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Thousand Suns: Rulebook

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It is a time of wonder.

Humanity has reached the stars and created a society of glittering sophistication and diversity on hundreds of planets. Poets declaim, lovers rendezvous, and rakes duel with wits and monoblades. Colonists settle virgin worlds, merchant princes vie for emerging markets, and free traders hawk their exotic wares. The Navy rules the jumplines, putting down pirates and charting new star systems. Scientists uncover startling new truths on long-dead worlds and posit revolutionary theories dizzying in their implications. Technology advances at a rapid pace, each year improving the lot of all who accept its boons. None dare deny the bright destiny Man has seized for himself.

It is a time of upheaval.

The inhabited galaxy – the Thousand Suns – teeters on the brink of chaos. Half a millennium since the Concord, and a generation since the bloody Civil War, the dynamism that ended the Age of Warring States is sorely tested. Diplomats try new gambits, shifting their ground for an unknown future. On dozens of worlds across known space, the lights are going out again and the process of decivilization begins anew. Despots and tyrants who would rather lord it over benighted backwaters than bend their knee to even a distant authority, arise once more. At the edges of explored space, rivals – both human and alien – watch and wait.

It is a time of glory.

Victorious fleets smash enemy armadas in distant star systems. Soldiers parade through liberated planets to alien cheers. Sector governors draw up breathtaking visions of terraforming and orbital cities. New jumplines open to the heart of         unexplored space, daring the bold to venture into the unknown for profit and peril. Surveyors stumble upon lost colonies and puzzle out the mysteries of inscrutable clades. Captains with blazing eyes save worlds from barbarism-and rule them as gods. Daring thieves turn new technologies to unexpected ends or sell them to shadowy cartels on the fringes of known space.

Meanwhile, bold operatives seek out these criminal plans for reprisal. Everything is possible with enough beauty, brains, or blasters, and it's all within reach of a single jump.

It is a time of adventure.

Thousand Suns is a roleplaying game that takes its inspiration from the classic literary "imperial" science fiction of the '50s, '60s, and '70s written by authors like Poul Anderson, Isaac Asimov, Alfred Bester, Gordon Dickson, Larry Niven, H. Beam Piper, Jerry Pournelle, and A.E. van Vogt, among others.

This is a complete game, providing all the rules you need to play under one cover, from character generation to starship combat to the creation of alien lifeforms. Also included is the Thousand Suns "meta-setting," a flexible outline of a setting, in which certain details have been provided, along with lots of lots of "blank spaces," and whose final shape and content is entirely up to each Game Master to build upon as he wishes for his campaign.

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Reviews (5)
Discussions (8)
Customer avatar
Jakob S April 16, 2024 7:46 pm UTC
I realize that it's been quite a while since 1000 Suns last update ... but is there a chance there will be a second edition? I think it's the same system as Colonial Gothic and Shadow, Sword & Spell, and both seem to have been pretty heavily revised in the meantime.
Customer avatar
wade G January 12, 2024 4:49 am UTC
Why was the OGL license required? In what way does the Thousand Suns rules compete with WofC?
Customer avatar
Herbert N August 09, 2023 5:12 pm UTC
I have an older version in my library that is no longer available. What has changed in this version?
Customer avatar
Kerry H April 07, 2021 3:57 pm UTC
Any plans to upgrade this game to the newer version of 12° that uses roll high?
Customer avatar
Aaronc C January 01, 2021 12:46 am UTC
So i'm confused on how the academic class goes about choosing skills for it's academic specialties. Like do I choose two skills from the skill list, or can I only use skills that come with the academic career package?
Customer avatar
Matthew M February 16, 2024 1:40 am UTC
I know this is old, but I had the same question and just found the answer. Using the rules for creating a career package, you can break down the Academic to its base parts. Doing so reveals that you only get the base skills included in the career, but you can use your two specialization ranks to improve any two of the Academic's skills to the listed specialization.
Customer avatar
Christopher K August 10, 2020 8:45 pm UTC
Thank you for the gift!
Customer avatar
A A August 01, 2019 6:06 pm UTC
So is this basically Traveller in a slightly different universe, with its own mechanics?
Customer avatar
Chris J March 14, 2017 8:40 pm UTC
Is this a 2nd edition? I bought Thousand Suns (with the bluish cover) and the Starships supplement way, way, way back, but now RPGNow is only showing me as having bought Starships (though I can still download the blue-covered Rulebook from the library). Is there much different in this current (greenish cover) edition? Enough to justify repurchasing?
Customer avatar
James M March 16, 2017 4:41 pm UTC
The revised edition is probably 95%+ identical to the original version. The primary differences are esthetic: the revision has more art and a much nicer layout. The content is largely the same, so there's no necessity to buy the new version.
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Product Information
Platinum seller
Publisher Stock #
GRG 1000
File Size:
12.77 MB
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File Last Updated:
September 27, 2014
This title was added to our catalog on December 13, 2011.