Stars Without Number

Brass Jester


This is an account of a Stars Without Number Game I am running for my son Ben and his friends Harry and Matt.

The setting is an area of space known as the Consulate, comprising six systems and nine planets/areas. The planets are self-governing; the Consulate exists to regulate trade and tariffs and to maintain the AstroGuard, who run anti-piracy patrols. The overall setting is the post- Scream Mandate from the CR (because it is too good not to use).

The first part of the session was character generation; I have the hardback CR and PDF. The characters they came up with are -

Hopper, Isaac (Harry). An armsman / commando. Homeworld Centralis / Sigma Draconis II.

Rexus (Matt). A psychic, ex-nobility turned criminal. Homeworld Proxyon / Mu Draconis I

Ito Hiroya (Ben). An armsman / Templar of the Church of Him. Homeworld Him / Beta Hydri II.

Episode One - The Delivery

City of Westphalia, Centralis. Date 085-3200 GSC.

Outside City Hall. Hopper had expressed an interest in exploring (and looting) the alien ruins in the northern hemisphere (he has an interest in alien cultures). To legally do so, they needed a permit from the government, costing 300cr. Rexus was more interested in finding a job that paid money, so they checked out the notices posted.

"This looks interesting", commented Rexus in his usual deep growl. "Guards wanted for a hunting trip into the Forest of Trells".

At that moment, a harried-looking man rushed up to them, wearing some kind of uniform.

"Excuse me, are you looking for work? I need a driver, urgently."

He was wearing a dispatcher's uniform, with the logo 'Delta Wines Inc.'. His name badge read 'Scully'

"I have to deliver a cargo of wines and spirits to the Bolgan Pharmaceuticals processing plant at Meady Swamp within three days, and my driver has been taken ill. Can you do it? I'll pay 150cr each, plus 150cr bonus if you deliver on time."

(There was a quick conference between the PC's. "Who can drive?" "No-one")

"Ok, we'll do it, but we want payment up front"

"50cr each now, the rest plus the bonus on delivery"


The truck was a five-seat panel truck, equipped with a CB radio transceiver. The Delta Wines logo was painted on both sides. Fuel-cell powered, it was not top-of-the-range. It had no satnav, just a map showing the route south through the Great Swamp to the processing plant on the edge of the Meady swamp.

They set off, with Hopper driving. After a time he began feeling uncomfortable, there was a draught from somewhere. This was traced to a bullet hole in the side of the truck, just in line with his head; also they noticed that the driver's seat was new. Ito fiddled with the CB and spoke to a few people, however his tendency to spout dogma caused the others to break contact. The map showed several rest stops and settlements up to the edge of the Great Swamp.

Several hours later, with Hopper still driving, one of the rear view screen suddenly went blank. They kept driving, then a laser blast flew past the truck. A second hit the rear of the truck, Hopper fought to keep control. A third blast hit the truck, Hopper concentrated on driving whilst Ito and Rexus looked out behind. A motorcyclist was following them, armed with a laser pistol. Rexus used his Telekinesis power to try and make the bike go out of control by wrenching the handlebars; the rider managed to retain control; Ito shot his advanced bow and hit the rider. A shot from the cyclist missed Rexus, two more shots from Ito and Rexus saw the bike spinning off into the trees and exploding. They didn't stop to check the body.

Approaching the Great Swamp, they stopped at a rest stop to pick up two powercells and for a natural break. An Asian woman approached them as they were having some food by the truck.

"I'm backpacking round the world and I could really do with a lift through the Great Swamp"

"Come along", growled Rexus.

Travelling along the road into the Great Swamp, Rexus talked with their hitchhiker.

"My name is Lia Chin. I'm from Gamma Leporis I. I'm backpacking around Centralis. Where are you from?"


"Proxyon? Doesn't that have a large naval base and shipyard? Have you ever been there?"

"Oh yes, many times".

Lia reached into her rucksack, pulled out a compad and then set off a sonic screamer as she leapt from the truck. Ito was knocked out by the screamer and crashed the truck off the causeway and into the swamp. Rexus was also KO'd, Hopper hit his head on the windscreen.

Dawn came; the truck was nose-down in the swamp. In the distance loomed huge cypress-like trees surrounded by grey water; tendrils of mist crept everywhere. They tried to reverse the truck back, but it was apparent that the powertrain was damaged. Hopper set to try and fix it with the tools he had to hand. Rexus and Ito checked on the cargo, which looked undisturbed, then went back up to the road and searched for Chin but found no trace. Heading back down to the truck, out in the swamp they saw a large horned creature charging towards them. Hopper glanced up and paled.

"It is an Ogrin. It is fiercely territorial and attacks regardless."

Rexus drew his advanced bow and loosed an arrow that struck deep but did not halt the creatures charge. Ito waited until it had closed then leapt at it, slicing with his twin monoblades. The creature had a very tough hide and Ito was gashed badly by a razor-like horn. Rexus hit again with another arrow, Ito was gored again and just managed to roll with the blow, taking no damage. The Ogrin reared back to charge again but a final arrow from Rexus killed it. As it's body began to sink into the swamp, already being torn apart by a horde of small predators, Ito cut off its horns as a trophy.

After a few hours work, Hopper got the truck fixed, just as torrential rain began to lash down, reducing visibility drastically. Ito managed to fix the horns to the front of the truck. They set off again, with Hopper driving. Over the radio, on a news channel, came a report from Westphalia of a serious fire that has gutted the Delta Wines warehouse.

Exiting the swamp, Hopper lost control on a bend and the truck skidded to a halt at the edge of the causeway. There came the sound of rotor blades, off to their left they saw a helicopter approaching...

To be continued.

The first Game went really well, the kids enjoyed it. There was a bit of 'reverse system shock', if you like, they are used to more complex game-systems and a very rules-light system like SWN came as a bit of a surprise.