• 📅 February and March 2022 are YE 45.2 in the RP.

Suggestion Make SAOY Occupations More RPG Friendly

Wes

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The ideal size for a group of players in a forum RPG is, by my estimate, like 4-8 players. Most roleplay plot groups are starship crews. But there are currently 48 Star Army occupations and counting. Not every job is found on every ship but there is still a disparity. Recently I have been running into an issue where player characters with exotic, specialized, or uncommon occupations are left without much to do because their role is narrowly defined.

I propose that the Star Army makes some occupations more general and able to do more stuff, merging redundant occupations, and limiting some of the more obscure occupations to NPCs in cases where there is no plot with openings for them.
 

Locked_0ut

Convention Veteran
Also from the video game perspective. Even if we are thinking classes, a lot of games have things like expanded class lists or alternative classes introduced with expansions. So you might have your core classes: fighter, rogue, priest, wizard but then you get expanded classes like spell knights and duelists or whatever as new expansions come out.

And those expanded classes offer expanded ways for interacting with the setting. But you can also still just play vanilla.

Too much limit to classes would end up limiting GMs who want to run more niche plots
 

Locked_0ut

Convention Veteran
Another group that would be impacted disproportionately are a lot of the ones that are prime transferable-skills ones. In an economy like Yamatai's, a lot choice civilian trades might assume on someone had a specific job in the Star Army. Check out my Merchant Spacy for Yugumo, you can see what roles assume a certain SAoY background, and they aren't all mainstream ones that are either bridge crew or away team focused.

So we should look at the solutions that don't involve axing too much stuff, and see if it maybe something on the chopping block should go into an alternative solution box rather than being slashed, before we slash it.

Is it a case of maybe there are jobs you have to have to submit a plan for how they would fit in, or can't be your first character, or you have to have done X first, or a GM or something needs to invite you to play, or "This is usually an NPC so if you want to be one you have to make a really really good case why" or something?

Are there occupations or specializations you get into mid-career? Like Diplomatic Attaché in the US Army. You can't just enlist as one, but they recruit NCOs mid-service for it. Special Forces used to be that way until the US needed too many of them for the ol GWoT and they started taking candidates off the street.

Are there any that should be sub-specializations? Are there any that should be skill identifiers?

So maybe there are classes of them? We tier it up like how was suggested for RP requirement levels.

Very Easy Tier, anyone can pick these in any "typical Yamatai plot":
Anything that is obviously bridge crew or away team focused, like the bridge stations or any of the infantry (Yamatai uses these where Starfleet would use security), command, or field science types

Easy Tier, a little more specialized:
The stuff that is onscreen a lot but not as much as above, like the people in Medbay or Engineering

Hard Tier, Most of these have in common that they are very specialized so they're harder to use outside of a plot focused on them, but they're perfect for plots that center on them in which case they're the bridge crews and away teams of that story and it's all good:
Fire Support combat units like fighter pilots and tankers, special operations, military police, intel operatives, random lower decks type technical staff like technicians outside engineering, supply, and cooks

Very Hard Tier, most of these are really out there and rely on players to make their own fun
Anything not mentioned, but Cyan got into it above

Special Tier, these things tend to be things the SM/FM/GM/Admiral Player wants someone to handle
Basically just Admin clerks and the Co-GM playing the XO
I've need for sub specializations for a long time. Would Def help narrow the need to expand the MOS pool would also allow characters to stand out a bit.
As well as things like specific non MOS training schools.
 

Ethereal

Banned Member
I dunno about qualifications. Then you end up with characters constantly taking months of training. Plus some powergamery people might use training as an excuse to make "one-man armies" or overshadow other players who enjoy RPing a specific role. Experience through RP is one thing but training qualifications is another.
 

Locked_0ut

Convention Veteran
I dunno about qualifications. Then you end up with characters constantly taking months of training. Plus some powergamery people might use training as an excuse to make "one-man armies" or overshadow other players who enjoy RPing a specific role. Experience through RP is one thing but training qualifications is another.
Some of that can be addressed by limiting how many courses a character can take per year. That said if a player wants to train a bunch they should be able to. Just add like a requirement for them to write a fic or something
 

ajax228

Banned Member
I dunno about qualifications. Then you end up with characters constantly taking months of training. Plus some powergamery people might use training as an excuse to make "one-man armies" or overshadow other players who enjoy RPing a specific role. Experience through RP is one thing but training qualifications is another.
Del does this anyway lol
 

Whisper

Retired Staff
I like the idea of simpler occupations with specializations, as well. I don't have a military background and am way more into the sci-fi "Star" parts of Star Army than the military organization "Army" parts.

Part of why I don't interact with Yamatai as much is that keeping up with ranks, proper military behavior, etc, can be intimidating and gatekeep-y for people without military backgrounds/hobbies (ie, me). What is obvious and easy for some people isn't necessarily that for others. I've stressed a lot more than I'd like to admit about calling officers by appropriate titles and the like, even with the wiki open, knowing that if I (the player) got it wrong that my character (who should know better) would get called out for it IC.

For many plot ships with limited crews, it might even make sense for some people to perform multiple roles. Maybe the "fighter class" also has Cook training/duties, if they specialize into it, so the player gets to go do fighty stuff and also have something to do in-between fights? Jobs that are less interesting/active for PCs could be handled through ship magic (robots, droids, solid volumetric shenanigans), if you wanted to take it further.

I love and appreciate the immersion that comes with such things, especially for people who do have that military background and find it comfortable, but as someone who doesn't I can see the value in simplifying/streamlining things to make them more approachable and welcoming.

Regardless of the direction (if any) that is taken on this idea, I think it's great that the discussion is happening.
 

Locked_0ut

Convention Veteran
I get it but that definitely fits more for like combat heavy plots from a game design perspective a game whose character sheet has your attack and combat skills up front vs one where they are mixed in with your diplomacy and repair skills.

In the end neither is better than the other it's just kinda a question of what sort of experience does everybody want. And what sort of play is being incentivized.

The wide number of MOSs leans towards variety and immersion but doesn't really have the same pickup and play ability of a more RPG class system
 

Soban

Convention Veteran
We aren't tying MOS to a class system. There aren't any mechanics in SARP. We do everything through writing. One of the problems with SARP is that we can be intimidating to new people. We have a big wiki and lots of history. We need to streamline and summarize things in a way that lets people just pick up and go. I think we need a relatively short list of Occupations each with their own wiki-page when then can list out optional specialties.

Instead of having all six variants on Infantry or nine variations of high ranking officer on the main occupation page, we should have them be optional specializations within the Infantry and Command Officer pages.
 

raz

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I propose that the Star Army makes some occupations more general and able to do more stuff, merging redundant occupations, and limiting some of the more obscure occupations to NPCs in cases where there is no plot with openings for them.
Agreed. Back when, we used to have a nice and manageable selection of “classes” that were easy to understand and were easily identified by their panel color. A lot of it can be attributed to organizational bloat over the years; sometimes when I look at the Star Army of Yamatai sidebar I’m left wondering why there are so many commands that exist solely to prop up different occupations when a few occupations plus fleets and good roleplay used to suffice.

Just for posterity, what I remember from an RPG sourcebook standpoint was this:
  • Playable Classes:
    • Red panel: Mostly enlisted technical sentries and engineers. The basic starshipman who either has a specialized posting or is a generalist crewman that does damage control, power armor combat, or assists specialists.
    • Grey panel: Bridge officers at bridge officer stations, such as sensors, helm, communications.
    • Green panel: Scientists and medics. They’re either on the bridge at science or in the medbay. Were often on away teams.
    • Black panel: Spooky intelligence dudes. Operatives that could take point and perform scout duties when part of the away team, gather information by any means necessary, as well as be assassins and general experts at silent killing.
    • White panel: Your captain and XO, but also admin clerks were white panels.
  • Playable Classes+ (these colors were added after I joined but early on):
    • Cornflower panel: Professional PA pilot so that redshirts didn’t do everything.
    • Blue panel: Starfighter or shuttle pilot.
As you can see, a manageable selection of seven choices for players to choose from. I really liked this, and often just default to it even in the face of newer occupations that don’t really make sense to me. Historical SARP had it best ;)

Then we had a few more occupations that were added around the same time as the “playable classes+” above. A few of them existed earlier, but they all have one thing in common: they were mostly for background NPCs for GMs and fleet admiral players to use. I’ll list those, but not breakout classes (like mint or teal panels) just because it seems necessary.
  • NPC classes:
    • Orange panel: Logistics.
    • Black panel: Analyst.
    • White panel: The aforementioned clerks.
    • Navy blue panel: Military police.
    • Coral panel: Caretaker.
    • Yellow panel: Cook.
The Star Army got too complex because of, I think, people trying to force it to match the overly complex and oft-maligned bureaucracy of real life militaries rather than remembering that we’re simulating a fictional one that had unique mechanisms and streamlined purpose. It would be cool to get back toward that for the sake of player understanding and the reduction of “playable classes” as this thread proposes.

Not sure how I’d go about cutting bloat, but think what I’ve outlined above is a good ideal to return to.
 
Last edited:

Andrew

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Agreed. Back when, we used to have a nice and manageable selection of “classes” that were easy to understand and were easily identified by their panel color. A lot of it can be attributed to organizational bloat over the years; sometimes when I look at the Star Army of Yamatai sidebar I’m left wondering why there are so many commands that exist solely to prop up different occupations when a few occupations plus fleets and good roleplay used to suffice.

Just for posterity, what I remember from an RPG sourcebook standpoint was this:
  • Playable Classes:
    • Red panel: Mostly enlisted technical sentries and engineers. The basic starshipman who either has a specialized posting or is a generalist crewman that does damage control, power armor combat, or assists specialists.
    • Grey panel: Bridge officers at bridge officer stations, such as sensors, helm, communications.
    • Green panel: Scientists and medics. They’re either on the bridge at science or in the medbay. Were often on away teams.
    • Black panel: Spooky intelligence dudes. Operatives that could take point and perform scout duties when part of the away team, as well as be assassins and general experts at silent killing.
    • White panel: Your captain and XO, but also admin clerks were white panels.
  • Playable Classes+ (these colors were added after I joined but early on):
    • Cornflower panel: Professional PA pilot so that redshirts didn’t do everything.
    • Blue panel: Starfighter or shuttle pilot.
As you can see, a manageable selection of seven choices for players to choose from. I really liked this, and often just default to it even in the face of newer occupations that don’t really make sense to me. Historical SARP had it best ;)

Then we had a few more occupations that were added around the same time as the “playable classes+” above. A few of them existed earlier, but they all have one thing in common: they were mostly for background NPCs for GMs and fleet admiral players to use. I’ll list those, but not breakout classes (like mint or teal panels) just because it seems necessary.
  • NPC classes:
    • Orange panel: Logistics.
    • Black panel: Analyst.
    • White panel: The aforementioned clerks.
    • Navy blue panel: Military police.
    • Coral panel: Caretaker.
    • Yellow panel: Cook.
The Star Army got too complex because of, I think, people trying to force it to match the overly complex and oft-maligned bureaucracy of real life militaries rather than remembering that we’re simulating a fictional one that had unique mechanisms and streamlined purpose. It would be cool to get back toward that for the sake of player understanding and the reduction of “playable classes” as this thread proposes.

Not sure how I’d go about cutting bloat, but think what I’ve outlined above is a good ideal to return to.

Not that my opinion matters, what Raz wrote is right on the money here. I do however think that in terms of the NPC classes, things like the Analyst and Caretaker have a place in the right plots.

However, In an overall sense, the way it was before was a lot of straight forwards players had a good mix of playable MOS, but they also had some flexibility in terms of cross-training and moving around depending on player preference, training schools available, etc.

In recent months there has been a great deal of added MOS, but very little offering in terms of plots oriented around these MOS. Like anything made and put on the wiki, there should be a plot in play to support the occupations made.
 

raz

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I do however think that in terms of the NPC classes, things like the Analyst and Caretaker have a place in the right plots.
Thank you for noting that. I agree totally in these two cases, as well as in the case of playable clerks. Caretaker PCs have been successful for a long time, and analyst PCs are finally after decades seeing play on 3 different plots. Was mostly trying to highlight how a slim selection of occupational "classes" is easy to work with.
 

Soban

Convention Veteran
One of the things that we should make clear is that a lot of hard work has gone into the MOS we currently have. While I think we need to reorganize them into a simpler to follow structure, I think we should overall keep them all. For example, I listed the Emergency Services MOS as going under engineering, but it would be a specialized MOS under that, not destroying whatever work we have done on it.

Additionally, I think that by having a Occupation->Specialty framework, we can actually encourage more specialties as they are optional for someone in that Occupation to have.
 

Andrew

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One of the things that we should make clear is that a lot of hard work has gone into the MOS we currently have. While I think we need to reorganize them into a simpler to follow structure, I think we should overall keep them all. For example, I listed the Emergency Services MOS as going under engineering, but it would be a specialized MOS under that, not destroying whatever work we have done on it.

Additionally, I think that by having a Occupation->Specialty framework, we can actually encourage more specialties as they are optional for someone in that Occupation to have.
I'm not suggesting we get rid of anything, but rather reinforcing the fact we need roleplays that are compatible with these MOS.
 

Ethereal

Banned Member
I'm going to point out that these last few comments seem targetted at me, because I've made some MOS' recently. All my MOS' exist for very good reasons, have been approved and are currently being planned to be used in plots. We don't need to have all things be used by all plots, otherwise half of the setting elements should be removed by that logic.

I'll say that prior to the approval of the MOS' that I split out of Ranger, I tried this system of specialisation and training with the Regiments, which were specialisations of Rangers. So you can say I have experience of a few years with managing that kind of 'specialisation' system.

The issue I ran into is that even though the wiki detailed quite clearly what each Ranger specialisation did, nobody bothered to read it, or didn't seem to understand it. This led to a lot of people thinking that Rangers did one thing, or another thing and it was very hard to convey a clear picture of what a 'Ranger' actually was.

Also, some Ranger players neglected to use the correct specialisation in the right plot/place. Some players who used Rikugun-specialised training were on plotships trying to use their skills there and didn't seem to twig that they probably should have chosen a different Ranger speciality. I imagine that by rolling this specialisation system out without much thought, you might have people trying to apply skills that don't match a plot, into that plot, making it harder on the GM to handle.

TL;DR: Rangers used a speciality system for a few years, and even though the wiki was as clear as I could make it, people including Ranger players were still confused and got it wrong sometimes.
 

Andrew

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In no way am I suggesting that your MOS is in the wrong, again - What you have created is fine, but there is a lack of plots that highlight these MOS. Like anything created on Star Army, a plot is needed to support these. The comment isn't all targeted towards you. Many new MOS have been created over the last year.
 

Locked_0ut

Convention Veteran
Unless we're going to drill down really hard into specialties within MOSs (which honestly MOSs are to Panels) We are potentially limiting the way players and GMs can engage with the setting.
If we want I think a good middle ground would be to kinda think of the panels themselves as the generalist MOSs or Classes. Our current MOS structure would be more like sub classes from an RPG point of view. Where generally somebody in a red panel or a blue panel or whatever can fill some general roles of other red or blue panel jobs, but there's obviously room for specialization.
I'm playing a medical officer, we've finally got Pharmacists and Consolers I for one am glad. Vec is a trauma surgeon. He can do general medicine but having specialists means that he can consult with other people of other skills and isn't expected to be able to do everything. Especially because unlike an MMORPG or something, a teal panel isn't just standing in the back spamming heals and watching health bars.

Edit: Addition

Each MOS Panel could benefit from a generic MOS. Most other MOSs exist because people wanted to engage with the setting in a way that could maybe work via a broader MOS but that they wanted more specific lore or training to support.
 

Locked_0ut

Convention Veteran
A bit of a thought just popped into my head. This is partially because we're looking at this like classes. in RPGs you want party balance. That said, with MOSs there's more likely to be more of one MOS than another on a particular base or ship or station based on its mission. There are tons of MOSs that just won't show up on a regular plot ship, and that's kinda fine. There are other plots that might be 50% a certain MOS because the GM wants to do something niche. A lot of this really comes down to GMs and players being up front about what they want and communicating. And even saying no if you don't think there's a place for a fighter pilot in your Rikugun tank company plot.
 

Locked_0ut

Convention Veteran
Should it be assumed that anyone with the same color panel can sub in for another specialization in that group in a pinch, even if they don't have full depth in what they're subbing for?
Maybe at a general level but yeah for the most part.

Their are a few wonky ones in gray panel that it might not follow for. Vehicle ops, ship ops, and flight ops are all gray panels but I can't see a bridge officer knowing their way around a tank or a tank driver knowing flight line operations

And White panels are various leadership roles... that said yeah in general as a short hand it makes sense that there's like basic then specialized training and every panel color shares some basic skills at least between enlisted or between officers.

I wouldn't say expect a green panel sociologist and a green panel physicist to be interchangeable but I would expect them to both understand scientific methodology and how to use common data collection tools SAoY uses.
 
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