The Group Template in Free Spacer
Posted on Oct 30, 2010 | 0 comments
The idea of the group template is not a new one, but as I must give credit for the term to Fear the Boot. Like most veteran gamers the lack of group cohesion and purpose has long been a frustration and annoyance. Many Games do not mandate a solution to this issue, rather they just assume the group will have their own solution.
There seem to be four solutions for this issue:
1) Gloss over it – Like the RPPR guys say, pronounce in a loud voice “You look trust worthy” and carry on.
2) Don’t be a group – This I’ve seen a lot from RPers. They decide that RPGing is all about playing their character and that is what they do, damn the consequences.
3) Pre-existing relationships – Some old school games like Traveller, several new wave games, and some highly conceptual character concepts take this approach. Such as my once conceived pair of half-elf French Canadian voyagers for a 2ed D&D campaign.
4) Group Template – This approach gives the PCs a current function as a group. Instead of just being adventurers they all innately belong together. They are fire-team or a crew of a starship. On top of this they all start with positions within the group a fire team needs such as a scout, heavy weapons guy, and so on.
In a game like Free Spacer the group template is a natural fit; it is a Space Opera. I could have left it at that; you operate a ship together, that’s the game (make it work), but I strive to pack more into my mechanics. (That is how I roll) What do the crewmembers (as I now call them) inherently have in common? My answer is the Ship, the mission, fame, and fortune. In general I strive to streamline the games rules merging as many possible dangling rules into core, easy to understand, rule sets. Free Spacer Crewmembers share a ship, methods, reputation, currency/XP, and Gear. This doesn’t mean that the crew is all the same; rather, all Crewmembers have the equal access to equipment and training. Each Crewmember is qualified to be aboard and has a role shipboard. Players can play any of the five ship stations, such as the pilot or power engineer. On top this every crewmember has an away team station representing their duties off ship.
In the Free Spacer galaxy you would not be part of a ship crew if you had zero ship skills. The Crew template in Free Spacer is an innate part of the setting, bringing the Crewmembers together, protecting player niches, and aiding the development of fun and fulfilling concepts.