Starblazer Adventures: First session

Mass Effect On Saturday I finally ran my first Starblazer Adventures session. As I’ve detailed in a couple of posts here on the blog we used the Mass Effect universe as a background and the player characters where employees of the Exogeni Corporation.

The adventure started in Geneva. The player characters have been summoned to the local Exogeni representative who had a new job for them. Their mission was to take the scout ship Aurora, travel to the Mithril system and check out if the planets in the system are suitable for exploitation.

On the ship that has been parked on the Geneva space port, they met their crew consisting of a female human engineer, a Turian navigator and a human cook and cargo specialist that I called a “steward”. The flight was mostly uneventful until the ship suddenly received a distress call.

The SSV Icarus, a System Alliance science vessel was calling for help. The ship’s engines were failing and it has been caught in the gravity well of a gas giant, slowly spiraling to certain doom. The players decided to change course and help the Icarus’ crew.

Some of you might actually recognize this setup. That’s because I used Daniel Swensen’s one-sheet scenario “Orbit Five” as a basis for my adventure. It was actually no problem transferring the scenario to the Mass Effect universe. I changed the visitor into a Geth-like robot creature (perhaps another agent of the Reapers, who knows?) but I basically ran the adventure as written.

My players actually suspected from the get go that something was wrong on the Icarus and cautiously explored the ship. Things went pretty smoothly and when they realized that the crew was dead they decided to abandon ship using the Icarus’ shuttle. That was when I decided we need to try out Starblazer Adventurer’s combat rules and let the visitor attack them. Combat was pretty quick and the players made good use of their character’s stunts and aspects. We ended the adventure when the adventurers safely returned to their ship.

All in all I am quite happy how the session went. Everyone obviously enjoyed the rules, even though we still had some problems really making use of all the options FATE offers. But I am sure we’ll get the hang of it in no time.

But we realized that we have two other problems: a) it’s almost impossible to schedule another game anytime soon and b) the Mass Effect universe lacks a lot of details that the GM has to fill. The first problem was solved by splitting the group into two. The one group will meet on the weekends and the other will meet during the week. We hope to play at least one or two times per month from now on (with each group). I really hope this works out.

We also decided to drop Mass Effect as a setting. I am not exactly sure, what I am going to run for the now two groups, but it will probably not be Mass Effect again. One idea was to run a game set into the Traveller universe or something of my own design. I still have a couple of tricks up my sleeves. 😉

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

7 thoughts on “Starblazer Adventures: First session”

  1. Hey, awesome! I’m glad that little scenario was of use to someone. I am sorry to hear it will apparently be awhile before the next one, though.

    I haven’t been following this as well as I’d like — have you, or are you considering, using the collaborative campaign stuff from SbA?

    1. You’re scenario was very helpful, thanks a lot!

      I have considered using the collaborative campaign creation rules from SbA, but my players were not comfortable with the idea yet. Perhaps another time.

  2. I have been dying to run Starblazer Adventures, but teaching my group a new system is such a pain. No one will buy, much less read a rulebook so everything falls on my shoulders. I just don’t have the time to get into anything that they aren’t already someone what familiar with. I’m taking a big leap by trying to run an M&M 3e game, even though it is a d20 game. I’m still looking forward to running though.

    1. One tip: don’t expect your players to buy rulebooks and learn rules. If you want to try something new you’ll have to do the heavy lifting for them. That’s how things are…

    1. Since the games focus on the story of a military operative and his rag-tag band of aliens saving the galaxy in his space ship Normandy, everything not important for that story are left out. You learn almost nothing about civilian life, other space ships, Earth etc. while playing the games.
      We actually realized this during our first session, when more and more questions came up that we couldn’t solve.

      Of course you can always come up with stuff on your own and fill in the blanks. But in this case we decided unanimously that we want to play in another setting in the future.

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