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Adventure. Investigation. Science! Your crew hustles to complete jobs in a sector-wide cold war.
Adventure. Investigation. Science! Your crew hustles to complete jobs in a sector-wide cold war.
Adventure. Investigation. Science! Your crew hustles to complete jobs in a sector-wide cold war.
633 backers pledged CA$ 24,175 to help bring this project to life.

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Free Spacer // a sandbox starship tabletop RPG project video thumbnail
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Free Spacer // a sandbox starship tabletop RPG

CA$ 24,175

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Free Spacer is a sandbox science fiction game about a crew of a commissioned starship in a quadrant wide cold war. There is exploration, trade, investigation, space combat, science projects, infiltration, and troubleshooting. We play to find out how the crew gets the job done, the choices they make, the rules they break, and the lengths they will go for their patrons.

A Free Spacer contingency type corvette recently folded into a system around the core.
A Free Spacer contingency type corvette recently folded into a system around the core.

Features

Free Spacer is a roleplaying game with distinct features for science fiction roleplaying, inspired by Cowboy Bebop, Dark Matter, Farscape, Firefly, Killjoys, Switchblade Honey, or the works of Heinlein.

True Sci-fi// At its core, the game has a theme of freedom vs. power in a depiction a future far from now, rather than a retro sci-fi. It is contemporary science fiction that leverages the newest space sciences, takes into account biotechnology, and brings the internet to the rim of the quadrant.  

Custom Starship// You play the crew of a starship. The ship acts a template for your crew and the type of contracts you take. Together you operate the starship, each taking a ship station.

Sandbox play// Space is big; a vast sandbox of unlimited freedom. Free Spacer provides a series of streamlined and efficient tools to the Gamemaster to prepare locations and characters. These are not just empty places and stat blocks, rather each includes their agenda and faction relationship.

Cold War Phase// The Cold War phase is a faction turn that lets you, the Gamemaster, simulate the faction struggle to control the sector. The phase generates your sector background and gives you prompts to create contracts.

Contract is law// You're a contractor, you live and die by your contract. Like the law, you may break the terms of your contract, but there is a price. The crew negotiates contracts to earn Residual Value – the value of Cargo, which acts as the in-game experience points.

Procedural Sector// From the Sector and the great societies at the core of civilisation down to settlements and creatures, Free Spacer has tool to procedurally generate everything. Sit down and build out your own detailed setting or just what you need. Every world, system, and factions will be your own, all while emphasising a real sci-fi galaxy.

Free Spacers battle their way along the hull of a capital ship
Free Spacers battle their way along the hull of a capital ship
 

Game Mechanics

Free Spacer uses a unique set of core mechanics designed for science fiction. The system is streamlined, but with crunch that emphasises science and technology. The players roll all the dice and have plenty of knobs to turn.

Tasks// Players roll a pool of ten-sided dice, which represent their crewmember’s skills, specialties, and resources. You roll these task dice against a pool of six-sided dice that represents the task's difficulty.

Resource Management// During play, you have a variety of resources to manage that bestow useful benefits in play. You can spend charge to increase your chance to succeed, trade cargo to earn profit, spend Supply to power gear, and spend Complex Materials to maintain or advance your crewmember, ship, and gear.

Projects// The game has a set of advanced mechanics known as projects. Projects use the core mechanic, but multiple tasks work together to complete them.

Free Spacer has been in development for several years and the entire book—rules, setting, GM prep, and game sheets—has extensively playtested in multiple versions. Free Spacer is finally ready for you. To get it into your hands, I need your backing. Your pledges will be used to bring the best possible version of Free Spacer into existence.

Editing// With the game text complete, I’ve brought in Karen Twelves as the editor. She’s finished her first edit and the book is ready for further editing, indexing, and final tweaks. The Kickstarter will enable Karen to shepherd Free Spacer book to its completion. 

If we fund, she’ll complete the edit of the revised manuscript in multiple passes and we’ll also hire a proofreader and indexer.

