Treklike Dicepool game

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David Johansen

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I knocked out a bit of a rough take on a simple dice pool Treklike game. I had the notion that the precursors were basically Dune's Imperium and that's why there's human variants all over the place.

Xylos Imperium
Ten thousand years gone by the Xylos Imperium had ruled known space and beyond for ten thousand years. With the death of their god emperor the Imperium finally collapsed leaving their remnants scattered on a thousand worlds. As a result there are many humanoid races reaching a new interstellar epoch but the remnants of the empire still linger beyond the bounds of Confederation exploration.

Humans
As a seedling world, the people of Terra were largely uninfluenced by the Xylos empire. Humans were transplanted there but allowed to grow and develop on their own though some archeologists argue ancient Assyrian culture. Humans founded the Fleet and Interstellar Union and are aggressively expanding their sphere of influence through exploration and diplomacy.

Warlords
The warlords homeworld was a source of Xylos shock troopers and their culture still has influences of the ancient empire. The Warlord’s empire is divided into feudal houses each of which has its own worlds, industries, and fleets. There is some infighting between the houses, making it necessary to have a common enemy to unite the empire. The Warlords have conquered a number of other races which are permitted to exist on their own worlds so long as they pay tribute and do not develop space travel or weapons. The Warlords receive Physique 6 and 5 points.

Xaernof
The take a scientific approach to the study of psychic phenomena. This makes their society seem strangely mystical and primitive to outsiders. Xaernof is a hot world and they have no hair on their heads, faces, or bodies. The Xaernof receive 4 points, Intellect 6 and the Sensitive trait.

Zaernoff
The Zaernoff empire is smaller than the Interstellar Union but their worlds are more strictly controlled and uniform in their culture and technology. The Zaernoff are isolationists, no longer interested in expansion but extremely hostile to outsiders. The Zaernoff are secretive but it is believe the Xaernof are an off shoot or lost colony. The Zaernoff receive the Inscrutable trait.

Characters
Characters are differentiated by their Physique, Intellect, and Coordination scores. Humans receive a base of 5 in each score and 5 points to spend. Physique is the amount of damage the character can take before being incapacitated with twice that killing them.

Skills
All Fleet officers are required to maintain a level of competence in all operations and a high level of skill in their specialty. Those without such training face a difficulty of 3 in any task using these skills. Skills have one to five pips which indicates the character’s rank and are added to their task rolls.

Ensign *
Lieutenant **
Commander ***
Captain ****
Admiral *****

Command
Order
Successes can be transferred to the person receiving the order.
Negotiate
Successes resist attempts to initiate violence.

Engineering
Enhance
Successes can be transferred to the system being enhanced
Repair
Restores 1d damage per success, 10 damage will restore a damaged system.

Helm
Dodge
Avoids damage from a Pulsar attack or ramming shuttle.
Maneuver
Avoids collisions with asteroids and debris.

Medical
Diagnose
Successes can transfer to Treatment.
Treat
Heals 1d6 damage per success.

Navigation
Fire Weapons
Successes add to damage.
Chart Course
Successes reduce random events.
Science
Analyze
Transfers successes to Solutions being Implemented.
Implement Solution
Once a solution is implemented any technobabble can be used to describe it but the solution works and will consistently work again in the future.

Security
Hand to Hand
Damage is determined by the additional successes invested in results. A one handed weapon adds one damage and a two handed weapon adds two damage.

Marksmanship
Damage is determined by the weapon. Long range attacks are difficulty 1.

Personal Equipment
Most personal equipment can be produced by the ship’s fabricator in only minutes. Fabricators have rank coded restrictions on the creation of weapons and explosives. A ship will have an armoury with pre-fabricated weapons for the security crew and gear already in stock.

Armour
Armour is largely irrelevant against modern weapons but is still worn by the Warlords. It absorbs 2 points of damage before being destroyed.

Portable Scanners
Scanners give an additional die to Diagnose or Analyze rolls.

Hand Energy Projector
An HEP has 100 power points and can do up to 10 damage per shot. Set to overload it does 100 points of damage in a blast or 1 point of ship damage.

