be as low as 1, and Parry may be as low as 0, but Intellect must not be below 2. Those with an acting commission must have the same minimums as active military personnel, save for INT, which must still be at least 2. Such officers often hold the post of Mission Specialist or Science Officer, serving as liaison between the Captain and the science team. Some also serve as Executive Officer.)


    Royal Commonwealth Space Forces

    The RCSF were formed by the Treaty of Canberra (2001), to allow the Commonwealth of Nations to present a united front to the galaxy (and a unified budget, allowing Commonwealth members who have little or no military or very little money to still have a presence in space). Interstellar spacecraft often have crews from several Commonwealth nations. The most significant Commonwealth members to not join the Treaty are India and Pakistan, who maintain separate forces.

    RCSF Ranks - +Wealth Bonus

    0 Spacecraftman or Spacecraftwoman (any grade) - +0
    1 Junior Technician, Lance Corporal, or Corporal - +0
    2 Sergeant (any grade), Technician, Chief Technician, Warrant Officer, or Master Spacecrew - +0
    3 Acting Pilot Officer, Pilot Officer, or Flying Officer - +0
    4 Flight Lieutenant - +1
    5 Squadron Leader or Wing Commander - +1
    6 Group Captain or Space Commodore - +1
    7 Space Vice-Marshal - +2
    8 Space Marshal - +2
    9 Space Chief Marshal - +2
    10 Marshal of the RCSF - +2

    Other major Earth military space services include the Brazilian Space Navy, Soviet Rocket Forces, the PRC's People's Liberation Army Space Corps, European Space Command, Indian Space Force, Japan's Space Exploration and Development Agency (technically not a military, but they are armed, uniformed, organized in a paramilitary fashion, and defend Japanese interests in the wider galaxy), and the ASEAN Combined Star Service (which exists for much the same reasons as the RCSF and the European Space Command).


    Navy-style Ranks - +Wealth Bonus

    0 Seaman (most grades, or all grades in some services) - +0
    1 Leading Seaman (aka Leading Rate, or Petty Officer Third Class in some services) - +0
    2 Petty Officer (any grade) - +0
    3 Midshipman or Ensign - +0
    4 Lieutenant (any grade) - +1
    5 Lieutenant Commander or Commander - +1
    6 Captain or Commodore - +1
    7 Rear Admiral - +2
    8 Vice Admiral - +2
    9 Admiral - +2
    10 Fleet Admiral (aka Grand Admiral, Admiral of the Fleet, et cetra) - +2

    (This is a generic example, specific services vary.)



    Benefit (Advanced Technology) references the fact that Earth is one M&M Tech Level (or three d20 Progress Levels, or five GURPS TLs) above most of the rest of the setting, and the PCs are assumed to be interacting with people from lower PrLs a lot. The number of Tech Levels, PrLs, or TLs you are above most of the people you are likely to interact with outside the crew/party determines the level of the Advantage, so you need to know which one your GM is using before you finalize your character. In a game set on Earth, native humans would not have this benefit, but someone from the wider galaxy living on an advanced world like Earth or Eberron would have a Complication like 'Primitive Technology,' and take a penalty to Technology and some other skill rolls (or just fail outright), when trying to deal with most modern equipment or vehicles. (Of course, most modern humans would have a great deal of difficulty trying to perform medieval forgework, or stone age flint-knapping, without training.) The Complication may be dropped once the player and GM agree that the character has had sufficient time and education to get used to more advanced technology.


    Expertise (Astronaut) covers all the things you really need to know when living in space, like how to put on a vacuum suit in a hurry, how to notice and patch leaks, what to do if the radiation alarm sounds or the gravity malfunctions (Acrobatics is useful in low- and microgravity, Athletics in heavy gravity), escape pod operations, how to recognize life-support problems and what to do if you find one, et cetra. Magic usually makes air leaks very unlikely, and other problems likewise, but nothing is certain.
    "Loyalty to petrified opinion never broke a chain or freed a human soul."
    -- Mark Twain

  4. #4
    Inceptor Prince Charon's Avatar
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    Re: Space Force 2010

    Common Expertises and Specialties

    Format explanation:
    X (base skill)
    - Y (specialization of X)
    -- Z (specialization of Y)

    (Depending on the GM, some specializations may be grouped together as a single skill, or dropped entirely; specialists generally have a lower DC for matters within their specialty, but a higher DC for related matters outside of it.)

