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fracas

Firestorm fluff

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1 hour ago, fracas said:

The fluff could accommodate the local games, complement it, or a hindrance.

if we choose to ignore the fluff background in why we fight what value is the fluff.  It primary raison d’etre is to explain why we fight.

Fluff helps with narrative for those players that enjoy it. Many of those players tend to play in familiar groups - so the narrative is shared.

In these groups many people choose rival factions to make this happen.

Fluff not supporting a Terran on Terran fight won't stop those who play in such a group from coming up with their own reasons. 

I'm ok with defining the sides of the conflict, but saying everyone just fights everyone else seems like lazy writing to me.

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7 minutes ago, steve_990 said:

I’m ok with defining the sides of the conflict, but saying everyone just fights everyone else seems like lazy writing to me.

Non-lazy writing is providing a reason for why every faction is in conflict with every other faction, which is exponentially more difficult when you have so many distinct factions, but only two ‘sides’.  If you break up the Kurak Alliance and Zenian League into 4-6 groups of allied factions, this writing is a lot easier.

For example, the reason the Alliance exists is to coordinate efforts against the Dindrenzi invasion of the Storm Zone, which spilled over into Sorylian and Aquan territory.  If the Zenian League fell apart, with the Dindrenzi no longer trusting the Directorate and Relthoza (because both are likely to backstab the Dindrenzi at some point), the Kurak Alliance (which is really just the Aquans and Sorylians uniting against a common foe) could easily revert back to the centuries-long war with the Terran humans getting squished in the middle.

This would lead to the Core Six Factions going their own way, fighting everyone else, while the ‘minor’ factions would form and break alliances with the Core Six, or perhaps create new factions with each other.  I could see the Xelocians, Ryuishi, and Tarakians forming their own alliance, Works Raptor forced to drop their hatred of Omnidyne to better unite the Directorate (and formally absorbing the Corsairs in th process), and the Pathogen and Kedorians teaming up for reasons no one comprehends.

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I'm not sold on it. Alliances and Charters make a lot of sense to me and I don't think groups like the Zenian League or the entire Kurak Alliance are going to be fully cooperative and peaceful partnerships 100% of the time. Like in every other tabletop, you need to write your own reasons why this battle is happening. The alliances as they are exist to make interesting fleets and give a universal 'us vs them, and them, and them' reason to fight. 

I dont don't see a reason to break it up into six separate factions other than needing a hard fluff, company given answer as to why one hobbyist's Sorylian fleet is allowed to do a game against a Terran one. You'll also make any other Zenian or Kurak combined fleets against the rules for tourney play by doing that.

I get the feeling Firestorm was designed wit mixed fleets in mind, and we as the players just picked our favorite faction and made a full fleet of those; fluff supporting game rules, we'll need to decide how important having access to allied fleets are. If its a big deal, two alliances might be best. If its not, there could be strong arguments made for splitting them up a little more. I'd sooner try out 3 main alliances than 6, at least to start. 

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4 hours ago, Charistoph said:

Gosh darn Ur-quan Kedorians.

"LAUCH SRS!"

.......

I also completely agree with Wolfgang. If you write a backstory in canon fluff for why every race is fighting each other it will be a total mess and it completely unnecessary. The general fluff that Spartan started is fine, it was the messing about with it by changing what was before and adding things that didn't make sense that was the issue. Let's not do a total rewrite just so someone has an official reason to do a Dindrenzi on Dindrenzi battle.

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1 hour ago, steve_990 said:

 Let's not do a total rewrite just so someone has an official reason to do a Dindrenzi on Dindrenzi battle.

I agree - but conversely, if we're expanding on the fluff, it would be easy enough to include some stories/famous battles involving Dindrenzi vs Dindrenzi. It's a big galaxy, after all - lots of stories to be told...

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45 minutes ago, Baphod_Zeeblebrox said:

I agree - but conversely, if we're expanding on the fluff, it would be easy enough to include some stories/famous battles involving Dindrenzi vs Dindrenzi. It's a big galaxy, after all - lots of stories to be told...

Totally! Little stories about mix ups, traitors, or battle simulations are all great stories that add to the overall fluff. I just want to avoid the heavy handedness that may come from saying that every fleet has reasons to fight every other fleet in the game. One off stories are a great addition.

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3 hours ago, steve_990 said:

"LAUNCH SRS!"

 

Really?  I always heard "LAUNCH LAUNCH LAUNCH SRS!", but in FSA, it would sound more like "LAUNCH LAUNCH LAUNCH LAUNCH LAUNCH LAUNCH SRS!"  ;)

Dang it, now how to convert them to work in FSA!  I'm having a devilish time with the Kingdom of Manticore as it is.

