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TL;DR... in space! Star Saga 1: Beyond The Boundary [CYOA/board game/RPG]

Discussion in 'Choose Your Own Adventure Land' started by Crooked Bee, Mar 17, 2012.

  1. Crooked Bee (no longer) a wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    A sci-fi CYOA/RPG hybrid written by (among others) Andrew Greenberg, the man behind Wizardry. The game that Greenberg said he feels most proud of. Yes, even more proud than of Wizardry.
    Is it better than Mass Effect?
    :troll:

    Let's find out.

    CURRENT CHARACTER AND MISSION STATUS

    GALAXY MAP: Click here for the map

    Name: Professor Lee Dambroke
    Ship: The Black Abyss
    Score: 970/5000
    Turn: 106
    Location: 163-B (Gen)
    Cargo: 2 Fuel, 1 Medicine, 1 Food, 1 Tools, 1 Primordial Soup (6/10)
    Alien Abilities: Phrmm, Superhuman Speed
    Inventory:
    Code:
    Personal (9/6)
      - Attack (4/4)
          1. Contact: Stunner (1/2)
          2. Projectile: Exploder, Blaster (2/1)
          3. Special: Hypnotic Gas Sprayer (1/1)
      - Defense (5/2)
          1. Armor: Skin Armor, Laser Reflector (2/1)
          2. Mobility: Inertia Control Belt, Superhuman Speed (2/1)
          3. Special: Phrrm (1/0)
    Ship (5/9)
      - Attack (3/3)
          1. Contact: Ram (1/1)
          2. Projectile: Photon Torpedoes, Nuclear Rockets (2/2)
          3. Special: Entanglement Mines (1/0)
      - Defense (2/6)
          1. Armor: Pulse Inverter, Stress Bulkheads (2/3)
          2. Mobility: Warp Winder, Auxiliary Rockets (2/3)
          3. Special: Stealth System (1/0)
    
    SPECIAL ACTIONS:
    • DMQN8J Build a Ship Shield Generator (1 Phase Steel, 1 Warp Core, 1 Munitions, 1 Fluids, 1 Radioactives, and 1 Fiber).
    • H6AP6B Build a Super Space Suit (1 Primordial Soup, 1 Super Slip, 1 Food, 1 Medicine, 1 Fiber, 1 Fluids).

    PLANETS VISITED:

    Planet: 294-B (Baphi)
    Actions:
    • HHAA66 (4 phases) Salvage 1 unit of Fluids from a toxic waste dump.

    Planet: 153-V (Bugeye)
    Actions:
    • OGFEIM (3 phases) Visit the Fuel market (1 Fuel for 1 Food; 2 Fuel for 1 Tools; 3 Fuel for 1 Culture or 1 Munitions).

    Planet: 288-V (Cathedral)
    Actions:
    • PGBEYM (3 phases) Visit the Fiber market (2 Fiber for 1 Iron; 3 Fiber for 1 Fuel or 1 Tools).

    Planet: 67-R (Crater)
    Actions:
    • GOEFMI (3 phases) Visit the Tools market (1 Tools for 1 Fuel, 1 Iron, or 1 Medicine; 2 Tools for 1 Culture or 1 Food).
    • WOGFEI (7 phases) Buy items: 3-unit cargo drone (2 Food and 1 Crystals).
    • G8EHMA (3 phases) Buy items: Stunner (1 Culture and 1 Munitions), Hypnotic gas sprayer (1 Food and 1 Crystals), or Molecular disrupter (1 Iron, 1 Medicine, 1 Radioactives, and 1 Fuel).
    • W8GHEA (4 phases) Buy items: Entanglement mines (1 Food and 1 Fiber), Warp winder (1 Culture and 1 Fluids), Pulse inverter (1 Munitions and 1 Fuel), or Boarding Robots (1 Radioactives, 1 Medicine, and 1 Iron).

    Planet: 226-O (Firthe)
    Actions:
    • OPFBIY (3 phases) Visit the Medicine market (1 Medicine for 1 Computers; 2 Medicine for 1 Crystals; 3 Medicine for 1 Fiber).
    • O9FDIQ (3 phases) Buy items: particle catalyst (2 Computers, 2 Fiber, 1 Crystals, and 1 Tools).
    • KPVBKY (5 phases) Travel to Thiros, the Firthians' largest and most advanced underwater city. (Because of the extremely high pressure of the sea in that part of the ocean floor, you cannot go there without a Super Space Suit. Consequently, you need a Super Space Suit to select this option.)

