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Author Topic: Space Opera Gaming  (Read 6923 times)

Brigman

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Re: Space Opera Gaming
« Reply #60 on: December 26, 2021, 12:29:42 AM »
Not to shill for the Pundit, but Star Adventurer is grand, IMO.

If not for the pandemic, I'd have been running it using the Babylon 5 setting at my FLGS by now.
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tenbones

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Re: Space Opera Gaming
« Reply #61 on: December 27, 2021, 10:37:13 AM »
Give us details on the system/setting.

Brigman

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Re: Space Opera Gaming
« Reply #62 on: December 27, 2021, 12:06:55 PM »
The system is a D20, OSR-based system similar to Lion & Dragon.  I think Pundit designed it to play Star Wars, but it would work well for Babylon 5 too.  There's a class similar to Jedi, there are pilots, there are brawlers.  All the good stuff.  Races go by descriptive rather than name so you can easily adapt from one setting to another.  Whether a "Contemplative" (race) is a Vulcan or a Minbari or a whatever, it's up to you (and your setting). There are 15 PC races that cover just about anything you could need.

Advancement is done in that neat random way that Pundit uses for L&D, not every character gets the same benefit upon "leveling up", which makes for fun progress.

As for the setting...

Babylon 5 is probably the best Sci-Fi show I've seen, and this is coming from a lifelong Trekkie.  It follows a 5-year arc that builds upon itself and little things constantly pop back up from earlier episodes.  Character development is incredible.  This may seem common now, but in the early '90's this was unheard of.  The Season 1 intro sets the stage:

"It was the dawn of the third age of mankind. Ten years after the Earth-Minbari war. The Babylon project was dream giving form. It's goal to prevent another war by creating a place where humans and aliens could work out their differences peacefully. It's a port of call. Home away from home for diplomas, hustlers, entrepreneurs, and wanders. Humans and aliens wrap in two million five hundred thousand tons of spinning metal, all alone in the night. It can be a dangerous place, but it's our last best hope for peace. This is the story of last of the Babylon stations. The year is 2258. The name of the place is Babylon 5."

There is plenty of action, of course, both fistfights/gunfights and starship/fighter battles.  But there's so much more, as it deals with politics, corruption, power, history and religion.  There are no robots/droids as characters - they're basically shown as tools and used for drone/remote work outside in space.  But there are telepaths, there are super-aliens, there are ancient mysteries.

Gah, I don't feel like I can do the show justice in a short review.  But one great line from early on in the show says a lot about the show: 

G'Kar: "Let me pass on to you the one thing I've learned about this place. No one here is exactly what he appears. Not Mollari, not Delenn, not Sinclair, and not me."

« Last Edit: December 27, 2021, 12:17:47 PM by Brigman »
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RPGPundit

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Re: Space Opera Gaming
« Reply #63 on: December 27, 2021, 05:43:56 PM »
Not to shill for the Pundit, but Star Adventurer is grand, IMO.

If not for the pandemic, I'd have been running it using the Babylon 5 setting at my FLGS by now.

By all means, Shill for the Pundit!
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Brigman

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Re: Space Opera Gaming
« Reply #64 on: December 28, 2021, 02:09:37 AM »
By all means, Shill for the Pundit!

I think I just did! :D

But, it's sincere.  I really wish RL circumstances allowed me to be running this right now...
PEACE!
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RPGPundit

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Re: Space Opera Gaming
« Reply #65 on: December 28, 2021, 07:15:33 PM »
By all means, Shill for the Pundit!

I think I just did! :D

But, it's sincere.  I really wish RL circumstances allowed me to be running this right now...

Well, I know it's not as good but there's always online play...
LION & DRAGON: Medieval-Authentic OSR Roleplaying is available now! You only THINK you've played 'medieval fantasy' until you play L&D.


My Blog:  http://therpgpundit.blogspot.com/
The most famous uruguayan gaming blog on the planet!

NEW!
Check out my short OSR supplements series; The RPGPundit Presents!


