Unfortunately, I was not able to write a post here because the studio's floor tends to leak water, it was raining heavily and I had to spend the night helping my dad mop it up. The downsides of living in a region wih the sea on one side and mountains of the other, I guess...
So, back to vehicle-talk!
Yesterday I managed to finalize the test draft of the Golganne Rift's vehicle system: energy management, handling, shooting and, of course, MODDING.
It has stayed substantially the same since the first post about vehicles, where it was my major worry.
You can find the original post here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/vehicles-17482251
The only difference is that, instead of automatically shutting down a system when the vehicle's power source does not output enough energy to keep everything active, now the players get to decide.
Less stuff to roll for on the GM's end, more tactical options to the players.
Steering a grav bike or a space ship in the Rift in a dangerous situation is a check of its parent Skill on behalf of the pilot or driver: I myself and many other people I know tend to want to play a pilot or explorer in this kind of settings, so I wanted to give at least the rules backbone to build that gameplay and narrative upon.
If no risk is involved, no check: rolling for pointless crap does not make sense to me.
However, RPG's are a team effort: if the pilot is in their seat doing space shenanigans, what are the others doing?!
That's where science fiction, space opera, space western and all those good bits come in!
When there is a space battle in an RPG, it is most likely that the player characters are in the same ship, which must be large and complex enough to accomodate all of them.
That means the ship's controls are split, most likely, so each character can contribute to the ship's survival and make the pilot's job easier: cover the ship with on board weaponry, scanning the area with the sensors, checking on the enemy to glean their tactics, coordinating with the rest of the fleet, if any, and so on.
All of this buzzing of activity, then, if it does not have mechanical benefits on its own, contributes to making the pilot's check easier, as it is supposed that the characters are working in unison for the best performance possible.
By itself, I wanted it to be as lean as possible: vehicles in the Rift do not have a specific speed value, because it a setting made to be played theater of the mind.
It is assumed that, unless otherwise stated in the individual vehicle's profile, all vehicles handled with the same Skill have sort of equal speed: larger vehicles are generally slower and smaller vehicles tend to be faster.
I took this decision because at the end of the day RPG's are still an abstraction and in order to shoot a weapon from vehicle A to vehicle B one strictly needs to know only the relative speed between the two to impose modifiers on the shooter's check.
Pimping the ride!
It would not be the Rift if it didn't have mods: vehicles work the exact same way as any other item when it comes to sticking stroboscopic neon lights, all the guns, the extra fuel cell to give your ride more "SWOOSH" factor, stamped steel cupholders and boxes with so much ammo to last you a continet-wide prospecting trip.
The way this part of the system works is that, kind of like in our world, Merchant Guilds in Golgannen Station sell vehicle models, with a few having risen to fame and fortune, and then aside that sell also a series of addons intended to be mounted on those vehicles.
Of course, characters might want to add stuff that the Codex does not approve, in that case it is still possible, but of course it incurs in the full range of consequences that illegal or haphazard modifications expose their owners to.