Tactical Energy Projector
A TEP has 200 power points and can do up to 20 damage per shot. Set to overload it does 200 points of damage in a blast or 2 points of ship damage.

Tasks
When a character attempts to do something significant they roll one die for each point of their Physique, Coordination, or Intellect and skill as appropriate to the task. If at least one more six than the difficulty level is rolled, the action succeeds. Each additional six indicates a level of success. These can be added to the result of the task, shifted to another character’s station, or banked for future use. Each character keeps a pool of banked success markers which can be played after any subsequent task roll.

Traits
Some abilities can’t be modeled with the skills and characteristics. These are called traits.

Inscrutable
The species is hard to understand either due to their alien nature or naturally secretive behavior. Inscrutable creatures are difficulty 2 to be Commanded, Negotiated with, or Psychically read.

Sensitive
The species is able to read empathic emanations are read emotions. Sensitive races generally are somewhat reserved due to the demands of their society.

Ships
Ships with more drive pods are of a necessity larger, requiring more crew to maintain the drives. Thus ships are mainly defined by the number of drive pods they mount. For each Drive pod a ship has 100 crew and 10 features like weapon mounts and shuttle bays. The Ship also has 100 hull damage points per pod.

Drive Pods
Antimatter reactors provide nearly infinite energy over long periods of time but are inherently unstable and explosive. For this reason, most Confederation ships mount their drive pods on booms to allow quick release and some distance.

Early Drive Pods 8 EU
Modern Drive Pods 10 EU
Advanced Drive Pods 12 EU

Sublight Agility
Early ships can reach light speed in three turns, modern ships two, and advanced ships in one. Beyond that, smaller ships are more agile with single drive pod ships getting a +2 to maneuvers, twin pod ships getting +1, and three pot ships getting 0.

Shields
Energized plasma bubbles are used to protect ships from particle impacts and enemy weapons fire. Shields prevent transport beams from passing through them. Modern shields and Transport beams can be set to frequencies that allow transport beaming.

Shield generators require Energy Units and provide protection equal to the energy units dedicated to them. Damage is cumulative against a facing each round. Early shields require a projector for each facing while modern shields produce a bubble that allows individual facings to be reinforced. Early shields are often mounted in a turret, allowing them to protect three facings. Advanced shields refresh as they are damaged.

Stealth Field
A ship with a stealth field can’t be accurately targeted, giving attacks against it a difficulty of 2. Stealth fields are real energy hogs requiring 10 energy points per pod.

Projectors
Focused streams of pure energy are the main ship mounted weapon system. Older ships mount multiple units to cover arcs while modern ships tend to mount projectors on tracks allowing a heavier unit to cover a broader angle of attack. A projector’s damage is equal to its energy input capacity.

4 x Light 2
2 x Medium 4
1 x Heavy 8

Disintegrators
Powerful weapons using subatomic particle streams are less effective against shields and more effective against armour.

4 x Light 1/3
2 x Medium 2/6
1 x Heavy 3/9

Pulsars
Energy torpedoes require 10 energy to arm and can be dodged but are devastating, doing 25 damage when they hit.

Warp Drives
A warp drive produces one pseudo-velocity unit per point of energy per drive pod. Thus a three pod ship requires three power to produce one PVU.

Shuttle Craft
Smaller ships are often used to haul cargo and personal. A shuttle has +3 to Maneuver 10 damage points and can carry 6 passengers or 1 tonne of cargo. Primitive shuttles can only reach half the speed of light. Modern shuttles are limited to light speed. Advanced shuttles can reach 1 PVU.

Frigate
1 Modern Energy Pod
10 Energy Points
100 Damage Points
1 Modern Shield Projector
6 Light Energy Projectors
2 Pulsar Launchers
2 Shuttle Bays

Cruiser
2 Modern Energy Pods
20 Energy Points
200 Damage Points
1 Modern Shield Projector
6 Medium Energy Projectors
4 Pulsar Launchers
6 Shuttle Bays
 
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David Johansen

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A thought on how to handle god-like aliens.

