Welcome! This page is devoted to the now unproduced game XXVc, produced by TSR Hobbies (best known for the Dungeons and Dragon RPG upon which XXVc's rules system was largely based). In addition to providing some historical information, it is my goal to make this a place to find game material, links, and eventually conversion rules for using XXVc with the rules for 3E (Dungeons and Dragons 3rd Edition).
(This is paraphrased from the first Buck Rogers XXVc novel: Arrival)
Lorraine Dille Williams, granddaughter of John Flint Dille, "the newspaper syndicate owner who originally conceived of and promoted Buck Rogers", had become the chief executive officer of TSR. Taking advantage of this, her brother Flint Dille wrote a "bible" describing the charter for what was to become the XXVc setting. A TSR team was formed, featuring Mike Cook, Michael Dobson, Jeff Grubb, Jim Ward, Warren Spector, and Jeff Butler. Artists were also called in and a test run of some of the concepts appeared in the Battle for the 25th Century Boardgame. Mike Pondsmith was then brought in for some fresh insite into the timeline and product lists. And thus the game was born.
This was an ambitious project, since it ignored most material of all previous forms of the Rogers universe, keeping only a few names and concepts intact. It used a variation of the D&D rules, though with a much better skill system. The basic plot was that man developed fusion rockets which allowed exploration of the inner Solar System. Different power groups took different planets: Europe and West Asia grabbed the moon, U.S. and U.S.S.R. hit Mars, African and Asian interests took Venus, and rejects from the rest went to Mercury. Terraforming, made possible by massively successful genetics, was used to make the planets colonizable, and the Earth government heavily taxed the colonies.
RAM (the corporate dictatorship that came to govern Mars) eventually turned on Earth and blew it back to the dark ages. Then it proceeded with its long plan of corporate annexation of the other power groups. By the 25th century the power groups include Luna which has come to control most banking and development of old tech, Ishtar of Venus (a culture centered on a religon mixing all old faiths) which sells the drug that allows prolonged exposure to zero-g, and the Sun Kings of Mercury who sell solar energy via microwave beam to the rest of the system.
There are many stirrings of revolt: The people who maintain the solar collectors on Mercury don't get much of a cut, Mars is divided into strict castes which give no rights to the poor, and then there are the gennies. Gennies are races of beings that have been genetically engineered to the point their humanity is in question: Mars uses super-strong Workers for slave labor and killing machine Terrines for soldiers, Venus uses the reptilian Lowlanders to farm the drugs, everybody uses the tiny Tinkers to repair technology. A subtext of the materials is the gennies are treated like property, but they are just as human, if not more so, then us. They are starting to form their own cultures and are fed up with the situation.
Into this hostile mix comes Buck Rogers, thawed out after being lost in his successful attack against the last doomsday satellite. Very rapidly he comes to be a leader in NEO, an organization devoted to freeing Earth and the solar system from RAM tyranny. Along with Wilma Deering, a computer simulation of his old friend from the past Doc Huer, the gennie leader of the major space pirates Black Barney, and a host of other characters, Buck leads a successful revolution (with the help of the Venusian fleet) against RAM's Earth forces. Then he proceeds to work against those elsewhere.
Primary technologies featured in the materials are advanced genetics, crystalline computer technology, holograms, fusion rockets, lasers, terraforming, and the like. Basically anything cutting edge and theoretically possible by today's standards is the norm there. The material on the solar system's elements is superbly researched and presented, and it is made clear through- out that no evidence of aliens has ever been found, and probably will never be. Its a cynical vision of the future with corporate control and development of tech totally dictated by the bottom line: Cold hard cash (though its mostly in an electronic media).
GAME MATERIALS: The game itself was well supported in quantity, but had serious quality control problems. Many typos entered the finished product, duplications of whole chapters filled sections of later products, and some important concepts (robotics, the crystalline computer net, ship modification & combat) where barely touched on. No manual was ever produced detailing NEO, the central organization for most campaigns. And beyond this it never sold very well for other reasons, including a growing dislike of the ancient AD&D rules style and a fear that it would be 'corny' (which was totally off target, as this setting is about as dark as they come with its emphasis on economic slavery, abuse of genetics to create whatever form of life is desired, and computer domination of life). It was also poorly supported in industry publications. Eventually TSR cancelled it (mid-year, so several scheduled products never materialized).
