Sunday, August 25, 2013

Dungeons and Dragons ... in ... SPAAAAACE!

I have recently started a campaign of Stars Without Number over on RPGnet.  I think this is a good place to chronicle the exploits of the crew and my approach to refereeing the campaign.  It would be great if I got any reader questions.

The PCs started out at level 4, with free and clear ownership of a starship.  They were allowed to design it with a limited budget.  It's unarmed, but has a pretty good selection of equipment for exploration.  I think they made good choices with the resources available.  They also started out with what is essentially a henchman, in the person of Rook.  She's an AI in a humanlike body who has substantial technical, scientific, and computer skills.  She's there as support personnel.  She runs the ship while the PCs are off exploring, and is able to feed them information and repair their equipment.  Much like a D&D henchman, she gets a half share of treasure.  And, yes, treasure is how you get XP in this campaign.  The rate I've decided to go with for now is 5 credits of profit equals 1 XP.  That may need to change later, but for right now I'm going to stick with it.

So far, the characters have drilled out into an uncharted system, in order to explore it and hopefully find something they can sell for cash.  If this sounds like a hexcrawl, that is because it is exactly a hexcrawl.

So far, the following are the books I'm using:
1. Stars Without Number, Core Edition.  Everyone should buy this if they want to do spacegames.  It has a lot of interesting rules regarding planet creation and faction generation, and is just generally a top-notch product.  Also, the guy who wrote it has posted tons of free supplements on DTRPG, will show up in threads on RPGnet to help you with the game, and is just generally a cool dude.  If I had any complaints about the book, it's that I wish there was more equipment in there, and maybe slightly more fine-grained Tech Levels.  

2. Stars Without Number: Suns of Gold: The PCs haven't actually interacted with the rules from this game supplement yet, but it does have a lot of good material that I've been using to generate the known worlds in the campaign.  It has more equipment-porn, which is fantastic, and a subsystem to be used for mercantile ventures.  

3. Hulks & Horrors: I don't actually like this game very much, but I did use a lot of its random charts in trying to make an unexplored area that the PCs have a claim to map and exploit.  It's overall not of much interest to me, but I did pay for it and wanted to get some use out of it.  And the forms it gives you to fill out sector claim maps are Really Cool Looking.

4. Polychrome: This is another Stars Without Number supplement that I actually paid money for (I also downloaded all the free ones, of course.)  One of the worlds in the campaign is basically Bollywood Shadowrun, and I supposed the PCs might go there.  It implies the existence of Gibsonian VR Matrix Hacking as a thing that happens in the setting, and I am 100% in favor of that.  Hint: The referee being in favor of something means it will probably happen.  That stuff isn't actually in the book, but if any PC wants to get fitted for a Datajack and plug themselves directly into computer equipment, I will absolutely whip up some house rules and a data dungeon for them to crawl through.  I might actually have to insist that a player who does this make arrangements to run through the mini-adventure with me over IRC or IM, so that we don't have to let the game screech to a halt for their solo adventure.

I think that's a pretty good start.  If you're interested in what we've done so far, you can take a look here.  Links to the threads are at the bottom of the page.