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Starvation Cheap: Military Campaigns for Stars Without Number

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The reek of blood and scorched steel fills the air. The city is burning under the remorseless fire of far guns, survivors cowering beneath the roots of their glassy towers. The streets are filled with the dead, their bodies made one with the broken road by the tread of the tanks and their scuttling infantry support. Soon the city will fall. It has already become a tomb.

Somewhere in that hell is a single data crystal with the technical specifications that might win the war. Somewhere in the burning wreckage of the Cetian enclave is the senator who can persuade her world to send its legions in aid. And somewhere over the river is the lieutenant who saved your life at Harshaw, his platoon pinned down and helpless as enemy tanks hammer his perimeter.

You have four teammates, a centaur gunbot, and a comm frequency to artillery HQ. You have four hours before the enemy's main forces surge into the streets. You have decisions to make. Who will live, who will die, and will you be there to see it?

Starvation Cheap is a military campaign supplement for the free Stars Without Number sci-fi tabletop role-playing game. It's written to provide the reader with all the tools they need for building a sandbox-style military campaign focused on planetary armies and mercenary legions. Everything from the construction of wars and vital military objectives down to the gritty details of building a battlefield adventure is provided in this 110 page book.

While written for Stars Without Number, the great majority of the tools in this book are system-neutral, perfectly usable with the sci-fi game of your choice. Within these pages you'll find tools like...

  • Details on the typical structure of a modern ground army. Ranks and roles are described, along with the pertinent details of military justice, the chain of command, and the various types of modern military units. GMs unfamiliar with military culture and flavor can use these pages to tighten up their game.
  • Guides for creating planetary conflicts through War Tags, rolling up reasons for savage conflicts and assigning critical Vital Points that must be captured or overcome if a side is to be victorious.
  • Building ground armies, dividing them into units, and dealing with the potential complications of sending modern laser rifles and gravtanks against spears and lostworlder jezails. Creating a mercenary legion? Everything you need is in here, too.
  • Strategic mass combat rules for resolving these planetary wars with the armies and mercenary legions you've made. The rules are quick and streamlined, meant to give a fast outcome and focus on player involvement in offensive priorities and desperate defenses.
  • GM tools for building battlefield missions and adventures, with the PCs thrown onto the field to achieve some grave task or die trying. These rules interface with the mass combat tools, making PC success in their objectives the crucial factor that tips a bitter defeat into a hard-won victory.
  • Hardware, of course. Lots of merciless hardware, from self-propelled artillery guns to radioactive weaponry and semi-sentient landmines. The far future battlefield is a dangerous place to be.

Like the prior three campaign supplements I've written - Suns of GoldDarkness Visible, and Skyward Steel Starvation Cheap is built to make a GM's life easier. Whether you intend to run a full-fledged mercenary campaign in a sci-fi universe or simply throw in a bit of open warfare into a campaign with a different focus, Starvation Cheap will give you all the tools you need for the job.

(N.B. The book is offered in two print formats: standard and premium. The latter is printed on heavier paper with somewhat better color, while the former is a more economical choice. The content is identical in both.)

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Reviews (1)
Discussions (3)
Customer avatar
Eloy M July 18, 2023 3:03 am UTC
Does this include the mech rules or do you still need to buy the core book for those
Customer avatar
Marc M May 27, 2021 10:31 am UTC
This should be available as Softcover B&W Book.
Customer avatar
Lee S January 15, 2018 11:08 pm UTC
You really need to do a superhero game with the same treatment as Stars Without Number!! I would buy the XXX out of that RPG!!!
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File Last Updated:
November 04, 2015
This title was added to our catalog on November 04, 2015.