One of the things I have always wanted was a sci-fi version of The Fantasy Trip. Metagaming came out with some form of a game, but it definitely was NOT The Fantasy Trip. Even GURPS had a sci-fi version, but it lacked the simplicity of TFT. Now that Steve Jackson Games has the rights to TFT again, will we see that sci-fi version of TFT?
Does TFT Support Sci-Fi Gaming As It Is?
First, you have to ask the question of whether TFT supports sci-fi roleplaying as it is today. I would say that it obviously does, at the tactical level. The character generation system could be modified pretty quickly to cover any needed talents, and the combat system could be modified to add sci-fi weaponry. The problem comes when you expand the game to handle vehicle or spaceship combat. There is just no parallel in The Fantasy Trip as it stands.
There have also been a couple attempts to make home grown sci-fi versions, from Ty Beard’s TFT Traveller to The Traveller Trip (apologies, I do not know the author). Both accomplish the job, with different degrees of success. The trouble is nothing available, legal or otherwise, really fits the bill. Nothing includes all of the rules required for a sci-fi RPG, in a consistent, professional product.
Chances for a Sci-Fi Version
So… Now that SJG does in fact own the rights to TFT again, will we see that polished product? I’m saddened to say, I think not. As much as I want it, I don’t think that is in the plans for the game. Steve Jackson Games’ primary income source is a card game, Munchkin, and their existing RPG, GURPS. As much as die hard fas like me may want, I don’t see SJG sinking a lot of money into a game that hasn’t seen publication since the early 80s. Some Kickstarters, then sales on sjgames.com–but that is it.
I have a feeling that the majority of the new content for The Fantasy Trip is going to come from fan-created sources. That will be adventures, magic and beasts. I don’t see a sci-fi TFT Kickstarter coming out. The reason is SJG already has GURPS–why put money into a competing game?
What I Plan to Do
As much as it pains me to say this–and it really pains me–I have to say I have been looking elsewhere for a sci-fi RPG. I once asked what was a good suggestion on Google+, and one suggestion was Samardan Press’ Cepheus Engine. (“I’m not saying it’s Traveller… but it’s Traveller!”) After looking into it, I got more and more intrigued. So I’ve start using it as a ruleset for solo sci-fi gaming, along with Zozer’s Solo and GURPS Space. All three have been working pretty well for world generation, plus solo gaming. I’ve been pretty happy with them.
Sometimes it is hard to give up on things you hope for, and in this case for me, it’s a sci-fi version of my favorite RPG. I hate to say it, but I have. But in doing that, I am still really looking forward to what SJG and the future holds for The Fantasy Trip–and fantasy gaming! jb