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Retrostar Rulebook
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Retrostar Rulebook

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Science fiction (n.): fiction dealing principally with the impact of actual or imagined science on society or individuals or having a scientific factor as an essential orienting component.

Now, add disco. This is Retrostar.

Retrostar is a story-driven roleplaying game that faithfully and meticulously emulates the science fiction television shows of the 1970s. The game is powered by the Intention System, which places a sizeable portion of the narrative control in the players’ hands, while still maintaining the traditional roleplaying game structure.

Like all of Spectrum’s “genre emulation” games, Retrostar is not simply a universal RPG that just happens to be adorned with genre-appropriate art. Every single design decision was made with the purpose of bringing to life the sci-fi TV shows of yesteryear, right at your gaming table. The rules even take into consideration the fact that these shows were created with very limited budgets at their disposal!

Everything you need to play Retrostar is included in the rulebook. Some of the features include:

Simple and Elegant Task Resolution: The core of the Intention System revolves around rolling a certain number of six-sided dice (usually between two and four) and adding together either the two lowest results or the two highest results, depending on the rating of the Trait (Adventure, Thought or Drama) being used, the situation at hand and a few other factors. The higher the roll, the better. Based on that total, the character will either fail or succeed, though whether the player has to briefly cede control of the character is also determined here. There are more wrinkles to it, but that’s the gist of how it works.

Series Creation: The Showrunner creates the Series in which the game will take place and there are full rules and guidelines for doing exactly that. You’ll devise a setting, set up Dials that will help you generate Episodes on the fly, create supporting characters and flesh out all the fun details (terminology, styles, common special effects, etc.). It’s a great deal of fun, without a bunch of complicated rules and number-crunching to bog the process down.

Time and Budget Management: In order to reflect the time restrictions these shows faced, the players are limited to twelve rolls (called Intents) in a given Act, of which each Episode has five. Characters will receive a certain amount of SFX—the exact amount is determined by the Series’ “SFX” Dial—to spend in order to activate cool effects that would require expenditure of the show’s budget (impressive stunts, special effects and so forth).

The Spotlight: Just like in the TV shows of old, the heroes are all given a chance to have the spotlight shine on them. In Retrostar, this is represented by a communal pool of Spotlight Tokens that can be spent to showcase an appropriate aspect of a PC and giving them bonus dice for an Intent. For example, if a PC has a phrase in their Background that says “Best friends since childhood with Malcolm (the name of another PC)” the player can grab a Spotlight Token when Malcolm is in trouble.

Ready-to-Play Series: Inside the rulebook, you’ll find seven full Series that allow you to dive right into the game. The Series are Battleground: Homefront, Earth Squared, Family Nuclear, Galactic Run, Outpost 2015, Space Rejects and WarpCruise-76. Additionally, it includes three Series Seeds that can be fleshed out and customized to suit your tastes.

Example of Play: This 13-page example of play covers the span of entire Act, so you can see precisely how the game works in practice.  

Genre Information: The rulebook contains an exhaustive discussion about the 1970s-era sci-fi television shows. It explores the nuances, tropes, styles and even a detailed “recommended viewing” section. By the time you’re finished reading it, you’ll be well-versed in the genre!  

