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 The artwork from the British Starblazer comics has been replaced by artwork created specifically for Mindjammer.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.

WotO Part VII

Sci-Fi Fridays! Wanderers of the Outlands Part VII

Last week was very quiet… Maybe you guys liked it, or hated it, or simply it was too long for you to read! Well with the rules out of the way, back to the “fluff”

Just in case this is the first one in the series you are reading, these posts are all about my soon to begin (in about 8 sessions) Savage Worlds sci-fi campaign. These are the link for the previous entries in the series: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV,  Part V and Part VI.

I’m starting to delve into other aspects of the campaign. This time around it’s something that sometimes gets glossed over in some games but that seems important in a sci-fi game, news and entertainment. Let’s get into it…

V. News and Entertainment in the Union

Artistic expression and entertainment in the Union is as varied as the humans that populate it. The lack of FTL communications means there is a preponderance of local productions, from music, to literature, to vids. Most is delivered via local grids, but some is distributed in smart print, info tabs or traditional media. There are local celebrities, renowned artist and respected reporters in most sectors and quadrants. Beyond a quadrant, the time it takes for news and entertainment to be transported means they are not as fresh or relevant in other markets.

There are superstars with fan bases and appeal across the Union, and the EIN Triumvirate is famous for its artists, musicians and productions. The Rukta Workers Consortium has many well-known and influential authors and the major new service in the known galaxy FNS, the Freeholds News Service, still has its headquarters in Turneria in the Freeholds of Alpha Centauri.

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I’ve got Old-School on my mind

During the last months I’ve been throwing a couple of ideas around what I could run next. At the moment I still have a XCOM-inspired game and a Fallout game to finish. Both are run using Fudge and worked quite well.

For a small local convention I planned to run a game of Barebones Fantasy but then I decided to discard this idea in favor of Lamentations of the Flame Princess? Why? It’s not because I generally prefer LotFP over BBF. I just noticed that no one offered an old-school D&D game at this day. And I just got the awesome hardcover version of LotFP’s Rules and Magic book. Then I remembered that my copy of the LotFP Boxed Set contained a copy of the adventure “Tower of the Stargazer”. So it was settled. The Stargazer runs “Tower of the Stargazer” at the local con. Zwinkerndes Smiley

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