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What Players Need To Know

Your character is an adventurer in the year 3200, a dweller among the scattered worlds of a great human diaspora. For whatever reason, he or she has decided to leave their old life behind and take up a starfaring existence, daring perils and seeking new frontiers in search of glory, riches, or their own personal ambitions.

Many worlds have recovered from the desperation of the centuries-long Silence, and can once again manufacture spacecraft and other advanced technology. Other worlds are “lost worlds”, still cut off from interstellar trade and forced to make do with the resources of their own planet. Lostworlders are often considered barbaric by technologically advanced worlds.

Tramp freighters, small merchant ships, and scout craft serve most worlds, even the most backward. If your character comes from a primitive or isolated culture, it’s probable that he or she hitched a ride aboard such a ship to travel to a more cosmopolitan life. It may or may not have been a voluntary choice.

In actual play, your character should be motivated to act, and to act as part of a group. The game does not deal well with hostile loners, apathetic brooders, or other characters that have to be coaxed into engaging with the world and cooperating with the rest of the group. The world of Stars Without Number is dangerous, and characters who cringe from peril or insist on facing it alone will find only boredom or an early grave.

Every character should have a goal from the very start. This might be something as simple as “become wealthy beyond my fondest dreams of avarice” or “be known as the greatest pilot in the sector”. It might be as elaborate as “engineer the downfall of the interstellar empire that conquered my world”. Whatever it is, it should give your character an immediate reason to go out and do something.

This will to act is especially crucial in Stars Without Number, because this game is designed to support a “sandbox” style of gaming. Unlike many other games that encourage the development of a particular story or the playing out of a specific plot line, Stars Without Number presents an entire interstellar sector to your characters and invites you to choose for yourself how to experience it. Stories will arise based on what your characters do and how they respond to the adventure situations provided by the GM.

As a player, you need to cooperate with your GM. This doesn’t necessarily mean following every lead and hook you’re given without demurral, but it does mean that you need to respond to the situations and possibilities that are given to you.

You also need to keep in mind that your adventurers exist in a very large world that is not scaled to your characters’ abilities. If you insist on throwing your characters into situations or challenges that seem overwhelming, the odds are that they will overwhelm you.

Scouting, reconnaissance, and careful intelligence gathering will help you recognize no-win situations before you push ahead into them. By the same token, don’t hesitate to flee if your party appears to be facing certain doom. A keen sense of when to decamp the field is often an experienced adventurer’s most valuable asset

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