Mindjammer

 

 

The ENnie Award-winning transhuman science-fiction RPG setting returns, in a new edition updated and massively expanded for the Fate Core rules. Mindjammer is an action-packed tabletop roleplaying game about heroic adventurers in the galaxy of the far future, filled with virtual realities, sentient starships, realistic aliens, and mysterious worlds. Using the popular and award-winning Fate Core rules, Mindjammer lets you play hardened mercs, cunning traders, steely-nerved pilots, intrigue-filled spies and culture agents, aliens, divergent hominids, artificial life forms, and even sentient starships.

 

Find out more about Mindjammer at www.mindjammer.com and www.mindjammerpress.com

 

 

Name: Mindjammer

Publisher: Mindjammerpress and Modiphius Entertainment

System: Fate

Author: Sarah Newton

Category: Sci-Fi Core Book

 

Cost: $54.99 (Print and PDF Bundle) – order here

Pages: 496

Year: 2014

 

SKU: MUH042201

ISBN: 978-0-9574779-3-3 (ebook: 978-0-9574779-5-7)

 

 

“Welcome to Mindjammer — transhuman adventure in the Second Age of Space! This is the second edition of the ENnie Award-winning science-fiction roleplaying game, updated and expanded for the Fate Core rules. It’s a cool yet believable setting of lost worlds, hyper-advanced tech¬nologies, and clashing civilisations. In these pages you’ll find a unique and compelling space opera roleplaying game, a whole universe of action and adventure!

Mindjammer details the New Commonality of Humankind, a vast interstellar civilisation centred on Old Earth. Following the invention of faster-than-light travel only two centuries ago, the Commonality is expanding to the stars, contacting lost worlds colonised in the distant past. The Expansionary Era is a time of turmoil; as the Commonality discovers and assimilates these lost colonies, it finds itself getting “colonised right back”, its cultures and stability shaken to the core. Agents of the Commonality battle constantly against cultural contamination, and eve¬rywhere the frontier flares in conflict and war.”

Firstly I have to thank Chris Birch and Sarah Newton for the PDF copy of the book, which I was given to review. It is very much appreciated.

 

The Review:

 

The book is BIG! 496 pages of sci-fi goodness, with some stunning artwork from Paul Bourne, Earl Geier, Jason Juta, Fil Kearney, Eric Lofgren, Marco Morte, Andreas Schroth, Ian Stead, Jeff Ward and Andy Wintrip. Sarah Newton has done a very good job in design and writing, keeping the layout clear and simple to follow. It has a clean look, despite the greyish tinge to the pages and the art is well spaced to draw the eye and keep the pages turning. I would have liked a bit more colour in the book, but the costs have to be weighed up against the product so this is a minor gripe. This book is player / GM / universe guides combined hence the size! As the promotional blurb says:

 

It's a standalone game with everything you need to play, including innovative new rules for alien life, planets, and star systems, organisations, culture conflict, hypertech, starmaps, background material, virtual realities and techno-psionic powers, and much more.

 

The rules themselves are based on the FATE Core system. This is an interesting choice as the FATE system is very rules light and the system stripped to it’s core (hence the name!). In fact the second chapter has everything you need to play the game. However the FATE system does use fudge dice, so it is best to get a set of these before you play!

 

The first 9 chapters take you by the hand and lead you through character design and gameplay in very simple steps and clear examples. This does make the game very simple to learn and pick up. I have to say the chapter summaries in the introduction are a great idea and really help you find the relevant information in such a large book. One thing on fate is the strange names some of the Aspects are given – such as “The Venu Have Psi-Powers — So Must We!” or “New trader with a heart of gold”. Though obvious in themselves, when put in as part of an explanation, the grammar can get a little confusing! In regards to the character creation itself, the main thing that comes across is the narrative. Everything about character creation is story driven and players are encouraged to make the character creation part of (if not all) a gaming session. There are checklists and pleanty of examples to get the creative juices flowing and really is a great read.

 

Chapter 10 (page 163) gives the book over to the Gamesmaster. Here again Sarah takes a new GM by the hand and gently leads them through what is initially quite a bewildering array of races, powers, charts and tables. However given the simple beauty of the fate core system you are reminded that:

The Golden Rule

First and foremost, when playing a Mindjammer game, bear in mind the golden rule of the Fate Core system:

First decide what you’re trying to accomplish, then use the rules to help you do it.

This may seem obvious, but it’s an important principle. What it means is, don’t look at the rules as a restriction on what you can do, but rather as tools to model whatever you’re trying to do. Your intent takes precedence over game mechanics.

I do like the part that states: “you are a chairman, not god!” This is something a lot of GMs get wrong and again a lot of the advice in this part of the book is relevant to any GM of any system.

 

Chapters 11 to 21 highlight the universe and its inhabitants for the GM. There is a wealth of knowledge here but also a lot of detail. However the simplicity of the system against the complex nature of the mindscape and the galaxy means that what is detailed loses some of its intimidation. However I have add that this is vital for the GM to read through and get a firm understanding of, as this is the underpinning of the game. Of course the detail in a single rulebook is never fantastic and there is a need for additional source books for a lot of these chapters, especially to help the GMs get the information and even just the concepts over to the players.

 

Chapter 22 is all about bringing this wealth of information together into a coherent scenario and on-going campaign. All through this chapter (and indeed the book) are some lovely little tips and clarifications that help to flesh out the point that it is trying to get across. There are some great tips here for general scenario building that could be of great use for any budding GM or even a grizzled old pro!

 

The final chapters gently wrap up the rules and gameplay and sets out a sector of space for instant use. The Darradine Rim has world statistics and descriptions, along with colour pictures of the planets and maps. This use of colour is a welcome change from the rest of the book but also give the planets a vibrancy and life.

 

The end of the book brings together the charts and tables from the chapters into one easy reference section. Also there are also copies of essential sheets (that can be printed from the PDF and come out fine – I tried!!). Also downloadable versions of these sheets are available at http://www.mindjammerpress.com. Finally there is a substantial glossary and index for ease of reference and a final treat – the colour gatefold of Commonality Space – 931 NCE.

 

My Summary:

Overall I have to say – “wow.” This is an epic piece of work that has obviously been a labour of love for Ms Newton. The scope and breadth is magnificent and the little personal details in each chapter make this a joy to read through. There are still a few design tweaks for the final version but nothing to take away from the effect in the book. The fact that the system uses Fate Core I find intriguing. In fact so much so that I will be placing my order forthwith! To be honest the price of $54.99 so a 500 page book and PDF I think is a bargain. This gets a hearty endorsement from UK Roleplaying. Grab your blasters and let’s all head for the stars!!

 

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