Borrowing a page from strategy games: Tech trees/research

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SlasherEpoch
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Borrowing a page from strategy games: Tech trees/research

#1 Postby SlasherEpoch » Wed Apr 27, 2011 4:18 pm

I have been playing a lot of Civilization, Alpha Centauri, UFO: AI, and other assorted turn based strategy games lately. I've also been thinking of the old game Syndicate.

I was wondering if anyone has ideas on how to incorporate weapons research into their games. And I know the obvious answer is "just give them the stuff you want them to have!" but that's not going to cut it this time.

Here's a system off the top of my head:

Use the Showdown! point values to determine the cost of weapons/ammunition. Say the PCs want to research some fancy powered armor. A Battle Suit is 12 points, +2 for the Pace, +2 for the Strength bonus, +3 for the +1 Shooting bonus, +3 for the jumping stuff, so 22 points. That's the amount of research points they need to accrue in order to start building Battle Suits. We can assume that at least one prototype is built when research is finished, and to simplify things, the prototypes are reasonably functional (no crippling design flaws).

Research points are acquired via a research team. Each researcher has a d6 in Knowledge (R&D). At a basic level, you're rolling a single d6 for a single researcher; the second researcher adds a Wild Die. A third researcher adds a +1 bonus, and so on up to +4 for 6 researchers. Two more researchers up the R&D die by one type, while another two up the die type by another step. A research team may not exceed 10 members. If two teams of 10 members work on the same project, their Wild Die is upped to a d10.

A project gains consistent research points every session equal to the average number of XP handed out to the group. This is merely an attempt on the designer's part to speed up this process. At the beginning of every session, the research team(s) roll their R&D die; the amount of raises and successes are allocated towards the project each team is assigned to. A failure indicates no progress; a Critical failure subtracts d6 points from the project. A single researcher is assumed to have rolled a Critical Failure if he rolls a 1 on his Skill Die.

Every time a team successfully completes a project, roll a die; on a 5 or 6, the team has advanced their die type by one step, up to a d12. For clarity, this means a team that has advanced to a d12 in R&D with a full complement of 10 members has an effective die type of d12+2, with a +4 bonus and Wild Die.

How's this sound as a starting point? I know there's a lot of flaws in here but I'm eager to hear what all y'all got. I'd also like the players to have some kind of input on the success of the project, whether that means field tests of prototype equipment, bringing in items to reverse engineer, or rolling the bones in between sessions.

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dentris
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#2 Postby dentris » Wed Apr 27, 2011 5:34 pm

Still borrowing from the same inspiration, I think it would be good to split the area of research (Weaponry, Tools, Economy, etc.) They have to upgrade their understanding of each areas before being even allowed to research specific items, probably by giving them a threshold (for example, if their weaponry level is only 1, they can only research items worth 5 biuld points). Heck, you could also require some buildings (factories, laboratories, etc.)

You could also include Mysticism and create spells. I think Clint once posted a free-form magical system that could be used as a base to calculate the value of each power.

Just random ideas that went through my head. You even planted the seed of a whole homebrew setting based upon these rules. Let me work on it and I'll gave you my ideas later.
But the Voice consoles me and it says: "Keep your dreams;
Wise men do not have such beautiful ones as fools!"
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slacks
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#3 Postby slacks » Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:57 pm

The researcher mechanic seems really complicated, maybe something more like:

Each player picks an item as their research project then, at each advance, they may put some points into the project. Once you get enough points you gain access to the item.

If PC's work together they can get more points put into a single project or they could go after different "pet" projects. I would consider a research tax of one advance's worth of points for starting/joining a new project to encourage the pet projects option.

Alternately you could develop a tech tree, which would be more interesting from a planning/coordination point of view, but it would be a lot more work IMO.

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#4 Postby SlasherEpoch » Thu Apr 28, 2011 2:07 pm

Now considering borrowing from Deadlands...

1. Assign every invention a poker hand.
2. Declare that you are studying that project.
3. Draw 3 cards +1 per research team assigned to a project.
4. Bonus cards may be assigned for special circumstances, including but not limited to: +2 cards for a field test of prototype equipment prone to breaking, +2 cards for having a brilliant expert scientist onboard, +1 card for sudden increase in project funding, +3 cards for bringing back a piece of similar technology to reverse engineer.

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Timon
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#5 Postby Timon » Thu Apr 28, 2011 2:39 pm

Umm, what are you trying to achieve? Not meant meanly, but in order to answer the question it is handy to know what the research option is doing for your game that buying is not.

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#6 Postby SlasherEpoch » Thu Apr 28, 2011 3:03 pm

Timon wrote:Umm, what are you trying to achieve? Not meant meanly, but in order to answer the question it is handy to know what the research option is doing for your game that buying is not.


By and large this is a mental exercise to recreate how tech trees function in turn based strategy games like X-Com, Civilization, and Heroes of Might and Magic (although that's through buildings, not research, but whatever). I wanted to see if I could recreate this in Savage Worlds.

I've also had some ideas kicking around in the back of my head to use a system like this for a campaign to be played out in Showdown.

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#7 Postby SlasherEpoch » Thu Apr 28, 2011 3:04 pm

slacks wrote:Alternately you could develop a tech tree, which would be more interesting from a planning/coordination point of view, but it would be a lot more work IMO.


A tech tree is probably where this is heading.


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