    Planet: 163-B (Gen)
    Actions:
    • EHMAN6 (3 phases) Visit the Culture market (2 Culture for 1 Computers or 1 Fiber; 3 Culture for 1 Fluids).

    Planet: 283-O (Jaquar)
    Actions:
    • EOMFNI (14 phases, or 7 phases with Telepathy or a Universal Translator) Hire a local instructor and have him teach you High Darscian. This option will cost you one cargo unit of your choice.

    Planet: 63-O (Medsun)
    Actions:
    • EPMBNY (3 phases) Visit the Culture market (1 Culture for 1 Fluids; 2 Culture for 1 Fiber; 3 Culture for 1 Radioactives)

    Planet: 118-R (Moiran)
    Actions:
    • FPIB7Y (3 phases) Visit the Crystals market (1 Crystals for 1 Fiber or 1 Tools, 2 Crystals for 1 Food, 3 Crystals for 1 Computer)
    • VPKBVY (5 phases) Buy items: Phase Steel (2 Computers, 2 Food, 1 Fiber, and 1 Tools).
    • F9ID7Q (5 phases) Buy items: Photon torpedos (1 Munitions), Magnetic deflectors (1 Food and 1 Iron), Auxiliary rockets (1 Medicine and 1 Fiber), or Turbo navigation (1 Computers, 1 Munitions, 1 Radioactives, and 1 Tools).
    • V9KDVQ (4 phases) Buy items: Blaster (1 Fluids and 1 Tools), Neuron Whip (1 Computers and 1 Munitions), Missile toes (1 Fiber and 1 Radioactives), or Disintegration gun (1 Computers, 1 Culture, 1 Food, and 1 Medicine).
    • BPYB9Y (3 phases) Visit Dee's Pleasure Palace.

    Planet: 107-G (Para-Para)
    Actions:
    • GEEMMN (3 phases) Visit the Fuel market (1 Fuel for 1 Computers; 2 Fuel for 1 Munitions; 3 Fuel for 1 Crystals)

    Planet: 218-Y (Supa)
    Actions:
    • HFAI67 (3 phases) Visit the Food market (2 Food for 1 Crystals or 1 Fluids; 3 Food for 1 Fuel).
    • XVCKUV (4 phases) Buy items: Ram (1 Crystals and 1 Munitions), Nuclear Rockets (1 Tools and 1 Fluids), Stress Bulkheads (1 Fuel and 1 Medicine), Stealth System (1 Fuel and 1 Culture), or Dimensional Eliminator (1 Computers, 1 Crystals, 1 Fluids and 1 Iron).

    Planet: 110-B (Wellmet)
    Actions:
    • OFFII7 (2 phases) Visit the Wellmet Munitions marketplace (1 Munitions for 1 Culture, 1 Iron, or 1 Medicine; 3 Munitions for 1 Fuel or 1 Radioactives)
    • 8FHIA7 (4 phases) Buy items: Piercer (1 Computers and 1 Medicine), Exploder (1 Munitions), Laser reflector: (1 Fuel), or Force field (1 Culture, 1 Crystals, 1 Fiber, and 1 Iron).
    • 4FXIC7 (3 phases) Visit the Family market (3 of any basic commodity for 1 Primordial Soup, Super Slip, Warp Core, Particle Catalyst, Phase Steel, Gradient Filter, or Synthetic Genius).
    • OVFKIV (3 phases) Visit the Wellmet Public Archives to learn about Wellmet history
    • 8VHKAV (1 phase) Revisit the Slippery Silver Tavern

    Important Notes:
    When you feel prepared to show your discoveries to your colleagues and are able to return to the Nine Worlds, plot the following option:
    • 68PHBA (7 phases) Return to Harvard and demonstrate three alien abilities.
     

    Attached Files:

    • Brofist Brofist x 1
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  2. Crooked Bee (no longer) a wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    001_Star-Saga-One.jpg

    Star Saga: One - Beyond The Boundary (1988) is a CYOA meets board game meets RPG. Written by Andrew C. Greenberg, the man behind Wizardry, as well as Richard Dutton, Walter Freitag, and Michael Massimilla, Star Saga is a sci-fi space opera focused on exploration and problem solving. Presumably, if you like science fiction, exploration games or just a good novel, this is a game you will enjoy.

    Each world you visit has a set theme, they are thoroughly original and you can tell much love went into the writing and plot.

    Update rate?
    I'll do my best to update this LP once a day. Provided there is enough interest. As soon and as long as there will be at least 3-4 votes, I will update.

