Starguild: Space Opera Noir tabletop RPG Kickstarter

By on 27 January 2016
Starguild Alex White

What is this game about?
Starguild is the Space Opera Noir tabletop role-playing game, where futuristic weapons and faster than light travel meet heartbreak, decadence and betrayal. Be brave naval officers or devious smugglers. Match wits and passion in high society or creep through ganglands in derelict cities. Explore dangerous jungles on the frontier worlds or engage as high tech mercenaries on future battlefields. But everything has a price.

The game setting has been influenced by the high action space opera of Star Wars, by the competing diplomatic regimes of Babylon 5, by the grittiness of Firefly frontier worlds and by the underlying horror of the Cthulhu mythos for those who wish to draw in genuinely inimical aliens. It isn’t exactly like any of those, but the fingerprints are there, and it is easy to run adventures which are drawn from any of those settings within the world of Starguild.

All this is underlaid with the essential noir setting details – cynical, ambitious, cruel; with dark undertones of emotional blackmail, sex and betrayal. Conflicting agendas and fragile trust. Secret deals and complex intrigues. The good guys do not always win. The good guys do not always live. The good guys are not always good guys.

To support this atmosphere, the game treats social conflict – the ability to alter someones emotions and thinking – just as importantly as the more traditional kinds of conflict of fist and gun. There are many ways that adventurers can achieve their objectives, including manipulating their friends and allies should the need arise. But beware – lest your head be turned by seduction, poisoned by distrust, swindled out of something important or taunted into an irrational act!

What is in the rules?
The 240 page hardback rulebook has been developed and refined by play-testing over the last six years, and contains:

  • An introduction to the role of referee and players in the game, highlighting tips for the noir based games in Starguild.
  • Character abilities for Passion, Intellect and Physique, each controlling your ability in eight different skills.
  • Character backgrounds comprising a talent, profession and homeworld – which provide a base for a characters skills, and a story-based way that a character can gain conviction.
  • Conviction is a resource that allows heroes to bend the rules a little – extra effort when attempting a skill check, recovering from the ill effect of a failed save, getting an extra action in or similar benefits.
  • Skill checks can give you the option to turn a failure into a success if you are prepared to pay a price – but it might be a difficult choice.
  • Social conflict which covers the ability to Captivate, Convince, Dissemble, Peacemake, Seduce, Sow Distrust, Swindle and Taunt people – and resist it yourself.
  • Horror conflict to avoid fear, terror or horror when facing alien monstrosities.
  • Dramatic conflict for simple and exciting resolution of chases on foot, vehicle or starships as well as infiltrations, interrogations, manhunts, netrunning and more.
  • Combat on personal, military vehicle and starship scale.
  • Equipment, armour and weapons with a customisation system for making hundreds of variants.
  • Vehicles and starships.
  • A campaign setting with five competing regimes across forty eight systems, with three plot hooks per system.
  • Guilds and organisations, from small to large scale and including rules for building and developing your own guilds.
  • Guildmasters – a route for characters to gain political and personal power, with low level and limited psychic powers.
  • Many templated NPCs to give foes and foils for character at any level from novice to legendary.
  • Rules for developing adventures and five complete adventures which highlight different elements of the setting and rules.

View the entire Kickstarter campaign here.

About Dave McAlister

Dave has been roleplaying for over 30 years, having played and/or run most mainstream systems with the espionage genre being an early favourite. So much so that, in 1999, he started Modus Operandi. That same year he joined the Sarbreenar "Living" campaign team as their plotline controller before moving across to the Living Spycraft campaign team (as UK Regional Branch Director) in 2003. 2003 also saw the birth of UK Role Players as well as Dave's first freelance writing appointment (co-writing World Militaries and consulting on both US Militaries and Battlegrounds, all for Spycraft). Since then, Dave has concentrated on supporting the UK gaming scene. He has organised and run several small, one-day, events and was the RPG Area Manager for Gen Con UK in 2004. His current favourite systems are Dungeons & Dragons (specifically 5th Edition), Savage Worlds and Cinematic Unisystem. He has a (currently neglected) blog at and runs a D&D 5e SRD website at

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