Dicussion Point - Species and Ships

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Tavish McFini
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Dicussion Point - Species and Ships

Post by Tavish McFini » 2012-01-20 21:12

*jumps in here before admins flame him with BAR Droids* Stupid droids...

So, in light of the latest entrant to the ranks of the NIF... I think a discussion and some formal ground rules need to be laid out regarding character species and vessel limitations.

As it stands, the rules make no exceptions to the species a character can be and, so long as it exists in Star Wars canon it's official (so until we see Tinkerbell-esque fairies somewhere, they won’t be legal characters). Admittedly, what denotes canon could be vague and ambiguous at best since most people consider pretty much anything found on Wookieepedia to be official SW tech/fact/etc. I myself am one of those people too and there are things that are inconsistent with other bits of info but that's beside the point.

The rules are clear regarding Force Sensitive characters (1000+ word bio requirement), Dark Jedi (existing character in the NIF already at a minimum rank of 3, a master must be available to take on a student and must also express a willingness to do so. There's also details that the DJ has to be an entirely new character, but I digress...). Freelancers just need an existing NIF character already...

Beyond smaller details (such as credit starting limits and then pay scales and rates), there are very few other restrictions...

So, with poor Vali's plight, I think it's time we establish some sort of basis or upper limit for things.

I used the term "upper" because for freelancers, it says in the database (member manual) that freelancers (privateers) are able to start with a ship up to (and including) frigate size but people are free to pick a ship smaller than that. Now, there are some "unspoken" restrictions to the type of ships available. For instance, I made a pirate with a Vibre class assault carrier as the ship. It's a corvette so well within the only criteria set by the admin for a line I cannot cross. However, Ace expressed a desire for a more detailed bio explaining how I came to acquire this ship. I complied and showed it to him and he accepted (all very behind-the-scenes stuff but I suppose if someone had a problem at the time of posting, I would have heard about it by now). Did I have to put in the extra work? Not necessarily, as I could have simply pointed to the rules and asked “where does it say I can’t?” but I think we all know I’m not the sort of person to do that.

Right now, the system is pretty much a post-it-and-if-admins-have-a-problem-they'll-let-you-know type set-up. It’s not a bad system and with the relatively few numbers of people and low activity we generally experience, I think it works well since the admins usually have time to pick through each bio and post and respond to the demands of the board and not fall behind in their own lives/posts/etc.

It was mentioned that the Anzati were a species off-limits to PCs and allowed only for NPCs. I vaguely remember someone talking about this, probably in chat, but it must have been so long ago because I was mulling over the idea of making one a year or so back. (It's in the scrap pile with countless other ideas for reasons that would only waste time talking about here.) Regardless, if my memory is that shoddy, there's probably a bunch of other people who don't even know about this ruling at all...

I'll start with ships since I'm a lot more knowledgeable about them (and it's easier). For people in the NIF military (be it navy, army, ISIS, space force, whathaveyou), I think the general assumption is you start with next to nothing save whatever you're issued on day one (uniform, side arm, armour if applicable, etc.) Freelancers are different and already require an existing character (in the NIF military proper and grandfather clause notwithstanding) before any can be made. I presumed this limitation would be enough to warrant them also starting with the 10K credits and any vessel they wanted up to and including frigate sized (classed) ships? Having a debt or a bounty on the freelancer's head, while having the potential for good RP, is in no way (written or otherwise) a mandatory requirement.

The upgrades for said ship also suffer from a lack of actual rulings. I could make a new freelancer and give him a VCX-700 and fitted with a few extra laser cannons and enough engine, manoeuvrability and avionics upgrades to turn it into a starfighter.

There is now a ranking system with the freelancers that limits the type of tech they can possess but that doesn't change the fact a person could still kit out their YT-1300 with fifty-thousand worth in laser cannons right at the start.

So, all that said...
  1. What are the limitations of vessels going to be? This should include size (starfighter, subcap, capship), type (corvette, frigate, etc.), and maybe even every specific type of vessel (marauder, DP-20, Halcyon).
  2. What are the upgrade limits going to be (if any)?
  3. How will we account for starting credits? What direct motivation is there for person A to stick with a YT-1300 while person B has a fully tricked out YT-2200 yet they both have 10K credits starting? Even more extreme than that, give person B a frigate.
I'm aware that there's going to be maintenance costs and what not for person B having the frigate, so I also included the example of a really tricked out subcap (let's also define "tricked out" as in 300K in upgrades, just to put a figure to it).

