D&D in space

I’ve never really been able to sustain a sci-fi game, and its not been for a want of trying. I’m not giving up either, but I’m going to attempt if from a different direction. I’m going to try to find something as close to D&D in space as possible.

Yes, yes, I’m aware of Gamma World, but I’m discounting it as too much work for me to take it forward to space adventure (not to mention cutting the wacaday elements)

The choice seems so obvious in hindsight: Alternity.

This was written by Bill Slavicsek and Rich Baker, so a fine pedigree. It was released in 1998 to muted applause. WotC came a-calling soon after and Alternity progressed straight to the back burner. I hardly noticed at the time. I think i played a couple of sessions, but not enough to get involved. I must have been playing something else back then (Feng Shui or summat)

So, a TSR game, loosely generic, but with a strong implied setting, great production values and uses the full polyhedral? Perfect.

Couple of trips to eBay later and I have the Players Guide and the Star*Drive setting in my hand, and the GM Guide incoming.

It’s early days on the first read through, but this nuggets shone out immediately:

"(You can) give your hero your real name if you like"

That’s rare advice. I’m taking it as an auspicious start. On the con side though, you have to roll low to succeed. I’m going to have to grit my teeth and plough on through that one.

More reports as I go.


Filed under RPG

6 responses to “D&D in space

  1. There’s a flaw in the combat system to do with mortal wounds, something like they’re really deadly(!), but you only get to roll a small number of them, so people with armour are less impacted than from the lower wound category or something – sold my books at Furnace last year so can’t remember the details.

    On the plus side, if you like your D&D, it does seem very much a SciFi equivalent (in terms of the lush art and lots of aliens etc), the system is clearly different, but the look and feel should be familiar.

  2. From the introduction:

    “The Alternity game isn’t the AD&D game with spaceships and rayguns. It’s brand new.”

    Yeah. No.

  3. Like you I’ve never played a successful ongoing sci-fi rpg. I’ve played a fantasy campaign that lasted years, lots of other ongoing games, but never sci-fi. I’ve tried a variety of systems.
    I don’t feel its simply a question of system. When we use the term fantasy we know broadly what we’re talking about – barbarians with swords and magic wielding wizards duelling dragons and monsters. But when we talk horror we’re talking ordinary folks vs the supernatural. Likewise with superhero or whatever. But sci-fi – are we talking alien, bladerunner, star wars, star trek? Sci-fi is such a broad term; it can mean pretty much anything you like. I like all of those, but as I say, I’ve never been content with my attempts to play in them as settings.

    I wonder if part of the problem is breadth of choice. In a most setting the PC’s options are limited – going to the dungeon, clearing the town of vampires, stopping Dr Evil destroying the Earth, etc. Sci-fi opens up a myriad of possibilities for the PCs – if you don’t like this world, just fly to another.

  4. Pingback: Game Review: Altered Earth by David Caffee from Chaos Trip Studios and Avalon Game Company | Game Knight Reviews

  5. I think one of the problems with sci-fi is that it always tries to encompass too much. e.g. a whole star system cluster with a dozen worlds. In fantasy games players get to know a world and might go off adventuring in different bits or what have you, but have an idea of all the basics. In Traveller for example one session you’re on an asteroid investigating a mining accident and then you’re on a primitave planet still in the stone age with pink stiped zebra-unicorns. Players have little frame of reference from one session to the next.

    Playing something like Blue Planet though (its set just on one planet), allows for a consistent world to get to know, but with tons of different stuff going on to keep things interesting. I think its missing that baseline background shared knowledge that sinks a lot of other sci-fi games.

    Plus, you know, its knowing what you can do or get away with, what technology level there is etc. Whereas in fantasy everyone knows what a sword is and quckily determines if there’s magical healing or not.

  6. I know that this post is a year late, but if anyone is still intrested I just posted my version of D&D in Space here:

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