Jump to content
Conrad

Old School Space Opera?

Recommended Posts

I would love to see an old school style space opera setting in the style of Star Frontiers, for OQ. Am I alone in this desire, or would others like to see such a thing? Such a thing would most likely be more popular than RoH as space opera is easier to get your head around than Hard SF. 

Edited by Conrad
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I think 'old school space opera' I think E.E. Doc Smith and Lensmen, Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, and Space Patrol... and that sort of game I'd be excited about... emphasis on characters and wild adventure, less about gun-porn, scientific accuracy, and arguing details of setting canon (things that always seem to plague games of Traveller I've been in).

I liked the aliens in Star Frontiers but I don't remember anything else distinctive about it.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not exactly what you're looking for, but there is a conversion of Star Frontiers in the Downloads section. It's for the BGB if I remember correctly. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/14/2017 at 5:18 PM, Simlasa said:

When I think 'old school space opera' I think E.E. Doc Smith and Lensmen, Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, and Space Patrol... and that sort of game I'd be excited about... emphasis on characters and wild adventure, less about gun-porn, scientific accuracy, and arguing details of setting canon (things that always seem to plague games of Traveller I've been in).

Oooooooooooo now I'm on the same page as you are there :)

After RoH Companion (which as Clarence pointed out is a different flavour of Sci-Fi) and OQ Refresh (which it kinds depends on) I'll be seeing what I can work up on this front ;)

I have ideas, and strangely by accident I have a ton of art available. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I looked up Triplanetary to see the legal status of that novel. It should have passed into the public domain, but there was a later revised and copyright version in the early 50's.

I always wanted to do a monograph madam Corelli's Romance of Two Worlds. Edison's Conquest of Mars is definitely in the public domain.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some kind of spacebound Psi Police would make for a great RPG, especially for OQ, as it is sufficiently different from RoH's territory (I can see it now, OQ Psi Space!). I wonder why the only thing I can think of that sounds anything like that for RPGs is GURPS Lensman? I know that the RPG Space Opera has lenses in it as well, but as far as I can find there was no official Psi Cop Campaign published by any RPG company. Am I correct, or wrong about this?  

Edited by Conrad

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Psionics are definitely in!  As well as light weight vehicle rules.

I'm a big fan of 2000 AD, especially Strontium Dog and Judge Dredd, so the idea of some form of Star Cops/Bounty Hunter game comes to mind, esp since one of my best RPG experiences ever was with the old Games Workshop game from the 80s which was very much D100 based and crunch lite (being a sort of Warhammer lite game).

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am working on a psi-free space opera setting, but then I wouldn't call it old school space opera - too much influence from transhumanist tendencies (beyond Lensmen, the Homanx Meliorare or the Childe cycle advanced humanity wars).

I never understood why the Mohs hardness of space operas was rather strict in the technology but barely above cotton in terms of psionics. No idea how notorious the series ever became in English-speaking circles, but the ongoing (! OMG!) German "Perry Rhodan" pulp SF series which started in 1961 had plenty of psionics and mediocre writing, which sort of soured my tolerance for psionics or other kinds of spellcraft in SF. I can appreciate a Psionics and Space setting like that Aeon Trinity game for the Storyteller system, but am somewhat allergic to Space with Psionics, even if that includes Star Trek and Babylon 5 (the latter being excused because psionics turned out to be a significant plot element). Fairytale Space (aka Star Wars) works fine within its own limits, too.

 

What time and style are we talking about when saying old school space opera anyway? Heinlein's Starship troopers and/or Dickson's Dorsai? Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers? Schmitz' Telzey and Trigger or Laumer's Retief? Poul Anderson's Flandry and van Rijn novels? Or more recent ones like C.J. Cherryh's Union/Alliance setting or its Chanur extension?

