Sunday, August 25, 2013

Ringworld With Nova Praxis

What if Larry Niven had written Ringworld using the SF idioms of the last couple of decades? AIs, full body replacement, personality back-ups, nanotechnology, drones? We're considering exploring this a bit by running a game of Ringworld on Sunday night at Con of the North 2014.

I discovered Niven as a kid, completely by accident. One Saturday morning, I saw the Animated Star Trek episode "The Slaver Weapon", and discovered Kzinti, the Slavers, Stasis boxes. The next Sunday afternoon, I went to the Greece Ridge Public Library and discovered Niven's story "The Soft Weapon" in his collection of Known Space stories.

Very fortunately, I have a copy of Chaosium's classic Ringworld RPG, which is really the only reference material that I need for what I want to do. However, there is this neat animated visual reference for the Ringworld, as well as a website featuring the Ringworld RPG and Known Space.

The trick with this scenario will be to make it feel interesting and new. I don't want to read all the Ringworld sequels, or stick to the whole built-out history of Known Space.

It has to be Ringworld Reloaded.

But we will have Kzinti!  Kzinti Reloaded, with both males and females intelligent. This is a species that is already at a huge intellectual disadvantage, so let's not waste half their brains!

The Puppeteers are also must - they're just too fun to leave out. There are also interesting implications to having so conservative a species around in a setting that involves nanotechnology and transhumanism.

As far as the humans go, I am actually thinking of using most of the background of Nova Praxis, and mechanics of Nova Praxis/FATE Core.  That means a version of Known Space in which humans have developed many of the trappings of transhumanism, and have begun exploring and colonizing other systems using FTL. Borrowing from and mutating the history of Known Space, the humans have recently had a brief, first war with the Kzinti, and have also met and begun trading with the Puppeteers.

Players could be humans, transhumans, AIs with drones, Kzinti, or Puppeteers. The set-up would be similar to the novel Ringworld, in that the Puppeteers have recently learned of the existence of a Ringworld, and want it checked out. With the catastrophe that befell Earth, humans in particular might find something like the Ringworld a very attractive place to settle. And the Kzinti are always looking for new places to conquer. The Puppeteers, as always, have motives of their own...


  1. An update is a really good idea.

  2. Thanks, Trey! Now I just need to figure out what there is to do when you get there! This was always our big problem with Traveller back in the day. If you have a whole universe to run around in where do you go? What do you do?

    The Culture has its own answers for these questions: Drugs, Games, Affairs, Hobbies, and interfering with polities outside the Culture.

  3. The thing here is that playing as a Special Circumstances agent means you get dictated your missions, and that does not sit well with all groups.

    1. I think here I'd go with the traditional set-up, which is that the Puppeteers hire a group to investigate, rather than force anyone to go. The