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Babylon 5 1e: Galactic Guide

Galactic Guide

It's a big old galaxy out there and there are a lot more places to visit than the 'headline' planets such as the homeworlds of major species or Babylon 5 itself. This book equips you to explore, trade, raid or whatever else you want to do in the black with myriad pre-designed worlds and advice for those of you who like to create your own (or make ones inspired by movies or fiction, of course).

First, though, it sets out the core tenets that define the Babylon 5 universe. Life abounds, it's just about everywhere you look and there are plenty of habitable planets on which it can make its home. Life is also ancient, it has been around for a long time. Whole species have come and gone. Some of those around today are themselves ancient, others are brash newcomers. Many have discovered (or been shown) how to travel off-world, some still are at the stage of staring up at the night sky and wondering if they are all alone. More controversally, sentience tends to the humanoid. That may be an artifact due to all actors being humanoid, but even in the alternate reality of the game it can lead to awkward questions about where all the weirder ones you dream up have been all this time. Finally, in general species cannot interbreed even though they are mostly basically humanoid. Their anatomy and physiology are often wildly different even though they appear similar - they are not related, it's what biologists call convergent evolution at work.

System generation rules follow, being based on a series of choics starting with star type and size. These help you build up an idea of what a system or planet look like at a distance, handy descriptors; the imaginative bits about what that planet is like when you visit is left to you to decide but these choices enable you to describe a system or planet by means of a 'stat block'. There are tables to roll on, but you are not limited to what the dice say, of course, if you don't like the result or have something particular in mind, just choose the options that you want.

The main part of the book is devoted to systems and planets pre-made for you to use in your game. They are grouped by which species has influence over the area in which they are found; and each has a full stat block as well as several paragraphs of description.

Finally, there is material about travelling, from distance and times in realspace to the nicities of navigating your way through hyperspace, beacon by beacon. There are oddities to be discovered out there too, as well as commercial opportunities... with plenty of material on commercial space flight if that takes your fancy!

Overall the material here lets you expand your game to cover a wide area of space. Some planets you may have heard of in passing, others will be wholly new... but most are worth a visit if you are in the neighbourhood."

Return to Galactic Guide page.

Reviewed: 30 September 2021