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Mindjammer - The Novel
by Fred [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/05/2024 05:49:34

A great S-F read full of great ideas - spectacularly fast moving and with a heck of a reveal at the end. Yes, it is very plot driven as reviewer Christopher mentions, but I didn't find that a problem, and the character development was pretty nifty, too. The only drawback for me was that it's not well integrated with the Mindjammer RPG sourcebooks, and could use it's own sourcebook. More Mindjammer, please!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mindjammer - The Novel
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Mindjammer - The Roleplaying Game
by Brian [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/11/2023 10:51:17

The artwork is gorgeous. I would love to see the game that goes with the art. Mindjammer is not that game. Mindjammer is described as transhuman space opera, based on Fate Core. However, the actual text of the game materials is aggressively hostile to this conception.

The designer consistently describes transhumanism as a threat, one that the player characters are assumed to be actively fighting against. This is quite explicit in the tie-in novel, written by the primary game designer. The core book, and most of the supplements, like the novel, assume the characters are agents of the technologically advanced Commonality, working to extend its influence through a frontier of lost colonies. However, the source book for the Core Worlds, Earth and the other worlds of the Commonality, describes its inhabitants with the deeply problematic term, "decadent", because of its advanced technology and its limited tolerance of transhuman technologies. So the characters are supposed to be spreading the political influence of the Commonality, while stopping the spread of its dangerous technology.

The game mechanics are nominally based on Fate Core, a narrative game system. However, it goes so far in battering Fate mechanics into the mold of a "crunchy" game system that it is no longer recognizable as Fate. In particular, Mindjammer abuses the concept of Aspects, arguably the central concept of Fate. Instead of being a freeform description of a character that has narrative weight, Mindjammer restricts Aspects to a fixed list of traits with fixed modifiers.

I'd be tempted to say that Mindjammer tries to force Fate into the shape of Traveller, but it also lacks Traveller's elegant simplicity. And beyond that, the now classic game Diaspora does a masterful job of hybridizing Traveller and Fate mechanics.

I'm ultimately puzzled why the game designer even tried to create this game, when every line of text makes it clear they hate transhuman science fiction and every game mechanic makes it clear they hate Fate Core. I can only imagine they were under some sort of contractual obligation.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Mindjammer - The Roleplaying Game
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The Lair of the Leopard Empresses RPG
by ypikaye [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/24/2023 07:50:32

With The Lair of the Leopard Empresses, Sarah Newton delivers a near-perfect version of the Monsters!Monsters! and Tunnels & Trolls game systems. The customization of the rules is perfect, in my opinion, and demonstrates the power of this system. But beyond that, the imagined universe is highly original, and stands right alongside Beast & Barbarians, which I think it ably complements. The presentation is clear and ultra-readable, as well as being beautifully illustrated maintaining the proposed universe (AI or not). Full of interesting ideas, rich and wild cultures, African color and leopards! I immediately wanted to mix the universe with B&B and use the extremely well-developed rules. Another Sarah Newton success story that makes me want to play.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Lair of the Leopard Empresses RPG
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The Lair of the Leopard Empresses RPG
by Seth P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/18/2023 19:52:26

I've read all of the rules, mechanics, char creation, magic etc... parts of the book (a couple times) with only some of the setting still to read through and I'm loving what's here. Made a few characters and about to run them through some solo adventures, but i haven't played it yet so this is more first impressions than any review.

This is the best version of Tunnels & Trolls (even though it's technically MM) I've read. Better written and better explained, without the constant dad jokes, bad puns, cringy spell names and oddly conversational writing style. It also answers and fixes those rules ambiguities from the newest MM rulebook that aren't explained well so I'd say it's a better MM rulebook too, although the latest MM is the only one I've ever owned and read so can't speak for the previous ones editions. It's mostly written in a straightforward easy to read, clean neutral tone with lots of explainer breakout boxes and examples. It does still have minor instances of changing to a conversational tone and feeling out of place at times (like the start of the Stunts section: "Here we are at last! Let's talk about stunts! Here's the skinny"), but after a sentence or two it usually snaps right back and it's rare and minor.

The general page layout is great, very easy to read, with bold, red headers. It's really good, up there with Barbarians of Lemuria Mythic edition or one of the Legends of Steel books. I've only found one typo so far (and everything else is so solid I was surprised they missed it). However I don't love how they broke up the sections. I dislike when a game goes straight into setting, instead of straight into rules or character creation and after a brief "what is rpg" section this jumps in with an overview of Ximuia, timelines and calendar tables that feels like it should be at the back of the book with the rest of the setting fluff (especially if you don't want to use it).

