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How does Mindjammer compare with other transhuman rpgs?

Skyspire

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As the title says, how does Mindjammer compare with other transhuman rpgs (such as Eclipse Phase, Nova Praxis and Transhuman Space)?
 

smarttman

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I feel Eclipse Phase and Nova Praxis are a lot stronger, as they don't really try to be something they are not. Mindjammer is trying to be a universal sci-fi toolkit for FATE, and while some may dig it, I don't. I do, however, like their massive sector maps that are actually three-dimensional.

And among those, I think Nova Praxis is the most organized and mature setting. After the benchmarks of the very distinct Houses, Purists/Transhumanists, Citizen/Apostates factions and good general focus make it easier for me to wrap my head around. I'd rather track the singular rep-rating as opposed to multiple. But that's me
 

Cannonball

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I agree with smartman.

You can mine some good ideas out of Mindjammer - make no mistake - but I don't think it hangs all that well together. And I especially don't think it hangs all that well together mechanically. Reading through it, I just kept getting the sense that things were off. That it wouldn't work as well as you expected it to work.

I will second Nova Praxis, however, as an excellent and coherent game. It's well organised and well presented complete package. And I definitely recommend checking it out.

Eclipse Phase is Eclipse Phase. You can download the PDFs for free and check it out. I'm not too keen on the system, or on some of the setting choices. But there's a lot of books, and a lot of information out for it now so you could definitely mine it if nothing else.

Transhuman Space is GURPS. So you've got a great setting, married to GURPS. I'd say Nova Praxis' setting is easier to digest, but if you like GURPS as a system, you really can't go wrong with Transhuman Space.
 

Ka_ge2020

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Transhuman Space is GURPS. So you've got a great setting, married to GURPS. I'd say Nova Praxis' setting is easier to digest, but if you like GURPS as a system, you really can't go wrong with Transhuman Space.
I have exactly the same reaction to Nova Praxis. Great setting, but married to FATE and, well, that means Mindjammer goes that way, too. On the other hand I love reading through their setting books for inspiration for other systems.
 
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smarttman

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I have exactly the same reaction to Nova Praxis. Great setting, but married to FATE and, well, that means Mindjammer goes that way, too. On the other hand I love reading through their setting books for inspiration for other systems.
The Savage Worlds version of Nova Praxis is really good as well. And NP kind of uses a modifed version of Fate, which is based on Strands of Fate, which is a system I can stomach a little better than vanilla.
 

The Wyzard

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I'm told I have a pretty good head for systems, and Mindjammer strikes me as being off, too.
 

smarttman

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I'm told I have a pretty good head for systems, and Mindjammer strikes me as being off, too.
Yeah, when I read things like "You can choose to take a cultural aspect, or not", it kind of makes me wonder what a concrete character should be. Even in other versions of FATE, it was you should have 6 Aspects and 1 to 3 stunts. In Mindjammer, I never understood what was exactly needed.
 

jsnead

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I can't speak to systems, because no version of FATE remotely works for me, but I see two other dimensions, how carefully and well created the setting is and how gameable the setting is. Eclipse Phase and Nova Praxis both win high marks at setting care & setting gameability. You very quickly know what sort of game the setting is for (especially for Eclipse Phase, where it tells you straight out that default PCs are Firewall agents), but Nova Praxis also does well on this front. THS has a wonderfully described setting, but to me it's somewhat less gameable than either EP or NP. However, the from my PoV, Mindhammer has more serious problems. I love vast sprawling space opera settings, but I don't entirely get Mindjammer, because it's a vast setting and the books seems to contain more fiddly FATE mechanics for creating cultures & worlds than it does juicy setting details.

