Sunday, December 11, 2016

Challenge of the Star Knights: Delta Academy Beginings

Once their were a thousand schools for training the Star Knights. Eager students, the best in the galaxy, entered those hallowed halls of learning. Each was a beacon of hope and learning. During the war many schools fell to the forces of the Maggedon. Others were abandoned or hidden, lost to the sweep of ages. Now all that remain are fifteen, each hidden away through unity technology and remote locations. Delta academy is hidden away in the Marconi Traverse, on the very periphery of he civilized galaxy. While the Star Knight Academies still accept only the best of the best the politics and petty grievances still crop up. Delta Academy is where they send those students and teachers who are too much of a problem for the more prestigious academies.

If you want to read previous posts before digging into this one:
The Pitch
Rules Part 1
Rules Part 2

Now your caught up. Lets get started on the problem at hand.

A big part of any school setting is the teachers and the headmaster(call them what you will) as well as the ancillary characters in and around the school. When setting out to make characters it is important to showcase and highlight these characters. They will be expositions characters primarily, though they can add more to the game than that. I would like to see them as sometimes adventure hooks, and complications, as well as being quest givers and those who explain. I was having a real rough go of it trying to sort out how I could make them work and make the players care about them.

I had a bit of a breakthrough with the school setup. I want there to be a bunch of teachers and for those teachers to have a set of mechanical effects in game. I was reading through some of my other games and the answer presented itself. I think I will do something like Icons from 13th Age but tweaked to fit this setting and fit the tropes I am aiming for.

When starting a new campaign/game the players will look over the list of teacher/mentor archetypes and get to set some relationships with them. Those relationships will be positive, negative, or conflicted. And they will be rated from one to three dice. I do not think they will have to have relationships with all the mentors/teachers, but they should each have relationships with two to three so that way you can get a solid idea of what each player is looking for in play and who they care about.

Those dice maybe used in game to gain social advantage, or a moral boost to a roll(through memory of encouragement or some such). How this works is this. When you are in a situation where you are acting either in accordance with the wishes of your mentor(for a positive relationship) or against the wishes of your mentor(for negative) you may roll the dice against a set difficulty. If you succeed you may use your relationship dice as an add on to your roll, or to gain access to something you might not have gained otherwise(I am still working on this and so it is less clear right now). If you fail the roll you may choose to still use the dice, but your relationship dice will decrease by one. Conflicted relationships could be used in either case, but the ramifications will be different depending on how you use them.

Right now this is just the very basics of the idea, so expect it to change as I try it out in playtesting. I would love to hear any thoughts on these mechanics as I am not entirely sure that this is the correct mechanical path to suit my game.

The Current List of Mentor Archetypes
The Uncaring Stickler
The Schemer
The Kindly Mentor
The Gentle Meddler
The Mother Figure
The Father Figure
The Chaotic Mess
The Social Climber
The Washed Up Master

I will probably add more and make alterations to these archetypes as I go.

I would also like to work out a method for building a relationship web so that the the players and GM would have a method of easily seeing possible ramifications for actions. I have thought about using the method in the Smallville RPG, or maybe something else...I am not really sure on that one if it is even needed. Other things I am working on in the setting are Orders, which are like houses in Harry Potter, groups you are all in together to bind you and give you rivals. I am still working out the details of those as I don't think a sorting hat type situation would sit all that well with some players. My current idea is that students are assigned to orders at random and the players are all just part of the same order, but I am not sure that would be all that great either. I need a way to get people to agree on an order while still allowing for all sorts of personality types and problem solving methodologies. I want to avoid pigeonholing people into certain types of behavior within given orders, but I also want the orders to feel unique and have personality.

It is an issue. I will probably do a whole post on it as I keep going round and round on it and can't seem to make it fit. So that is it for now. I had a decent idea(I think) and I think I am aiming in the right direction. Let me know what you think.