Sunday, January 19, 2014

Calibrating for the Strange Stars

Before I mentioned that I was checking out Starblazers Adventures (a FATE game based on the old British comic) for running my Strange Stars setting. While I haven't finished my read through, I definitely have found a lot of things to like about it. The test for me with a new game system always comes down to: Can I get it to do what I want with a minimum of fuss?

Starblazers Adventures is geared on traditional space opera (at least of a 70s variety). While that's the mode of a lot of science fiction rpgs (Traveller, Star Frontiers, Star Wars, Star Trek), it does cover the more modern elements that are part of the Strange Stars: the internet, mind-computer interface, nanotechnology, etc. The FATE system is flexible (in fact it's been turned into a generic system), but with SA alone, it isn't always easy to see what would be the best way to model some of those elements.

Thankfully, there is a supplement that does a lot of that. The Mindjammer supplement came out in 2009, and it presents a more "transhuman" and/or modern science fiction setting--which has a lot of those elements I was looking for. Most characters would be constantly linked to the "internet" (in Strange Stars, the noosphere; in Mindjammer the Mindscape), so some traditional knowledge type skills would very easy. Mindjammer has "Mindscape" becoming an Aspect characters can "tag" to their advantage. An elegant implementation.

Mindjammer also has uplifted animals, artificial beings, and AI characters. Those would have probably been fairly easy to figure out how to do with SA alone, but I always like having examples.

Another help in regard to different species or types of beings was Bulldogs! It's a separate FATE-based sci-fi game from SA, but same basic stuff. It's probably got the best alien write-ups of the three and gives a number of them. Unlike Mindjammer, whose pdf is no longer available (awaiting a 2nd edition--a standalone game--which has yet to appear), Bulldogs! is still "in print."

So those are the things I've been looking at so far. Next week I'll probably try adapting a Strange Stars culture or two.


GeneD5 said...

I also used a combo of FATE Starblazer Adventures, Mindjammer, and Bulldogs for my "Vortex" homebrew space opera. My groups had a lot of fun over the past three years.

I recommend "SBA" for stunts and ships, Mindjammer for some psi and newer SF concepts, and Bulldogs for clear chargen rules. If you want more rules, try FATE Core. Fortunately, they all fit together pretty well.

Trey said...

Nice breakdown, thanks!

Tallgeese said...

I took Bulldogs! with me on a weekend business trip to Akron, OH. I've had the PDF for a while, but recently I picked up the HC and really started digging in. I think it's a great engine for Firefly/space truckers gaming. Been a fan since the first edition, which was d20. The art is also part of the fun.