Ascended
The Ascended are an off shoot of the Xylos Imperium coming from one of the esoteric societies which came to dominate Imperial affairs. The Ascended chose to stand aside and let the empire die, witholding their advanced technology and resources. The Ascended are incredibly long lived, perhaps even immortal. With their holosolid projectors, advanced stealth field, and fabrication beamers they can change their appearance, overcome ship’s defenses, and make objects appear and disappear with a wave of their hands. When seen in their natural form the Ascended look like dessicated humanoid forms, famine thin with little or no hair, normally they wear the guise of handsome and beautiful people of the race they are dealing with. their vessels are like clear crystal but they are usually cloaked by an advanced stealth shield. When the Ascended deign to interfere with other races they often seem frivolous and high strung but their true ends are never clear or simple. The Ascended have Physique 4, Coordination 4, and Intellect 11, and the Sensitive and Inscrutable traits.

This setup reduces things like the Squire of Gothos or Q to a single race which can appear supernatural but still fit within the rules framework. The technologies use have their roots in The Doctor from Voyager and Holodecks, but combined into a single transporter/replicator/holo emitter.

Also

The Conglomerate
The joyless grey worlds of the conglomerate spread out beyond the Warlord’s borders. The conglomerate is a totalitarian industrial enterprise driven by efficiency and expansion. Their roots lie in the Xylos Imperium’s trade and transport monopoly which managed to survive the collapse, if a regimented and banal existence can be considered surviving. The Conglomerate exists only to grow, its grey skinned masses leave dead and dying worlds in their wake, over population and starvation are the norm and environmental pollution is embraced as beautiful progress. The people of the Conglomerate have 4 points to spend, Physique 5, Agilty 5, Intellect 5 and the Implacable trait.

Implacable
The species has incredible resolve and no sense of self preservation. They never have to test their nerve to face pain or danger.

I think the Xylos would be somewhat like the Architects from Prometheus. They are like us but they are not us.
 
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David Johansen

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Timeline
-20000 Rise of the Xylos Empire
-18000 Xylos Empire Stagnant and Crumbline
-17000 Rise of the God Emperor Stabilizes
-10000 Fall of the Xylos Empire
-7000 Zaernoff Achieve FTL
-6500 Zaernoff Encounter Warlords
-5000 Warlords Unified by The Prophet
-4000 Zaernoff/ Warlords Border Accords
-3500 Zaernoff Schism Leads to Stagnation
2100 Terrans Achieve FTL
2120 Terrans Encounter Xaernof
2125 Terrans Encounter Warlords
2134 Terrans and Xaernof found the Union and the Fleet
2139 Warlords encounter The Conglomerate
2140 The Union rapidly expands as Warlords Fight Conglomerate
2230 The modern period, Union expansion checked by Zaernoff and Warlords
2290 The Union begins to stagnate and turn inwards

Sequence of Play
Nottrek treats the usual roleplaying format where the game master describes a situation and the players then react to it as the structural sequence of play. The onus is generally on the players to resolve events but the system categorically functions on the basis that their successful tasks solve problems. The description of the solution is largely irrelevant as there are no star drive specialist or quantum transport beam engineers. Working solutions must of a necessity shape themselves to the ideas of the players.

Relationships
Relationships provide a difficulty modifier to interactions well beyond just getting along. Trying to solve a problem with the help of someone who’s basic position is that you are wrong is just more difficult. Relationships can improve or decline based on the interactions individuals and groups have.

-3 Enemy
-2 Foe
-1 Rival
0 Stranger
+1 Ally
+2 Friend
+3 Family

One question I have is whether the dice pools get too large. An Ensign with average characteristics is rolling 6 dice but an Admiral with a10 is rolling 15 dice. Now there's lots to do with those extra sixes but the scores could be reduced and 4+ be made a success. I kinda like the 1-10 scale but it would be easy enough to change it.
 
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Xylos Devourer Class Leviathan

The ship is ancient, its baroque surface, pocked with meteorite craters. Light peeks out from scratched and dusty windows and sensors detect a powerful reactor throbbing in the core. Statues and bas relief on the hull depict human suffering in all its endless variety and the front of the ship is like a maw waiting to devour anything in its path.