    Accounting
    Administration
    Arcane
    - Alchemy (most specializations are Artificer disciplines)
    -- Eastern Alchemy
    --- Nei-tan (Chinese Internal Alchemy, Ritualist discipline)
    -- Western Alchemy
    -- Herb Lore (folk alchemy, varies widely by culture and region, generally cheaper and faster but less powerful and reliable)
    - Magic (the numerous spellcasting disciplines, most of which are good for both Ritualists and Artificers)
    -- Adandic Thaumaturgy (Earth name for a group of related styles common to many aliens, and taught on Earth)
    --- Abjuration
    --- Conjuration
    ---- Calling
    ---- Creation
    ---- Summoning
    ---- Teleportation
    --- Divination
    ---- Scrying
    --- Enchantment
    ---- Charm
    ---- Compulsion
    --- Evocation
    ---- (specific element)
    --- Illusion
    ---- Figment
    ---- Glamer
    ---- Pattern
    ---- Phantasm
    ---- Shadow
    --- Necromancy
    ---- Healing (in some Adandic styles, a subschool of Conjuration, Evocation, or Transmutation, instead)
    --- Transmutation
    -- Bardsong
    -- Druidic Lore (also commonly used by rangers, and other nature-focused casters)
    -- Psionics (a common style group on Earth, less so among the aliens)
    --- Attunement (Artificer discipline)
    --- Clairsentience
    --- Metacreativity
    --- Metapsionics
    ---- Probability Alteration (rare among those aliens who practice Psionics, but less rare among Earth humans)
    ---- Psychic Vampirism (draining power and energy from others to heal or temporarily enhance the user)
    --- Psychokinesis
    ---- Cyberpsi (Psionic control of computers and electronics, developed on Earth)
    --- Psychometabolism
    ---- Psychic Healing
    --- Psychoportation
    --- Telepathy
    -- Runelore (spellcasting using mystic symbols to focus the power; often used with other styles from the same culture)
    --- Futhark
    --- Ogham
    --- Gematria
    --- Tengwar
    --- (specific lexicon/style)
    -- Theurgy (faith-based spellcasting, based on Awareness)
    --- (specific religion)
    --- Air Domain
    --- Animal Domain
    --- Chaos Domain
    --- Death Domain
    --- Destruction Domain
    --- Earth Domain
    --- Evil Domain
    --- Fire Domain
    --- Good Domain
    --- Healing Domain
    --- Knowledge Domain
    --- Law Domain
    --- Luck Domain
    --- Magic Domain
    --- Plant Domain
    --- Protection Domain
    --- Strength Domain
    --- Sun Domain
    --- Travel Domain
    --- Trickery Domain
    --- War Domain
    --- Water Domain
    - Occult (can serve as an Artificer and/or Ritualist discipline, at a higher DC)
    -- (specific culture)
    -- Fortune-Telling
    --- Astrology
    --- Cartomancy
    ---- Tarot
    --- Necromancy (divination by talking to ghosts)
    --- Rune-casting (often paired with Runelore, above)
    --- Technomancy
    --- (Many others)
    -- Mystic Architecture (Artificer discipline)
    -- Mystic Craftsmanship (Artificer discipline)
    -- Spirits
    -- Technurgy (Magical technology, Artificer discipline, very common among Earth's spelljammer crews)
    -- the Planes
    - Thaumatology (Scientific study of magic; also a Science specialty)
    Architecture
    Astronaut
    Current Events
    History
    Literature
    Meditation
    Nature
    Navigation
    Philosophy
    - (specific philosophy, useful for some faith-based magics)
    Science!
    - Anthropology
    -- (specific culture)
    -- Xenology
    - Archaeology
    -- (specific culture)
    -- Xenoarchaeology
    - Astronomy
    -- Astrogation (space navigation)
    -- Astrography (political starmapping)
    - Biology
    -- Agronomy
    -- Biochemistry
    -- Bioengineering
    -- Biophysics
    -- Botany
    -- Cryptobiology
    -- Ecology
    -- Genetics
    -- Marine Biology
    -- Paleontology
    -- Xenobiology
    -- Zoology
    - Chemistry
    -- Analytical Chemistry
    -- Biochemistry (also a Biology skill)
    -- Inorganic Chemistry
    -- Magical Chemistry (see also Alchemy)
    -- Materials Chemistry
    -- Neurochemistry
    -- Nuclear Chemistry
    -- Organic Chemistry
    -- Physical Chemistry
    -- Theoretical Chemistry
    - Criminology
    -- Forensics
    - Cryptography (often studied with Cryptology, below)
    - Economics
    - Geography
    -- (specific region)
    -- Xenogeography
    --- (specific planet)
    - Linguistics
    -- (specific region or language group)
    -- Xenolinguistics
    --- (specific region or language group)
    - Mathematics
    -- Applied
    -- Computer Science
    -- Cryptology (often studied with Cryptography, above)
    -- Statistics
    -- Surveying
    -- (numerous other, less common mathematical disciplines)
    - Meteorology
    - Military Science
    - Physics
    -- Astrophysics
    -- Classical Physics
    -- Geophysics
    -- Nuclear Physics
    -- Quantum Mechanics
    -- Warp Physics (may replace with Hyperspace Physics; whatever it is, it's the FTL science)
    - Planetology
    - Political Science
    - Psychology
    - Sociology
    - Thaumatology (Scientific study of magic; also an Arcane specialty)
    Strategy
    Tactics
    Theology
    - (specific religion, useful for most faith-based magics)
    "Loyalty to petrified opinion never broke a chain or freed a human soul."
    -- Mark Twain

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