Some History of the
My first goal is to come up with a
better name for this project. First off, it's pretty uninspired.
If I intend for this project to attract more widespread attention, then
I need a catchname for it (preferably something dramatic with "Void" or
"Star" in the title!) Second off, in the past - and hopefully in the future
as well - many people have assisted me with various aspects of the project;
it's not fair for me to hog all of the glory!
That said, I would like to set forth
the purpose of this project. In recent years, there has been a growing
dissatisfaction among the role-playing populace regarding published SFRPG
games. While there is a wide variety of RPGs for other genres such as Fantasy
and Horror, the classic Space Adventure type SF game was being woefully
Traveller and its variants were a
staple among SFRPG fans for many years. But as each new version of the
game was made, more and more of its fandom drifted away. Part of the customer
support were dissatified with the changes that were made, others were dissatisfied
that not enough changes - or effective changes - were being made.
The latest attempt at the Traveller
game - known as "Mark Miller's Traveller" or simply "T4," was a great dissapointment
for many longtime Traveller fans who were hoping that at last the Traveller
line would return to its former glory. But alas, it was not to be. The
system had woefully flawed dice mechanics and editorial errors that were
beyond the level of any previous edition - and considering some of those
previous editions, that is saying a lot!
There were a variety of "generic"
or "universal" systems out there. They served in lieu of satisfactory SF-specific
systems for some. Others were put off by the fact that many of these systems
were too generic, and took more than a little work to adapt to a specific
SF setting and often gave unsatisfactory results; those that did required
more work on the part of the gamemaster and participants to pay for that
So what I, and several other, gamers
did is set out to make their own games. Some of these disgruntled gamers
decided to pool their efforts on various on-web projects. One of these
that I participated in wasthe WebSF project, which started out on rec.games.design
and developed into a full fledged mailing list, on which we batted around
various ideas. A similar project was the development of the Ragamuffin
I ran out of time to develop my proposed
system "Guild & Empire" last year. The project temporarily got put
on the back burner. I did my traditional fantasy gaming for a time, but
grew hungry for my first real love among RPGs: Science Fiction. I proposed
a switch to a SFRPG to my gaming group. Ever eager gamers, they agreed.
But I never did develop my game background
sufficiently for my tastes. To make a broad, effective SFRPG setting take
a lot of effort. I looked for help on the web. I proposed a new discussion
group to bat around some ideas and get a working background for my game.
The response went an unexpected direction.
Some wanted to knock a few ideas like I did. Others expressed something
I gave up on - development of a set of game mechanics available on the
web for anyone who wants it.
Well, I had given up the idea that
any system - published or on the web - was ever going to satisfy my needs.
But a few people out there apparently had hope. If there was enough support
for this idea, there was no reason that they should have to start at ground
zero when I already had a system in development that had received much
in the way positive feedback.
Others were interested in the same
thing I was - and more. Not only did it seem that there was interest in
creating a single SFRPG background, but rather, a variety of backgrounds.
Goals and Methods
Well, while I am quite fond of the
little set of game mechanics I created for "Guild & Empire," I realize
that the RPG community has varying tastes. I don't pretend that G&E
is the miracle system that is going to make everyone happy.
So what I propose is this: "A two
pronged attack." Develop the background and the system concurrently, but
separately. Those who like the G&E system may help me develop it and
use it as a set of mechanics for whatever background they like. Those who
don't like the system but do like one of the backgrounds that comes
out of the discussions may, of course, use whatever system they prefer.
Both the game system and the backgrounds will be posted here as a net resource
for eager SFRPG players.