Adventures of the Space Patrol Playtest Version 2

It’s been a while since I did anything new with Adventures of the Space Patrol, but I’ve always been fond of the game. It’s got some of the heartwarming fun of Golden Sky Stories, and not unlike GSS it has its own aesthetic, not quite like other entries in the same genre.

I originally designed the game as a very simple custom build of Fate. When I started working on it, Spirit of the Century was the definitive version of Fate, and Awesome Adventures was the about the only simpler version out there. I really like the core concepts of Fate, but these days I’m generally not a fan of 300-page RPG rulebooks. There are also issues like how SotC gave characters a full TEN Aspects, which to my mind is about three times too many. I saw an awesome rules-light game lurking inside of Fate, and Space Patrol was in part my best attempt at creating that. More recently, Evil Hat had their explosively popular Fate Core Kickstarter. Along with a zillion other things, it brought Fate Accelerated Edition into the world. There was suddenly a 48-page version of Fate (available in print for a mere $5), which kept the essence of Fate and included the slick refinements of Fate Core.

You can probably see where this is going, but it was pretty much a no-brainer to revise Space Patrol to take full advantage of FAE. The way it handles the four actions, the rules for challenges/contests/conflicts, and so on do a lot to address the few things about my game that I had been trying to figure out how to smooth over. With OGL and Creative Commons licensing options, readily available SRDs, and the Fate Core Glyphs font, Evil Hat has made Fate pretty awesome to use from a publishing standpoint. Otherwise I didn’t change Space Patrol all that much. I tweaked a few things here and there (like making it so the GM just gets a flat 10 Atom Points per episode), adjusted some things to fit the new rules, and added a new character to the lineup (Cosmo the Wonder Dog). I also finished up the two sample scenarios I’d been planning to write. It’s all very first draft, but it should be totally playable. I’m hoping to get in some playtesting before too long, and to more thoroughly read Fate Core with an eye for finding elements to adapt to Space Patrol.

Me being the way I am I’m thinking about possibly doing a Kickstarter for it at some point. It’d have to wait until a lot more Golden Sky Stories stuff is out of the way, and if I do it I’m definitely going to keep it a lot simpler and sleeker than what we did with GSS. Also, I’m looking forward to having the excuse to get a bunch of cute, stylish retro sci-fi art done.

Anyway, without further ado, here is the current playtest draft PDF:

Adventures of the Space Patrol Playtest Version 2 PDF

11 thoughts on “Adventures of the Space Patrol Playtest Version 2

  1. My first comment is that I’m worried that you’ve narrowed the Approaches (AKA Skills) too much and made them too focused. The benefits of the original approaches is that you can use any of them to do the same task: I can Carefully aim my blaster at the Denebian Slime worm, or I can Quickly draw and fire my blaster, or I can Cleverly shoot at the wireless controller that controls the beast…

    So just restricting all combat to just Action, or maybe Cunning, is missing the point of Approaches. You might want to consider keeping the approaches as is.

    You might want to check out the following blog post on FAE conversions:

    1. I’ll have to sit down and think about it a bit, but it wasn’t so much that I was narrowing the approaches as not using them in the first place. The selection of skills in AotSP is what it was when I posted my first playtest version around 2010 or so, well before FAE came about. FAE’s approaches might turn out to be better in the long run, but the AotSP skills have held up through a few playtests already.

  2. You’ll be happy to know, that I’m running a playtest of Adventures of the Space Patrol this Friday via a Google Hangout and Roll20. I’ll post a URL to the YouTube recording of it later if you wish.

  3. Hi Ewen, we have our feedback. Due to an issue, I wasn’t able to record the session. We used the pregen characters and I created an adventure based on card draws the random tables. Here’s the feedback from my players:

    “The general agreement was that we liked what was going on. I was pleasantly surprised and pleased to hear that the adventure came about to just a few rolls on an adventure chart. The item that got the most discussion was the atomic point economy. The implication, if we got it right, was that there was a finite amount of points rather than the bottomless pool as in most incarnations of Fate. This adds an interesting twist because as the game runs longer your ‘luck’ will run out. Neat idea, but we agreed that it would take a longer session for the points to bottom out and we wondered if there would be hoarding. It was also noted that some characters relied more on burning atomic points than others.”

    My only complaint is how the book is laid out. It’s just a functional issue. I would put the pregen characters at the end of the book not in the middle. We may try another playtest, but this time use the rules to create characters from scratch and not use the pregen characters.

    1. I’m not sure you got the Atom Points quite right there. The Fusion Points–the ones that players can award to each other a la Fan Mail–are limited (like Fan Mail is limited), but even if the Fusion Pool were totally empty, players can still get more Atom Points via compels. Regardless, some good points I’ll definitely look into when I do another revision.

      1. I think we got the idea that Atomic Points were limited by the fact the GM only got 10 points for the entire adventure. If that’s not correct, then we goofed.

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