Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Campaign Idea - Alternate History Mars in 1990

Received some transmissions from the blogosphere today.  This fascinating post on an alternate U.S. space exploration history that could have been really makes me want to start a campaign on Mars.  It is the story of a proposed re-usable single stage booster which would have led to a lunar colony by 1978 and manned missions to Mars by 1986.

 I have been itching to run a Mars campaign since I read the Barsoom books a few years back in my quest to learn more about D&D's literary roots, and I have been wanting to run a Traveller campaign for some time.  I am loving the idea of a campaign set in an alternate 1990 or so, 4 years after the first manned Mars mission revealed vast underground complexes left behind (apparently) by an ancient Martian civilization.  I want to hork Travellers character generation mini-game (modified for alternate history 1980's, obviously) but use modded B/X D&D for the ruleset.  Setting it in 1990 would mean that the Soviet Union was still there, and I would propose that the alternate history would provide a new space race that would keep the Soviet Union together.  Gawd I am getting excited about this!  Megadungeon meets Mars meets Traveller meets Cold War!

I love this level of tech for a sci-fi space game.  I could use our real life tech levels of the campaign years, with the internet being a rich and never ending resource in that regard.  

I am not 100% sure if I am going to abandon the sci-fi fantasy Polynesian Islander-analog campaign that I have been working on or possibly try to do both, but I am definitely going to be putting some more thought into this idea. 


  1. this is a really great idea. Also the lbb sizes for computers would be about right for late 80s tech! I don't think you'd have to change much in Trav, actually, just take out (or reskin) the laser rifles and gauss guns.

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  3. Good point! Now that I am thinking about it I can take a quite a bit more whole cloth from Traveller than I was originally thinking! I tend to automatically assume I am going to have to redo the computers and tech levels of Traveller but with this being set in 1990 very little would have to be changed.


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