12 April 2018

WIP: SAGA System Cards for Sci-Fi Setting

The picture below shows my current WIP: SAGA System cards for a science fiction setting. The card template is build in MS Powerpoint, using solely MS Office shapes.

I know in the last few posts I said my next set of cards would be for fantasy but then I stumbled across a treasure-trove of old FASA Star Trek material and got inspired. Although these cards will be usable for most sci-fi settings, a keen-eyed reader can probably discern the Star Trek-specific font and themes.

The example card to the left is a 3 of Agility. Starting at the top left and proceeding down and then right, I'll explain the individual parts.

The "3" obviously is the value of the card; under the SAGA system playing this card would result in 3 points added to the character's attribute to form a total action score to be compared against the GM-defined difficulty score.

The plus symbol below the number is the card's "aura", in this case Positive. Three auras exist: Positive, Negative and Neutral, and serve to provide some nuance for GM scene interpretation. "The captain fails his Agility roll and goes tumbling off the cliff... [GM makes card draw] but, Positive aura! The captain flails wildly and manages to grab the cliff edge, holding on by the finger tips!"

The large "Agility" on the bottom left corner identifies the card's suit. Note, in SAGA players use any and all suits for any task, for example this Agility card could be used for an Intellect action.  Matching the suit of the card to the correct attribute type (let's say using this card here for an Agility action) provides a potential bonus however, in the form of an extra card draw.

Heading up to the top right, we see a read-out box with the Calling, an idea taken directly from the Marvel Super Heroes game. The calling is primarily used in character creation but can also be used during the game to reveal character motivation.

Below the Calling is a large display area that I'm still trying to decide how to populate. Right now it shows a Focus phrase, which the GM could use to determine the person or thing the scene centers around. I've also included a random phrase, in this case a quote, which can spur the action. I think I will replace these with random words, perhaps two random subjects and two random action words. The symbols on the left side of the display mean nothing: I just thought they looked "space age".

The next display shows the Event, another idea taken from the Marvel game. As you can see here, I'm not using the exact list of events from the Marvel game however and plan to make a custom list for these cards.

The last display is the small random letter screen, in this case showing a "K". I talked last post about how I use these random letters to generate words I'd never come up with myself, which I then try to weave into the story.

The rest of the items: the orange light, the moire pattern display, the three black knobs, are all just greeblies (or nurnies for the Brits) to add to the sci-fi flavor.

Now that the pattern is done, the real work begins: populating the spreadsheet with the Callings, Events, and random words that go on each card. I'll start with my Marvel spreadsheet and modify the Callings and Events to better fit a Star Trek setting; many of them are still very appropriate and will remain unchanged though. The random words I'll have to make up or perhaps borrow from a well thought-out list like the one in the Mythic Game Master Emulator. Once the spreadsheet is done it's just "presto": activate the macros and the deck will be built.

Maybe then instead of just thinking and talking about solo RPGs I'll finally starting playing them again.

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