Monday, February 2, 2015

Strange Stars From Armchair Planet For Your Old School Space Opera Campaigns

Strange Stars is like a smoke ring from the 70's or 80's from the fevered mind of its author, and its a graphic as well as artistic slight of hand trick of a laser sword of retro science fantasy gaming goodness. The author presents a great overview of his space opera setting with great artwork and a wary eye towards the material being used in your games. This book is wall to wall system neutral artwork as good as your going to find. The races are really nicely designed and can fit into a wide variety of science fiction or fantasy settings. 
Strange Stars is a wily and so what lean beast, its part setting book, part alien races, and a whole lot of details designed around the fact that this beast wants to be your go to space opera campaign.

Grab It Right Over

So what's the book about? Well according to the Rpgnow blurb: 
It's the far future, Old Earth is lost and shrouded in legend, and the children of paleo-humanity have long ago populated the stars, branching into new forms and strange cultures. Adventure is measured in light-years!
STRANGE STARS is a setting for any game where modern transhuman science fiction meets classic 70s space opera. Join a salvage mission to steal ancient tech from the wreck of a deranged sophont warship. Become a skiptracer in the lawless orbital megapolis of Interzone. Plan an elaborate data-vault heist on a diamond planet. Cross ceramic blades with a Zao Pirate in hard vacuum. Score sweet dreams or nightmare fuel from the oneirochemists of Eidolon. It's all somewhere in the STRANGE STARS!

Everything from the beginning possible PC's races to full adventure hooks are right there at your fingers. You can think of this book as a candy sampler of retro science fiction goodness that never existed until now. This starts with the cover which pays a nice nod to the original Star Frontiers game to the layout and graphics which references everything from Marvel style sci fi comic series to things like Star Wars. This is a style choice and a very well done idea in what it does. 
Nine ninety nine might seem a bit steep for a simple but its not because this is wall to wall well done artwork. If you grew up thumbing through Barlowe's Guide To Extraterrestrials, reading Micronauts under the covers with a flash light your going to want this book. 
Because this setting book taps into the nostalgia buttons but there's more. This is a very workable space opera setting with all of the trimmings to get you started in the universe of Strange Stars. Trust me, this is a world where one week your adventurers will be battling PHARESMID SYNDICATE and then taking down the machinations of the THE VOKUN EMPIRE. Its all right there at your finger tips and best of all its system neutral. 
Use it with your favorite OSR sci fi retroclone or Traveller or Fate or whatever system you want. I see how and why the author has done what he's done. This is a solid impact of a book into the sci fi market. Very cool and I highly recommend this book.

Using The Strange Stars Campaign Setting 

So there are a couple of important points to remember about this setting, one its very open in its old school science fictional goodness. Two this is a labor of love for the author and that comes through. There is a ton of back drop and setting material that you can pull from within this book.

Strange Stars is the perfect sci fi set up and go adventuring system. If you've got players due in on Saturday night and you've got a system that you've been itching to try then this is a great sci fi background that you've been looking for. But that's only the tip of the ice berg here. With a bit of work. This is a game setting book with a very rich and diverse sci fi history in place with back drop adventure hooks to allow plenty of sci fi cross over action if you choose to. Take your Stars Without Number party even your X plorers party into the Strange Stars universe for even more utility with a setting that allows you to experience even more action and adventure under the banners of your favorite game.
For the  X plorers rpg Strange Stars has a ready made universe to port right in and plenty of perfect locations and races to pepper your games with. For Stars Without Number the setting of the Strange Stars universe is a nice setting just waiting to take on your party.
When it comes to Star Frontiers, this is a perfect setting to jack up your technology index add in brand new material and get right into the back waters of a universe with brand new aliens.
Trey's done a fantastic job of laying the foundation of his universe and he's inviting us to play under Strange Stars. This is a really well done book with lots and lots of utility and potential in my book.
 I'm not done with this universe by a long chalk, and if you want my advice grab the book, some friends, and let Strange Stars become a regular campaign setting for your sci fi games. I have a feeling you won't be sorry. 


  1. Your review pushed me off the fence. I ordered Strange Stars a couple of weeks ago & just finished reading it. It's terrific! Very inspiring stuff & it is just beautifully presented. Can't wait to see both Fate & OSR system-specific companion material in print this year :-)

  2. Well don't forget we've already got a preview of the OSR material with Trey's Weird Stars support stuff index as well.

  3. There's quite a few different OSR titles coming down the pike that have me very excited. Trey's Strange Stars is one of those titles that looks like its going to have a number of options to tease and play with OSR science fiction and Fate players. Its very nicely presented and it works well on a number of levels of play. Buyers I think are going to get a lot of bang for their buck in this one.


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