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StarSiege Introductory Manual $0.00
Average Rating:3.6 / 5
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StarSiege Introductory Manual
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StarSiege Introductory Manual
Publisher: Troll Lord Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/22/2009 09:36:28
This work, originally released for Free RPG Day 2008, begins with an Introduction which points out just how wide-ranging the definition of 'science fiction' can be, and announces that this is a ruleset that can be used to present whatever sort of science fiction you want - pulp, cinematic or grittily realistic. After briefly explaining what an RPG is, it goes on to explain the core mechanic of the system which is based on that used for Castles and Crusades. It's a quick and simple task resolution system based on comparing the character's skills with the task he is attempting, setting a target based on his appropriate skills and the difficulty of what he wants to do, making a single D20 roll and applying any modifiers as needed. Unlike many games, opposed rolls are rarely used as the difficulty of the task includes any opposition that the character may face!

It moves seamlessly on to describe the sorts of modifications you can make to the roll depending on such variables as how hard the task is, environmental factors, the equipment you have available and a whole load more. Naturally, it also looks at combat - including a range of actions that you can take during a brawl - and the inevitable aftermath of injury and healing. Next comes some fairly generic rules about equipment, including technological level, size, and reliability. Each item, whatever it is, will have certain properties including these over and above its actual functionality. This is followed by some basic listings of common science fiction kit, including weapons, armour, vehicles and other useful bits and pieces.

Next come characters themselves - how they are created and described in game terms. A nice touch for a science fiction game is that each character has a 'Tech Score' which reflects the level of technology with which he is most familiar - more primitive or more advanced technologies may prove hard or even impossible for him to use. There are also something called Nova Points, which can be used in several different ways to bend events in a character's favour - from ensuring an automatic success at a single task to keeping him alive when that last blow should have sent him for a dirt nap... or even to attempt something that would normally be impossible!

There are also some general remarks about the sort of skills a character might have, and how they can be used (with promises of more in the main rules...). It all rounds off with some NPCs, and sample characters laid out on character sheets.

While this gives a good introduction to how this game works, there is not enough here to actually sit down and try it out. At the very least, you'd have to come up with an adventure for the sample characters to play... This could be used to introduce prospective players to the ruleset, so that they can at least some idea of how the system works before the game begins.

Probably actually worth three and a half stars rather than four, due to the lack of a sample adventure, but as the rating system doesn't allow that I'll err on the side of generousity: after all the ruleset is good!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
StarSiege Introductory Manual
Publisher: Troll Lord Games
by Ronald W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/28/2009 08:55:41
This is an interesting adaptation of the C&C game system. I plan on getting the full product asap.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
StarSiege Introductory Manual
Publisher: Troll Lord Games
by Malcolm M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/18/2008 18:41:36
A valiant effort with one fatal flaw.

WHAT IS IT?

StarSiege is intended to be an all-in-one science-fiction rpg from Troll Lord Games, the makers of the justly-praised Castles & Crusades fantasy game. As the name implies, StarSiege incorporates the same simple-yet-clever "Siege Engine" dice mechanic which lies at the heart of Castles & Crusades.

The problem is, in the well-intentioned attempt to create an all-in-one science-fiction toolkit, the very simplicity and modularity which makes the Siege Engine mechanic so useful to players and Game Masters in C&C here gets buried under an avalanche of new game systems, sub-systems, acronyms, and terminology.

The resulting game is a good game, to be sure. The problem is, it's also ends up functionally indistinguishable from the dozens of other medium-complex SF game systems inhabiting the rpg landscape: d20 Future; GURPS Space; 2320 AD; Reign of Discordia; Mongoose Traveller, Alternity, and all the rest.

Author Josh Chewning has done a valiant job here; l have to wonder, though, if the failure of StarSiege to carry forward the defining adaptability and ease-of-use traditionally associated with Siege Engine games like Castles & Crusades has to rest with Troll Lord Games editorial.

At some point, someone in the company should've noticed that StarSiege -- while a perfectly serviceable SF rpg -- doesn't actually adhere to the _design spirit_ of the Castles & Crusades Siege system.

It's always easier for players and Game Masters to add on to simple game system, as needed, rather than to subtract elements from a complex one. This philosophy rests at the heart of Castles & Crusades' design.

In his well-intentioned desire to give players and GMs a fully-detailed SF toolkit, author Chewning has accidentally lost the defining difference (ease-of-use and core simplicity) which sets Siege Engine games like Castles & Crusades apart from the pack.

Again, I find Chewning absolutely guiltless -- he's done good work here -- the loss of the spirit of Siege has to fall at the feet of Troll Lord Games. Siege is their baby, in the end, and it falls to them to make sure its properly treated.

An author buried eyeball-deep in manuscript revision can't always see the big picture. That's what editorial is there for ...

FINAL VERDICT?

As above, StarSiege is a good medium-complexity all-in-one SF rpg. If that's what you want, it stands solid among the many other similar SF game systems out there.

If, like me, you were hoping for a game which would do for science-fiction gaming what Castles & Crusades has done for fantasy gaming, then StarSiege is not the game for you.

My disappointment at StarSiege's failure to be "Castles & Crusades In Spaaaace" in any sort of practical, game-table way originally had me leaning toward a 3 out of 5 score -- but, thankfully, I realized in time that, while the game does not carry on the Siege Engine legacy in any strong fashion, if taken as a stand-alone SF game it's certainly worth a 4 out of 5 to those who neither know nor care what game engine it incorporates.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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