D&D General Darrin Drader Brings You Reign of Discordia 2nd Edition -- 5E in Space!

Darrin Drader

Just a quick update today.
We've modified the campaign to make the first stretch goal kick in at $2000.
$2,000 - Named Backer
Assuming we hit double our original goal, everyone who helped fund this project will see their name in print in the book in a special "backers" section. You will have the option to provide your name as you wish it to appear, and you will have the option to decline this benefit.
Have a great weekend and try to get a lot of gaming in!

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Darrin Drader

As I write this we are just a few dollars away from doubling our original goal. Thank you for helping make this project a reality!

One of the questions we’ve gotten about Reign of Discordia is what kind of post-release support this is likely to receive.

This is a fair question, particularly since many publishers release a setting, you buy it, and then you never hear another thing from that publisher about that setting again. It’s happened to me more than once and I personally find it annoying. You can always create your own material, but sometimes you need the additional in-setting inspiration, sometimes you lack the time to prepare original material, and sometimes you simply want more information about a given topic, location, or individual. Aside from that, there are questions of canon after all! I mean how comfortable are you with one table’s version of something being completely different than your own?

One of the things that will be different about Reign of Discordia is that this is not a “fire and forget” product. The plan right now is to continue development long after the Kickstarter products are fulfilled and support it with relatively short, focused products with a low price point that each cover a specific topic, a place, or present you with a scenario you can run. The first edition of the setting had a few support products: an adventure called “Virus,” another adventure called “Salvage Run,” an expansion that introduced the Angari species, and a rules supplement that helped further flesh out starship combat called “Death in the Starlit Expanse.” The plan was for it to continue indefinitely, but that was when the original publisher pulled the plug. As the creator and publisher of this edition of the setting, I can help it grow and thrive.

Many of the ideas and setting material that appeared in the Angari book and Death in the Starlit Expanse are going to be incorporated into the new core book. That said, there is a ton of real-estate to explore in later supplements. There are questions one would naturally ask about this setting, such as what’s outside of “known space?” What are some of the systems and planets within known space that didn’t make the core book? What are the internal structures within the various organizations like? In time, I’d like to answer many of these questions. I’d also like to see more fiction for the setting. The first novel, called Neurogenesis was released at roughly this time a year ago. Some of you have chosen to receive this novel as part of your rewards. There are a couple sequels rattling around in my brain, and one day soon I’d like to sit down and start writing them.

That’s our update for the beginning of the second week of this Kickstarter. Keep your eyes on this space for more news as it becomes available.

Darrin Drader

We are now into the second week of the Reign of Discordia Kickstarter and I want to address a question that I’m sure is on everyone’s mind: space combat. How are we going to do it? What makes it different from other systems out there? To answer that question, let’s look briefly at the past. The first edition of Reign of Discordia was designed for the True20 System, which didn’t have native support for space combat. To that end, I wrote a system that was functional and playable. And after running a few games using it, I hated it. Why? As it turns out, a lot of players hate running space combat. By adding a ship into the game, any ship, you’re effectively adding an extra layer of rules between the players and the story. In RPGs, any time you do this, you slow the game down. The original system also used a square play grid, attacks of opportunity, and had a number of other elements that worked better for character combat than ship-to-ship combat in space.

So given that space combat is going to be slowed down, the real question is by how much? And can anything be done to mitigate the slowdown?

The Basics

There are a few elements common to every tactical space combat system:
  • Command
  • Movement
  • Shooting
  • Shields
  • Power Management
  • Damage
  • Damage Control

That’s a fair amount of things to worry about compared to PC combat. So how do we make this manageable, easy to understand, and fast? Here’s what we’ve come up with:
  • Ship stats are stacked in such a way that the things you need to know for combat are right at the top. This includes Armor Class, Hull Points, and a maneuverability rating.
  • Space combat takes place on a hex grid, and your ship’s maneuverability indicates how many facings you can change in one round.
  • Combat is broken up between a quick and dirty mode and a more complicated tactical mode (more on this below).
  • Every PC takes on a role aboard the ship: captain, tactical officer, engineer, and so on. Every ship has a rating for every system—which is a number that is added to a D20 roll and compared to a difficulty class to accomplish whatever it is you’re trying to do. Your character’s ability modifier that applies to the role you took aboard the ship is added to your ship’s rating.
  • The initiative order is handled normally. The one exception to this is that the captain always gets to go before the other player characters every round. The round might progress in the following way: the enemy ship or ships might go first. Then the captain gives orders or tries to inspire her crew. Then one of the player characters comes up and he decides what he wants to do that round within options for the role he took on. This proceeds to the end of the initiative order and then it goes back to the top of the round. This repeats until one of the ships is destroyed, disabled, or is fleeing the battle.

Quick and Dirty vs Tactical Combat
As I mentioned earlier, there is a quick and dirty method for handling combat, and a tactical mode. Quick and dirty would be the easiest method to use if all the characters are on one ship and you are only facing one or two opponents, or if only one or two characters are engaged in a battle using fighters or other small craft. With the quick and dirty method, you have a circular display (most likely printed out for your convenience) where you track where other spacecraft are in relation to you. From there, you act normally, but the only thing you need to worry about in terms of movement is where you want to be in relation to those other ships—remain where you’re at, get closer, or move farther away. Anything more complex, like wanting to use an asteroid for cover, or deciding you want to flee into a cloud of charged particles is handled narratively between the GM and you.

