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Wavinator

Financial death OR down and out in the future

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Insolvency == game over? For the science fiction RPG I'm working on I've been thinking about fun gameplay that, as a side bonus, might make you wonder about life in the future. Principally, the game's focus is combat, stealth and trade and these earn you reputation and money either via missions or freeform gameplay (like pirating or exploration) Normally an RPG is infested with monsters and rather than money, death comes from lack of another resource, HP. This creates a kind of urgency which is addictive-- you're constantly monitoring and managing your HP. I don't think this will work well in a civilized environment, though. "Debt death" may restore that pressure. It may also help give real punch to different worlds from hardscrabble ruins to opulent utopias, especially if you're underclass. Here's how it might work: Basics Siegers, space monsters central to the backstory of the game, have ravaged the galaxy and created a flood of refugees. You are one. One way the surviving planets have reacted to handle the influx of huge, transient populations of humans and aliens is to set up a daily tax. This tax is automatically debited and is claimed to cover the strain of health, maintenence, infrastructure and policing forces caused by the massive immigration. (Some also complain that it's a racket designed to squeeze travellers.) All planets except the game's safe haven, Straylight, charge this tax. Citizens are sent to planets based on their psych test, abilities and skills (plus how much they spend in bribes). This is part of the character creation process. Beginners start at the safe haven and so don't face this. Basic Survival When you're on a ship its assumed that your character is using the food stores of the ship and sleeping quarters automatically. The food stores go down over time and are replenished at docks or by landing on planets with life. Without a ship, you go into survival mode when you get to a colony. This mode, which is also used when you crashland on a planet, involves meeting needs for sleep and food. This occurs once every 25 hour cycle (~1 real hour) and 3 times every 4 hours (~10 real minutes). You'll have to find safe places to sleep and food to eat or suffer temporary HP, stat and skill loss. Survival mode is negated if you choose accomodations when you first land (it pops up with the map when you get to the planet) or if you simply get a room. Geeez, Willya Get A Room Already! Rooms allow you to:
  • Recover from moderate or higher wounds over time (cheaper than the hospitals)
  • Automatically store ported inventory (otherwise its left dockside where it will be sold as unclaimed cargo)
  • Level up via sleeping (i.e., configure your neural implants, integrate new wetware, go on simulated dream missions to train)
  • Lay low to lose pursuers
  • Perform illegal actions like hacking or building illegal nanotechnology
  • Store prisoners or NPCs you're trying to safely escort
  • Get safely away from time-based events like muggings at night
  • Build items (cops will tell you to break it up otherwise)
  • Wait a long time (days, weeks, say if you're stalking a bounty)
The location affects the random events: More low-rent locations are more subject to theft and breakins the higher your wealth or greater your reputation. Table For Two, Please Restaurants and eateries in the game provide
  • A way to meet and pursuade NPCs to give you missions, let you join factions or close deals in trade
  • Specific types of food which allow you to configure nanotechnology in your blood to resist certain effects, like fire, EMP, electricity, radition, etc.
  • Temporarily improve your basic stats
  • Encounters with important NPCs for freeform gameplay (petitioning, kidnapping, threatening, attacking)
  • A way to instantly recharge in Survival Mode
Higher status locations again provide different opportunities at greater costs. Commie Planets, Libertarian Planets, Green Planets The political system of some planets modifies the daily tax. Digital Socialists, for instance, charge a higher rate the wealthier you are. Libertarian worlds charge a flat rate but you must pay a fee for entering certain rooms, getting police help, accessing the community internet, etc. On environmentally friendly planets there may be a cost to exit the spaceport or travel offroad. This is added soley to add character to some worlds and so isn't universal-- but it does increase the daily tax challenge. I Ain't Paying No Stinkin' Tax! For rebel, anarchist and criminal players there are underground IDs and access passes that can be purchased which bypass the daily tax. These have to be sought out in seedy locations around towns or can be purchased automatically as you build a library of contacts. Possessing them is illegal and yeilds punishments appropriate to the planetary government (fines, imprisonment generally represented as time passing quickly, stat loss). Down And Out In The Future Death comes from running out of money and having no place to sleep or no money to eat on a hostile planet. You may get robbed or killed while asleep; or you starve to death. As a way to recover, you can sleep in shelters or monastaries if the colony / station has them, but this lowers your reputation. You may also beg passersby, but this too lowers your rep. You can also scavenge for food, but this will likely be low quality, which lowers your health. For credits you can also trade HP at bloodbanks if present; become a lobe slave, trading Intellect for HP by renting your brain to parallel processing networks; or contribute muscle or organ tissue to quasilegal graftshops in risky surgical procedures. Thoughts? This is meant to be an alternative to the very effective "kill monster-get item-sell item-level up" treadmill.

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All these ideas sound great!
I especially like the 'get a room!' idea. Most games are just to lax about the fact that one needs a secure shelter. Death should be in the control of the player. So if you want to keep your alter ego alive, you are forced to go to sleep and eat.

Survival mode should be semi-automatic. The character needs to sleep (can be visualised nicely by short black-outs) and lays down where ever (s)he currently is. If the character is near a suitable room, this location is visited automatically.

It is more fun and challenging than keeping your character awake for like 72h at the cost of HP only.

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Quote:
Original post by darookie
All these ideas sound great!
I especially like the 'get a room!' idea. Most games are just to lax about the fact that one needs a secure shelter.


I like the idea that there should be some way to get by without bothering, but that there are bonuses for doing so.

Quote:

Death should be in the control of the player. So if you want to keep your alter ego alive, you are forced to go to sleep and eat.


Just to clarify: I'm not sure its a good idea to force you to sleep and eat because if you're on a mission this may just get in the way. So the room idea also automatically bypasses this. But for the people who like full-on simuulations there should be a gameplay option to make this mandatory... but only an option.


Quote:

Survival mode should be semi-automatic. The character needs to sleep (can be visualised nicely by short black-outs) and lays down where ever (s)he currently is. If the character is near a suitable room, this location is visited automatically.


Yes, I like this.

Quote:

It is more fun and challenging than keeping your character awake for like 72h at the cost of HP only.


Hey, here's a place for items: Hypercaff, stims, implants. [smile]

Thx for the feedback, btw.

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