In 1998, TSR, the company that started the role-playing game industry with Dungeons and Dragons, announced that they were going to try there hand at a sci-fi game system. This wasn't the first time TSR had done sci-fi, and while those other attempts were innovative, they hadn't the staying power of D&D. Then came Alternity. Not only was it innovative, but it was internally consistent using a single core die-rolling mechanic which drove the entire system. And it was good. And there was a groundswell of support, and people jumped on the Alternity wagon. Unfortunately, and fortunately, Dungeons and Dragons 3rd Edition was announced in late 1999. It was touted (so far seemingly correctly) as a coherent, fast, easy revision of the game that started with several new concepts from the ground up. One of those concepts was using a single core die-rolling mechanic to drive the game. Alternity had made its mark. And in so doing, spelled its own doom. While concepts learned from Alternity shaped the new D&D system (which came out August 2000), it also meant that the core system designed for the new 3rd Edition should be easily portable to any genre. And in fact, TSR and WOTC announced that as of 2001, Alternity would no longer be produced or supported, but a generic game system based almost perfectly on the new D&D 3rd Ed. would likely be released later in 2001, currently named The d20 System.
The basic structure for 3rd edition D&D has eclipsed Alternity completely with the D20 Open Source Gaming initiative. While I enjoyed my first true foray into Game mastering a sci-fi setting with it, time constraints and a lack of being able to adequately focus on the needs of two seriously disparate runs and systems eventually forced me to end my Alternity campaign in favor of devoting myself to my long-running D&D campaign.
While it lasted, my Alternity run was a military epic set in the richly detailed Wing Commander universe, as detailed in the best selling saga of computer games by Origin Systems, Inc. If you would like to learn more about it, click on the following link to my Wing Commander: Twilight Falling Campaign page.
If you are interested in learning more about Alternity, here are some selected links that should satisfy your curiousity. Click on the Alternity symbol to go to its former official homepage at Wizards of the Coast. Some of these links may fail eventually as support for Alternity dwindles, but I'll leave them there until they do.
CAGU Download Page
Alternity® Character Manager
Li Po's Alternity Page
The Daily Planet
Alternity - Role Playing Games - Net Links
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