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Space RPG with realistic in-system travel rules


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Tantavalist

Explorer
The only time I've ever seen a truly realistic depiction of real-world physics for space travel complete with gravity wells and orbits anywhere is in the Kerbal Space Program computer game. Playing it really gives you a feel for just how complicated a subject this is and why Astrogation would be a dedicated skill.

It also makes it clear just how much work translating this into a pen-and-paper RPG would be. KSP has a large chunk of the work done by the computer running the game. Working it all out would be... Let's just say there's a reason that it's never been done for RPGs before.

There are some that gave it a try, of course, but they always end up abstracting some part of it. GURPS Transhuman Space was probably close to The Expanse, but while the thrust and fuel was there the position of the planets was somewhat abstracted.

To really get what you're after the only way to make it work would be to have a dedicated app that does the calculations for you and then translate that into numbers and dice rolls. All you'd need is someone with an astronomy degree and someone who can write decent software to work together. Barring that, we're out of luck.
 

There are some that gave it a try, of course, but they always end up abstracting some part of it. GURPS Transhuman Space was probably close to The Expanse, but while the thrust and fuel was there the position of the planets was somewhat abstracted.

Thanks, I'll check it out.
 

Ixal

Explorer
Problem is that to have realistic space flight you need to track the positions of every planet so that you can accurately plot a course and thats simply not worth it.
 


MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Have you looked at the Expanse RPG? I thought that it was a good balance: a bit of hard sci fi, but workable mechanics. For more technically minded groups you can dig harder into the science, but you can hand wave some of the space travel rules if that is not your jam without breaking the game.

I played the game with engineers in the group, but I'm the type of GM that is happy to have players do some of the rules heavy lifting. I was less intimidated about the space-travel mechanics in The Expanse RPG than the lore.

I like The Expanse RPG as a game system, but I prefer systems that don't have a lot of lore from wildly popular books, TV shows, and movies.

Also, I personally find more hard-science or reality-bound RPGs less satisfying than fantasy. Space fantasy is more fun for me to play than more reality-grounded systems.
 

Problem is that to have realistic space flight you need to track the positions of every planet so that you can accurately plot a course and thats simply not worth it.

Actually, they make software for that.


Very much worth it. I've used an earlier version extensively.

Actually, looking at the new system, which I wasn't aware of, I realize that it will do the calculations for realistic in-system travel. All I need to do is work up a modifier based on operator skill, and I'm done.
 
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Have you looked at the Expanse RPG? I thought that it was a good balance: a bit of hard sci fi, but workable mechanics. For more technically minded groups you can dig harder into the science, but you can hand wave some of the space travel rules if that is not your jam without breaking the game.

I played the game with engineers in the group, but I'm the type of GM that is happy to have players do some of the rules heavy lifting. I was less intimidated about the space-travel mechanics in The Expanse RPG than the lore.

I like The Expanse RPG as a game system, but I prefer systems that don't have a lot of lore from wildly popular books, TV shows, and movies.

Also, I personally find more hard-science or reality-bound RPGs less satisfying than fantasy. Space fantasy is more fun for me to play than more reality-grounded systems.

Yeah, I wasn't impressed. I like the early seasons, and the Cold War rip-off of politics.

I loathe space fantasy.
 


Various Traveller editions have timing for leaving a gravity wells based on thrust of the ship.
Traveller assumes constant thrust drives without significant reaction mass. Except in Traveller: The New Era. That one is still unrealistically high delta-V but it's at least using the rocket equation and limited thrust... albeit ships often having 5-20 G-hours of fuel.

Albedo has somewhat better SF justification; the ship rules are excellent, and finally they're available on DTRPG. You don't really need the corebook to use the ship sourcebook.
 

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