Thursday, November 26, 2015

Strange Stars Debut At U-Con

The Strange Stars Fate Rule Book debuted this past weekend at U-Con in Ypslanti, Michigan. The copy above isn't the forthcoming print edition from RPGNow, but rather one I made so that I had a table copy with which to GM the game. The print verson will be perfect bound rather than spiral coil!

I made color copies of the Strange Stars Game Setting Book, and copies of the character generation and clade templates chapters from the Strange Stars Fate Rule Book. That way, every player had access to both the visual references and setting background from the setting book, and the tools they needed to create characters on the fly!

Strange Stars offers players a lot of choices when it comes to creating characters. Each of the six players chose a different clade (essentially a subspecies of humanity, an alien species, or an artificial intelligence) from among the 25 clades in the template chapter in the Strange Stars Fate Rule Book. Each of the players chose a new clade template different from those selected by past players in my games.

Here's what they created:
  • My friend Brett created a Magus. This fortune-telling clade has a lot in common with the Technmages of Babylon-5. Technomages are one of my favorite features of the B-5 setting, and it was nice to see one come into play in this game.
  • Veteran Tekumel GM Krista created a Deva, the winged, spacefaring humanoids resemble angels. They travel the universe looking for things to help repair the damaged Jupiter Brains that make up the planets in their solar system. Krista's Tekumel games are famous for her engaging portrayals of Tekumel's weird non-human species. She did a wonderful job portraying the Deva as a particularly God-crazed clade!
  • One of the hard science fiction fans at the table created a Wanderer. Members of this clade are asteroid-sized Minds downloaded into humanoid construct bodies. The player of this particular Wanderer decided that his Trouble aspect was that the source Mind had been damaged. He wasn't sure any more whether he still IS all that he used to be. The Wanderer was on a journey of self-discovery and repair.
  • Another hard SF fan chose to create a Kosmonik. These are one of the more alien humanoid clades. Kosmoniks live their entire lives in space. They don't have faces any more. They have prehensile feet. We're not exactly sure what's under that suit with a face plate that they wear at all times. They are good engineers and pilots, but are very superstitious: each Kosmonik has its own taboo, and these often relate to living in space.
  • A young woman whose second game ever was this one chose to play a Phantasist. They are very human-seeming sky-city dwelling pharmoneurochemists who specialize in synthesizing compounds that create specific dream states for their clients. Her specialty was nightmares.
  • The final player chose to play a green-hued Smaragdine woman. His character was a member of the Pharesmid Crime Syndicate. All Pharesmid's are physical clones or mind-copies of the syndicate's founder. This character soon ran into Pharesmid adversaries during the course of the story.
A lot of times, Strange Stars players decide to play a group of pirates. This group decided to be more like the crew of the Firefly: a group travelling between worlds and trying to make things a bit better. They succeeded in not playing anti-heroes or "space assholes" (i.e., the equivalent murderhobes in space games like Traveller)! This quirky group tried to make things better! Whether they actually succeeded... well, they certainly made certain things in their sector more complicated!

It was a fun game!


  1. That is definitely a great group of characters. Sounds like a lot of fun!

    1. I had a lot of fun with these players and their characters! Watch out for them! They'll be creating chaos if they ever make it out of the Library of Atoz-Theln.

    2. Man, I miss playing Strange Stars--good thing there's a game coming up at Con of the North. :-) I may have to twist your arm to run more!

    3. Jay, aren't we doing a Saturday Night Space Opera game in early 2016 too?