Thursday, July 30, 2015

Looking back 30 years ago, it was very teenage boyish (embarassingly so now), but the RPGing was fun and a bit glorious

My RPG group from 1980 to about 1991 (sporadically from 1991 to 1993) played many RPGs during the golden age of the hobby. These are all the remaining character sheets I still have and am posting for posterity.

1981 - GDW's Traveller

1982- TSR's Star Frontiers

 1983- Flying Buffalo/Blade's Mercenaries, Spies & Private Eyes (MSPE)

1984- RECON

 1984- FASA Star Trek

The great system when I was a kid, though my friends played heavily TSR's Top Secret. We had a short lived Starfleet campaign, but I GMed all the way until 1991 a Merchant Campaign. Some of these were converted into Gurps later on.

For the record, I created Stryker 3 years before the ST:NG's Will Riker (in 1984)

We recorded all of our adventures in the Starfleet campaign through Captain's logs, which I discuss here.

Aah, but it was the merchant campaign, set in the Triangle, where the RPGing really took off for me.

1985- Victory Games' James Bond
 1985- Steve Jackson Games's Gurps

Gurps was by far the best RPG system out there. From about 1987 to 1991 (sporadically from 1991 to 1993), that was the only system I played and converted many characters to it.

 1987- West End Games' Star Wars

From 1999 to 2006,  I GMed a PBEM (play by email) campaign with Jim for several years, as discussed here in part 2.


  1. Wow, I see a few character sheets with my hand writing on them. Good times.

  2. That brought back some memories! Played a lot of those same games GURPS, Star Wars, Star Trek, Traveller, Recon, Star Frontiers, James Bond - I also played a LOT of Twilight:2000, Top Secret, Various Palladium games (TMNT, Robotech, Palladium Fantasy and their super hero game...?), and later Cyber Punk, Warhammer Fantasy Role-play, and Shadowrun... I WISH I'd kept a few character sheets from that era, unfortunately I had a bit PURGE in the early 90s... Gave away games and miniatures, simply threw out stuff like miniatures...

  3. Twilight 2000..we played that too though I no longer have the character sheet.

    Aren't you glad though, that we were "there" in the golden age of RPGs.. :-)

  4. Whoops , that should have been "simply threw out stuff like CHARACTER SHEETS"...

    I don't know, there are a LOT of great role-playing games out there now! 30 years. The 80s may have seemed like THE Golden Age, but I think it was more likely OUR Golden Age - made possible by the fact that we were teens and had seemingly limitless time to PLAY the ones that were available - at lunch hours, after school all day long on the weekends...?

    Oh and there was Champions, Behind Enemy Lines, Paranoia, TOON, and one where you played an officer in the Royal Navy during the napoleonic wars (whose name I can't remember...) - I never owned those, but friends did....

    Role Master, Space Master, Call of Cthulhu...

  5. Privateers and Gentlemen...? Is that what it was called...?

    Man we played a LOT of different games, now that you got me thinking about it!

  6. P&G, yep..Champions, DC Heroes, Behind Enemy Lines, etc.. Now you're making me nostalgic..

    A running joke to this day with my buddies is "when are we going to start our Toon campaign.."

  7. Because you made lots of characters, but never actually played...?

    There were a few games like that for me too. I made a lot of Paranoia characters, but I think I only ever played it once or twice. Lots of games I made characters for but never got to use - Oh, I did play the games, sometimes a lot, but I still made way more characters than there were campaigns that we played - it was fun just going through the process of making a character and dreaming up their background and imagining what adventures they MIGHT go on!

    How could I forget Battletech/Mechwarrior and Teenagers from Outer Space!?

  8. I think we all did that..make characters knowing we'll never play. Somebody once called it solitaire play for GMs.

    If you don't have it already, try to get the book Heroic Worlds by Lawrence Schlick. It's like an encyclopedia of 80s ROGs.

    1. In 2011 I rolled up a bunch of Classic Traveller characters and NPC's for a campaign I'll be running after I retire ......... in 17 years :-). I also started making new starships and vehicles for Striker. I guess I still have a few years to get mini's for Striker.

  9. Very well, Craig.. we can restart the old RPG group in 2034...