Still on myFantasy Games Unlimited kick after the Monday top 5 list, I pulled another FGU game off the shelf today at random and got… Other Suns. FGU had a lot of science fiction games on the market around this time – they were working hard to compete in every RPG arena it seems, and had some solid releases to support them. This is another one I picked up because it was advertised aggressively in Dragon Magazine along with the rest of the FGU product line.
At heart, Other Suns is a simplified version of their primary sci fi offering, Space Opera, with a collection of anthropomorphic alien races (like another game of it’s era, Albedo, which I think I’ll have to pull out soon). While this makes the races easy to picture, it certainly doesn’t make them feel all that alien (oooh… an anthropomorphic dog, a bear and a cat!). What is most interesting about Other Suns on first read is that humanity is a defeated race in this setting, instead of the dominant species.
Characters in Other Suns have 12 statistics, rolled for in a variety of ways from 2d6+2 to 1d6-5 x 1d6, to 110+6d20. It’s pretty “all over the place” in feel, and definitely means you can’t use a point-buy system or even roll the dice and then move the stats around to suit. We’re talking old-school roll em and weep character creation at this point. Of course, the rolls given are for a human character, and you have to jump forward 50 pages to find out what you roll if you elect to play a fox-alien, or a hexapodal luck dragon alien, or a big-ass bear alien or what have you. Or you CAN go with a sort of point-buy system and play a robot (actually a pay-buy system, where stat points cost money).
The species that catches my eye on first read-through (avoiding the drawings of anthro foxes snuggling?) is the Ata’a – a centauroid creature with a cocker spaniel’s head. Reading the racial description I learn that no only are they hairless and plantigrade (as opposed to digitigrade), they are patrilineal, polygamous by nature but monogamous by culture, live in a long-standing republican democracy and govern more than 400 star systems. Based on the standard names of the race, I name my Ata’a Tchalok Yontibrezat. Hell, I even learn what the typical menstrual cycle is for the race, in case I’m playing a female. A little too much detail here, folks.
Secondary stats are determined in an equally bewildering variety of methods. For example, hand to hand accuracy is STR + 2 x (INT + DEX) + WIL – 63; and Parry is simply (2 x DEX) + WIL + ( (STR + INT) /2 ) – SIZ – 22 (what’s even better is that calculation nets a nice clean zero for Tchalok). Yeah. Barbie says “Math is hard”… Already annoyed with the game at this point, the next choice is the character’s career. Instead of looking into the arcanely detailed military careers, Tchalok opts to become a criminal, fighting against the insanity that is Other Worlds.
Name: Tchalok Yontibrezat
Length: 263 cm
Telepathic Strike Capability: 0
Telepathic Resistance: 6
Damage, Melee: +1d8
Damage, Thrown: +1d4
Hit Points: 29
Bribery Specialist 67%
Legal Semanticist 67%
Streetwise Specialist 67%