As mentioned about a year ago, I seriously began work on Space Station Omega (SSO). I just printed out a color version to begin reviewing as I move on to version 2.7.2+.
AREAS OF CONSTERNATION
- At nearly 300 pages with more to add and finish, the game is moving along. A chunk of this, about 40 pages will depend on the finalized official Cortex Prime System Reference document. Now that Cortex Prime is through Fandom, everyone like me is waiting to see what’s next and what we as designers can and can’t do.
- I still don’t have the Effect Die in the game and will see if that changes.
- I have a variety of experience/advancement options to test for the final recommendation.
- I don’t use Distinctions as they are commonly found in other Cortext games, however, there are some specific traits used like Distinction, such as with Profile and Background.
AREAS OF ACCOMPLISHMENT
While not perfect and a ways to go before it’s ready for a stronger editing pass, I’m pleased with the progress so far. Here are the milestones for me thus far:
- I spent a lot of time being anxious and creative effort to work on the Talents. Some help was from Tim Bannock and his Head Shot! Cortex Prime Zombie game. Some I found at the Cortex Prime Discord servers. The rest was through revisiting Cortex Plus games and me fumbling around. I currently have seven assigned talents for each role, for a total of 35, plus seven open, and three heritage talents just in case, for a grand total of 45. I’m not against doing more, but the effort—sheesh. 18 pages now.
- Thanks to talking with Jason Dettman and his comments on an earlier draft I have simplified the specialties closer to that found in Leverage: The Roleplaying Game. So from six to two pages.
- I’ve gone back and forth about the use of Powers and Abilities in SSO, and have opted to go with the use of them under one thing called the Empowered talent. It costs two talent slots. Instead of having a master list of powers I’m mapping how you can use them similar to the seven basic actions of the game and providing some guidance through the use of Stunt Dice and spending Plot Points. Hopefully, this will allow for something flexible and not become overpowering vs. the rest of the talents, roles, and traits in general. It cuts my page count down from 29 to four pages, which is a good reason to try playtesting it as soon as possible.
Now that the Cortex Prime System Reference is out I’ve been working my way through revisions to match up with it as time permits. I’ve gotten feedback and hope that the next version will be ready for a more thorough test of the rules and content. Just have to keep writing and editing.
> Space Station Omega
I’ve created a mockup cover for fun (see the featured image above in a graphic novel form factor for about 300 pages) to help keep the motivation going as I work on sections, one paragraph at a time.
Welcome to the AquaVertigo Playtesting post.
The following games are in playtest:
If you are interested in participating in a playtest of one or more of the above games, please let me know in the contact form below.
And so it continues…
I’ve got a draft of Space Station Omega (SSO) ready to undergo a closer inspection and more ruthless editing after Gamicon, 2019. I already know that there are sections which need cutting—even after adding them in to remind me to not forget about them, but the question for me will be to see how important it is to salvage the essence of those parts for the game.
What I’m attempting to construct is a game that pulls together parts of the Cortex Plus/Prime RPG system to emulate a subgenre of science-fiction television stories, such as Babylon 5, Star Trek: Deep Space 9, the reimagined Battlestar Galactica, and The Expanse.
I’ve reviewed many of the game sourcebooks and the Hacker’s Toolkit. I’ve studied the releases for the Cortex Prime Handbook. For SSO, I feel that I need drama, action, and politics. Cortex Prime uses traits to build out parts of its modular toolkit system, so here are the ones that I’m working with:
- Drama Traits: Values, Beliefs (value statements), Relationships
- Action Traits: Roles, Talents, Abilities, Specialties
- Politics Traits: Backgrounds, Factions, Sectors
- Other Traits: Signature Assets, Extras, Scene Assets
Areas of Consternation
I’m wondering how much of the game I can simplify or leave with more system mastery pieces. The Abilities for one are quite long and serve a game with powers at its core very well. However, in SSO, I feel that Abilities are rarer and should fit into the specific story.
For example, what if my group decides that they don’t want telepaths, but do want genetically engineered super soldiers? And the next one wants mystical space magic but not teleportation? How much of the Ability structure needs to remain to give a group enough content to confidently build their own without requiring a significant number of pages to read and understand or to see enough examples to understand how it would play out in your particular situation?
Also, I’ve dropped the use of the Effect Die and it’s raising alarms specifically for the Abilities. I don’t want to break something that would work normally out of the sake of wanting to simplify the game.
Another long-ish area that I like and want to simplify is the use of Events. Similarly to dropping the Effect Die I’ve dropped the use of Milestones and XP, again to make things easier so I’m not certain how Events will play out mechanically at this point.
Since Cortex Prime updated mid-January, 2019, I’ve worked to do extensive writing and editing on Space Station Omega (SSO). Version 2.5 is coming along nicely and I’m getting a better sense for how the whole system hangs together, as well as how it differs for SSO.
> Space Station Omega RPG
Today I created a new bare-bones character sheet based on the revisions and have a version that I feel confident to use with the next round of playtests. I went ahead and made it landscape, double-sided with the front hosting the following categories: Profile (Background trait), Views (for The War, The Alliance, Homeworld), Values and Beliefs, Stress and Trauma Tracks, Roles and Specialties, and a space to list Plot Points. For the back, the categories include Talents, Resources (Factions, Sectors, Relationships, Signature Assets, Extras, and Scene Assets), and Growth (Callbacks and Challenges).
> Space Station Omega Personnel Datafile 02-09-2019
The next step is to have a mostly done first draft ready for review by late winter or early spring for friends to read and comment on regarding obvious issues and provide feedback related to the Cortex Prime RPG experience. Depending on how well this step goes it will either be a fair amount of rewriting and/or revisions for clarity and crafting examples specific to SSO.
Hopefully, with a new round of robust playtesting on the way this year, it will shake out remaining stumbling points and provide a next draft which I can share with other GMs to run and report back to me for improvements.
On a side note, I can’t wait to watch season 5 of KillJoys and season 4 of The Expanse later this year. Bring on the Sci-Fi shows!
Photo: Promo piece from The Expanse TV show, now hosted on Amazon Prime.
A tabletop roleplaying game about fighting for a future against The Galactic War.
Story – What Is Space Station Omega the Roleplaying Game?
Space Station Omega is a science-fiction tabletop roleplaying game of political dramatic action among the stars.
In this game you play pivotal characters who live on and work with each other aboard a space station. The station is strategically located at a focal point in time – post- or pre-war, and space – in the thick of the most critical decisions fought among the most powerful political factions who are invested in the future of the galaxy. Everyone is still figuring out where they belong and what they are really fighting for while mysterious events unfold to challenge daily life. Nothing is the same anymore.
In Space Station Omega, you discuss and map your part of the galaxy, your station (fixed or mobile, singular or dispersed), and then create your personnel built on supporting roles, conflicting values and beliefs, and opposing factions before jumping into the midst of a charged situation.
If you enjoy TV shows such as Babylon 5, Star Trek: Deep Space 9, Battlestar Galactica, and The Expanse, then strap in and get ready for intense dramatic galactic roleplaying.
Playing Space Station Omega
Space Station Omega is a tabletop roleplaying game for 3-5 players that takes about 3-4 hours to play. The game uses Cortex Prime as a starting point and shares an origin with games such as Smallville, Leverage, Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, and Firefly. As you play and follow the fiction of the story, you look for when your character’s decisions lead to interesting situations that would call for a roll of the dice with three or more traits along with one of the following Basic Actions: Command, Craft, Deal, Fight, Help, Search, or Study.