Sunday, March 24, 2013

Flashback, close enough: Space/Time

Last week got a little muddled, so I missed the Friday update. So here it is now.

This week's entry is a game from BTRC called SpaceTime. I played a fairly long campaign with it that started before I went into USMC boot camp in 1989 and picked back up after I was medically discharged for a knee injury later that same year.

He's going for his piece because the Fashion Police are coming for him.
SpaceTime used the TimeLords system and not BTRC's later system CORPS. I remember the game used a d20, and rolls were cross-indexed with a table that applied any modifiers on a sliding scale. For example, a -5 modifier compared to a roll of 10 would somehow scale to make it proportional. The setting reminded me of Voice of the Whirlwind. It had a cyberpunk aesthetic but highly advanced technology (but not quite transhumanist because that wasn't quite a thing yet). There was interstellar travel, an alien race, colonies on other planets, etc. I remember liking the cybernetics rules quite a bit. We wound up cribbing a lot of things from I.C.E.'s Cyberspace for the game, which was at a similar tech level to SpaceTime.

The large majority of the time spent playing SpaceTime was with a guy named John, who ran the game. John was the worst gamer stereotype - overweight, greasy black hair, loud, poor social skills, wore a trenchcoat. I think I was one of his only friends. At the time, I worked at Chuck E. Cheese as a technician and sometimes John would drop in before or after work. We would play right there in the restaurant because the place was mostly dead during the week. Unrelated to the gaming but related to Chuck E. Cheese, I worked with John Wick's younger brother there for a while, and Rick James came in once for a birthday party.

I just like the cake, bitch!
Anyway, my character was named Carissa and had been involuntarily modified to be a vampire. She had a thirst for blood, retractable fangs, aversion to sunlight, reflexes, you name it. Yes, it was incredibly cheesy, but I was all of 19 and had a huge thing for the goth chicks. I even had a picture of the character drawn by Gloria Yuh (an early VtM artist) when she was doing the character portrait rounds at the local conventions . I essentially shoved a photograph of my girlfriend at the time at her, gave Gloria some details for how the character should look, and she took it from there. I so wanted to include the drawing in this post because I was sure I still had it, but I couldn't find it.

We played through an extremely long story arc revolving around discovering how my character got the way she was, some technology the megacorporations were trying to perfect based on alien technology, the idea of real vampires  being aliens, and getting revenge on the people who had screwed up my character's life. We had a decent amount of fun with it, and it was one of the few times since I've started gaming that I was a long-term player instead of GM.

The game ended due to a variety of factors. I had moved out from my parents house where I had been staying after I got discharged. Shortly thereafter I turned 21 and started clubbing a lot more. I also started working at UPS. During that period, John started acting pretty strange. He showed up unannounced at my apartment on several occasions, creating awkward situations every time. Toward my female friends, some of whom were very attractive, he was often inappropriate. Things got exceptionally creepy after he tried to set up a lesbian encounter between my character and an NPC. I declined, saying I was extremely uncomfortable with the idea. He laughed and said it was weird in that awkward way people do when they don't believe what they're saying. Some time passed after that incident, then he told me that he couldn't continue to the GM for me because I wasn't "dedicated enough" and the game ended.

One thing SpaceTime did is put BTRC on my radar. I have CORPS and EABA, and I like the design philosophy behind both of them, although CORPS is a bit too crunchy for my tastes these days. Currently a Kickstarter for CORPS 3rd edition is running. It will be produced under license from BTRC.