Moving onto the species now... I never really saw this as a problem before but then again, maybe I'm just always picking the species that already have clear and present (and objective) weaknesses built in. I was never aware of the limitations before and even as I to tossing in seemingly random species after species, no one seemed to ever voice an objection let alone bat an eye (though I expect there's always a lot of eye rolling) so I'm wondering now if there isn't some sort of hidden list in the back room of the board...

If there is such a list, I think it should be public knowledge then, don't you? Why wait for someone to post and then come down on them when we could instead advertize "this is what you're not allowed to do/have"? Wouldn't that be a more proactive approach?

To conclude, the system, while not necessarily broke, could use some patching up. Maybe not right now, but at some point in the future and the sooner the better because it’s my experience that, whenever something like this happens, though it has never happened before, the odds it will happen again soon are increased tremendously. That’s my effort to kick off these discussions and put in my views.

Thanks for your time! :D
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Re: Dicussion Point - Species and Ships

Post by Kane » 2012-01-20 23:34

Let's begin with ships. This is actually covered well in the rules, I'll highlight the important bits.
3.0.1.11 Money
Money is of no importance until you want to buy something. Unless you are a Freelancer, money has even less importance, the NIF provides. All NIF personnel gets:

a) Quarters. This varies between a field bunk bed in a Stormtrooper barracks to a personal palace for a Governor.
b) Free meals five times per day, once every three standard hours. This includes the Shadow Hands but not Freelancers. Liquor is not free of charge. Additional meal cupons can be bought at a self-cost price. Command officers have access to their own small selection of liquor due to their representative duties.
b) A standard uniform set which can be replaced free of charge once per year, that varies between divisions and ranks. For example, a Stormtrooper gets one personal set of armour, which is repaired or replaced as necessary, and one duty uniform. Naval officers gets four uniforms, one field, two duty, and one dress uniform. Higher officers (read in command position) gets four extra uniforms. Pilots get two flight suits, one duty uniform and one dress uniform. Agents get only two duty uniforms, since they need no more. ISIS command officers also get one dress uniform. (ISIS agents rarely show up officially) SH and Freelancers use their own clothing.
c) A personal sidearm. This is limited to Imperial standard issue, though you can use a sidearm of your own choice at your own cost unless your CO disapproves. Note that troopers has more than one weapon in their standard set.
d) Standard issue equipment. Varies between branches.
In addition to this, all personnel receives mission-specific equipment, which is recalled after the mission. In any case one wants anything beyond standard issues, it is up to respective CO.

All characters except Freelancers receives weekly pay (see the Imperial Database for paylist). FL are instead paid on a mission basis for fulfilling objectives and collecting bounties placed.

All characters start out with 10,000 Credits. If you start out with a ship, the cost of it is deducted from this sum (you may end up with a debt). Keeping track of how much you have is up to you. There are coins, electronic pen-shaped credit sticks, and account transfers, but no paper money except on a few barbaric worlds. Most worlds exchange NIF Credits and New Republic Credits on an even basis.

Everyone pays annual income tax. The NIF federal tax rate is progressive and tops out at 15%. You may also have to pay local taxes which may be significantly higher on your local holdings, if you have any. In simple terms you can assume that you pay a federal tax rate equal to your rank level, that means 1% for starting rank.
Income tax doesn't cover financial or sales tax, as a footnote. Obviously we're also going to question where you got a stygium crystal cloaking device from, etc.

You might think there's a loophole where a privateer sells off his Nebulon-B frigate for a few hundred million and starts out with a tricked out subcap instead, but that's not the case. A privateer doesn't own the ship, the required crew has most of the stakes in it and aren't necessarily willing to sell it off just like that. Think of it more as a CEO for a business venture.

As for species, I don't think we can ever cover every species in rules, given that new ones come up on a regular basis. Like energy vampires. That's better dealt with on a case-by-case basis, and we don't have a problem with most characters.

To name some that have crossed the line and eventually were permitted: Mandalare leader, Gen'Dai, Anzat, Human Replica Droid.

We are quite lenient on odd characters for roleplaying purposes. What we don't want are munchkins. We seem to stave those off without trying these days, but I recall tougher times. Anyway, the bottom line is that starting characters are just that, starting. Gen'Dai aren't immune to disruptors and while unlikely to die from a blaster shot or two, ending up for years in hibernation is effectively death as far as roleplaying here goes. HRDs may require expensive maintenance, and so on.
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Re: Dicussion Point - Species and Ships

Post by Tavish McFini » 2012-01-21 04:08

Okay, I sit corrected then. Seems I'm out of touch with the rules these says :lol: My apologies!
Ace wrote:FL are instead paid on a mission basis for fulfilling objectives and collecting bounties placed.
Of course, now we have missions that take about 5-8 times as long from start to debrief than they did back in 2004 ;)

