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I am having trouble recalling a space-based Role Playing Game that we tried after we first tried Traveller. Our usual D&D group didn't care for Traveller as much as I (and the DM/GM) did.

  1. The rules were one book.(Unlike Traveller, which had three in the original box).
  2. I don't recall there being a box. The cover was silver/gray, and the art of people in space gear was black ink drawings.

  3. The size of the book was about the size of a Traveller book (in terms of LxW, but it was a lot thicker).

My most vivid memory is of one game session that included one of our players using a weapon called an "ion chatter" (something like a submachine gun) to clear out a bar in a rough part of the spaceport where we started. (I recall mostly using grenades myself).

What space based RPG were we playing? There were not many sessions, as we went back to D&D shortly after that.

I can't find it

My various web searches for "ion chatter" do not have any weapons show up, and I have some images from Google under "ion chatter" that are ion weapons from WH40K which is not the game we were playing.

  1. The game I am remembering was published in the mid-to-late 1970's, IIRC before 1980 but after Traveller came out.

  2. There weren't that many space-based games, and it was not a TSR product.

  3. This timeline suggests only a few possible games.

What RPG were we playing?

As recommended by @nitsua60, these appear to be a few games we were not playing:

Based on the timeline and some comments, I was able to eliminate Ken St Andre's Starfaring (cover wrong) and a game called Space Patrol (only 24 page rule book). Further commenting indicates that Space Opera came about a year later than I recall playing (based on life events like us all being out of college by that point, and because the cover was wrong).

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    \$\begingroup\$ Please don't post answers that are just "I googled old space games here's one." If you don't have reason to believe it meets the various critieria the OP put in his question, then it's not a good answer. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Aug 10 '17 at 16:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @LAK please don't answer in comments however - glad you found it, but it'll be deleted out of the comment section. Add an answer! \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Aug 11 '17 at 15:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk Mine is not an answer; 2 people already posted the correct answer. I was just trying to give Korvin confirmation so he could select one of them. \$\endgroup\$ – LAK Aug 11 '17 at 17:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ That is an answer. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Aug 12 '17 at 0:13
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Could it be Space Quest? Somebody at least seems to think that game has Ion Chatters.

An excellent source for raw, bad and unlikely sci-fi hardware is the long OOP Tyr Gamemakers LTD. "Spacequest" with its rigger operations and ships' Circuit Function Boxes and Ion Chatter guns. Oddly enough, this game was also written in 1977 and seems like the perfect vehicle to roleplay the Jetsons. By comparison, Traveller is pure hard SF and, IMHO, a better put together game.

Space Quest - Front cover of 2nd printing
Space Quest - Front cover of 2nd printing

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast That game is expensive! It's been out of print and first ed copies are now rather collectable. Also, some first print copies may have had this first page image as their cover, but most have the same image posted, just on a different material and without 'second printing'. See tomeoftreasures.com/forum/… \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Aug 9 '17 at 23:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer wow, I had no idea. This was a nostalgia thing ... I wonder if our old GM still has his book. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Aug 10 '17 at 0:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Potentially interesting description of space quest can be found here. No mention of ion chatters. Still - does that ring any bells? \$\endgroup\$ – Floris Aug 10 '17 at 1:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Floris yeah, one of the other responders provided that link as well, and I do remember a few of the classes: technics being the most readily accessed in my brain's eroding memory. I am pretty sure that we have found it, but will pause a bit before accepting an answer since both godskook and JP responded pretty quickly with the same game. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Aug 10 '17 at 2:00
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I found a number of them on Wikipedia. Could it be Space Quest?

Space Quest - Front cover of 2nd printing
Space Quest - Front cover of 2nd printing

Based on comments from @NestorDRod:

The game does indeed have ion chatters. I know because I knew one of the authors and played the heck out of this game. It also had alien races with names like Trilax and Silicoid ... I bought my copy from the author, so I wasn't aware of a first printing. I recall one of the things we worked on was playtesting some planetside (read "wilderness") rules.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Hmm, while that isn't the cover I remember (I suspect it was first printing) the art style rings a bell. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Aug 9 '17 at 18:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ you and godskook seem to have found it, I'll wait until tomorrow to accept an answer in case someone finds the first printing's cover. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Aug 9 '17 at 18:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ The game does indeed have ion chatters. I know because I knew one of the authors and played the heck out of this game. It also had alien races with names like Trilax and Silicoid, if that helps trigger any memories. If you want any more info about it, I still have my well-loved copy. :-) \$\endgroup\$ – NestorDRod Aug 10 '17 at 1:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NestorDRod That is cool, is the cover first printing or second printing? I just remember we had a good time, but it ended too soon. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Aug 10 '17 at 1:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ Mine is the second printing (as shown above). I bought my copy from the author, so I wasn't aware of a first printing. I recall one of the things we worked on was playtesting some planetside (read "wilderness") rules, but obviously nothing much came from that. \$\endgroup\$ – NestorDRod Aug 10 '17 at 1:25
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The Old School RPG group on Facebook thought it might be Space Opera

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Opera_(role-playing_game)

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We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, very much appreciate the effort, but that cover clinches the fact that this was not the game I remember. In the interest of full disclosure, my inquiry to my old game master from those days returned "Empire of the Petal Throne" which was the game that I ran for that group. (For 3 years). Looks like we are both having memory failures. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Aug 9 '17 at 18:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Based on this timeline I was able to eliminate Ken St Andre's Starfaring (cover wrong) and Space Patrol (only 24 page rule book), and further reflection reflects that Space Opera came about a year later than I recall playing (based on life events like us all being out of college by that point). And the cover was wrong. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Aug 9 '17 at 18:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ I played a ton of that, but it was two volumes, not one for the core rules. \$\endgroup\$ – keithcurtis Aug 9 '17 at 23:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ Please include explanation of why you think this is the right game. This answer may be deleted otherwise. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Aug 10 '17 at 17:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast I think the details in your last comment would be good to fold into the original question. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Aug 10 '17 at 17:33
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Laserburn, perhaps?

enter image description here

It's from 1980. Less RPG and more wargame and a Warhammer precursor, but the cover description sounds promising.

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We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site! Take the tour. You'll notice that I added the cover image to your answer and edited the answer just a little. I hope that's okay. Anyway, thank you for contributing and enjoy your stay. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Aug 10 '17 at 15:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the effort, the cover's color is wrong, in terms of it doesn't match my (admittedly degraded) memory and the cover art does not ring a bell. (Neat looking game, though!). Do you recall if the game had a weapon in it called "Ion Chatter" or not? \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Aug 10 '17 at 15:27

protected by Oblivious Sage Aug 10 '17 at 16:36

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