Monday, February 14, 2011
It Takes Place in the Far Future, But Somehow the 1970's
I haven't talked much about other games. I've mainly focused on D&D. My other top favorite RPG is Traveller. I was introduced to the game in high school by mutual friends. Our school decided to ban D&D during the great anti-rpg panic of the early 80's. After speaking to the school board it was determined that they were not banning role-playing just D&D. Could we play another game? Like Traveller , we asked. Does it have demons in it? They asked. No we answered truthfully. Just spaceships and aliens, like Star Wars. Fine, anything just no D&D, they declared. Rather than continuing on with some sort of protest we thanked our lucky stars and got back to role playing. Within a year or two the hysteria had died down and D&D quietly returned to our post curricular activities. Being that it was the early 80's. We didn't notice the tech inconsistencies in the game. The computers that weigh tons, the bulky comm sets or even the total lack of internet and bio-tech. The rulebooks were written in the 70's so they reflect the state of the art of that time. The technological progress that would make these items seem out dated was yet to happen so it didn't bother us at all. But now it does bother me. A bit at least. Mongoose's Traveller and T20 rulebooks are more modern. But I would like to play original Traveller. But its hard to justify the bizarreness of some of the original predictions of the tech level chart from the rulebook. According to Traveller we should be at tech level 10 or at least 9 by now. So where is the laser rifle they promised? Or jump drives, gravity control, fusion power or limb regeneration? How come we don't live in that future? What happened to it? I have a theory. When the US government canceled their ambitious space program in the 70's the scientists and technicians had to go somewhere. They went commercial. How else do could we have got cell phones, DVD players, laptop computers, the internet and GPS? Our technology is small. Little products easily sold to eager consumers. The big stuff like fusion power didn't happen because the focus was elsewhere. What does this all mean to a Traveller campaign? The setting of the game starts in our world and expands out to the far future. So our world didn't evolve into the Traveller future but it doesn't mean that another one could have. A parallel world. Setting the game in a parallel world where technology went a different direction can explain the oddities of the original rulebook. So maybe your character wears flare leg pants. A world more like Space 1999. Where the future is the 70's.