The art is really good, very evocative and cohesive. There is a pretty good amount of it and none of it is bad. A definite step above what you usually see in a T&T publication. If AI art means we start getting smaller and/or indie publications with really good art instead of the terrible art they can generally afford I'm all for it, especially since bad art and presentation can really ruin what would otherwise be a good game.

The book itself is one of the most evenly built, straight and well bound Drivethru books I've received, unfortunately the paper is of a lower quality. And while it's full color everything (other than the cover) looks like Drivethru in ink-saving mode which is unfortunate for the price of the book. Everything looks slightly washed out or faded. The black type is easily readable, but it isn't dark and crisp as you would expect. It's the least colorful printing of all the full color books I've ever ordered from Drivethru which is a bummer since the artwork was obviously created super bright, colorful and vibrant. But that is all on Drivethru, not the quality of the work the creators put into the book. And it could also be that mine got shafted somehow and everyone else got a bright, colorful print, but I thought I should mention it.

Even with that I'd say it's the game I've always wished T&T could be, plus more. It's that classic ruleset, much better presented, well laid out and written with much better art and a more unique S&S-ish weird-fantasy sword & sandals setting which seems awesome and fresh in its own right. The ruleset they've built from those T&T/MM components is really, really good and I'm very happy to own it. It's one of those games that really makes you want to play it while you're reading it. Of the 86 books I've purchased and read from Drivethru this is the first one that prompted me to write a review... so there's that.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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The Lair of the Leopard Empresses RPG
by Dontrell H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/06/2023 14:22:01

Lair of the Leopard Empresses is a great game with an excellent story. It's what got me into Monster! Monster!/ Tunnels and Trolls and the fact that you can use stuff from other M!M! books is really cool. The only huge problem for me is the AI art. Now, I'm not a critic of AI art and I'm not complaining about the fact that it was used. I just personally didn't enjoy what was included in the book. Some of the art they used was kinda offputting and I actively went out of my way to avoid looking at it. Now, that's just my opinion. You may not share my opinion and maybe you like the art. Regardless of if do or don't, it's a good book and game and I highly recommend buying it for that alone.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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The Lair of the Leopard Empresses RPG
by Jakob S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/26/2023 18:39:49

Yay, one of my favourite authors and publishers is back on the scene - and doesn't disappoint!

Sarah Newton's Lair of the Leopard Empresses is based on the Monsters! Monsters! rules, which are based on Tunnels & Trolls, which means that they are from a family of RPGs I've only ever had the most fleeting contact with. My takeaway after reading most of the rules chapters of LotLE is that it's a system where the players have to start thinking out of the box, and quickly, if they find themselves outmatched. Your randomizers are usually 2,3 or 4d6, added to stats than can, even at the beginning, reach values like 30 or 50, so even a stellar dice-roll might often not allow you to come close to what a superior opposition has in store. I've decided to consider this a feature and not a bug, because at the very least, it is interesting and new (to me), and it really leans heavily into a "rulings, not rules" philosophy.

Combat will look strange to anyone not familiar with Tunnels&Trolls or Monsters! Monsters! (like me), It's basically both sides rolling all their attack/damage dice (which are the same thing), comparing the totals and the side with the lower total suffering the difference as damage to be freely distributed among them. There's special cases like missiles, spells, triggered effects and, most importantly, stunts to mix things up. Stunts are free-form with some guidelines and will probably often be about trying to distract the most dangerous opponents for a round so that you get a chance to chisel down on the others, weakening the opposition. The core system is as simple as it gets, but there's an extended combat example that shows how things can get pretty complex and tactical. (You should also definitely read the example to understand how missile damage worked - I feel that this is not made clear in the rules.)

Anyway, I came for the setting, not the rules (though I think I might stay for the rules), because it's by Sarah Newton, who has written Mindjammer and Chronicles of Future Earth, two settings that are practically exactly what I would have come up with and how I'd done it if I had the time, the talent and the discipline.