Communication hails will raise a darkened chamber and a woman in white who’s hood covers half her face.

“This is the devourer, your petition for communion is granted. Your embassy will be permitted an audience, I am the priestess which hears the petitions of the heathens, your vessel will be utterly destroyed if there is any sign of hostilities”

The translator will identify the language as ancient Xylosian. Docking instructions and coordinates are transmitted directly to the ship’s communications buffer.

The embassy will, of course be required to enter the Leviathan through the maw. Within, docking pylons jut out like rows of teeth. The maw is large enough for a cruiser to enter but the instructions clearly specify a shuttle craft.

At the docking port, a group of hooded and white robed priestesses greet the landing party flanked by a platoon of black armoured warriors. The air is breathable but smells of vinegar and rose petals. The priestess which hears the petitions of heathens welcomes the landing party. If the ship’s captain is not in the group, she will be offended and take a -1 to diplomacy attempts thereafter.

“Welcome to the throat of the devourer, your petitions will be heard by the high priestess and her will concerning you conveyed through the mouth of this unworthy vessel. Be at ease for you are offered peaceful accord and your uncouth and primitive ways are forgiven you.”

The Devourer’s systems are failing and the priestesses know it but lack the materials and skills to repair it. Nor can they ask for help without revealing the situation and causing a crisis of faith and revolution which their records show happened once before when the passengers rose up and killed the crew putting the priestesses in charge.

The Devourer’s star drive failed thirteen thousand years ago and it has proceeded under sublight engines ever since. In the next year it will finally arrive at its destination. Over that time many things have been lost and a rigidly stratified society has evolved. The breeding queens are huge females capable of multiple ongoing pregnancies. They are revered but so sheltered from harsh reality as to have no social power. The majority of the inhabitants of the Devourer are drones who are trained to carry out their tasks by rote and tradition. Their jaundiced and pockmarked skin is covered by worn tan coveralls that were white thousands of years ago. The priestesses command the ship and make decisions. The current high priestess is 500 years old and fading. The aides surrounding her are desperately trying to conceal her frailty.

The priestesses are divided on how to proceed. The Devourer and her inhabitants are in desperate need of help. The largest faction wants to capture the UI ship and take whatever resources and technical ability it has. The priestess who hears the petitions of heathens supports this faction. The next faction believes their faith is being tried before they finally arrive at the land of promise and the outsiders should be destroyed to placate the angry spirits of the ship’s systems. The last and smallest faction desperately wants help and knows they have no other hope but cannot afford to show any weakness. The high priestess supports this faction but not all of her aides do and there is a general consensus that her death will precipitate a violent

The sump is the lowest deck where the refuse from the life support system is strained and recycled. Many of the systems have failed and much of the labour is done manually by the lowest class of drones.

All of the ship’s population are referred to by their function, having no other names. Their breeding record is kept as an official designation should one be needed.

The armoured warriors have Physique 7, Coordination 5, Intellect 4, and Aggressive their Hand to Hand and Marksmanship skills are at *. They wield lasers mounted in elaborate polearms. The lasers do 5 damage and have 20 energy units, the pole arms do 2 damage. In the hold are 10000 warriors in cold sleep already in armour, their weapons at their sides. The awake warriors on the Devourer are not the originals, having been replaced by drones over time. The sleeping warriors have Physique 8, Coordination 6, Intellect 4 and Implacable. They are primarily veterans with ** in Hand to Hand and Marksmanship.

The Devourer’s destination is Paoola’ktk a world inhabited by stone age hunter gatherers. Both groups are to be protected from outside influences according to the Interstellar Union’s charter. Even a cursory inspection of the Devourer’s reactor and life support system will show that it will fail utterly within a couple years. The ship is too large to repair with the UI ship’s available resources.

Xylos technology is mainly primitive but their industrial capacity was staggering. Specific factions and guilds controlled modern and advanced technologies but jealously guarded these secrets. The death of these specialists, in the insurrection that brought the priestesses into power, is what ultimately doomed the Devourer.

