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Starship Tyche RPG

Date post:09-Oct-2015
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Explore the far reaches of outer space! Meet interesting aliens, godlike beings, mad computers, and battle the forces of the T’Leng Empire in the name of the Coalition of United Planets!Starship Tyche, powered by the Fate RPG, lets you assume the role of a starship crew member. Be a dashing captain, a most rational scientific officer, a humanist medical officer, or a brilliant engineer. Be any sort of alien race you please. Boldly go whereever your imagination takes you!The Starship Tyche RPG contains:A history of the Coalition of United Planets and The Fleet12 pregenerated, ready-to-play charactersStarship combat rulesA full roster of adversaries and encountersA sample sector for immediate playAdventure design and gamemaster adviceThe full Fate Accelerated rules adapted for the setting
Transcript:
  • 1

    Credits Designed and Written by Berin Kinsman

    Edited by Stefan Livingstone Shirley

    Artwork by Marcus Coltrin

    Thanks to Leonard Balsera, Tim Dyke, Fred Hicks, Byron Kerr, Robin D. Laws, C.W. Marshall, Brad

    Murray, Steffan OSullivan, Mike Olsen, Amanda Valentine, and Clark Valentine for the

    foundational system designs that make this work possible.

    Special thanks to Cinamon and John Gentry, who endured my earliest, clumsiest playtest with

    friendship and grace. Additional thanks to Lon Sarver and Philippe-Antoine Mnard for feedback

    and moral support. Finally, all the love and gratitude in the world goes out to my wife Katie, for

    her unwavering faith in me.

    Product Identity: The following items are hereby identified as Product Identity, as defined in the

    Open Game License version 1.0a, Section 1(e), and are not Open Content: All trademarks,

    registered trademarks, proper names (characters, locations, equipment, etc.), dialogue, plots,

    storylines, language, incidents, locations, characters, artwork, and trade dress.

    Open Content: Except for material designated as Product Identity, the contents of are Open

    Game Content as defined in the Open Gaming License version 1.0a Section 1(d). No portion of

    this work other than the material designated as Open Game Content may be reproduced in any

    form without written permission.

    Copyright 2014 Berin Kinsman. All rights reserved.

    All artwork is copyrighted by the respective artists and is used with permission.

    Published by Asparagus Jumpsuit

    AsparagusJumpsuit.com

  • 2

    Introduction The purpose of science is to ask questions.

    Large questions and small ones, grandiose

    questions and mundane ones, all asked in the

    service of finding answers. The answers lead

    to more questions, better questions, deeper

    questions, and more fulfilling answers. The

    one caveat is that those answers must, in turn,

    serve the truth.

    Science fiction finds its purpose in providing

    answers, not in service to the truth but to

    possibilities and things that might be. The

    very best science fiction uses its answers to

    make us ask those follow-up questions (you

    can insert your own joke about the number 42

    here). It holds up a mirror to reality, and

    forces us to examine things in a new light.

    Tabletop roleplaying games are about

    creativity and human interaction. Take a

    premise, typically outlandish. Inject enough

    reality to make it plausible or, at least, to

    provide a context that allows us to suspend

    our disbelief. Locate where the people are in

    this scenario, and use their reactions and

    emotions, their strengths and their flaws, to

    flesh out the setting and continue the cycles

    of questions and answers.

    Starship Tyche is a science fiction roleplaying

    game of interstellar exploration. If elements

    seem familiar, they should. I freely admit

    that Ive filed the serial numbers off of one

    of my favorite settings, remixed some of its

    elements a bit, and created whats intended

    to be a loving tribute to sociological science

    fiction.

    Yes, sociological science fiction. What makes

    Starship Tyche and its forebears work isnt

    the fact that its set in outer space, and has

    spaceships and ray guns and teleporters and

    aliens. Those are all trappings meant to

    quickly let the viewer know this is the future.

    Theyre also conveniences for the writer (and,

    now, the gamemaster) to allow characters to

    get from one planet to the next, and from

    the ship to the surface and back again,

    without wasting valuable storytelling time.