Art// The art of Free Spacer reflects contemporary science fiction. It is a complex future with multiple elements, like holograms, branding, technology, the internet, the frontier, and space. As the Art Director, Lisa Sapinsky is responsible for all the art throughout the book. She has made a good deal of the art in 3D. She’s using Modo, Substance, and UnReal for the final rendering. She has already commissioned other illustrations, like those you see on this page from John Love and Rocco Commission original Free Spacer Logo. The art promises to be contemporary and beautiful.

If the game funds, Lisa will be able to complete the art for the book. That means more of everything. More aliens, creature, and starships in 3D environments. She’ll also add art of your gear, the crew kit that makes you a veteran Free Spacer. Likewise, she’ll add more silhouettes art and in-setting 2D art. On top of the interior art, we are exploring a lot of different cover concepts from the minimal to the complex. To push this to the next level, I have three awesome art stretch goals.

A Free Spacer contingency type corvette vectors towards orbit of terrestrial giant
A Free Spacer contingency type corvette vectors towards orbit of terrestrial giant

Layout// Amongst my many hats, I enjoy layout art. I’ve already laid out the many play sheets for the game and am making headway with layout tests of the full the book in Adobe InDesign. I am laying out the book as a 6x9 digest with a clean easy-to-read style that directly addresses you as the player or gamemaster. 

If the game funds, I’ll be finishing a full layout of the book with full hyperlinking.

Actual Play// You may have played a version of Free Spacer at GenCon, GoPlay NW, PAX West, TCTC, Fear the Con, Fan Expo Canada, or Roll20 Con. I have been also running actual plays on Twitch and posting them to YouTube. Even better, Eric Vulgaris has just started to run their own Actual Play series on Thursdays, check is out on their Twitch and YouTube.

Fulfillment// We will do fulfillment through Indie Press Revolution, who will also be handling the post Kickstarter distribution. We are currently looking into other fulfillment services for locations outside the US.

Shipping// We will charge for shipping once the campaign is over using the Backerkit Surveys. Shipping rates will likely change before the games are ready to ship. Please keep this in mind as you pledge.

Roll20 Support// The game already has ship and crew sheets on Roll20 that you can try out right now. 

If it funds, the sheets will be upgraded to include Gamemaster character sheets and use the compendium and new charactermancer. Likewise, I want to add more functionality to the sheets to make Roll20 the easiest way to play Free Spacer.

Free Spacers dealing with an onboard emergency
Free Spacers dealing with an onboard emergency

Here’s what it is all about! Your reward for supporting this project. Beyond my everlasting thanks, you will get the first copies of Free Spacer and become forever part of the game.

Preview PDF// As a backer of Free Spacer, you'll get access to the early preview PDF before the Kickstarter campaign concludes. This preview includes all the text and tables with Karen’s first edit. The preview won’t have art, an index, or any extras—just a straightforward layout.

Free Spacer PDF// As backer of the #drifter level or greater, you’ll receive a copy of the final book as a PDF at the conclusion of the Kickstarter. The final version will be complete with the same text and art as the physical copies of the book. The PDF will be hyperlinked and bookmarked for easy use.

Sector Archive// At the #dataflow level and above you’ll receive a PDF version of the Sector Archives. The Sector Archives is a booklet of pre-prepared setting and campaign materials. It has everything you need to start your campaign with little additional prep. The archives include setting materials and one or more beginning contracts, plus, all the locations and characters you need to run those scenarios. The Sector Archive includes a flexible setting for any sort of play and one based on Eric Vulgaris’ streaming actual play. Stretch goals will add more settings by game talented designers.

Softcover book// Those backing at #crewmember level receive a layflat 6x9 softcover book. We’ll be designing the cover art during the campaign and looking to you for feedback. 

Hardcover book// Those backing at #veteran, #captain, and #gamemaster level receive a lay flat 6x9 hardcover book. We’ll be putting the cover art together during the campaign and be looking to those that pledge at these levels for feedback. 

Printed Sector Archive// At the #gamemaster and #captain levels you receive a printed booklet of all the setting information for each Sector Archive to present to your players.

Be an Example Player// Five awesome backers will become part of Free Spacer. At the #captain level, your name, pronouns, and in-game choices will be immortalised as the example group throughout the text. Every reader will see your name as they learn to play the game.

