Tuesday, September 11, 2012

"That's not destiny, that's a crazy scientist with a giant snake!"[1]

Watching Sinbad on Sky 1 I was idly considering how you'd make a Role Playing Campaign out of it. Musing on a Sinbad D&D hack I suddenly realised that this was the wrong way of looking at it. Sinbad is a Traveller[2] campaign transported into a fantasy version of the 9th Century Arabian Sea[3].

One of the classic Traveller campaign styles is to have the PCs on a starship and then fly about the place buying, selling, transporting, taking on odd jobs and going to weird planets to try and pay the running fees (including the mortgage, which I now find hilarious - we spend our time off work playing a game in which we scramble around to pay off the bank). The Providence in Sinbad doesn't have a mortgage[5] but several of the plots have revolved around lack of food, water and money to pay for supplies. In order to get hold of it... they sail from port to port doing odd jobs and encountering weird islands.

It's not a new thing to point out that the TV series that most looks like this style of Traveller campaign is Firefly - veterans on a trading ship doing subious work to keep it flying two steps ahead of the authorities. So I was busy comparing the details of Sinbad to Firefly when...

The passenger of the week explained that she had the secret of life and intended to make a new paradise of an uninhabited island. Sounds like the Genesis Device to me. But in that case...


[1] Spoilers!
[2] Traveller is a science fiction roleplaying game dating from the 70s and since gone through several revisions. Originally a generic game it has since become closely associated with it's official 3rd Imperium setting
[3] They're heading for Malta[4] next episode. I really hope that they just sail up with no explanation of how they got into the Mediterranean.
[4] Which is where it was filmed. I can't believe Malta will be doubling for itself!
[5] As far as they know! Their legal title to the ship is a little dubious.