Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Mirror, Mirror

In my "Star Trek nostalgia" post the other day, I mentioned (briefly) C.R. Brandon's Far Trek RPG, a fun looking thang that actually makes me want to role-play in the Trek-verse. What I failed to mention is that Brandon's game is actually a knock-off of Mike Berkey's game Where No Man Has Gone Before which can be found over here. The main difference between the two is that Berkey's game is based on MicroLite20 while Brandon's is D6 based. However, I must admit I'm a little more disposed to the Far Trek system and its presentation (the artwork is especially evocative).

ANYway...it had been awhile since I'd even checked out Fenway's Far Trek blog, so I'd missed his great link to Glenn Greenburg's blog, in which Greenburg writes about re-watching all 79 original Star Trek episodes with his eight-year old daughter, including their comments and critiques of the better shows. It's a great (and quick) read, and brought back more than a few memories for me...so much so that I ended up re-watching a couple-three of the old shows on Netflix (the entire original series is available for streaming). One of my personal favorites was the Mirror, Mirror episode from the second season, when Kirk and buddies get thrown into an alternate universe with "evil twins" of the Enterprise crew members. It's a lot of fun to watch (as I'm sure it was fun for the actors) while the cast members ham up their sleazy, bloodthirsty villainy. Plus, the re-worked costumes, Spock's beard, Sulu's nasty-ass scar (Takei really does get a juicy role in this one)...it's a classic.

The "Dagger-Thru-Earth" symbol is awesome!
And there's a lot of "food for thought" in it: I couldn't help but think that such a setting - that of an evil, warped version of the normal Trekverse - would be an excellent premise for a real cutthroat RPG. Where the players are crew members and a part of this evil Starfleet Federation, with a prime directive to see that "terror must be continued or the Empire is doomed." Where players get ahead (and promoted!) by lying and cheating and jockeying for position in the bottle environment of a (nominally) military vessel, and in which you constantly building alliances and counting on the loyalty of your personal retainers to keep you safe from assassination. Such a thing could be a knock-off from Berkey or Brandon's system, but with a play-style much more reminiscent of Paranoia (or the latter stages of 3:16 Carnage Amongst the Stars), and would make for a fun few game sessions. As a setting that pretty much carries a mandate of PvP conflict, I wouldn't call it suitable for "long-term" play.

I throw the idea out for someone else to develop, however. It's cool to knock-off other folks' games (and other folks' knock-offs) in this way, when inspiration strikes, but lark projects can really be distracting (even though the exercise can be worthwhile, fun, and educational). Case in point: I've spent entirely too much time fretting over the mechanics of Lord Gwydion's Flying Swordsmen RPG...so much so that I spent the last day-and-a-half writing a sprawling, rambling preamble post about Asians, Caucasians, and Hong Kong Action Theater. It was pretty ridiculous, actually, and probably offensive on a number of levels...so I deleted it in its entirety. I've already offered to provide some feedback to LG (which he accepted), but that's all stuff I can submit to him privately, rather than hashing it out on a blog with a bunch of random personal history stuff.

[just FYI: Flying Swordsmen is Dennis Laffey's own streamlined knock-off of Chris Prama's Dragon Fist supplement written for 2nd Edition AD&D. Despite being a fairly impressive looking book (available as a free download) Lord Gyd has expressed some disappointment with how the system works "in-play" and is currently looking to retool it. I've never seen Prama's game (it's no longer available on the web), but I think Flying Swordsmen has a lot of potential if it can be tightened up a little, both conceptually and rule-wise. However, like I said, I'll give the specifics to LG privately...fans of wuxia with even the slightest interest should at least take a gander at the current version of the book]

1 comment:

  1. The Animated Series is also great to watch with kid(s) & they can start on it even younger. With all the original actors voicing it, it's almost like a lost 4th season, well worth watching if you've never seen it.