I love Stars Without Number. I think it’s a concise, well thought out science fiction toolbox, and for me it scratches a conceptual itch that games like Traveller never quite manage. It was my gateway to other Kevin Crawford games such as Scarlet Heroes, Wolves of God, Other Dust, and Godbound, all of which I’ve enjoyed immensely.
So, when I found out about the Kickstarter for Worlds Without Number, I backed it. At the time of writing, the project has produced a release candidate pdf, and is about to go to the printers. Ostensibly a fantasy version of Stars Without Number with a far future dying earth setting built in, I found the real treasure is in its world building tools. As a Forever GM, I never get to be a player except whilst solo gaming, where good, solid random tables are a much sought-after resource.
Whilst I never really used the Terran Mandate setting in SWN, preferring my own homebrew universe instead, I found its WWN counterpart, the Latter Earth, to really pique my interest. It reads like a Beksiński painting you can play around in, with flavours of the Dying Earth, Book of the New Sun, and even the slightest hints of Tekumel. I really clicked with the logical assumptions used to bring certain fantasy tropes into the far future world. The undying elves as recurrent glitches in reality. The dwarves bred to be used as arcane heatsinks. Summoned creatures from forking dimensions, and the labyrinthine, patchwork nature of an ancient world, weary from the weight of countless centuries pressing down upon it.
I’m going to play a few solo games of Worlds Without Number, using Latter Earth, the toolkits in the pdf, and some of my usual solo resources. I will try to post the sessions in blog form, partly as a campaign record for me, partly in case anyone is interested in WWN or reading about a solo campaign. I’ll roll up some characters and start them in the Gyre region, defining the world as I go. There will be little to no prep beforehand.
Every solo gamer builds up their own repertoire of resources they prefer to use, and for the curious few, the backbone of my own toolkit usually includes:
Whilst these will no doubt see much use during my Latter Earth sessions, I plan to use the tables and tools in the WWN pdf as much as possible, since generating sandboxes is what they are designed for. It will be interesting to see how much of the world generating load they can handle.
Since I will be creating everthing as I play, I’m not sure what exact shape this campaign will take, but my solo games usually tend to revolve around exploration, with a certain level of graphic violence or horror. I usually stay away from sexual themes, and I don’t really enjoy playing high powered characters.
I guess there is nothing left to do except roll up some adventurers!