When it comes to being able to jump in to your very own spaceship and blaze off into the Black, exploration is possibly the purest motive of them all. There's some glorious panoramic art suggestive of asteroid belts and a few words of enouragement for anyone thinking about exploration... and some notes on using the entire collection of Elite Dangerous books together for solo roleplaying.
The first chapter introduces yet more ships, these ones of course being suited for exploratory work. Long range and endurance are the key attribues required, and all three ships presented have that. There's a medium sized one that carries two crew and two passengers, which comes in several variants (mostly with more and more armament); a smaller one that can carry only two people (pilot and passenger); and a massive Imperial Explorer that requires twenty-two crew, carries up to sixty passengers and is too large to dock with a space station. It's designed for large-scale surveying and even colonisation missions. Most characters would find the cost prohibative, but it does have hangers for personal craft, so perhaps they might hire on for an exploration mission. There's also some equipment (mostly ship-mounted weapons) and some scene-setting fiction about Rhatigan Industries, a massive tech corporation whose wares are of use to colonisers.
Next up is Character Creation. Big Game Hunter, Castaway, Xenobiologist - all people with a good reason to be wandering the far reaches of the Black (or in the case of the Castaway, to be found there!). There are various new things for them or indeed any character in terms of Karma.
Then we move on to Horrors of the Dark, a section of alien animals to torment player-characters with: pod sharks, the blindwurm, a spit viper and a kavoraptor. There's a relic AI too, that's been out there rather too long for its own sanity... along with various smaller self-aware items that might cause problems for explorers. Some are even starship-sized, the best thing to do is run if you meet one of those!
There are also 'Tribals' - these are remnants of long-lost colonies that have regressed to a savage, non-technological existance... it's been a thousand years since there was much deep-space exploration. Alternatively, they could be indigenous sentient species that have yet to develop much technology of their own. There's also a genuine alien species, the Thargoids. You cannot mistake them, they are insectoid.
Next, 'cos we all love a bit of scavenging, there are some alien artefacts to play with... or sell for a profit. Some quite remarkable items here.
Finally the Random Generation System comes into play, with plenty of tables suitable for exploreration missions. Things like a planetary enounter table that should keep everyone on their toes. There are mission notes, that can be used as guidelines by the GM to help construct an exploration mission; or followed more rigorously if you are running a solo game for yourself. Conduct surveys, collect zoological samples, carry out search and rescue missions and much more. Ought to keep you (and your group if you are GM) happy for ages.
That last bit is the real gem in this book. The rest seems a little rushed, scrambled togehter, but the RGS elements make up for it.
Return to Exploration Supplement page.
Reviewed: 21 August 2019