Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Visions of the Future

The Traveller materials that I own are kinda light on illustrations compared to later sci-fi RPGs. And more importantly, much of the game as published uses an equally light touch when describing the details of future life, especially compared to later setting-intensive games. Fans who've religously followed the game since '77 no doubt have a clearer idea of life in the 3rd Imperium than I, but the game as I know it leaves conceptual blanks that I fill in with stuff from other sources.

My memories of old movies often fill those blanks. I'm talking about the sci-fi stuff I saw as a kid in the 80's. The original Star Wars trilogy takes first place here, as it does for a lot of gamers. When space traders hit startown in the Spinward Marches my thoughts naturally flit to Mos Eisley. Star Wars also establishes the utter ubiquity of robots and aliens, such that nobody even really notices them much of the time. Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan provides one of my alltime favorite big ship space duels. The burgundy tunics are also about the only naval uniforms in sci-fi that I think look cool. Weyland-Yutani from Alien and the Tyrell Corporation from Blade Runner pretty much define the megacorp for me. Those two films also take the 'used future' concept from Star Wars and push it to the max. The first Alien sequel also yields valuable data on how to run a space marine squad. Those poor sons of bitches.

So there you have it. When I talk about Traveller I'm really talking about Han Deckard flying the Millenium Falcon past Admiral Kirk's Star Destroyer blockade while somewhere in the Solomani Rim some Colonial Marines hunt Nexus 6 replicants. Add in a dash of Sean Connery shotgunning Sting and have the Russian ship from 2010 make a fly-by and you've got my vision of Traveller-style scifi.