hard science-fiction role-playing with fate
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Interesting thought experiment about the difficulty of re-industrialization in a post-apocalyptic world. It might be useful background for designing a world where there have been multiple cycles of development and collapse. 
It took a lot of fossil fuels to forge our industrial world. Now they're almost gone. Could we do it again without them?
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Jeff Miller's profile photoNat Sheppard's profile photo
3 comments
 
I think adding a Hydrocarbon layer might be a useful step in transforming.

The first life introduced to the planet is a lichen like substance which starts to convert the atmosphere, and provides a base for other plant life to grow on. Then it gets buried as new layers of organic matter are deposited on top of it.

Under ideal circumstances the colony's industrial base uses a combination of nuclear and solar power, but in the event of a collapse, you can dig down to find a layer of organic sludge which can be burned like coal, or refined into a fuel that burns relatively cleanly at high temperatures. How convenient.

Alternately, bio-fuels. This would however make farming more important than mining for industry, which might cause feudalism to persist.
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John Reiher

Discussion  - 
 
A nifty start for an adventure. You, a non-space person, have inherited a planet. What do you do? (Hint, read the starting point for inspiration.)
John Hargreaves just inherited something from his aunt Chelsea... something you can't put out on the curb and hope someone takes it. What do you do when your inheritance is a planet?
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Pierre Savoie's profile photoJohn Reiher's profile photo
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I think the issue is that it's got plenty of CO2, but not enough O2. It's listed as a "marginal" world, that implies it's habitable, but you need support to live there. It could be a shirt sleeve climate, but not a breathable one.
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Winchell Chung

Discussion  - 
 
+Jeff Jones  is having a discussion about how to differentiate different spacecraft weapons types in FATE core.
What blew my mind was yet another clever use of the FATE fractal by James Branch:

You could also go the fractal route and make the missiles "characters" of their own with an aspect, a couple of skills a stunt and possibly consequences if it is considered a major enemy. Going this route would allow a "missile lock" aspect from a character/gunner/tac officer to be used by the missile entity.

The missile could have Athletics to close distances, Notice for the guidance system, Physique for the durability and possibly the attack that it would make once it got in the same zone. 

A swarm of smart missiles could act as a Mob.

Possible stunts would be:

Explosive - make an attack against everyone in the same zone as you without splitting your die pool. Once this is done you are considered to be "taken out".

Heat Seeking - gain +2 on your attack if you have the aspect "Missile Lock" active.

Long Range Missile - if you have the aspect of "Missile Lock" active, you are able to make an attack against a target without actually being in the scene.

The last one is kind of clunky but my thought was having a spotter "paint" a target and call in an air strike.
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Christopher Moore's profile photo
 
Genius!
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Amazing how many ridiculous sci-fi creature concepts actually turn up in nature.

I'm not generally inclined to make creature encounters a part of my games, but animals with extruded metal shells might certainly add some fun background color.

Perhaps as a way for green industry to mine iron rich sands. Could fit at any TL.
 
This is no ordinary snail. No other animal on Earth can utilize iron this way.
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Thomas Davis's profile photo
 
It also has interesting parallels with a few other ides like shown here: [http://www.alsic.com/_blog/Structures_and_Armor/tag/metal_matrix_composites/]
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John Lusk

Discussion  - 
 
 
A Flickr group entirely dedicated to control panels. Thank you internet.
We are dedicated to the joy of vintage buttons, knobs, dials, switches, toggles, gauges, readouts, and blinky-blinks. _____________________________________________________________ What? We enjoy all parts of vintage electronics, mid-century buildings and classic cars, but the images here shall focus solely on their knobs and toggle bits. Submissions will be stringently edited by the Master Controllers. Old stuff is favored over new, chrome over...
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Thomas Anderson's profile photo
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John Reiher

Discussion  - 
 
I heard a NPR report on why airlines charge extra fees. It turns out that they only make $6 profit on your average airline ticket. They make more money carrying cargo on their flights. That's typically the inverse of how it works in SFRPGs. Passengers are nearly pure profit. 

So if one were to run a passenger service, there isn't a set ticket price. There's a price per kilogram of mass to be moved to the destination. Passengers in fact cost more than cargo to move, since they need life support and amenities, (unless they low berth it in cryostasis tubes), and "first class" passengers have more needs, so their cost is even higher. 

