Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Old War Stories - The Alternative Vulcan

There is no feeling in the world like someone remembering a game you ran or a character you played 10, 20, even 30 years later. It is the surest way of knowing deep down in your heart of hearts that you don't suck at this hobby after all. 

What do we have when the campaign concludes, the dice are put away, and at some point, sadly but inevitably, the notes are lost or fade. We have our memories. If there is any real prize or reward in RPGs, a way of 'winning' as it were, this is it. If people cherish a memory of gaming with you, you did good. 

In honor of Barking Alien's 10th Anniversary, some of my dearest friends and oldest gaming buddies have decided to grace us with some memories from the good ol' days.

This first one is from my friend William Corpening. Will is one of the greatest Gamemasters I have ever had the pleasure of knowing and playing under. In fact, he may very well be the best of the best. 

His tour de force is a 10+ years long Champions campaign that I talk about all the time and was lucky enough to be a part of for about 3 1/2 years from 1986 to part of 1989. My current Champions campaign and a number of previous ones are based on his setting. 

He also GMed short campaigns of Call of Cthulhu, co-GMed West End Games' Ghostbusters with me and two others, and participated as a player once in a blue moon in my own campaigns, most notably Mecha Anime games such as Macross-Blue Dragons and Paradise Fleet.

Apparently, I also ran a FASA Star Trek game he was in according to this story I received from him a few days ago...

"Here’s an old war story to add to your blog for the 10th Anniversary...

So… I stopped by the Compleat Strategist one day (NYC's premiere FLGS) and ran into Adam and a gaggle of players getting ready for a game in the back room.

I joined in obviously. Adam was GMing and that's always a treat. I quickly generated a Vulcan First Officer who was also the Security Chief/Tactical Officer.

Adam thought I was playing more of a Tuvok than a Spock, a Vulcan who saw physical combat and tactical solutions as logical in the right context [though this was long before we first met Tuvok]. The [NPC] Captain asks, “Are you from the Vulcanis Lunar Colony, then?” The Commander responds, “Perhaps…”

It gets crazier from there, but of course it does.

We find ourselves in a face-to-face with what seems to be a highly advanced Romulan Warbird. Some of the PCs theorize it may be a prototype of some kind. Adam drops a few clues as to the vessel's superior nature; it's not just superior to our own PC vessel, a 'Wrath of Khan' era Miranda Class, but a ship with cutting edge technology and systems that are only theoretical to Starfleet at that time.

My character seemed to know a lot about Romulan ships and their capabilities, leading some to wonder if I wasn't a militant Vulcan but a Romulan defector or worse, a spy. 

At some point I instructed the crew to fire "Photon Torpedoes, maximum yield!"

“Don’t you think that’s a bit much?” the Captain asked, surprised at a Vulcan being so aggressive.

“No,” the Commander replied flatly and calmly.

When we realized the barrage only did minimal damage to the ship (barely any damage at all actually), the Captain said, “Hmmm...Good call.”

We were hailed by the Romulan ship, which demanded to know why we had fired upon them, especially since we were allies. "Allies?", the PCs said bewildered. 

"Of course", said my Vulcan First Officer, "this ship is from the Future". (Nailed it.) 

So many adventures left unfinished… and so many great times had.


Thanks William! 

More Memories To Come...

Barking Alien

Oh, today is my 50th Birthday. Wow. Feeling good. 


  1. Happy birthday Adam! I have a great time reading about your gaming.


    1. Thank you Tom. I always appreciate you stopping by.