One of the things that I inherited from my uncle were not only his campaign notes & some of his Traveller rpg supplements. But back in the 70's there were lots of other lesser known 'bad' sci fi films & believe me our group of players in the 80's sat through lots of them on Beta Max. Case in point is Saturn 3 & Disney's The Black Hole. But from these my uncle weaved a very dark Traveller universe. Let's get a very different perspective on Disney's villain Dr. Hans Reinhardt. Earth is in shock after his theft of the long-lost USS Cygnus. He leaves Earth with some of the the incomplete formula for hyperdrive & leaves for the remotest part of the solar system. But Reinhardt has been an iconoclast in the universe of the Hostile rpg. For Reinhardt decades has advanced space research for the benefit of mankind. He's basically wunderkine & the corporate governments of the Hostile rpg are very much for funding these rogue scientists because of the incredible breakthroughs they provide the corporations. But the theft of the USS Cygnus shakes the corporations to their core. This theft was not only a headline on every major screen at the time. It also represents an act of rebellion that can't go unpunished as the history books remember Reinhardt in the same breath as Hilter & Einstein. The hunt for the wreckage of the long-lost USS Cygnus is the hunt for the 'Flying Dutchman of space's ship' in our campaign universe of the Hostile Rpg.
The USS Cygnus is a cathedral space craft, a testament to the everlasting power of the corporations as much as a space craft for exploration. And then its stolen.. The Earth mourns, the history books have a footnote not knowing the true horror of Reinhardt's madness. Here are three reasons why the film 'The Black Hole' works as 70's space campaign inspiration:
- The Black Hole is a very dark film & the loss of the USS Cygnus is going to put corporate relations back twenty years at least. Not to mention the brain drain on the world of space exploration.
- The Black Hole universe uses psi without any problem so it fits the Cepheus Engine Rpg rules.
- Experimental psi robotic programs are evident with the V.I.N.C.E.N.T incarnation of the cybernetic entities we see in the Black Hole.
- For a recent viewing in preparation for this blog post indicated that there were other historic ships in the Earth's database of the spacecraft USS Palomino. Where are those other lost space craft?
- The spacecraft USS Palomino joins that data base later on. And that's where our Traveller rpg crew picked up the trail.
- The technology of the Cynus was decades ahead of the rest of the Hostile rpg universe.
Bang right off the bat we've got all of those 70's space highlights, overcrowded Earth, spacers on the outer edges of the solar system, & corporate scientists doing cutting edge research. Then we've got the Captain Benson (Keitel) & his robot — named Hector — is one of the first of its kind, a "Demigod Series", relying on "pure brain tissue" extracted from human fetuses and programmed using a direct link to Benson's brain.
- The hydroponics research conducted on Saturn 3 is highly exerimental & the corporate time table is really 'iffy' at best.
- Hector's neural interface with Captain Benson is something we see in Space 1999 season one's episode "Guardian of Piri". And it's cutting edge perhaps leading to insanity & worse something we see in the Space 1999 character Kano. Only he's able to handle it far better then Captain Benson.
- Alex the scientist of Saturn 3 has been rewarded with his service to his corporation with his posting on Saturn three.
- Saturn 3 is far too valuable a piece of interstellar property to leave unclaimed & this is an opening for another corporate entity to send miners in to claim it.
- These research outposts are as much propaganda for Earth citizens as they are a tax write off for their corporate masters.
Zozer Games's Roughnecks is a supplement that you can just about feel the 'Outland' vibe coming off it. The whole book fits the asthetic of Alien & Eighties sci fi so well. The PC's are not your typical heroes of 'Luke Skystalker' mode but working stiffs and miners at that. And lay out & production are so well done. Roughnecks works so well with Far Horizons that its not even funny. These two books together brings exploration of the outer solor system home. Zozer Games puts out fantastic products & again this is brought home with Roughnecks. You get everything you could want as a dungeon master for running Hostile Rpg Eighties sci fi hard core mining operation. One where you can run your people hard & they can play harder in the wastelands of space. And Roughnecks fits in with the asthetic of Eighties sci fi that I'm going for with our group of players coming up.
- Roughnecks works because it gives the PC's the tools to actually pull a profit from their operations.
- The DM has a a mini mining book to play out within the Hostile campaign. There's far more going on below the surface of the solar system that can be pulled from for the corporations.
- The solar system is last great frontier before the alien worlds of beyond but our own solar system is dangerous as Hell.
- Roughnecks presents mankind as their own worst enemies when it comes to the making of a profit. The corporations do what they do & even here their still faceless.
- There's a good chance for heroics even within Roughnecks but watch out for your fellow miners & bugs.