Uncharted Worlds Post-Mortem

General Uncharted Worlds and tangential matters discussion
User avatar
zircher
Class 0
Posts: 41
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2019 12:13 am

Re: Uncharted Worlds Post-Mortem

Post by zircher » Wed Feb 27, 2019 12:31 am

Heh, character growth is over-rated. Some is nice, but since UW draws from Traveller's bloodline, I think is is very appropriate at where it stands. Same with stats, this is not a game where everyone becomes a super soldier. It's regular folks doing interesting things in interesting places with interesting people. :-)
Web Toys and gaming stuff - http://www.tangent-zero.com
Solo actual plays (various systems) - https://www.deviantart.com/zircher/gallery/

AaronGriffin
Class 0
Posts: 12
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2019 1:35 pm

Re: Uncharted Worlds Post-Mortem

Post by AaronGriffin » Wed Feb 27, 2019 6:14 pm

You can just START as a super solider :)

I definitely dig the alternate advancement stuff from FBH and think it should be the primary mode of advancement

piccamo
Class 0
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:37 am

Re: Uncharted Worlds Post-Mortem

Post by piccamo » Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:44 am

SGomes wrote:
Tue Feb 26, 2019 1:08 pm
Skills: Wildly uneven in usefulness, often minor in effect, and some were just poorly implemented. Starting with 4 of them also made each individual one less important/pivotal. Gaining more skills just made the problem worse; they were forgettable and homogenous. Even with the sheer number of available skills (50 career skills in the base game), characters started overlapping each other. No niche protection.
Your post-mortem series is pretty cool. I appreciate the insight into your development philosophy and priorities.

I wanted to talk about skills a little bit. I think that skill overlap is a good thing if the approach is different. It opens up opportunities for varied contributions and creates more interesting consequences. If you only have one way to bypass a door, every door will be bypassed the same way. Instead, having skills that can be used to knock down the door, to pick the lock, to override computer, etc. is good. Leave it up to player ingenuity to use their skills in interesting ways. Maybe there were too many skills, but I don't think niche protection is necessarily a desirable goal.

Vinyl Flyway
Class 0
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:18 pm

Re: Uncharted Worlds Post-Mortem

Post by Vinyl Flyway » Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:32 pm

I really enjoy the fact your character starts off at or near end game level. It allows the players to develop some interesting plans, story and backstory.

I also think the workspace part of character creation worked well. It really helped to establish the abilities and limitations of your ship/base at the beginning of the game.

I think best way to integrate better economy, debts and payments should always come back to the ship/base that the players all share. Money to keep the ship flying, make upgrades, improve or add workspaces. Making the ship or base the focus creates a unique gameplay were decisions are made as a group on what to improve. The paired with the close quarters roles and strong character development the game fosters makes 'leveling up' your ship a really interesting process.

User avatar
zircher
Class 0
Posts: 41
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2019 12:13 am

Re: Uncharted Worlds Post-Mortem

Post by zircher » Tue Mar 19, 2019 12:53 am

Totally agree with that, getting back to the Trav/FireFly vibe.
Web Toys and gaming stuff - http://www.tangent-zero.com
Solo actual plays (various systems) - https://www.deviantart.com/zircher/gallery/

User avatar
SGomes
Class 0
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2019 3:31 pm

Re: Uncharted Worlds Post-Mortem

Post by SGomes » Wed Mar 20, 2019 12:04 pm

That's a real interesting take Vinyl... I'll have to mull that one over, but I'm really digging the "level up the group/ship" as a means of expressing growth.

CCCXLII
Class 0
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Mar 23, 2019 3:24 am

Re: Uncharted Worlds Post-Mortem

Post by CCCXLII » Sat Mar 23, 2019 4:11 am

Something worth bringing up, is that the more you try to lock Uncharted Worlds into a specific setting, the harder the game is to play and enjoy. I've often looked into running a Star Wars or Star Trek game in the system, and I find that every time I have to pregen characters, write setting and player guides, and so on, which quickly becomes very messy. Ultimately, I find UW to be more about mashing everyone's favorite sci-fi bits into a single game, which can be precarious and jarring if one guy is trying to inject a little Doctor Who into the game while another is going full-on Gundam.

It seems to me that in organizing a UW game, there's a lot of 'switch-flipping' with a long 'preflight checklist', especially when Far Beyond Humanity is involved:
- Is there Supernatural elements? (YES/NO)
- Are mechs a thing? (YES/NO)
- Are lasers or ballistic weapons rare? (LASER/BALLISTIC)
- Are there aliens? (YES/NO)
- Are there body modifications? (YES/NO)

The list goes on. Even basic questions like, 'is artificial gravity commonplace?' are up in air. Something you probably wouldn't think about, but now all of the sudden it's crucial to have the Starfarer Skill 'Weightless'. And I suppose this wouldn't be so much of a problem with friends, where you know each others tastes and what you all expect going into the game, but when playing Play-by-Post or Play-by-Chat, where most of the players are strangers, it's definitely a little difficult. There can be a lot of friction.

It's pretty much for the best if you make the decision to refuse to 'flip any switches' and then take a 'anything goes' approach. But again, that's difficult in a PbP setting, where the GM is probably looking forward to capital ship battles... while a player is thinking fighters, another is thinking mechs, and another wants to be a commercial mogul, and someone wants primarily ground battles or wants to be a anthropologist, etc.

