#RPGaDAY 21: The Babylon Project

I keep wanting to like licensed RPGs, but I’ve discovered that there’s a problem with them: they rarely work for me. I either find myself retreading the same ground as the source in an un-fun way, or I find myself deviating so far from the source that it’s no longer the same thing. It’s very hard to find that sweet spot, particularly in the case of source materials that I love for the characters more than the setting.

But there’s one significant exception to this for me: Babylon 5. It’s my favorite science fiction show (or movie) ever, and part of the beauty of it is that it’s a relatively well-developed world, but big enough that there’s plenty to do without being, or even encountering, the main characters from the TV series. It also happened to spawn an RPG that captured that middle ground, and was a good RPG in its own right: The Babylon Project. Sadly, it only made it to one supplement and is now long out of print. Happily, there’s a whole pile of Babylon 5 D20 books to draw upon, full of good RPG content (once you dump the rules parts), to give you just about anything you want that isn’t in the Lurker’s Guide or the TV show itself. 

What The Babylon Project got so right was in focusing on character backgrounds and stories (while also having a pretty standard stat/skill system), rather than trying to focus too closely on the specific events of the TV show. If you’re a big fan of the series, you already know all that. If you’re not, it’s just unnecessary detail. What you need is enough about the setting to tell your own stories, about your own characters, not just make pastiches of the main characters in similar stories. 

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