    Introducing Star Saga
    (taken from here mostly)

    Star Saga: One’s box proudly proclaims, “There’s not another game like it on earth.” Published for the Apple II in 1988 and for other platforms later, the game combines a board game, a mammoth choose-your-own-adventure book and a computer referee to serve up a truly unique science-fiction role-playing-gaming experience. Made for 1-6 players, it can be perfectly well played solo, which is what we'll be doing.

    Although it was sold as a CRPG, it's more like a glorified Choose Your Own Adventure book or maybe a boardgame for up to six players. Each turn (a week in-game) you decide your actions and input them into a computer program via fancy codes, the computer calculates the consequences, handles combat and such, updates the characters inventory and reports the results to the player. Being 1988, the computer does this by pointing to a paragraph number in a separate booklet, which the player has to read, a la Wasteland.

    Take a look at the box contents unpacked:

    002_Star-Saga-One.jpg

    Players use the colored tokens to track their travels across the boardgame-like map:

    003_Star-Saga-One.jpg

    Moves on this map are plotted via the Star Saga computer program (called the Computer Game Master), which also keeps track of the players’ stats, inventory, and handles combat and trade. After you’ve entered in your movement for the turn, the program evaluates your actions, tells you if you reached your destination, and likely gives you a paragraph number or two to look up in the Text Booklets. In contrast to paragraph-based CRPGs such as Wasteland or Dragon Wars, however, Star Saga has you reading paragraphs as a core game mechanic – it’s the way the entire game world and story is revealed. Some paragraphs end with several possible actions you can take – each choice with a code next to it — that’s the choose-your-own-adventure-book similarity. Instead of “If you approach the spam asteroid, turn to page 167″, it’s “(GXYBVT) (2 phases) Approach the spam asteroid.” You enter in the code for your choice during your next turn, and the program responds with info or another paragraph number.

    There are thirteen of these text booklets (labeled Book A – M), each around 60-70 pages long:

    004_Star-Saga-One.jpg

    Thankfully, in 2000 a guy going by the name of JJ Sonick made a “Star Saga Game Kit” for the original Home of the Underdogs site. Made using the 2000 version of Clickteam’s The Game Factory program, it has a scan of the map you scroll around, allows you to drag and drop the player pieces, write notes, and save the current state of the map (so theoretically, you could trade the save file back and forth with someone via email for long-distance multiplayer). That makes Star Saga fully playable on the PC without having to resort to all that "physical" boardgame stuff.

    Next up: character selection.
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 1
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  3. Crooked Bee (no longer) a wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    I will be explaining the particular mechanics as we go along, but for now, let's choose the character we're going to play.

    Character Selection

    Welcome to STAR SAGA: ONE Beyond the Boundary. You are about to embark on a fun and exciting space adventure. In the game, you become one of six characters living more than hundred years in the future. In pursuit or goals unique to your role, you leave home and fly to the unknown reaches Beyond the Boundary.

    As you travel throughout the galaxy, you explore exotic and bizarre planets. You trade with other players and in-game entities for vital information and valuable commodities. You battle familiar enemies and strange alien monsters. You fly farther and farther from the worlds you know... Are you ready for what you may find?

    STAR SAGA: ONE is along lasting game, but you may stop whenever you like and start up again where you left off. You may choose not to play the game in a single sitting: To do so would take approximately sixty hours.​

    Setting-wise, the game takes place in 2815 A.D.:

    The World in 2815 A.D.

    The year is 2815 A.D. Most of the human race lives in the Nine Worlds, a community including Earth and eight colonized planets. They are located on the outskirts of the galaxy, in a region called the Galactic Fringe.

    The invention of the dual-axis hyperdrive in 2257 made it possible to travel between stars. Great pioneers forged deep into this frontier. A new era, called the "Great Expansion", had begun. Colonists settled the virgin worlds that were discovered. And the exploration continued. Vanessa Chang, perhaps the greatest explorer of them all, singlehandedly discovered more than forty planets.

    The Great Expansion came to an abrupt halt in 2490. The Space Plague, the worst epidemic ever to seize humanity, killed more than half the population and brought civilization to its knees. It was caused by an organism of alien origin, brought to earth by some unknown explorer.

    The Plague forever changed mankind's attitude towards space. Shocked and afraid, the governments of Earth and several nearby colonies joined in order to protect themselves. They resolved to prevent anything like the Space Plague from ever happening again. They established the Boundary, a border around their worlds, and commissioned the Space Patrol to enforce the law. Anyone may leave the area enclosed by the Boundary if they so desire, but they may not return.

