Well, since @malkav11 abandoned this run, I’m going to try my hand at it.
Starforged play starts with deciding on a number of options and story elements that flesh out your particular version of the game. For example, are you going to play in the default setting of The Forge or will your adventures take place in another universe/galaxy entirely? Does magic exist in your universe? What flags are you setting for safety? According to the rules, “prep is play” because these choices are part of the creative process.
The rules start with prioritizing player safety by establishing boundaries and flags. “But wait,” you say. “Aren’t you just playing by yourself? Why do you need this stuff if you’re the one creating the story? If something upsets you, maybe just don’t do that?” Here’s what the rules say:
In some ways, safety tools become even more vital in solo play; playing alone means you’re responsible for your own check-ins. You have the freedom to explore content you may not be comfortable exploring in group settings, but also run the risk of making the game uncomfortable or un-fun without becoming aware of it until it is too late. The session moves encourage you to pause, reflect, and decide if, when, and how you want to move forward.
To demonstrate the way this works, I’m going to set a content flag for myself. I don’t like to see children hurt or abused, so that’s my off-limits boundary. If I start going down a narrative path that leads to kids getting smacked around or something, I’m going to check myself. Kidnapping or threatening in the vein of some comedic bumblers trying to kidnap a child, then discovering to their horror that they bit off more than they can chew (like the Wet Bandits from Home Alone) would be perfectly fine but probably won’t come up since that’s a little too slapstick for the tone I want here.
With that out of the way, we can start to get into it. Choose Your Truths is the first big creative step.
There are some default assumptions like the galaxy is human-centric and diverse. The tech is slightly retro-future in that it’s space travel as we envisioned it a few years ago, not as we’d think about it today, so more Star Wars (a little clunky, a bit lived-in and cobbled together) than serious sci-fi. Colonies and settlements are far-flung and exploration can be perilous.
Following that, there are 14 elements to Choose Your Truths. I’m not going to recreate the charts and tables, but I’ll detail some of the choices or rolls I made.
Cataclysm - I chose the Cataclysm that prompted humanity’s move to The Forge. “Interdimensional entities invaded our reality” which forced humans to flee to the relative safety of The Forge - about 1,700 light years above the galactic plane. Rolling in the table for the entities I got a 63 so it’s “beings of chaotic energy.” I’m going to say that these “Wraiths” were inscrutable, deadly, and completely invulnerable to our weapons and strategies. Humanity left The Milky Way and settled in The Forge to put some distance between us and the Wraiths and maybe some up with a way to fight them. It’s now 400 years later and the Wraiths are almost forgotten. Life went on and most societies don’t think of the Wraiths at all except as legends in history.
Exodus - I rolled a 74. “Mysterious alien gates provided instantaneous one-way passage to the Forge.” I’m going to say that the mysterious gates are what prevented the Wraiths from following humanity to The Forge. Who made these gates and why is something I may discover later.
Communities - I choose to ignore the table for this. The options in the rules don’t fit with my vision, so I’ll just say my Forge has some scattered colonies, but there are also large cities and even whole civilized planets with their own distinctive flavor. I’m going for a space opera vibe here, so I want lots of opportunities to explore and be a space tourist as I journey.
Iron - I rolled a 41. “Iron vows are sworn upon totems crafted from the enigmatic metal we call black iron.” This fits nicely with the mysterious gates from before. In fact, black iron in my universe will be chips or shards of the gates that have been fashioned into small bits of jewelry like amulets and rings that hold immense sentimental and historical value and are usually passed down through family lines.
Laws - I rolled a 63. “Laws and governance vary across settled domains, but bounty hunters are given wide latitude to pursue their contracts. Their authority is almost universally recognized, and supersedes local laws.” Interesting. This might go somewhere cool.
Religion - I’m going to skip this one for now. I really don’t know what I’ll do.
Magic - This is a fundamental setting question. Does magic exist in your game? If so, is it really “magic” or is it tech that just seems magical? I’m not rolling for this since it’s an important point. I’m going to go with the middle of the road option which is that seemingly supernatural powers do exist, but they’re the result of psychic sciences which are still not fully understood. Perhaps the black iron gates influence them somehow?
Communication and Data - No rolling for this either. It’s comic book space opera communications for me, which means you can basically pick up a device and video call people across a solar system near instantaneously, but communication across system jumps takes just as long as traveling there. The farther it is, the more spotty and garbled the communication will be without some military-grade equipment.
Medicine - I rolled an 87! “Orders of sworn healers preserve our medical knowledge and train new generations of caregivers.”
Artificial Intelligence - No roll. I choose to have robots with functionally near-human AI in my game. They do not, however, possess emotions or the intelligence to be sentient.
War - I rolled a 36. “Professional soldiers defend or expand the holdings of those
who are able to pay. The rest of us are on our own.” I think that’s self-explanatory.
Lifeforms - I rolled a 14. “This is a perilous and often inhospitable galaxy, but life finds
a way.” Basically, weird sci-fi animals abound all over the place.
Precursors - I rolled a 35, but I’m modifying the outcome. It should be “The Ascendancy, an advanced spacefaring empire, once ruled the entirety of the Forge. Vaults of inscrutable purpose are all that remain to mark the Ascendancy’s legacy, but those places are untethered from our own reality.” I’ve decided the precursors don’t have a name that humanity has found and the Vaults mentioned are part of the black iron gates that brought us here. The gates aren’t “untethered from our own reality,” they’re just inert now and no one knows how they’re supposed to work or if they can ever work again.
Horrors - No roll. I’m going to base this choice on the Magic question above. In my game, there aren’t supernatural horrors like undead or ghosts, but psychic manifestations from the powerfully Attuned, or the black iron gates themselves, can seem like stuff out of a horror movie.
That’s it for today. I’ve got my universe set, I made a safety boundary, and I’ve decided on some basics. The next step will be character creation.