Rocket Age with other settings?

an alternate history pulpy retro-sci-fi space opera planetary romance. It's throttled up rocket packs burning radium on the long blast to the farthest reaches of the Solar System. It's hunting thunder lizards in the upland jungles of Venus. It's battling Ancient Martian killing machines piloted by the Deutsche Marserkorps across the baking red deserts of Mars. Learn more at our website: http://www.cubicle7.co.uk/our-games/rocket-age-2/
Jakob
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Rocket Age with other settings?

Post by Jakob » Mon Feb 20, 2017 9:01 am

Quite by accident, I've been taking a closer look at RA in the last few days - I actually really like the system (reminds me a little bit of the simplicity of Barbarians of Lemuria), especially how damage works. I'd like to give it a try ...
... however, I don't really like the retro aspect, escpecially that it is set in the 1930s (the main reason being that I just can't stand having Nazis in my rpg - knowing about the historic reality of the Holocaust always creates a huge cognitive dissonance for me with the lets-have-some-innocent-fun aspect of the pulp mode).
Has anyone tried to use RA for a different sf setting - lets say, for more modern space opera along the lines of the Mindjammer setting, the books by Iain Banks, Alastair Reynolds or Ann Leckie's "Ancillary" novels?

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NozzDogg47
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Re: Rocket Age with other settings?

Post by NozzDogg47 » Mon Feb 20, 2017 10:22 am

Can't really help you on the modern space opera front, but I'll say I'd see no reason it wouldn't work. Heck, the system can basically run Star Wars better than the current Star Wars RPG does, so why not?

May I make a quick point about the current Rocket Age setting though? Because it's one of those worlds with a tonne of flexibility. I usually describe it as Reconstructionist Pulp, since it acknowledges the real darkness of the time, but also shows how good people can make a difference through its gameplay and adventures. It's not just innocent fun. It can be though, which is the best part.

The Nazis are meant to be legitimately threatening and are never used for comedy as far as I've seen. But here's the great with Rocket Age: the setting has a lot of range.

It's a big solar system and there's no real reason your group or campaign should ever have to deal with that sort of thing if you don't want to. The Nazis aren't everywhere. You can spend your time fighting dinosaurs, Yetis and exploring ancient ruins to your heart's content without ever running into one.

Another possibility is to run a game pre-Rocket Age. You could run a Mars campaign set before the arrival of humanity for example.

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Re: Rocket Age with other settings?

Post by Jakob » Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:05 am

Thanks for the advice - I'll actually keep reading the setting part, since it seems to have some fascinating elements that could probably be used for all kind of pulp sf settings, not just for a retro-pulp setting. I'm still pretty sure that I won't use it as written - it's not just whether a setting acknowledges the real darkness of the era; it's more that, regardless of how the setting treats the era and whether Nazis ever actually come up, I just don't like to play anything set in the 1930s/40s; I'll always have that voice in my head that says: "And while our plucky heroes once again save the day, one more nameless person is being tortured/worked to death/gassed in a death camp."

I know that it is a quite selective qualm. For example, I love the setting of Space 1889, even though it romanticizes the bloody era of colonialism - it's just that these are horrors that are not quite as present to me.

Anyway, I'm very happy that I stumbled upon the Vortex system - It really looks like something that does a lot of things right for me. I just never gave it a second look because the settings (Primeval, Doctor Who, Rocket Age) didn't appeal to me.

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NozzDogg47
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Re: Rocket Age with other settings?

Post by NozzDogg47 » Mon Feb 20, 2017 9:01 pm

One more option: set your game in the 50s or 60s, after the Nazis have fallen. Then you still have communists and retro sci fi is still a thing if you want it to be, although I'm not certain you do.

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Re: Rocket Age with other settings?

Post by NIÑO » Tue Feb 21, 2017 4:42 am

NozzDogg47 wrote:Can't really help you on the modern space opera front, but I'll say I'd see no reason it wouldn't work. Heck, the system can basically run Star Wars better than the current Star Wars RPG does, so why not?

Hello!

Nice system, but I wouldn't go that far. FFG's SW's is *THE* Star Wars RPG.
8-)

Ñ

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NozzDogg47
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Re: Rocket Age with other settings?

