GURPS 4 Babylon 5
The direction of the game
|It's a space opera! You may start small but you have to think bigger.|
Power level: Heroic. Built using 160 character points, PCs will excel in a number of areas, even compared to professionals. Think of John Sheridan who was brilliant at fleet tactics, intergalactic politics and diplomacy. PCs should be able to take on -4 modifiers (hard) with their best skills.
Plot progression: Conspiracy investigation and faction-based. Like the TV series, various conspirators pursue their own agendas in competition with others and it's up to the players to find out what's going on, consider how'll they'll interfere and face the consequences. This will be mostly achieved with investigation, inflitration and persuasion, rather than fighting. Some of the bad guy's lairs will be too heavily defended to simply kick down the front door. Most clues will come from the news and clients wanting to hire you. However, the first few adventures will be script-based till you acquire a reputation.
Cinema: Somewhat realistic. Neither plot nor action film convention override realism. For example, you can't walk into Command and Control just because you have some hot information, open a door by shooting the electronic lock, hack a computer terminal without software tools, expect ordinary people to always help just because you're hunting a bad guy, always look up the floor plan of the warehouse or always get away with breaking and entering without carefully covering your tracks. This isn't James Bond. However, it is a space opera and everything is important. As private investigators, you will not be hired to find missing cats or trail adulterers. Most odd events indicate a conspiracy, a powerful item or something else of at least planetary importance. If something is happening, someone powerful is trying to oppose it and may become allies. Also, a few plot subverting, characters options are allowed, such as Signature Gear and Serendipity.
Superscience and mysticism: Mostly realistic. The physics of Babylon 5 is the real world with the superscience necessary for space travel and limited psionics. Only the occasional, impossible relic or mystical event will be thrown in for flavour. Devices and social conventions are deliberatly kept familiar so player's real world knowledge can be exploited. You can't pull some Star Trek style technobabble.
Alien weirdness: Unimportant flavour. Babylon 5 races are just 'people in rubber suits' with distinctive but familiar cultures and physiologies. Everyone on the Babylon 5 station will speak Standard English and use the same calendar and time, though English is less common outside Earth Alliance space. Races may have different forms of government yet all have the same kinds of institutions and government departments. Most homeworlds have an Earth-like atmosphere, gravity and calendar. Most other planets are just barren rocks with a gravity of 1G and roughly 24 hour day.
Deadliness: Light. The dead remain dead but lethal traps and murder attracts unwanted attention, so areas with automated turrets will be signposted, thugs will make threats first and guards will rarely pursue. However, lucky shots can happen though good armour and high-tech drugs will ameliorate the effects. Appearing to be capable mercenaries, conspirators will try to hire rather than hunt you. Whenever hunters are sent, they'll use much the same sources as you, allowing your contacts to warn you of them.
Character advancement: Slow. PCs are already exceptional and only one or two character points will be issued in a session. However, PCs will earn the money for a scout ship and acquire many co-conspirators.