But I guess if you're willing to handle things on a case-by-case basis whenever they arise, we've got not problems then. I just figured maybe there should be a provision of fair warning or some such before hand, but that's just me :D
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Re: Dicussion Point - Species and Ships

Post by Dravius Stari » 2012-01-21 19:36

Interesting stuff with the species. I too like Fini thought we'd placed the brakes on Anzati (and I was fine with that. I think we should just play average aliens that dont have superabilites )

I guess the message is be careful when your creating a biography because it will be looked at....(even mine ! eep)
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Re: Dicussion Point - Species and Ships

Post by Luciana Endivain » 2012-01-21 20:41

Drav wrote:I think we should just play average aliens that dont have superabilites
If each alien was average, than the galaxy would just be full of a bunch of humans with different skins slapped on them like a collection of winamp programs at PAX. Maybe I'm too much of a gamer when I say this, but the SWRPG or any RPG that has different species makes them unique in some way shape or form. In general, all of them are meant to compete at least on some level with a human to make for a balanced game and give people choice without one species necessarily being overpowered to break the game. I remember in 3.5, species like Drow were introduced but they had to have "level adjustments" to make them fair and balanced. Level adjustment pretty much meant that, though you started at level 1 like everyone else, the drow character in this case was actually at level 3 once all the bonuses were accounted for so in order to reach level 2, they would have to amass enough experience to get them to level 4 (I forget a lot of my D&D 3.5 but I think that required something like 5000 instead of the 1000 needed normally to progress to level 2).

I think half the fun is exploring different alien cultures and trying to flesh out what their typical society would be with what little information we're usually given. For me, the other half of the fun is making the character but no one asked ^_~

On the thought of the Anzati, just to ask more than anything, don't they need to feed on... essentially the brains of other species/animals? I vaguely remember reading something about how they would much prefer the brain of a Force Sensitive over that of, say, some street urchin on Nar Shaddaa which might be like a normal person eating... uh.... ... whatever you respective hated food(s) might be :lol: Given how grotesque that might be, it's easy to imagine why an Anzati would be better suited to an NPC in keeping with our non-PvP ideals here.
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Re: Dicussion Point - Species and Ships

Post by Dravius Stari » 2012-01-22 00:41

Its like mutants in the X-Men universe. Not all mutants have super-abilities. Some of them do, and thats fun, but if we were doing an X-men universe RP, you probably wouldn't want 40 00 magnetos running around!

All species are unique, but I think its clear that if I made 3 ewok characters, the overall impact on our storylines/universe would be much less than if I made 3 gen'dai characters ;)

Also, there are tons of races that aren't represented here that would be i imagine fun to play with. Mon Calamari for instance. Don't need to make Puff the magic Krayt Dragon :P

as for Anzati you raise an interesting point. The thing is though, to me it seems like when they feed on a force sensitive creature it would be better for them if they were all about being force connected. My question though is this, does the person/thing need to be force sensitive in order for them to still get the 'soup'? I remember Jerriko's obsession with 'soup' and in particular, Jabbas. Jabba was at least to my knowledge not force sensitive in the traditional sense (Wookie states: A Force-sensitive was a being who was highly attuned to the flow of the Force) , but what if anzati could also get soup from what is a vibrant life form? Surely that would be a pretty strong presence in the force, and could in theory satisfy that desire.

That would therefore mean that an Anzati could for survival just do their thing on say a freshly killed bantha. But one that wanted 'soup' may not necessairly have to hunt down jedi.

Anyway, just spitballin :P
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Re: Dicussion Point - Species and Ships

Post by Spyker Katarn » 2012-01-22 06:35

An Anzat can get 'soup' from anything that is sentient, but prefers that of strong-willed individuals (essentially, anything that can reason; banthas and other animals are unsuitable for the task). What's more is that they are inherently Force-sensitive, as they hunt through a modified version of Force Sight. The target also has to be alive, as the soup is part brain, part "life essence," and all deadly. As WP says, "The Anzat who made a meal of such a Jedi was a rare and terrible creature indeed."

The fact that it comes with FS requires level 4. The fact that it would essentially mean always killing to feed (and becoming increasingly insane for it) makes me wary of letting them in as PCs.
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Re: Dicussion Point - Species and Ships

Post by Kurge » 2012-01-23 05:34

I remember at one point attempting to make an Anzat character. In fact that was initially what "Tyr Anazazi" was planned for. As we all know that isn't what happened. I digress though!