LotLE is your basic gonzo ancient world stuff with a decadent empire, lots of terribly dangerous places to visit and a few twists: For example, there's something along the lines of forest elves living at the bosom of nature, but they are more like jungle elves, and instead of being tree-hugging vegetarians, they love to eat other intelligend kindreds after having toyed with them a little. Okay, there's also proper forest elves, and while LotLE clearly is a Sword&Sorcery setting, it also has the Tolkien stuff - dwarves, hobbits (here they're called Hobbs) and orcs, some of them with nice little twists attached, others pretty much how you already know them. The overall vibe, though, is more Talislanta than Westeros and more Fafhrd then Frodo. It is also more Glorantha then Forgotten Realms: There's really a sense here that cultures, realms, species and languages are in flux. You won't play a fantasy viking who speaks fantasy viking, lives in the realm of fantasy vikings ruled by the fantasy viking queen and who prays to the fantasy viking god. There's a short historic overview at the beginning that makes it clear that rulers and cults have come and gone, that borders keep changing and that a realm or nation not always equals a culture. Admittedly, that also means that you'll have to dive a little deeper to make sense of the setting, but it's worth it. By the time you reached to Cults&Brotherhoods chapter (around page 100), this will already feel like a living, breathing, complex word. Luckily, the system supports mixing and matching of disparate character elements, because in the end, it's all about picking whichever 2 or 3 special abilities from your kindred, class and cults lists you like best. (Which means that you can even go classless by just picking from your kindred and cult lists.)

And while this is a big book (400 pages) with lots of setting material, Newton really excels at concise, atmospheric and flat-out funny descriptions of setting elements. Take this NPC description:

An ancient Leopard Cultist who never leaves the Empress' side. She has only two teeth: One tells the future, the other the past.

(I'll let that be the one glorious quote to represent the fun that is reading LotLE.)

I have only read about a third of LotLE yet (maybe half, if you count skipping ahead a few times), but it really makes me pump my fist - YES, that's how you do a proper fantasy RPG! Intertwine the setting with the rules, but don't lose yourself in point-buy micromanagement, trying to represent each and every character detail in the rules. (LotLE doesn't even have a skill system, and I strongly feel that it doesn't need one. It does have dozens of spell lists for different magical traditions.) Create interesting species, cultures and organizations for the characters to be part of, but don't box them in. Make the world feel like a real place by giving it a history that creates hybridity and diversity. Most of all, have FUN writing it and let it show.

Finally, LotLE feels very much like a played-in combination of setting and system. The setting clearly flows from a love of the rules system, but it's also obvious how the setting then has changed the system, and how actual play has lead to tweaks and clarifications. The result is a beautifully organic whole that really just makes me want to play it.

(This review is from my blog swanosaurus.blogspot.com)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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The Lair of the Leopard Empresses RPG
by Richard H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/22/2023 16:22:32

I've never come across the Monsters! Monsters! rules before, and am surprised by how ahead of their time they must have been when they first appeared - but the appeal of Lair for me is the setting and world-building. A Sword & Sorcery setting without the problematic elements they often have, it's an evocative and violent setting with potential for lots of different types of stories. Really excited to see where Mindjammer go with this new property.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Mindjammer - The Novel
by Christopher W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/31/2022 20:13:27

I really wanted to like this, but it starts middlin' and gets worse over time.

Pros: Some character development Mindjammer!

Cons: Plot-driven to a fault — the characters need to be stupid for the plot to work, so they are stupid, especially the team leader. My god, what a disaster he would be. “And now the bad guys can do—THIS!”

I wish this novel was anywhere near as good as the game.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Mindjammer - The Novel
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Monsters & Magic Roleplaying Game
by James B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/21/2022 20:35:15

The first game produced by the Old School Revival that really caught my attention, Monsters & Magic combines an old-school D&D sensibility with more modern narrative-focused mechanics. The core system, called the Effect Engine, features a ton of innovations that make it one of the most interesting variations on D&D I've ever seen.

Its best ideas include character-related traits that can be applied to checks; certain degrees of success allowing you to add narrative effects to the results; mental hit points, used in social combat and other forms of mental stress; and alignment focus and drift, allowing you to better define what alignment means for your character as well as what tempts them towards other alignments. This is also one of the few RPGs I'm aware of that makes a serious effort to integrate large-scale play into the core rules, through a concept called Constructs - allowing characters to plausibly affect everything from gangs and armies to cities, nations, and even worlds. (Usually, this is treated as a separate subsystem.)

This is such a great system that I wish it wasn't trying to be compatible with old-school D&D... because I think that's seriously holding it back. While they try their best with new takes on concepts like Treasure Types, it still feels like certain aspects of classic D&D should have been abandoned to make a better, standalone fantasy RPG. Perhaps we'll see something like that in a future evolution of the system?

