Category:Chapter 1 / How to Play

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Startroid is an adaptation of D&D 4e for a new game setting, environment, and in part, rules set. It shares the basic principle of play: that of the shared make believe experience. The setting is one of alien horrors, fantastic worlds, galactic exploration, and espionage. The players take on the role of small actors on a huge backdrop, usually embodied in mercenaries for hire. Startroid also uses miniatures and a game grid: much of the ruleset is inseparable from this.

The Dungeon Master or DM (I see no reason to abandon the term, even in space there will be dungeons) sets the stage and supplies details, proposes alternatives, and presents challenges. The DM is not a storyteller, with one drive from start to finish with room for flourishes between.

The galaxy is vast, and so too are the possibilities the players may encounter deep beneath the surface of a distant world, upon it, or soaring among the stars.

The galaxy has borne witness to the rise and fall of multi-star-system spanning civilizations and empires, contains unfathomably ancient ruins whose makers' names have all been lost to time. Even comparatively recent confederations and proud governments have retracted away following cataclysmic wars.

The current age is one of mercenaries and soldiers-for-hire; far-reaching pirates and freelance warlords. Civilization exists in outposts, mere fragments of what it once had been. Businesses and governments compete and exchange on a razor's edge, and none venture far from these outposts without arming themselves, or hiring guns.

Even without a single, unifying government, galactic civilization still remembers enough of the old ways to agree upon conventions, and the same things still hold value that always have.

Trips to the outposts of civilization involve adhering to, or flying in the face of, additional conventions and laws specific to each. Generally, each planet is going to monitor vessels entering orbit or landing. Visiting vessels usually meet a harbor pilot, who assists local navigation or inter-atmospheric descent.

Journeys to derelict vessels, ruined space stations, or uninhabited or low-inhabited planets are more about monitoring or establishing claims. In place of a system of laws, the conventions of general ownership apply: most often, someone or some group claims ownership of the place and everything in it, and it is up to them to decide how to protect it. Places of this kind are called claimed-land, an informal, public acknowledgement of property separate from written law, and treated with varying degrees of respect by those who claim, and those who would claim.

Curiosities of the far reaches or realms untouched, either for hostility or otherwise, are known as the unclaimed lands. Adventures that take you to these places rarely involve a tussle with a person or group who doesn't want you there, but instead the general struggle for survival against the passive threat of space and the unknown terrors that lurk beyond. Someone who doesn't want you on claimed land is your adversary. Someone who doesn't want you on unclaimed land is your benefactor.

Though well-documented and scientifically understood, the marvels of psionic power still tease the imagination with fanciful notions of magic, and the wonder that lies beyond.

What strictly-speaking lies beyond is the Archonosphere, an alternate dimension of luminous energy that is the heart of psionic study. Materials that bear certain crystal structures resonate in both dimensions, and allow energy to move between: these are psionic power sources.

Living creatures as well can accumulate materials of this kind over time and use them as a kind of internal psionic power source, to affect all manner of energy transformation as a simple (and sometimes not-so-simple) matter of will. The precise mechanics of the Archonosphere are not fully understood and are still being investigated. Research moves perniciously slowly because of the comparative ease of psionic power as a base weapon, and of legacies of religious and cultural constructions of understanding.

Beings who are able to summon psionic energy to affect change in the physical universe are called sources. Beings who accept matter or energy into the Archonosphere (to make it go seemingly nowhere) are called sinks.

Sentient beings said to hail from the Archonosphere, so called Archons, are little help in research about the realm beyond: all known Archons are too imprinted with the persistent psyches of those psionic beings who, paired, sacrificed their own bodies to bring them over. A being native to the Archonosphere who enters the physical universe would be called a "True Archon," though such beings are currently only speculative.

The setting builds upon the scifi settings of Starcraft and Metroid games, hence the name. I'm shamelessly co-opting them, including themes, terms, technologies, and persons. The game universe is by no means limited to these, but rather takes inspiration from them. Playing through one should put you in the proper mood to explore more in this game universe. Thanks to a few runs of a previous edition, notable persons and even player-characters now permanently inhabit the galaxy, with a nod and many thanks to those who played with me before.

The possibilities are endless, but not infinite. You may as a player approach a challenge in any number of ways, but you are bounded by the already expanded rules of reality that make for a verisimilitudinous setting without being a strictly reality-simulating one. Much of what you may want to do cannot work. It is one of the functions of the DM to explain why your plan is impossible and suggest alternatives, or give you some expectation of the likely outcomes based on what your character would understand that you might not. Be willing to rework your initial plans, and do not get discouraged when things don't work as you'd hoped the first time. Space is passively dangerous. In addition to this, there are probably intelligent, effective agents trying very hard to kill you.

Your continued survival is profoundly unlikely in a cosmic sense, which should make events all the more thrilling.

The only victory is a game well played. The only defeat is having made yourself and everyone around you miserable. Apart from these, there are only the goals that you set for yourself. Try to establish character or player goals with your dungeon master.

D&D has a semi-rich history that I am mixedly drawing from and crapping upon. I certainly wouldn't be doing this without it: they've come up with a lot of good ideas over the years.

But also a lot of inbred crap. Stuff keeps kicking around simply because it has been there. My goal is to shuffle that all aside and keep what is most useful. To that end, I've uprooted the whole setting and dented the fundamental game mechanic.

This is how we do in space.

To play, you will need a player, a dungeon master, source materials (that is, this wiki), dice and miniatures.

Pages in category "Chapter 1 / How to Play"

The following 6 pages are in this category, out of 6 total.