So how would one address this reality in Diaspora?
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Thomas Davis's profile photoPierre Savoie's profile photo
16 comments
 
So THAT explains all the skeletons in Cargo Bay 12!...I've been mop-and-bucketing around those for weeks but I didn't mention it to the captain...
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John Reiher

Discussion  - 
 
Looks like a case can be made for planets with "thin" atmospheres, (compared to Venus') not being tidally locked in the habitable zone of Class M stars.

Sadly, it's behind a paywall so I can't read it to see what it says.
Abstract Planets in the habitable zone of lower-mass stars are often assumed to be in a state of tidally synchronized rotation, which would considerably affect their putative habitability. Although thermal tides cause Venus to rotate retrogradely, simple scaling arguments tend to attribute this peculiarity to the massive Venusian atmosphere. Using a global climate model, we show that even a relatively thin atmosphere can drive terrestrial planets...
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Todd Zircher's profile photo
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Nat Sheppard

Discussion  - 
 
Nat Sheppard originally shared:
 
Posted on +Brad Murray's wiki.
The Union of Spacefairing Entities (Often simply called "The Union") was originally formed by the unmanned interstellar probes of several technological civilizations in order to ensure mutual non-interference while preforming their stated mission goals. Over time this arrangement evolved from a ...
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Winchell Chung

Discussion  - 
 
I had a not too terribly original idea the other day, when I was looking over a classic game called Freedom in the Galaxy by SPI (1979)
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/1717/freedom-galaxy
This is another one of SPI's interesting efforts to turn a role-playing game into a more structured and legalistic wargame. The background is obviously a thinly veiled version of the first Star Wars movie.

Anyway, as the valiant rebels sneak through the galaxy covertly trying to ignite galactic rebellion, they perform "missions." These are things like "assassination", "free prisoners", "sabotage", "subvert troops" and so on. What is interesting is they can obtain certain items (called "possessions") to aid their missions. In the game these are printed on cards.

Possessions include spaceships, androids, and specialized equipment. 

My thought was that these would be useful as items in a Diaspora game in general, and a game based on Star Wars in particular. 

Charsot is a little telepathic animal. Gives a bonus to the owner's diplomacy attempts, gives advanced warning of ambushes by native animals, and protects the entire party from telepathic attacks.

Personal Body Shield user wearable force field

Scrambler helps jam sensors of enemy storm troopers search squads, looking for the party.  Jams sensors of enemy planetary defense base when party is trying to escape in a spaceship. Reduces the combat strength of attacks from Irate Locals. Scrambler has a chance of shorting out each time it is used.

Helian Drug increases one of the user's attributes for one turn. Only one dose.

Norrocks bodyguard robot helps in combat, helps fend off attacking creatures, can sacrifice itself to take a bullet meant for the owner, chance of shorting out each time it is used.

Cache of Rare Gems single use:
[1] may purchase a spaceship
[2] negates enemy attempt to perform Gather Information mission
[3] helps increase success chance for missions assassination, coup, diplomacy, summon sovereign, sabotage, free prisoners, gather information, or steal enemy resources

Advisor Android aka C3PO. Increases owner's diplomacy and intelligence stats. In diplomatic missions allows ignoring the first "abort diplomacy" result. Will reveal the "planet secret" of a planet.

Scanner makes it harder for enemy planetary defense base to spot spaceship the owner is on. Makes it harder for stormtrooper search parties to find the party. Has no effect on enemy characters searching for the party.

Medi-kit of Ptolus After combat heals all wounds of all characters in the party. Chance of shorting out after each use.

High Energy Sniper's Rifle increases owner's combat rating. Raises success chance of an assassination mission.

Assassin's Blade single use only. 
[1] dramatically raises success chance of assassination mission
[2] raises owner's combat rating for one round of combat

Cervac Mk V robot aka R2D2. Increases owner's intelligence rating.
Can disable one enemy character for one phase, each disable use has a chance of shorting out the robot.
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Klaus Teufel's profile photoWinchell Chung's profile photo
5 comments
 
SPI was a wargame company, and all their attempts to make RPGs turned into wargames. 
Though I will admit that their game Swords and Sorcery was an amusing D&D world.

