This far into this series, I can safely say that Mindjammer is a remarkably thorough game. Today we’ll be talking about a subject matter covered by no less than three chapters in the book, detailing Worlds and Civilizations, Stellar Bodies and Star Systems and finally Commonality Space.
The Worlds and Civilizations chapter contains useful guidelines and mechanics for creating interesting worlds for Mindjammer characters to adventure in. I was particularly impressed by the statement that,
“…worlds are collections of issues and descriptive elements, providing situation aspects, interesting locations, motivated opposition and seed for scenarios and campaign arcs.”
It’s a beautiful summary to any setting in any game, but the way that it was put hammers home the kind of design thinking that should go into any GM’s brain when they’re working on a scale as grand as Mindjammer. The chapter itself is mechanically involved with enough tables in it to give flashbacks to any 80’s pen-and-paper RPG player.
What each of the creation steps does, however, is to lend definition to the worlds and the civilizations that inhabit them. It might seem tedious, but clearly the GM is meant to create only a few of these at a time, as there’s enough potential in a single world to last a full campaign.
The next chapter, Stellar Bodies and Star Systems, provides the mechanics and guidelines for creating Star Systems. This is an excellent chapter for creating new and unexplored star systems, and is perfect for exploration-based games. One thing I like about this chapter is the selection of strange things and phenomena you might encounter, from exotic stars to various hazards and anomalies that will make any starship crew worry.
Commonality Space on the other hand goes on to detail the default setting of Mindjammer. In addition to the basic layout of the system, there’s also a lot of information on the important locations in Commonality Space, including the Core Worlds and various Polities. Another point of interest is the discussion of Manhome, the cradle of the human species and heart of the New Commonality of Humankind. The mention of the various arcologies and settlements all over the planets and moons of Manhome are an interesting glimpse into the nature of the setting.
Mindjammer continues to impress me with the sheer amount of detail that the game can go into. Once again, FATE GMs will be spoiled by this game as they can take that subsystem and run an entirely different game with it and still get great use of it. Honestly, at this point I’m seriously considering a Mass Effect inspired Mindjammer game knowing full well that if I need detail, Mindjammer has my back.
Tomorrow we’ll look at the GMing advice chapters of Mindjammer: Scenarios and Campaigns, and Themes, Genre and Styles.