Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Inspirational Fiction - Space Viking

Periodically I would like to highlight various works of fiction that have inspired or influenced my rpgs.

First up is Space Viking by H. Beam Piper. This was originally published in the '60s but I did not read it until the early '80s. Right about the time I started playing Traveller. Space Viking and Traveller go together like (insert your own comparison here. They go together really, really well.) In fact Space Viking and H. Beam Piper influenced Traveller. The most obvious example of this is the Sword Worlds located in the Spinward Marches. I also think the round 800 ton Mercenary cruiser is modelled roughly after the ships in Space Viking.

Set during a "dark age" after the destruction of an interstellar entity, Space Viking is the story of Lucas Trask, his very short marriage and his search for revenge against the man who disrupted the wedding. While on his search he manages to begin the re-civilization of a planet, trashes several more by raiding them and plants the seeds of an interstellar empire.

I loved the battles, the adventures and eventually, as I got older, I came to appreciate, if not agree with, the political discussion. I wanted to create a Traveller campaign exactly like it. Not the Spinward Marches version of the Sword Worlds but one exactly like the one in the book. I never did though. Much to complex for me at the time. So many details that I couldn't or wouldn't work out. The faster than light drive wasn't the Traveller jump. Ships in the Space Viking universe could travel at about 1 light-year an hour. The characters would spend 2000 or 3000 hours travelling between stars sometimes. I didn't successfully translate it into game terms. And then there were all the planets mentioned and figuring out how far they were apart. To much for my poor, young teenaged mind. Then there are the societies, governmental relationships, etc. I wonder if I could wrap my poor, adult brain around it. Anyone know of a conversion floating around out there? I have a feeling I'm going to write more about Space Viking on this blog in the future.

You can still get hard copies of the book or you can read a version at Project Gutenberg.


  1. There's a Star Vikings mini-game by Dwarfstar games. You can get it for free, though I cannot at the moment remember on what site.

    Check out the microgames museum, they have a link from their site to the free copy of the game.

  2. I played it once or twice years ago. I'll have to check it out again. Thanks.

  3. That's a great book. One of my favorites.