Saturday, July 1, 2023

ZSF Noodle Doodle Drop II

Following up on this post, more thoughts about ZSF: Zoa Space Fantasy!

ZSF is a work-in-progress space fantasy adventure game set in a wild galaxy where the Companies and the Law run the show. PCs are on the outside of mainstream society, and probably outlaws.

Since my last post, I refined the rules a bit.

• Instead of rolling for your Basic Skill ranks, you start with 1 in each and can add 6 more to them. The only rule is you can't dump all 6 into one Skill. So you could end up with a mix, as long as it all adds up to 12 total.

• Successes, called Hits, are on a 5 or 6 on d6.

• The difficulty of any task is called the Difficulty Level, or DL for short. The GM sets the DL for tasks. NPCs and creatures will have DLs so you know what you need to score to hit or otherwise oppose them.

• The DLs are very limited in range. Due to the nature of the dice mechanic, getting even 2 Hits is not easy. So a range of 1-4 is plenty wide.

• All action dice rolls are made by the players, just like in GOZR.

I've spent some time thinking about money and economy in the setting. Not much has changed on that front. PCs begin with $100 and some basic equipment. As I said before, if you really want to start with a badass weapon you can use one of your Traits to describe it. Because almost everything really cool is well beyond your $100 budget.

Right now I'm considering different ways to approach equipment. What I'm thinking is, similar to GOZR, there will be some short, simple lists with prices for relatively generic goods. But then also a fat section on very specific goods and services, name brand stuff like the PH22 blaster or Breathe-O-Matic cozmask (space mask, a kind of auto-fitting helmet). Since Companies are tied into the setting, it'll be fun and rewarding to lean into that and have a lot of branded merchandise that PCs can get their hands on. Why settle for a generic laser rifle when you can have the industry standard RIG 17?


Of course much of this material was first introduced in my 2019 Troika! book, Supercalla, and the 2020 follow-up Cozmic Metal Heads. I'm super proud of those books. ZSF is essentially taking that same core setting idea and exploding into a full-blown RPG with an original system. Almost everything you saw in those books will land somewhere in ZSF in one form or another.


Ok, a little behind the scenes into how my brain works when I'm noodling ideas. I spent a ridiculous amount of time deciding on the core stats (the Basic Skills). My idea was that they MUST form a cool acronym. At least something that you could pronounce. I can't even remember what all I came up with. One idea involved these monosyllabic words like Oomph, Bam, Yak, etc. Which was cool, but I veered away and landed on EDFOST:

Explore, Drive, Fight, Operate, Shoot, Talk.

Having the acronym, which is now etched into my brain, helps me always remember the list. "E is Explore... what was F? Oh Fight!"

More later.

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