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FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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Kurieg posted:

basically everyone who lives there is elementally evil, and their economy revolves entirely around slavery.
1850 savannah?

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FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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Halloween Jack posted:

Lorraine Williams made some bad decisions, but diversifying TSR's games and leveraging their IP was not only a good idea, it was necessary. It seems that where it all went wrong was that they had no market research to guide them in deciding which individual ventures were likely to pay off.
Williams actually did a good job running TSR in the 1980s. She pushed heavily into book publishing (which led to money spigot that was Dragonlance and then the money geyser that was Drizzt/Forgotten Realms). She oversaw the creation of the Gold Box games. She invested in cover art and physical presentation. She presided over the single most intellectually fertile period of D&D's history, with a zillion interesting world settings being created and published under her watch. Plus she dragged the company away from the family of grognards who were systematically looting it at the start of her tenure.

What did her in was the market changing in the early 1990s - first, the shift of the RPG market towards Vampire and other similar play-a-monster games, and then the fireball that was Magic: the Gathering, which TSR struggled to respond to (Dragon Dice? Spellfire? Blood Wars?). Plus the DL and FR paperback novel goldmines became tapped out and TSR was unable to get lightning to strike a third time (despite publishing a river of Al-Qadim and Dark Sun and Planescape novels)

All that said, her self-dealing w/r/t her ownership of the Buck Rogers property was really indefensible.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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Halloween Jack posted:

It seems like the more or less "official" narrative of her tenure is the opposite of the actual problem. Like, there were false rumours that she forbade playtesting on the clock, and so on.
I'm 99% certain that she banned employees playing their own personal campaigns on company time. You could play D&D on the clock, it just had to be actual playtesting of an actual product in development and you had to file playtest reports and feedback. Which naturally led to infinite bellyaching from the grogs who had their completely sweet deal (play D&D with your friends and gently caress around all day, collect a paycheck and benefits for your efforts) torpedoed.

quote:

If anything, she didn't interfere in the design process enough. Just as one example, the 2e team should have been encouraged to keep improving on the 1e mechanics. On the whole, I think there should have been greater variety of games and campaign settings, with more unified rules design.
She wasn't a designer, she came from completely outside the game industry, she wisely left the game design decisions to someone with actual game design knowledge and experience.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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Maxwell Lord posted:

I think it's party that in space opera flicks (mostly, Star Wars, but also your Flash Gordons and incarnations of Buck himself) you don't see lots of people wearing armor. (But there are SOME characters in armor in those things, so it has to have some effect, etc.) Whereas fantasy is associated with "knights in shining armor" and poo poo so that's sort of ingrained into our perception of it.

Putting most characters in Spacesuits is a good compromise, you can mentally imagine that as looking like whatever.
The other thing about armor in pulpy SF is that it often doesn't seem to have any effect (Stormtroopers might as well have been wearing Speedos for all the good their armor did them against a handful of stone-age teddy bears)

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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SunAndSpring posted:

can I just post about the loving book instead of having dipshits tell me "no"
no

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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Tuxedo Catfish posted:

I like the idea of having a setting where all magic is exclusively based on summoning some kind of entity that knows how to solve whatever problem you're facing, and being a wizard is halfway between being a switchboard operator and being in the mafia.
The early versions of Stormbringer were like that. The magic system was entirely built around summoning demons and elementals and getting them to do work for you (or binding them into items and using those to do work). You didn't cast teleport, you summoned a Demon of Transport to conduct you to you destination. You don't cast fireball you summon a fire elemental to barf fiery goo on your opponent. That sort of thing. Spellcasting was always risky, especially if you tried to summon one of the Big Boys to bail you out of whatever jam you were in.

Later versions dropped that in place of a Vancian system (of weak spells with well defined and unchanging behavior). Later versions kind of sucked.

High-level play in the Dying Earth RPG had wizards who compelled djinn-like spirits called Sandestins to do all their work for them (when they weren't arguing over the precise wording of their indenture agreements).

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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Night10194 posted:

Gary Gygax was pretty up on race wars, polearms, and terrible writing.
And different kinds of trees!

