No! I’m with the science team!

A mini-campaign in which the PCs are scientists, technicians, and security guards trying to escape from the ruined Black Mesa Research Facility.

Half-Life has had such a big impact on kids my generation and I know that a lot of the people I’ve played RPGs with over the years are also fans of it. But I don’t recall ever hearing anyone anywhere bring up the idea of using the game as the setting for an adventure or campaign. I guess it’s because the only kind of campaign we really had on the radar that wasn’t Fantasyland was either Star Wars or Shadowrun. Playing normal people in the mostly real world was never entertained as even an option.

After a few minutes of thinking about it, I realized that the Year Zero Alien game would be the perfect fit for a short campaign like this. (Unsurprisingly, as all sci-fi and horror themed shooters ever are heavily based on Aliens.) You got the technicians, scientists, and security archetypes for characters, there’s always the same undertones of company management having a good idea what fire they make their staff play with, and the tech level for machinery and personal equipment is pretty much the same.

This is, however, the full extend of my ideas so far. Walls shake, power goes out, nobody knows what’s going on. Try to find a way out of Black Mesa as alien monsters start killing people and later marines arrive to keep anything and anyone from getting out. Conveniently, any time a PC dies, you can always introduce new characters who have been hiding in a locked storeroom that the party is walking by. There is a certain temptation to make it a megadungeon, but when the goal is to find the fastest way to the exit, that’s probably a bad approach. Instead, it could work quite well to have certain bottlenecks where the players have only one or two possible exists from the current area, but they can still roam the current area freely to come up with ways past whatever obstacle is blocking the exit.

I love 80’s Action Movies

I was born in the mid-80s, and for a very long time I associated the culture of that time primarily with horrible hairsytles and an absolutely appaling sense of fashion. During the 90s everything was so much cooler, but looking back at those years now, I again have to ask “what where we thinking?!” Also, when I got older, I associated 80s movies primarily with dumb, ridiculous action movies. You know, Arnold Schwarzenegger movies. Just stupid explosions and lame jokes, with poor excuses for a plot. At that time, I was still too young to watch them and when I finally got around to see them 10 years or so later, but my oppinion of them was not very high.

But now that I am older, and therefore wiser, I see things quite different. Part of it might be simply nostalgia. It reminds me of when I was a kid, and we always kind of like that, even if we were not big fans of it back then. Another factor is plain and simple, that we only remember the best things. Those that were outstanding and so influential that their legacy survived to this day. I am certain there probably hundreds of action movies that were actually really stupid and nothing but explosions and excuse plots. But there also were some really good ones, which now pretty much make up my favorite movies of all time.

  • Alien (1979)
  • The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
  • Outland (1981)
  • Raiders of the Lost Arc (1981)
  • Blade Runner (1982)
  • Conan the Barbarian (1982)
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
  • The Thing (1982)
  • Dune (1984)
  • Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)
  • The Terminator (1984)
  • Enemy Mine (1985)
  • Aliens (1986)
  • Lethal Weapon (1987)
  • Predator (1987)
  • Die Hard (1988)
  • Total Recall (1990)
  • Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)

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