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Old 10-21-2017, 02:51 PM   #1
Astromancer
 
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Default Fantasy Games Unlimted: Space Opera

Was it merely clunky, or did it have a few twisted charms of its own?

Please tell me.

What where the Transhumans like?
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Old 10-21-2017, 03:03 PM   #2
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Default Re: Fantasy Games Unlimted: Space Opera

A friend wanted to run the first edition, long ago, but bogged down in confusing and missing rules. There was half a column on passing items to each other at the run, but we couldn't find out how to roll to hit someone, at range or in melee.
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Old 10-21-2017, 03:20 PM   #3
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Default Re: Fantasy Games Unlimted: Space Opera

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Originally Posted by Astromancer View Post
Was it merely clunky, or did it have a few twisted charms of its own?

Please tell me.

What where the Transhumans like?
Were transhumans a "thing" when FGU published Space Opera?
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Old 10-21-2017, 03:56 PM   #4
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Default Re: Fantasy Games Unlimted: Space Opera

There's essentially no transhumanism in the game; bear in mind it was published in 1980, before cyberpunk and the popularisation of nanotech. The smallest sentient computer weighs 15 tons, and isn't suitable as a PC.

ETA: its "transhuman" race is basically a "more evolved" (spit) human, with higher psionic aptitude and higher stats in general.

Last edited by RogerBW; 10-21-2017 at 04:05 PM.
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Old 10-21-2017, 05:14 PM   #5
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Default Re: Fantasy Games Unlimted: Space Opera

Transhumans were Star Trek Vulcans or space elves, possibly ST Kahn like supermen.

As to combat I just adapted the hand to hand rules to cover even ranged combat - it worked.
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Old 10-21-2017, 06:19 PM   #6
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Default Re: Fantasy Games Unlimted: Space Opera

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Originally Posted by Astromancer View Post
Was it merely clunky, or did it have a few twisted charms of its own?
Both. It was beyond clunky. It was, from any rational point of view, damn near unplayable.

Fortunately, when I picked it up early in high school I wasn't approaching it from a rational point of view. It was a glorious bricolage of every pre-cyberpunk outer space sci-fi trope you can imagine (Star Wars, Star Trek, Starship Troopers, space cops, space spies, cat-aliens, dog-aliens, space merchants, all the major player of WWII and the Cold War in space, etc.), with something for everybody as long as you didn't pay attention to how the individual bits and pieces made no sense when you put them all together. It's what I played for years until switching to GURPS.

I still have my collection of Space Opera books in the proverbial box up in the attic. I'll have to look over it again some time and see what useful things I might pull out of it.
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Old 10-21-2017, 06:30 PM   #7
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Default Re: Fantasy Games Unlimted: Space Opera

Seconded. It was much more useful as a source of ideas for other, more prosaic games. It's still sitting on my shelf where I can consult it at need.

Besides, who needs Transhumans when you can play a Lensman, complete with lens ("PK crystal")?
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Old 10-21-2017, 07:26 PM   #8
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Default Re: Fantasy Games Unlimted: Space Opera

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
A friend wanted to run the first edition, long ago, but bogged down in confusing and missing rules. There was half a column on passing items to each other at the run, but we couldn't find out how to roll to hit someone, at range or in melee.
Did you have both books? The first edition came in two volumes of stapled books. The info you needed was in the second. They weren't _good_ rules but I managed to figure it out.

I will agree with TBC and thrash. It was an absolute mess and I say that as someone who was introduced to RP'ing by FGU's Chivalry&Sorcery.

However, I managed to run several campaigns with it anyway. It was interesting compared to LBB Traveller as it had much, much more stuff in it.

Also as stated "TransHumans" were ST Vulcan's or the people with 2 belly-buttons from Roddenberry's Genesis II. Superior humans by almost any measure.

The rest of the non-humans tended towards the furry and if playing a TransHuman was fun playing an Ursoid Space Marine had its' charms as well.

Also by its' time period's standards it had an elaborate system for psionics and if you ever managed to get a Psi-19 (this needed House Rules) rating you could eventually become a TranshHuman.
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Old 10-21-2017, 09:49 PM   #9
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Default Re: Fantasy Games Unlimted: Space Opera

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Originally Posted by Turhan's Bey Company View Post
Both. It was beyond clunky. It was, from any rational point of view, damn near unplayable.

Fortunately, when I picked it up early in high school I wasn't approaching it from a rational point of view. It was a glorious bricolage of every pre-cyberpunk outer space sci-fi trope you can imagine (Star Wars, Star Trek, Starship Troopers, space cops, space spies, cat-aliens, dog-aliens, space merchants, all the major player of WWII and the Cold War in space, etc.), with something for everybody as long as you didn't pay attention to how the individual bits and pieces made no sense when you put them all together. It's what I played for years until switching to GURPS.

I still have my collection of Space Opera books in the proverbial box up in the attic. I'll have to look over it again some time and see what useful things I might pull out of it.
I played the heck out of it in the 80s. It was indeed a glorious mess.

I recently re-read the star atlases, which are wonderful 80s cold-war stuff. Commies bad, but (maybe) not as bad as Space-Nazis. Yellow peril in space. Neo-Roman Liberterians. Great stuff.

Psionics ranged from next-to-useless (low Psionics stat, psi talents that did very little) to Jedi/low-end Lensmen (complete with lenses).

It had a wonderful range of weapons (it never occurred to us that maybe you were expected to trim out those that didn't fit your setting, so if you were playing 'Star Trek' everyone would be using energy disruptors, but when playing 'star Wars' they'd have blasters), most of which were actually game mechanically very similar. Lots of cool equipment, too.

For some reason skill with a ranged weapon made little difference to your hit chance as long as you had any skill at all (something like +2% to hit per level of skill, ranging from 1-10). This didn't stop us from jeering at any player whose wee man had less than skill-10 in their chosen implement of death (we were teenagers - that's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it).

I'd never consider playing a game using Space Opera as a rules set today, but you might find value in mining it for ideas and inspiration. The psionics stuff isn't awful, and if you want a detailed set of equipment/spaceship breakdown rules its are worth looting, for example.

As for the setting - the Star Atlases are, IMO, worth a read, if only for ideas. They are also a good example of how to do such a thing - they have a history of the region, then world writeups that give the game system info and then a short description of the world, including anything that might be interesting game fodder, but leave things undefined enough that there's lots of room for a GM to move in. Worlds tended to be 'world of X' types, but that's in keeping with the genre.
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Old 10-21-2017, 09:51 PM   #10
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Default Re: Fantasy Games Unlimted: Space Opera

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
Also by its' time period's standards it had an elaborate system for psionics and if you ever managed to get a Psi-19 (this needed House Rules) rating you could eventually become a TranshHuman.
There was an optional rule that let you start at Psi-19 if you were a Human, Transhuman, or Feline Avatar and had rolled '100' for Psi to start. So it didn't quite need a house rule, just almost.

Of course the game dates from a time when if you wanted to play a game about high-level psions (or anything else non-default) you were expected to hack the rules to fit (e.g. "Roll 95+1d210 for psionics, rather than 1d100.").
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