Insomnia. Not something that I really used to suffer from very much but which, recently, has occasionally struck. Tonight's was unusually intense. It was the cause of another wave of thought about the kind of SF gaming that I'd like to try.
This week has been a quiet one for roleplaying for me. Being so busy at work, and intensely tired each evening, I've not had the energy for much musing... and the school club meeting had to be postponed because I was needed elsewhere. Nothing really surprising there.
That being said, I've been flipping through the electronic version of the HARP SF rulebook again and it got me thinking about the Serene Dawn campaign that I was banging on about a couple of months ago. (See article "Out On The Rim")
Of course, the sane part of my brain keeps reminding me of the sensible nature of the pledge I made to a) focus on the games I am running, and b) to stick with playing GURPS... but then, you know me. Any excuse to explore and mess around with a system / ideas and I'm game.
Laying in bed at 3am I came to another nice realisation: the SF gaming that I like and want to mess around with is actually a blend of ideas from many sources. Certainly I am a big fan of the Classic Traveller Universe but I am also a fan of tweaking and shaping anything I touch to suit my own tastes, and those of my players. Ultimately, I could never run a vanilla Traveller game.
So what stuff would I blend into Serene Dawn?
One of the all-time best supplements on Psi
Psionics come first. I love the "powers of the mind" stuff and it needs to be prevalent and central to any campaign that I run. Drawing on the old Alternity "Mindwalking" concept, I immediately want to see subtle and not-so-subtle manipulations of mind and matter being unleashed by heroes and villains alike. This is the stuff of fiction and classic action adventure. Who doesn't want to see mooks chucked around by the power of the mind, or the intense "mind reading" scenes where the villain mentally assaults his victims?
Military tropes come second. I love military SF. It doesn't have to be all gun-toting Marines and machismo, but I do love a bit of gun play and hoo-rah! Drawing on the themes from "Hammers' Slammers" and "Space: Above & Beyond", I'm drawn to the team spirit and action-packed imagery of soldiers in the Far Future. FGMP, anyone?
Conspiracy comes third. Inspired by games such as "Conspiracy X", the themes of the "World of Darkness", and movies like "Inception" and "The Matrix" it's fair to say that I love a good conspiracy. What I particularly like about roleplaying conspiracy stories is that the players get to really pitch in as they play. Each suggestion as to what is really going on fuels the plot... especially as I alter and weave my own ideas from the players' own fears.
Making It Breath
Given those three core elements, I think that I am beginning to imagine how the Far Future can be warped to my own alternative Traveller Universe... although I probably need to stop referring to it in those terms. For me it's no problem to lift the core ideas from the OTU and blend them with other ideas which illuminate and deepen the setting into something fresh. Serene Dawn is, perhaps, starting to take shape in my mind.
The challenge, of course, is to turn ideas into action. How can I get a game?
In truth... well, I probably won't anytime soon. Yet that doesn't stop me creating and building. As with Mykovnia and other RPG ideas, if you keep them bubbling and record the stuff you've created then it's always ready to be played. Systems aside, the really exciting bit of GMing is all the creative juice you get to squeeze from your insomniac brain at 3am.