Indiana Jones in Space

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This new page will be about this space idea I have. I just want to get some concrete system and setting ideas out in the open before I forget them.

Characters and System

For ease of transition and because the majority of us have already experienced the nuts and bolts of the setting in HERO, keeping it similar is the way to go.

One of the problems I felt we experienced in the last space game was the characters got out of hand pretty quickly. I was as guilty as anyone. Who remembers Dmitri Kopalev or Ravyn Spitfyre?

I think with the focus on research and the need to crew a ship fully with a small number of PCs some of those problems will be alleviated. Characters will need to have a good deal of breadth to retain usefulness.

The Game

This should probably be called pulp space opera instead. The Forerunners aspect does not need to be present, I just thought it was interesting at the time.


Crewing a starship requires that certain roles are filled. This includes the specialists required to make this venture profitable. What follows are some ideas on what skills and or specialties would need to be present to make this workable. Each of these encompasses at least one professional skill.

Captain: This guy understands all of the crew responsibilities, and could fill in if necessary. He also has command and tactical skills.

Archaeologist/Miner: These are the specialties that could make or break the economics of the group. The archaeologist is constantly following academic leads to find where the crew should check next. Having a miner along could be a cool complement in that you could always do some mining now and again to make ends meet.

Helmsman: Someone has to fly this bucket of bolts.

Navigator: Where are we going and how do we get there?

Engineer: Stuff breaks, thats just a fact of life.

Gunner: Who is going to man the guns during space combat? This isnt a full fledged role, but more of an addendum to another character.

Marines: For those really bad situations when the ship gets boarded.

Negotiator: This is another overlay template, but once you have found your items, selling them might not be as easy as it first seems.

--Tad, 8:00pm, 16 September 2006: Another role that might be handy would be a Medical specialist of some sort. Whether they'd be a full-time doctor or just a basic emergency paramedic would probably depend on how large of a ship and crew there is, and what sort of medical facilities are available.

Post character ideas here: IJIS Character Ideas

The Ship

Breakdown: I imagine a small ship with a complement of about 10. All 10 should be PCs in some way or another. Players can either have one 150 pt character or 2 125 pt characters. To make a 150 pt character you must be useful both shipboard and planetside. Characters should not be terribly specialized.

New Idea: Maybe a couple of characters should be NPCs just for intrigue purposes.

The players will be given 100 MCR to purchase a ship. Any more funds may be paid for with 1 character point=5 MCR. Ships do not have to be in perfect condition or new, and disadvantages on the ship will reduce its cost from that listed in the book. The book price will be considered a brand new ship. This means it is fully stocked with at least one years worth of replacement parts and has no limitations of any kind. At this level, any breakdown or damage can be fixed in the field if necessary. Up to 15% of a ships value may be deducted in exchange for a reduction in replacement parts.

Each ship will also be divided into 4 sections: Engines, Weapons, Defense, and Systems. Each of these systems is worth 11% of the ships value. Limitations may be placed on these systems to reduce the cost. Computers may also be upgraded or downgraded with the appropriate change in cost (and they may be given limitations as well). Points in the group ship pool may also be used to purchase certain types of equipment, as appropriate. This isnt for personal weapons, but things like vehicles and heavy equipment necessary to do the archaeological and/or mining work that is necessary to sustain the group.

Everything Else

Write something here if you have ideas.

After talking with Dieter again another nifty tidbit has surfaced. Forerunner sites should be rare, so raiding these sites wont necessarily be the focus of the game. A lot of the game might be spent researching where these sites may be, or going on standard archaeological type digs and selling historical artifacts etc, but we shouldnt be finding Forerunner sites every week, or even every arc. This means the characters should have alternate means of making income, from selling historical artifacts (as previously mentioned), mining, or smuggling illicit goods. Who knows, but we need to ensure that we keep the good l00tz rare.

Flow Chart

I watch a lot of the History channel, and one show that is on a lot is Digging for the Truth. I watch virtually everything that deals with ancient civilizations and such. This got me thinking a lot about this game idea.

I like to let the characters decide their own direction, but I feel like in this case a few things could be enunciated, but lots of choices could be attached to each, and then when the characters come together there would inherently be a sense of belonging for all, and this in itself would lead to greater group cohesion and unity. So, to that end, I came up with a faux flow chart to use for the group itself to determine what they want the game to be like.

Means of Support

The first thing that needs to be decided is how does the group as a whole support themselves? There are many smaller issues which are contained herein as well. Some possibilities:

Mining: The ship is a meteor miner that the crew takes from asteroid belt to star system extracting the precious metals as they find them.

Trading: The group operates as legitimate traders, buying low and selling high with expenses such as fuel and repairs defraying the profits somewhat.

