Tuesday, January 05, 2010

RPG approach to AT-43

The miniatures game AT-43, published by Rackham, could be converted into a pretty cool, combat-heavy, role-playing game, perhaps using the d20 Modern/d20 Future ruleset. I would, however, make some changes to the setting, based on my own personal tastes. For one, I don't really care for space-based sci-fi settings in which humans are the main protagonists, but which don't include a prominent role for Earth. This is especially annoying when the humans exhibit very familiar cultural traits. A perfect example is Battlestar Galactica. Earth exists in the BSG universe, but it is lost in myth. Apparently, the humans of the future can retain the names of mythological and literary figures, but lose the spatial coordinates of their planet of origin.

AT-43 takes this to another level. Humans were transplanted in another galaxy by our descendents hundreds of thousands of years in the future. The earthlings of 600K AD are actually no longer biological, but rather digital. Still, they create humans and set them up on other planets in other galaxies. The humans of the planet Ava come to blows with our descendents, called the Therians. Ava has two factions, the United Nations of Ava (UNA) and the Red Blok. The latter has all the trappings of the USSR; Russian names, the red star, communism, despite being 600 millenia removed from the 20th century. Talk about genetic memory.

I would definitely set up an AT-43 rpg campaign in the nearer future. The technology level displayed by the UNA and the Red Blok is not that far advanced from the present day. They use mechs, lasers and gauss weapons, so an early to mid-22nd century setting would be fitting. The Therians would be some other extragalactic superempire and the Red Blok could, perhaps, be Russian colonists on Mars who have reverted back to their communist roots. The Karmans would be uplifted apes, who have been granted the same rights on Earth afforded humans and may have even created their own colony somewhere in human space, while the Cogs would be exactly as they are, an huge alien empire constantly warring on the Therians. Humans would find themselves in the middle of a galaxy-spanning war between the Therians and the Cogs. Meaty stuff indeed, for role-playing adventures.


Further note: I have just discovered that Rackham has a game called AT-43 Tactics: Tactical RPG. Although it has some elements of an rpg, in that each player controls one character and that character increases in abilities over a series of missions associated with the AT-43 Operation Damocles boxed set, it seems to be extremely limited in scope.

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