I suspect that any of those I mentioned will still incur licensing fees. How high would those be - anyone in the know? My own experiences are limited to Glorantha and Midkemia as settings or products which incur licensing fees.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry about the triple post. I image most of those rules could be ported over. Did the Design Mechanism doing anything with them?

Edited by p_clapham
accidental triple post

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Joerg said:

I am working on a psi-free space opera setting, but then I wouldn't call it old school space opera - too much influence from transhumanist tendencies (beyond Lensmen, the Homanx Meliorare or the Childe cycle advanced humanity wars).

I never understood why the Mohs hardness of space operas was rather strict in the technology but barely above cotton in terms of psionics. No idea how notorious the series ever became in English-speaking circles, but the ongoing (! OMG!) German "Perry Rhodan" pulp SF series which started in 1961 had plenty of psionics and mediocre writing, which sort of soured my tolerance for psionics or other kinds of spellcraft in SF. I can appreciate a Psionics and Space setting like that Aeon Trinity game for the Storyteller system, but am somewhat allergic to Space with Psionics, even if that includes Star Trek and Babylon 5 (the latter being excused because psionics turned out to be a significant plot element). Fairytale Space (aka Star Wars) works fine within its own limits, too.

What time and style are we talking about when saying old school space opera anyway? Heinlein's Starship troopers and/or Dickson's Dorsai? Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers? Schmitz' Telzey and Trigger or Laumer's Retief? Poul Anderson's Flandry and van Rijn novels? Or more recent ones like C.J. Cherryh's Union/Alliance setting or its Chanur extension?

I suspect that any of those I mentioned will still incur licensing fees. How high would those be - anyone in the know? My own experiences are limited to Glorantha and Midkemia as settings or products which incur licensing fees.

I don't find most space-opera science to be particularly hard-science; it's just got a bit more emphasis on the pretend-physics, because so many of the nerds who read it <raises own hand> wince harder at bad-science of the physics variety... so the "better" authors wave their hands more wildly to distract.  But it still operates via handwavium.

I toss in many of Andre Norton's stuff as space opera, too.

But don't knock Perry Rhodan!  Whether unit-volume, revenues, or virtually any other number, it's the "biggest" series ever...

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/24/2017 at 0:01 PM, Conrad said:

Some kind of spacebound Psi Police would make for a great RPG, especially for OQ, as it is sufficiently different from RoH's territory (I can see it now, OQ Psi Space!). I wonder why the only thing I can think of that sounds anything like that for RPGs is GURPS Lensman? I know that the RPG Space Opera has lenses in it as well, but as far as I can find there was no official Psi Cop Campaign published by any RPG company. Am I correct, or wrong about this?  

Ever since Babylon 5, my spacebound Psi Police have to wear black and have a sinister front man.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 29/04/2017 at 5:04 PM, soltakss said:

Ever since Babylon 5, my spacebound Psi Police have to wear black and have a sinister front man.

The Lensman series and The Demolished Man are more my influences, but psychic powers could easily be abused by do gooders, and they could eventually end up being regarded as space fascists. ;)

Edited by Conrad

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Conrad said:

The Lensman series and The Demolished Man are more my influences, but psychic powers could easily be abused by do gooders, and they could eventually end up being regarded as space fascists. ;)

Black Lensmen!  There's nothing inherently "good" about Lens "technology" in that 'verse... it's just that they are created by "Arisian" godlings who only wanted good/worthy people to get them; Eddorian lenses are functionally equivalent (and look identical, to the uninformed eye), but are "evil".

But yeah, any tool (including psi) is susceptible to misuse by idealists of an "ends justify the means" persuasion... not to mention those whose "ideals" don't match with your own ideals...

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2017-4-24 at 8:08 PM, Joerg said:

I suspect that any of those I mentioned will still incur licensing fees. How high would those be - anyone in the know? My own experiences are limited to Glorantha and Midkemia as settings or products which incur licensing fees.

