Thursday, October 25, 2007

Hard Science Fiction Gaming

One of the most difficult things in constructing a Hard Science Fiction campaign is dealing with the implications of scientific developments. This is why I tend to defer to novels and to established SciFi settings when running games.

In the RPG Traveller, communciation could only travel as fast as the fastest mail ship. Message transmission goes only as fast as the speed of light, while ships can travel at FTL speeds. This lack of "faster than travel" communication resulted in a semi-feudalistic structure of the Empire. Local Governors / Warlords are responsible for the sections of space that they can control, and are allied to the Emperor. This results in an even greater variance in the laws and trade agreements than would be present in an already homogeneous, monolithic empire and makes it difficult to figure out how to navigate the web of trade.

How does the galaxy keep from falling into chaos? Trust, politics, detente and diplomacy, plus the occasional "police action" or "black op".

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Traveller Hero

And yes, I know the spelling of Traveler is -


Science Fiction games seem to be a rarity in the Philippines. The only Science Fiction games that I've seen run here are the Space Opera type, which tend to have a few fantasy elements mixed in (Star Wars, Fading Suns).

Some friends were able to run some campaigns for the local Star Trek fan group Via Astris, but I've really not seen stable, ongoing Science Fiction campaigns with hardish SciFi, set in the stars, with military or mercantile elements thrown into it.

I mention this because I just discovered that the new Traveller Hero rulebooks by Comstar Games are out! For old gamers like me, Traveller was really one of the seminal Science Fiction RPGs - it came out before Star Frontiers, I believe, even though I played it long after my bout with the Star Frontiers RPG.

Check it out!

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

A Dearth Of GMs

It's Real Life, I tell you.

That's the reason why I haven't been running - and probably why a lot of the good GMs from AEGIS haven't been running games.

For me, I've found a different creative outlet in writing and may follow Dean's example - putting a lot of the elements of my imagination into games, but reserving the creme de la creme for my stories. I don't know - I'm still experimenting so I'll find out.

In the meantime, we need to encourage the next generation of GMs to start running!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Influence of Hero System

One of the major influences on my gaming life is the Hero System. Just ask anyone who's ever gamed with me!

I've tried to introduce it to some of the folks I've gamed with here is because I really enjoy the philosophy underlying the Hero System - a core system with optional and alternative rules that allow you to model the genre that you want. I believe it also allows you to separate the setting from the ruleset, but allows you to see how the rules support the faux reality you're trying to achieve in the game, and really lets you understand how many of the rules you're using can actually be extraneous from the current game your running.

Every time I run a game in it, I learn something new in that arena.

However, there are some limitations that come from a relatively rules-heavy background. I feel that it gets you used to a scaffolding that can make you feel like rules-light games are a little more arbitrary than is comfortable.