Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Space Opera-tions

Our party was short again on Sunday. Boo. Rather than contrive some contrivance for our AD&D game, we switched gears and tried out hand at Travellers.

Travellers is a role playing game set in the far future, in a universe with aliens, lasers, and faster-than-light travel and easily molds itself to a myriad of sci-fi tropes.
I first heard about Travellers from reading Grognardia, my rpg blog of choice. After reading a bit about it, I promptly pirated it and all its related materials and was so impressed that I actually purchased a hard copy of the core rule book. Despite the odd bit of Britspeake, it's a solid rule book.

Throughout the week, the interested players rolled up characters and on Sunday, we sat down to play. With both DM and players being green as grass, problems were popping up right and left. I should've been taking notes so that I could correct them in later play sessions, but for the most part, I think the players had a good time, even if one of the marines was firing anti-tank weaponry willy-nilly at soft targets in a pressurized environment.

I'm certain there are some problems with the way we rolled characters, and I'm not certain we've figured out exactly how combat should be done, but I think we're well on our way to glorious space adventure.

And now for the portion of the blog where I wax poetic about role playing theory ad nauseum.

While rolling our Traveller's characters, one of my players ended up with a character who through sabotage and misadventure and a few land mine related incidents had a dexterity score of 1. That's as bad as it gets, so long as you still have limbs. The player was visibly disheartened, and at the urging of the other players, abandoned the character and rolled up a new one.
I don't ever force players to play characters they don't want to. And during character creation, I usually allow a single re-roll, but I'm always saddened to see a player scrap a character because of a stat.
Even in this extreme example of a character having the lowest possible score for a statistic, I think it's a challenge.
So your legs are all blown to shit. So what? This is the by-God future. You find a way to deal with it and keep going. Having legs torn to shreds makes your character that much more interesting, especially to play, because you have to think.
In terms of game mechanics, every set of stairs is an obstacle. You as a player have to find a way to deal with these things, and yes, it can be a pain in the ass, but it injects a bit of tension to almost every situation when your character's very mobility is a cause for concern.
In terms of role playing, you've won the damn lottery! The loss of most of the use of your legs is a huge event in your life, how did you deal with it? Do you have post-traumatic stress? Napoleon syndrome? Are you determined to live as normal a life as possible, legs be damned? Think of every TV special you've ever seen about someone who suffered some type of accident and has to live on being at least partially disabled. That's your back story! The other dude was a marine for 12 years and then got kicked out for humping the general's wife, but you have some real drama in your past. Live it up.

Nobody remembers generic space marine #3, everyone will remember the dude on crutches who saved everyone's ass.

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