Michael Prescott recently had a post about the dearth of sci-fi games getting played on a broad scale. I agree that this is a crying shame, and attribute it to the fact that fantasy requires very little buy in (misremembered history and a bit of TV will suffice for even absolute newbies) while sci-fi comes with significantly more moving parts and potential expectations and concepts that need to be dealt with.
So to aid with that, here's a questionnaire.
Luther Gutekunst has beaten me to this (by a significant margin!) with a practical questionnaire of his own, so I will be writing questions that attach neatly to him own without reduplication.
Luther's questions are:
- What do PCs do?
- What's the setting's scale?
- What level of tech will PCs generally have?
- What's the highest level of technology?
- Are there any psychic abilities, superpowers, etc?
- How do I improve my character?
- What's the most important faction in the area?
- Where can I get normal equipment?
- Where can I get illegal / dangerous equipment?
- How do I heal myself?
My additions are:
- What miracles (clear deviations from what is possible in reality) exist in the setting?
- How do people get from A to B? What is it like in terms of speed, scope, accessibility?
- Where do people live, in general?
- What is the average quality of life like?
- What are the points of conflict in this society?
- What are some commonplace technologies players will interact with?
- What's something that technology has fucked up?
- What's something that technology has fixed?
- What are the most valuable goods and resources?
- What are the most valued personal beliefs?
- What goods / behaviors / beliefs are banned?
- Who enforces the structures of power?
- Can PCs own a ship normally, or will they have to steal one?
- Does alien life exist? What's its scope? Microbial? Rare, common, exotic? Sapient?
- Can AI be made or become conscious?
- Is it possible to digitize and upload a mind?
- Who counts as a person?
- Who is this future for? Who survived, who benefits?
- Who has been excluded? Who suffers, who is exploited?
- What's the overall tone like?
If you've got more, list them in the comments (or even better, make your own posts for them!)