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Starships & Spacemen 2e $14.99
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Starships & Spacemen 2e
Publisher: Goblinoid Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/07/2015 11:07:36

So what is Starships & Spacemen (S&S)? It is a "military style" missions-based, old-school game in the milieu of Star Trek. First off it is important to point out that while this is the "2e" version of Starships & Spacemen it is more compatible with Goblinoid Games other products like Labyrinth Lord, Realms of Crawling Chaos and Mutant Future. In fact I would go out on a limb and say Mutant Future is a must have since it has rules that can used to create mutants aka aliens. Realms of Crawling Chaos is Cthulhu and those creatures are aliens after all. Labyrinth Lord of course provides more monster/alien creatures.

The author, Dan Proctor admits his love for Star Trek in the forward of the book, and the cover is certainly evocative of the Original Series.

Also, given that it is compatible with Labyrinth Lord it is also compatible with 100s of other products also compatible with LL. It is also compatible with 1000s of other OSR/Old School products too.

The book itself is 95 pages of content, some ads for other Goblinoid Games products, two full color covers (front and back), character sheet, ship record and hex map. There is no OGL page that I could see.

The system is class and level based. There are various races your character can belong to. Three basic classes all in the "Confederation" military-like branch; Military/Command, Sciences and Support/Tech. Or if you prefer, Gold Shirt, Blue Shirt, and Red Shirt. There is Officer level advancement to level 12 and Enlisted advancement to level 9. So if you are running a game of a starship "boldly going where no one has gone before" then you are set. While I am enjoying class/level systems much more now than ever before I do have some issues with this, but I will talk about that later.

The introduction covers the basics of the system; very much the same as Labyrinth Lord. Section 2 covers the characters and character creation. Here we have our classes and basic races.
Each class has some basic skills that improve with leveling and each race has ability modifiers. The races are as expected pastiches of the expected races. This is fine since it works so well here. There are a couple of others too, including some reptoids and a frog like race. Equipment covers the expected range too. Though there are two entries that caught my eye. The robot dog for you K9 or Daggit fans. Also there is a telepathic dog. This caught my eye because back in college I ran a brief "Trek" game where the medical officer had a telepathic dog on board.

Section 3 covers Psi powers. These are not class based, but a random d6 power. The powers are detailed like spells and there are couple of special powers for stronger characters. Like other sci-fi games built on the d20 core adding new powers can be easy, but care should be given as to not make the game too much about powers.

Section 4 covers Planetary Adventures. Or what your away team is doing. This covers a lot of "adventuring" style topics including mapping, various weapon damages, and other hazards.

Section 5 is the meatiest of the book. This covers Galactic Adventures. I think my favorite bit here are all the space hazards. Space Mirrors, Gravity Wells. Enough for a full season of starship disaster scenarios. Atmospheric combat, diseases and even time travel is covered. So of the top of my head nearly any episode of the classic series can be reproduced with this chapter. How is plays out of course is up to the players.

Section 6 covers Starships and discusses their basic use, creation and stats. Combat systems are covered, energy weapons, solid projectiles and shields. Transporter Teleporter systems are discussed including the ever popular mishap (yes there is a table). Computer systems are covered (yes they can run more than one program!) Ship to ship combat gets a pretty decent section since it covers new ground.

Section 7, Alien Encounters is the biggest. This covers not just sentient aliens, but "monster" types as well. Again move creatures from other games back and forth here with no effort. The best section is the random "forehead" alien system. Roll some dice and you have a new alien race. You can even randomly determine a background and environment. The flows right into Section 8, Alien Artifacts. Lost tech of ancient civilizations.

Section 9 is advice for the "Star Master" or Game Master. Some brief background on the setting is given. There is just enough information here to start a campaign and then get going. Really this is all you need. The game is one about exploration and discovery. So it follows that much of the galaxy should be unknown. This game is so flexible that you can do just about anything with it.

Frankly, the game really is awesome and has all the joy of Labyrinth Lord, only with spaceships and lasers.

Critiques Ok so this game is perfect for a Trek-like game where everyone is serving aboard a starship. The class/level system works for this. But I do have two issues I want to bring up. One is outside the scope of the game, the other is inside it. First off. If I want to play a game of "Orion" Pirates or Smugglers I have to bend my Officers level advancement a bit. Indeed, some of the classes would not quite work with a group of characters where everyone has to do a little bit of everything. Yesterday my friend Greg Littlejohn (gm for my oldest in his other game) talked about a Smuggler class. That might work well here too.

Secod point is the level titles them selves. While it make perfect sense to have a bunch of Ensigns (1st level) running around doing things, it makes less sense when everyone on 10th+ level and all Admirals. For this I would use the level titles as suggested ranks only. Or maybe make the PCs part of a special task force that allows them to work outside the normal ranking system.

Despite this there is enough here to make it all work.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Starships & Spacemen 2e
Publisher: Goblinoid Games
by Jonas M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/12/2013 03:13:06

Starships & Spacemen is roleplaying game of 1960's original series Star Trek with serial numbers filed off. It's rules are based on Labyrinth Lord that is 1980's Dungeons & Dragons serial numbers filed off. Dispite perhaps lacking on originality it does not lack enthusiasm. This game is in short really skillfully put together fan tribute to the TV-show.

