Friday, April 03, 2015

Piddlin' about with the nations-as-characters thing again

You know I have an unhealthy thing for my old Battletech: 3087 game (Don't worry, I'm not going to repost it again). In it, players had characters and nations that they ran. The nation turns were simple and abstracted so that players could understand what was going on and make decisions on a national scale. One of the lessons I pulled from the failure of 3087 was that players "get" characters and a good nation-running tabletop game should characterize nations the same way it does characters.

I obviously started with FATE. Skills are bedrock in FATE and I needed a similar positive and negative skill space that characters get. I tried to convert FATE stock skills 1:1 to national-scale equivalents, so each nation could have ten of fourteen skills, but that was unwieldy. I settled on six out of eleven:

Sabotage (Provoke)
Infrastructure (Athletics)
Espionage (Notice)
Internal Security (Stealth)
Law Enforcement (Investigate)
Diplomacy (Deceive/Empathy)

National Resolve (Physique)
National Loyalty (Will)

Military (Fight)
Natural Wealth (Resources)
Culture (Contacts/Rapport)
Finance (Burglary)

Academia (Lore)
Artisan (Crafts)

It feels like a mixed bag. Some of these interact pretty well, but others don't. Impossibly, there are still thirteen. The Sabotage/Espionage and Security/Law Enforcement skills should probably be rolled into one. 

Would you like to run a nation that has six of these skills? Plus Stunts and Aspects that are mostly specific iterations of these skills (ie, a particular unit, a singular resource like vibrainum or hargel, or individual, exceptional people?). 

Where do technologies, histories, and nation sizes still fit into this? Still working on it.

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