I've got it in mind to do some SF/space opera, pulling in chunks from Traveller, Stars Without Number, possibly Space Master, the old PC game Starflight II, a WHOLE CRAPLOAD of various self-written, bought and found random generators, and quite possibly beer for my robot brain.
So I set some ground rules for my solo campaigns.
Item 1. Humanistic SF; "humanistic" not in the sense of anti-religious smuggery but concentrating primarily on characters. I'm re-re-re-reading Alexi Panshin's Villiers novels, and that's the kind of approach I'd like to take.
The story goes that if you are absolutely silent and touch a bare wall at exactly the right time, you can feel the secret work being done down in the bowels of the rock. Secret tunnels. Secret rooms. Shirabi has long been gone from Star Well, but the stories continue—which goes to show the impression that Shirabi made on people. A certain sort of man simply looks as though he would dig secret holes, have leg irons in his basement, and leave greasy moisture on your palm when you shook his hand. (But go ahead anyway—touch the rock, barely breathe, listen. . . .There .)And thusly:
Valuing names as they do, Realists are sparing with them. They are likely to be known only as Joe or Bill or Plato. And they don’t smile much.I intend to avoid Realists.
Nominalists have more fun. They are known as Aristotle or Decimus et Ultimus Barziza, or as Edward John Barrington Douglas-Scott-Montagu, or perhaps by one name in childhood and several others in the course of life.
A firm Realist misses out on one of the most satisfying of all human activities—the assumption of secret identities. A man who has lived and never been someone else has never lived.
It is true that occasionally there can be embarrassment in secret identities, but only a Realist will take the whole thing seriously enough to hit you. So have your fun, and avoid Realists.
Item 2. Who gives a rat's ass about the local world, whether or not water covers X% of the surface or Y%? What you're concerned about is whether or not you're going to get fleeced in the zocalo, or what the library is like, or what the local air smells of. Therefore, concentrating on local ambiance in opposition to lists of numbers more suited to a Scout's report.
Item 3. No aliens. Not non-human, anyway. Assume humans have adapted to worlds, and the range of human thought and experience is as wide and wild as any here on present-day Terra, but no bugs or starfish. Alien life, yes, but none sentient - that anyone knows of.
Item 4. FTL travel, maybe SWN's spike drive or Trav's jump drive. Star sectors laid out in hexes, anyway, with travel times about 1 week per hex per level of drive quality. SWN world tags, bits from Traveller, patrons maybe.
Item 5. Use FU for resolving skill checks, combat, that kind of thing. No fretting about tonnage, equipment, line of sight, range, any of that. Roll with it. Keep the story going.
So there you/I have it. Generic space opera, set in the far future of, oh, say, 5151 AD. A section of known space off by itself, where whatever Empire dominates this region of the galaxy is, as Panshin might put it, a pleasant daydream (maybe even a rift similar to the Flammarion Rift while we're at it.) This is where stuff happens.