Stranded was recently released on DriveThruRPG and we picked up a copy to review. Plus, you know, space. We like space. First up, the technical details. This was produced by J. Lasarde of Feral Gamers Inc. They have a whole bunch of products available on DriveThruRPG. Stranded itself has a few editing mistakes, but nothing even my personal creations haven’t had, and is quite good for being 170 pages long. The layout is clean, easy to follow and the text is sharp. Now, unlike most space games instead of a dark grim layout, they went with a slightly more vibrant and brighter style which I found aesthetically pleasing.
This book starts with the story of how you came to be on Rust, then you go into acquiring a few gear pieces of your history to fit the thematic of the RPG. This system uses a d100, a d10 and a percentile dice, which is a nice change from the standard d20. The character creation is clean and easy to follow. It starts with an acronym of SPACE, (Strength, Perceptions, Agility, Constitution, Education) along with a sentence for what each attribute stands for. When you start into character creation, the first thing you’ll notice is the table under Creator. That helps you populate Rust and gives you the option of randomly generating your character’s race. The races are in a word, awesome. You get seven to choose from or randomly generate. The pictures are adorable and fitting with the theme of the rest of the book.
First are the Grays, if you immediately thought Roswell you would be correct. Humans come next, because what’s space without the ever present human race (we are nosy, curious beings). The Ixxit have a similar appearance to humanoid cricket (really creepy but cool). The Kirrik look very much like blue humanoid goblins (without the split head grin) and have angry faces. (He even calls them dour in the book.) There are Lupulas, because who can go wrong with rabbit people. Next up are the Sirian, which remind me of Mantis from Guardians of the Galaxy 2. And finally, there are the Verminac, which look like humanoid earth rodents (so cute).
Each race has attribute boosts, enemies and language. There are also specific traits you can choose from. I’d recommend looking at classes and picking one of those before choosing your trait, but that’s just me. The author gives enough detail about each race to give you an idea as to what they’re like, but not so much it’s overwhelming and annoying.
Next up are the classes. You only get five to choose from but they cover the bulk of what could be needed. Medic, Merc, Pilot, Rogue and Scout. The clean layout continues under this with a label, what they are, what their special abilities and starting skills are. Importantly though, for Levelling up he followed it with a table reminiscent of the Dungeons & Dragons tables, which is greatly appreciated. They also come with background hints to help develop a story based on your class.
The rules of the game as written are very neat, the bullet points he used to highlight the most important ones make it an easy and quick glance through. He gives you a GM Brief then a bit of the setting, followed by a map and a list of locations that is paired to the map. That gives you as the GM a good idea as to where to start, or where the characters are in the city.
The equipment, armor and weapon list is extensive and useful. Everything is in clean tables, with Type, description, how much it encumbers, how much you can buy it for, and how much it can be sold for. This in turn makes it easier on GMs when it comes to buying and selling. There is no more trying to figure out the percentage or if it’s a rare item.
After that come the threats or beings on Rust, the planet you have found yourself on. They’re varied and have cute descriptions of detail. Not just what they are mechanically but interesting little blurbs about them. There are a decent number of them, not enough for a bestiary but enough to give you a good feel for what the players can encounter. Additionally, according to the last page of the book, they have at least three more products coming out in this line in 2021 including a worldbook.
So to summarize. Stranded is a very cute space setting and game that would fit very well for all ranges, from young children to adults who just want a bit of light and fluffy fun. The mechanics are kept simple and easy to understand with only a few examples. (Which is a nice change from extremely complicated mechanics with examples or stories that make no sense – I’m looking at you Shadowrun.) The game is strongly reminiscent of No Thank You Evil in gaming style, but has just enough grit that most adults will find it enjoyable. I know that if I was planning on running a fluffy game, this would make first billing.
Of course, this is all my opinion, that and two bucks will buy you a soda. Happy Gaming!
- Joann Walles