Post by NozzDogg47 » Tue Feb 21, 2017 5:31 am

NIÑO wrote:
NozzDogg47 wrote:Can't really help you on the modern space opera front, but I'll say I'd see no reason it wouldn't work. Heck, the system can basically run Star Wars better than the current Star Wars RPG does, so why not?

Hello!

Nice system, but I wouldn't go that far. FFG's SW's is *THE* Star Wars RPG.
8-)

Ñ
Honestly, I've played a lot of FFG's Star Wars and I would still prefer running Star Wars using the Vortex System. It gets the narrative nature of the universe far better than most the FFG game does and people found the dice system far easier.

Of course, you're playing with a lot less detail and variety in weapons and equipment, but I don't count that as a bad thing. Sometimes the extra detail gets in the way of things. People get bogged down in stats and lists of slightly different weapons.

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Re: Rocket Age with other settings?

Post by Dankers » Tue Feb 21, 2017 5:57 am

Hi Jakob,

I've enjoyed the setting as is quite a bit and the system has worked well for my group. But I have similarly considered throwing the setting forward into a retro-style future not unlike the world of Captain Future from the Edmond Hamilton stories (I'm currently adapting The Comet Kings into a RA adventure). Some may remember the anime cartoon series from the 70s but the stories were written/published in the 40s. And such a retro-style future setting could easily incorporate all the aliens/tech from RA. A quick rewrite of Earth geopolitics into a single planetary government and you're good to go.

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Re: Rocket Age with other settings?

Post by Jakob » Tue Feb 21, 2017 8:22 am

Dankers wrote:But I have similarly considered throwing the setting forward into a retro-style future not unlike the world of Captain Future from the Edmond Hamilton stories (I'm currently adapting The Comet Kings into a RA adventure). Some may remember the anime cartoon series from the 70s but the stories were written/published in the 40s. And such a retro-style future setting could easily incorporate all the aliens/tech from RA. A quick rewrite of Earth geopolitics into a single planetary government and you're good to go.

That seems to make a lot of sense to me - after all, most of the inspirational material from the 30s or 40s (YA Heinlein, Brackett) are also set in the future, not in the present of the time when they were written ... however, I understand how setting the game in the 30s/40s might also be a kind of metafictional gimmick that serves to reflect on the themes and motives of the times.
I actually kind of want to read Brackett's Solar System series now - I've been meaning to read something by her for a long time, just never got around to it ...

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Re: Rocket Age with other settings?

Post by NozzDogg47 » Wed Feb 22, 2017 5:30 am

Jakob wrote:I understand how setting the game in the 30s/40s might also be a kind of metafictional gimmick that serves to reflect on the themes and motives of the times.
I wouldn't call setting it in the 1930s a gimmick. Rocket Age was written by a former archaeologist. I think he set it in the 1930s because the sci-fi of the time reflected the world's mindset and attitude, both good and bad.

What themes are you planning on playing with? I'm unfamiliar with much 60s-70s Sci-Fi and so I don't really know the style and differences that'll bring. Also, if you plan on using any of the Rocket Age stuff, what would you change apart from the time period? Would the Venusians and Martians be more advanced? Would humanity still be the major space faring race aside from the Europans?

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Re: Rocket Age with other settings?

Post by NIÑO » Wed Feb 22, 2017 8:28 am

NozzDogg47 wrote:
Honestly, I've played a lot of FFG's Star Wars and I would still prefer running Star Wars using the Vortex System. It gets the narrative nature of the universe far better than most the FFG game does and people found the dice system far easier.

Of course, you're playing with a lot less detail and variety in weapons and equipment, but I don't count that as a bad thing. Sometimes the extra detail gets in the way of things. People get bogged down in stats and lists of slightly different weapons.

Hiyas!

Me and my group have had the exact opposite experience. The system conducts startwarsy stuff quite nicely, has a spectacular back-and-forth between player and GM input (which is always a good thing, and forward-looking) and gets the balance between opposed forces (pun) right. FFG's version is the perfect one for roleplaying. Can't wait for new stuff to come from them! 8-)


Ñ

Vortex seems nice for other licences, like Dr Who.

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