Give me a rundown on the game

A

Anonymous

Guest
Ok My wife has decided to give rpging a chance. Now I decided to let her pick a setting or game of her choice. This is one of the three finalist.
So I am looking for some info since I do not know the game and am not a big d20 gamer though a long time rpger.
First five me an overview of the system and what are it weaknesses and strengths.
Second give a good overview of the setting for I only know alittle about B5 (what little I did see on TV I liked).
Third, What books do you recommend to get started, and which one are absolutely necessary?
 

frobisher

Mongoose
Anonymous said:
Third, What books do you recommend to get started, and which one are absolutely necessary?

I'll start with this one;

Obviously, the main rulebook (just gone into a second (errated) printing).

That'll cover the first season timescale pretty well.

You'll need either the D&D Players' Handbook or more cheaply the Mongoose Pocket Players' Handbook as well.

The Earth Alliance Fact Book is essential as the game is humanity orientated (and before anyone chimes in, the National Feats are optional if you should find them offensive for some reason...) but you can get started without it.

The Fiery Trial should be high up in your purchase list as well - even if you don't run the campaign it'll give you a damn good feel for how you should be running a B5 campaign.

Any of the other race books is a must if that's going to be where your campaign is based (at the moment, Minbari, Centauri, Narn and League of Non Aligned Worlds).

The Technomage Supplement, whilst superb is probably the most optional of all the supplements due to its nature...
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Is the only difference between printings errata? I will most likely have to order the book online and won't know until it arrives what printing I will be getting.
 

El Cid

Mongoose
The second printing of the basic book is suppose to cover all the eratta and clean up some typos. If you want to save some money, get the $20 copy which I believe is the poor man's version. I'm guessing is doesn't have all the kool pictures.

Find someone who has the DVDs of the 5 seasons of B5 if you want to get a good understanding of the series.

The basic book has a summary of each episode of the first season. There are four other books which cover the other four seasons with the fourth book covering the 5th season due out shortly.

I'd recomment the novels or DVDs "In the Beginning" and "The Gathering" which gives an overview of the Minbari/Human war in the first and some spoilers about the five seasons; the second is the 2 hour movie which was aired prior to the series being approved.

If you are interested in PBEM, I am running a B5 campaign which is more story oriented at b5_rpg group on Yahoo.

The book Firey Trail (sp?) is a module set in season 1 of the B5 series.

If you have any questions, the folks here or Mongoose will quickly answer your questions.

Sidney
 

El Cid

Mongoose
One class that I had expected to find in the first book that was missing was the Ranger class. Thay have included it in one of the season books and the Rangers are going to have their own book.

The rest are pretty much what you'd expect, Telepath, Soldier, Diplomat, Agent and Scientist. That is not every class in the first book and doesn't cover the prestige classes and those covered in the other books.

Mongooge has put out a boat load of material on B5 which for me is great.

Sidney
 

Michka

Mongoose
Say, my wife is giving RPG's a try for the first time too. My wife said Babylon 5 was one of the games she was willing to try as well. Let us know how that is going.

As for your other questions, I'd say the core rule book is your best bet. All the other books are great and the Race books make for excellent reading, but for a first purchase I'd say that's all you really need. Oh, and a D&D players handbook. You'll only need about forty pages and the 3rd edition will work just fine. I'm sure you can find a 3rd edition at a used bookstore or on E-Bay for pretty cheap. The system is pretty simple. This should make life easier when it comes time to write up characters. The last thing you want is a complex game for a newbie's first try.

As for background, there is a really nice section in the core book. It's nowhere near as cool as seeing the show, but it covers the first season nicely without spoiling the rest of the series. I resently found a copy of the pilot movie for less than $10. Otherwise, buy, borrow or rent the DVD's if at all possible.
 

lastbesthope

Mongoose
El Cid said:
One class that I had expected to find in the first book that was missing was the Ranger class. Thay have included it in one of the season books and the Rangers are going to have their own book.

It kind of makes sense though. The Rangers were pretty much a dying breed until they were ressurected by/for Sinclair. And they didn't feature much in the series untilseason 3 (c. 2260) when Marcus showed up.

In Mongoose's favour they did post preliminary rules for the Ranger Prestige class for free download on the website some time before they appeared in any source book. You could use those to play a Ranger without buying a book for the info (although I don't know how the finidshed Ranger rules compare to the early version). And as you say their is a whole supplement dedicated to the Rangers in the release schedule.

