Rules for retro weird science fiction roleplaying campaigns, playable with paper and pencil and....trading cards.
1979 was an amazing year. I was still reliving Star Wars over and over again in the theaters, with Marvel comics and Topps trading cards. Those cards brought the movie to life. My imagination would use those same images to springboard into other different adventures and different universes. Science Fiction was everywhere. In the mall I was playing Space Invaders, on TV was Battlestar Galactica, in the cinemas weird Star Wars knock-offs. A flash light became a laser sword, and in my imagination a weird amalgamation of all these battles played out on distant planets.
It was also around the time I discovered Dungeons & Dragons. I immediately tried to customize the rules to play space adventures, but being just a kid, I was not very successful. When the Traveller role playing game came out, it seemed too complicated to me and no one else I knew wanted to play. In my head I dreamed up a science fiction game closer to the original D&D rules.
By the time West End Games rolled around, there was a lot that system did right. A hybrid of Original D&D and the WEG D6 started forming. I wanted to create cinematic adventures with fast, simple and easy gameplay.
R70PF is that rules lite game that has been in my imagination for years now, finally brought to life, but still trapped in the late 1970's. I admit it's a self indulgent exercise, but one hopefully you can enjoy also, back when spaceships were white plastic models and alien monsters attacked in stop motion.
ABOUT THE NAME
According to legend, in 1947 Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, a pioneering computer scientist, was investigating a glitch of the Mark II Aiken Relay Calculator while it was being tested at Harvard University. She discovered a moth found trapped between points Relay # 70 and Panel F. Later it became common usage of the term "bug" to describe problems with a computer.
The 1970's became a decade of great technological breakthroughs that led to the world as we know it now, but the shadow of HAL also led to a mistrust of that technology. Relay 70 Panel F to me symbolizes those sometimes inexplicable defects that we fear technology will bring. So turn off your targeting computer and revisit the sci-fi roleplaying world of dice, pencil and paper of the 1970's in R70PF.
This game would not be possible without the pioneering game design work of Gary Gygax, David Arneson, Eric Holmes, M.A.R. Barker, Marc Miller, Greg Costikyan, Steve Winter, Curtis Smith, Bill Slavicsek, Matt Finch and Marv Brieg.
The worlds represented within are also inspired by the pioneering work of George Lucas, Frank Herbert, Gerry Anderson, Dan O'Bannon, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Glen Larson, William Hope Hodgson and even HP Lovecraft.
Visual inspiration from Ralph McQuarrie, Joe Johnston, Ron Cobb, Chris Foss, Andrew Probert, Dan Goozee, Peter Elson, Walter Simonson, Howard Chaykin, Al Williamson, Roger Dean, Moebius, Druillet , Go Nagai and OMNI magazine.
Dedicated to my mom, who was programming real computers in the 70's, while I was dreaming of made up galactic conflicts.
In Memory of Dan O'Bannon.