Friday, February 5, 2010


I haven't been doing any noteworthy gaming lately, but I have been kicking a few ideas around. One thing I've been thinking about is which RPG rules would work best with my favorite space combat games. Those would be Starmada and Slag! What I have in mind is running the RPG session as normal, but whipping out the space combat games for any major spaceship shootouts that flare up. My inspiration for this are those old D6 Star Wars adventures that suggest using Star Warriors for space battles, FASA's Star Trek which was published alongside a tactical space combat game, and of course Traveller and its various complimentary space combat boardgames. So here's what I'm thinking...

Starmada is one of the best games for simulating the space opera style starship combat that you see in many animé. There was even an option for an "Amine Spinal Mount" in earlier versions of the rules. BESM is one of the best animé RPGs and favors the over-the-top action of swashbuckling space epics. What could be better than playing them together? Both of these games have great point based rules for custom designing your spaceship or character. Both are very versatile and can handle most styles of play, although they lend themselves best to cinematic space opera. The main point of difference is that while Starmada has a solid and well balanced point system, BESM's is arbitrary and unbalanced, making it very easy to build game breaking characters. You need a degree of GM oversight and player cooperation to make BESM work that just won't be needed when it comes to designing starships using Starmada. But that shouldn't be a major obstacle to combining these games to run some amazing animé adventures.

Slag! is a simple and versatile space combat game that uses a diceless system. What better fit for it than the diceless RPG system of Active Exploits? Both of these games are flexible enough to cover a variety of settings, from interplanetary exploits up to galaxy spanning space opera. Slag! has options for building all manner of ships and bases, with options for Force Screens, Tractor Beams, etc. Active Exploits has rules covering most situations, including sf conventions like psi powers. Even so, I'd be inclined to use these games for less flamboyant, more lifelike settings. It's not that they couldn't handle the more exaggerated settings, because they can. It's just that ships end up blasted hulks very quickly in Slag!, and combat in Active Exploits can be deadly. Just right for a more realistic game of outer space adventure.

Unfortunately, I'm not likely to have a chance to try these combos anytime soon, but I like the idea of them. Maybe I can talk someone at the FLGS into giving them a go...

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