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Spacer's Guide» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Review: Spacer's Guide (Supplement for Jovian Chronicles, 1st ed) rss

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The Harnish
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You should be playing Dungeon World
The Spacer's Guide is a supplement originally designed for the 1st edition of the Jovian Chronicles setting. It's a 80-page, black & white illustrated softcover book. The book's art, like all of the Dreampod 9 stuff, is excellent but partially recycled. Overall, the writing in the book is excellent but like many DP9 books in the 1st edition, it could stand more extensive proofreading.

Here's the publisher's description:
Science fiction presents us with the clash between the mundane world with which we are familiar and the fantastic world of our imaginations. In near-future science fiction, the line between the two is often imperceptible. Still, subtle (and not-so-subtle) differences arise, especially when it comes to life in space. Telling a believable, realistic story of near-future science fiction without getting bogged down in too much detail can be a monumental chore for Gamemasters and Players who wish to explore the Saga of Mankind in the 23rd Century.
The Spacer's Guide provides Gamemasters and Players alike with the background details of ordinary life in space in the Jovian Chronicles game setting. It explores the ways in which Mankind may change in 200 years' time in that environment, and it shows how it will likely remain the same. This manual fills in the gaps between the broad descriptions of the spacer's way of life that have already appeared in the Jovian Chronicles game line. Within these covers, you will find:
* Advice on how Player Characters can make a living in space
* A simplified space navigation system
* Details on the cost of living in space
* An examination of entertainment and recreation in space
* An introduction to the Spacer's Runic language
* New Character Archetypes and adventure seeds.

Some of the book's content was integrated in to the 2nd edition rulebook, making the book less useful to those who own the newer edition. That said, much of the book's finer details were omitted from the rulebook and thus it still has its uses. What kind of details am I talking about? You get descriptions and illustrations for airlock controls panels, a listing of available spacesuit functions & commands for spacesuit use, and room plans for space station quarters. There are also discussions of interstellar salvage laws, spaceship travel, food, fashion, recreational activities, and entertainment. In short, you get lots of minutia and flavor. The hard science nature of the Jovian Chronicles setting certainly shines through all these details. For some though this is going to be overwhelming, especially the details on costs like skyhook lift fees by planetary nation and the Spacer's Runic grammar & syntax. Honestly, some of this really is over-the-top minutia. However, used instead as inspiration, as well as for providing flavor to descriptions or locations, the book is a great resource.

Overall, the book is a really nice resource for anyone interested in a science-based sci-fi game. The details provided within the book are invaluable for evoking the feel of this type of setting, especially for those of us who aren't familiar with the nitty-gritty details of life in space. The level of detail is really impressive. My main criticism of the book is that while the art is excellent, some of it has been recycled from other books in the series. The book could really use more illustrations & schematics of the space colonies (i.e., the cylinders) since they are perhaps the most important and unusual feature of the life in space. However, that's a small quibble and for the price the book can be typically had for from Ebay or the used book bin, it's well worth a look.
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