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2 hours ago, Charistoph said:

Really?  I always heard "LAUNCH LAUNCH LAUNCH SRS!", but in FSA, it would sound more like "LAUNCH LAUNCH LAUNCH LAUNCH LAUNCH LAUNCH SRS!"  ;)

Dang it, now how to convert them to work in FSA!  I'm having a devilish time with the Kingdom of Manticore as it is.

You've made my day. Starcon 2 is one of my all time favorite games. :)

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2 hours ago, steve_990 said:

You've made my day. Starcon 2 is one of my all time favorite games. :)

Mine, too.  Best space adventure game of the 90s, and on my list of games everyone should try.  Unfortunately, they don't convert well to FSA.  Too many principles in FSA that are just scattered over too many ships.  How do you calculate the AD of the Dreadnought's forward Fusion Blaster?

Otherwise, the races would fit in well with the FSA in character, I would think.  Could you imagine the Directorate coming across the Chenjesu, or the Relthoza meeting the Ilwrath?

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I am all for good fluff in a game, but I don't think the fluff needs to explain every potential conflict. Every time I play Zenian vs Zenian, and even Relthoza vs Relthoza, Works Raptor vs Works Raptor, etc. we either come up with a story at the table or just play the game. 

I want a rich background. I will be able to tell you why my Omnydine are fighting your Omnydine 

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14 hours ago, steve_990 said:

I also completely agree with Wolfgang. If you write a backstory in canon fluff for why every race is fighting each other it will be a total mess and it completely unnecessary. The general fluff that Spartan started is fine, it was the messing about with it by changing what was before and adding things that didn't make sense that was the issue. Let's not do a total rewrite just so someone has an official reason to do a Dindrenzi on Dindrenzi battle.

 

13 hours ago, Baphod_Zeeblebrox said:

I agree - but conversely, if we're expanding on the fluff, it would be easy enough to include some stories/famous battles involving Dindrenzi vs Dindrenzi. It's a big galaxy, after all - lots of stories to be told...

These Two Posts (And wolfgang's Peceding post) pretty much sum up exactly how I feel about this. 

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Fluff should support the game world, but neither fluff nor the game benefits being too closely entwined with the other. 

 

It's the same reason why alliance on the tabletop should rarely (if never) be based upon alliances in the game world. It often leads to an utter mess (unless the game was designed for it from the start) as you can easily end up with two "Story allied" factions which actually have such complimentary forces that together they end up very broken. 

Similarly you can end up with one faction having loads of allies and another without a single ally. 

 

I've always held the view that in wargames alliances should be allowed, but should be an optional set of rules and should mostly just be generically structured so that anyone can ally with anyone; but shouldn't be formal for competitive games. It makes balance a lot easier to manage because you don't have to balance each army and then each alliance army (which will generally result in most armies having very few differences) . 

I also think that when allies become a formal thing it can break the faction identities down. You end up with way too many mash-up fleets/forces appearing because they are the most competitive in stats, which means pure armies start to lose popularity - even though pure armies are likely what get most people into playing the game

 

And yes, story wise you shouldn't be trying to justify every possible battle the player is going to have - civil wars; odd alliances; etc... - let the players come up with their own justifications for those if they want too; but keep the games official lore simpler and to a single story line that makes sense. 

 

If anything many fans hate when companies do "mash-ups" of factions that hate each other in their lore to try and justify it tabletop wise. (Gw provides a couple of great examples - Blood Angels allied with Necrons wasn't that popular - and Tyranids wound up with 0 allies when GW made some formal alliance structure and only recently gained genestealers). 

 

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4 hours ago, Overread said:

I've always held the view that in wargames alliances should be allowed, but should be an optional set of rules and should mostly just be generically structured so that anyone can ally with anyone; but shouldn't be formal for competitive games. It makes balance a lot easier to manage because you don't have to balance each army and then each alliance army (which will generally result in most armies having very few differences) . 

I really dislike having official rules for casual games. They are totally unnecessary. Most people, when they choose to do a game for fun will often just come up with their own crazy rulings for their own amusement. Nothing wrong with that.

If you have these things in the main rules, it causes the constant question if those rules are in use in formal play or not. Make the game as solid as you can for formal play and limit too many optional rules - those will only divide player bases. Player A wants the option, Player B refuses to play with the option, etc, etc...

Allies in fluff terms can be based on anything.  Zones of control, racial ties, they like the pants their buddies wear.  Allies in table top game terms should be well thought out and balanced so that there are as few 'the only alliance worth playing' combos as possible. These things MUST be separate concerns.

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22 hours ago, Overread said:

Fluff should support the game world, but neither fluff nor the game benefits being too closely entwined with the other. 

