Friday, December 18, 2015

Interstellar Overdrive

As this month was supposed to be dedicated to Science Fiction, and Space Adventure RPGs, and there really hasn't been very much Science Fiction talk specifically as of yet, let's see if I can't change that shall we?

The Barking Alien Blog's
Mission Control Room


Laundry Room. That's the Laundry Room.

I had the schematics upside down.

I've mentioned it before, but it's worth repeating so that the rest of this post will have the proper context; I find Science Fiction not only exciting, and interesting, but extremely comfortable. It is familiar to me in a way most gamers seem to attribute to Fantasy.

I can easily 'see' Hard Sci-Fi and Space Opera settings, equipment, characters, and other elements very clearly in my mind. It isn't hard for me to imagine the interior of a starship, the surface of an alien planet, or the lumbering gait of a damaged sentry robot.

The tropes of Science Fiction come naturally to me.

I've had the chance to run (and play - I know! - Crazy no?) quite a lot of Science Fiction over the last few months. In addition to our ongoing, but almost finished, classic Traveller campaign, I've also gotten to do Star Trek (the Last Unicorn version), Star Wars (D6 and a diceless homebrew), and Cosmic Patrol (Catalyst Game Labs).

While not every session of every game went perfectly (as I've discussed in recent posts), overall its been fun and very educational. I've learned a number of things, about myself, and my players, and with each game I can definitely say I know a little bit more than I knew before. What more can you ask for really? that you mention it...

I want what I've been wanting for more than a few years now. I want my old magic back. I want the type of gamers I used to game with, so I can create the types of campaigns I used to create, to experience the kind of Oomph! and Oh Yeah! I used to experience, and induce in others.

So what makes this post more than yet another bout of wishful thinking? Same ol' sad sack Adam, yearning for the glory days, am I right?

No, not exactly.

I'm seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. I'm seeing progress. With Science Fiction, there is clarity.

Since the genre possesses elements of the modern day, while simultaneously boasting the trappings of the amazing, and (dare I say) fantastic, you really get a good gauge of the way players think. A person of today can relate to a universe in which they use a computer, drive a car, get on mass transit, and access the world via a hand-held mobile device. Even if the setting of your game is the far future, it is really not all that culturally different from the present. As my friend Yuri likes to say, "It's the future now."

Thanks to the familiarity of the milieu you can quickly ascertain who is comfortable with technology, who isn't, who is going to think their way out of problems, who will physically fight they're way out, and who is going to do whatever they can to avoid becoming too personally involved in any conflict.

The modern world is remote controlled. We have access to more information, entertainment, and creative outlets than ever before, but we do it all alone in the comfort of our homes. No need to interact with your fellow Human beings. There is an app for that.

At its best Science Fiction is commentary on the Human condition, and with said commentary, the astute listener can learn a great deal.

Add to this the fact that recent games have afforded me the chance to game with new people, and possibly add some new regulars to our groups' repertoire of talent. Changing up the roster can breathe new life into things. I am also excited about this aspect because I am meeting people who 'get it', who understand my outlook and approach. This feels really good after a long stretch of feeling like I was alone in my style preferences.

Hmmm. Did I actually talk about Science Fiction in this post? Well...sort of.

At least I'm on the right track, in more ways than one...

Barking Alien

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