Return to the Stars!
Hopepunk SciFi RPG where pop culture collides with political machinations to determine the fate of the galaxy.
Return to the Stars is an optimistic science fiction RPG, powered by Fate.
I am excited to share a game with people where they can imagine having cool adventures in better future.
The direct inspiration was the sense of community that came from being surrounded by diverse, smart, and curious people at a Sci-Fi convention I attended. Hanging out with enthusiastic pop culture geeks was a real respite from much of the darkness in world. It occurred to me that the original Star Trek may have resonated because it provided a similar respite in the 60s, a very turbulent time. And that working from this optimistic place, it was a able to create a space to think more critically about society that other shows of it's era
So I created a game that combines the better parts of gamer and geek culture with science fiction exploration. Imagine if Chiana from Farscape was a genetically enhanced cosplayer, or Scotty from Star Trek was someone who loved hacking things to take to a Maker Faire.
What's it about?
The basic premise is that in a post-scarcity future hyperspace travel gave easy access to countless worlds, and humanity sorted itself into like-minded communities. One such society was the Convention Authority, founded to celebrate the now classical arts of science fiction, fantasy, and gaming.
One day, without warning, the stellar beacon that illuminated hyperspace went silent rendering galactic travel impossible. The systems of the Convention Authority stayed connected thanks to a replica fleet of early starships. Now, after more than a century of effort, a long-range exploration craft has been built. Its purpose: to return to the stars and reconnect the lost civilizations of humanity.
It's part of a new (slightly contested!) movement in speculative fiction called hopepunk.
Hopepunk is a subgenre centered around the idea that in the face of oppression and cynicism caring about things is an act of resistance. It is about being kind and also fighting against injustice.
Player characters come from a fairly utopian society. They could simply chose to stay in their post-scarcity paradise, complacent, sitting around a pool discussing seven centuries of anime and arguing if the 78th edition of D&D was the best, while robots serve them pina coladas. During character creation you have to create an aspect that explains why your character wants to leave this privilege behind. Why they are willing to put their comfort aside and risk their lives to explore and help the rest of humanity.
I've built some new subsystems that people can play with. I've also edited down the Core SRD to be (IMO) a bit tighter, and explained in order that I find works with people who are new to game powered by Fate. Sort of taking the skill based goodness of Core, in a FAE sized package that come with a bespoke setting, and two introductory adventures with scaffolding for the GM to learn and teach the game.
Adventures are another thing that's different than most other games powered by Fate, in that I have an ongoing effort to create more of them, in a quarterly zine. I'm breaking with the "one and done" small worldbook approach.
Let me know if you have any questions!