    The Nine Worlds are the human planets inside the Boundary: Atlantis, a lush green world protected by strict environmental laws; Earth, the birthplace of Humanity; Endaur, seat of the Nine Worlds government and military operations; Frontier, a rugged planet, sparsely populated, but popular among tourists; Harvard, a University-planet, the Nine Worlds' major center of learning; Heaven, the most densely populated planet in the Nine Worlds; Leucothea, headquarters of humanity's major religion, the Final Church of Man; Monument, a memorial to those who died during the Space Plague; and Norstar, a grimy, industrial world, headquarters of numerous large companies.

    For three hundred years, the Boundary has proven effective in keeping ships from entering the Nine Worlds. The Space Patrol claims a perfect anti-intrusion rating. Thus, humanity has been kept safe from the unknown, but has also become a bit stagnant—no new discoveries, no new challenges, and countless opportunities lost.

    There are those who sense that something is amiss...​

    Namely, there are six characters to choose from. Take a look at the list and let me know who will be representing the Codex hivemind.

    Choose Your Character:

    Laran Darkwatch -- A mystic Disciple of the ancient Final Church of Man, and one of their leading theologians, Laran has violated Church dogma. Darkwatch has now crossed the Boundary in the ship Jihad, seeking a holy relic which will reveal the Final Truth.

    Jean G. Clerc -- Normally a down-to-Earth, conservative type, Jean is in relentless pursuit of a dream: building the ultimate spaceship. In an effort to find the technology needed to build this dream ship, Clerc has recently crossed the Boundary in the Run Amok.

    Valentine Stewart -- Born and raised on Wellmet, a Human world outside the Boundary, Valentine is the favored child of one of Wellmet's wealthiest smuggling Families. Grown up now, Valentine has "borrowed" the Holly Roger with the intention of seeing a few galactic sites before getting chained to a desk running the family "business".

    Corin Stoneseeker -- Sent to the stars on a quest which has spanned twenty generations, Corin, in the spaceship Quest's End, is in search of a fabulous lost Stone, said to be critically valuable and endowed with special powers.

    M. J. Turner -- A hotshot pilot who has been working for the Space Patrol as a Boundary enforcer, Turner recently had a difference of opinion with the Admiral of the Patrol. Now Turner has been reassigned outside the Boundary in the ship Barratry, and faces a new adversary.

    Professor Lee Dambroke -- A well-known xenobiologist from Harvard, Prof. Dambroke feels that too much is being lost by not continuing to explore and learn about alien civilizations. The Professor will investigate alien intelligence outside the Boundary, in a ship called The Black Abyss.​

    State your preference. Naturally, the particulars of the story will significantly depend on the character you choose. If our character meets an untimely end -- yes, that's perfectly possible! -- we'll either give up or select another one and try again, depending on your interest.
     
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  4. lightbane Arcane

    lightbane
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    Cool, a new Bee's lp!! Wait a minute, I swear I saw exactly this game being lped back on Something Awful...
    Whatever, I vote for Professor Lee for some SCIENCE moments.
     
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  5. Crooked Bee (no longer) a wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    Currently, there's only Star Saga Two, the sequel, being LPed at SA. We, however, are starting from the first game. :P There was a SS1 LP there about a year ago, I believe, but it isn't accessible anymore to anyone but those who have bought that ridiculous archives upgrade.

    This is quite an exciting game, really, if you don't mind all the reading. Whether this LP works out or not, is going to depend on whether there are more than just a couple of followers first and foremost.
     
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  6. MMXI Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    MMXI
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    Yes, it is. I've tried this before but didn't really get anywhere. I've always wanted to play it multi-player somehow but have never found a way to do so. I'll definitely follow this LP though, and as I only ever follow elite LPs, consider this a stamp of approval.

    Go with Professor Lee Dambroke. He's the most monocled of the lot.
     
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  7. Онега Trying too hard to get banned Queued

    Онега
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    Notice the potential tranny names.
     
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  8. Crooked Bee (no longer) a wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    Indeed. To quote the character booklets:

    Feel free to embellish your character, adding personality and detail. For example, it is up to you to decide whether your character is male or female.​

    LARPing! (No thanks.)
     
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  9. Erebus Arcane

    Erebus
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    I can't remember hearing or reading about this game, but it seems interesting.

    I'm tempted to pick Laran, but what is the Final Church of Man about, exactly ?

    Also, how determinant is the choice of our PC with regards to the events we'll face ?
     
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  10. octavius Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    octavius
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    The CRPG Addict played, or rather tried to play this game. IIRC some of the commenters on his blog actually got together for a game.
    http://crpgaddict.blogspot.com/2011/01/game-43-star-saga-one-beyond-boundary.html
     
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  11. MMXI Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    MMXI
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    I've already read that post. I've read all his blog posts, but I don't often read the comments.
     
