WotO Part 22

Sci-Fi Fridays! Part 22 – A review! What about Obsidian Portal?

You might be wondering… Did he miss a week? Yes I did! Sorry dear reader… Personal matters kept me away from the blog last week. Everything is almost back to normal now, so time for the next instalment on the Sci-Fi Fridays! series. Last week was, what I would would be the last Wanderers of the Outlands post for a while, but the campaign continues apace and I may soon be back to talking about it and sharing information and material created for it. This week, much like I did with the interview in Part 17 I’d like to review a tool I’ve been using for the campaign, Obsidian Portal!

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I’ve known about Obsidian Portal for a while, I created my free account back in 2012 while searching for options to share information about my campaigns. I played around with it, and as nice as it was I ended up not creating my campaign in it. You may ask, why? My biggest reservation at the time was privacy. I don’t mind sharing campaign information, heck I do plenty of that here in the blog, but the day to day details of the game itself, a place where the players can communicate freely, unconcerned about typos or spelling, a private space to share ideas was paramount. The free version of Obsidian Portal did not offer that and I continued my search.

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Please check out my YouTube channel

For the last few years I have uploaded video reviews, unboxing videos etc. on my YouTube channel. I even started a rather short-lived video review series in German language.

Recently I thought I should put some more work in my YouTube presence, and so I started recording some “Let’s Play” videos. At the time of this writing there are two videos on Elite Dangerous and one on World of Tanks available (aside from all the old videos of course!).

It would be great if you guys could have a look at my channel and check out the videos I’ve uploaded there. And as always any comment is highly appreciated!

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Airplanes, Mecha, Space Ships–Oh My!

In my post about Elite Dangerous a reader names Gordon pointed out that there will be a roleplaying game based on the computer game. At first this sounds like an awesome idea, but on second thought I noticed a few problems with RPGs like this. In the computer game you’re the Commander of your own space ship and that’s exactly what most people would love to play in the RPG. But does this work in a roleplaying game?

If everyone pilots his own space ship what keeps them from splitting up and exploring the universe on their own? And what about the one guy who doesn’t want to pilot a space ship? While this might not be entirely impossible, it’s extremely hard to give everyone equal time in the spotlight – especially if someone is piloting an awesome space ship and the other plays a feeble space janitor.

In the case of larger space ships the problem can be alleviated. Every player character should be able to have a function on the ship. And in a way the space ship is more akin to the players’ base or home. But in the case of vessels piloted by one person only, things can get messy.

This problem regularly crops up in games based on board games or videogames that revolve around airplanes, mecha, space ships, et cetera. You either force everyone to be a pilot, or you make the pilot profession unavailable to everyone. A third alternative is to ask every player to have several characters – a pilot one and one support character (like a technician). We tried this approach in a Mechwarrior 2nd Edition game. It worked quite well, even though it messed with my immersion. It just feels weird to me, running more than one character if I am not the GM. Your mileage may vary of course.

I am very intrigued by games like Dream Pod 9’s Terra Nova and Jovian Chronicles, but I am not sure if I’ll ever run those. In the past I’ve even thought about using the setting of the now defunct MMO Earth & Beyond (in which each player piloted a small space craft) using for a RPG, but quickly threw these ideas out of the window, because I couldn’t find a solution for the “everyone-has-their-own-space-vessel” problem.

So even though I love games in which players can pilot powerful mecha or fast jet fighters, I rarely run these because of the reasons mentioned above. And I think the upcoming Elite: Dangerous RPG might have similar problems. Or perhaps it’s not the games’ problem but mine.

What do you think about this issue? Have you run games involving airplanes, mecha, and space fighters? What did you do if someone wanted to play a non-pilot character? Please share your experiences below.

A Roleplaying Games blog