[3 of 5 Stars!]
Starships & Spacemen 2e
Publisher: Goblinoid Games
by James S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/14/2013 16:39:03

I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical of Starships & Spacemen. Clearly, this supplement is inspired by classic, 60's era Star Trek styled science fiction - and to be frank I always found Star Trek to be a big... well.. boring. But, I've never purchased a product from Goblinoid Games that I didn't enjoy, so I gave S&S a shot.

I'm very glad that I did. While the game is clearly designed with classic "Star Trek" style gaming in mind, it's also offers something more. While it stands on its own as an RPG with those concepts at the forefront, it also serves as a framework from which a creative Game Master (or Star Master, as they're called in this book), can build their own original galaxy spanning sagas. The character races and classes presented are merely jumping-off points for the ambitious gamer.

From character creation to starship combat to space exploration, Starshipsa & Spacemen 2nd Edition offers clear, simple rules that are easy to learn, easy to teach, and don't get in the way of having a good time.

Now, if you want to boldly go where no one has gone before, then S&S as definitely a game for you. But even if that's not your favorite flavor of sci-fi, consider giving this book a good once over. I think you'll find the ideas, concepts and rules presented can easily be adapted to create almost any science fiction or science fantasy styling of your choice.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Starships & Spacemen 2e
Publisher: Goblinoid Games
by James C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/05/2012 18:04:30

I am a major supporter of the OSR movement and a huge fan of Goblinoid games, with that said I was thrilled to help support this game when I came across the crowd funding campaign for it. The book is beautiful, the layout and art is very reminiscent of the original book (I believe most of the art is from the original book in fact) and I am taken back to an earlier time every time I flip through it. While it is the Star Trek universe with the serial numbers filed off, it is something I plan to run as a Star Trek games. The rules are easily integrated with Mutant Futures and Labyrinth Lord so I have more options to bring my "Final Frontier" sessions to the next level... So next stop? The away team will have to investigate the Deep Space station that was invaded by Zombies! Great Game!

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Starships & Spacemen 2e
Publisher: Goblinoid Games
by Andrew G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/03/2012 07:18:16

Starships and Spaceman 2e is a revised and generally cleaned up version of the original FGU game from 1978. The original version was essentially Classic Star Trek with names changed to protect the innocent dating from a time before the whole Trek Universe became so top heavy it was pointless, and the second edition hasn't strayed far from its roots in that respect.

Character Generation Character generation is FAST, 3d6 for 6 characteristics, pick a race, pick a class and your off to selecting your equipment. Skills are simplified down to 4 (Military, Science Technical and Contact) and the skill level depends on your level, class and characteristics. Classes are Military (Yellow Shirt) Science (Blue Shirt) and Technical (Red Shirt) with subclasses - Military for example allows you to specialise in Command, Security, or Ships Weapons with various bonuses. If you take the command Subclass you get a ship to command. All characters start as Ensigns although there are rules for playing an enlisted crewman and a suggestion of troupe play

Races Races include a wide selection ranging of both Trekish and Non-Trekish from Taurans (Copper Blooded and highly Logical) and Andromedans (Blue and emotional) to Rigellians (Human offshoot mercenaries) and Hyukhot (Small Frog like aliens) along with some others.

Equipment Money just isn't a factor, you get a certain number of points (level + 1 for officers) and use that to determine your equipment issue, with items ranging from Half a point to 5 points. A starting character can usually only manage a communicator, Universal translator and hand Beamer or some variation so it does follow the idea of not overloading shore parties with gear.

Combat Combat is quick and simple, D20 under your Military skill +modifiers to hit, you get a set number of hit points based on class and level, get to zero hit points and you die unless you can be transported back to the ship and cryofrozen for later revival. Also, the best class for combat starts off at level 1 with 1d8 HP and the normal weapons do 2d6 don't expect long combats

Ships The original game stood out for the elegance and simplicity of its ship combat system and the new version hasn't messed with that. Ships are primarily rated on how much energy they can produce per day and you need to manage that (travel at high speed, or travel slow with shields up? have energy set aside to charge the beam weapons or wing it?) You can go over budget but that damages the engine. Combat with ships is simple and quick, if you enjoy mapping out ship combats this is probably not for you, On the other hand if you enjoy watching the Captain, the Engineer and the Weapons Guy arguing over how many beam weapons to charge, this is for you.

Basic Gameplay Its a rough universe with all manner or unmapped astronomical oddities to encounter. Players are given a mission as part of the Confederation Space Fleet and have to travel to planet or place, complete mission and return (or go to next mission) so its fairly episodic. As players level up they will get more hit points, be assigned bigger ships an have access to more equipment.

Likes Unlike more modern Sci Fi where your winning if you live another day, or don't get caught breaking too many laws, or in some military wonderland, this harks back to a simpler time were space was there to be explored. There are hostile aliens and you can run political intrigue, but overall it feels more like your playing Hornblower than Han Solo.

Dislikes Some of the editing of the rules leaves a little to be desired. The age table was left in unchanged from the original and mentions characteristics that no longer exist and isn't really logical. The Psi rules need a bit more work, but overall the new edition has cleaned up a lot of the problems from the 1978 version

Final Verdict Three thumbs up for speed, setting and elegance!

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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