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  12. Crooked Bee (no longer) a wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    You aren't really supposed to know the details until you choose a character (you're supposed to go by the short descriptions given) and many details only reveal themselves over the course of the story, but here's a snippet:

    You are Disciple Laran Darkwatch, a Revered High Councilor of the Final Church of Man. You are the youngest disciple ever to reach this office, one that commands respect even at the Church's headquarters on the planet Leucothea. Your gifts of persuasion and insight have made you, over the years, one of the most widely-read and successful scholars the Church has had in its 300-year history.

    You have devoted your life to studying and interpreting the Holy Text Files, the six books in which the Founders of the Church wrote down the Final Truth. You have always accepted the Final Truth without question. However, at the same time, you have always regarded the Final Truth as incomplete.

    The problem that bothers you is simple: the preface to the First Text File is, in the original copy written by the Founders themselves, entitled "Preface to the Seven Text Files of the Final Church of Man." Yet there are, in fact, only six text files in the set. To your mind, this is not at all Final.

    Some claim the discrepancy is a simple misprint. Others believe that it is symbolic of the gap between the Final Truth and the Perfect Truth. Only a very few claim that the Seventh File really does exist and has been lost or hidden.​

    There is no detailed description of the Church's tenets themselves -- although I assume they will be of significance as we follow the plot -- but apparently it is humanity's last and currently most influential religious cult, founded but 300 years ago.

    The overarching storyline's main events/discoveries remain the same, as far as I know, but many things change -- and most importantly, your personal quest changes, which is unique to each character.

    EDIT. I'll leave the voting open for another day, just in case. Also, I'm lazy.
     
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  13. Erebus Arcane

    Erebus
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    Thanks ! One vote for Laran, then. Someone who chooses to call his/her ship "Jihad" has to be cool.
     
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  14. Crooked Bee (no longer) a wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    So far we have 1 vote for Laran Darkwatch (for theology!) and 2 votes in favour of Professor Lee Dambroke (for science!). The voting is still open, so feel free to chime in. For now, let's get the rules out of the way.

    The Map

    [​IMG]

    This is our map of the known galaxy. As you should remember from the setting description in the OP, the Nine Worlds are the human planets surrounded by the Boundary guarded against any intruders. In the wake of the Space Plague, space exploration was limited, so that anyone may leave the area enclosed by the Boundary if they so desire, but they may not return. Which means we can only explore the galaxy by breaking the law!

    The black dots are planets. While we know their location and names, we don't know anything else about them.

    The map is divided into triangles called trisectors. Each trisector has a unique number, as well as a colour. For example, the Nine Worlds trisector is abbreviated to G-114 for "green", whereas the Moiran sector is R-188 for "red" and the Bugeye sector is V-153 for "violet". The colours don't have any effect on gameplay; they just pretty things up and allow you to plot a path in a more convenient way, so that, e.g., the way from Bugeye to Moiran is abbreviated to YOVYBR.

    We can't just travel from a given sector to any of the adjacent ones, however. All movement on the map is only from one trisector to another trisector that shares a face with it. We can't move through intersections, and we can't move through the thick black lines, which are called Space Walls.

    Space Wall.jpg

    Time and Actions

    Star Saga time is divided into weeks, which represent 1 turn of the game. Each week is divided into seven days (mainly referred to as phases for no particular reason). Each action you can take uses up one or more phases, and if you can't fit the action you are plotting into one week you will end up "borrowing" phases from the next one. This matters mostly on multiplayer games, so one player doesn't run ahead in turns from the others.

    Some common actions, and their cost in phases, are:

    - Moving from one trisector to another (one phase)
    - Landing on a planet for the first time (seven phases)
    - Revisiting a planet (one phase)
    - Taking off from a planet (one phase)

    There are also non-standard actions that you can take on a planet (for example, investigating its history or trading some cargo), and the game will tell us what they are and how long do they take. Finally, some actions can be taken anywhere, and the game gives us an alphanumeric code that we can input anytime. These are much less common, and generally deal with building stuff.

    To elaborate: you'll often be told that you can perform particular actions at a particular place, like trading goods. You're given both a six-symbol alphanumeric code and the number of phases the action will take. Fortunately, most actions you can legally take are simply offered in a menu (which makes you wonder why the futzing about with codes), but occasionally you are given an 'unlisted' action, which you must enter from memory.

    I'll be making a note of the action codes we acquire in the second post of this thread, along with information on our character, our ship, and planets we visit.

