Sapphire Project
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Author:  Ishmael [ Sun Jan 22, 2017 10:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sapphire Project

Hofstede's cultural dimensions, being an attempt to quantify the basic behavioral outlook of a given social group, tends to define such social groups in terms of national boundaries. I suggest that a global set of values used for a UWP in Traveller be considered a super-set of various factions and societal groups on the world instead of just by arbitrary national borders.

Even given a global super-set, a series of groups, subsets, should be considered. These might be broken down by socio-economic class ( rich, middle-class, poor, impoverished, for example ) and by governmental factions/parties. Even within sub-groups, such as these, there may be lower and lower levels of societal groupings, perhaps some crossing over into other subsets in a complex fashion. Each group should have its cultural dimensions set in the same fashion as the global set, that is, based starting with that group's population.

Rules such as for 'Pocket Empire's' diplomacy and alliance might be used to determine which groups are allies and which groups are enemies. different groups will clash politically or otherwise, where the government's main purpose is to keep overall social order by keeping the various factions content enough to not allow for a regime change.

Methods for this include propaganda as well as police action. Individual groups may employ public relations and an overall control of popular media to instill certain social values. These might be to encourage an movement towards collectivism where individuals sacrifice for the sake of a greater good. Modern Earth sees this in most of its stories/movies/religions, at least in those that I have come across.

Of course, all this is too much for a quick run-through for a UWP, but it is a direction for a more detailed pass of world-building.

The next idea will be to determine tech levels and starport types/volumes based on these values and some of the correlations seem between economies, technology and the various cultural dimensions.

Like before, I'll post more as I find time to work on this little project, but I'll mostly keep to my own site.

Author:  Ishmael [ Sun May 14, 2017 6:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sapphire Project

I've begun to reconsider some of my ideas concerning stats in the game. While I'm fine with the way I use physical stats in Traveller play-a-likes (viewtopic.php?f=45&t=58&p=14108#p14107), I've obviously been floundering with how a similar method should be used for mental stats. I think I may have a better understanding now. It came to me when thinking about death in RPG's.

Mental stats could be handled just like physical stats in how they relate to each other and can be combined together. Mental STR would relate to how well a person might traverse a specific line of reason, much like stepping through differing node levels of a decision tree using generally accepted data. Mental END represents concentration and can add to the mental strength temporarily to allow a deeper tree search although it would leave a person mentally fatigued. Mental DEX is a form of agility in that indicates a level of ability to use seemingly unrelated knowledge/intuition leaps to build a decision tree with more branches. Mental STR is how deep such a tree search might be, whereas mental DEX determines how broad a tree search might be.

mental (STR+DEX)/2 is the overall level of intelligence
mental (DEX+END)/2 would indicate how easily distracted a person is ( steadiness of thought )
mental DEX by itself gives an idea of creativity
mental AP =(STR+DEX)/3

These stats might be used in a nearly exactly similar fashion to how I proposed using physical stats in combat, but for non-physical contests such as debate, insults and comebacks, haggling, hacking, etc. where 'AP's might be used to keep track of how many ideas a player can bring to bear without being confused or overwhelmed by rapidly shifting arguments.

So, how does this relate to death in RPG's?
I feel a person is dead when their identity is gone, aka when a person is brain dead. Once the brain dies, the person's identity is gone and cannot be recovered. When the body dies, as is usual in RPG's, the brain usually dies soon after as the body cannot provide oxygen and the like to the brain. Until the brain is starved, it is alive and thus the individual is alive. This was seen during the French Revolution when people were beheaded. It was often noted that the freshly severed heads were responsive, even to hearing their names, for a short time (probably mere seconds) after the blade came down. If we accept this anecdotal evidence, then the damage done to a body only kills when the body cannot supply blood/oxygen to the brain.
Conversely, a person that is brain dead, yet have an undamaged brainstem, may have a body that continues to 'live'.