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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Maxwell Lord posted:

I feel like itís as hard SF as you can get while still having something like a space opera. Thatís really the cool thing about the setting, these are two sub genres of science fiction that normally just donít mix but it works.
Mike Pondsmith is good at his job.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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Moldless Bread posted:

I never understood RPG Cookbooks. They always seemed like desperate and cheap attempt to publish one more book in a setting.
Sounds like you understand them just fine.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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I thought Toughness had a bit of utility as a low-effort "filler" feat when statting up monsters (who got their own feats).

"Orc Leader has a class level and I have to choose a feat? OK, Toughness, boom he has a couple extra HP. Done."

Which, of course, leads to discussions about the wisdom and necessity of fully statting up monsters and having them use the same rules-as-physics as the PCs.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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Nessus posted:

I think to a certain extent this is just forcing a thing they like into the pattern of another thing they like, with a healthy garnishing of wanting to reify certain forms of masculinity at random intervals. I'm also aware there was some kind of epic-length fanfiction cycle about The Ponies, But It's Fallout, so this is probably connected to that.
It seems to be in the vein of Unoriginal Nerd Idea #1: "Redo a nice thing as something dark and gritty (excuse me - realistic)."

It's also a common way for nerds to engage with child-focused pop culture without being made fun of (or thinking themselves ridiculous) for playing with a child's things - by transforming the kid-pop thing into an adult thing by slathering a thick layer of gritty realism over it. Superheroes are for kids, but superheroes with rape and serial killers are definitely an adult thing for adults that are appropriate for an adult (like me) to post fanfic and argue on message board about. Or Harry Potter or MLP or Dora The Explorer or whatever.

Of course, doing this usually destroys whatever was interesting about the original material in the first place, and misses the point entirely. "What if Superman, but he's a power-mad rear end in a top hat?" is a dumb, boring idea because the whole point of Superman is that he is a genuinely nice and kind person who is always working for the greater good despite havign the power of a god at his disposal.

There's a lot of overlap between this and the closely-related Unoriginal Nerd Idea #2: "What if the good guys are actually the bad guys, and vice versa. OH DID I JUST BLOW YOUR MIND?!?!"

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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Everyone posted:

If alignment is ever anything more than something to help beginning players get a handle on their characters' moral/ethical outlooks, it's way too involved in the game.
I could see Alignment being useful in a setting where axes of Law and Chaos and Good and Evil were actual things that your characters interacted with (like, in an Elric/Corum/Eternal Champion Moorcock game, or a Devils-and-Angels game).

But no version of D&D has ever been that. Not even close.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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Night10194 posted:

The thing is that was only ever DH. Ever since FFG took over, they wanted the Ravenor/Eisenhorn/Abnett Elite Operatives. Just they had a system for 'weaker, more cowardly, and less competent than WHFRP2e' characters that didn't work well for itself or for what they wanted to use it for, and the whole framework just screams under the weight like someone's d20 heartbreaker.

All of the games past DH feel like games intended for a different system, using the DH base they inherited because they had to, while it didn't work for them in the slightest.
Using the DH system to run Deathwatch - like, not just Space Marines, but elite-of-the-elite Space Marines - was a comically bad choice.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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PoontifexMacksimus posted:

It'd be interesting to know where this bizarre idea that "grey-brown = authentic" originated; we've seen the same thing taken to absurd desaturated extremes in FPS games... but it goes back to old school fantasy were you'd have characters walking around covered in naked brown leather and furs like a medieval gutter punk (or literal murder hobo??). There's obviously some through line of unhappy attitudes towards anything "fancy".
There was this big "Well, actually" movement in fantasy fiction in the 1970s which tried to make things more "realistic" (a good artifact of this is the Poul Anderson essay On Thud And Blunder) which went along with a similar trend in pop history (getting away from the Ivanhoe and Robin Hood notion of knights and chivalry and beautiful princesses and shining armor and jolly peasants). It overshot its mark so we've been stuck the awful ugly Dung Ages as our baseline for understanding medieval times for the last several decades.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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PurpleXVI posted:

Actually, that's an Astral Dreadnought.
As genuinely useless as MOTP was as a game supplement, it had truly great (dare I even say iconic) cover art.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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Tibalt posted:

oh my god can I please play in a game that actually deals with these ideas and not just go "yeah, yeah, I dunno, there's a debit card on your SIN" instead?
That's so Monte Cook. Here's an ~*eXoTiC*~ setting detail that actually doesn't make any sense at all if you think about it for more than a few moments and, it turns out, it isn't actually used by anyone in the setting.

