|Eldar | Tim Wright|
When RPG stalwart Ken Rolston wrote a brief article on using 40K:RT as an RPG, entitled "Orcs in Space!" in Dragon magazine 149 he offered us a glimpse of what might have been. New Romantic Eldar, with asymertrical hair-cuts, grizzled space Truckers and cyborg Squat rednecks and lots of sawn-off shotgunts (incredibly effective in bording maneuvers, rips holes in space-suits, airlocks, all those little bits of shrapnel whizzing around in zero-g). Of course TSR had branched into science-fantasy territory with Metamorphosis Alpha, Spelljammer, Gamma World, Star Frontiers and quite a bit of AD&D really, so was no stranger to the genre.
|Space Truckers | Tim Wright|
It's very rare that another publishing house other than Games Workshop (and it's subsidiaries) does anything with its systems. Ken gives us some simplified roleplay rules, adding detail to the wound charts, and some interesting scenario outlines. I was going to fake up some covers in Photoshop and write this post like a parallel universe review of lost manuscripts and concept art, that I'd 'found' in a lot of obscure stuff I'd got off eBay. Then I remembered how upset people got with Living Stone, and decided better of it, so heres a summary of some of Kens suggestions.
- RT01: The Lost Legion - answer a distress call from an astropath asigned the Eyes of Fire Chapter of Space Marines, over-run by Tyranids on a hostile planet caught in a warp-storm.
- RT02: Orcs in Space, it's Full Metal Jacket / Starship Troopers, in space with Orcs.
- RT03: Blows Against the Empire: A Rogue Trader sent to ensure the of a mineral rich feudal tech level planet on the edge of the Imperium, amidst Eldar Pirates, radical conservative Squat mechtech and anti-Imperium forces.
- RT04: The Warrens Beneath WarpSpace
The great thing is how Ken seems to have grasped what is cool about Rogue Trader: the Imperiums fragility, planets lost in the warp, the endless possibilities, warring factions, the lack of any over-arching plot, Rogue Traders sodding off into the wild unknown frontier of space like some Trading Company of the 17th Century trying to keep hold of Empire through economic means, dumb, brutal Orcs, a bureaucratic Empire, Small stories in a huge universe. Good stuff.
And Tim Wrights illustrations, not overly gritty or punky, have a clean, American feel to them, born of Truckers and Bikers, not as manically deranged weirdo alien bastard Others, nor as scummy debased Dave Lister types, but as empathetic, wholesome good ole boys and likeable rogues, sexy sophisticated urbanites and heroes of the New Frontier.
|Squat | Tim Wright|
And then. 5 Years later. April 1st, 1994, TSRs house organ Dragon Magazine (#204) ran an article on "Dance Steps for Space Hulk" by Allen Varney:
|Dance Steps for Space Hulk: Jim Holloway|
You cannot unsee what has been seen.
Jim Holloway just casually turning the camp factor of the Ultramarines all the way up to 11. And there are rules, pages of rules, detailing how Space Marines can foxtrot, bat-dance and tango in a hulk. Good job on repositioning the competition TSR.
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