Most of the perks and challenges have already been mentioned. As a freelancer, you have to always be 'concerned' about your bank-account, IC. Especially if you are like me and always thinking of what new upgrades would be nice. Though it helps to pay off that debt first. ;)

As to species, the issues have more or less been covered. Though, I thought I might add a few of my own observations on the subject.

Anzat become more insane and unstable as they age, byproduct of their feeding perhaps. They do become more powerful telepathically with age, allowing them to feed more easily and more often. Thereby, their own thirst would hasten their undoing. Anzat can also starve to death if not able to get a proper 'meal' or enough 'meals' on a regular basis. Foresee-ably, these combined factors lead to the Anzat's eventual and naturally caused demise. If not that a bunch of people would notice this crazed lunatic, trail of corpses and put it together; resulting in the Anzat's death.

Gen'Dai have to hibernate to heal for extended periods of time; if the injuries are severe. In addition, Gen'Dai do become more susceptible to various neurological illnesses as they age. Something that I will have to RP/worry about at some point in time. Another consideration with Gen'Dai is that the vast majority or pacifists and highly isolationist. Which presents some interesting bio challenges. In terms of species, they are and can be extremely difficult to play as.

Energy Vampires, as the one that is tipped off the discussion, deserves some comments. Energy vampires are similar to Anzat in some respects. The need to feed on sentient or at least living beings. Socially this would be hard to ignore or hide. This alone would make for a challenging character to RP with. Though stated to have certain enhanced physiological capabilities; they aren't overpowered. If anything their elongated teeth and other attributes would result in interesting situations. Also, according to my understanding they essentially have the same critical organs as 99% of humanoids. In my opinion, as long as it is a member that has demonstrated trustworthiness and understanding of the nuisances of the character, approval should be given once any outstanding requirements are meet.

~My 2 cents

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Re: Dicussion Point - Species and Ships

Post by Kallila Tsarati » 2012-01-26 13:17

So, in my opinion, this is about more than just power. That's a big factor, of course, but I also consider how things figure into the SW setting itself with out impacting too much change. There are a lot of EU sources out there, some of them good and some of them bad. Many of them introduce new technology or force related powers. When you're writing a solo story meant to be imbibed by the masses, you can get away with pretty much murder. For example: the Suncrusher. Taken as a singular story with a beginning middle and end dictated by a sole source we have no control over, this over-powered ship does no real damage to the SW universe.

But that's not so here at NIF. We're operating a shared story space. What I do impacts every single other member on the board. I'll use myself as an example: I've now established that Mai (with help) can ressurect people. Upon dying herself, inexplicably, she somehow returned herself. That has huge implications. How would it make you feel if I rolled Mai back into the Shadow Hand and had her participating in missions and completing objectives? I introduced these concepts because I wanted to tell a story, but I recognized that by doing so I was changing the game of fairness in Mai forever. As a result, there's a high possibility that she will never participate in a mission or in NIF in an official capacity ever again. Maybe... but it's a big maybe.

Now let's go back to sun crushers. People used to request NIF having a suncrusher all the time. Imagine if Ace had said yes years ago. To take over the Republic we'd need only to use that single weapon effectively as a threat and worlds would fold. It's TOO powerful. It wouldn't be fun anymore. Everytime we faced a dangerous fleet we could just say "stand down or we destroy a vital sun in a populated system". Though the suncrusher worked okay in a singular story somewhere else, it would ruin our shared story space here at NIF.

So you have to consider this when you introduce unusual things here. Let's take the energy vampire, not that I'm trying to pick on Draaygo, but lets be honest. Whoever introduced the energy vampire in whatever EU wanted to have a form of vampires in SW. Vampires are popular in the culture right now... so why not slap one in Star Wars? I can ignore that piece of EU forever, and I intend to. But what if we introduce one here in our shared story space? All of a sudden, I CAN'T ignore it. I'm forced to acknowledge and interact with a fantastical creature that, to me, feels so completely un-Star Wars that it breaks the immersion for me.

Now, I know that there's no accounting for taste and NIF doesn't revolve around me. Which is why I consult the admin team on such matters and accept their judgments. But I hope you are all accepting my point here. The more we screw with the SW setting the more we set a precedent to allow others to screw with it. Eventually, we end up with something not at all like SW to begin with.

I'm of the opinion that if you want to play a vampire, go find a vampire RP forum. There are plenty. If you want to introduce xenomorphs or a race similar enough to not matter go find an Aliens forum (that might be harder). If you want to introduce a race like the Krogans, go find a Mass Effect forum. You get the idea. We're a Star Wars forum, and I want our experience here to forever be instantly recognizable to total strangers as definitively Star Wars (and wookieepedia is not necessarily our friend in this regard).

Thank you.

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