Everything I've ever read by him is like that. Ptolus, Ghostwalk, his WoD remake. Full of reams of specific detail that isn't very interesting or memorable or mechanically engaging and never actually thought out through its implications.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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Just Dan Again posted:

I've tried to figure out what this word was autocorrected from to no avail. Unless he really did just send out a legion of Skeletors and Hordaks to rule over the conquered territories...
I'm pretty sure it's "naval"

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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mellonbread posted:

MOTHERSHIP PLAYERíS SURVIVAL GUIDE - Part 1: Introduction

As a kid, I had a 1970s SF artbook called SPACEWRECK: GHOSTSHIPS AND DERELICTS OF SPACE that was full of pictures like this: https://www.flickr.com/photos/erice/albums/72157625487902502/with/5215948168/




It sounds like MOTHERSHIP is pretty much That Book: The RPG.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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Night10194 posted:

This isn't Arkham Horror style pulp, Sandy Petersen's idea of the Mythos is set up to discourage pulpy action and gunplay as much as possible.
They had to publish an entire separate 270-page rulebook to do pulp Cthulhu (called, naturally, Pulp Cthulhu)

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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Each PC in Call of Cthulhu (going back to the very first version from 1981) has three metagame skills (Know, Idea, and Luck) that are meant to goose a party along when it hits a dead end. Everyone has them, and they're usually at or above 50%, so when the adventure seizes to a halt, the players or even the Keeper can call for Luck and Idea checks until someone succeeds and they get a clue they need to bump them along in the scenario. Really, it's a formal mechanic that allows the Keeper to fudge outcomes in order to keep a session on track.

One of the reasons I was kind of disappointed in Gumshoe/Trail of Cthulhu was that the big innovation in the system (you always get the appropriate clue you need to progress in the scenario! No more dead ends because nobody made their Library Use skill!) was solving a problem that CoC had mostly solved in its first iteration.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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Night10194 posted:

vassal states to the Spacewoof Empire.
Did someone say "Spacewoof Empire"?



Hell yes.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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I liked the take that was prevalent during the Achilli/VtM 2e Revised era: vampires spend 99% of their time politicking and scheming against other vampires, and only interact with the mundane world as they need to in order to preserve themselves (keeping their havens hidden, making inconvenient bodies disappear, etc.) and they do a lot of that through cut-outs and ghouls. Nobody spends a lot of time mucking around in the mundane world because 1) who cares, and 2) every minute you spend playing in the mundane world is a minute you're not spending attending to business in the vampire world (but that your enemies are). Trying to use your vampire powers to enthrall a US Senator or become the unchallenged crime lord of the west coast or date that pop star you always had a crush on is the sort of foolish thing a neonate thinks to do (which is why neonates spend a least a decade under the firm control of their sires).

Vampires have a lot of power and influence but they mostly spend it playing intra-vampire games against one another, and when they do engage the mundane world, it's to protect themselves and hide themselves and burrow even deeper into the background.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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mllaneza posted:

Mind War !

Warriors of the Green Planet !



There's a copy up on eBay! $47 + $7 shipping, own it yourself! https://www.ebay.com/itm/Mind-War-1976-Richard-B-Jordison-Complete-in-original-packaging-/303641082741

It's by "Fact & Fantasy Games" of Maryland Heights MO. Other games by this guy are "Battle of Helm's Deep", "War of the Sky Galleons", "Warriors of the Green Planet"

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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mllaneza posted:

That's a lot of shipping for four sheets of paper with words on them folded in half and stapled. And the original packaging was a ziplock bag. Mine's in the original :smug: The counters are punched though.
I have a fondness for weird old gaming artifacts of the 1970s and early 1980s, especially from little one-man hobby game companies that probably sold them at just their local con and out of their PO box. Real DIY energy.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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SkeletonHero posted:

I don't think there has been a D&D module, adventure path, or homebrew campaign in the entire history of the hobby that accurately accounts for the capabilities of a high-level party.
The tail end of the Gygax Giants/Drow/Spiderweb GDQ series handled high-level play pretty well.