Dark Albion: The Rose War! The OSR fantasy setting of the history that inspired Shakespeare and Martin alike.
Also available in Variant Cover form!
Also, now with the CULTS OF CHAOS cult-generation sourcebook

ARROWS OF INDRA
Arrows of Indra: The Old-School Epic Indian RPG!
NOW AVAILABLE: AoI in print form

LORDS OF OLYMPUS
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BoxCrayonTales

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Re: Space Opera Gaming
« Reply #66 on: December 28, 2021, 08:46:11 PM »
Did anyone mention Alternity Star*Drive yet? It’s basically the summation of almost all 80s and 90s scifi tropes distilled into one setting. Humanoid aliens, non-humanoid aliens, FTL travel, cyborgs, advanced AIs, mutants, psychic powers, netrunners, etc. IIRC some of the few things it doesn’t have include giant mechs and animal uplifts.

I never got the chance to play it when it was originally published, but reading about it in d20 Future back in the mid-2000s inspired my current attempts at scifi writing.

camazotz

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Re: Space Opera Gaming
« Reply #67 on: December 28, 2021, 09:56:42 PM »
FrontierSpace by DWD Studios is excellent.

Stars Without Number by Sine Nomine Studios is great.

Fading Suns 4th. edition by Ulisses Spiele as well.

In Your Humble Opinion

Nope, in FACT.

The FACT being Your Humble Opinion.

It's OK, everyone believes that their own way is the Truth.


So jeff37923, what do you like?

caldrail

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Re: Space Opera Gaming
« Reply #68 on: December 29, 2021, 05:43:12 AM »
What does Space Opera mean to me? It means traditional heroism in a 'space' setting. At heart you have old fashioned storytelling and stereotypes. Yes, I do see that that as including Starwars (or at least, Episode IV). The tales of King Arthur, Robin Hood, Blackbeard the Pirate, The Wild West, Sharpe's wars etc etc are all translatable to the genre (and I have done that in the past, something my players thankfully didn't recognise). If you want a more focused source, check out the plentiful novels of Doc E E Smith. He uses psionics very heavily but adventure is readily apparent.

tenbones

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Re: Space Opera Gaming
« Reply #69 on: December 29, 2021, 09:22:12 AM »
Not to shill for the Pundit, but Star Adventurer is grand, IMO.

If not for the pandemic, I'd have been running it using the Babylon 5 setting at my FLGS by now.

By all means, Shill for the Pundit!

Well you know, I kinda set it up, Pundy. You get your pound of flesh in this thread. And frankly I'd like to hear what others think of it and how they're using it.

jeff37923

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Re: Space Opera Gaming
« Reply #70 on: December 29, 2021, 10:51:12 AM »
FrontierSpace by DWD Studios is excellent.

Stars Without Number by Sine Nomine Studios is great.

Fading Suns 4th. edition by Ulisses Spiele as well.

In Your Humble Opinion

Nope, in FACT.

The FACT being Your Humble Opinion.

It's OK, everyone believes that their own way is the Truth.


So jeff37923, what do you like?

Let me do a bit of a set-up here because this is going into personal preferences that may go against the norm. Space Opera to me is mostly read. Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle wrote some space opera that was scientifically sound and engineeringly possible. Heinlein wrote a lot about that as well. H Beam Piper went fast and loose with the physical sciences, but was pretty good at history, biology, and sociology. This is what I grew up on reading and what I wanted to play in a game.

Although along with that was the swashbuckling derring-do brought in with Star Wars which is also space opera, but without the science.

What I like to play depends on which cross-section of space opera I want to indulge in.

For anything anime or manga derived, there is Mekton (either II or Zeta depending on fiddly bits supplied by the Players). I feel those games fit the anime space opera genre quite well and they have never let me down.

For the Star Wars setting, which is science fantasy space opera, you can't beat d6 Star Wars for its easy to understand and elegant rules.

Then there is Traveller, which was specifically made for modern space opera that I used to read  as a child and high school student. There are some squishy areas like gravity control and jump drive, but even they have their own limits and ways of being handled.

I find myself more attracted to things like Star Wars because everyone knows the story and it is easy to get a game started. I find myself very attracted to Traveller because of the lethality of its combat system and overall technology does not rely upon pseudoscience. It also attracts more older seasoned gamers and veterans, whom I tend to get along with.

