After talking it over in a couple of different forums. I have narrowed my ideas down a bit. The game is moving in a very interesting direction, one I did not see coming. This illustrates the importance of having people to bounce your ideas off of. Even if you disagree with them, you end up with a better grasp of what you want out of your game. By learning how they see your design, you can see where that design is not being described well. Now, on to the nonsense!
The first thing I realized as I spoke with others about the design of this is that, by far the most interesting bit is the religious war. So that will be the focus of the game. Players will all play characters within the same faith(this is the standard, of course that could change in your game, more on this in later posts). They will be either diplomats, spies, special forces, or missionaries. That may not be what they all play, but these are the people going out to the heathens and doing what needs to be done.
Basically you will have aspects based on your faith's tenets. Right now I am leaning toward three. This idea was given to me by Zachary_Wolf on the Forge. Here is the section of his post that I will be using for now(alpha and beta testing may change it):
Each player picks three "Convictions", a Vision, a Commandment, and a Crusade. Your character's Vision is their own personal goal, a piece of imagery that wish to see come true. Their Commandment is their religious goal or code of behavior, something that could possibly be common to more than one player. Their Crusade is their current mission, typically shared between all players and usually given to them by their religious leader.
Vision - To become Bishop of a small planet or colony.
Commandment - To bring justice to those under the heel of oppression.
Crusade - To travel to the Urdot System and investigate the missing missionaries.
You can use them as aspects, but these will be less changeable than other aspects. I will probably adopt something like you can only change one of your three convictions at a major milestone for your character. Basically only when your faith is truly tested, or when it is confirmed. They will behave a bit like Trouble and High Concept in The Dresden Files role playing game.
I am not certain I like the Vision aspect being so secular. I think I may change it to your personal view of the religion. It would break down to how you have internalized the faith, versus how the external faith would be represented as the Commandment. I don't have a ready example of what I am talking about yet. I can see it and how it works, but for the life of me I am not sure how to explain it yet. I will continue to work on these ideas as I think they will be the core of my game.
Speaking of things I have come up with, yet don't know how to use. I have come up with an idea I think is very interesting, and yet I can see no real purpose for it. I would like Earth to be lost. Long ago during the great diaspora(not to be confused with the game Diaspora) mankind left earth in huge sleeper ships. They traveled to distant stars. There the mighty terraforming engines moved from planet to planet. If they found a planet could support life they moved on. If the planet was barren they gave it life.
Many were the peoples and the creeds that came to live among the stars. But as the millennium passed, they forgot where they came from. All that was left was the myth of earth. How man came from earth, and the wonders that remain there. After the discovery of the Gate, earth was sought. They never found it. Either it is not part of the Gate network, or it is only one jump away. The myth of earth prevails.
I think that is a cool idea, but don't know how to make it relevant to the characters in the game. And if it doesn't encourage play, why is it in the game. One idea that I had was to start the game with the finding of earth. It would have to be found on the fringe, and by at least two separate people groups. This could be what spurs on the great holy war. I am just not certain on this.
Another random thought that was put forward by a few people I talked with was the idea of each character has a modified custom fighter craft. I have personal issues with this, but as it is a game and not real life I can set them aside. This would mean that each character would have a customized Fighter. They would be the equivalent of questing/crusading knights with their mighty steeds and weapons that the common folk cannot afford. I don't know. I am kind of ambivalent about it, so any feedback on this would be nice.
That's it for the design journal for today. Let me know what you think, good or bad. The next post will probably be on the story side of things. Most of this post felt like mechanics for me. Even though it was a mix of both. Maybe I can even put out a little game fiction. Though I doubt that ot will be amazing or anything.