Although Free Spacer will be a complete Roleplaying game, I want to push it further and make it even better. I have devised two types of stretch goals, those that enhance the book and those that add resources for your game. I hope you will help me get enough people onboard that we can make some of this cool stuff.  

Free Spacer crew greeting strange new alien sophonts
Free Spacer crew greeting strange new alien sophonts

[Unlocked] Social Media Pirates

Only by promoting the Free Spacer Kickstarter can you free my dangerous pirate supplement. This will be an oppressive setting that puts your faction on the wrong side of every local law. You’re the villains that threaten to tear it all down.

How it works// Help promote the game and we’ll add points to a reserve. Once it reaches 2018, we’ll unlock the stretch goal and it will be added to the Sector Archive. 

Promote the game in any of these ways to add points to the Reserve:

  • 1 point: Join the Free Spacer Facebook group 
  • 1 point: Like the Free Spacer Facebook page  
  • 1 point: Join the Free Spacer G+ Community 
  • 1 point: Follow the me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/XophRA  
  • 1 point: Tweet the Kickstarter link with #FreeSpacer 
  • 100 points: If you post a link on any of the above sites to a blog post promoting the Kickstarter, reviewing the preview, or hosting a picture of your group playing Free Spacer.
  • 200 points: If you run a podcast or stream, schedule an interview with me, and post it before the end of the Kickstarter.

[Unlocked] $20,000 CAD - Offset Print

The game will be printed as a 320 to 400 page 6"x9" digest style book in soft and hardcover. We will do an offset print run through Friesens in Manitoba Canada. Friesens is an employee owned premier short run printer founded in 1907 as a family company. I have had a relationship with Friesens since 2009 and I believe I’ll get a beautiful print. Likewise, it was important for us to print locally with a Canadian printer.

The Secor Archive will be printed using Lulu or smaller local printer due to the small number of copies. 

[Unlocked] $21,000 CAD - Technician Sector Archive by Kira Magrann

When this stretch goal is unlocked, Kira Magrann will write a Sector Archive for crews that fly the Technician flag. The Papiliocene Sector is well known for its radical advances in technology. Their need for funding and subsequent corrupt practices has led to corporate espionage, worker exploration, and strange new technology that doesn't care much for sentient flesh. The systems here flourish by exporting tech to other systems, but not without cost to the inhabitants under their corporate rule.

Kira is a tabletop roleplaying game designer, queer cyborg, and snake mom living in Columbus, Ohio. She currently has a Patreon where she designs experimental games, a YouTube channel where she talks about game design, and she blogs a few times a month at Gnome Stew. With the support of her patrons she recently released a game about Lesbisnakes in wintertime titled A Cozy Den. You can find all her work at her website.  

[Unlocked] $21,500 CAD - Scout Sector Archive by Johnstone Metzger

After this stretch goal is unlocked, Johnstone will write a Sector Archive for crews that fly the Scout flag. A Sector thought to be lost during the wars is rediscovered and everyone wants a piece. Your crew will explore this Sector, searching the alien ruins to discover how it was lost and what lives there now.  

Johnstone Metzger designs games as Red Box Vancouver and monsters through his Patreon. He is the author of the Metamorphica, Adventures on Dungeon Planet, and The Nightmares Underneath.  

[Unlocked] $22,000 CAD - Agent Sector Archive by Melody Watson

Once this stretch goal is unlocked, Melody will write a Sector Archive for crews that fly the Agent flag. In a sector full of replicants, venture capitalists, and grey-faced generals, this Archive puts your crew in the halls of power, caught between dangerous powers armed to the teeth with weapons they technically can't use. The doomsday clock is five minutes from midnight - any aggression could trigger destruction of worlds and a second series of Exploration wars. Your Free Spacers are agents used to discover secret intel, play the part of diplomatic troubleshooters and, occasionally, get their hands exceptionally dirty.

Dr Melody Watson is a historian, games designer, writer, poet, and activist. She believes that we can imagine new futures for the world, here and now, and that this gives us the power to make them real. Her doctoral research explored the political climate of the late Cold War and she can't stop making games about it. You can find her portfolio and contact details at her website and on twitter.

