Tuesday 18 August 2015

#RPGaDay2015 - Day 18, Favourite Sci Fi RPG

I've had to think long and hard about this. I've not played very many sci fi games and mostly cyberpunk-esque. Of the regular sci-fi - 'flying around in space' sci-fi - Firefly stands out because (surprise surprise) I love, love, love the show.

All the same, I don't own the game. I know a lot of people who do - and who love the show as much as I do - yet I've only played one session. It was at uni, with the same group I played the Final Fantasy Noir game. My housemates each had a cat and a rat (I had a snake called Jayne, but he sadly died). Sith's cat was Theia and his rat Baphomet; Penny's cat was Cleo and it's frustrating me that I can't remember the name of her lovely ratattat. And this does have relevance, because whilst our game was brief (we flew to a direlict in a hired ship, hoping to make some money, and that was kinda as far as we got) I remember my character well.

Cat pictues always win, right?
Front: Theia, back: Cleo
Her name was Tawny (pronounced half-way between 'Tore-Knee' and 'Tar-Knee') and she was a mechanic. My GM tried to push me towards a Kaylee-clone but I wanted an independent character so added a few twists: rather than Kaylee's combat paralysis, Tawny used a small pistol. She brewed coffee rather than alcohol in the engine room, and played the harp. And had a pet cat called Spanner (as in "the spanner in the works").

Spanner looked a lot like Theia, but I was allergic to her
so Cleo stood in for her

But as much as I enjoyed Firefly, and as much as I'd love a copy of the book for my very own (oh, and one of these to hang on the wall), I don't think I can call it my favourite sci fi game. I think that has to be Shadowrun, although I know some argue it doesn't count because of the inclusion of fantasy elements. 

It probably helps that it was the first immersive game I played in and I got to be an elf with guns and a monowhip and magic powers! And that was hugely cool to me. Running across pressure pads without setting them off and shooting things Matrix-style? Who wouldn't want that? Yes, it was high-powered but the game was intense, too (not always - different players wanted different things, so it depended who made it to a session), really engaging and emotional - vividly real to me at times.

It's an incredibly rich setting, I think enhanced by the magic: it gives justification to the different progression of technology in the gameworld compared to the real world. The combination of tech and magic means there's many ways to create the character of your imagination, and the depth of the setting means there's as much to do as the lowest gang member as the most powerful runner.

I love the bioware, cyberware, weaponry, magic, imagery, dragons... So much flexibility. I don't like to be constrained to one genre and I love being able to combine dark and gritty with magic and dragons; to combine orcs, elves and dwarves with guns, megacorps and dystopia.

Each edition moves the world forward a few years; 3rd edition (2060) is the one I know best.

My friend Matt of NoGamesNoGlory is a huge Shadowrun fan and listening to him talk about the game is a joy because he's so full of passion and enthusiasm. I've not played in a game he's run, but I'd like to (if we ever have concurrent free time). I think his enthusiasm shows through well in this post.

Yeah. There's a lot to love in Shadowrun.

1 comment:

  1. What about Abberant - that is definitely sci-fi. Where does it fit?