E.P.I.C. Homebrew Faction System v1.0a

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Dilf_Pickle Dilf_Pickle's picture
E.P.I.C. Homebrew Faction System v1.0a

Eclipse Phase Inter-session Conflict (EPIC) Faction System
v1.0a (spoiler-free)

Contents:

0. BLA BLA BLA

1. SUMMARY
1.1 General Concept
1.2 System
1.3 Factions
1.4 Assets
1.5 Rounds and Turns
1.6 Actions

2. GLOSSARY

3. FACTION PROPERTIES
3.1 Attributes
3.2 Stats
3.3 Structure
3.4 Memes
3.5 Assets

4. ACTIONS AND ROUNDS
4.1 Round Sequence
4.2 Tests
4.2.1 Roll Types
4.3 Actions
4.3.1 List of Faction Actions
4.3.2 List of Asset Actions
4.3.2.1 Standard Actions
4.3.2.2 Special Actions
4.3.2.3 Triggered Actions
4.3.3 Home Turf Advantage
4.3.4 Agent Status
4.3.5 Production of Assets
4.4 Attacks
4.5 Research

5. LIST OF ASSETS
5.1 Facilities
5.2 Vehicles
5.3 Units
5.4 Agents

6. PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
6.1 Optional Rules
6.2 GM Discretion
6.3 Some Examples
6.4 What's Missing?

---------------------------------------------

0. BLA BLA BLA

While life has conspired to prevent me from joining an EP game, I do love to think about it. And ever since I played Ars Magica way back when, I've thought about factional game mechanics, so it was natural that I would eventually think about a faction system for EP.

A quick search brings up previous efforts and inquiries:

Many such efforts are inspired by faction systems in existing games (all comments are as they compare to EP's needs, IMHO):
  • Stars Without Number (scale too large, but otherwise a good fit)
  • Silent Legions (apparently similar to SWN, though I couldn't find much about it)
  • Birthright (specific to feudalism)
  • Burning Empires (too complex and adversarial)
  • Reign (tied to game mechanics)
  • Adventurer Conqueror King System (specific to fantasy)

I finally decided to just vomit forth my thoughts into a homebrew system, inspired largely by SWN (and EP of course). I changed my mind a few times while writing this all out, so there might be some errors and inconsistencies. This work is more of a carefully curated brainstorm than a well-structured system, but I think we can learn something from it.

EPIC is based on EP 4th ed excluding spoilers/GM sections, so please keep this thread spoiler-free too.* I'm open to suggestions and critiques. If you like it, thanks! If you don't like it, tell me so! Even better, tell me so, and tell my why! Even bester, tell me so, tell me why, and tell me how to fix it!

Enjoy.

*I skimmed Firewall to tweak everyone's favourite faction, but still stayed out of spoiler territory.

--------------------------------------------

Many thanks to...

...the creators of all the games I mention above, especially Ars Magica, Stars Without Number, and of course Eclipse Phase.

...Arenamontanus for those lovely porkchop plots of interplanetary travel times:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/arenamontanus/sets/72157624693618421/with/4931416139/

...and OneTrikPony for collecting all that orbital dynamics data in one post:
http://eclipsephase.com/comment/24994#comment-24994

Trappedinwikipedia Trappedinwikipedia's picture
Whoa

I'll have to give this a good look. It looks really cool, but it's kind of overwhelming me right now. I'll have to give it a good read before I can really give feedback. This looks really cool and useful at first glance though.

What does the DV400, etc represent is it km/s or what? EDIT: It's km/s, I can't read gud apparently.

Dilf_Pickle Dilf_Pickle's picture
Simplicity isn't my strong suit...

Yeah, I wanted it to have enough complexity to give a GM options, without going overboard. I might have gone overboard :P

And yes, the ship/dv stuff is a bit much, but it started as a basic "how many turns" chart and grew from there.

Kojak Kojak's picture
As a GM and a detail nut I am

As a GM and a detail nut I am intrigued by this concept. I will have to play around with that spreadsheet when I get the chance.

"I wonder if in some weird Freudian way, Kojak was sucking on his own head."
- Steve Webster on Kojak's lollipop

Dilf_Pickle Dilf_Pickle's picture
Glorified Brainstorm

I started out by just mentally calculating and then manually inputting numbers in a spreadsheet, and it grew out of control from there, so it's not so easy to "play" with in the programmatic sense unfortunately. I started butting up against the point where I may as well just whip it up in C++ or Lua.

CordialUltimate2 CordialUltimate2's picture
Well it is a game outside the

Well it is a game outside the game for a GM to play. If I had to do this as means of providing narrative background for the PC's adventures I would use Fate system and aspects coupled with much, much simplified random tables.

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Dilf_Pickle Dilf_Pickle's picture
When imagination falls short

I had something crunchier in mind--something to take peripheral decisions out of the GM's hands and put them squarely into the "cold hard facts" of the game. But that's just me; using Fate would certainly be another way to go about it. But I'm not terribly familiar with it. What do you mean by "random tables"?

CordialUltimate2 CordialUltimate2's picture
Random table is a list with

Random table is a list with numbers that you roll to get some unexpected content. Like encounters or loot.
Fantasy example:
http://goblinpunch.blogspot.com/2015/01/d100-minor-magical-items.html?m=1

Your system could be simplified to a table with : faction 1, faction 2, action, asset, mutator fields.
Functionally for the players it is the same as your "hidden game". And much faster.

BUT here is an idea. Depending on the diversity of your player characters you could reveal the hidden game to them and allow them to steer the factions! actions. In my game there is an ultimate, agi, autonomists, hypercorp bitch and Exhuman. I could easily imagine that they chose their faction action. If if you are up to the challenge you could even give the PCs benefits based on their faction wellbeing

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CordialUltimate2 CordialUltimate2's picture
Random table is a list with

Doublepost

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Dilf_Pickle Dilf_Pickle's picture
Any EPers around Ottawa? :P

Oh, you mean random tables in the generic sense. From the way I read your suggestion, I thought it was some sort of Fate thing.

And, to be clear, I'm not running a game. I've never GMed and I have yet to play EP in any capacity. I just whipped this up because I had already collected a lot of the data for something else I was working on, and saw SWN pop up a few times in online discussions as a potential "faction simulator" for EP.

Incidentally, in my digging around for faction systems, the one that seemed to incorporate PCs most readily (ie. players can lead factions, and game mechanics directly support the interplay between the faction world and the TT world) was Reign.

CordialUltimate2 CordialUltimate2's picture
Sorry, I read the bit about

Sorry, I read the bit about you never running a game of EP and then I promptly forgot about that. So far you could make the system into a board game ;-)

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eaton eaton's picture
I don't think I'd ever want

I don't think I'd ever want to expose this to my players, but it sounds VERY promising as a system to make the broader world "responsive" to player actions. I think I'll be trying to use it with some similar spreadsheet/automation tweaking…

Dilf_Pickle Dilf_Pickle's picture
Automation

Great, have fun with it! Oh, and great work with eldritch.host btw. I assume that it's hooked into some sort of db--that might be a good next step to make this thing programmatic. It could even stand in as a web-based peripheral action/random mission generator.