This game, of which I know considerably less, attempted to duplicate the Rogers Universe as presented in the earliest comic strips and novels. It had been advertised as 'pulp sci- fi' and featured such things as the gravity belts, Han Empire, etc. It did not sell very well either, was very poorly supported, and was put out of its misery rather swiftly.
|??/1988 Buck Rogers: Battle for the 25th Century|
|??/1990 Buck Rogers #1: Rude Awakening (1 of 3)|
|??/1990 Buck Rogers #2: Rude Awakening (2 of 3)|
|??/1990 Buck Rogers #3: Rude Awakening (3 of 3)|
|??/1990 Buck Rogers #4: Black Barney (1 of 3)|
|??/1990 Buck Rogers #5: Black Barney (2 of 3)|
|??/1991 Buck Rogers #6: Black Barney (3 of 3)|
|??/1991 Buck Rogers #7: Martian Wars (1 of 4)|
|??/1991 Buck Rogers #8: Martian Wars (2 of 4)|
|??/???? Unknown, but I believe a ninth was made.|
|??/???? Unknown, but I believe a tenth was made.|
(produced by Strategic Simulations Inc).
|??/???? XXVc Countdown to Doomsday|
|??/1992 XXVc Matrix Cubed|
|??/???? Ceiling hanging for comic shops.|
|??/???? XXVc Play By Mail Game.|
|05/1989 Martian Wars #1: Rebellion 2456|
|08/1989 Martian Wars #2: Hammer of Mars|
|10/1989 Martian Wars #3: Armageddon off Vesta|
|08/1990 Inner Planets #1: First Power Play|
|10/1990 Inner Planets #2: Prime Squared|
|05/1991 Inner Planets #3: Matrix Cubed|
|05/1992 Invaders of Charon #1: The Genesis Web|
|10/1992 Invaders of Charon #2: Nomads of the Sky|
|02/1993 Invaders of Charon #3: Warlords of Jupiter|
|??/1990 XXVc Main Box Set|
|??/1990 XXVCA1: Buck Rogers in the 25th Century: Adventure.|
|??/1990 XXVCR1: Mars in the 25th Century: Sourcebook.|
|??/1990 XXVCA2: NEO in the 25th Century: Adventure.|
|??/1990 XXVCR2: Earth in the 25th Century: Sourcebook.|
|??/1991 XXVCREF1: Character Record Sheets|
|02/1991 XXVCS1: Deimos Mandate: Adventure.|
|03/1991 XXVCS2: Sargasso of Space: Adventure.|
|05/1991 XXVCR3: Inner Worlds: Sourcebook.|
|06/1991 XXVCS3: A Matter of Gravitol: Adventure.|
|08/1991 XXVCR4: Luna: Sourcebook.|
|10/1991 XXVCS4: Phases of the Moon: Adventure.|
|11/1991 XXVCR5: The Belt: Sourcebook.|
|05/1992 XXVCR6: No Humans Allowed: Sourcebook.|
|07/1992 XXVCR7: Hardware: Sourcebook.|
|09/1993 High Adventure Cliffhangers RPG|
|11/1993 War Against the Han = Han sourcebook|
|06/1995 A Life in the Future = 'Memoirs' of Rogers|
With the cancellation of XXVc, the hope for further materials was pretty well scuttled. However, that need not be the total end. There are still fans of XXVc playing the game, devising new scenarios, npcs, and even rules. This section is for just such materials. If you wish to add to this, please mail me.
Quick Reference For All Published Ships
Transcript of a Play By E-Mail Game
Great site with info, new rules, reviews, and much more.
A ton of background information from the RPG and CRPGS.
Detailed information on the XXVc novels.
Last I knew, Buck Rogers is a registered trademark and XXVc is a trademark of the Dille Family Trust. Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, AD&D, 3E, etc are trademarks (all registered I believe) owned by TSR, Inc (which is owned by Wizards of the Coast, which is apparently owned by Hasbro). I am not attempting in any way on this page to infringe copyrites or trademarks of any of those companies, or those owned by SSI (or whoever owns them now), or those of any other involved company.