Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Gamma Runner Blues - Old School Commentary On The Blade Runner 2049 Film Trailer & More S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks Adventure Connections

" I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time... like tears in rain... Time to die."
Roy Batty Blade Runner '82

So the new Blade Runner 2049 trailer broke from Twentieth Century Fox or whomever is call themselves that name these days. Like so many other folks I was sort of excited about it, but these days nostalgia is so thick you can cut it with a spinner. So why is the Eighties nostalgia so in vogue? Personally I think its because folks are so scared about humanity's future that they're looking to the past of their youth for solace and perspective. One of my teachers in college would have said that this was the perspective of an empire on its last legs. But that perspective brings up another bitter sweet memory of old school gaming. Turn your way back machines to Nineteen Ninety Four &  the director's cut of Blade Runner was hitting Block Buster's shelves. Old school gaming was full swing, errm no it wasn't because there had a blow out with friends over Cyberpunk 2020 vs Gamma World second edition. See our little gaming community was in the middle of a heated Gamma World 2nd edition campaign. And then this other DM wanted to come in & start talking trash about our campaign in college. Nerd rage has always been with the hobby folks and its not pretty. This hobby attracts some very strong personalities. Words were said & our 'friend' got what he came for other players. At least for a bit because the players drifted back to our table after about a month or so.

So why were we using Gamma World Second edition for a Blade Runner style campaign? Well there are several reasons why it works. The technologies are all there from flying e cars to androids. Especially those androids which were in full use in the Gamma World timeline. We used that timeline that appeared in Dragon magazine to play in the Shadow Years.

Tyrell was the new upstart company producing far more life like android workers while mutations were appearing all over the place.  A.I. had come into its own and the interstellar community was quite used to dealing with the many aspects of both androids & robots helping them in the blackness of outer space. You get in on some of the updated versions of this campaign that I did for Stars Without Numbers based partially on the film Silent Running here, part II here  & finally part III here  
We were also using Metamorphosis Alpha first edition for the ship board action as well for this game.  In our game campaign the Delos corporation was the older and standard model. The debacle at the Delos resort had pushed things in a direction that caused a world wide panic reaction to the androids. This being one of the factors that forced the android cryptic alliance faction's hand to help start WW III.  Delos also manufactured the androids for a little star ship called the Warden, no not that one the other one!

But not only is it possible to use Gamma World second edition to fill this sort of a campaign out but Mutant Future can also be used to expand or possibly run this sort of a campaign completely these days.  There are more Blade Runner/Gamma World Advanced Dungeons & Dragons connections.
The other factor that no one ever talks about it is the planar & dimensional gate experiments that were built into the old Dragon magazine Gamma World timeline. This is where the old school AD&D connection comes into S3 Expedition To The Barrier Peaks. Way back in the Nineties we had seen an interview with Gary Gygax where he talked about the fact that the space craft in S3 Expedition To The Barrier Peaks  isn't the Warden of James Ward's Metamorphosis Alpha first edition fame.  In fact this was written up in the Drivethrurpg add for the module;"

A Ship Called Warden. The story of "Expedition to the Barrier Peaks", begins with Metamorphosis Alpha (1976), a science-fantasy game that James Ward was designing in early 1976. When Gary Gygax saw some of Ward's "rough notes", he decided to "introduce the concept" through a tournament scenario: "Expedition to the Barrier Peaks".

"Barrier Peaks" is about a spaceship crashing into the world of Greyhawk. Gygax was very clear is saying that the ship was not the Warden from Metamorphosis Alpha: "The size and the technology in this vehicle should make such speculation quite misplaced, in fact. The downed space ship is far too small, and its science quite different from that of the famed starship Warden." The connection between "Barrier Peaks" and Metamorphosis Alpha is thus more of a thematic one."
So what's the deal with this Warden? Yes it was on a mission of exploration but could there have been far more going on below the surface? The answer is yes! There was experimental time & space research happening on board this version of the Warden. Notice I said this version which for our games would come into far more focus deeper into the campaign in '98. But that's another blog entry.

So what we did was to have a gateway through time and space tying this Warden back to our campaign someplace aboard the ship. The A.I.'s were experimenting with planar & time travel to alternative worlds and it was a great way for us to bridge the AD&D 1st edition game with our Gamma World second edition game. It was also a great way to slip in some android NPC's into Greyhawk working their own nefarious agendas. Plus there was an alien presence on board working its own agenda behind the scenes that caused problems for the android NPC's and the adventurers themselves! And it wanted through the gateway to Earth!

The PC's couldn't let the alien bastard get back through the gate! There had to be a way to seal the gateway? They eventually used one of the atomic batteries they found and blew themselves, the Warden, and the aliens to kingdom come! It was a great way to end a campaign run like tears in the rain!

Keep em rolling folks &

  there's more to come!

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