Wednesday 14 December 2022

Flight of the 'Tomorrow's World', the Pilot Series - a Five Parsecs From Home Adventure

You may not have heard of it, but the Flight of the 'Tomorrow's World', is considered a modern sci-fi classic. Running for just a single pilot series of seven episodes between 1995-1996, 'Tomorrow's World' was a visually exciting and entertaining show. Sadly the show ran into difficulties when trying to commission a second series - networks felt that some elements were too adult for broad appeal, and the high cost of special effects made it a costly proposition. It was cancelled after just the pilot series.


Synopsis: A crew of misfits, aliens and robots led by dashing human rogue Rico 'AAA' DuBois and mystic empath Yan Tibbault journey through fringe space in search of wealth, fame and answers to mysteries they encounter.


The crew of the Tomorrow's World

Set in the fringe space system of Golgotha, the series is full of exotic alien locations. Packed with high-energy action and a lot of laughs, Flight of the 'Tomorrow's World' was short-lived, but has become a science fiction TV classic! Rumours abound that a reboot is in the making - watch this space!

Episode Guide

Episode 1: Bad Blood on Golgotha sees Rico, Yan and their bot companions A-D0M and G8H acting on a tip-off for local work. A short fire-fight on the streets of Mos Excellent results in the crew getting a retainer to run errands for a mysterious local group.




In Episode 2: Feathers or Scalesthe crew inadvertently disturb a flock of dangerous local fauna they dub 'murder turkeys'. This ill-advised trip to the outskirts of town during poor weather could have ended badly, but turns into a turkey shoot and the discovery of a mysterious data stick.




The crew are tasked with an assassination of a local official in Episode 3: I'll Walk You Home, as well as the safe delivery of a discrete package. The crew efficiently dispatch both the package and hapless official unobserved in the dark streets of Mos Excellent. The episode ends with our first character conflict - an argument between Tibbault and Rico puts the pair in the sickbay! 

  


Fan note: Episode 3 sees Rico both played by a new actor and given a much more eye-catching look.

Episode 4: It Takes All Sorts. Two fan favourites see their first screen time in episode 4 as a pair of aliens join the crew. Heston (the ape-like alien engineer) and Lottabot'l (the slanni anthropomorphic frog tracker) get a big chunk of screen time as Tibbault and Rico sit out the episode. The crew travel to a derelict Golgothan industrial facility and fight off a reaving band of K'Erin aliens. At the end of the episode, the crew are dismissive of the little cache of K crystals they managed to loot for their trouble.



Episode 5: Jungle Creepers sees the full Tomorrow's World crew on screen for the first time. At the start of the episode Lottabot'l receives a holo-letter from home - unfortunately the message is damaged and all that can be made out are the words "jungle" and "Galbrax". After a quick search using the Tomorrow's World navi-comp, the crew head to Galbrax - a small jungle moon in the system. After unexpectedly running into (and dealing with) a strong force of tech-heads, Lottabot'l discovers an egg sac from his species. A quick lick of the hormonal mucus and Lottabot'l is convinced that the egg is family...
 

After trekking through the dense jungle, Episode 6: All Along the Watchtower sees the Rico and the crew discover a heavily guarded hidden base. In this bot-heavy episode, G8H and A-D0M take centre-stage, laying down heavy firepower and causing some incredible destruction (fan note: 50% of the special effects budget for the series was used in this episode alone!). The crew are able to eliminate the security guards and infiltrate the base...



Episode 7 (Part 1): Be Afraid of the Dark! A tense, claustrophobic two-part finale sees the crew of the Tomorrow's World enter a mysterious research facility. There are no staff or guards, but the reason why soon becomes clear, as a swarm brood has invested the entire network of underground rooms and tunnels. On entering the main research lab, Rico discovers a slanni encased in a coprolite slab - none other than Lottabot'l's kin, S'lann Sol'o. At the point of discovery, Rico is swarmed by vent crawlers dropping out of the ceiling void. All seems lost!



