5 hours ago
Thursday, April 7, 2016
Space:1977, or Set Coordinates for Planet Funhouse Dungeon
It occurs to me there's never really been a sci-fi equivalent of D&D. (At least back in the day. Maybe someone's doing it now, and I'm just unaware.) By D&D I mean D&D of OG (Original Greyhawk) Gygaxian mode: a stupid, freewheeling, game of exploration that borrows promiscuously from genre media (of multiple genres) without bothering to particularly try to emulate any of it. Traveller is too interested in emulating specific source material and is more serious; Space Opera is goofy enough, but it still wants to be that sci-fi thing you like (whichever one it is) rather than being not any of those things but wearing their clothes. Metamorphosis Alpha and Gamma World get the vibe, but their scopes are more limited.
What I'm talking about is something a bit Vancian, definitely picaresque, where exploration for the purpose of profit is the order of the day. The character archetypes are from all over. An adventuring party might look like the ragtag protagonists in Battle Beyond the Stars (except that John Boy guy would be a Jedi in training and the lizard man would be Tars Tarkas) and act like a more disreputable Serenity crew. Only Silver Age comics truly encompass the level of crazy alien worlds ought to embody--given the appropriate figleaf of Gygaxian realism, of course. I figure adventures would often go down like an episode of Lost in Space, except more people would die. And then the Robot would take their stuff.