Threepenny Space Opera
|Art by Louis Glanzman, taken from public-domain.zorger.com
Genre: Space opera
Equipment needed: Three pennies
It’s the far-flung future. Or maybe it’s long ago, just nowhere close to this galaxy. Or...somewhere in between. Whenever it is, humans have conquered the stars, and space exploration is the wave of the present. You don’t really care, though, because you’re not human. However, you’re close. You interact with humans all the time, in the Big Interplanetary Organization that you belong to, and they look a lot like you. There’s something just a little bit different, though...maybe it’s your forehead, or your green skin, or those antennae. In fact, if you’re a woman, geeks probably drool all over you and your pointy-eared hotness. You also might have some special alien abilities or hindrances. We’ll get to those later.
Name: Come up with a name for your character.
Species: Name your character’s species. If you want, name her home planet, too.
Stats: Your character has two stats: Mind and Body. You get 2 points in one of them, and 1 in the other. If your character is from a rough, warlike species, you’ll probably want to make him Mind 1 and Body 2. If your character is of a more cerebral species, one that depends on science or art or deceit to survive, then you’ll probably make him Mind 2 and Body 1.
|From Memory Alpha
Playing the game
Flipping: As you venture through space, you will encounter a number of situations where success isn’t assured. When this occurs, the Flipmaster (FM) must determine if it’s a challenge for the Mind or the Body. You flip a number of pennies equal to your character’s value in that stat. In addition, if the challenge involves a skill you possess, you flip one additional penny. If you get at least one heads, you succeed at the task.
Combat: Combat can be run two different ways. There can be a series of flips as the characters attack, dodge, parry, etc., with the FM determining how each character is affected as the fight progresses. Or, you can make things easy and just let the characters involved each flip for their Body stat (plus an extra if they have any relevant skills). Whoever flips more heads wins the fight. (And if it’s a tie...just bounce off of each other...)
Alien abilities: Whenever you get three tails on a single flip, you’ve failed pretty miserably. There’s an upside, though: You now get to establish a special power for your character, which may immediately help you in the adventure. Maybe it turns out you can breathe underwater, so that escape across the river is suddenly a lot easier. Or maybe you can read other beings’ thoughts in certain situations. (Don’t you wish you’d thought of that earlier?) Feel free to be creative.
Advancement: Seriously? Okay, if your character survives an adventure, you can give her one new skill.