Imagine my surprise when browsing Drivethrurpg and discovered that there was a new release for the venerable Space Opera role playing game. Behold Star Sector Atlas 4: The Galactic People’s Republic.
I had to immediately buy a pdf copy from Drivethrurpg to go alongside the other Space Opera Atlases I have. I hope that one day I can get a hard copy to go on my bookshelf but I might have to settle for a printed and bound pdf.
This Atlas covers the Marxist Galactic People’s Republic and it’s home sector NCG 1039. It details the background history to the formation of this particular state, from the events of the “Wet Firecracker War” of 2008 and the collapse of the Soviet Union (the USA and allies had invented, with some alien intervention, a nuclear damper – well it is Space Opera) through the machinations of the surviving members of the old regime and their comrades from the Peoples Republic of China and other hold-out socialist states and their decades long plan to export the revolution to someplace else where those pesky Western Alliance and later United World governments wouldn’t follow. It was nice to see that the original history of the Space Opera universe (written back in the 70s) has been maintained through to this date. Guess we call this an historical divergence. A potted history of the GPR and subsequent wars and a multitude of Five Year Plans takes up the first ten pages. A few pages on the Red Army, Red Space Navy and of course the KGB and some details of life in the GPR for the average comrade follow. The command economy of the GPR results in the expected shortages and inevitable queuing.
Goods for purchase tend to come for sale in areas in a sporadic way
that leads to long lines and lots of waiting. Another joke goes like this;
A man waiting in line in New Moscow gets fed up and declares he is
going to shoot the Chairman. He storms off towards the capital
buildings. Hours later he returns and gets back in line. When asked if
he had shot the Chairman, he said “No, the line was too long.
There are forty one planets detailed in the Atlas. The format is in the traditional Space Opera style. I remember when I got the first Atlas back in the early 1980s how much I liked the information presented compared to the simplified UPP (Universal Planetary Profile) of Traveller. However, rolling up a Space Opera planet was about ten times the work of making a Space Opera Character – which was about fifty times the work of making a Traveller one – you get the picture. But any system that lets you roll Xeno-Acceptance and planetary per capita GDP is still cool.
Production wise – the supplement is nice and crisp. The horrible typewriter font that was used in the original Space Opera supplements is gone. The interior artwork is totally reminiscent of the older modules from the 80s – with a few exceptions. The Soviet Style Propaganda posters are a nice touch, and would have looked great in colour. The only thing I don’t like is the sector map. It is one component of the module that I thought could have done with some updating.
The Space Opera setting is actually a very good one, if you pick and choose what parts you use. As written is was designed to be Traveller, Lensman, Star Wars and Star Trek all rolled into one, with a sprinkling of every other sci-fi novel written up to the late seventies included. I am seriously thinking that a Savage Worlds Space Opera would be popular.
The Star Atlas series was supposed to include Numbers 1-10 for the official setting and above that number for contributed sectors.
The series so far includes:
I am not sure who this new product will appeal to other than nostalgic role-players in their late 40s and 50s up – the exact demographic I am in. I am looking forward to the next release and am hoping to see it before another three decades have gone by.