$26,000 CAD - Full Colour

I really want the book to be in colour. Colour kicks the art up to the next level. If I hit this stretch goal, I’ll upgrade all books – Printed and PDF – to full colour art and layout.

$28,000 CAD - Fillable PDF Sheets

If we unlock this first stretch goal, I’ll convert all the player and Gamemaster sheets into fillable PDFs with pull downs and other awesome extras. Everyone will have access to these sheets along with the basic PDF.  

$29,000 CAD - eBook Upgrade

If we unlock this stretch goal, I’ll convert the PDF layout into an easier to the read EPUB and MOBI digital formats using the same art as the physical copies of the book, but with the features available to these formats. All #dataflow backers will get these new formats along with the PDF.

$35,000 CAD - More Art 

If we unlock this stretch goal, we’ll be able to produce more art. We’ll get new 3D assets to increase the variety of the art in the book—really show you the life of a Free Spacer. I’ll be hire more amazing artists to produce more illustration art.

Random Alien Games is my indie game publisher. It’s me and the awesome nerds that help me make tabletop roleplaying games I love.

Christoph Sapinsky// I started as a game designer in the video game industry in 2002, but my first love has always been tabletop roleplaying games. I been playing and running roleplaying games since 1988. Like many Gamemasters, I always created my own material. Now, I’ve combined my passions with his game design expertise to create Free Spacer. I’m Canadian. I’m bi. I live in Vancouver with my wife and a cat named Argo.  

Lisa Sapinsky// Lisa started playing RPGs in 2006 and was instantly hooked. As a long time gamer, she loved the endless possibilities. Lisa has been a 3D artist in the video game industry since 2008 and is using her expertise to create realistic 3D art to bring the universe of Free Spacer to life.  

Karen Twelves// Karen is an experienced editor, writer, and linguist. Her love of roleplaying games has led her to work on great projects like Blades in the Dark, Bubblegumshoe, and Kaiju Incorporated. Karen is the Development Editor for Free Spacer.

 

Risks and challenges

This is my first Kickstarter, but I am being cautious and getting as much advice from successful Game Designers as possible. The game is complete, the mechanics are final and have been playtested thoroughly. It is a working playable roleplaying game. It has been fully written and is undergoing minor tweaks and revisions for clarity and simplicity. It is in the editing and art phase pre-layout. There is a risk with me doing the layout, but I have several layout artists in the wings that could come to the rescue.

The Sector Archive relies on work from other designers, all of which have experience delivering Kickstarter stretch goals, self publishing, and even successfully completing their own Kickstarters.

Friesens has a long history of printing quality work, but there could also be some delays, but these should be minor.

Shipping can always be problematic, which is why we'll be using Backerkit and/or, if we print a offset run, Indie Press Revolution to deal with fulfillment. I am confident they will make everything about this process run very smoothly. They're very good at this and have facilities all over the world.

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    #drifter

    In abandoned places between worlds, they drift ignored, but still they build. Get a discounted PDF of the core book for folks in poverty.

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    #dataflow

    All you need is on the Dataflow. Get all PDF rewards including the Free Spacer core book.

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    #crewmember

    Fold into you EVA suit and grab your Multitool. Get the physical copy of the Free Spacer core book and all PDFs.

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    #veteran

    You've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Battles with the fate of Orion hanging in the balance. Get the deluxe hardcover copy of the Free Spacer book and all PDFs.

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    #gamemaster

    Master of the sector, get a printed version of every setting. Get the deluxe hardcover copy of the Free Spacer book and all PDFs.

    Includes:
    • Deluxe hardcover Free Spacer book
    • Free Spacer PDF
    • Sector Archive PDF
    • Printed Sector Archive
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    #captain

    Command your ship on the rim of the the sector. Be one of 5 players in the examples in the book. Get the deluxe hardcover copy of the Free Spacer book and all PDFs.

    Includes:
    • Free Spacer PDF
    • Be an example player
    • Deluxe hardcover Free Spacer book
    • Sector Archive PDF
    • Printed Sector Archive
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    #crew

    Never split your crew and always keep your Cargo secure. Get 4 softcover copies of Free Spacer, all the PDFs, and share the shipping.

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Funding period

- (35 days)