BlckKnght
Class 0
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 4:11 pm

Re: Uncharted Worlds Post-Mortem

Post by BlckKnght » Sun Mar 24, 2019 1:59 pm

How happy were you about the meanings of the stats?

One of the things that has sometimes felt odd to me is how some stats have multiple uses that don't seem very similar to me. For instance, Mettle covers all of precision, quick thinking and willpower, so you use it for such disparate activities as spy tradecraft, starship piloting, and rifle marksmanship. Expertise has a similar issue since it is used for both engineering and medicine (though it's not as bad since major engineering and medical activities require specific skills, i.e. Repair and Surgery). If you want a character who's really good at one activity provided by a given stat, you get skill at the others too whether they make sense for your concept or not. You can't really play a pilot who doesn't know one end of a gun from the other or an engineer who faints at the sight of blood and so is inept at first aid (at least, not without roleplaying against your stats).

I think I'd prefer to merge the gunfighting part of mettle into Physique (so a soldier has one obvious stat to pick), while mettle keeps only the piloting and "keeping your cool" parts of its current meaning. Maybe a greater emphasis on overcoming fear could be added, to make Mettle remain broadly useful. Similarly, I think I'd move a lot of the engineering stuff into Interface, while keeping the general "well educated" vibe in Expertise.

An alternative might be to make sure there are a few more skills that make the stats more specific in their use. So if you were "The Pilot", you'd really want to have the Crack Pilot skill, and somebody else with high mettle wouldn't be nearly as good. Similarly, you'd want something for "The Gunfighter" to have the chance to pick a specific skill that would differentiate them a bit from a pilot (you sort of have this with skills like Tactics, maybe, but it doesn't quite feel right to me).

One last option might be to give each character one or more flaws (which would be like a negative skill) that would put a limit on how they use a given stat. Flaws should probably be limited to their +1 and +2 stats. So a character with good but flawed mettle could choose to be bad with guns, unstealthy, or afraid of heights (and thus bad at flying), rather than always being similarly good at all three. I'm not sure what the flaws would be for other stats though, or exactly what the mechanics of being bad at something should be (a -2 on the stat could be one possibility, as could something about never starting with the upper hand using the new mechanics you mentioned in the other thread).

User avatar
SGomes
Class 0
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2019 3:31 pm

Re: Uncharted Worlds Post-Mortem

Post by SGomes » Sun Mar 24, 2019 11:14 pm

CCCXLII wrote:
Sat Mar 23, 2019 4:11 am
Something worth bringing up, is that the more you try to lock Uncharted Worlds into a specific setting, the harder the game is to play and enjoy. I've often looked into running a Star Wars or Star Trek game in the system, and I find that every time I have to pregen characters, write setting and player guides, and so on, which quickly becomes very messy. Ultimately, I find UW to be more about mashing everyone's favorite sci-fi bits into a single game, which can be precarious and jarring if one guy is trying to inject a little Doctor Who into the game while another is going full-on Gundam.
You are absolutely, 100% correct. I've been thinking a LOT about the decision to make UW "neutral", and the problems that caused. I think it stemmed from a desire to play in lots of different settings. In practice, as you said, it created a lot of messy situations that had to be ironed out. Worse still, by not committing to a specific setting I ended up watering down a bunch of mechanics that could have been stronger, sharper, etc.

Ultimately, I have to acknowledge that it was a bit of cowardice. I wasn't confident enough in my own choices for a setting, so I hedged and waffled and was kinda wishy-washy about it. "The game is about traveling in a small spacecraft... or it could be about a single city if you want." I wanted to please everyone, I wanted to let folks be free to play in their favorite copyrighted setting, so I borrowed liberally from all of them.
Last edited by SGomes on Sun Mar 24, 2019 11:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
SGomes
Class 0
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2019 3:31 pm

Re: Uncharted Worlds Post-Mortem

Post by SGomes » Sun Mar 24, 2019 11:32 pm

BlckKnght wrote:
Sun Mar 24, 2019 1:59 pm
How happy were you about the meanings of the stats?
Funnily enough, a lot of this was a recent discussion with my regular playgroup, so it's rather fresh in my mind.

From a design standpoint, I think you're right. The Stats were the first thing that came together when I first started hacking Apocalypse World, and I must admit I was a lot more shaky in my design methodology back then.

Cool became Mettle
Hard became Physique
Hot became Influence
Sharp became Expertise
Weird became Interface

But here's the thing. Apocalypse World used exclusive Moves. Every Move had one stat. So it didn't matter what the stat meant, because you were rolling it for one Move. But UW was more inspired by Dungeon World, which had generic "do something" Moves that were stat-neutral, and leveraged the very popular and well known D&D stats.

I honestly didn't give it enough thought back then.

Now, from a design standpoint, and looking to UW2, I would likely change the stats. Possibly re-examine the most common activities in a game, and build up from there. Note that this ties in with my previous post: Because I tried to be as neutral as possible, I had to make each stat do a LOT of work. I think there's a LOT more work to be done here to bring it up to snuff.

From a branding perspective... do the Stats define the game, the way that Str, Dex, Con, Int, Wis, and Cha define D&D? Would changing the stats make it no longer UW? I honestly don't know.

Food for thought.

Post Reply