Monday, August 22, 2011

Battlelords is alive? Again?

The Ram Pyton: Not as Cute as Kitten

Recently in my post raving about how awesome Lehicon IV was, I brought up Battlelords of the 23rd Century (henceforth known as Battlelords...) It was an imperfect game for the perfect time in my life, with a hyperactive salesman as its spokesman.

To the naysayers, Battlelords was just fantasy races... in space... with big-ass guns... with the supposed coolness turned up to 11. And unlike the grumbling fans in the D&D/video game argument, I completely agree with those people. It COULD be like this. It could very well have played as a Barrier Peaks meets Traveller, but it doesn't.

It plays like Phoenix Command meets a high five of awesome to your face!

In the 23rd Century, megacorporations run everything, including military operations. Well, sometimes we call them "espionage" but we don't say that around the Ram Pythons.

Ram Pythons, gigantic reptilian muscle bound behemoths who could rip off a human's arms, carry around weaponry designed for tanks, and had the brain the size of a shrivelled pea. I'm working this off of memory, but the primary order a Ram Python could follow was "If it moves, kill it. If it doesn't move, pick it up and kill it!"

The main rulebook (one of 5 editions?) was chock full of cool races. Orion Rogues, Ram Pythons and their less violent (and stupid) cousins the Pythons, Eridani Swordsaints, Zen Rigelns, and of course the Phentari, a squid like race that were combat monsters, but would spend all their downtime figuring out how to cook the humans in the squad. They LOVED human flesh.

Of course, there is secondary reason for the continued love. Their first (only?) licensed product was a module... "Don't Be Alarmed, This is Only a Test," produced by a small Canadian company called Global Games, ergo, an indirect LOS tie-in.

The system was clunkier than an arena of clumsy people trying to clog dance. There were multiple levels and types of armor, skills, etc, and to be honest, although I ran two sessions back in the mid-90's I had no idea if I was doing the system justice. The players had a good time, but not using the system relegates the core book to a weapons and fluff book. Does one try GURPS with this? I just don't know.

Surprsingly, the game's still kicking around. There is a playtest group (in Vegas!) working on a less-wocky new edition. You can still get most of the product, and even better, you can get it in pdf.

It's not for everybody... just the kids who wanna be cool. Check it out at

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