We’re No Heroes
[EDITORS NOTE: If this is your first experience with the Starfinder Roleplaying Game, you may want to consider starting with my previous review of the Core Rulebook. -dc]
There’s a “micro generation” that bridges Generation X and Millennials. These Xenials grew up with rotary phones and cell phones. They probably were taught to type like they were still using a typewriter (double space after a period as suchwhatnot), lived through the evolution of video game consoles and personal computers. They remember the scream of a dial-up modem and hoping that song you spent three days downloading from Limewire was actually what you thought it was.
With personal computers making their way into classrooms came a new kind of game: “edutainment” games. Arguably one of the best edutainment games ever made was Crosscountry Canada. It was my first memory of any sort of “pick up and deliver” style game. Some years later I encountered the Escape Velocity series, shooting the style into the far reaches of outer space and giving it a better story. Even then I wasn’t a huge video gamer, but those games are as fresh in my head now as they were all those years ago.
Jump ahead “a few” years and me cracking the cover on We’re No Heroes, part one of the Fly Free or Die Adventure Path. Oh wow, this is basically Escape Velocity on RPG-roids.
Life isn’t easy on the edge – not while working for EJ Corp, anyway. The Company keeps you too poor to quit, desperate for next bonus. So when a series of jobs go bad, you know who they’re gonna blame: you. It’s time to kick loose from the Company, with a little help from a drow crime boss. If his crazy plan works, you might be calling your own shots from here on out.
So reads the back cover of the book, (I never consider that as a spoiler.) The players represent the crew of BD514, a small cargo hauling vessel owned by their employer: Evgeniya-Jaimisson Corporation (colloquially known as EJ Corp or simply the Company). The first part of the adventure has the PCs on a comparatively straight forward job. Pick up the thing, deliver the thing. Easy right? Nope! This is Starfinder, and where’s the fun in “easy”? But it is fairly straight forward, giving the players a chance to settle into the scenario and for the GM to start easing them into the Galactic Trade sub-system of rules. The majority of these rules won’t apply in this first adventure, but presumably more of them will come into play in the later five parts. Although, not unlike Pathfinder’s Extinction Curse ap that we covered not long ago, the entire sub-set of rules have been included in this volume. If someone wanted to run a bigger sandbox-style game, they totally could, with everything they need right here.
(It occurs to me that this could make a great option for The Raid format. Hmmmm.)
These additional rules don’t directly affect character creation in any way. Rather, they mainly focus on tweaking how a party can gain and spend Build Points that are used for creating and upgrading a vessel, as well as the basics for engaging in the life of a Galactic Trader.
Even though the Trading rules don’t technically affect character creation, that doesn’t mean that they don’t impact it. In a regular Starfinder game it is plausible that players may never need to operate a ship themselves. If they need to travel, someone else can just do the flying. But when the campaign actively revolves around living and working aboard a ship, players will want to keep those skills in mind. The chapter aptly called “Working for a Living” is a reminder of just that. It is written specifically in the context of working for EJ Corp, but is otherwise applicable to any homebrewed Trade campaign. They list a bunch of Themes from previous releases, plus two new ones:
•The Vaster theme is a character born (shockingly) in the Vast.
•The Prole theme, taken from the term “proletariat”, is for your typical hard working blue-collar type. There is also a catalogue of equipment that players could use on the job, or even in combat.
The book closes out, as usual, with a short Alien Archive of new creatures and Codex of Worlds entry on the mining planet of Vohxa.
This is a really neat adventure (and I assume a neat campaign) that doesn’t feel like any other TTRPG adventure I’ve played through. It feels unique. It feels different. It’s hard to keep thing feeling fresh when you have so many adventures coming out, but this really is one of the best Starfinder adventures to date.