    Items

    We can collect three basic categories of stuff as we journey the galaxy: Cargo, Items, and Abilities. Our ship has a ten-unit cargo bay, and comes with three units of cargo (exactly what those are varies from character to character). Planets tend to have a particular cargo they're willing to 'sell', and if we have cargo they're willing to 'buy', they'll do a deal. It's strictly a barter system, though; we may be able to trade, for instance, one Food for two Crystals, or two Medicine for some Culture.

    There are twelve basic kinds of cargo used for this trading game, as well as other, more unusual types of cargo, which may have other uses.

    Items are are either personal effects or equipment attached to our ship; abilities are skills you learn. The only real difference is that you can trade away items to other players, but not abilities. Both can have combat or non-combat uses.

    Combat

    The combat system is Star Saga One is fairly simple, whether it's hand-to-hand or ship-to-ship. You're directed to read a paragraph describing the start of the fight; the CGM then calculates the results of the fight and directs you to a new paragraph describing the aftermath. Under the hood, though, it works something like this.

    You have three categories of attack (contact, projectile, and special) and three categories of defense (armor, mobility, and special). Each item or ability you possess that's useful in combat belongs to one of those categories and has a hidden set of numbers determining how useful it will be in different situations. When you get into a fight, the game automatically picks the single item or ability in each category that is the most useful in this fight. If the sum of your attack categories is 100 or better, you succeed in your attack; if the sum of your defense categories is 100 or better, you succeed in your defense. Thus, every fight has four potential outcomes.

    This will be the outcome of succeeding on the offence but failing defence:

    Defense Fail.jpg

    An example: If you get involved in a gunfight on a plain, a sniper rifle (projectile) may have a value of 100, making sure that you pass the offensive test. In a close combat situation, a shotgun may have a value of 80, while the rifle only has a value of 30, being cumbersome to wield. In this second option, the shotgun would be automatically used.

    Since the game automatically picks the best possible items or abilities to use in a fight, it's up to you to stock up with as many different items and abilities as you can!

    So much for the basic rules.
     
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  15. MMXI Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    MMXI
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  16. Azira Arcane Patron

    Azira
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    Heck, one more vote for Andhaira Laran. :salute:
     
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  17. Crooked Bee (no longer) a wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire MCA Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Your vote came out of nowhere, Azira-kun, so I'm overriding it since I've already prepared a character update. :P We're going for Professor Lee Dambroke.

    If we screw up, however, and our dear Professor experiences an untimely death -- as he surely will -- then we'll go for Laran (provided there's still interest left).

    Heh, probably.
     
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  18. Azira Arcane Patron

    Azira
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    The professor's cool too. :bro:

    I just hope this LP does not go the way of Voyage of the Whale II... :troll:
     
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  19. Crooked Bee (no longer) a wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire MCA Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Warning: wall of text incoming! The character introduction is one of the longest text sections in the game, so there will probably be no readers left after this. :P

    You are now Professor Lee Dambroke

    Dambroke.png

    You are Lee Dambroke, Dean of Xenobiology—the study of aliens—at Harvard University on the planet Harvard. That may seem impressive, but it's not as good as it sounds. You have a lot of status, since the planet Harvard is the cultural and educational center of the Nine Worlds. And since you are a Dean at Harvard, you are supposed to be a very important person. The problem is that in this day and age you don't do much to earn that status.

    Ever since the Boundary was established three centuries ago, xenobiology has been a dead field. No one who leaves the Nine Worlds can ever return for fear of bringing back another alien organism like the virus that caused the dreaded Space Plague. Unfortunately, this creates extreme difficulties for someone who wants to do research on aliens.

    In your years at Harvard, you have spent too many days cataloguing obscure sub-species of insects on Frontier. You have spent too much time studying the written accounts of alien discoveries made during the era of the Great Expansion. You have examined the preserved specimens left in the museums far too often, wondering what it must have been like for the early explorers.

    Last month, as you performed the graduation ceremonies for this year's students, you realized your career was at a dead end. You were the top xenobiologist in the Nine Worlds, but you had never once met an intelligent alien creature from another planet. What kind of scientist were you? You had contributed nothing of real importance to your field.

    You couldn't continue like that, so you concocted a wild scheme. You wrote a letter to the Planning Committee outlining a plan to travel outside the Boundary to do some real research. In the letter you strongly criticized the current state of affairs in the world of academia. You pointed out how stale your field, not to mention several others, was becoming: because of the Boundary there had been no new breakthroughs in the past three hundred years.

