Today marks the start of our Let’s Study series of FATE Core powered games, featuring Mindjammer the Roleplaying Game: Transhuman Adventure In the Second Age of Space by Sarah Newton.
For those unfamiliar with the Let’s Study series on this blog, I’ll be making a series of posts as I go through the book chapter by chapter, sharing my thoughts and opinins as I learn along. We’ll hit all the bases, from the setting, the system, character creation, sample combat, the GMing section and finish off with a conclusion and review of the book.
Science Fiction is largely to blame for my involvement with RPGs to begin with. I was at the tender (and highly impressionable) age of 9 when I bought my first RPG, a copy of TSR’s Star Frontiers.
It was in that genre of starships and blasters that I cut my teeth in RPGs, and I’ve never forgotten about it.
So it is with no small amount of excitement that I’m cracking open my copy of Mindjammer today to check it out.
Mindjammer introduces itself as the Second Edition of the ENnie Award-winning science-fiction rpg updated and expanded for the FATE Core rules.
The setting revolves around the New Commonality of Humankind, which is an incredibly large interstellar civilization during the time of the Expansionary Era, a period of turmoil where the Commonality rediscovers and assimilates lost colonies from the past.
Mindjammer is sci-fi written at an epic scale, tackling modern issues such as transhumanism, xenoscience, virtual worlds, synthetic life and cosmological mysteries. This in turn makes it flexible to different styles of play, from pulpy blasters and starships fare to sword-and-planet, hard SF, military sci-fi, politicial intrigue and whatever else might float your boat.
The Introduction gives a quick snapshot of the setting, The New Commonality of Humankind, and brings up the reason how such a massive civilization retains it’s cultural identity: the Mindscape, a “shared consciousness” that links the citizens of the Commonality together. It’s an intriguing concept, and one that I’m eager to check out in further detail when I get to it in the book.
Other concepts that need to be introduced early on are the presence of post-human and para-human species such as hominids, uplifted animals and synthetics.
The Exapansionary Era is also given a quick rundown in this section, with mention of planeships that enable the Commonality to perform faster-than-light travel. Other ships include Mindjammers, sentient starships charged with maintaining interstellar communication and the Mindscape, and far gates that enable instantaneous travel.
The Introduction caps off with a quick rundown of possible character concepts that you can play, from Soldiers of the Armed Forces Instrumentality to the more common Rogues and Adventurers. It’s a good way to showcase just how vast the setting is, and perhaps a clue that when GMs run, it would be best for them to zero in on a particular campaign concept in particular to pitch when they run a game.
So far the Introduction holds a lot of promise, and I’m looking forward to checking out the various component parts of this game. Given the sheer amount of potential in the concepts introduced I”m already thinking of ways to run the game like many of my favorite Sci-Fi Universes from Fading Suns to Dune to Firefly to The Metabarons.
Tomorrow, we’ll check out The Basics, the chapter talking about FATE Core and how its mechanics are implemented in Mindjammer. FATE has always been easy enough to learn, but perhaps a little trickier to get used to if you’re still new to Aspects. I’m curious to see what tweaks the game has made (if any) to the core mechanic and how it’ll impact the way FATE runs.