Scholarly Pursuits: The crew explores legitimate archaeological sites and writes about them. It is also possible that one (or more) of more of the crew is involved in illicit archeology, stealing artifacts to sell to collectors for their cultural (not technological) value.

Something outrageous: Maybe the crew are slavers and you travel from primitive civilizations, where slaves are captured, to those that purchase sentient cargoes. Another option is as a cruise line. The possibilities are virtually endless.

Piracy: Good old fashioned hijacking. Smuggling is also included here, though it could be combined with any of the others as well.


Is the group unified in their goal? Maybe each of them are after something different. Maybe smuggling goes on, but without one or more of the groups knowledge. Maybe one of the players is a scholar of forerunners but would never dream of stealing their tech, and the others are using him for their own gain.


Who owns the ship? Are multiple characters holding stakes? Is the ship owned by a patron? What happens if one of them decides to leave? Is there a binding agreement between the players in place?


How much do the characters know or care about the laws where they travel?


Where is the game located? I plan on ftp'ing all of the Space Opera documents so that everyone can read them. I have all of the Star Sector Atlases and the main books in pdf. This universe will be the setting, but in which SS, that has yet to be determined.

One thing about Space Opera is that when the game was developed it was meant to be a universal system and setting; in other words it was made to simulate everything if necessary. The universe has it all written in it. It should never be assumed that everything listed is available everywhere (that would be ludicrous). Once I have some idea where the game will be set, more info on what kinds of tech are common will be forthcoming.

Download this: [1] (its about 40 megs, so be patient)

Psionics and Magic

It has been said that uber tech looks just like magic to those who dont understand it. This has a lot of truth to it, and for that reason magic and sci-fi generally do not belong together. However, if someone wants to discuss something like this, I am open to the possibility.

Psionics are a little different. The Force is an example of psionics in a science fantasy setting. The other common possibility is training and conditioning leading to ability to master the universe psionically. Somehow this just seems to fit.

Character Generation Guidelines

Each player will have a 120 point primary character. The group will also create 3-4 90 point backup characters. If the group requires more crew members, the GM will create them. In general, skilled NPCs will be 75 points, while standard NPCs will be 25-50 points.


Each character will begin the game with $10,000 in equipment purchased from the Space Opera volume 2. Some items (list forthcoming) are designated as rare, which cost double. Items designated very rare, cost quadruple. Items designated as military technology cost 50% more. Items from higher tech levels are doubled for each level above. Items from lower tech levels may have a reduced cost. All multipliers are cumulative.

Characters may buy equipment with character points two ways. Each character point in the Money perk grants $5000 in equipment which is immune to multipliers (GM discretion). This is just normal equipment, however. Equipment may also be purchased directly with character points. If this option is chosen, the equipment is part of the character, and therefore will be replaced if lost.


Characters are assumed to come from a TL 8 culture. A new Tech Level Perk is available (5 pts) which means the character is from a higher tech level culture. Each level adds 1 to their base TL. Conversely, the TL Disadvantage is 5 pts per TL lower your character originates from.

Racial Modifiers

Players are free to choose any race they wish. Any special abilities of their race must be purchased with points.


Of the 120 points, 60 will be base points and 60 must come from Disadvantages. Of these 60 Disad points, the GM will assign 20 (possibly in secret).

The Ship

As noted above, the group will be granted 100 MCR to purchase a ship. Limitations may be placed on systems to reduce the cost of the ship, as described above. Extra shipboard equipment may also be purchased (such as landing craft or ground vehicles) provided the money is available and all of the equipment fits on the ship. Standard ship designs may be modified as per the rules in Space Opera vol 2. Players may also spend points to add to their initial allotment of cash for ship purchase.


Who owns the ship? That is up to you as the players. However, if players spend points on increasing ship expenditure, those who contributed should be considered the ships owners.

Roll Call

Here are the characters which will be available for the upcoming trial game this Saturday. They are the crew of the Denoba class merchant vessel, Pensive Loathing. As soon as someone decides they want a character, post on the discussion page and email me. If there are any secrets I will email back. Once someone has claimed a character they are free to expand on the personality and history of the character, as well as purchase equipment.

Wilhelm 'Rock Candy' Spencer
Reverend Louis Spector
Renfro New and improved! And chosen by Amir.
Kenner Brock
Yoshii RzyklycChosen by Rumi
Synthia Frey Chosen by Dieter.

Alright folks, thats it. A Denoba should have a crew of 6, but being the swell dude I am there is one extra to choose from. Pick the one you want and let me (and the others) know. One of you should be the captain! It is lame as hell for the GM to be in control of the NPC with all the power!

Here We Go Again

Renfro 6th

IJIS Recap and Thoughts

Discussion, Questions

If necessary.