    You then introduced a pet theory of yours. You have always believed that humanity has much to learn from other intelligent life forms—not just alien technology, but strange alien abilities. To the aliens these abilities might seem commonplace, but to humans they would appear to be magic. The potential benefits to humanity could be enormous.

    You submitted the letter to the Committee without much hope of accomplishing anything.

    Yesterday you received a response, but not directly from the Committee. Instead you found yourself reading a short handwritten note which said that a small group of people existed who felt much the same way you did about the lack of opportunity for creative research. Were you really serious about crossing the Boundary to pursue your theory? If so, be at the Life Sciences Cafeteria at two o'clock the following day. The note was unsigned.

    You were so excited as you tried to settle down for sleep that, instead, you tossed and turned for hours. Finally you were able to fall asleep. Then...



    You sleep. You sleep and you dream of the myriad heavens beyond the Boundary. You fly, twisting and twirling, away from the mundane worlds of stagnant, placid humanity and out to the stars. What lies out there? Your dreaming mind seems to have the answer, which it slowly unfolds for you as you swoop and dart and fly out into the void.

    You see planets of gas and planets of metal, Earth-like alien civilizations and others so strange that you wonder at your own power to imagine them. You see little green men dancing beneath the coconut tress on the shores of a big pink lake. You see a planet slowly unfolding itself, stretching and groaning until it becomes a human figure winking and waving as you pass by. You see an alien ship, trapped in a cave on a world where the skies are exploding. On, on, closer to the galactic core you float.

    Then you come face to face with the dragon. An old menace, newly awakened, uncurling his green scaly bulk from the caverns of time and once again stretching out his talons to seize the galaxy. You evade him once, twice, and nearly get by, near enough to the galactic core to hear a voice repeating over and over the question "Do you have the message? Do you have the message?"

    Suddenly the dragon is again before you, straining at his golden leash to reach you and rend you asunder. He opens his mouth and extends his tongue and begins an eerie howling, a sound almost beyond your hearing that oscillates up and down and up and down. Your own mind swells to the noise, even as your body again evades the dragon's claws, swells until it engulfs the universe and all you can hear is the keening of the dragon and the endlessly repeated "Do you have the message? Do you have the message?"

    In terror you flee back home to the Nine Worlds; past the buried ship on the planet of the exploding skies, past the bizarre planets of the alien races, past a dozen worlds inhabited by the ghosts of humans, until you reach the Boundary and the safety of your own sleeping body.

    You wake up, but you know you will never be the same again. In the back of your mind, very softly, you can still hear the keening of the dragon and the gently whispered question: "Do you have the message?"



    You are not sure what the dream means but maybe it is a good sign for your upcoming meeting. As you dress for work, you find your hands shaking with excitement.

    When two o'clock arrives you are seated alone in the cafeteria with a cup of soup before you. You are about to begin eating when Dean Myers of the Planning Committee sits down beside you. In a quiet voice, she asks if you got her note. You nod your head and wait for her to continue.

    "Your letter was fascinating, Professor Dambroke. Tell me more about your theory of alien abilities."

    You do not need to be asked twice and you launch into an explanation of your hypothesis. Essentially, you believe that alien intelligences, with their necessarily alien thought patterns, might possess powers which to Humans would appear magical. Humans, meanwhile, might have powers, such as the ability to add numbers mentally, that to aliens would be completely incomprehensible. If so, humans might have a great deal to learn from aliens, and vice versa. It would be well worth going outside the Boundary to find out.

    Myers agrees with you. "If you really feel that way," she says, "then I think we can help you."

    "How?"

    "Tonight, at the V.I.P. spaceport, there will be a small spaceship waiting for you. It's equipped with dual-axis hyperdrive, long term life support, a sophisticated computer, subspace radio, and ten cargo bays. Good luck with your research."

    "A ship! But how could you..."

    "I can't tell you how we got the ship, or even with whom I'm working. We're taking a big chance with you. You have to trust us. I'm sure you know what the consequences would be if any of this were to become public."

    "But tonight? I know how to fly a ship, but I've never done anything like this before. Where would I go when I get out there? Besides, I need time to prepare. My work, my books—I need to take them with me. What about my students? I just can't leave them in the middle of the term."

    "Stop worrying. You wanted an opportunity to do your research. Here it is. You'll have to manage the best you can. There's no time for careful preparation. The ship's computer has a map of the area just outside the Nine Worlds, on the other side of the Boundary. There are some small human colonies still out there, you know. You'll have to go to one of them and figure out how to proceed. As far as your students go, don't worry. We'll take care of them."

    "What about my position at the University?"

    "No problem. We'll put you on Extended Leave of Absence. Officially, you'll still be a member of the faculty."

