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A First Look At ... Frostbyte Books' M-Space, Part 7


Alex Greene

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In this post, we'll be reviewing the chapters on vehicles and technology.

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Vehicle Design

The Vehicle Design chapter, on page 178, follows the same general modular system as the Starship design chapter. You create enough Modules to fit your vehicle's crew, you determine what other Modules you need (weapons, a mobile lab, etc), and from those you can determine the vehicle's Size, Speed, and Handling. Whatever you need, from a zippy little motorcycle to a walker tank or ATV; this is the chapter for you.

The system is designed to be as simple as possible to use. If you're mathphobic, sadly you're going to hate the minimal amount of arithmetic which you'll inevitably encounter. There really needs to be an online Notes from Pavis online ship and vehicle table, similar to their character generator and sorcery spell apps. One which can work out Size, Thrust, Handling, and costs.

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Lists of common vehicles and Starship types begin from page 194. The vehicles listed are three hover (grav) vehicles (Speeder Bike, Land Speeder (Standard), Land Speeder (Fast)), two All Terrain Vehicles (Small and Medium), and a small quadbike.

The space vessels listed are three kinds of Starfighter - Allround, Fast and Fragile, Slow and Sturdy - a Free Trader, followed by a Very Fast Starfighter on the page; the sequel to Starfighter, The Fast and The Fragile 2; a small bomber; a shuttle; Starfighter, The Fast and The Fragile 3; and then a bunch of Capital Ships, designed with the Capital Ships part of the Starship Design rules.

The Capital Ships section has a feature not found in the Starship Design chapter - turbolasers, weapons specific to capital ships.

The listed Capital Ships include a Corvette, a Destroyer, a Frigate, and that's it. You'll need to find Carriers, Cruisers, Dreadnoughts, Escorts and so on elsewhere. Hopefully they won't be as ugly as Traveller's Donosev class Scout or Tigress planetbuster.

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Technology

This chapter starts on page 188. Characters need access to technology in M-Space. Bear in mind that tech toys are little more than props to further, or complicate, the telling of the story. The devices themselves do not resolve the scenarios: the characters do.

The chapter begins with rules for laboratory research, and using laboratory modules in vehicles and Starships to conduct that research. The good news is, you don't need to attach those lab modules to vehicles or ships - these rules apply to stationary laboratories, planetside and orbital alike.

The next page delivers pointers for trade and cargo, "for characters that wants to make good use of their cargo holds." M-Space has its own version of Traveller's trade game. It's on page 189 of the Technology chapter.

And then, weapons and armour on pages 190 and 191. We're talking about fancy science fiction weapons here, blasters, ionisation rifles, particle grenadesm force swords, with some archaic melee weapons thrown in for good measure. If you want more modern slug throwers, there is a supplement called Mythras Firearms available. This chapter doesn't cover exotic slugthrowers such as gauss rifles (mini-railguns) or gyrojets (guns which launch tiny guided missiles).

The chapter moves on to Strangeness and Technology, where the Strangeness of an alien species can be applied to tech built for that species, and a list of personal equipment for the following two pages, ending on page 193. All the basic stuff any character might need in a typical science fiction scenario, presented as no-frills one-paragraph descriptions and costs in credits.

Sidebars in the two chapters include rules for partial Modules, Stunts (like psionic vehicles, vehicle Luck Points and so on), researching (inventing) new objects, and rules for MacGyvering one-shot objects, with a section on page 195 covering information access levels - an invaluable guide for scenarios leaning heavily into Tradecraft (spy scenarios) or Cyberpunk.

By the way, there are no rules for cybernetics here in this core rulebook - they are covered in M-Space Companion, and rules for robotic and cyborg Circles given in Circles of Steel.

And that's it. It's nowhere near as flash as anything presented in Traveller, but practically everything listed in the Traveller books can be ported into M-Space with minimal reworking. In fact, it is encouraged.

Tech Levels and M-Space

Which brings us to the technology levels of M-Space. The Tech Level table is on page 135, and it looks roughly the same as the familiar system of TL development from Traveller. I'm afraid there's no getting away from the old 2D6 science fiction tabletop roleplaying game, any more than it's possible to get far away from Star Trek or Doctor Who when crafting a new SF TV show or movie.

There's a paragraph explaining this.

These tables are taken from the original 1977 Traveller RPG by Marc Miller (now under a Creative Commons license). This is as close to canon as you can come. For me, sticking with it is a small homage to one of the first sci-fi RPGs ever.

These tech levels are more or less familiar to people moving over to M-Space, but - as we'll reveal in a future blog post, M-Space Speculations, it can be tweaked or even rewritten to suit your campaign setting, along with such things as the psionics rules.

Next Week

We're at the end of the core rulebook next week, covering Life Forms, then the Appendices. Once we get to the index, that's it. Make use of your vehicle sheet on page 185, draw up a couple of fun vehicles, and we'll meet you here next week.

Edited by Alex Greene

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