Speaking of old-school compatibility, my other major complaint is the limited amount of monsters, spells, and magic items described in the book. They expect you to use existing D&D sourcebooks for additions, but I would have appreciated more conversions, to better compare this system to its relatives.

All in all, though, this is a very cool and inspirational system, and I look forward to using it! (Originally posted on Goodreads)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monsters & Magic Roleplaying Game
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Mindjammer - Traveller Edition
by Sapphire C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/15/2021 04:49:43

To preface this, Mindjammer can produce some high-falooting player characters. But that's kind of part of the charm.

Like Ironclaw, it's a setting that knows what it wants and how to get it. It's a setting and system that veers towards a single, powerful, expansionist bunch of technically good guys who ultimately trip, stumble and crash into every other planet. No aliens, BTW, all old human expansion efforts of thousands of years ago, reconnected into the Commonality.

I rather like the emphasis on cultural warfare. To fight an enemy by changing their mind through subversion and propaganda, undermining destructive ideals and replacing them with compatible ones. In general, the book feels very smart and forward thinking, which gives the setting itself a lot of shine.

It is, however, a very distinct thing its going for. Great gunslinging heroics are possible, but the way it's set up far prefers something more thoughtful, personal and intimate.

And if that all doesn't appeal, the fricking book is stuffed with just fun ideas on campaigns, technologies and more. You get your money's worth, one way or another.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mindjammer - Traveller Edition
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Mindjammer - The Roleplaying Game
by Jeffrey Z. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/11/2021 17:27:38

This article originally appeared in the June/July 2014 issue of Freelance Traveller, and as such is written from the perspective of using it with Traveller*.

Disclosure: A complimentary copy of the PDF edition was made available to the author for the purpose of review.

Like Diaspora and Starblazer Adventures, previously reviewed in Freelance Traveller, Mindjammer is based on the FATE system. It represents a third esthetic for FATE-based SFRPGs, lying somewhere between the rollicking comic space opera of Starblazer Adventures and the very Traveller-like crunch of Diaspora.

The FATE system is very strongly narrativist, so the emphasis is on role-playing, with simple mechanics and little of the bookkeeping that characterizes most versions of Traveller as written. It has been discussed in Freelance Traveller’s prior reviews of Starblazer Adventures (reviewed by “kafka”, October 2010) and Diaspora (reviewed by Jeff Zeitlin, February 2011), and so will not be discussed here; rather, the focus will be on the setting.

Transhumanism has not been a significant part of Traveller, though Mongoose Traveller does allow for some possibilities outside of the Third Imperium setting. Mindjammer, however, is a strongly transhumanist setting, and offers a significant degree of modularity, to allow elements of the setting to be transplanted to other games, or to be included or omitted as desired in a Mindjammer game. Rules for creating various aspects of the setting are detailed enough to satisfy even hard-core “gearheads” of all types, but where gearheading is unnecessary or undesirable, a few broad strokes of FATE Aspects can be enough to satisfy the needs of the game.

Character types, including various humans, both genetically modified and not, uplifted animals (“Xenomorphs”), artificials (including such things as sentient starships, space stations, and so on), and aliens, are available to players, each defined by various combinations of Aspects, Flaws, and Extras. Further definition of characters is defined by additional Aspects, Skills, Stunts, and so on of Careers. While a wide range of sample careers and character types are presented, instructions for creating your own follow the examples. There is even a chapter on organizations in the Mindjammer setting, with rules and templates for creating your own.

While the distinction between the ‘real world’ and ‘virtual reality’ continues to exist in Mindjammer, the line between them begins to blur with the Mindscape and an individual’s ‘halo’. The halo is described as an individual’s extension into the Mindscape (through a Mindscape implant), and that extension enables the use of certain skills, enhancements, extras, and so on. Many of the skills provide analogues to “classic” psionic powers such as telepathy, psionic assault, and perception. Beyond that, virtual realities can be as convincing as the real world, and what happens in the Mindscape can have real-world consequences. The speed of light is still a limit for data transmission, so the Mindscape is kept approximately synchronized between worlds through starships carrying updates.

An in-depth look at the sociopolitical structure of the setting is presented, outlining polities, corporations, cultures, and technology, fitting them together and providing rules for using them in the game, and (as usual) creating your own. Extensive rules for world-building (and star system building) are included, as well, and potentially offer a greater range of environments than stock Traveller. It is even possible to define ecosystems ranging from artificial (for food production) through transplanted Terrestrial biota to habitable-but-incompatible and completely alien.

