Flight By Committee

Wild Hunt Introduction

Flight by Committee

Dead Meat and Dead Eye begin to taxi...


Mostly, I'm a desktop gamer. I have my own little circle of friends. We like the Hero System rules. We originally got together doing superhero games, but have been doing saberpunk cyberfantasy of late. Occasionally we step out and do something radical. Three of us are active or former Society for Creative Anachronism fighters, doing full weight blunted weapon and full weight armor melee. I do a little I.F.G.S. lightweight padded sword no armor. I also run the occasional convention all weekend live action run.

Last month I redefined 'radical'. I hit the high frontier of live action fantasy role playing. Take your basic laser tag equipment. Extend the range to 1,500 feet. Attach the laser sensors to the rear of a Beech T-34A Mentor two seat single engine trainer airplane, and have them trigger an air show style smoke system when a hit is detected. Attach the laser to fire forward from the wing of the T34. Multiply the above equipment by two. Get an FAA variance to allow formation flying. Add a second pilot (who knows what he is doing) in each plane to watch for other aircraft, enforce safety rules, coach, and get the plane on and off the ground. Finish it off with the traditional live action role playing injury liability waivers. (While the Society for Creative Anachronism is now requiring waivers for dance practices, waivers for dogfighting are quite understandable.)

Like most live action games, the Sky Warriors experience is centered on a very interesting combat system. There are four rules, three for safety, and one to keep down the expenses. 1) No head on attacks. If both pilots are striving to point their aircraft at the other, the flight could be cut abruptly short. All attacks must be made from behind the 3 O'clock through 9 O'clock positions. 2) Get no closer than 500 feet from the other guy. This is quite close enough. 3) Three thousand feet is the floor. A plane which goes below that altitude has 'hit the ground and crashed'. They started my fights around seven thousand feet, and we got nowhere near that low. On days with low clouds or two experienced and equal pilots, the floor altitude becomes more relevant. 4) The NPC safety pilot controls the throttle, not the PC pilot. They had a PC pilot throttle the engine down to zero during a hard dive, which resulted in a blown engine. This is expensive. There are additional rules enforced by the safety pilot which occur so rarely they don't bother to brief the players in what to avoid. Certainly, none got invoked in my flight, though I suspect nearing the red line do not exceed speed would cause the safety pilot to intervene.

The end result weak on role playing, but ever so strong in war-gaming, ego trip, and historical interest. Perhaps it's not the ultimate fantasy, but would anyone care to nominate anything else?


Three T34s
Three T34s in various warpaints.