Tactical combat is a bit more complex. You’re going to use this mode when there are more than two or three ships in the field of battle. Gameplay takes place on a hex grid and uses ship counters to track the positions of your ship and others. In this mode, if you see an asteroid you want to take cover behind, you have to adjust your speed and heading to plot your course, and it may take a few rounds to get there. Also, more ships have to make movements, attacks, and so on. It’s just shy of a wargame. While this method takes longer, it is the preferred way to conduct a larger-scale battle.

Maneuvers are things your ship can do to turn the odds in your favor. This includes things like evasive maneuver, barrel rolls, hairpin turns, and so on. As maneuvers, your pilot must declare one of these actions and then they must make a piloting roll. If the roll succeeds, there is a benefit you receive from the action. For example, evasive maneuvers adds a bonus to your ship’s armor class, making you harder to hit. A barrel roll is more difficult and gives you a greater bonus to armor class. A hairpin turn is difficult to pull off in any starship, but if you do, your ship flips 180 degrees and goes back in the opposite direction. There are, of course more.

Systems Failures
In most games, system failures are one of the areas that really start to bog down combat. There will be optional rules for system failures in the new rules. However, the GM will be encouraged to handle these issues narratively. In other words, your ship’s shields are failing and you just took a huge hit. The GM decides that a fire has broken out on two decks. The captain then orders firefighting crews deployed to handle it. The GM makes a roll to determine how long it will take for the crew to put out the fires. Alternatively, the ship is already battered and a fire breaks out. The captain doesn’t have any more crew to send to fight the fire, so she lets it burn out of control, at least until they’ve survived the fight. The GM knows the fire is burning so he decides that after a few rounds it will start affecting the navigational system.

And this goes on until the end of the battle.

The optional system might end up with the same effects and decision making, but tables will be provided to make the system more balanced. Using these tables does slow game play down somewhat.

So that’s a quick preview of the starship combat you can look forward to in the new edition of Reign of Discordia. The ultimate goal is to keep with 5th edition design principles and make combat smooth and fast.

Darrin Drader

As of this weekend, we have tripled out original goal and are now on our way to quadrupling it. We also have lined up some rather unexpected additional funding from outside the Kickstarter which will help us get the new art this edition desperately needs. We currently have 17 days to go.

Darrin Drader

Tuesday (6-14-2022) Update

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. I'm just back in the office after watching one of my daughters graduate high school!
We've officially reached the mid-point in the campaign, and as I mentioned last time, this is historically the slow point of the Kickstarter. We did see growth of something like $1,200 since Friday, however, so I'll take that as a major win!
One question that was posed by Colin Buckler in the comments section was whether or not we're going to make the PDF available to backers before it goes to print so the community has chance to go over the rules and find potential sticking points. The short answer to that is yes, definitely. As this is a setting product, there are narrative elements to help GMs build their campaigns and there are rules elements that are needed to bring the setting to life (and in the case of the 5E version, make it compatible with the science fiction -- space opera genre). As such, numerous sets of eyes are more likely to catch issues than a select few, and having a delay between the PDF release and the print release actually worked to our advantage with Battlemasters & Beserkers (which I wrote and was Kickstarted by Legendary Games). When issues surface, it is always a tad embarrassing, but I'd personally rather suffer a little embarrassment and have a better game product than let problems slide and then have to address them through errata.

That aside, you might be curious what the editing process is going to be.

When I wrote the first edition of Reign of Discordia back in 2007 and 2008, I would categorize my writing abilities as average for someone with an English degree (which I completed at WSU in 2009). It then went to editing, and despite the praise it has received from those who have read it and used it in their games, I tend to find a lot of wording I now consider clumsy when I look at the material. I am very much looking forward to either overwriting these issues or editing them out of existence if that material is to appear in the new book.

These days, one of the services I offer for other publishers in the industry is copyediting. The most recent book I edited was Twilight Fables, which weighed in at 170,000 words and will soon see release from Izegrim Creations (formally Sacrosanct Games). After I finish with the manuscript, it will go to my wife, who is an amazing editor in her own right, and I'm confident she'll catch any language issues I happen to miss.

As for the rules content, I will be employing the skills of my co-producer on this project, Marcus Bone. I am doing the lion's share of the planning and writing for the new edition, but because he is also an RPG designer with considerable experience, nothing will go into the book until it passes through his hands.

Once the rules and copyediting are complete, it will go through layout, and that will be the point we release it to you.
Have a great day, and if you happen to get some gaming in, I salute you!
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For the record, it's Twilight Fables ;)

But to the point, I'd say to anyone backing your project that they have nothing to worry about re: the quality of writing. It's definitely no lower lanasian, that's for sure :). From what I can tell by your editing recommendations to my work, I think your stuff is going to be well written.

Darrin Drader

For the record, it's Twilight Fables ;)

But to the point, I'd say to anyone backing your project that they have nothing to worry about re: the quality of writing. It's definitely no lower lanasian, that's for sure :). From what I can tell by your editing recommendations to my work, I think your stuff is going to be well written.
Ah crap! Too late to change the update on Kickstarter.

Darrin Drader

The question was raised as to whether I have a Discord server for Reign of Discordia. Apparently some folks aren't crazy about the Book of Faces these days and wanted an alternative to the group I set up there. The answer was that no, I didn't. What I did already have was a Discord server for the people who follow the 2d20 Fallout and Star Trek games I stream on my Twitch channel.
After a bit of reworking, I've opened up the server to Reign of Discordia backers. Feel free to come join us over there at the following link: Join the Darrin Drader Designs Discord Server!

- Darrin

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