This.  Absolutely 100% this. For me, the fluff should give you this wonderful, rich, over-arching universe to play in. Space is big. Really big (etc etc, thanks Douglas Adams), so there should be more than enough room for every conceivable combination of alliances and enemies, from little border clashes to huge multi-fleet engagements. The stories, lore, and history of the fluff should be encouraging players to make their own scenarios, forge and break alliances and generally enjoy the game . It might give people the incentive to replay famous battles or scenarios, to recreate historical campaigns, or it might inspire them to create their own stories and adventures. It certainly shouldn't get in the way or dictate how things have to be done. Similarly, the game rules shouldn't necessarily dictate how each and every story takes place. Sometimes narrative takes precedence over rules for the sake of interesting reading - and of course, in a story, ships can be outfitted with different weapons, plot armour, etc etc - none of which would necessarily fly in a tabletop situation.

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Listen to the Alex Manns blog Stuart said 

Quote

One of the reasons its gonna take longer to get this to where is it is, is we are in talks and we are working with some sci-fi authors, were not in a position to name names. but were working with a number of potential authors who are going to work with us to really develop a new and exciting setting, of course there will be things, there will be touchstones, it wont be completely unrelatable. But it will be exciting an a new firestorm game going forwards, that's before we've even talked about rules, talk about the setting

... How great would it be to have a firestorm novel, that people buy because they love sci-fi and, "oh there's a game about this, oh cool.", where the background is so good or so interesting its worth reading about on its own...

... were going to work on and develop this new, this fresh setting and this will be the background for both Planetfall and Armada... 

Alex and Oscar are pretty excited about some of the potential names. 

Now if I was a betting mane I might be able to guess a couple. Alistair Reynolds springs to mind. He wrote some of the short stories for the Maelstroms Edge franchise (which I really should read at some point) . I have previously read his Revelation Space series and really enjoyed those, gritty hard sci-fi. He has a PhD in astrophysics and worked at ESA for years. I was quite surprised and excited to see him do novellas for someone else IP in addition to series of his own creating. I would love it if he did something for Firestorm. All of the yes!

Other authors who contributed to Maelstroms Edge, Aliette De Bodard, Jeff Carlson, Tomas L. Martin, Stephen Gaskell, Andrew Everett, and a whole bunch of others. They might all be good potential authors for the firestorm Universe. 

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1 hour ago, fracas said:

Kudos to involving professional writers!

 

allies in the fluff can be adhoc

but even 2.0 did not allow major factions to ally in games.

Oh, I disagree.

Under the last Terran Alliance Fleet Manual under Alliance Fleets:

"In addition to selecting Squadrons of Terran Alliance models, up to one quarter of your Fleet’s Maximum Fleet Value (rounded down) may be chosen from other races and factions within the Kurak Alliance, including vessels from the Aquan Prime and Sorylian Collective..."

True, they weren't as effective or good as Natural Allies were, but the possibility did exist to have a cloaked Directorate or Relthoza Squadron supporting a Dindrenzi fleet.

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8 minutes ago, fracas said:

I stand corrected 

 

all the more more reason not to allow majors to ally with each other

Because it was allowed before, or because they weren't as effective or good as Natural Allies?

If the first, that's just spiteful, if the second, that's because Natural Allies could take up to 50% of the points, while everyone else could only bring 25%.  That's a huge difference from a certain game's ally system which is now called "soup" in some groups.

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9 hours ago, fracas said:

I think it make balancing the fleets harder

True, to a point.  A lot depends on how much is allowed.   How much has a squadron or two made that much difference in the game if it had been of the original faction?

In addition, the lesser fleets need more of a reason to take them, which is how Allies work for them.

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Thing is its not purely just preference. 

Formal allies have to be well planned to work and balance up well; remembering that the majority of players will want to collect and build single faction armies (those are going to be what gets marketed, advertised and generally in mind of most players). Furthermore most players like armies to be unique, to have their own strengths and quirks - those are hard to balance if you allow major armies to formally ally in the rules of the game. It also makes balancing take a lot longer, cost more and require a lot more resources to work. 

 

In general alliances in tabletop games work best when its only done at the casual level and, formally, when sub-factions are used. Sub-factions don't require full fleets and can be custom made to only ally to specific other major factions. They provide some alliance variety, but don't  tend to break the game because the mercenary army won't have a full operating fleet of its own (typically). However merc forces often have internal allinances within themselves to make up and allow fielding a viable mercenary force. 

 

In general game work best when the core game is well balanced and fair to all factions. Players can then easily do alliances themselves in custom matches. GW has also shown that mature games do well with mash-up battles (apocalypse) as has Privateer Press (Unbound). Again these were optional extra rules for larger games designed to work with random alliances and big forces either side 

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