    The real science fiction takes place in the

    attitudes and reactions of the characters

    themselves. It revolves around the concept of

    How would mankind react if?. We get to

    experience that vicariously through the eyes

    of a diverse cast of characters. We have

    protagonists who embrace technology with a

    passion, and others who distrust it. We have

    characters who make decisions based on

    instinct, and others one in particular

    who prefer to base actions solely on the

    pure light of reason. Not all perspectives are

    given equal weight, but an effort is made to

    respect each others differences, and to use

    interpersonal conflicts as a way to learn

    more about each other, and to learn more

    about ourselves. Its a fabulous platform for

    action-adventure stories, but it becomes truly

    great when the stories are at least a little bit

    introspective.

    This game started out as something else

    entirely. Ive been tinkering with systemless

    roleplaying game settings for a while, and

    had started working on a line based on

    public domain films. One of the movies on

    the list was an unpolished gem titled First

    Spaceship on Venus. Its a 1960 East

    German/Polish co-production loosely based

    on the novel The Astronauts by Stanislaw

  • 3

    Lem. I was watching it with my wife Katie,

    and she mentioned that she really liked the

    casting. The ship had an international, multi-

    ethnic, multi-racial crew. There were women

    in positions of authority, and they were

    treated with respect. People put aside their

    petty differences and their nationalism to

    achieve a common goal. We both wondered

    whether the creator of a television series that

    would premiere a few years later had seen

    it, and been influenced by it.

    When the latest editions of the Fate role

    playing game were released specifically

    Fate Accelerated Edition, or FAE I knew

    that I wanted to tinker around and build

    something with it. My regular gaming group

    had been playing the same game for over

    four years, and the same campaign for

    three, and we needed a change of pace.

    Everyones lives were busy and complicated,

    so we wanted something with lighter rules,

    and a setting that was familiar. I pitched FAE

    as the system of choice, and promised that I

    could customize it to suit anything. I proposed

    doing something is a familiar genre or

    setting, and rattled off a laundry list of

    television and movie properties that I thought

    lent themselves to a roleplaying game

    setting. With very little discussion the group

    unanimously agreed on one show. I put

    together a series bible for our campaign,

    and assigned them to the Starship Tyche

    named after the Greek goddess of fortune

    and luck because, well, we were using the

    Fate RPG. I wanted to be at least a little

    oblique and not call it the SS Fate, SS

    Moirai, SS Norn, or something equally

    obvious and hokey.

    I mentioned that everyone was busy, and I

    was getting a bit burned out myself. I had a

    half-dozen writing projects going on (and

    still do). I was doing heavy research for a

    serious non-fiction book Im writing. I was

    (and still am) going to college for yet

    another degree. I was (and still am) getting

    things prepped and ready for our then-

    upcoming move from Albuquerque, New

    Mexico to Jyvskyl, Finland. Even most of

    the roleplaying game projects I was working

    on were based on deep thoughts about

    game design and story structure. One day

    Katie dragged me to a bookstore, made me

    pick out a book that wasnt research, nothing

    scholarly or educational allowed. She was

    going to force me to take a day off where

    Id theoretically just sit down and read for

    pleasure. I picked a tie-in novel for that

    1960s TV show that we suspect was

    influenced by First Spaceship on Venus, the

    same show we were going to base our new

    roleplaying game campaign on. The book

    was pretty good, not a great work of

    literature by any means, but I had fun. It did

    the trick of getting me to relax and unwind.

    And it made me think that I need to devote a

    little more time staying connected to my

    geek roots.

    So here we are. Starship Tyche is a labor of

    love, and something that I had a lot of fun

    putting together. I put far too much work into

    it to let it languish as no more than a just-for-

    fun fanboy project, though. My hope is that

    its something other fans will play and enjoy,

    and that it will allow me to reconnect with

    the fandom Ive been slowly drifting away

    from for too many years.

  • 4

    Timeline of the Coalition

    1957 Sputnik-1, the first artificial Earth

    satellite, is launched. This initiates a

    technological space race between the

    Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the

    United States of America.

    1969 Apollo 11 becomes the first

    spacecraft to land humans on the Earths

    moon. Neil Alden Armstrong becomes the

    first person to walk on the moon.

    1970 Dr. Denis Feltham creates the

    Leviathan supercomputer, tasked with

    coordinating the missile defense system of

    the United States and its allies. It became

    self-aware and attempted to take over the

    world. The Feltham project led to laws

    restricting the further development in

    artificial intelligence.

    1992 A man calling himself M-39 claims

    responsibility for a series of terrorist attacks.

    He states that he i

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