Sunday, December 23, 2018

Games You Probably Haven't Heard Of, Duex

In the Light of a Ghost Star by Nate Treme

In the Light of a Ghost Star a print and play style of work created by Nate Treme, or just 'Ghost Star presents its setting complete with a set of rules that doesn't require much else besides a set of polyhedral dice and a play group.  Set in about a "kajillion" years from now, the sun has already expanded into its red giant phase and is now a smouldering white dwarf. Earth's human population, and whatnot, has moved to and survives in the heated climes of  "Martian reactor cites." The survivors on the planet of our species origin have evolved and mutated into various critters that strive for their own survival of a cold, once burning, cinder of a world. But there are riches to be had still, in the form of Earth souvenirs and artifacts of Terran super-science both of which have a vast market for back on atomic-powered Mars giving reason for people to risk life, limb, and mutation to travel there and pillage the place.

Players assign a d4, d6, and a d8 into their Fighter, Explorer, and Scientist stats to design the Characters being played. Success is a "4" result or higher on any roll required by the GM, or referee in the game's terms. Then there is a Gear list to equip those characters with the Size for each item and a Cost value assigned to it. The advanced rules covering Advancement and Conditions that affect success rolls are covered on the same page. There is also an illustration to indicate how rules lite this system is. Treme credits the games of Jason Morningstar and Ben Milton as the rules' inspiration source.

From there the author provides a sample adventure entitled "Earth Expedition One" complete with a map. The map contains some set locations and the parts not labeled are set for random encounters. Various charts for encounters, obstacles, NPCs, and treasures to be had are provided for a good portion of the booklet. Then follows an Example of Play, I suppose that is necessary as its in almost every stand alone RPG that I've read (that wasn't written by me). Closing up the pages are forms and play-aids that will help out with running the setting.

The contents get the feel of far future space pulp stories. Clark Ashton Smith fans will feel very much at home with the look and allusions of the narrative. For the more gonzo fantasy space opera fan there are apes, cockroach humanoids, and giant meat-eating slugs, complete with magical, seemingly at least, beings. Character arcs for the NPCs are provided while the randomizer charts are full of details for the GM, err referee, to come up with personas of their own.

I write about this work because I like the ascetic. A complete RPG setting with rules provided on a page is great. What is better is that it is crammed full of ideas but does not try to overfill itself into a small telephone book of wordage to bolster itself into an all too common trope of game these days, the RPG that is written around an idea that would be a better scenario than a full on game-- can you say "Kickstarter!" anyone?

It is currently available for free at this link. I hope the link will be down soon. I think Treme should really do it through an online game game distributor and charge something for his work. He put some work in to keep details clear and had a lot of forethought into graphics that he used to enhance the atmosphere. Right now 'Ghost Star is a Nessie, on the Smurf to Godzilla scale,  but that could be growing as he is adding other bits to the work as I type.

Update 27.Dec.: 'Ghost Star is available at for PWYW. This version is updated with more illustrations and additional adventuring material.


  1. Thank you Tom!
    Updated version is now available at Itch and DriveThru:

  2. You're welcome. I can't wait to get my spiffy color-papered copy from my nearby store! From your blog it looks rather awesome.