Once More, a "Stars without Number" Campaign

Getting Started with a Campaign and Repurposing Past Work

The book title “Revised Stars without Number: A Science Fiction Role Playing Game by Kevin Crawford” overlaying a star field

Last Sunday, we rolled up some 3-Dimensional characters. I’m repurposing the Thel Sector, which I ran for a few sessions (first and second) for my son and his friends.

For those curious, I wrote an extensive multi-post review titled Let’s Read “Stars without Number”.

To ensure that we have an initial focus, I used Brad J. Murray’s Organization table from the Soft Horizon SRD.

For remit they got “Archaeology” and for specifier they got “Exploratory.” So, off of the bat, they’re going to be taking action on a newly discovered site.

Normally, I’d like to post the characters to help frame the situation. However, I promised I’d given them time to purchase their equipment in anticipation of their mission. One quick note, there are two experts, a psychic, and a psychic/expert. None of them are really looking for a fight.

Below is what I’m giving the players.


New Vistas has recently learned of a laboratory from the Kall Duchy, a pre-Scream era regional super power. We don’t have reason to believe others yet know of this specific laboratory.

You’ll be traveling to the planet Efesos in the Callisto system. The rudimentary fragments of information are as follows (transcribed from a hand-written note for which we do not have direct access):

Dr. Argyros , I wish to tell you of the splendor of seeing our catalyst take shape in the crucible. In the shadow of the ducal seat, we shall soon bring the greatest gift to Duchess Kall.

From our archives, we’ve managed to pull the following bibliographic record; Alas we do not have access to the actual article.

Argyros, Nikolina. The Voice of God: Deep Sonic Resonations and Religious Experiences Vespers University Press (Efesos) 2653 uri:v4/kallisto/efesos/bmV1cm8taHlwbm9zaXM

You have two weeks to:

  1. Determine the exact coordinates of the laboratory.
  2. Establish a reindevoius location for the laboratory extraction team. From there, we’ll bring you home.


  • We will provide you with 5000 credits in high tech supplies (medical and armaments) for local bribes and living expenses. We hope you can convert this into some more meaningful local currency.
  • A beta-wave encrypted transponder; This transponder has a write-once buffer allowing 256 characters. Once written, the transponder will broadcast via an encrypted and obfuscated channel. It has a 500 kilometer broadcast range (including near orbit) and a one month embedded power supply. We’ll be listening for your instructions.

Point of Contact: Suliat Adunola, a theater technician, last known to work for the Grand Kall Theater.

About Efesos:

Our intelligence suggests that you may find specific details at the Resplendent Citadel (pop 200K). The citadel is a still standing bastion against the dangers of Efesos; Note there are other citadels on Efesos but they remain separate and out of regular contact. Each of the citadels have long scavenged and repurposed failed technology. They’re able to produce muskets and such, but even the combustion engine is beyond their current resources.

The perimeter of the Resplendent Citadel provides a still impermiable barrier to the dangers that crawl on Efesos; The perimeter extends upwards into the atmosphere as though it were some invisible cylinder. It is our understanding that much of those dangers require advanced weaponry and defenses no longer available to the residents. Outside of the perimeter atmospheric travel remains perilous as much of the landscape has still active planetary defenses.

It is well-known that Kallisto was once the seat of the Kall Duchy; We expect there to be several curious visiting archaeologists and researchers. And perhaps some fortune seekers looking to venture beyond the Citadel perimeter.

Mercifully, Efesos’s atmosphere is breathable and the fauna and flora is mostly edible for humans. Even the weather is quite agreeable.

As with all of these backwater locales, our information is never quite up to date.

Trade Goods and Trading

update: In preparation for the session, I added a list of the trade goods that they’re effectively smuggling into Efesos.

The following table details the equipment provided by New Vistas. The Unit Cost is in standard credits. Locally they may have more value, and an intrepid character can certainly barter for local goods and services.

Table 193: Inventory of TL4 Goods brough on Mission on Efesos
DescriptionCountUnit CostTotal Cost
Field radio3200600
Laser rifle63001800
Lazarus patch530150
Power cell, type A1510150
Spare parts450200
Telekinetic Recharger2250500
Trade Goods250100

When attempting to convert TL4 goods to Kallisto’s local currency, use the following table.

Table 194: Difficulty of Selling TL4 Goods on Efesos
DCSafely get…
4100% of cost
6200% of cost
8300% of cost
10500% of cost
12700% of cost
141000% of cost

And what happens with failure?

Table 195: A Failed Int/Trade Check when Selling TL4 Goods Efesos
Failed by…Result
1 or 2Sell good at one step lower, increase heat by 1.
3 or 4Increase heat by 1; Roll a d6: On a 1 or 2, immediate consequences/conflict; On a 3 or 4 sell goods at two steps lower; On a 5 or 6, sell goods at one step lower.
5 or moreIncrease heat by 2; Immediate consequences/conflict.

Note, I’m adding a concept of Heat; An abstract representation of how your characters are raising attention to their actions and efforts. This is inspired by Blades in the Dark’s Heat check at the end of a mission.

I’m still working on procedures and how I’m tracking the efforts of the charactes.

As I explained to the players, my assumption and approach is that the characters are competent and will find the information, somewhat regardless of paths they take. However, the paths they take AND the dice they throw will be used to determine consequences. In other words, the geo-coordinates for the laboratory are not hidden away in a specific keyed location behind specific puzzles. It is instead discoverable along the path they choose to take.