One resource that Mindjammer provides in the core book that Traveller to date lacks is a guide to creating scenarios and campaigns. Obviously, it focuses on (and provides examples using) the standard Mindjammer setting and the FATE system, but the linkage is not strong, and the two chapters that comprise the guide would be a useful resource for any system.

Mindjammer is not Traveller, but this book is worth using as a resource for ideas that can be incorporated into Traveller, even if you don’t want the high level of Transhumanism that its setting assumes.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mindjammer - The Roleplaying Game
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Capharnaum Quickstart: THE TEARS OF AMPHAROOL
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/12/2018 09:17:08

Lushly presented, we have here a rich fantasy world that is Arabian in style. In this world, certain individuals are born with a birthmark on their backs shaped like a dragon's claw. It is belived - and expected - that these individuals are capable of great heroism, of achieving great renown... or notoriety, should their astonishing feats tend to the evil rather than the good. The player-characters are all marked thus: what will they accomplish? What songs will be sung about them, or stories told?

Colourful adventures, political, military, and magical intrigues await the characters in the land of Jazirat, once annexed by a crumbling Empire that itself was built on the remains of the Republic of Agalanthia. Jazirat is a vast peninsula with a big desert in the middle and Capharnaum to the north, regarded as the centre of the world, while the nation of Kh'saaba is found to the south. Many peoples with their own traditions and beliefs mix here, sometimes at peace, often not.

Scene set, we move on to the Quickstart Rules, a cut-down version of the full Capharnaum rules. The GM here is called Al-Rawi, which is the Arabic for 'storyteller', and task resolution is by rolling handfulls of d6s... you'll need a lot of them. The number rolled depends on your score in the appropriate attribute (Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, Intelligence or Charisma) and where appropriate you add in the number of points you have in an apposite skill. Most attributes and skills are rated 1-5, so normally you'll be rolling up to ten dice at a time. You then add up the best rolls, using the number of dice derived from your attribute - these are your Result dice, and you want as high a result as possible. This is compared against a target or against what someone else rolled if it's an opposed task. Sounds simple, huh? But there's more. Every time you roll, one die is designated the Dragon Die and if you roll a 6 on that, you keep that 6 and reroll, adding that result in as well... and so on until it rolls something other than 6. Only the Dragon Marked get to rill a Dragon Die. There are also extra effects if you roll three dice the same, called a 'Constellation'... and there are other bits as well. It sounds complex but once you have got your head around it, you'll find it works quite well, even if it makes the die-rolling a bit intrusive into the flow of the game.

The rules bit then goes into great detail about combat. It's a round-based system with everyone involved rolling initiative each round, then taking their actions in turn. Needless to say, there are a lot of different actions to choose from. There are also different classes of opponents from Champions (who give even the Dragon Marked a run for their money) to the hordes of 'Babouche-Draggers' who fall over at a harsh look and are there for local colour rather than real opposition. It's all intended to create a cinematic feel for combat, and flamboyant moves are encouraged. This is followed by a brief look at magic, which is supposedly flexible and profound; here it's limited to discussion of a single improvisational style practised by both of the magic-using pre-generated characters provided. In this, to cast a spell the player states which 'Sacred Word' (Create, Destroy, or Transform) is to be used, then describes the effect they are trying to create and then roll for the success (or otherwise) of your spell.

Next comes the adventure The Tears of Ampharool, which begins with the party travelling in a caravan across the desert when a sandstorm hits. Eventually an opportunity opens up, rather neatly it doesn't matter whether or not the party take up the offer, Whether or not they decide to explore a mirage palace that appears before them, there's plenty to do in the desert. It is all well constructed and hangs together neatly, leaving the party with the impression that the choices they may really do make a difference.

Finally, there are five pre-generated characters to choose from. Each is well-rounded and detailed, complete with charming illustrations.