Why bother with licencing someone else's setting when it is far cheaper to create your own? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Conrad said:

Why bother with licencing someone else's setting when it is far cheaper to create your own? 

For one thing, credit where credit is due, and I must the old Midkemia Press publications as major influence on my GMing and storytelling. Secondly, I really am rooted deeply in their city of Karse.

Creating content for a well-known and respected setting creates a customer base. While Chaosium doesn't own the Lovecraft et.al. estate for the Cthulhu mythos, its publications have contributed to the commonly accepted canon to an extent that it is getting hard to do a mythos-related game without referring to material published by Chaosium. How many such settings and games are there out there?

For me, Glorantha has been an obsession of a few decades. While I am perfectly able to create my own fantasy background, with a mythology and deep history that leads up to the situation I describe in the setting, this is hard and most of all time-consuming work, taking time off my time for creating game-related content. And I will have to provide a setting description that will attract a customer base. I need to fascinate a crowd of people into financing my fancy, and to provide art direction and other such details which will take further time off my productive time.

Paying a license fee to inherit a fan base could be a boost to my productivity.

Producing content for Chaosium to publish probably is still easier.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/14/2017 at 3:06 AM, Conrad said:

Why bother with licencing someone else's setting when it is far cheaper to create your own? 

Ready-made fan-base.

When EvilHat published DFRPG, the DresdenFiles crowd came to them in some quantity; people who'd never played Fate before... people who hadn't gamed in decades... people who had never gamed, at all.  There's StarWars geeks who became gamers when there was an official SW RPG.

And -- Back in the Day -- WiteWolf's Vampire wasn't EXACTLY "The Vampire Lestat RPG" but it was close enough that significant numbers of Anne Rice fans suddenly became gamers.

Etc...

Also, many people find books/movies/anime/whatever -- traditional "story" media -- to be a more-accessible way to enter the world, than an RPG.  Easier for some to see a movie or two,, even read a few novels, than a single RPG sourcebook.  Glorantha is an amazing world, rich and deep... and I *repeatedly* see people describe it as being a "challenge" to get started -- too daunting / unapproachable / impenetrable / etc ...   Yes, I do know the classic suggestions, and I make them when I see the query/complaint.  But it's real issue.

But those rich, deep, lucious settings (like Glorantha, like StarWars, like MIddleEarth & StarTrek & StarWars &c...) easily approached when they're done in a well-known and very-popular setting.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting answers there gentlemen, but does Newt have the cash to buy an old school space setting from someone else? Wouldn't it make better business sense to make up an old school space setting, Like SWN ( https://www.rpg.net/reviews/archive/15/15458.phtml ) or file off the serial numbers of an old setting, like the OSR rpgs do ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_School_Revival )?

Edited by Conrad
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Conrad said:

Interesting answers there gentlemen, but does Newt have the cash to buy an old school space setting from someone else? Wouldn't it make better business sense to make up an old school space setting, Like SWN ( https://www.rpg.net/reviews/archive/15/15458.phtml ) or file off the serial numbers of an old setting, like the OSR rpgs do ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_School_Revival )?

No idea whether he's secretly wealthy, or not (this being an RPG-publisher, I'd go with "not" by default  ;-)  ...    OTOH, the question was "why bother" (which is what got replied-to), not "can he afford to".   And even if he doesn't have the ca$h, that's not to say he (or somebody) might not know of some IP/setting whose author (or estate) was willing to make a reasonable deal, instead of a prohibitive one.

One thought:  instead of licensing the IP, and doing the book as an in-house publishing project using the house RPG engine... what if SOMEBODY*cough*Newt*cough* were to approach the IP-holder with an offer to license the game-engine to them, and do the work work as a consultant/subcontractor?   IANAL, nor a game-publisher; I've no idea if mine is a good idea, or an ignorant & utterly stupid one.  But it's an idea...

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm locking this topic down as forum moderator. its gone completely off topic in an not very constructive manner. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

×