As a result, I think maybe attacks that hit the head should do damage to mental stats simulating damage to the brain as well as concussions (which may have a cumulative effect and CTE).

I'll have to think about how to handle the link between mental and physical stat damage. One way might be to have the character's abilities be limited to the lesser of the mental / physical stats AP's, or else to have damage to one cause damage to the other in a proportion.

Author:  Ishmael [ Sat Jun 03, 2017 10:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sapphire Project

I've decided to abandon the 'education' stat all-together. It did little more than provide a 'measure of knowledge and experience' ( from Cepheus Engine ) and skills present 'training in a particular sort of task or knowledge', which is pretty much the same thing. The levels of knowledge and experience is better represented by skill levels and not an education stat. By using skill levels, specialized education and learning can be better differentiated whereas general knowledge might be given a skill of its own and a level of '0' shows the amount of general knowledge a typical human might know by the time he reaches the age of 18, ready for a career. Formal education might start with elementary school, continue with grade school and then high school at 4 year terms in each in a sort of 'prequel to character generation where a character would earn his background skills. Children would start with negative skill levels and try to reach skill-0 in certain fields, such as basic math, sciences, language skills, while also earning levels in social skills. Conversely, a player might ignore such a prequel and just start with level-0 in certain skills and not advance them without college and advanced study.

As before I intend to use 'social' stats that could describe a character's personality quirks.
'Social Strength'; measure of self-confidence and the belief that his position/ideas/actions are correct. Used as guiding stat for leadership, morale, and persuasion.
'Social Dexterity'; the ability to 'let things slide' and not hold on to grudges and imagined slights; a social agility governing outward behaviors in shifting situations/alliances.
'Social Endurance'; the ability to 'keeps one's cool' as one's confidence is rattled. In social combat, a drop to '0' would indicate a complete loss of temper perhaps resulting in physical attacks...

Skills would be linked to either physical, mental, or social stats for tasks. While there would be a standard skill list, players might be encouraged to expand specialized skills not given in official game texts as cascade skills under other areas.

Various forms of combat might be as follows;
physical combat; changing foe's position through use of violence. The foe might be an enemy or an inanimate obstacle.
mental combat; changing foe's position by intellectual argument. The foe might be an opponent in a debate or a puzzle that must be solve ( fault to be troubleshot ).
social combat; changing foe's position by persuasion, even if not based on fact or even based on lies.

just ideas as I tinker...

Author:  Sir Chaos [ Sun Jun 04, 2017 11:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sapphire Project

Ishmael wrote:
Various forms of combat might be as follows;
physical combat; changing foe's position through use of violence. The foe might be an enemy or an inanimate obstacle.
mental combat; changing foe's position by intellectual argument. The foe might be an opponent in a debate or a puzzle that must be solve ( fault to be troubleshot ).
social combat; changing foe's position by persuasion, even if not based on fact or even based on lies.

just ideas as I tinker...

I´d differentiate between one form of mental/social combat that concerns brute mental force - like intimidating someone - and one that involves grace and/or subtlety. An interrogator threatening to work on your kneecaps with a tire iron uses the former mode of combat, one who employs mind games to get you to slip up and tell him something employs the latter.

A debate where you use basically grab the facts and ram them down your opponent´s throat would also be the former kind of combat, one where you employ the tricks of the trade to conceal the fact that you´re talking pure bullshit would be the latter.

Author:  Ishmael [ Thu Jun 22, 2017 12:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sapphire Project

I'm not certain they really could be differentiated in the manner suggested. The only significant difference between interrogation and an interview is that the target of the interview is not captive and can just leave as opposed to being held captive. In each case, one person is asking questions that it wants the other person to answer. If there is any differentiation, it might be concerning using mental 'attacks' to glean useful information for the other's comments, whereas the social 'attacks' would be against the target's emotional well-being to get them to talk at all. In either instance, interrogation vs interview, the combat would involve both mental and social 'attacks' to get useful information. One form playing to logic/reason and the other form playing to emotion/ manipulation with mental tasks used to determine truthfulness.