However, the FITG possession cards looked similar to the Character cards. Which was very FATE-like, since the bronze rule in FATE is "anything can be a character"
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Nat Sheppard

Discussion  - 
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Diaspora/Fate this Friday at 8pm US/Central. Who's game? Usually session "0" is about world/background building. Would like to try to timebox that to try to get into actual play. +Jennifer Martin​, my wife, is almost certainly down for it.
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Mark Martin's profile photoJohn Reiher's profile photo
10 comments
 
Ah well, maybe next week.
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Winchell Chung

Discussion  - 
 
When space becomes industrialized, certain business opportunities arise. These might grow into space corporations.
As mature corporations they can be an entertaining backdrop or complications for your Diaspora campaign. Or the campaign might be about the players efforts to establish one of these businesses, in the law-less high frontier.
By Hop David. If you try to go on a trip in your automobile, you are not going to get very far if there are no gasoline stations to feed your auto. Or restaurants to feed you. Or auto repair shops. This is what is called infrastructure. In the same way, if you want a rocketpunk future, ...
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Winchell Chung's profile photoJohn Reiher's profile photo
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Too true +Winchell Chung, too true. In FTL: 2448, the Whurr had near instantaneous FTL travel, so they could deliver information that was literally hours old to the various markets. 

To keep the Whurrs from dominating the information industry, I decided that:
1. Since Whurr ships were living creatures, they had to be raised and had lifespan measured in decades, as space is a hostile environment. 
2. FTL capable Whurr ships were rare, had to bred through carefully control matings. Thus, while there are many space capable ships, there are only a few FTL ones.
3. The Whurr blink drive does not do away with the momentum and movement vector the ship had when it blinked out. If it had a velocity vector relative to the galactic core, it still has the same vector when it appears in the target system. 
4. They do not have a space drive per se. They maneuver using their blink drive and using gravity wells to speed up or slow down in relation to their target. So while they will appear in a system in an instant, they will spend hours bleeding off/gaining speed or changing their vector, or both. 
Some systems, like Fomalhaut, this is very hard, as the only planets in system are still forming, or going through early bombardment. It's a target rich environment. 
5. Finally, they need a specialized diet to use their blink drive. It contains several rare earths that they need in quantity. It then transmutes these elements into other elements as it uses its blink ability. 
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Wonderful show with Dr Paul MacCotter on Irish surnames and DNA this week, check out this podcast link to have a listen to same https://www.mixcloud.com/raidiocorcabaiscinn/episode-6-series-2-dr-paul-maccotter-genealogist/   Paul will be speaking at the Ancestral Connections, Irish genealogy summer school 28 June - 5 July see http://www.slideshare.net/Merrimantraining/ancestralconnections2015brochure-28-june-5-july for programme
Episode 6, Series 2: Dr Paul MacCotter Genealogist. Lorna Moloney details the finer points required to research, cross check and finally to ensure all information is correct at all stages in genealogy mentoring.The progamme will provide strategies and useful genealogy advice on where to start and how to proceed on your important family journey. Lorna is the resident genealogist at Dromoland Castle and runs a company; Merriman Research dealing wi...
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Pierre Savoie's profile photo
 
Perhaps you posted this in the wrong group?  This is a group for the Diaspora science fiction tabletop roleplaying game.  This is NOT about an ethnic diaspora or the Irish diaspora!
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Winchell Chung

Discussion  - 
 
I cannot but wonder if this graphic technique could be applied to a Diaspora wargame map.
Or even a Social Combat map
 
Here is an infographic explaining why one does not simply walk into Mordor.

#lordoftherings  #hobbit
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John Reiher's profile photoTim Noyce's profile photo
3 comments
 
As a Brit I immediately assumed that one did not walk because apparently you can get the Underground all the way there, maybe need to change at Minas Tirith.
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My slide show about the fact that what was to Kramators'k Ukrainian separatists
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Hello.