1000 primitive drive units (200 active)
100000 damage points
10000 power points (2000 active)
advanced star drive (disabled)
primitive slower than light drive
primitive shields (disabled)
100000 crew
100000 passengers
landing bay
10 1 drive pod landing craft
40 heavy x 10 disintegrators
 
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David Johansen

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Here is the current state of the rules. I'm thinking about adding a Stress mechanic but I feel that would require a fourth characteristic.

The Stress mechanic
Stress is mental damage that is applied to Resolve, it is used to win arguments and create diplomatic solutions. The base damage for Stress is one plus any successes shifted to results. When an individual has taken Stress equal to their Resolve they are faltering and face a difficulty of two. When they have taken Stress more than twice their Resolve they are beaten down and give in. Inflicting stress can improve or worsen a relationship.


The Rules
Voyages of Discovery is intended to be played fast and loose with the Game Master adjudicating events as the players respond to them. One key feature of the system is the assumption that successful tasks solve problems. That is to say that when a player says they’re going to do something, the GM assigns a difficulty and the player rolls their dice. If they succeed the action has its intended effect and gets the job done and a suitable explanation is cooked up after the mechanical resolution.

These rules are intended to simulate the events seen in science fiction television shows rather than anything realistic or quantifable. They require a certain amount of buy-in and cooperation in play.

Sequence of Play
Nottrek treats the usual roleplaying format where the game master describes a situation and the players then react to it as the structural sequence of play. The onus is generally on the players to resolve events but the system categorically functions on the basis that their successful tasks solve problems. The description of the solution is largely irrelevant as there are no star drive specialist or quantum transport beam engineers to be consulted in the modern world. Working solutions must of a necessity shape themselves to the ideas of the players.

Tasks
When a character attempts to do something significant they roll one die for each point of their Physique, Coordination, or Intellect and skill as appropriate to the task. Each die that rolls a four, five, or six counts as a success. Difficulty levels are subtracted from the number of successes rolled. Additional successes can be added to the result of the task, shifted to another character’s station, or banked for future use. Each character keeps a pool of banked success markers which can be played after any subsequent task roll to improve the results.

Damage
Weapons inflict a given amount of damage. Characters have a Physique score that indicates the amount of damage they can take before being incapacitated, too wounded to fight or take other actions. If they take twice that they die. Ships and shuttles have ship damage points which are 100 times as much as a character damage point. Shields generate additional damage points that refresh each round but can be beaten down with sustained fire. Ships loose 1 energy point, 10 crew, and 1 feature for every point of damage they absorb.

Relationships
Relationships provide a difficulty modifier to interactions well beyond just getting along. Trying to solve a problem with the help of someone who’s basic position is that you are wrong is just more difficult. Relationships can improve or decline based on the interactions individuals and groups have.

-3 Enemy
-2 Foe
-1 Rival
0 Stranger
+1 Ally
+2 Friend
+3 Family

Characters
Characters are differentiated by their Physique, Intellect, and Coordination scores. Humans receive a base of 3 in each score and 3 points to spend. Physique is the amount of damage the character can take before being incapacitated with twice that killing them. Coordination is their ability to move around and fight and Intellect their ability to figure things out and solve problems.

Skills
All Fleet officers are required to maintain a level of competence in all operations and a high level of skill in their specialty. Those without such training face a difficulty of 3 in any task using these skills. Skills have one to five pips which indicates the character’s rank and are added to their task rolls. . Command level characters receive two pips in one department and four in another. Usually the captain of the ship will have four pips in Command and one in another department, while the department heads will have one pip in Command and four in their department.


Ensign *
Lieutenant **
Commander ***
Captain ****
Admiral *****

Command
Flash Color: Yellow
Officers receive command training preparing them to make decisions and give orders in the face of danger. A good officer can get more out of their people by fostering team work and encouraging individuals to push past their limits.

Order
Successes can be transferred to the person receiving the order.
Negotiate
Successes resist attempts to initiate violence.

Engineering
The technology of the future is robust and well tested but also frightfully complex and it takes a great deal of training to make sense of the user interface.
Enhance
Successes can be transferred to the system being enhanced
Repair
Restores 1d damage per success, 10 damage will restore a damaged system.

Helm
Starships are powerful and fast but often have complex stresses and limitations which require a sure hand to direct.

