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Sci-Fi Heartbreakers?

Started by ghostwolf, April 28, 2004, 04:54:06 PM

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Matt Machell

QuoteI think that a successful SF game would have to make sure that in fact and perception it focuses on the PCs and not their stuff

I think this is an important thing to consider. Most SF games take the trappings of SF without the human depth.

At its heart SF asks questions. Given that technology X exists, how does humanity react? Most SF RPGs ignore this facet, or bury it too deeply behind equipment lists and starship creation rules.

So what would stand out, to my mind, is a more Narativist approach to SF.



Ahhhh,  Accessability, that's the word I was looking for.  And I'm pretty sure that Rob has captured in his reply exactly what I was striving to say.  The comment on Literary preference keys in perfectly with why Shadowrun is so popular (imho), since it stives to blend the fantasy aspects with sci-fi and doing it quite well.

This may also key in to why near-future games seem to do better than far-future space epics.  The average player is better able to understand the technology as it applies to humanity.  Anyone can understand a cybernetic prosthesis, heck, we're on the cusp of that technology today, but understanding complex spacecraft, detailed alien civilizations (that aren't just humans with pointy ears) and hard science... such concepts seem to drive some players away, push them out of their 'comfort zone' as it were.

I'm not really comfortable addressing Narrative style CA at this time, still trying to come to grips with that particular type of roleplay.  Almost all of the gaming I've done has been Sim with heavy gamist drift, or vice versa.


O own a copy of an SF heartbreaker at home - I bought it in the very early 90s and wish I could remember the name. I'll try and dig it out at the weekend.

It's got all the Heartbreaker elements:

Byzantine character generation system.
Equaly byzantine combat rules mechanics.
Painfully slow and complex character advancement.
Stock character races, including a samurai kitty race with crystaline katanas!

The obligatory startship design rules are actualy quite streightforward and flexible, and space combat does seem like a good effort at a fast paced and playable system.

The game system is basicaly a massively over-engineered version of Call of Cthulhu, but at least it does avoid being a Traveller clone. There are no trade rules, there are robots and the setting is more (self-conciously) space-opera and star-warsy.

A general note - SF Heartbreakers benefit from the fact that the SF genre has a greater number of iconic source matter to draw from. With fantasy the ultimate source is Tolkien, and D&D draws heavily on Tolkien thus easily locking everyone in to a narrow definition of the genre. With SF you've got Star Wars and Star Trek that are the twin stars of popular SF culture, and the genre as a whole is more mainstream so there's a much smaller risk of the genre ghetoisation you get with fantasy.

Simon Hibbs
Simon Hibbs