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Episode 770: Under Control


Space travel can all too easily become routine in a science fiction game. But you should occasionally remember that to present day players it's something you actually can't do*. Space travel is exotic. Exciting. Unpredictable. Dangerous.

Keep it that way.

All sorts of things can go wrong, or be complicated. What if navigation for faster-than-light travel is incredibly complex and risky if you get it wrong? What if it's too chaotic to be done by a computer and the only way to fly safely through hyperspace is to have an experienced pilot at the helm, reacting instantly to tiny ripples and currents in the time-space continuum? Not mechanically, but by instinct. Artistically, because it really is more an art than a science.

And what if the only navigator capable of flying the ship is moody, or an alcoholic, or incapacitated?

* Unless you're NASA's resident astronaut/Call of Cthulhu Keeper. I wonder if, of all the things that humans have done in space, anyone has run a roleplaying game up there yet. Of course, being alone in the inky blackness, more isolated from the rest of humanity than it's possible to be anywhere else, where the stars are always right, what better game to run?


{A star destroyer fires on the fleeing Millennium Falcon}
[SFX]: Pow! Pow!
[SFX]: mash mash mash
Chewbacca: Sorry, everyone. I've made some modifications to the cockpit to enhance efficiency.
Han: That's right, he does it a lot. Confuses me every time.
Chewbacca: I moved the control over... here.
Han: Of course. I should have recognised it. Here we go!
{nothing happens}
Chewbacca: Oh, you wanted the hyperspace control? This one.
Han: Hang on tight, everyone!
{nothing happens}
Chewbacca: Of course it's normal for nothing to happen until you also disengage the, er, hyperspace safety interlock.
[SFX]: Pow!
Chewbacca: That one there?
[SFX]: Woooosh!!
Han: There we go.
Obi-Wan: Smooooth.

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Published: Thursday, 23 August, 2012; 03:11:02 PDT.
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