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Strange Aliens and Fantastic Planets Abound in M-SPACE and the M-S Companion

M-SPACE works well for heroic and mythic sci-fi games, but can emulate everything from contemporary near-realistic settings to 1940s pulp-inspired heroes. With the M-SPACE Companion, cybernetics and robots become robust character options as well. The game engine used is Mythras Imperative, a d100 (Basic Roleplaying) RPG.

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I received review PDF copies from FrostByte Books to run the included adventure in the M-SPACE Companion, Escape on Mosek Uhn. M-SPACE characters are skill driven roll equal to/under with four levels of results ranging from fumble to critical. Opposed rolls are handled using these four levels and in the case of ties highest roll wins. Complexity comes in combat with hit locations and pages of critical results to choose from. However, the game offers simplified hit points and a pared down list of 11 critical hit options. Finally, PCs can spend Luck Points for rerolls, to reduce a Major Wound, or to get an extra action in combat.

Armed with the 11 critical hit options and one of the provided pre-generated characters, the players were ready to go. Escape on Mosek Uhn has a cybernetics lab in once location and I knew I wanted to have the option to get cybernetics. Good options looked like armour or characteristic enhancement. During the adventure, PCs went with the armour.

I did not get a chance to use the new rules for robots, Q tech (alien artifacts), or life path generation. Combined with vehicle and starship construction, alien life form creation, world building, and circles (organizations) from M-SPACE itself I was impressed with the range of options and tools provided to a GM.

I stumbled a bit in remembering to encourage using Luck Points but once the PCs started using those the adventure flowed well. Tense negotiations flowed out of combat seamlessly and a violent encounter with a forest alien moved easily into a running chase scene.

M-SPACE uses extended conflicts to cover chases, negotiations, and other encounters in which using only a skill roll or two does not make sense. Each side works at making successful use of skills to whittle down a Conflict Pool (usually derived from characterstics) using opposed rolls. This system worked really well and because it uses the existing rules for skills and opposed rolls was easy to use successfully.

Combat turned out to be a great blend of white knuckle danger and thrilling heroics. The lab the PCs explored contained dangerous creatures they had to fight and the mystery of where those creatures came from to unravel. A criminal pirate corporation loomed large over the PCs and armed shoot outs with pirate scum were welcomed. The penultimate confrontation with the pirate captain led to the final conflict with an alien beast. Conflict with the creature forced a running retreat back to the pirate ship so the guns could be turned on the creature. One PC was clinging to its back and as the guns fired he leaped off the beast and into the air, with another PC catching him in an open hatch. Yes, Star Wars was a big inspiration for the dangerous encounters and I consider that a positive.
mspace2.jpg
We played an exciting adventure. The provided characters were easy to roleplay, had useful and sometimes unique skills, and negotiating and running were equal options to fighting. If I wanted to construct my own setting or emulate an existing one I would have more than enough tools to do so.

With M-SPACE, d100 GMs have a powerful option for sci-fi. And if you’re just looking for a complete toolkit for running sci-fi, you’ve found it in M-SPACE and the M-SPACE Companion. M-SPACE has complete settings too, including Odd Soot, Reflux, and Elevation.
 
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Charles Dunwoody

Charles Dunwoody


SavageCole

Punk Rock Warlord
Mythras really is the best game system that people can't be bothered to learn. It's unapologetically crunchy, not in an OSR way, but in a pure game design way. They're not guided by dumbing down a system for maximum accessibility. I love that this game exists.

About a year ago, we used Mythras to play about a dozen sessions of a Thieves World campaign, and we'd played the Mythic Britain setting before that. We loved the game, although the crunch and complexity at times was challenging for players. The Combat Effects and Action Points accounting makes it a lot more challenging to run than most games out there. The magic system is terrific but also requires intellectual investment.

While I have independently been pondering a return to Mythras and a science fiction game, I confess I never considered M Space until reading your write-up. I'm likely to give the Design Mechanism guys some money later today. :)
 

Talltomwright

Explorer
How close to the 7e Call of Cthulhu version of BRP is this? Took me a while to get my head around but am liking it a lot now and would be very up for a sci-fi game using those rules (or close to it).
 

SavageCole

Punk Rock Warlord
It has a lot of similarities but is a fair bit crunchier, especially in combat. There are a lot of concepts that are more peculiar than 7e CoC, like Cultures and fighting styles. But the basic concept of d% and the degrees of success will feel the same. Some of the opposed rolls in combat will feel the same. When our group came to Mythras, we were steep in CoC BRP and it definitely made 75% of the transition easier. But make no mistake, Mythras is a fair bit more complex and involved than CoC 7e.
 


Mythras really is the best game system that people can't be bothered to learn. It's unapologetically crunchy, not in an OSR way, but in a pure game design way. They're not guided by dumbing down a system for maximum accessibility. I love that this game exists.

About a year ago, we used Mythras to play about a dozen sessions of a Thieves World campaign, and we'd played the Mythic Britain setting before that. We loved the game, although the crunch and complexity at times was challenging for players. The Combat Effects and Action Points accounting makes it a lot more challenging to run than most games out there. The magic system is terrific but also requires intellectual investment.

While I have independently been pondering a return to Mythras and a science fiction game, I confess I never considered M Space until reading your write-up. I'm likely to give the Design Mechanism guys some money later today. :)


Just to be clear, Design Mechanism owns Mythras. And FrostByte Books owns M-Space which uses Mythras Imperative as a rules base.
 

How close to the 7e Call of Cthulhu version of BRP is this? Took me a while to get my head around but am liking it a lot now and would be very up for a sci-fi game using those rules (or close to it).

