Thursday, July 3, 2014

Blast From the Past

The first game I ever bought was Metamorphosis Alpha. My group already had a guy running D&D. I had borrowed his books but I wasn't very good at it to judge from the reaction. I was also more into SF. MA didn't click with me either though I ran a couple of one shots. I found it way too bizarre given my tastes at the time ran Asimov, Niven and Clarke. Then I bought three little black books that changed my rping forever.

Traveller spoke to me, the wanna be SF writer. While Metamorphosis Alpha was a closed Universe aboard a gigantic, incomprehensible and dying starship, Traveller gave you the Galaxy. In fat it gave you so much in its simple elegance I had no idea what to do with it. My friends and I wasted many sessions playing murder hobos on a Scout. When the Journal of the Travellers Aid Society came out I devoured each issue trying to get a grasp of the system and gming and I never quite got it.

Many years later and most of my paper Traveller books are now gone and replaced by pdfs. Many of the articles I read are on my laptop in pdf form. Lately I've gone back and reread many of these articles.

At first I thought I would read them to get ideas for a new campaign I'd hopefully run on Hangouts. I jotted a bunch of stats and ideas. Then I realized what I was really looking at was how these writers and designers made the system their own. I didn't want to do things their way. I wanted to innovate or deviate from RAW on my own. Mind you I am using the Laser Pistol from JTAS as written. I liked it even back then.

In keeping with my previous blogs I'm going to use the existing rules as much as possible. Keeping close to the RAW makes your variants easier to remember. So rather than make up a bunch of new rules for, say, non-lethal weapons I'll just tweak the first blood and wound allocation. A non-lethal weapon will only ever reduce one stat. A tear gas grenade will only reduce Dexterity for example. A taser will reduce Strength etc. tranquilizer rounds will reduce Endurance etc. My really big tweak already came with the TLs. Sorry if this is anticlimactic.