Just as Action Points are figured in my past musings on combat, the same should be done for mental and for emotional blocks of stats; (str+dex)/3. This will give the number of AP's for physical capabilities, mental capabilities and emotional capabilities. This gives an indication of how much a person could do, how much he thinks of doing, and how much he has the guts to do. The number of actions possible in a turn is the least AP's given, with physical AP's ignored for non-physical conflict. Slow thinkers and timid personalities will be at a disadvantage.

There is damage, and there is injury. Injuries are actual physical damage done to a person. Damage is the effect, physical and non-physical, done to a person. For example, humiliation causes emotional damage, not injury. A tire-iron to the knee causes injury which also causes damage to all stat blocks ( pain, shock, etc. ). Injuries heal as per MT rules, whereas non-injury damage heals at one point per turn that no actions are taken ( rest, recovery, or gathering thoughts/calming down ).

Injuries are divided into body shots and head shots.
Shots that penetrate the skull do injury to the mental stats and do not heal in the same way as shots to the body. Head shots that do not penetrate the skull do damage ( not injury ), however any stats that falls to 0 is reduced by 1 permanently ( concussion ). Mental str, dex reaching 0 is unconscious, and mental end reaching 0 is delirium, 2 stats at 0 is a coma, and all 3 stats at 0 is brain dead. Injury and damage to the head also does damage to emotional stats in a similar fashion. However, emotional str loss leads to failed morale, emotional dex loss leads to manic episodes as ability to control emotions is lost, and when emotional end reaches 0, the person 'breaks' and either enters into despair if str is low, or becomes enraged if str is high, which leads to irrational 'flight or fight' response.
Skull penetrating injuries do not heal, but rehabilitation can focus on living with lowered mental stats.
Emotional stats heal normally and are never really injured, but emotional stats reduced to 0 are permanently reduced by 1, even after healing.

Body shots are normal Trav damage model ( for the most part ) based on T4. Injury done to the body also causes damage ( but not injury ) to both mental and emotional stat blocks. Non-injury damage heals at rate of 1 point per turn to proper levels. T4 damage is (weapon damage value – armour value) top 3 dice. I also will add the effect to dice damage and the physical strength mod for muscle powered weapons except bows. This includes fists, swords, spears, etc., mostly melee weapons.

For now, I'll simply say that verbal attacks can do 1d6 damage (not injury) to mental and emotional stats and the defender's armour value is 0. No loss of consciousness, but a clear loss indicates withdrawal/repudiation of the loser's ideas/feelings. Naturally, non-captive contestants should opt to withdraw rather than allow a stat to reach 0. Captives may be subjected to continued treatment until emotionally broken.

Drugs and alcohol do nothing more than manipulate the various stats and how they affect a person's actions. In such cases, the stats may be higher than the traditional 1-15 of Trav. Drugs should have reverse effects when they wear off.

* not sure about this

Author:  Ishmael [ Mon Jul 17, 2017 4:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sapphire Project

After playing a simple combat or two with this system, I've found it to give the expected results where injury affects mental capacities and morale; it works and gives results I like.
However, it is slow and clunky and not well suited to fast action around the dinner table; a failure.
I've decided to simplify things by returning to STR, DEX, END, LOG, WIT, and EGO. END can be 'spent' to bolster any other stat and then has to be replenished by rest. When END is reduced to 0, either by using it with other stats, or from physical damage which is not replenished through rest, the character is spent physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Logic is cognitive thought. Wit is innovative thought. Ego is strength of personality of self-confidence.
This is more in line with the usual Traveller-like rules and allows for better compatibility anyways.
I'll use a form of MT's task system, a form of T4's damage system and some ideas stolen from other places, such as GURPS. I have no interest in actually publishing any of this. Some parts won't be coming from open sources. I'll do further tinkering in private instead and post things that might be useful only on occasion.

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