So I'm running a Diaspora campaign now, and have write ups and such down. I'd be happy to get some additional feedback/steal some ideas, if you have the time.
PCs. Avram: Othis Balpiene; Gareth: Phadrea Brandishgun; Josh: Shine Arcadian; Lisa: Graf Linus von Schultz. Sessions. First Session, 12/4/14; Second Session A, 12/10/14; Second Session B, 12/10/14ish; Second and a Half Session, emails 12/11/14-12/18/14; Second and a Half; Jenna, ...
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John Lusk

Discussion  - 
 
Plot germ. :)
 
You'd best not take a nap around my house if you're under 30:

"Two mice perch side by side, nibbling a food pellet. As one turns to the left, it becomes clear that food is not all that they share — their front and back legs have been cinched together, and a neat row of sutures runs the length of their bodies, connecting their skin. Under the skin, however, the animals are joined in another, more profound way: they are pumping each other's blood. Parabiosis is a 150-year-old surgical technique that unites the vasculature of two living animals. (The word comes from the Greek para, meaning 'alongside', and bios, meaning 'life'.) It mimics natural instances of shared blood supply, such as in conjoined twins or animals that share a placenta in the womb. In the lab, parabiosis presents a rare opportunity to test what circulating factors in the blood of one animal do when they enter another animal. Experiments with parabiotic rodent pairs have led to breakthroughs in endocrinology, tumour biology and immunology, but most of those discoveries occurred more than 35 years ago. For reasons that are not entirely clear, the technique fell out of favour after the 1970s.

In the past few years, however, a small number of labs have revived parabiosis, especially in the field of ageing research. By joining the circulatory system of an old mouse to that of a young mouse, scientists have produced some remarkable results. In the heart, brain, muscles and almost every other tissue examined, the blood of young mice seems to bring new life to ageing organs, making old mice stronger, smarter and healthier. It even makes their fur shinier. Now these labs have begun to identify the components of young blood that are responsible for these changes. And last September, a clinical trial in California became the first to start testing the benefits of young blood in older people with Alzheimer's disease..."
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Pierre Savoie's profile photo
 
What, no joke about the Human Centipede movies?
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Interesting aspect for a garden world. The native fungal networks have figured out how to interface with foreign species
Hidden under your feet is an information superhighway that allows plants to communicate and help each other out. It’s made of fungus
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Pierre Savoie's profile photoThomas Davis's profile photo
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Xeno-fungus in SM:Alpha Centauri?
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Nat Sheppard

Discussion  - 
 
My thoughts on why the singularity doesn't happen until T4, despite any T0 society being able to reach the physical limits of mores law.

Mores Law levels off at 7nm sometime around T0, after that it's simply a matter of building bigger and bigger clusters of computers. These bigger computers will require more and more power, which T1 and T2 societies will provide at a linear rate.

Simulating human intelligence is something some societies will do, but it's mostly a trade-off between matter and energy. What's the point of simulating a mind when the real thing is practically free?
 It's only at T3 where a computer required to simulate a brain becomes smaller than a brain itself, and even then it's definitely not cheaper.
At T4 you can figure out how to use the slipstream to store an infinite amount of Turing machine logic outside the constraints of space and time, once that happens, the physical universe starts to look very boring.
Nat Sheppard originally shared:
 
Singularians and transhumanists, I have a question for you.

How much energy does the human brain use and how much heat does it produce? Now consider how much energy a computer with a comparable amount of processing power would use.

It seems to me that while computers will eventually be powerful enough to perfectly simulate a human mind (and that it might be possible to create a human-like or better intelligence more efficiently) that the direction modern computing is going in is one which consumes more and more power.
How much power would it cost to create a perfect virtual environment for ten billion souls? Wouldn't it be a better use of that energy and computing power to create a post scarcity society for humans living in physical bodies? and charge a premium for the ones who want to live in cyberspace as anything more than compressed archives?
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John Reiher's profile photoTodd Zircher's profile photo
9 comments
 
Tangent: The back story behind Cortex Command (a fun little 2d shooter) is that once humanity freed their brains from their bodies, practical space exploration became possible.
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John Lusk

Discussion  - 
 
 
There is some fascinating chemistry behind the colour of blood - and not just vertebrate's red blood.

The blood molecule we're most familiar with is haemoglobin, which is (this is not in the article, BTW) composed of four haem (or heme) protein molecules. A haem has an iron(II) ion in its center, tied to it by four coordinate bonds. Coordination chemistry plays an important role with the other three types of blood mentioned in the article and on the infographic.

http://www.compoundchem.com/2014/10/28/coloursofblood/#more-2554
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Pierre Savoie's profile photoT to the E to the O's profile photo
 
Chlorophyll in plants, which has an atom of magnesium in the center, has a structure very similar to hemoglobin but achieves precisely the opposite effect, collecting oxygen to manufacture sugars with light-energy rather than to carry it for the mitochondria to use to release energy, IIRC.
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