Category Archives: News & Reviews

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The “Belated” German Free RPG Day–A Retrospective

Things have been a bit quieter than usual on Stargazer’s World lately. One reason for this is my involvement with a local con which was one of the events that celebrated the German Free RPG Day.


Two years ago a couple of German RPG enthusiasts thought that the time was right to organize a German Free RPG day similar to the Free RPG Day most of you already know and love. It was and still is an attempt to make our hobby more publicly known and help out local shops and gaming clubs. This year one of the regulars of our RPG pub meeting thought it would be great if we organized our own event. Alas the location where the event was meant to be held in was not free on March 15th, so we decided to reschedule to the 22nd.

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M42 Orion Nebula, M43, and NGC 1977 complex

First Look: Mindjammer The Roleplaying game by Sarah Newton

imageSome of you might be a bit confused right now. Wasn’t Mindjammer a novel? And what about that Starblazer Adventures setting from 2009? Mindjammer – The Roleplaying Game is basically the stand-alone 2nd edition of the 2009 game set into the same universe as the novel. Instead of Starblazer Adventures it now uses Fate Core as its basis but this time around the complete rules are included.

I initially planned to write a full in-depth review of Mindjammer, but then decided to give it the first look treatment. Why? Mindjammer is a tome of a game. For this first look Sarah provided me with the Thoughcast Edition PDF (which is what the preorderers get) which has 502 pages. The new layout and artwork is great and fits the transhumanist setting much better than the look of the 2009 book. The artwork from the British Starblazer comics has been replaced by artwork created specifically for Mindjammer.

So what is Mindjammer all about? Let me quote from my review of the novel:

Humanity has reached the stars millenia ago and the New Commonality of Worlds has united almost all humans. Ultra-advanced technology is commonplace. Intelligent spaceship called Mindjammers roam the stars, humanity is connected by some kind of “thought internet” called the Mindspace.

Sending thoughts to another persons is as easy – even easier – as sending an email today. Thanograms, the sum of the skills, knowledge and memories of a dead person, cast into the Mindscape at the moment of death, can be used as the controlling intelligence of synthetic beings called eidolons, spaceships and even personal equipment. But that doesn’t mean that immortality can be achieved. The belief that an eidolon is actually the dead person is called Transmigration Heresy and is often encountered in colonies that have recently been reintegrated into the Commonality.

imageSo basically it’s transhumanist space opera with a twist. Usually in transhumanist settings transfer of personalities is a common theme and the transferred mind is still considered to be the person it was before. This is different in Mindjammer and it makes the game much more playable in my opinion. The setting is definitely what makes the game a must-have for SF fans. It’s unique, extremely detailed, and should be a lot of fun to play, IF you find players willing to invest some time and effort into it. Mindjammer is definitely not a pick up and play kind of setting. If you plan to play in a Mindjammer campaign you should read the background sections of the book throughly or at least read Sarah’s novel. Alas not every player is willing to put so much effort into a game.

The rules of Mindjammer are based on Fate Core which is the best version of Fate so far. Having the core rules included in the game is a mixed bag if you ask me. It’s great if you don’t own the Fate Core rule book, because you can just pick up Mindjammer and you’re done. But if you already own Fate Core, a setting-only book might have been the cheaper choice. And you never know what rules might be different in Mindjammer from Fate Core. But from what I’ve read so far, Sarah made no changes to the core rules, but just added a couple of subsystems using the Fate fractal like rules for organisations or spaceships.

So who would I recommend Mindjammer to? I’d recommend the game to everyone who’s interested in space opera with transhumanist themes woven in who is willing to invest some effort. You might also use Mindjammer as a coal mine if you intend to run your own SF setting using Fate Core, but it would really be a shame if you didn’t use the excellent Mindjammer universe. The New Commonality of Worlds  is definitely an exciting place to play in.

Mindjammer is currently available for preorder from the Modiphius online shop for $54.99 which includes the hardcover version and the PDF. If you preorder you get the Thoughtcast edition of the PDF at once. The hardcover book ships later in March. Then you’ll also get the final PDF.

By the way, if you have any questions regarding Mindjammer, feel free to post them in the comments below. Sarah Newton has agreed to answer a few questions for us later this week and I am sure I can include a couple of questions by our readers in the interview.

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News of the World #1

Don’t worry, I don’t want to write about the British news paper scandal here. But I thought that “News of the World” would be a great title for a column about news from the RPG scene. On an irregular basis I want to publish news posts about things I’ve read or heard about. This is something I haven’t done before. At least not in this format. So please let me know what you think!

Rumor: D&D Next is going to expensive
From what I’ve read on several blogs Wizards of the Coast will sell the D&D Next PHB for $50. Of course this hasn’t been confirmed by Wizards yet, but if it’s true, it could mean that the price to get into the new D&D might be around $150. This is quite a lot.
On the other hand, the PHB for the next D&D might be more complete than previous versions. If it contained everything you needed to play and run D&D Next, it would be a fair price, but I have my doubts. In my opinion it would be a terrible move by Wizards of the Coast. From what I’ve heard so far, a lot of people are underwhelmed by what they have seen from D&D Next so far, and I doubt the ridiculous price tag could win them over.
I still hope that the $50 price tag is just a placeholder.

Mutant Chronicles 3rd Edition Open Beta
126929While the Mutant Chronicles Kickstarter is still going strong, Modiphius has released a free open beta document on DriveThruRPG. The 47-paged PDF is fully layouted, contains artwork, and even an adventure. Alas there are no rules for character creation, so you have to rely on the four pregenerated characters included in the book. But nevertheless, it’s a nice move by Modiphius and it might help to get some more people interested in the game.
From what I’ve seen so far the system is quite unique and pretty rules-light (which I love). To make checks you roll 2d20 and compare them with your difficulty number. If the result on one of the dice is equal or lower the difficulty number, you scored a success.
I have played Mutant Chronicles a couple of years back and while I enjoyed it a lot, I found that both the rules and the background had some serious issues. But it looks as if the Modiphius team has the rules side of things covered nicely. We won’t know how they fixed the setting until the final book is released though, but I am confident, that they’ll manage to work out the kinks till release.

German Starslayers  website launched
spielguideSome of you may have already heard about Starslayers, the SF roleplaying game powered by the Dungeonslayers system. A couple of days the official Starslayers website has opened and Christian Kennig uses it to share a few sneak peeks at his upcoming game.
Starslayers will obviously use almost the same rules and the same open license. What’s different from DS is a new approach when it comes to a setting. While DS included the Caera setting there was never a strong focus on it. Starslayers on the other hand has a deep setting which influences every aspect of the game – even the rules. While it is still possible to set your games into any SF setting, the default mode is to use the included setting.
At the moment Christian Kennig is still conducting “internal playtests”, so don’t expect the release in the next weeks, but it should be out later this year. Alas I have no information about an English version yet, but I’ll try to squeeze some answers out of Christian later. Zwinkerndes Smiley

These are my news for today. Expect more news in the weeks to come!