Dodge
Avoids damage from a Pulsar attack or ramming shuttle.
Maneuver
Avoids collisions with asteroids and debris.

Medical
Technology can heal just about any wound and cure any known disease but with so many races and so many strange new worlds, it’s all a poor doctor can do, just to keep up with the changes.
Diagnose
Successes can transfer to Treatment.
Treat
Heals 1d6 damage per success.

Navigation
Space is vast and even small navigational errors can be fatal.
Fire Weapons
Successes add to damage.
Chart Course
Successes reduce random events.
Science
Space is full of strange phenomena to study and understand, many of them are deadly. Ships scientists handle the sensor arrays and interpret data.
Analyze
Transfers successes to Solutions being Implemented.
Implement Solution
Once a solution is implemented any technobabble can be used to describe it but the solution works and will consistently work again in the future.

Security
Some, more mundane threats, can be handled with banal solutions. Security has the highest casualty rates of any service branch.
Hand to Hand
Damage is determined by the additional successes invested in results. A one handed weapon adds one damage and a two handed weapon adds two damage.
Marksmanship
Damage is determined by the weapon. Long range attacks are difficulty 1.

Traits
Some abilities can’t be modeled with the skills and characteristics. These are called traits.

Aggressive
The species is hard wired for predatory and dominant behavior. Diplomacy faces a difficulty of 2 when attempting anything other than outright submission. The claws and teeth are sharp and good for 1 point of damage in melee.


Inscrutable
The species is hard to understand either due to their alien nature or naturally secretive behavior. Inscrutable creatures are difficulty 2 to be Commanded, Negotiated with, or Psychically read.

Implacable
The species has incredible resolve and no sense of self preservation. They never have to test their nerve to face pain or danger.

Sensitive
The species is able to read empathic emanations are read emotions. Sensitive races generally are somewhat reserved due to the demands of their society.
 
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David Johansen

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I have to admit the Zaernoff Spy ship came out a little silly looking, that's okay with me. I might make the red line look more like stylized blood coming off of the teeth. Rather than being painted like a bird of prey it's painted like a shark.

Zaership.jpg Zaernoff.jpg Hrrazz.jpg sumpzomb.jpg waraider.jpg
 

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Rael
The people of the world know as Rael are governed by monastic theocrats. Rael was absorbed by the Conglomerate but proved too rebellious to be profitable and too remote to be worth exterminating. The Interstellar Union has dealt with Raelian refugees for decades and is now struggling to prop up their floundering economy and ecosystem.

Zelsiun Hizva
Occasional encounters with Zelsiun swarms has lead the Interstellar Union to be doubly cautious about artificial intelligence. The Zelsiun are a society of robotic drones resembling insects in their organizational and operational methodology. Individual drones have limited intelligence but a swarm is a distributed supercomputer network. The increasing frequency of encounters has lead to the hypothesis that there are Zelsiun Hives or Nodes but no ship investigating that theory has ever returned.

Some Tech Stuff

The decks of the ship contain a lattice of neutronium which creates on board gravity and the structural unity that allows high powered maneuvers with only minimal internal disturbances. This also gives the ship’s relative “up” and “down” directions. Computers are not permitted to achieve a level of processing capacity that results in self awareness. Most advanced races have experienced the dangerous conflicts resulting from such experiments.

Fabricators
A ship is equipped with a variety of systems that turn the ship’s Slush stores into food, weapons, clothing and other needs. Slush is a slurry of material containing a wide range of elements that are selected by a transit beam and reorganized into the selected item. This greatly simplifies the ship’s stores and makes the purser’s job easier but at times certain materials will begin to run out. Most of the ship’s waste is recycled back into Slush.

Transit Beams
One interesting result of Energy Projector technology is the ability to reassemble matter, making it possible to disintegrate a person, beam their energy to another location and reassemble it there. Transit beams can penetrate up o a kilometer of solid without causing physical damage but cannot penetrate force shields. Of course, the consequences of failed transit are generally terminal and explosive. The Energy Projector weapon mounts on ships lack the fine control to beam materials but could theoretically be tuned to do so.
 
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