Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Races of the XXVth Century --Lunarians, Venusians, and Mercurians


Lunarians have been mildly altered to be shorter than Terrans, with compact, slender frames. Original modifications made their eyes more sensitive, but Lunarians have evolved to the point where their visual ability exceeds even that of the Martians. Their bodies have also been altered to accept the lower gravity of Luna without harmful side effects.

Lunarian characters start with a d6 in the Smarts attribute. The Lunarian society prides itself on the intelligence and coolheadedness of its culture. As previously mentioned the Lunarians are an extremely well adapted to dark environments. Therefore they begin with Low Light Vision .

Living their lives entirely in the tunnels and dome cities of the Moon has led Lunarians to become more succeptible to the effects of sunlight. All Lunarians suffer from the Light Sensitive hinderance as described in Evernight.


Mildly altered humans, Venusians tend to be Asiatic in appearance, with small, narrow eyes and long, thick hair. The ears are smaller and close to the head; the eyes are gene tailored with a nictating membrane (it covers the eyes when desired) to protect against acid rains providing Venusians with +2 to Vigor rolls when resisting blinding attacks (such as a called shot to the eyes). Venus's atmospheric pressure produces heavier, stronger body frames in its natives giving Venusians +1 Toughness. Due to their adaptation to the high temperatures of Venus, Venusians are more easily effected by cold temperatures. Cold based attacks do +2 damage to Venusian characters due to their Thin Skinned nature.


Mercurians are a polyglot mixture of Terrans (mostly), Martians, and a few Venusians. Because of interbreeding over the years since the planet was settled, the Martians and Venusian physical traits have been "humanized" to the point where they are nonexistent. Mercurians are gene-tailored for stockiness, which saves space in their underground warrens, but their other distinctive characteristics are more a product of environment than genetic manipulation.

Due to their constant exposure to the heightened temperature of Mercury (even through 100's of feet of rock) Mercurians gain +2 Toughness vs. Heat and Heat based attacks. The polyglot nature of Mercurian society makes Mercury's natives particularly adept at persuasion and negotiations so they receive +2 to all persuasion and streetwise checks. Like Venusians, denizens of Mercury suffer from the Thin Skinned hinderance.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Races of the XXVth Century -- Terrans and Martians

Listed below in Savage format are the Races of the 1990 Buck Rogers in the XXVth Century game.


Earth based humans are the least genetically modfied of the future races. As such they operate as per Savage Worlds Revised page 12.


Martians are one of the many races that are mildly altered from the human norm. Martians tend to be slender and fine-boned, with long legs (a product of growing up in the low gravity of Mars as opposed to actual genetic changing). They have large, deep chests and noses with wide nostrils, improving their ability to breathe the extremely thin Martian atmosphere. Their eyes are large and sensitive to very low amounts of light, and their ears have been enlarged to better capture sound. The Martian upper classes also indulge in genetailoring for esthetics, so many wealthy individuals are almost inhumanly beautiful.

They are often slightly more agile than Terrans (though not enough for a higher starting stat), but are far more perceptive and thus begin play with the Alertness and Low Light Vision edges. Though they are more succeptible to ailments, especially disease and heat and therefore suffer from the Anemic hinderance (though the penalties don't apply to radiation based illness or effects).

Savaging Buck Rogers

In 1928 Amazing Stories printed a story entitled Armageddon - 2419 featuring a new hero, a hero who would inspire generations of new heroes. That hero was Anthony ("Buck") Rogers. The sequel to this story (The Airlords of Han)was published the next year as was a new cartoon strip featuring this Rip Van Winkle-esque hero. Buck Rogers was a man out of time using skills developed in the 20th Century to combat a threat in the 25th century. The Rip Van Winkle theme in speculative fiction wasn't a new one, Edward Bellamy used it in Looking Backward and H.G. Wells used it in The Time Machine. But this time there was one large difference; the hero could never return home. The future was the hero's new home, and he needed to do his best to protect what remained of the land he loved in a new and distant world.