    "How do I report my results? Say my theory is right. The Space Patrol won't let me back inside the Boundary. If I can't publish what I find, it won't do any good."

    "You'll have to figure out a way. Maybe you can get around the Space Patrol somehow. If so, we can arrange to get your results published. You won't be able to use your real name, of course. And you'll need solid proof. One 'magical' alien ability won't be good enough. You'll need at least three. Otherwise the journals will think the whole thing is a hoax."

    "Three! I haven't even found one yet."

    Nonetheless, by nightfall you find yourself at the spaceport with one small suitcase of personal items in hand. You look over the unmarked ship, parked alone in the middle of the landing pad. It represents the biggest challenge you have faced in your entire life. You decide to name it The Black Abyss. You notice three of its ten cargo bays are filled with tradable commodities—one unit each of Food, Medicine, and Fluids. Whoever prepared the ship for you sure knew what they were doing.

    You kneel down and feel the ground. The surface of the landing pad is hard and cold. It will be a long time before you return here, if you ever do. You are giving up your home and friends for a dream.

    You climb into the ship, check the controls, and lift off. The roar of the engines fills the night but no one is listening except you. As you look back on the planet Harvard, you watch your past fading away on the viewscreen. Soon the planet is gone and you are hurtling through interstellar space. Here you and your ship are the only inhabitants, surrounded by incalculable volumes of empty space. Even as you cross the Boundary there is no one, only a robot buoy that records your exit from the Nine Worlds.

    You have left your home behind in your pursuit of a dream, to perform research unrestricted by the narrow thinking of the Nine Worlds. Perhaps you will be instrumental in changing that thinking through demonstration of the wonderful discoveries that you are sure await humanity Out There. While you are not sure what lies ahead of you, you feel you have made the correct choice. Satisfied, you plot a course for one of the inhabited colonies labeled on your map.​

    Okay, we have a ship and our personal quest. Everything's fine.

    Ship: The Black Abyss
    Score: 103/5000
    Location: 114-G (Nine Worlds)
    Cargo: 1 Unit Fluids, 1 Unit Food, 1 Unit Medicine (3/10)
    Goal: Bring back undeniable proof of three alien abilities which will seem like "magic" to your colleagues. Return to your home world, Harvard, when you have accomplished this feat.

    When you feel prepared to show your discoveries to your colleagues and are able to return to the Nine Worlds, plot the following option:
    68PHBA (7 phases) Return to Harvard and demonstrate three alien abilities.​

    What we've just received is a unique action code valid for the rest of the game. Obviously, we will only use it once we've accomplished our ambitious personal mission.

    In our cargo hold, we have three kinds of commodities:

    Fluids: One of the twelve standard commodities that serve as the basis for interplanetary commerce. Fluids consist of industrial chemicals of all kinds, including acids, lubricants, coolants, and others.

    Food: One of the twelve standard commodities that serve as the basis for interplanetary commerce. Food can mean any sort of edible and nutritive compound, ranging from baked stuffed lobster to new mown hay.

    Medicine: One of the twelve standard commodities that serve as the basis for interplanetary commerce. Medicine consists of biologic and inert agents which can beneficially impact the physiology of living creatures. Medicine may include anything from regeneratronic cells to willow tree bark.​

    First action-packed update incoming tomorrow. For now, feel free to discuss Professor's backstory and the commodities we're carrying. (Hehe, as if anyone is reading this.)
     
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  20. CappenVarra phase-based phantasmist Patron

    CappenVarra
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    Dang, missed the time to vote. Would've gone with Valentine Stewart (in case our dear professor suffers an accident).

    Still, an interesting start, keep it up! :salute:
     
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  21. Kz3r0 Arcane

    Kz3r0
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    I missed the vote too, I would have choose Laran Darkwatch , carry on Bee-chan :salute: .
     
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  22. Crooked Bee (no longer) a wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire MCA Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Gosh, you guys are slow.
     
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  23. MMXI Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    MMXI
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    Thanks for the update. The back story was good up until the bit about having to learn of three alien abilities instead of one or two. That screamed artificial and game extending to me. Also, the dream sequence was quite good. Reminded me of those weird dreams in Baldur's Gate (which, incidentally, feature BioWare's best writing).

    It's already better than Mass Effect and all we've done is choose a character. More!
     
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  24. Stygian Lurker Scholar

    Stygian Lurker
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    Looks interesting. I'll follow this...
     
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  25. Yeesh Magister

    Yeesh
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    your future if you're not careful...
    I'll watch this on the off chance there's text boobies.
     
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