Savaging Babylon 5

I was still in high school when the pilot for this show hit the airwaves. I was at a friend’s house (he taped the show; this was before DVR, after all). We both fell in love with the show immediately. By the time the first episode aired a few months later, I was hooked and hungry for more.

I’ve played several iterations of games for Babylon 5, including the Component Game System board game and Mongoose Publishing’s D20 version. I learned quickly that D20 is not a good fit for the setting. A structured class and hit point based mechanic just makes it too difficult to run the type of game that emulates the television show very well. I collected almost all the B5 D20 books, and then about two years after it came out, I sold them all off. I ran the game twice and was not pleased with how it played both times.

The wound system of Savage Worlds lends itself very well to the feel of Babylon 5 where firefights quickly turns lethal and more time is spent in story development than in long, drawn out battles.

That brings us to a conversion of Babylon 5 that was posted originally on, before that site went away. Luckily, with the wayback machine, we still have access to this nifty little pdf!

Written up and posted by Markus Finster, this is a nice, compact translation that addresses the races, edges, hindrances and tech of Babylon 5. He also created a pretty nice system for the psi abilities. Including psi ratings and psi-corps. Reading through this document brought me back to the mid 90’s watching this little show and being completely drawn into the five year story arc. Take the Savage Worlds core book, that little pdf linked above and a decent resource on Babylon 5 and you are good to go!

For someone like myself, I wouldn’t find it at all difficult to come up with some pretty interesting and twisted storylines for this setting, being a fan for over 20 years now. But for those who might need some information on the setting, try these links:

First up is the Babylon 5 wikia:

Then we have the granddaddy of fan sites, The Lurker’s Guide:

Last, is a great aggregate resource for anything else:

Besides the Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorer’s Edition and the Savage Babylon 5 pdf, all you need is in the links above to create memorable adventures in the last of the babylon stations. Now, having the Science Fiction Companion is a nice addition, especially in the race creation section and futuristic gear, but it is not actually needed. The Savage B5 conversion pdf covers a lot of cannon races and tons of the equipment.

While there are several conversions out there that I really enjoy, I also strive to keep it as simple as possible. And keep it as close to the core book rules as written. This document is about a streamlined as I would want to make it. The changes to the Arcane Background Psionics really helps bring out the flavor of the setting without adding too many rules. The addition of the P Rating is integral to the setting and makes a nice mechanic to reflect the different power levels of psychics in the setting.

In short, I can’t see making any major changes to the pdf in order to run B5 quickly and easily!

Tell me what you think in the comments below.

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