Perpare to be swept away on a magic carpet of adventure. The game mechanics seem complex when you read through them, but become less clunky as you get to know them, with the magic system lending itself to some spectactular results if you are prepared to put the effort into designing your spells. There's a glorious immersive feel as this rich setting takes over and embraces you.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Capharnaum Quickstart: THE TEARS OF AMPHAROOL
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Mindjammer: Children of Orion—the Venu Sourcebook
by Nathan G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/10/2018 08:37:55

All this is, is the Imperium corrupted by Chaos. That's it. Lazy writing and blatant theft of another's IP.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Mindjammer: Children of Orion—the Venu Sourcebook
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Monsters & Magic Roleplaying Game
by Mauno J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/15/2017 10:39:57

This game was such a disappointment. I tried to run a Basic D&D adventure (Sword and Shield) converted to the Monsters & Magic rules according to the guidelines given in the M&M rulebook. The adventure was designed for a single 1st-level player character, but it was just too difficult for two ordinary 1st-level M&M characters and we had to quit the game because the players were not having fun. So if you are looking for a more modern ruleset to run old D&D adventures with, I don't advise picking up this game.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Monsters & Magic Roleplaying Game
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Mindjammer: The Core Worlds Sourcebook
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/10/2017 08:37:16

This book transports you to the very heart of the Commonality of Humankind. The Core Worlds are where humankind has its origins, settled in ancient times and containing some three hundred populated worlds. This is where the most extreme parts of the Commonality philosphy are accepted as givens: many people may find this rather uncomfortable. They are tradition-bound and conservative in outlook, very stratified and detest individuality. Religion, unlicensed sexual activity and news are also outlawed as being 'disruptive'. They've been like that for a long time, but Rediscovery is now opening up Frontier worlds again - a threat to some, a glorious opportunity to others.

Yet the Core Worlds are not homogeneous of themselves. Each is unique, and they can be grouped into five regious. The first is Old Earth itself, where humankind first began. Then there's Manhome, the entire solar system in which Old Earth is found. The settled solar systems within 100 light year (LY) of Old Earth form the Old Commonality. Further out are the Penumbral Worlds and finally the Satellite Domains. Chapter 2: The Structure of the Core provides maps and information to explain all this, with notes on cultural regions and explanations of how folks travel around. On a given planet, individual vehicles are rare but mass transit systems meet most needs. Many worlds do not permit spacecraft to land, those that do generally operate an 'air traffic control' system to keep flying spacecraft in known patterns. Interstellar travel is frequent and speedy, it's generally easy to find a ship going where you wish to go. There are also 'gates' - but you start at a spaceport and get into a ship which goes through the gate... and there's loads of detail - and even the odd plot hook - about getting around the Core Worlds. Be prepared to think in three dimensions, though!

Next, Chapter 3: The People of the Core introduces the startling diversity to be found here. It might have been challenging to think of your ship as a 'person', now get to grips with planetary sentiences, as well as a vast variety of sentient beings who may be autotrophes (green and capable of photosynthesis), adapted to an extreme environment or plain weird because... well, that's the way they are. The concepts of 'government' and 'administration' are inextricably combined, producing vast bureauocracies overseen by sentiences, with departments or Instrumentalities dealing with various functions. Despite all this, factions abound, each with their own ideas... yet society as a whole can be quite stifling and hidebound. Thousand-year-old algorithms dictate the aestetics of music, education concentrates on learning how to do things the correct way and studying the great masters of the past, with innovation and experimentation regarded negatively. Unlicensed reproduction is illegal, and once born most youngsters are raised institutionally - you need a special licence to raise a juvenile in the parental home. Life is communal in general, very structured, yet with great opportunities and resources made available to all. Deviance from societal norms is not acceptable - and visitors have to learn them fast as little allowance is made for them. Deviants can expect to be re-educated.

Then there are chapters on each of the five regions beginning with Old Earth itself. Here the majority live in arcologies, and this concept is explored in detail. Oh, and the moon has been terraformed into Green Moon. It's all quite different from what we are used to... Next is Manhome, the rest of the solar system, then on to the Old Commonality and beyond. Each is described in rich and evocative detail, it's easy to imagine every place that is written about. Plot ideas abound, so wherever the party ends up, there ought to be plenty going on around them - but reading the paragraph or two about each planet spawns plenty of your own as well.

Finally, Chapter 9: Gaming in the Core Worlds provides a wealth of information that will give you plenty to think about if you intend to run games set here. Several themes are suggested, each with a series of questions that your plot may be attempting to answer, ample scope for exploring and discovering, and perhaps - if outsiders - getting into trouble.

It's quite a breathless sweep across a vast cube of space that has Old Earth at its centre. It tells you a lot, yet if you want to actually use it in your game you will need to put in the work to create plot and antagonists and all the other resources required... yet here is a magnificent framework on which to build.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mindjammer: The Core Worlds Sourcebook
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