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Interplanetary - Previews

Jason D

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As mentioned in the other thread, I thought I'd throw out some previews of the manuscript (still in progress), from various spots.

Here's a section from Chapter 2: Characters, introducing a newish element in character creation process called "Concept".

This sample contains a handful of the concepts (more than a dozen are provided), and bear in mind that it has not yet been edited or proofread.


Before a name is picked, any dice are rolled, and even a gender is assigned, the gamemaster should encourage each player to pick a “character concept” for his or her character. A character concept is a sort of role or identity that helps provide focus during character creation and gameplay. The character concept provides the players a quick identifier to help decide what profession and skills will be appropriate, and can even inform decisions such as gender, name, appearance, and personality.

Following is a list of classic personality archetypes suitable for

  • Absentminded Intellectual:
    Brilliant yet lacking concentration, you tend to get lost in your own head. You have a wide range of expertise, yet sometimes commonplace tasks are beyond you. You frequently find yourself out of place in social situations, as if you’re in another world.

  • Brute:
    You’re big, strong, and tough as nails. You’ve never been much of a decision-maker: any problem usually ends up with you hitting someone. Maybe you’ve got a temper you can’t control, or you might just like to hurt people. People think the worst of you, and usually you’ve got a hard time when it comes to making friends or doing things the legitimate way.

  • Charismatic Scoundrel:
    Somehow, despite your personal magnetism, you found yourself on the wrong side of the law. You’re not evil, but the honest life just isn’t for you. You might be a con man, a smuggler, or a dealer of illegal items... using your charm and your wits to get by.

  • Grease Monkey:
    Doesn’t matter if it’s your job or just a hobby, you like taking things apart and fixing them. When confronted with something broken or something you can make better, you’re quick to roll up your sleeves and get to work. The more complex the system, the more engrossed you are.

  • Plucky Adventuress:
    You grew up at the side of a traveling parent, whether an Egyptologist, ambassador, or missionary, and you’ve got daring in your veins. The world is too great to settle down in, so you roam the world with aplomb, getting in and out of the many scrapes that come with your choice of life.

  • Socialite:
    Adventure... danger... these are not things you seek out. Instead, you’re much more at home hobnobbing with the wealthy and the notable. Despite your best intent, you’ve nonetheless been drawn into a world of peril, and it’s all you can do to keep your tuxedo (or gown) pressed and your martini glass full.

Page XX of
Chapter Seven: Gamemastering
includes a section titled “Archetypes” that provides additional archetypes, mostly suitable for non-player characters or alien characters. If the gamemaster is allowing players to devise alien characters, players should be allowed to consult that section for inspiration.

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I would also add that in a game where there are many possible types of scenarios/campaigns possible, it helps if the GM and the players at the beginning agree on the concept of the game to be played, which dictates what type of character concepts would work well. It's different if your game is always going to be "enter underground ruins, chop up all monsters, steal treasure" or something like that. A game emphasizing exploration is going to favor different sets of concepts from one emphasizing combat -- like space pirates, or something.

I'm a big fan of the concept of character concepts.

My avatar is the personal glyph of Siyaj K'ak' a.k.a. "Smoking Frog."

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Chapter Three: Powers provides considerable expansions to the mutations and psychic powers offered in the core rulebook. Rather than provide a sample power, here's the random determination table from the Mutations section:

(my apologies that the table is munged... I don't have the time to translate it over for board-viewability)

Result Mutation Description

01-03 Adaptability - Survival in unusual environments.

04-05 Additional Sensory Organs - Additional eyes, ears, etc.

06-07 Allergy - Skills reduced by contact to an allergen.

08-09 Amphibious - Able to breathe underwater.

10-11 Biped / Quadruped - If two-legged, forced to walk four-legged.

12-14 Camouflage - Skin has a concealing texture or color.

15 Charged - Emits electric current.

16-19 Coloration - Unusual coloration (minor only).

20-21 Congenital Disease - Suffers from a debilitating disease.

22 Conjoined Twin - Has a connected twin.

23-24 Decreased Characteristic - Characteristic decreased.

25-26 Disease Carrier - Carries (but is immune to) an infectious disease.