LBH
 

redlaco

Mongoose
Michka said:
Oh, and a D&D players handbook. You'll only need about forty pages and the 3rd edition will work just fine. I'm sure you can find a 3rd edition at a used bookstore or on E-Bay for pretty cheap.
Or a cheap (free) alternative to the PHB would be http://www.opengamingfoundation.org/srd.html where you can find all you need...
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Well from further discussion with my wife it is now down to B5 or Jovian Chronicles as the game we will be playing. For you B5 gamers now is your chance to say why you think B5 should be chosen over the other. For I think she we make her final decision in the next day or so.

So far teh info has been helpful.
 

El Cid

Mongoose
I've never read the Jovian Chronicles so I can't comment on it.

B5 is rich with intrigue and has many alien races. Mongoose has done a great job of providing a tremendous amount of information.

Sidney
 

lastbesthope

Mongoose
El Cid said:
I've never read the Jovian Chronicles so I can't comment on it.

B5 is rich with intrigue and has many alien races. Mongoose has done a great job of providing a tremendous amount of information.

Sidney

I haven't read the Jovian chronicles either. Ditto what El Cid said plus B5 can be so multilayered you might never be quite sure what you've found out when you learn anything.

LBH

"Understanding is a 3-edged sword!"
 

Michka

Mongoose
On the subject of Jovian Cronicles vs. Babylon 5, Your biggest advantage with Babylon 5 is that you have visuals to work with. You can show photos from the series. You know who the characters are. You know what the ships look like. It's a lot easier to just jump right in.
In my experiance, it's been a lot less work running games based on TV and movies. Jovian Chronicles is a great game and I own a few of the books. The problem is that you need to find someone else who wants to read all those books, or listen to you describe all that background. If you have players like that, well thank your lucky stars.
 

redlaco

Mongoose
I agree wholeheartedly with Michka : it is far more easier to run a TV/movie setting than one from a serie of books that your players haven't read. For instance, I'm currently running games of Star Wars and Babylon 5 without problem, but the same could not be said when I tried to design/run games based on New Sun by Gene Wolf or the Discworld serie by Terry Pratchett. Now if my players would have read them, now that would be another story... :roll:
 

Madbiologist

Mongoose
I have to agree with the previous two posters. I own all of JC and I love it, however the problem always arises that what do the players know. I had players that would read what they need (ie the core book and whatever supplement they are from ie a Marsian PC would read the Mars book). However the majority of them won't, and even worst, though maybe one and two is willing to sit down and listen to you talk till 3 AM telling the story, many would not want to even do that. Lastly, those that would look at the book to just see the kewl powerz. Also the Sil system may be a bit hard to get into if you do not know that much. And personally I think the Sil system is better design for Vehicle combat, for character interactions the system is a bit loopy, acceptable but loopy.

Now B5 has a detailed and rich history too, one that doesn't require you to get every supplements. The supplements out reinforces and fills in the gaps to an already existing souce material, the TV show. It has more fan sites to find extra info, and uses D20 a system that is easy to learn and not so loopy (as long as you get over the character levels, but if you do not mind character levels then it is fine). Why talk and describe when you can turn on the TV and pop in a DvD or cassette. You can not buy the Narn book, not such a big problem because there is enough websites out there and the TV show itself to let you know everything about the Narns.

But I imagine you want a thematic response, well there is no better theme. It all depends what you want. JC has its own theme, which is sumarised in the first chapter so I need not to repeat it here. B6 has its own too, just watch the show and you will know it. However the B5 Universe is big, other themese can easily be explored depending where you sett he game. And here I think is B5 strong point, it is a Huge world.

What does B5 have that JC doesn't: Telepaths, Techno-Mages, fully developed Aliens each with its own culture and style, Ancient races that play a galactic chess game, organisations that span across the Horizan like the Rangers and Psi-Corp, a cast of already made NPC that everyone has learnt to love and had time familiarize with (if you are willing to play the game during a timeframe and area where you can meet them), and large multi-raced operatic space battles. What does JC has that B5 doesn't: Space Battles that follow hard-core Newtonian Physics and big anime mecha. JC is a microcosim of Solar system in turmoil that can be epic, B5 is a macrocosim of a Universe in turmoil that is already epic.

I might love JC, but I love B5 too and the truth is from a GM perpective B5 has more story hooks and it is easier to come up with plotlines in it. This is because you are dealing with a vaster world with more unkowns, you have more to fish from and more room to insert totally new things.
 
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