Episode 7 (Part 2): Be Afraid of the Dark! Remember those innocuous K crystals from episode 4? Luckily Rico did! Activating them sets off a blinding purple light which stuns all the vent crawlers and swarm brood in his immediate vicinity. The crew effect a desperate fighting withdrawal as clawed monstrosities attack from all sides. Eventually, the crew escape the dark tunnels and into safety where Heston initiates the release of S'lann Sol'o from his imprisonment. As the Tomorrow's World leaves the moon of Galbrax, Tibbault muses on who captured S'lann Sol'o, and why...



A couple of weeks ago I took a trip to stay with my good friend cheetor for a weekend of Five Parsecs From Home gaming. We had decided ahead of time that we would run it as a co-op adventure - each of choosing a couple of figures we wanted to use, and then adding in additional characters as and when seemed appropriate. Cheetor remarked early on that our assemblage of miniatures looked like the cast of a 1990s sci-fi TV show, and that's how we ended up playing it. Full of action and humour, but not too much in the way of death or despair. I didn't take enough notes on the games to write them up as a standard game report (in fact I have a nagging feeling I've actually missed out one of the games!), so I decided to write it up in the same 90's TV show vein as we played it.


As for Five Parsecs - I thoroughly enjoyed using it. It's a fantastic system for allowing you create an immersive universe and enabling a great co-op experience. Seemingly inconsequential story points and loot (a letter from home and the kiranin crystals) turned out to be perfect critical plot elements and chance post-battle events allowed us to bring in new and fun characters. It didn't really matter that we gunned down enemies relatively easily, because this made me suggest respawning swarm brood in our finale game - something that made it extremely tense and looking terminal at points! I'm very much looking forward to enacting the high-budget feature film remake of Tomorrow's World at some future point. 

16 comments:

  1. 100% win Axiom. The series synopsis take was the perfect way to document a fantastic few days.

    I can't wait to sneer at the reboot and look down my nose at its fans: "You just had to be there man..." I will irritatingly say.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I should have said in the post what a great time I had and how well you'd hosted me. Really was a great few days.

      You never know, the reboot might turn out to be even better, smarter and more fun than the original!

      Delete
    2. I forgot to mention that I think that was the first outing for Slann Solo since I painted it in December 2015. Considering the communique from home, the egg and the arrival of Lottabot'l, it really couldn't have been more apt.

      5PfH has a way of making those things seem preordained.

      Delete
    3. I couldn't help but write Slann Solo with the traditional slanni pronunciation, rather than the humanised version! It definitely felt like this was the perfect opportunity to use him (in fact almost pre-determined as you say!).

      Delete
  2. Well that looked both good and fun which are the main points really, definitely a good selling point for the game.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tick and tick from my point of view. Definitely work a try out!

      Delete
  3. Fab to see played games being posted on here and such a fun take on the series of them!

    First I read of Airbournegrove26 visiting Cheetor on his Emerald Isle and now you too! He seems to be quite the gaming magnet!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Dai, really glad you enjoyed the overview!

      Cheetor has an excellent gaming facility - no wonder he's the magnet you suggest ๐Ÿ˜„

      Delete
  4. Haha, this is so epic! What a set of games you had! Terrific from the beginning to the end! I haven't heard of the tv show, but now I have to look for it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Suber, they really were brilliant fun! Just in case I misinterpreted your comment, and for the sake of clarity, there is no TV show. I think you were joking, but in case you weren't, I didn't want you spending time looking for something that didn't exist ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Delete
  5. Fantastic series of games! I love the "90s scifi TV show" framework for the campaign.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Bill! It really helped set the tone and define the characters in a very different way.

      Delete
  6. Great concept for a small campaign.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really worked well to pull us in to the setting and general game vibe.

      Delete
  7. What a great read with a ton of fantastic pictures. I'm know I'm going to re-read this a few times... if for nothing else to mine the pictures for terrain ideas! I'm also thinking of starting a 5P campaign with my brother. I picked up the book months ago, but haven't had a chance to play much of anything recently. Your writeup seals the deal to be next! Love a good narrative coop campaign!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Hobbs! Keep an eye on cheetor's blog as he tells he he plans to post a whole bunch more photos, and his camera is better than mine! Really hope you get to start that campaign with your brother - we raced through these games in a weekend - imagine how far you could go with a month or so of regular gaming!

      Delete