About the Expedition
Welcome to Expedition to the Barrier Peaks!
Barrier Peaks is an old-school rules-light RPG set in the post-apocalyptic Mutant Future. It ran as a play-by-comment gameblog from June 2008 to January 2009.
From the Wizards of the Coast website: “At 1976’s Origins II convention, Gary Gygax ran a tournament module written by Jim Ward. Expedition to the Barrier Peaks brought PCs to the site of a crashed spaceship; there they were pitted against a wide variety of sci-fi adversaries, including alien creatures, a deranged surgical android, and single-minded police robots. To help the PCs battle these foes, the spaceship was littered with alien weapons and technology, including ‘blasters’, lasers, needlers, and a suit of power armor.”
“In 1980, TSR updated the module to the 1st Edition AD&D rules and released it to the general public. At last players everywhere could get their hands on the powerful alien devices inside the crashed ship… if they survived! Unfortunately for the Dungeon Masters running this adventure, the PCs often retained this high tech weaponry long after the adventure was overoften leading to problems later in the campaign, as the items were incredibly powerful.”
In 2008, Goblinoid Games released Mutant Future, a retro-clone science fantasy game. As described on the Mutant Future website: “It is more like ‘Frankenstein’s Monster’ in that it takes an old-school infusion of rules from Labyrinth Lord, classic science fantasy rules, and additional material from more recent open game content.”
In keeping with this ‘Frankenstein’ philosophy, I’ve taken the Expedition to the Barrier Peaks AD&D module and re-imagined it for Mutant Future. Since Mutant Future is a retro-clone of several old-school gaming system, the rules conversion is actually pretty easty. I’ve altered the details and changed the backstory to fit the post-apocalyptic setting, and now I’d like to run this game as a Play-by-Comment weblog, in a similar manner to my ‘Scorched Earth‘ online game.
In addition to the actual Play-by-Comment posts, this site hosts links to the official Mutant Future website and forums, house rules, character creation details, and background material required for the Expedition to the Barrier Peaks.
How does Play-by-Comment work?
As referee, I will make a post that describes the environment and what is happening. Ideally, I’d like to post every three or four days – but I’ll settle for one update a week. The players then post as one of the characters in the comments below the post. If those players become absent for a long period of time without explanation, then that character may be taken over by someone else. I will also periodically be able to accept new players. To submit a character, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you want to see the game in action, check out the archives:
As an online game referee, I’ve run games via e-mail. They worked okay, but inevitably, players would leave over time and eventually the game would get derailed. I considered doing a forum-based game, but I didn’t find the software flexible enough. And multiplayer games like World of Warcraft, Everquest, Ultima Online, etc. just aren’t my cup of tea.
What I really want is to run a game at my own pace, whenever I have time. But, it’s too much to expect of players to always bend to my schedule. Then it hit me: I should start a blog, and let the readers of the site run the players. By rewarding the players’ characters with experience points for posting and them being able to read each others posts in real time, the game moves along nicely, and is fun for everybody.
Players post comments as one of the characters in game, describing their actions in narrative style. Players who have created the characters being used in the game have control over their character. In the event of a player’s absence, control of the character reverts to the readership of the blog until a new player is selected to control that character. Comments that contradict reasonable gameplay or that are inappropriate will be ignored or deleted. Comments will be copied by the referee and then pasted into the next blog post, thus continuing the story. It will be necessary for the referee to edit the posts in order to integrate them into the story, but the spirit of the player’s posts will be maintained.
Note that although it’s always good if every player responds to a given post, I’ll generally start writing the next one up once about 75% of the group has commented.
If the game happens to be going slowly, or I get extremely impatient, I’ve been known to put up a new post with a response rate as low as 50%.
Rules mechanics will not be emphasized in this game. Rather, we will focus on the story and all the die rolls and game mechanics will take place largely behind the scenes. That said, this adventure will utilise the Mutant Future ruleset, with House Rules as outlined on this weblog.
Dice rolls will be made by me (the referee) by default. However, if you (the player) prefer – and it doesn’t slow gameplay – we may occasionally use the Secure Dice Roller from RPG Library to make rolls. Be sure to include me on all dice rolls (email@example.com.