Perhaps it's just that my primary goal with any FATE book with a nifty-looking setting is stripping out the setting and ignoring the mechanics, since I'll be using something very different, but I have a far less clear sense of what the Mindjammer setting is like in an upclose and personal sense than I have with EP, NP, or THS. In part, this is simply because it is a vast sprawling setting like the Traveller Imperium, but considerably more alien. I really feel like I need another 200 pages of setting (w/o any rules) to actually know it well enough to understand it at the level I understand any of the other three big transhuman games. Also, it's less clear what PCs do here, in part because (like in THS) the options are so vast, and in Mindjammer, the options are even vaster.
 

Shaira

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Yeah, when I read things like "You can choose to take a cultural aspect, or not", it kind of makes me wonder what a concrete character should be. Even in other versions of FATE, it was you should have 6 Aspects and 1 to 3 stunts. In Mindjammer, I never understood what was exactly needed.
Hi Smarttman,

Mindjammer's straight Fate Core as far as the rules are concerned, with the dials set for transhuman space opera. For cultural aspects, check out p19 "Culture": "You must also select a single cultural aspect at this point". Also the Character Creation Checklist on p19 if you'd like a bullet point summary of the chargen process. Mindjammer follows Fate Core, except you have one additional aspect - your cultural aspect - which gives you 6 aspects and 3-5 stunts.

You *also* have an extras budget, which you can use to buy extras representing additional abilities, gear, etc. Again, this is pretty much as per Fate Core.

Cheers!

Sarah
 

Shaira

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I love vast sprawling space opera settings, but I don't entirely get Mindjammer, because it's a vast setting and the books seems to contain more fiddly FATE mechanics for creating cultures & worlds than it does juicy setting details... Also, it's less clear what PCs do here, in part because (like in THS) the options are so vast, and in Mindjammer, the options are even vaster.
Hi John,

Check out "Chapter 23: Themes, Genre, and Styles of Play" if you haven't got to it yet - there's a whole chapter there describing what you can do in the Mindjammer setting, the different themes, tones, tropes you can evoke, the different styles of play and genres, from golden age military sci-fi through culture agent special ops, through mystery, investigation, trading campaigns, cyberpunk, and right on even to the more philosophical edges of transhumanism if that's what you want.

I have a far less clear sense of what the Mindjammer setting is like in an upclose and personal sense than I have with EP, NP, or THS. In part, this is simply because it is a vast sprawling setting like the Traveller Imperium, but considerably more alien. I really feel like I need another 200 pages of setting (w/o any rules) to actually know it well enough to understand it at the level I understand any of the other three big transhuman games.
Well, this *is* book one... ;) There is a *lot* of setting material to come, if people are up for it, but we thought we'd better stop at 500 pages to begin with. The priority was to produce an updated Mindjammer Fate Core game with as much setting material we could fit in, in addition to what I personally regarded as the essential rules. Personally I want to produce scenarios, campaigns, setting sourcebooks, and so on in future, rather than lots of rules splats, so that informed the design very strongly.

You're right that the New Commonality of Humankind *is* a vast setting - intentionally so. It's not universally alien though - there are some *very* familiar parts, especially along the Fringe, so you can dial the alienness or the familiarity as you like. You can play a game very similar to, say, Traveller, or Firefly, or even Cyberpunk; or you can dial up the hyperadvanced transhuman aspects and explore some of the ramifications of Expansion and the Core Worlds. I'm a huge fan of Traveller, and in Mindjammer I consciously wanted to create a modern 21st century RPG which explored contemporary SF themes (like transhumanism, cultural relativism, technological imperialism, consciousness, biotech, self-directed evolution, extremophiles and extremely alien ecosystems, and Really Big Guns) in a setting that was very playable, and at the same time big enough to accommodate everyone's campaigns, and give me plenty of room to splash around in as a writer.

BTW the first Mindjammer adventure, "Hearts & Minds", is in art direction at the moment, aiming to have it out before Christmas, followed by the next two adventures in the "Fringe Ops" series, then lots more next year. Hopefully there'll be lots more setting material to scratch that itch. :)

Cheers!

Sarah
 
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