Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Five or So Questions on Free Spacer

Hi all, I have an interview today with Christoph Sapinsky, talking about his game on Kickstarter, Free Spacer. You can check out the Free Spacer website, or find info on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+, and I hope you also dig the responses to my questions that Christoph shared below!


an image of a burning sun in space with the text Free Spacer: A starship tabletop RPG.

Tell me about Free Spacer. What excites you about it?

Free Spacer is a sci-fi starship roleplaying game. You play the crew of a contracted starship. The Exploration Wars have recently ended due to outside intervention and a cold war has replaced it. Free Spacers are the tool of choice in this new conflict. You take contracts, perform operations, and hope that you can retire to rejoin society... someday.

To me, the most exciting aspect of Free Spacer is that is it feels like sci-fi. Everything from the way you modify rolls to the core setting stem from the science fiction. For example, while the tasks you perform depend on your crewmember’s skills and specialities, you can gain advantage from the situation and route additional charge to your tools to gain additional dice. In play, this feels like tweaking levels to get the output you want.

Character sheets with six and ten sided dice.

How do you take action in Free Spacer? What does an average resolution look like?

Free Spacer uses a task system, every task is a set of related actions that includes the appropriate movement. For each task, you as the player roll a pool of dice we call a Salvo. The Salvo is made up of d10s opposing d6s. 
  • The d10s are task dice primarily from your appropriate skill and specialty plus situational advantage; additionally, you can spend a Charge resource on a tool to gain its rating in dice. 
  • The d6s represent the threat faced, beginning with its difficulty and disadvantages. The Gamemaster can also spend their complication resource to add more threat dice.
When you roll the Salvo, you minus the number of d6s that roll 1-3 from the number of dies that roll 5-9 (0 is worth 2). The results determine the Outcome of the task, which the Gamemaster, uses to determine how you alter the scene.
  • 1 = a partial success
  • 2 = a complete success
  • 3 = critical, which gives you a charge resource and 5 a double crit!
  • 0 = a fail
  • -3 = Consequences

The bust of an alien with spiked brow and jawline and large eyes, and a protrusion of the back of their skull, and tan skin.

Tell me more about the science fiction. What's different about Free Spacer from other media, and how does it remind us of sci fi we love?
  • Together, you and friends decide what sort of game you want to play by choosing a ship flag, each flag refers to a type of play:
  • Agent are social; think spies, negotiators, com artists, and assassins
  • Bounty Hunter bring rough justice to a frontier, like Killjoys or Cowboy Bebop
  • Courier is the rogue trader, they smuggle, speculatively trade, and run blockades. Think Firefly or Traveller.
  • Mercenary are military sci-fi. Your crew are space marines and fly combat ship. This is like Dark Matter or Space Above and Beyond
  • Scout is the exploration flag. You chart new systems and discover new worlds. The flag that is the most Star Trek.
  • Technicians are scavengers and tech experts. Think Farscape or shadowrunning. 
Free Spacer is my attempt to speculate on the future based on contemporary science. This future has the internet, biotechnology, and space-time folds. The societies of this future are unequal mixing of different alien Sophonts with many factions that struggle to control each sector of space. You have to deal with the difficulties of space, alien worlds, and the situations that come from faction conflict. Your most potent way to deal with these situations are projects. Projects are the advanced mechanics of the game, which use science to enable your crew to work together and get outcomes that you cannot get alone.

character sheets and a grid patterned map with some six and ten sided dice.

Beyond the type of flag you fly, what kind of characters do you play in Free Spacer? How do they fit into the world?

As the title implies, you play Free Spacers. Free Spacers are outsiders, they are set apart, above, and beyond the ordinary people. You are above the people—distant in space, advanced in technology, and legally superior. Conversely, this also separates you from local worlds; you do not fit on any world, you cannot participate in local culture, invest in a business, run for government, or live a normal life. Before you were a Free Spacer, you might have been anyone living through the Exploration Wars from an ordinary citizen, a drifter refugee, veteran soldier, or even a powerful leader.

How is space represented in game - narratively, mechanically, both? I'm curious how players interact with it.

Space is the central motif of Free Spacer. Space divides worlds from one another, isolates the crew from support, and delays communications. Conversely, space grants you independence for operations and self determination to distant settlements. Scientifically, Zero-point technology manipulates spacetime to forms shields, project blaster pulses, and fold space to travel between systems. Space is a danger, an empty void of exposure. Finally, Spaceflight is a type of Encounter in which you and your crew work together to operate your starship.

two body harnesses and radio headsets, 3-D modeled


Thanks so much to Christoph for the interview! I hope you all enjoyed hearing a little about Free Spacer and that you'll check it out on Kickstarter today!

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