For he purposes of Savaging, I will be devoting my efforts to 2 areas initially and I may add a third and fourth. These are the Buck represented in the 1929 comic strip (this is also a conversion of the TSR High Adventure Cliffhangers game), a conversion of TSR's Buck Rogers in the XXVth Century Game, and a conversion of the more recent Gil Gerard television series. Converting these three versions will offer a wide variety of campaign styles ranging from very un-PC pulp action to modern social commentary SF, with the XXV conversion falling in the middle. Later I will add the Buster Crabbe serial which takes yet another approach to the future. A brief description (with eventual hyperlinks) of each period is listed below:

Buck Rogers (High Adventure!): Adventure...Excitement...Thrills!

Anthony Rogers is a World War I veteran pilot working as a surveyor when he is trapped in an abandoned mine somewhere near Pittsburgh. While he is examining the mine there is a cave-in and Buck notices some strangely glowing rocks. As he is trying to escape he finds it hard to stay awake as his body succumbs to a mysterious gas...

When he awakens, Buck finds himself in a new world...the world of 2430. Buck witnessed new and wonderous technologies, but Buck was immediately thrown into conflict when he saw a group of Bad Blood raiders attacking a female soldier. After assisting the young woman (Wilma Deering) Buck learned a new and awful truth... The America he had known and loved is gone, no longer is America the great democracy he loved. During Buck's slumber the Mongols (also called the Han) have conquered the world in a great world war. Small semi-democratic enclaves had formed an underground resistance to the Han, but the future was in desperate need of the military skills and hopeful outlook Buck had to offer!

Buck Rogers in the XXVth Century

The 1990 Mike Pondsmith Buck Rogers game is maybe my favorite representation of the Buck Rogers story. It presents a world of space pirates, mad scientists and fleets of invading dictators. Unlike other Buck Rogers stories, there is interplanetary travel in this version. It is as if Buck's creators looked at the tales they inspired and improved on their original by incorporating the best of E.E. Doc Smith's Lensman and DC Comics Adam Strange.

In history as we know it the Cold War between 1989 and 1991 with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union. In thie Buck Rogers future that never happened. In late 1999 the long dormant Cold War resurfaced and Soviet hardliners launched a powerful offensive from space. The Masterlink platform directly threated the United States, but the US could not directly attack the Soviet Union in response and it seemed that they would have to live under the terror in the skies. So the US Air Force planned a special "black ops" mission to knock out the Soviet satellite. Ace pilot Buck Rogers was sent in an experimental plan to attack the satellite. He was successful, but at the apparant cost of his own life. Thus began the Last Gasp War, a limited nuclear exchange where the US was largely sucessful in defending itself from a limited assault. But even this limited use of weapons was enough to end the nuclear age and the world restructured into three political groups.

During the years of Buck's absense, overpopulation, and the invention of a viable fusion drive, was responsible for Terrans migration to colonies throughout the solar system. These colonies begin genetic alterations to make the compatability of individuals to the environment an easier transition. Though it doesn't take long for genetic modification to be used to create new "slave" races. It didn't take long for the new colonies to become the new "nation-states" of the future with Mars as teh new Superpower seeking to dominate the other worlds through and organization called the Solar Alliance Protectorate. Into this world Buck Rogers awakens having been "discovered" by New Earth Organization scientists.

There are a couple of ways you can go with this background. Play it straight with it actually being Buck Rogers the "living myth." Or for a darker tone you can take advantage of a future where computer organisms (fully sentient AI) and genetic manipulation are common by having the "awakened" Buck Rogers be a golden lie constructed by NEO at the time he is most needed.

You decide.

When it comes to the products, I highly recommend you go out and buy the XXVth century stuff. As I convert it I will be very sparce in decription, out of respect for TSR's copyright, but I will provide Savaged templates for the races etc. I may even include original "Adventure Seeds," but time will tell.