Monday, June 22, 2015

Merchanters And Stationers Take #6

In the "Compact Space" books, there is a history there that comes through the present - This species does not trust that species, that other species can do things others cannot with spacecraft, or yet another species has several disputed stations with some other species entirely. These things color the setting deeply, and to do justice to the concepts, I need to create that same coloring, but varying for the differences between the inspiration and the game.

To do this, once the new setting is mapped out, one uses the background cards. These are a set of 27 cards with a single sentence on each. The say things like "Piracy Flourishes in This Space" or "This Species is Barred from That Space", or "This Species Runs the Central Station." Some of them are in gray letters on a white background and are meant for Oxygen breathing species. The rest are in white letters on a cray background and meant for Methane breathers.

The cards are shuffled, and four are dealt out to each species territory. The players and GM go around the table four times, laying out a card and determining what species is meant, and everything is recorded, so instead of saying "This Species is Barred from That Space", they would say "The Kantuan are Barred from Stoshi Space!"

There are three cards that probably should always be in the number dealt out, but actually, it really doesn't matter all that much. Things can be worked around. In any case, this gives a setting with odd places, prohibitions, and quirks.


  1. Clever way to set up conflicts and areas of interest. Would you need cards or could you do this with a table? Maybe a matrix like the Knnn communication abstract, that gives a result depending on the x/y intersect of a 2d6 roll.

  2. You could do this with a table just as well, David! I just like the idea of the cards - gives a bit of tactile feel to it. In the game, I have the cards printed out on a single sheet of paper, in three columns of nine, so it's pretty easy to print them out and cut the cards up.