M-Space uses Mythras Imperative as a base, which is a bit simplier than the full Mythras rules. If you understand CoC 7E you will likely grok M-Space fairly easily.
 

Sunsword

Adventurer
How close to the 7e Call of Cthulhu version of BRP is this? Took me a while to get my head around but am liking it a lot now and would be very up for a sci-fi game using those rules (or close to it).

Action Points (which controls the action economy) and Hit Locations are the two biggest changes. Beyond that skill point allocation has a few extra steps in Mythras compared to CoC 7E. However M-Space provides options for these to simplify it. Also, the Mythras Companion, I believe, has rules for setting one skill to 70%, 2 skills at 60%, etc which CoC 7E also provides.

The games are so related that you can fairly easily bring rules back and forth with little to no issue.
 



To the OP: grandiose claims like CoC having "cornered the market on horror" damage your credibility.

Sales-wise, it's not a consistent top 10, World of Darkness has more quarters of top-5 sales. CoC does have over 20x the campaigns on Roll20 versus Vampire/WoD... but CoC also has a more detailed combat system, and thus benefits more from VTT use.

And then, we also have All Flesh Must Be Eaten (unisystem), Alien (YZE), Vaesen (YZE), Trail of Cthulhu (Gumshoe), The King in Yellow (Gumshoe). And, of course, the unisystem light games: BTVS, Angel, Army of Darkness, and Ghosts of Albion, all of which are oop on paper, but still on DTRPG.

Don't infer supremacy from one source -- it's very bad statistical and/or reviewer praxis.

As for a BRP-based space game? About bloody time for a current one. Someone was working on one for MRQ-I SRD but, to my knowledge, vapor-wared (NovaQuest, IIRC) a few years back...

Actually, I have Worlds Beyond, which was at one point unlicensed, then later sold by chaosium... And there was Ringworld. FASA-STRPG was clearly inspired by RQ, having borrowed many mechanics, back in the day...
 

To the OP: grandiose claims like CoC having "cornered the market on horror" damage your credibility.

Sales-wise, it's not a consistent top 10, World of Darkness has more quarters of top-5 sales. CoC does have over 20x the campaigns on Roll20 versus Vampire/WoD... but CoC also has a more detailed combat system, and thus benefits more from VTT use.

And then, we also have All Flesh Must Be Eaten (unisystem), Alien (YZE), Vaesen (YZE), Trail of Cthulhu (Gumshoe), The King in Yellow (Gumshoe). And, of course, the unisystem light games: BTVS, Angel, Army of Darkness, and Ghosts of Albion, all of which are oop on paper, but still on DTRPG.

Don't infer supremacy from one source -- it's very bad statistical and/or reviewer praxis.

As for a BRP-based space game? About bloody time for a current one. Someone was working on one for MRQ-I SRD but, to my knowledge, vapor-wared (NovaQuest, IIRC) a few years back...

Actually, I have Worlds Beyond, which was at one point unlicensed, then later sold by chaosium... And there was Ringworld. FASA-STRPG was clearly inspired by RQ, having borrowed many mechanics, back in the day...

I didn't use the phrase corner the market in a completley literal sense, but certainly CoC is at the top for TTTRPG horror right now. I was actually pointing more to it dominating d100 horror. Do I think Chaosium dominates RPGs and drive all other horror RPGs out? No, that is absurb. I write in a casual style similar to the way I speak.

However, since you bring it up, CoC is at the top of the heap currently in a lot of ways when it comes to non d20 fantasy horror table top RPGs:

Number 19 product on top Drivethrurpg. DriveThruRPG.com - Top 100 Products

Number 96 core rules on Amazon's best fantasy gaming: Amazon Best Sellers: Best Fantasy Gaming

And:

1596148124392.png


i don't actually care and the article wasn't in any way about sales. But there you go.
 
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TrippyHippy

Adventurer
To be sure, PDF sales on drivethrurpg and stats from online servers like Roll20 do not provide a very complete picture of overall sales.

Call of Cthulhu’s biggest market is apparently in Japan.
 

To be sure, PDF sales on drivethrurpg and stats from online servers like Roll20 do not provide a very complete picture of overall sales.

Call of Cthulhu’s biggest market is apparently in Japan.

What does give a complete picture of sales? How do we know CoC has the biggest market in Japan?

And again, the article isn't about sales or even Call of Cthulhu. I was responding to a comment about one sentence in the whole article and I thought that comment was silly and amusing. Of ourse, I shouldn't have responded at all, but it struck me as really funny at the time.
 

How close to the 7e Call of Cthulhu version of BRP is this? Took me a while to get my head around but am liking it a lot now and would be very up for a sci-fi game using those rules (or close to it).
I've run CoC at game cons for Chaosium many times. I've also run Escape on Mosek Uhn at game cons for Frostebyte Books. If you understand CoC's system you can pick up M-Space easy.
 

clarence redd

FrostByte Books
As Charles said earlier, M-SPACE is based on a downsized version of Mythras. You can run it without Hit Locations and the number of Special Effects in combat are whittled down to 11.

As the players get used to the system you can easily add in any additional rules from the full version of Mythras if you want. So, it’s pretty easy to find a level of crunch that suits you.
 


clarence redd

FrostByte Books
Thanks, I’m happy you like it! Your description "oddly familiar and freakishly alien” is spot on.

I wanted to portray a highly recognisable 1920s Earth and inoculate it - in the most natural way possible - with aliens, starships and exoplanet colonies. The Soot turned out to be the perfect pivot point for this peculiar storyline to evolve around.
 


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