Personal preference, for each one.
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tenbones

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Re: Space Opera Gaming
« Reply #71 on: December 29, 2021, 11:27:35 AM »
Those seem to be pretty defined ideas, Jeff.

I'm like you - I like using Star Wars as a sort of backdrop that everyone knows.

A big part of this thread is me polling my fellow players/GM's that have more experience than me in running/playing Space Opera. On reflection I certainly have read a lot - all the classics. I've played a lot of videogames, watched everything Star Trek, Star Wars, B5, etc.

I've started going backwards to The Source... (of everything really - I'm currently listening to Ella Fitzgerald a lot, as opposed to Iron Maiden. Re-watching all the classic movies, Casablanca, Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia, Citizen Kane). I'm re-examining my framing of everything to fine tune what it is I'm looking for in order to run my own Space Opera.

Obviously I'm re-reading Flash Gordon comics and looking at serials, but I realize it's a genre of RPG's that outside of Star Wars I really don't have a lot of experience running, though I do understand all the genre conceits.

My goal for this is to hear what you guys actually think of when it comes to Space Opera. If there are debates and arguments - great! I'm not solidified on anything other than I don't care too much for "hard science" in my Space Opera, but I have no problem using it as a MacGuffin.

I'm looking for commonalities and themes that most people enjoy. And outlier ideas that sound cool that I never considered.

Greentongue

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Re: Space Opera Gaming
« Reply #72 on: December 29, 2021, 12:54:03 PM »
If "going back to the roots" wouldn't it be good to refresh on what "Opera" is?
===
An opera is a theatrical piece that tells a story totally through the music. It consists of recitatives which provide the narrative plot line and elaborate chorus singing, along with duets and arias,
===

While it might be interesting to make a game where the players sing, I'd be surprised if there was a market for it.

What really stands out to me is the Character Focus over the setting. It really seems to me that it would favor the "Narrative" games with their scene focus over the more traditional blow-by-blow style.


RandyB

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Re: Space Opera Gaming
« Reply #73 on: December 29, 2021, 12:59:13 PM »
I'm also on board with Mekton for space opera gaming. Zeta is my speed, because that's the version I initially encountered. And since Zeta is intentionally "mecha anime", it has to cover the whole range of "mecha anime", not just Macross/Gundam/-likes. And it does so well, IMO.

jeff37923

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Re: Space Opera Gaming
« Reply #74 on: December 29, 2021, 04:46:48 PM »
Those seem to be pretty defined ideas, Jeff.

I'm like you - I like using Star Wars as a sort of backdrop that everyone knows.

A big part of this thread is me polling my fellow players/GM's that have more experience than me in running/playing Space Opera. On reflection I certainly have read a lot - all the classics. I've played a lot of videogames, watched everything Star Trek, Star Wars, B5, etc.

I've started going backwards to The Source... (of everything really - I'm currently listening to Ella Fitzgerald a lot, as opposed to Iron Maiden. Re-watching all the classic movies, Casablanca, Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia, Citizen Kane). I'm re-examining my framing of everything to fine tune what it is I'm looking for in order to run my own Space Opera.

Obviously I'm re-reading Flash Gordon comics and looking at serials, but I realize it's a genre of RPG's that outside of Star Wars I really don't have a lot of experience running, though I do understand all the genre conceits.

My goal for this is to hear what you guys actually think of when it comes to Space Opera. If there are debates and arguments - great! I'm not solidified on anything other than I don't care too much for "hard science" in my Space Opera, but I have no problem using it as a MacGuffin.

I'm looking for commonalities and themes that most people enjoy. And outlier ideas that sound cool that I never considered.

It can be cheesy at times, but if you want to get back to the source, then watch an old science fiction TV series called Space: 1999. How they incorporate horror elements into what is a squishy science space opera is brilliant. Space: 1999 is an often overlooked gem.
"I do not want to create a story, I want to create a stage. The player characters will perform on that stage and interact with the setting. When the players talk to their friends about what their characters did, then there will be a story."