Friday, December 30, 2011

The Barrier Peaks Syndrome

Expedition to the Barrier Peaks.

Believe it or not but I've never had the privilege of either running or playing this module. Never had the chance to do so but it always remains as one of my best inspirations in terms of genre-bending science fantasy. Maybe it's just the Gamma World fan in me but I always found it cool to have sword wielding adventurers toting captured firearms.

Looking back to yesterday's most recent "one-shot" Labyrinth Lord dungeon crawl made me re-visit Traveller Book 1: Characters and Combat. The rules set down some "antique equivalents" of the weapons set down to give the players a reference point on their capabilities and stats. Hence, when GDW referred to "submachineguns" they stated that they were referring to the Sterling 9mm L2A1 or the Israel 9mm Uzi.

What about armor?

Yesterday's vulpine mercs were wearing Mesh. Traveller described this as a body suit of natural or synthetic leather reinforced with a lining of flexible metal mesh similar to chain mail but lighter and stronger. Hmmm, so it would look like modernized leather armor with a layer of chain mail below, but lighter. My equivalent in Labyrinth Lord would be Chain Mail (Armor Class 5).

Going through the whole set of Traveller armor, I would put the following as their Labyrinth Lord equivalents:

Jack - a natural or synthetic leather jacket/body suit. Somewhat better than ordinary clothing or bare skin against blades but worthless against guns. Labyrinth Lord equivalent: Leather Armor (Armor Class 7).

Cloth- my favorite, being the most versatile in the Traveller series. A heavby duty jacket/vest covering the upper torso and legs tailored from ballistic cloth. It absorbs impact energy distributing the blow over the body of the target resulting in (possibly) severe bruising. Given the metallurgy and workmanship of the D&D world, I'd place Cloth's Labyrinth Lord equivalent as Plate Metal (Armor Class 3).

Ablat is cheap and is fashioned from material which will vaporize when hit by laser fire. I'd like to see how this stacks up against a fireball spell. It has some value as protection against other forms of attack primarily because of its bulk. I'd place its Labyrinth Lord equivalent as Studded Leather Armor (Armor Class 6).

I find cross-genre gaming fun as I get to "translate" the stats of gear and items from one game universe to another. In this case, 'porting matters from Classic Traveller to OD&D (and vice versa!) never fails to provide me with a most interesting intellectual exercise.

I guess the Barrier Peaks Syndrome lives on. While I don't think I'll have the time to run or play out this very long and most intriguing module, its' influence will always continue to make itself felt in my gaming in years to come.


  1. Good to see you posting again!
    Barrier Peaks is one of my all time favorite modules!!

  2. Take a look at Carcosa! There's a surprising inclusion of hi-tech mechanical gear left by the Ancients there.

    - Alex the Armchair Gamer

  3. @Bill and Timeshadows- been a busy year but a corner has been turned for me now. 2012 is gonna be a year of great changes. Happy new year to you all my friends. @Anonymous - yes! I have Carcosa with me. It rocks. It is high up on my list of one shots very soon.

  4. Oh and happy new year Alex. My eyes must be fading- I missed your monicker in your post!