Category Archives: Ad Astra

Ad Astra: And so it begins…

On last Saturday we started our Ad Astra campaign. My group consist of three players. Character #1 is a Gaian war hero and fighter pilot who disobeyed an order to save many lives. Following a court martial he leaves the Gaian military. Character #2 is a strong esper, ship pilot and hobby historian from the Akkathon Federation who tries to find a way back to Old Earth. The last character is a fugitive from the Tovenaar Empire. She was a technician before her latent esper talent was discovered. Because she didn’t want to be part of the Mindwalkers she ran. She also has some strong interest in xenoarchaeology and the Elohim.

At the beginning all three adventurers get contacted by agents of the Twilight Star. Obviously they would make perfect agents themselves and so they are provided with tickets for a passenger liner which takes them to the Rheinland system where they meet their contact Lt. Coh. Coh reveals a few details about the organisation he’s working for and then takes them with a shuttle to the battleship “Vasco da Gama” that takes the aventurers to an undisclosed location where they first lay eyes on the super-carrier “Twilight Star”. On board of that massive space ship they are finally introduced into the ranks of the Twilight Star agents, get some basic training and in the end meet Gordan Griffin, obviously one member of the Star’s inner council.

I used the first part of the evening to introduce the players to the world, the PDQ rules and the Twilight Star, since it will be the organisation they’ll be working for during the campaign. We also had a short combat sequence when character #3 was ambushed by a couple of soldiers from the Tovenaar Empire who tried to bring her back, dead or alive.

That concludes part one of my game report. Stay tuned for part two, where our heroes learn about an ancient enemy.

Ad Astra character sheet

Yesterday we finally started my Ad Astra campaign. In order to make things easier for my players and me, I created a couple of record sheets for characters and space ships. Today I made some minor adjustments to the sheet and decided to share it with my readers.

Ad Astra sheet for the PDQ system

The character sheet was created with the PDQ system in mind, so if you want to play Ad Astra with any other system, you’ll need to create your own sheets. You can download the characters sheet as a PDF document here.

Ad Astra: Starships using PDQ rules

When you have a look at the PDQ core rules you’ll notice that there is no section about how vehicles, space ships, etc. could be added to the system. In my opinion the easiest way is to handle vehicles just like characters. They get a name, a description, a few qualities and perhaps even a weakness.

ExcerptTake a space ship for example. In one of my early posts about the Ad Astra setting I posted the D6 Space stats for the Theseus Starfighter. Let’s now have a look at how we could rebuild this starfighter using PDQ rules:

Let’s first start with the vehicle type. Every vehicle should have at least one quality that designates the basic type of the ship. This quality should start at Average [0]. The GM can of course choose to improve this quality if the vehicle is exceptional for its class. So we write down Average Starfighter [+0]. I imagine the Theseus fighter as an old workhorse model that has been in use for quite some time now. So I assign Good Workhorse [+2]. The fighter should neither be very fast or have superior armor, but I think Average Armor [+0] is in order. We shouldn’t forget that we need some qualities written down, so that the fighter can take a beating. Finally I add the weapons as Average Medium Lasers [+0] and Good “Artemis” Missile Launcher [+2]. Finally lets add a weakness to make the design a bit more interesting. Since it’s an outdated model it’s not up to par with some of the more fancy designs. So, we add Poor Outdated Model [-2] as last quality. Ok, let’s review our design:

Theseus Starfighter
Average Starfighter [+0]
Good Workhorse [+2]
Average Armor [+0]
Average Medium Lasers [+0]
Good “Artemis” Missile Launcher [+2]
Poor Outdated Model [-2]

In order to totally disable the ship you’ll need 16 hits, which is pretty decent for a starfighter. The pilot can also decide to reduce the Armor or Workhorse qualities by one level in order to “take it on the chin” and ignore all damage from a single attack.

So, how does starship combat work? It works just like normal combat. But pilots may use both their own and their ship’s qualities. For example a pilot with the Good Starfighter Pilot [+2] quality wants to fire a volley of missiles at an enemy craft. He can add not only the bonus from his piloting quality but also the bonus from the weapon he used. In this particular case he rolls 2d6+4. In most cases player and GM should be able to decide which qualities and weaknesses are relevant for any given action.