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Greg and I played out a single scenario last night using our own house rules, based on Song of Blades and Heroes, for the Planetary Romance genre.

Formerly this had the working title of Flaming Plasma, and was designed to be a fairly generic set of science fiction rules. However, this topic is soon to be covered by an official Ganesha Games product, so we have pulled back from that big picture. Now the working title for the rules is Raygun Gothic, or possibly Zeerust, two industry terms to describe that style of science fantasy that ran from the turn of the 19th century through to about the mid 1960’s. It covers both the pulp adventure of the interwar years (including our science fantasy StarGate 1900) and also the Sword ‘n Blaster adventures in the mould of Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers. For my own tastes it does not include WWII, or Atomic weaponry. Instead, it assumes the fantasies of the interwar period are a fair, if romanticised version, of what the future becomes.

The scenario ran as follows: Baron Aristodemos had kidnapped plucky human June Mayweather and spirited her away to his place on the Jungle Planet for a secret ‘wedding’. Doubtless there were good political reasons for this, but as we all know, those alien dictators are obsessed by Earth girls.

Heroic Captain Stagg Wallop of the Space Brigade led his team of Rocketeers to the palace to rescue her. Bestial primitives marauded in the steaming jungle. They were fearful of outsiders and vengeful against the Baron, probably because of foul experiments, or destruction of their holy sites to extract Phlebotnium, or something like that. Guarding the palace was a squad of the Baron’s mechanical men, robotic helpers armed with stun rifles. The Baron had to achieve 6 successes in Very Difficult Quality checks in order to ‘persuade’ June that life with him wouldn’t be so bad (all this stuff happens off screen, of course, but we know what’s really going on).

The Rocketeers broke into separate groups and approached the palace on three sides, with the Captain running straight up the main steps. A quick zap with a stun gun slowed his enthusiastic rush, but not until he had plugged the door robot with his Colt 45, causing it to stand shaken and confused for the rest of the game.

The men made their way through the upstairs windows and burst into the upstairs landing to spray the robots with Thompson fire. In two memorable moments, a robot fell back over the balcony with the sound of a crashing piano, and another robot was heard through the wall by a Rocketeer who made a successful listen Quality check. So good was his estimation that he  sprayed through the wall to get the mechanical menace.

As the Rocketeers cleared the landing in well aimed machine-gun fire, Stagg kicked in the door to the master bedroom, only to discover that he was too late. June was snuggled against the baron in flagrante delicto, clearly convinced that life was just fine this way, thankyou. Unperturbed, the Baron pulled a raygun from under the pillow, and killed Stagg in a single devastating zap. Then, with June clamped to his side, he jumped into the escape chute and rocketed away in his private ship. This, again, required a Very Difficult Quality check, which the Baron managed to perform with ease.

Each turn we rolled to see who controlled the beast men. They swapped sides regularly, causing no lasting harm to anyone, but they did get into the palace, so I expect there will be an awful lot of cleaning up to do. We now have a recurring foe in Baron Aristodemos, and the Space Brigade now has the death of Captain Wallop to avenge. And will June ever come to her senses and be rescued? How can she live with the shame of what has happened? Or did what we think happened really happen at all?

Find out next time in Raygun Gothic. [Cue stirring music]

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