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The Farscape Role Playing Game: Page 1

Review by: IASA Pilot 13

For those of you out there looking to journey the “Uncharted Territories” on your own, to add your own twist and turns to a universe filled with Leviathans, Tavloids…err…Tavleks and Baniks (Oh My!), Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG) may have the ticket you need to escape the confines of Earth, or your living room at least. On September 4th, 2002, AEG is scheduled to release The Farscape Role Playing Game, a 320-page hardcover book that unites the popular d20 system of gaming with the Sci-Fi channel’s groundbreaking series. Now for those of you out there in TV Land who don’t know what the frell a role playing game (RPG) is, I will do my best to impart the knowledge I’ve been gathering since the end of the Carter Administration.  

 


An RPG is like charades with paperwork, and typically enough dice to keep an attention deficit turtle amused for hours (or at least that’s how it works at my house). A group of players, usually friends, gathers together to assume the various characters they have (or will create) to help tell a story. These characters often conform to various rules, like the ones found conveniently in the Farscape RPG, allowing the player character(s) to employ various attributes and abilities during a campaign. A campaign is a story arc, or series of story arcs, that the characters actively participate in and influence. Players can advance in knowledge, abilities, and possessions (A Hynerian favorite!). Essentially, anything a player can do in real life, (including die) they can accomplish within the context of the game…. all without the fear of prison time and/or messy legal fees.  This assumes that your campaign setting doesn’t include a David E. Kelley world.

Click for a larger imageThe narrative is monitored/controlled by a Referee (Also referred to as Narrator, Game Master, or in my case, Head Inmate of the Asylum). They are essentially writer, director, and sleazy Hollywood producer all rolled up into one. They create and control the environments, inhabitants, and challenges the player characters must face within the campaign setting, elaborating upon all the wonders and chaos that can found in this homebrewed escapade. Besides subbing for the eyes, ears and other senses of the players, the Referee also settles ruling disputes not clarified within the context of the rules… which means you can add Rusty the Bailiff and Judge Wapner to the Narrator’s brimming job description.

Simply put, an RPG is basically one huge episode of  Who’s Line Is It Anyway?” only with better special effects and more #2 pencils.

As a regular reader of Karlsweb, I felt I should give something back for all the great stories, insightful interviews, and timely spoilers that eased my cravings until the next new fix of Farscape. After a few timely emails with PK Barb, I finally get to share my good fortune with the Karlsweb faithful. I was lucky enough to acquire an advanced copy from the AEG booth at GenCon in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. For those of you not in the know, GenCon is a yearly convention dedicated to almost every type of gaming imaginable. There, Alderac Publishing had about 100 copies, fresh from the printers. As I was unable to attend, my friend Albert graciously purchased a copy for me, and mailed it to Minneapolis the very next day. For the last two weeks, my friends and I have poured through the rules book with the enthusiasm of Rygel at an all-you-can-eat dinner buffet, game testing the character framework and combat mechanics for our future adventures in the Uncharted Territories. So now for the moment y’all have waited for…. Pilot 13’s review of the Farscape RPG, complete with interior art and graphs. Ol’ Ross Perot would be proud!

Remember Kids, this review uses The Spaghetti Western Scale:

The Good….

Chapters One and Two: “Previously On Farscape….”

Click for a larger imageNormally, I would say these sections are as useful as a fork to stir coffee, but are quite helpful for the casual fan. The first chapter gives the reader a basic plot synopsis for every episode within the first two seasons of Farscape. Fairly well written, each episode review is about one page in length. As the players’ progresses into chapter two, information and further insight are available on the core characters of Farscape. The authors spend an average of two pages per character dossier, delving further into the motives and methods of each Farscape personality up through the end of season two. As I said earlier, for most fans these sections will be redundant. If you are new to series, watch infrequently, or don’t have the season companions, these chapters are a well-rounded introduction into the unique madness that is Farscape

Chapter Three: “ I’ll trade a critter for a God-like alien any day….”

Click for a larger imageThe third chapter of the book contains a wealth of information on the majority of races featured in Farscape. Descriptions, Homeworlds, Natures/Behaviors, and the Societies of the various races are all covered in relative depth here, averaging almost 2 pages per racial profile. (A unique case where racial profiling is a welcomed thing.) Included in this section are summaries on Baniks, Delvians, Hynerians, Illiancs, Luxans, Nebari, Scarrans, Sebaceans, Sheyangs, Tavleks, Vorcarians, and Zenetians. (One moment please while I add all these critters to the spellchecker.) This is where the license of Farscape begins to really pay off, because both gamers and non-gamers alike are rewarded for their purchase. The publishing of this game book was held up for almost a year, allowing the Jim Henson Company to go over and edit it with a fine toothcomb. This makes it relatively safe to assume that the game’s characteristics and statistics are accurate interpretations of what the writers/producers imagined and desired. From a fan standpoint, its almost like having pages from the series’ bible.

Chapter Four: “God I love Science Fiction….”

Click for a larger imageRPGpg-115.jpg (80720 bytes)This is by far my favorite chapter in the book, as it contains a wealth of information for both gamer and fan alike. Have you ever wondered how Dam-Ba-Da was stripped of every valuable resource? Just how many planets make up the Nebari System, and which one should you ask the rental car agent for extra earthquake insurance? I examined this section at great length…. So much so, I think I read the print off the pages. Relatively well written with corresponding pictures of the planets in question, this section of the game is ripe with particulars and possibilities. For the gamer, it provides a wealth of information on almost every planet visited during the first two seasons. This data could be used as the foundation to spawn countless adventures and supplement any campaign through the Uncharted Territories. For the fan that just has to know everything about Farscape, this section should fill in all the blank spots an episode’s environment/planet may have left you with. Further, each planet listing begins with a brief synopsis, detailing a variety of unique statistics…. (Purpose, Average Temperature, Gravity Levels, Communications Technology, Weapons, Society Highlights, and Available Transportation) In closing, I feel Chapter four benefits the most from the Henson approval delay, ultimately increasing the game’s precision and enjoyment.

...Continued on Page 2

FEEDBACK: IASA Pilot 13


Farscape is owned by The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Entertainment, Nine Network (Australia) and the Sci-Fi Channel. No copyright infringement is intended and no financial gain has been made by any of the staff of this web site.