27 Group Intelligence - Part of a hive mind.

28-29 Hands - Has extra hands or prehensile limb.

30-31 Hardy - Resistant to damage.

32-33 Hollow - Character has a large internal cavity, or is hollow.

34-36 Hybrid - Has an animalistic trait.

37 Immortal - Does not age, resists the natural causes of death.

38-39 Incomplete - Missing one or more portions of anatomy.

40-42 Increased Characteristic - Characteristic increased.

43-44 Independent Appendages - Appendages can detach and move independently.

45-46 Infested - Infested with parasitic creatures.

47-48 Keen Sense - Has one or more sharp senses.

49-50 Leech - Must drain characteristics to survive.

51-52 Luminescence - Emits a light from body.

53 Magnetic - Is magnetic.

54-55 Malleable - Body and features are pliable.

56-58 Metabolic Improvement - Has a beneficial but unusual metabolism.

59-60 Metabolic Weakness - Has a disadvantageous and unusual metabolism.

61-62 Misplaced Sensory Organs - Irregularly-placed sensory organs.

63-64 Missing Sense - Missing sensory organs.

65-66 Natural Armor - Has natural armor (scales, horn, hide, etc.).

67-68 Natural Weapon - Has natural weapon (spine, claw, teeth, etc.)

69 Non-bipedal Body Structure - Unusual body structure.

70-71 Pain Immunity - Immune to sensations of pain.

72 Pain Sensitivity - Low resistance to pain.

73-74 Pheromone - Emits chemicals that can affect others.

75 Radiant - Emits heat or cold.

76-77 Radioactive - Emits radioactivity.

78-79 Reduced Sense - Impaired or missing primary sense.

80 Regeneration - Able to heal rapidly.

81-82 Sensitivity - Has an unusual affinity for a substance.

83 Speech (Mimicry) - Can imitate animal noises, or speak clearly.

84-85 Structural Improvement - Has an unusual and beneficial body form.

86 Structural Rearrangement - Anatomy is configured strangely.

87 Structural Weakness - Has an unusual and disadvantageous body form.

88-89 Synesthesia - Sensory inputs are crossed or combined.

90 Toxic Blood - Blood is toxic.

91 Unnatural Appetite - Must devour non-food items to survive.

92-94 Unusual Skin - Skin has an unusual characteristic.

95-96 Venom - Emits a natural poison.

97 Wings - Has wings and can glide or fly.

98-00 Gamemaster or player’s choice - Pick or roll again.

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While you're on Jason, can I ask you a general question about how you handle interplanetary travel?

There's a section that covers a number of methods, from straightforward (rockets, space guns, etc.), weird science (crystal "star elevators", teleporters, etc.), paranormal/supernatural (astral projection, celestial kidnapping, dreaming, etc.), and simply unexplained passage ("I fell asleep in a cave and woke up on Mars!").

The mechanics of how players get from one world to another is entirely determined by the nature of the campaign.

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I'm really looking forward to this book. Quick additional question, if I may. Is there a specific setting attached to the book?

Each of the planets and significant locations in our solar system* are described in enough detail to inspire and run adventures, but it's not a full-fledged world book.

* and to be clear, these are Earth, the Moon, the Sun, the asteroid belt, the Kuiper Belt, Mercury, Mars, Venus, Uranus, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Planet X (otherwise known as Pluto). Some of the larger celestial bodies such as Ceres and Vesta are also included.

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And for fun, here's the list of Psychic Abilities from later in the powers chapter.

Psychic Abilities Summary

Following are ten new psychic abilities presented in this sourcebook. These work exactly as other psychic abilities in the core rulebook and can be utilized by player characters, at the gamemaster’s discretion.

Befriend and guide a non-sentient creature through a psychic link.

Discover the location of a specific thing.

Reshape living tissue and bone into new shapes.

Restore lost hit points through psychic healing.

Hypnotize a target.

Create a psychic prison to ensnare an intended target.

Take over the mind of a target by switching places.

Remove disease, poison, or harmful contaminants from a living being’s body.

Mold and reshape a natural substance as if it were clay.

Cloud perceptions to avoid notice.

Create psychic wounds with physical manifestations.

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