I mean, I knew what I was getting. I've heard people drop Universal World Profiles. I knew about death during character generation (Not required, but present. It's called "Iron Man" character generation -- the default on a failed survival roll is Horrible Manglement, because peg legs are fun.) I was aware, in a general way, of the charts.
But sitting here, book open to page 160, checking two charts to figure out how many passengers want to go from the space rock you're on to the space rock you want to go? Flipping through the book and finding a table, completely unrelated to the entry on the alien race it's below, about what a character's enemy is up to on the planet they just showed up on? Discovering charts for generating random animals to harrass the part with?
Crazy awesome doesn't even cover it.
Now I just need to figure out what to run with it. The crazy part of me says "Stargate SG-1 meets Star Trek (TOS) by way of Foundation, with a little Star Wars on the side and as much Dune as I can cram into it and still keep the laser battles." The campaign would bear the moniker "Star Truck," and an early session would center around a mysterious spinning cube, encountered in the mysterious reaches of space. Oh, and space marines.
The more serious part of me . . . well, basically agrees. I'd explain it in a way that doesn't hinge on pop culture references, but that's the space fiction I like. Basically, I'm thinking:
- The whole "ancient earth cultures scattered by a mysterious race" theme
- Pulp craziness, the kind that straddles the line between "making a point about human nature" and "laser dinosaurs!"
- One or more Imperial whatsits (that a lot of human worlds sit outside of) based on trade in exotic items, transhuman conspiracies, and dukes of planets (also: space princesses)
- Lunatic investment schemes by the PCs and/or their employers
- Space battles with ridiculous weaponry, up to and including colored lasers beams that cause computer banks to explode
- Space Marines. With powered armour. And laser swords.
That, and it's Traveller. If I get stuck, I'll just roll some dice and work out something interesting.