Of course, it did it by broadly nerfing magic abilities and items. The Drow modules took place in the Underdark, where teleport spells didn't work and your enemies carried +4 swords and armor that lost its abilities if you took it out of the caverns. The final module took place in a level of the Abyss, where a whole bunch of magic spells were modified to have diminished or no effect.

So, um, maybe that isn't the best example.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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Everyone posted:

And correct me if I'm wrong on this but if "Oriental" is being applied as an adjective to anything other than a rug, it's already kind of racist on its face, right?
"Oriental Flavor" instant ramen noodles got renamed to "Soy Sauce Flavor" a few years back. So, yeah, it's only rugs at this point.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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Gatto Grigio posted:

The OSR contingent is weirdly obsessed with frogs in general for reasons unknown.
The first ever published dungeon was The Temple Of The Frog (as part of OD&D Supplement II: Blackmoor)

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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I think I saw a Kickstarter for a James Bond-ish spy/espionage game...using the 5E ruleset.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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Zereth posted:

Yeah, I would be fine with an edition of Shadowrun where the stats for an Ares Predator are "Heavy Pistol with Integrated Smartlink" and that's all.
Basic statlines modified by keywords is absolutely the way to gp.

The FFG 40K games mostly do this.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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Lucifer is another show that started as a by-the-numbers police procedural only to transform into what its creators wanted it to be once it developed an audience.

Whatever it takes, I guess.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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My favorite 40K setting quirk is that the Imperium has ruled 90% of the galaxy for 10,000 years, despite supposedly being in a constant death struggle against chaos, xenos, its own schismatic nature, and its own ramshackle incompetence. Chaos doesn't seem like much of a threat when it's had ten thousand years of constant raging against the Imperium and the Imperium still stands while Chaos is confined to a couple of of hot spots (Eye of Terror, etc.) that they can never seem to break out of. Orks have been WAAGHing all over the place since the start of time and they're still just a couple of green dots on the map.

I was pleased that the recent big setting-changing metaplot event (cracking the galaxy in half with a giant warp rift) actually did put the Imperium at risk and gave chaos a long-overdue actual accomplishment.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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By popular demand posted:

Aberrant but good?! I'm going to need to see it for myself.
D20 Aberrant has a solid claim of being the most broken RPG of all time.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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LatwPIAT posted:

However, I believe that Warhammer 40,000 was originally intended not so much as satire as a somewhat black humour take on New Wave science fiction of the 80s. The New Wave of sci-fi, spreadheaded by what we now recognize as "cyberpunk", was a movement that reacted to the stagnant, often utopian and antiquated takes on sci-fi of the late 70s, and presented instead radically modern futures. To be crass and reductive, 70s sci-fi had disappeared up its own rear end and was presenting a view of the future that was already a retro-future, and New Wave sci-fi decided to bring sci-fi kicking and screaming into the 1980s. And so when Rogue Trader says "Forget the promise of progress and understanding, for these is no peace among the stars, only an eternity of carnage and slaughter" that's what it's talking about : a better future? No, it's going to keep sucking.
To me, the biggest influence on O.G. 40K was the 2000AD weekly comic book (unsurprising, since GW published a Rogue Trooper boardgame and a Judge Dredd boardgame and RPG). If you were going to do a snotty, cynica,l over-the-top rendition of heroic space warriors and publish it in weekly 6-8 page installments in a British weekly anthology, it would look a lot like 40K 1E. That, and various heavy metal album covers (especially Iron Maiden and Megadeth) really set the tone for early 40k.

