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Thousand Suns: Rulebook $30.00 $7.50
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Thousand Suns: Rulebook
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Thousand Suns: Rulebook
Publisher: Grognardia Games
by Ron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/26/2015 15:39:46

There is no 3.5 rating, and since the good outweighed the awkward, in my opinion, I weighted the review at "4". The system is a great homage to various others of the 70s and 80s, most notably Traveller.

The basic mechanics are streamlined and forthright. The game is written intelligently, and it seems the author has a good feel for what is important in the Golden Age Imperial science fiction genre. The rules are reasonably well laid out in the table of contents, and, while they are not indexed, do have references of the "see p. x" variety that almost always point to the correct spot. They are hyperlinked in the PDF version.

However: the rules set (in fact all the books) are desperately in need of decent proofreading. Many sentences and paragraphs look as though partial changes were made to different galleys and then not reconciled. There are errors in grammar, syntax and, quite simply, bit that read like two different sentences were spliced together. This detracts from the whole.

The rules also make much of being generic enough that one may graft them onto any system, a plus. There is a fine line between that and insufficient information, however.

For example, when one has price lists of items, and costs for starships, this suggests that these would be relative to some sort of economy, and none is given. Costs of travel, lifestyle, ship maintenance and so forth are entirely up to the users. Of course, our group again made them up and I referenced some other games for inspiration and suggestions, but while we are following the rules example of keeping things functional and not too granular, the setting does suffer form a complete lack of "what goes on in ordinary life and how do people live"?

Nonetheless, we will use this system, rather than others, because it allows one to get on with the adventuring rather than bogging down in granularity and, if more sourcebooks are forthcoming for the author's own setting, these may address some of the shortcomings.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Thousand Suns: Rulebook
Publisher: Grognardia Games
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/20/2014 13:07:34

Although I wrote a review of some early 1KS material, the new rulebook is worth another look.

Science fiction roleplaying in the Traveller mold has been a long standing part of our hobby. However, few explicitly acknowledge or attempt to seek out mechanics that chase after the roots of this variety of science fiction. Thousand Suns, by contrast, both acknowledges and supports the classic science fiction literary underpinnings of "imperial sf".

The mechanics of the game are simple, and use the best die, the d12. If you don't like d12s, a) don't buy this game, and b) you have bad taste.

The most important part of this rulebook for me is the setting creation and GM section. These channel GM preparation into clearly, immediately actionable locations that the players will immediately want to interact with. The trade system is just random enough to give a risk of a loss, but manipulable enough to entice characters to try it. The system is also transparent enough that players can build a strategy around trade.

I do have some reservations about the systems simulating trade and planetary events because how reliable it is. What I mean is, in much of the source material sf, the characters end up on an adventure out of desperation because they lost their shirt in a business deal or in a war. The system doesn't make any allowances for this, and the principles by which GMs approach the game make it difficult to do something like this in a fair way.

If you're looking for vividly drawn, strange, sf settings, look elsewhere - the literary antecedents of this game offered a universe that was eminently recognizable to Earthlings in the 1950s. However, if you want a game about exploration, shady or somewhat blinkered PCs being put into tight situations, boostrapping themselves to free market success and shooting bad guys, this is a rollicking, fast-moving, fun adventure. I'm reviewer tiling up one star because it explicitly calls out exactly what kind of sf it is chasing after and because the speed and simplicity of a solid, workable system. Check it out and I can't wait for more to come!

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Thousand Suns: Rulebook
Publisher: Grognardia Games
by Billiam B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/31/2012 08:54:58

My printed copy has arrived! It's C-format hardback - which is a really portable size - looks incredibly like a school book sci-fi text. Also got the PDF on the iPad. (Well worth the $30)

At the moment I'm mainly buying games to read -and what a great read! Well fleshed out background ideas based on the classic 40s-60s "Imperial" theme, whilst providing a vast open setting to develop and explore. Very informed, with literary quotes scattered throughout.

Strangely enough, I haven't read half enough books from that period, and my concept of "Space Opera" was more based on Star Wars, so it's refreshing that the game is presented as a "straight" setting, without the camp Flash Gordon associations, so prevalent in some retro-sci-fi games.

