Monday, March 22, 2010

Random Awesome Thought of the Day

I have decided that what I would really, really like to see is a science-fiction version of the Old School Renaissance  -- by which I mean a kind of space action/exploration game that is more operatic than Traveller, but more Hard SF than Star Wars, sort of like Honor Harrington or Hammer's Slammers -- with the artistic sensibilities of John Berkey replacing the OSR's iconic Erol Otus.

I am tentatively calling this "Hard Opera" until a better name can be found.

Someone get to work on this, please.


  1. While you're waiting, you might try the "digitally remastered" version of Star Frontiers.

    Unfortunately, the other contenders for the title, X-plorers and Starsiege: Event Horizon don't quite measure up to your demands in the visuals department.

  2. You might also want to check out Dawning Star, WARS and oddly D20 Star wars. I contend that D20 SW can make a decent straight sci-fi game if you just pry out the Lucas bits. The Ultimate Alien Anthology is a treasure trove of beasties.

  3. Star Frontiers was my very first RPG, and I think it should lead the charge (tm)! I loved it...

  4. It's hard for me to elaborate what I really want because in a lot of ways the flavor is so contradictory.

    I think I want equal parts Star Frontiers, Traveller, and 2300 AD, with a splash of Aeon/Trinity.

    I want 2010: Odyssey Two but with laser guns and FTL and aliens.

    I want space marines in power armor, but at the same time, I like the grungy look of Aliens.

    I want something that feels plausible while being utterly "Gee whiz, ain't technology cool?"

    I want gritty AND shiny at the same time, and I know how impossible that is. Worse, I want *mechanics* that help evoke that flavor.


  5. Chica, you just need to chainsaw the games together until you get what you need. Although, I feel you are searching for the Holy Grail of Sci-Fi RPGs. That means you will need to undertake a Grail quest. I am sure that the biggest problem to finding this perfect game is the fact that Buzz Aldrin is on Dancing with the Stars, but I am not sure how that ties in. Figure this out and I think you will be on your way. Now go and seek young lady, go and seek.

  6. Sounds like what you want is a steampunk-flavored sci-fi game. Steampunk supplies the gritty with the shiny AND the gee whiz technology.

    Now the aesthetics might be a bit off...


  7. Alas m'lady such a wish is virtually folly as no game of that sort truly existed in the old days for it to be renaissanced (yes I know, renaissanced is not a word).

    It is however one of the games I've been playing since, oh, 1982 or so. Usually it was a heavily modified version of something else like Traveller or Space Opera. My Star Trek campaigns often feature more hard sf than the milieu is used to seeing.

    Funny enough I've always used the terms 'Hard Space Opera' or 'Science Opera' to describe it to.

    Sorry but this post is just one more element that adds to my belief that you are some-kind-of-awesome. If you're ever in NY you have a spot at my table.

  8. I feel like Star Frontiers offered some of that nice mix of gloss and grit. The cities were very hovercar-intensive, but I liked how smaller-ship space travel still had perpendicular decks because there was no artifical gravity, just acceleration/deceleration... Like many of the early games, I thought the adventures really brought home the different parts of the Frontier, from the stranded on Volturnus stuff that was more John Carter of Mars to space military stuff against the Sathar to exploring to grifting...

    And it had the coolest aliens of anyone!


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