Monday, October 17, 2011

a quick FTL thought

If I need to get some object or objects from here to Peoria, I have several options available: foot, bicycle, automobile, train, a plane, a helicopter or maybe a horse or even maybe a team of oxen. If the object is just a brief written message I could use a carrier pigeon as well. Obviously, some of these methods are more practical than others and even the practical ones have different advantages and disadvantages. Sending a hundred tons of grain to Peoria via locomotive is probably a lot smarter than putting it on a plane, for example. But if the grain actually needs to end up in one of the small towns just outside of Peoria, the tracks might not go that way, so trucking it might be the next best way to go. Or a combo of trucking and trains. But then if I want to send a package to Paris (not Paris, Illinois, which has a decent pizza place as I recall but lacks many other emenities of the one in France) a whole bunch of those options fall away, but in exchange we can use a sailboat, a self-powered ships or a submarine. Most sci-fi RPGs I've seen posit a single kind of FTL drive that functions as the setting's equivalent of the engines on an ocean-going ship (or in the case of stargate-type systems, FTL-as-train). It might be more interesting to develop several different drives in your sci-fi campaign, each with different advantages and disadvantages. Maybe most ships use the standard Muon Induction Field type drive, but along the hyperspace faultlines N-brane Slipdrives are more efficient for short hops. Meanwhile the Doragian Warpgates allow near-instaneous travel, but they primarily serve the economic interests of the Doragian Prosperity Coalition and non-Doragians have to pay huge fees to use them. Still if Boba Fett is holding a "WANTED: Disintegrated or Alive" poster with your face on it, maybe it's time to pay through the nose.