wminsing wrote:Breaking systems out into individual planets- something like the 1st Edition rules, which tended to work pretty well, though maybe updated to match some of the findings we're seeing in exo-planet astronomy and to smooth out the interaction between the planet types and the climate ratings for different species (which sometimes got odd results).
These are in, although they have been compacted down from Captain/Commodore/Admiral to a single Advanced System Generation option that is closest to the Commodore rules in format, but with additional elements thrown in. The Captain level of detail may still get added in as an optional component here, as it wouldn't be that hard to do.
The detailed star type rules are being shuffled over to the Atlas of Nearby Stars, but they can still be used with the Advanced System Generation rules and there will be an optional component linking those two in one book or the other (likely the Companion).
The number and type of planet types has been expanded, although not as much as was the case earlier in development. We now have Superterrestrial, Garden, Barren, Hothouse, Dead, Gas Giant, and Asteroid Belt system objects. The old climate ratings have also be removed from the rules (they may reappear as optional rules, but the balance issues were enough that they may just go away). Instead, all empires are assumed to prefer Earth-like climates and have climate modifiers set appropriately by planet type.
The more exotic rules for aliens that favor other environments are going to appear in First Contact as part of the custom empire rules. I'd originally planned on having a whole "orders of life" subset to those rules, but I've since scuttled that idea and will go back to incorporating those into the trait system instead. So you'll still be able to come across Exotic, Silicon, Hydrogen, Synthetic, and Transcendent lifeforms, but they'll be dependent on the trait system. For example, the Lithovore trait will subsume Silicon lifeforms, and they will have a preference for Hothouse (Venus-like) worlds. Or you'll have Exotic empires that favor Superterrestrial worlds, and have a penalty elsewhere.
Making systems into sectors- Going in the opposite direction, it seems like some players tend to treat 'systems' like larger sectors of space, so maybe some bolt-on rules that cater to this model? I'm thinking stuff like determining how densely the sector is settled (are those six Census all on one planet or spread over many?), rules to support multiple races settling in the same sector, etc.
I think I see where this is headed, but I'll have to think about how that can be rolled into a workable format. I had some rules at one time for letting players split ownership of a system, and that could be integrated here. Of course, you could almost just use the Advanced System Generation rules to handle this kind of situation, just each "planet" would be another system in the same star cluster.
'Squadron Level' CSCR- Again like in the old companion, a bit more chrome for the CSCR system, particularly aimed at making lower ship count scenarios more interesting; individual squadron fire/targeting, more formation options, etc.
I removed these rules from the 2e CG because I didn't think anyone ever used them (except me, in a few campaigns). If there's interest I can look at reviving the Skirmish CSCR and putting it back into the Companion.
Additional Movement Options- Might be too early, but hex-based movement probably needs to show up somewhere, and there might be other options that could be presented to players (I'm thinking variant jump lane rules). Also if using individual planets you might also want to slot in rules for Intra-System movement here.
I have Grid Based Movement updated for the Companion, and a few options for using actual star distances to determine movement rate in Atlas of Nearby Stars.
Additional Economic Options- on the basic level there should be some rules for mining asteroids and harvesting resources from Gas Giants if using individual planets. Another thing I'd like to see added is the notion of a resource extraction operation on a planet *without* a major colony. While VBAM tends to go with the idea that large permanent settlements are needed to produce EP, that's not the only possible model (in real life or in science fiction). I'm imagining scenarios like seabed oil extraction (as a real life example) or Avatar (as a science fiction example), where the permanent population is basically nil and the transient population is still very small, but the resources extracted are worth a lot more than the 'settlement size' would indicate.
Currently, Asteroid Mining Bases are used to extra resources from an Asteroid Belt and turn it into construction capacity that can be diverted elsewhere; and Gas Siphoning Stations are cheap Supply Depots that you can build at Gas Giants. Both are likely to be maintenance free at this point, as they are really civilian infrastructure.
The rules for extraction units from The Flotilla (nomad empires) would meet the second requirement. I'm still waiting to see if that gets released as its own book or ends up being subsumed back into another supplement.
Mega-Projects: Rules for stuff like Ringworlds, Dyson Spheres, etc. Might be better in some sort of future Engineering Manual.
I have notes on these that I've been carrying around for 2 years now. I am just about ready to go in and update them for 2e (should be done this week).
The Engineering Manual contents may end up in the Companion, too, depending on what the final page count looks like. If not, that chapter will be ripped back out and have renewed life as the Engineering Manual. Right now the biggest concern that I have is that I want to keep the size of the VBAM supplements small enough that things are more bite-size. If I can keep the Companion at around 150 pages / $15, then we'll be fine. We'll still have the odd <= $5 supplement, but I don't want to nickel and dime people TOO hard.
But the closer that the Companion gets to 148 pages, the greater the chance that I'll rip a 30 page chapter out and then integrate another 30 pages of rules to make it into it's own book. I just checked, and with no formatting applied the current (incomplete) contents of the Companion come to about 79 pages. With additional rules, examples, charts, art, etc. I think we're comfortably looking at another 30 pages minimum, but that still keeps it within the 148 page that I'm shooting for.
'Underworld Empires' revamp: Always thought these were a cool idea, but they were very much geared towards criminal entities. I'd like to see this concept extended for all sorts of 'non-government' entities, as the same idea could easily represent stuff like resistance groups, mega-corporations, religious movements and so forth.
I have merged the Underworld Empire rules with some of the advanced pirate stuff I originally developed for the 2e CG (but removed for space/complexity reason). I have an OLD set of rules (circa 2007) that introduced a parallel set of rules for Influence instead of Corruption, and those could be dusted off and added into the rules, too. I'll see if that is doable at this point or not. I had Influence running in parallel to Corruption, so you could have both. But there's probably no reason why you couldn't just replace Corruption with Influence and leave it at that -- but it might require enough of a change to the rules to be untenable at this point.