Given the choice between playing this and my GDW Traveller, I would choose this, partly because the fast play d12 mechanics provide a broader probability range with more opportunities for modification (see the previous review for a brief description of the d12* system) But also because I love the feel of rolling two d12s. ;)

The presentation is incredibly slick and professional, with a high standard of illustrations, consistent with the classic sci-fi theme, whilst the starships have a plausible clean hi-tech look.

The section on Esperanto took me by surprise! :) This is an optional extra will entertain dedicated fans lovers of the genre.

James Maliszewski is a master of game and gaming culture observation (I'm a fan of his Grognardia blog). It's great to see those skills channelled into this game.

It's also a "complete" system. This rulebook is pretty much all you need.

If you're curious... just go for it.

Billiam B. bit.ly/rpgblog

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Thousand Suns: Rulebook
Publisher: Grognardia Games
by Jimmy P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/24/2011 17:55:01

I recently purchased this book. I bought the Hardcover version as well, but for now I can only comment on the PDF.

Simply put, Thousand Suns is a Imperial Science Fiction game using the 12° system.

[12° System]

For those of you not familiar with this system, it uses two twelve sided dices (2D12) for all rolls. You determine a target number by adding an ability (average of 6) and a skill (variable value). For example, a Dexterity of 6 and a Shoot of 6 will give you a Target Number of 12. When you roll, you need to roll equal or under the target number. So in the previous example of a target number of 12, you need to roll from 1 to 12 to succeed. The amount by which you succeeds becomes your degree of success.

I have to say that I am not a fan of systems using a roll low approach, but it works somewhat neatly anyway.


The book starts with character creation. You can build any character you can imagine in such a setting, from a grizzled army veteran to a frail scientist. The character creation is based on choices and is NOT class-based, which I like. You start will a pool of 30 points to choose your abilities between Body, Dexterity, Perception, Presence and Will. Then you basically go through phases to choose what your character will be. Each choice adds to your skills and attributes.

The phases are:

  1. Determine Ability Scores: Divide 30 points between the character’s five abilities.
  2. Select Species: Choose the character’s species. Spend the bonus points listed under the “Traits” section of the species on abilities and/or skills of one’s choice.
  3. Select Homeworld Package: Choose one homeworld package for the character.
  4. Select Career Package(s): Choose three levels of career packages for the character.
  5. Create Hooks: Decide on five hooks for the character, one based on his species, one based on his homeworld, and three based on your his career(s).
  6. Benefit Points: Determine how many benefit points the character receives and spend them.
  7. Finishing Touches: Give the character a name, age, and gender.

You do not have any freebies after this to add to your character so you must choose wisely. Some choices you make can give you some free points to spend on skills and attributes.

I like this approach to character creation which reminded me of lifepaths.

[The Setting]

In the Gamemaster section is presented numerous options to make the setting what you want it to be. The author claims that the first part of the book was left deliberately free of setting-related information so the Gamemaster may plug his own setting in. It is somewhat true, if the GM decides to replace races and a few character options (such as languages which are already tied in to the setting).

Then the Author gives the Gamemaster a run down of what his setting is. It is brought forward in a fashion that helps understand why such and such choices were made. It also gives the GM the opportunity to choose between and Empire or a Federation to be the ruling body of the setting. It is a very interesting option for GMs!

The setting itself is your usual Imperial Sci-Fi background, with old federations, civil wars, first contact and such. Note that Terrans (or humans) are considered to be on top and the Federation/Empire of the Thousand Suns is top dog. No other Alien race is more powerful (or at least not yet...).

[My Take on it]

Overall, the product is well made. The layout is well done and the art is mostly decent. As for the writing, I have not spotted many spelling errors (but since I am French, what do I know?).

I will need to delve further into it and playtest it, but so far so good.

[Differences with the old Edition]

This is basically the revised edition that was published by Rogue-Games. The layout is way better, the rules are better explained. Psionics are embedded in the basic system and appears to be working fine. Overall, it is a far superior work that its last iteration

[4 of 5 Stars!]
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