I remember when it came out, it was clear it was just an excuse to have armies of Space Orks and Space Elves and Space Demons fighting Space Humans In Power Armor fight each other and not to be taken too seriously. It wasn't my cup of tea (too cartoony) so I didn't pay too much attention to it, and I was shocked years later to discover that it had accumulated this huge corpus of complicated, detailed, and very very serious setting fluff about it.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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Just Dan Again posted:

Glorantha and Arthurian legend share a weird characteristic that I absolutely love, which is the Single Buckwild Sentence. An idea so goddamn ridiculous that a part of my brain demands that I spin a story out of it. My personal favorite from Le Morte D'Arthur is "...and Sir Marrok the good knight, that was betrayed by his wife, for she made him seven years a werewolf." There's a French story (Bisclavet) that is though to be Marrok's, but setting that aside I think it's wild to just drop "oh yeah this guy's wife made him a werewolf for seven years. Moving on..."
One of the published Pendragon adventures is built around that one sentence ("The Adventure of the Werewolf" in the The Spectre King adventure collection)

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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By popular demand posted:

Dark Sun seemed cool at first glance, but i didn't like where it went.
That is the fate of almost all settings that have a treadmill publishing model

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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Ratoslov posted:

This reminds me of one of the weirder things from Shadowrun 4e's epistolary chatter bits in the gun books. Like, they'd introduce a gun that would be pretty lovely for a Shadowrunner to carry because it'd have low ammo capacity and maybe be magazine fed and so forth and the ad copy would mention that it got a award for being a good civilian self-defense weapon. The runners would say that this was obvious evidence of the police departments encouraging bad weapons for civilians so they couldn't fight back. But with a few exceptions these weapons would be perfectly good everyday carry weapons for normal people. It was kinda bizarre.
It seems 100% true to life that nerds arguing online about how non-nerds use something would be completely (and smugly) off base, especially over something like guns.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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My favorite weird quirk of CP's rules is how Empathy is the critical stat for determining how much cyberwear you could jam into your body without uncontrollably flipping out. So if you are a corporation looking for subjects to be maximally cybered up as your ruthless elite combat storm troops, the last thing you want is a bunch of gung-ho hard asses - you should be selecting for sensitive, sympathetic, poetic souls with lots of friends and a tendency to adopt adorable puppies.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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Allstone posted:

That was kind of my point. The assumption that Africa is an homogenous undeveloped backwater compared to the global north is widespread and lovely. This year it stands out particularly badly because we've seen exactly how much global north exceptionalism is worth in an actual crisis situation. I feel like we really should be prepared to hold people writing an ostensibly political game to a higher standard than the layman! This debate happened fairly publicly when Resident Evil 5 came out.
It's also hilariously out of date. One of the biggest and most undercovered stories of the 21st century is just how much progress sub-Saharan African countries have made across all development metrics (per capita GDP, economic growth rates, life expectancy, educational achievement, birth rates, etc etc). And yeah, lots of African (and southeast Asian) countries handled the COVID outbreak better than the big shots of the global north, and with access to a fraction of their resources.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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Nessus posted:

I had a copy of some kind of TORG/Paranoia crossover which seemed to "get" Paranoia pretty well.
Stormshooters and Troubleknights! I think that was just a fiction collection, not an actual game supplement.

Paranoia also had modules where you dimension-hopped into the Cyberpunk 2013 and Twilight:2000 settings, but I can't remember if they included any crossover rules or not.

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FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
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2300 is one of my favorite SF RPG properties, and I'm glad to see it getting the F&F treatment. It's very unusual in that it's an interstellar SF setting where the earth is not unified under a single One World Government but rather all the old 20th century nation states are still at it poking their elbows into one another (only this time with sprawling networks of space colonies).

One neat thing about the setting was that is was actually generated by a wargame. One of the designers set up a Diplomacy-like game featuring the world after the WWIII from Twilight:2000 played out, and got all of his GDW office mates to play the various nations as they recovered and expanded and allied and fought and discovered FTL travel and spread into space - the future "history" of the setting is literally just a record of the playthrough of a bunch of dorks in a warehouse in Normal, Illinois.

2300 also has unusually well though out alien races (which was something of a GDW trademark), although the main adversary race ended up with a very unfortunate name...

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