Oh my

Mongoose Publishing: Babylon 5 RPG, due to hit local shops any day now.
I’m only surprised it took this long for someone to get this license. I’m not surprised it’s d20.

All the previews are up on the web site. Tidbits include a sneak peek at the rules for Telepathy and a few of the major characters on board Babylon 5 — including Sinclair and Ivanova.
Fiery Trial, the first story arc, will be shipping to distributors this week.

I’m of two minds about this. First: cool. Mongoose is going the way of the licensed BESM products: half game-book, half sourcebook, so that there’s lots of good stuff even if you’re ‘just’ a fan of the show with no interest in the game. They repeat a number of times in the production blurbs that the book is ‘more detailed than anything you’ve ever seen from yadda yadda yadda’, so that’s good.
Second: this is Mongoose. Mongoose is a mixed bag for me — on one hand, I like their stuff, but on the other, they have a REAL tendency to come up with REALLY COOL IDEAS that are in no way balanced within the d20 system.
Emphasis: Often really cool. Often not balanced.
For an example, I present the Quintessential Monk book — the ‘varied paths’ that they came up with for monks, coming up with ‘substitution sets’ of alternate feats for the free stuff that monks get as they progress to give you a dozen ‘variant’ monks that are nicely balanced… that’s beautiful.
The prestige classes from the same book? An abomination before man and GM. Wow. Absolute crap. Cool concepts? Absolutely. But game busters? Wow.
So you’ll have to understand my trepidation — do I think they’re going to come up with some great ways of handling the deep, intriguing bits of the B5 setting. I think they will be fantastic at that… Story they understand.
Game balance? Well, we’ll see.


  1. Doyce,
    I bought the first one (B5 RPG) that came out several years ago. it had some really cool ideas. It tended toward GURPS in concept.

  2. Wasn’t the old one some kind of miniatures/strategy thing? I didn’t think they’d ever done a true RPG.

  3. There is/was the “Babylon Project”. Which is/was the mini battle game.
    But, this was the RPG. Possibly made by the same company. The thing that I liked best about it was how they did hit/miss, wounds and wound locations. Very well thought out.
    If I can find it/Remember it I’ll bring it Saturday.

  4. For some reason, as much as I love the show, I have almost no interest in crafting a B5 game. Not quite sure why.
    Playing in one? Maybe.
    Maybe it’s because it’s (a) the characters and (b) the arc that appealed to me about the show. Many of the shows themselves would not, I suspect, make for good RPG sessions, and vice-versa.
    But I’m glad someone’s still interested in the B5U enought to turn out a game for it.

  5. I kind of feel the same way about Farscape (much as I jonsed for the book to come out, I was let down by the fact that it was a clone of the star wars rules* and did a shoddy job with the character’s stats).
    Firefly’s setting, however, I could totally see running something in. I really should finish the rules adaptation that I’d worked out.
    Don’t know when I’d run it, of course, but that’s really beside the point when you’re me.
    * — Seriously: at one point in the FarScape rules, there are these little icons next to the grenades in the equipment section: icons with no explanation.
    Unless you go to the Star Wars book, which has the same icons next to the same equipment… icons which are explained in a little sub-chart that the FarScape guys forgot to rip-off include.

  6. Now that I have the book infront of me…
    The Babylon Project. Printed by Chemeleon Eclectic Entertainment 1997. So it looks like it was a 5 year contrac, plus 1 year of negotiating and doing the work.

  7. Huh… Chemeleon Eclectic is the group that did that nice, generic “Ultramodern Firearms” book that I showed you a few Nobilis sessions ago.

  8. Yes, you really should finish that Firefly adaptation, Doyce. We’ll find time …
    I agree on FarScape. Again, it’s the characters (and their very idiosyncratic adventures) that make the show.
    Me? I’m still mulling Spycraft.

  9. I picked up the book while getting the 3.5 books. I read the B5 book first when I got Home (or maybe I should say where I am pet sitting).
    Very detailed with lots of good stuff in it. Some good open ended bits that will allow people to add on what they want or need for varies situations (or for those wanting to create a Firefly campaign).
    The shows Characters levels are very low. Not really any higher then 5th. Some interesting class concepts (for instance?Officer and Solder).
    I could see using the Telpath’s from B5 for River and the Blue Hand guys.
    More later?

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