 
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Reviews (1)
Discussions (12)
Customer avatar
Jonathan L February 15, 2017 4:17 pm UTC
Hoping to see a hard copy of this soon.
Customer avatar
October 22, 2016 2:58 am UTC
PURCHASER
I do hope the Retrostar print edition isn't being forgotten in favor of newer projects.
Customer avatar
Shelly B November 10, 2016 11:18 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
It hasn't been. :)
Customer avatar
August 26, 2016 5:55 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Just checking in re a hardcover. Alas, I see there still isn't one.
Customer avatar
July 14, 2016 1:40 pm UTC
PURCHASER
We don't need no In-tro-duc-tion...
Customer avatar
Scott N May 30, 2016 11:32 pm UTC
PURCHASER
When when is the POD coming out, its now freakin' June almost? If its Richard Hatch you're waiting on, forget him, get Dirk Benedict I liked him better anyhow.
Customer avatar
June 09, 2016 4:38 pm UTC
PURCHASER
You ain't kidding. I've really looked forward to buying this in print, but this is starting to get a little silly. I've certainly never cared about the introduction.
Customer avatar
March 29, 2016 2:27 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I wonder if it might be worthwhile to make an "introductionless" version for like a dollar less or something?
Customer avatar
March 07, 2016 6:27 pm UTC
PURCHASER
So, do you think the hardcopy edition will be released anytime soon?
Customer avatar
January 14, 2016 6:13 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Looking forward. The only reason I haven't yet bought this is that I'm waiting to buy the hardcover, and the PDF will come with that anyway.
Customer avatar
Ed D January 02, 2016 3:53 pm UTC
I would offer a suggestion of changing the sidebars that are computer screens. The lime green text on white background is a bit harsh on the eyes. On page 24 in the sample, there is one of these sidebars but the background is grey like a monitor which makes the green much easier to read and it looks more like a computer readout :)
Customer avatar
Shelly B January 02, 2016 11:47 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Hmmm. They should all be the dark gray color. I'll ask others, to see if they're having the same troubles you're having.
Customer avatar
Shelly B January 03, 2016 2:37 am UTC
PUBLISHER
I just asked our customers on Facebook and they all said that the monitors showed up as dark gray in their PDFs. If you'd like, I can send you another one if you drop an email to cynthia.spectrumgames (at) gmail.com and give me your email addy. Maybe the PDF was corrupted or something.
Customer avatar
Ed D January 09, 2016 12:48 am UTC
Nope, problem was on my end :) I tried on a different browser and they look fine. I should have mentioned I was looking at the preview.
Customer avatar
Scott N December 12, 2015 7:39 pm UTC
PURCHASER
If I buy the PDF version now, will I get the POD free, discounted or what?
Customer avatar
Shelly B January 02, 2016 11:48 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
No, but once the hardcopy is available, the PDF will be free for those who buy it.
Customer avatar
Scott N August 07, 2016 5:58 pm UTC
PURCHASER
So I should get a discount on the book then as I bought the PDF already. But at the rate this is going nobody's getting a book.
Customer avatar
Michael M December 10, 2015 11:53 pm UTC
Judging by the preview, I think one more editing pass is warranted before sending this to print. However I am strongly considering at least getting the PDF version.
Customer avatar
Shelly B December 11, 2015 2:03 am UTC
PUBLISHER
We're compiling further edits before sending it to print. :)
Customer avatar
Norbert F December 12, 2015 1:27 am UTC
PURCHASER
Hello Michael.

Please feel free to point out any passages in the text on the preview pages that you find unclear, misleading, or spelling errors. We haven't found many, even after multiple rounds of editing and re-reading. What is it that you found insufficiently edited? It is always possible that little things like commas and capitalization oversights slipped through. We are committed to creating a totally spellchecked, edited, easy to read product.
Customer avatar
Judd G December 13, 2015 6:09 pm UTC
PURCHASER
The series bible in the back repeats the first sheet three times instead of having all three sheets of the series bible show in the contents section.

Also, maybe use a high contrast for the letters on the dials to make it apparent which dial they are.
Customer avatar
Shelly B December 13, 2015 10:50 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
I'll blame the Series Bible mistake on my almost total lack of sleep. ;)

I'm uploading a revision tomorrow. Thank you very much for your help.
Customer avatar
Matthew R January 27, 2016 6:25 am UTC
p. 8: "make due" should be "make do"
p. 17: "color most of all of the ears" should be "cover most OR all of the ears"
Customer avatar
Matthew R January 27, 2016 5:25 pm UTC
p.22: "kivid" should be "kidvid"; "strange plans" should (I presume) be "strange plants"
p. 23: "stiid" should be "stood" (did you not use a spellchecker?)
Customer avatar
December 10, 2015 1:22 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Will there be a PoD version? or will this be PDF only?
Customer avatar
Shelly B December 10, 2015 1:37 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Hi, Martin.

There will be a hardcopy version; we're just waiting on Richard Hatch's foreword. He's suffered some very time-consuming personal setbacks in recent months, including the loss of his father, and hasn't been able to find much time for writing.
Customer avatar
December 11, 2015 1:26 am UTC
PURCHASER
OK, thanks for the information.
If I buy the PDF now, can I get the special hardcover + PDF price when it actually comes out
Customer avatar
Shelly B December 11, 2015 2:02 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Yes, when you buy the hardcopy version, the PDF comes with it for free.
Customer avatar
Paul K February 28, 2016 5:36 am UTC
Very keen to get hold of a hardcopy of this!
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Electrum seller
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132
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File Last Updated:
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This title was added to our catalog on December 09, 2015.