Sunday, November 8, 2020

Can Science Storytelling be Engaging?

Near Earth Prospects Doing some TRPG musing - How do I run a 2050-2100 TRPG setting without a lot of prep and with believable world-building? 

For feedback. 

0) The goal would be - an immersive world-building of how a new space race gets started and stories of the PCs and how their actions moved nations or a world towards this virtuous cycle.  

1) one objective would be - bringing more and more computational power to detect near-earth objects. the adventure would be breaking down the "projects" the processes into stages and phases where players roll and role-playing key moments of both physical, mental, and organizational challenges that can change the outcome of a project. 

I can frame Projects - the social and organizational physics and anti-patterns like an adventure - i'm just not good with the details of it - I can make guesses. 

From - helping a Politician person pass a bill that would fund the science, to the Technicians launching the new sensor or module.  

2) After all that data (an Arms race of Sensors) - some have detected Near-Earth Approach objects that can be redirected to NE orbit for the future. The Organizational Forces that  

This is where Traveller-like 4 year terms come in handy as a Parallel mechanic of how the PC's year turns out. Players roll up a stable of characters. Sessions are 2-hour sessions role-playing a scenario in this "gold rush" of Near earth object claim staking. 

Scenarios from Espionage (because we don't all see the same objects and likely prospects), to Planning and Preparation - creating the facilities that would capture it, as well as the Conditions by which Claims are agreed. 

3)  The gold rush - this would be assuming (The plot of Delta-V lolz) 

a) a large number of prospects, 

b) the ability to nudge these prospects into accessible reach 

c) details to hold and keep claims and materials

d) the ability to capitalize these materials 

Worldbuilding, even if the Gamers don't have all the time and resources to produce all that research. Just the handy "Pillars"/Rules of thumb of science, logistics, and organizational physics that make a believable (deeply flawed outcomes but the pros are still better than the previous status quo to some but not all; example how the majority of the world think space science is useless and a waste of time and money and have an image of scientists part of a grand conspiracy). 

What would be the List of "Cool" hard science stuff players would like to see in such a game? Where they don't mind the handwaves and just want to imagine characters caught up in it? 

Example. as a 3rd worlder, I'd like to see world-building where now there are more tiers of Technical Specializations brought about the space race. The livelihoods such create means we would be mobilizing so many economies to produce basics as more advanced nations invest in something only they can invest. Advanced economies make Space Infra and the other Economies rush to fill the "comparative advantage". The number of jobs and requirements outpace the fears of Automation. In the storytelling, you still have people demonizing and creating their conspiracy narrative and A LOT of people still believing this - the conflict the PCs encounter. That economic shift raises the education and amount of information a person has access to in the world (Human Dev Index go up).

In such a story, if the GM were to make adversaries it is all the competing interests, special interests, willful ignorance, conspiracy theories, propaganda, monopolistic/rent-seeking parties, who are at odds with the PCs and players. The Status Quo and how lucrative it is and how much more it can be SQUEEZED for maximum profit is the adversary of the PCs and how it taints them and how the PCs may embody these forces. 

Whatever the adversary is - imagine how twisted and complicated the setting can be that they are Cautious Allies or Cooperative Enemies, poisoned gifts, or dangerous stepping stones etc... 

you may observe that my association of concepts are 

Science = Fact-Finding/Understanding = Discovering Cognitive Dissonance /Flaws in Every Concept = But still making sure parties and stakeholders are in a Net Positive = Humanistic Goals. That the flaws and adversaries are not in External Parties but we have such Hipocracies and manage these demons. A lot of gray and neutral tones - but slivers of brilliant colors and darkness. these outline a picture of a world we shape in a TRPG - we rehearse and reinforce for our own closure and understanding. 


No comments: