If you can't describe what you're even trying to do, then yes. Yes, defining terms is necessary. Obviously you're just doing fantasy with a futuristic facade. I, as have others, have already given you some examples you can draw on. Calling anything you're doing "science" is just a joke, however. But whatever. Doesn't seem like you're interested in anything more nuanced than Spelljammer, so I'm done with this thread.
Under the premise I'm working with Spelljammer and Eberron is very much not what I'm looking for. For me, I want hard sci-fi with potentially realistic starships like you'd see in any sci-fi movie: Star Wars or Star Trek. For all intents and purposes, I want to seem like Traveller or any futuristic sci-fi setting, but use the Pathfinder RPG rules to accomplish everything - with replacements for the caster classes with tech equivalents. Santiago setting doesn't have an equivalent for wizard, so I've created an alternate version as a code hacker, though cleric is engineer, paladin is barrister, etc.
Start by reading this site and this site in their entirety. There are a ridiculous number of misconceptions regarding what "realistic" is in terms of spacefaring.
I don't agree that SW is fantasy. For me, the whole force and jedi/sith thing is fantasy, yes, but the rest of the franchise is very much Sci Fi. It's all technics and engeneering, oil and screws and stuff...very much technological development to a higher degree than in our world. Is it explained into detail? No, certainly not, but that is not necessary.
1. There is no sound in space. 2. There are no fireballs in space. 3. Spaceships do not bank when they turn. 4. Asteroid belts are not cluttered messes of rocks; NASA has been shooting probes through our three without incident or attempting to avoid anything for decades. 5. FTL breaks the most fundamental rules of physics. 6. Spacecraft are not airplanes. 7. Spacecraft are not naval vessels. 8. At best, a laser makes a clunking sound when its capacitors discharge; not a "pew pew" noise. 9. Lasers travel at the speed of light. 10. Only the point of incident of a laser can be visible outside of a bunch of smoke, and if it is, at the energy levels a weaponized laser would require, looking where it strikes without some sort of protective eyewear will likely blind you.
That's off the top of my head. I could go rewatch them and make a proper list, if you like, but Science Fiction makes an attempt to do abide by science. It is most certainly more than just a veneer. Star Wars ignores science in favor of whooshing sounds and lasers that go "pew pew" and distinctly travel slower than the speed of light George Lucas just made up a bunch of crap that looks good on camera and has no baring on reality in any way, shape, or form. It is simply fantasy painted in feaux technology. There is no science involved to garner even the label Science Fantasy.
If that is your criteria for sci fi, that all has to be explained logically, there is almost no setting that qualifies.
Two points: Science Fiction doesn't have to explain everything logically. It can gloss over details. I wish Arthur C. Clarke had glossed over more details. To me, his works are like reading the manual for a spaceship. But any science fiction work needs to obey the laws of science. Failing this is the first mortal sin of bad science fiction writing.
Secondly, there are a ton of settings that do adhere as closely as the author could manage to known science of the time*. Go read almost anything by Arthur C. Clarke. The Foundation series is another good example, including not-disproven form of FTL. Ben Bova even manages to do fairly well with his tour of the solar system books, although I'd question some of his future history.
*This is a required stipulation, since science is constantly correcting itself.
As i said, not that much interested in hard Science...only in the veneer of technology.
So not Science Fatnasy, just Fantasy.
I guess the most often used term for what i am trying to explain is Magi-Tech.
So...Fantasy. Got it. Go check out Dragonstar, Spelljammer, Star Wars, Warhammer 40K, Eberron, Shadowrun, Rifts, etc.
So basically you want spelljammer? Or is it more like eberron? Both just use magic in the role of technology while continuing to assume that mechanical automation, transistors, and electric grids never happened. Star wars is straight fantasy; im pretty sure george lucas watched Akira Kurosawa's film The Hidden Fortress - which he would have studied in film school - and thought he could just stick the same plot in "spaaaaaaaace" and call samurai "jedi". Aside from the existance clothing, im not sure anything else was even grounded j science. That rant done, start be deciding how science enters into your science fantasy. What you describe sounds simply like fantasy with modern conveniences attributed to magic instead of a couple centuries of innovation. Answer questions like, "why wasnt the steam engine created when the technology is present in any civiliazion capable of creating plate armor?" And, "whay is t there a combustion engine?" And "why isnt there electricity?" And "why arent there transistors?". Those 4 things pretty much built our modern society. If any of those do exist, you will have many more similar questions to answer about other innovations based on them: if combustion engines exsit, are there cars, trains, planes, diesel ships, etc? If electricity exists, theres a ton of thjngs to consider. Of course if you ignore the science part of science fantasy, you can just ignore everything ive said and justify arbitrary decisions with world fluff. Either option is valid, but it does change what genre you are operating within.
I thought things like diffraction of single photons through a slit indicate otherwise? (Though my knowledge is little more than like... reading a Brief History of Time years ago. >_>)
Negative. That experiment a classic example of quantum superposition, but it doesn't have to do with the Uncertainty Principle, though.
If you look at Heisenburg's Uncertainty Principle and Schrodinger's correction thereof, there is no actual mention of whether an exact quantity exists for position and momentum. Instead, it says that the product of the standard deviations of your measurements of each must be greater than half the Plank constant: s1s2 >= h/2. Thus, neither measurement have have zero standard deviation (be perfectly precise) and as one gets more accurate, the other must get less accurate. Nothing about it or its derivation ever describes what the particles are actually doing. As a matter of fact, QM doesn't use exact anything for particles; it uses probability amplitudes that represent the likeliness of any particular outcome occurring. Now that is a result of the double-slit experiment, but it has nothing to do with just what is happening. If anything, it lowers an impenetrable veil over everything.
The mechanics for aerodynamic locomotion in freefall (or zero-g) would drastically differ from what is required on earth. In fact, airflow over a wing in freefall would result in a bird actually moving "up" relative to its body arrangement. That said, a bird would either a) be totally out of control or b) be able to move without shoving off of things in zero-g, depending on whether or not it has adapted to its new environment. My feeling is that most birds would flail around wildly and not really go anywhere; they'd probably just spin out of control or lazily drift in random directions. You might get that one weird bird that "gets it" and learns how to control which direction it drifts. Birds born into zero-g would grow up learning and adapting to their environment and probably have more control.
The above statement is made based on a general knowledge of physics and strong suspicions of how animals would adapt to alien environments. It should not be taken as fact in any way and is easily disputable.
Genres: Action Adventure, Dark Fantasy, Dungeon Crawling, Martial Arts. Themes & Ideas: Conviction Has Power, Magic Corrupts (for Good or Evil), Oaths Have Power, Purity vs. Corruption, Rituals Have Power, Unexplored World. System: GURPS 4th Edition. Who: You! Anyone, regardless of knowledge of the system. When: Sunday afternoons from 1:00 p.m. Eastern to 4:00 p.m. Eastern, though longer sessions may happen at the group's choosing. Where: IRC + Google Talk. Why: To have fun! This isn't intended to be a super-serious, in-depth epic drama. It's people getting together to have fun, laugh, and explore a system they might not be familiar with. How: Choose one pre-generated class (below) and post interest.
Welcome to humanity's twilight. Crouched between dark wilderness and the bright light of civilization, the boarderlands are a region where roads end, frontier towns are born, live, and die by fortune, and homesteads struggle against the primeval forces of nature and the corruption of the Maelstrom to survive. In that dim world, a few brave souls stand between the darkness and the light. In their hands rests the ultimate decision: Will this twilight bring the light of civilization or a night ruled by darkness and ruin?
Players will choose from among the following pregenerated characters who will be one of those brave souls facing down the darkness in hopes of spreading the light of humanity. Beyond the last roads lie uncounted leagues of wilderness. Untamed and untouched, they certainly harbor dangers the likes of which only the heroes of old ever encountered, and if legends are true, unfathomable riches as well. Each pregen is created with a strong foundation in combat, but also is capable of serving at least one other role in the party (possibly excluding the Weapon Master who is frightfully good at his trade). Please choose one character that appeals to you and post your interest in a reply.
The Archer: You are the dashing archer who charms women and wins contests of wit alongside those of archery. You are use to a more urban life, but can still live by the land as well as anyone if the need arises. After all, hunting is an archer's forté. Truly, though, your strength lies in interacting with people. You are the life of the party; people just seem to like you. And your dashing feats hardly dampen their opinion of you!
The Assassin: You are the blade in the darkness. Your surprise attacks are crippling, and your poisons beyond lethal. Furthermore, no location is too remote or too secure to prevent your egress – no one is ever safe. Your tools include the use of short blades for close-in work, poisons for more clandestine killings, and a shadowy celerity to gain and maintain the tactical advantage should a "fair" fight ever break out.
The Monster Hunter: You have honed your talents for investigation and analysis to a fine edge chasing down horrors of the night and beheading them before they can harm innocent bystanders. You are adept at recognizing clues, chasing down leads, interrogating people, researching events, and, after the investigation is complete, beheading the culprits. While you don’t have the breadth of knowledge the sage enjoys, you know how to find what you need to know and apply it to maximum effect.
The Sage: You are probably the smartest person in a group – any group. Few have the mental faculties you boast, and you've set yours towards being the wisest person around. To say that you dabble in a wide range of knowledge is to sell you short. Indeed, you are well versed in everything from occult folklore, law, history, and geography to literature, poetry, heraldry, and medicine – the lattermost of which earns you a valued place as the only truly competent healer in the group.
The Trailblazer: You really know how to get around! Whenever the party needs to get from one place to another, you are the go-to person, regardless of terrain, climate, or means of transportation. Your survival skills are unparalleled, allowing you to keep the party warm, safe, and fed in the wilderness while ever marching, riding, sailing, or climbing toward your destination.
The Weapon Master: You are a master of the quarterstaff, a fast and versatile weapon that allows for a multitude of strikes, parries, and armed grappling techniques. So long as you refrain from using bladed weapons, your dedication to your convictions armors you against your foes and grants you impressive combat prowess. Where the assassin relies on stealth and surprise to inflict grievous wounds, you do so through sheer skill.
Combat Maneuvers should include the following possibilities:
Trade defense for offense (in terms of one of accuracy, movement, or power)
Trade offense for defense (in terms of number of defenses or effectiveness of defenses)
Trade time not-attacking for some sort of aiming bonus to your next attack against a specific opponent
Set up If-Then statements, like "I wait until he tries to attack me to launch my attack against him". This would let you delay your own action in the initiative sequence in exchange for potentially interrupting another person's action with your own.
Move further than you normally could if you also attacked
Move far AND attack, but with penalties to accuracy and defenses
Do Jack Squat.
Take a round to execute a non-combat action during combat
For the sake of spellcasting, probably some sort of Concentration thingy instead of an attack, with potential penalties or different handling of defenses (or the effect of distraction, at the least).
I think a trick system should be able to let you take various penalties to skills to perform tricks. Frex, roll Acrobatics-4 to slide down a banister without falling off. Buying up a trick should eliminate the penalty. It is totally okay if it is cheaper to buy up the underlying skill than buy up every trick based on it; people tend to specialize in tricks anyway. It's sort of a signature thing.
Executing tricks should take various numbers of rounds based on the trick. Performing a backflip might be a one-round action, but sliding down a bannister will take various lengths of time depending on how long that bannister is. This will generally use the Non-Combat-Stuff maneuver above.
Combat tricks may involve exploiting the geometry of your weapon (using the hook on locherbe axe to snag someone's clothing or using the prongs on a spontoon to bind an opponent's blade). These will likely use some form of an attack maneuver.
I'm interested in joining in, too, and 8 pm sounds doable any day. I'm also good with any adventure you want to run. I'm more curious about how the system handles than what sort of muck we are arunnin'.
I can see why they went with monster design. It involves most of the major skills they'd be looking for: familiarity with the system in question, writing ability, and overall creativity.
Not to mention following a fairly complex template with lots of specific instructions. I can see why some would be turned off by the nature of the test submission, but if you can get past it, they'll know you won't be a headache for the editor (which is probably about 90% of the point, anyway).