Friday, November 24, 2023

Coming Soon: Faster Than Light: Nomad!


I have been working on a brand new science fiction role-playing ruleset, named Faster Than Light: Nomad. It is, in a way, an evolution of my existing Quantum Engine rules, but many of its mechanics are radically different. The goal is to develop a sleek but comprehensive sci-fi ruleset, which will be an in-house Stellagama Publishing title, and which will have its own Reference available for all to use under a Creative Commons license.

It is expected to be released in Q1 2024.

To give you a taste of the new rules, here is an excerpt of the core game mechanic:

"In dangerous situations, where failure carries dire consequences and where luck plays a major role, throw 2d6: throw two six-sided dice and add the results together, and add the relevant skill level as a modifier. If the total equals or exceeds 8, you succeed. Otherwise, you fail.

Skill notation: "Throw Skill" means throw two dice, add them together and add the relevant skill, and if the total equals or exceeds 8, you succeed.

An unmodified, “natural” result of 12 constitutes a critical success.

Note that - as noted above - intrepid interstellar adventurers are competent. If your character has no points in a skill, treat it as “Skill 0”, and simply roll 2d6 on its checks, without any modifiers. There is no need to note this on your character sheet or monster description: when a skill is absent, simply assume that it is at 0.

Advantage and Disadvantage Dice

Various circumstances affect the skill roll. In cases where these circumstances are significant, these rules apply Advantage Dice (+1D) and Disadvantage Dice (-1D). When making a skill roll with Advantage and/or Disadvantage Dice, sum up all Advantage Dice and subtract all Disadvantage dice from the sum. If the result is positive, roll 2d6 + skill and an additional number of dice equal to that sum, and choose the highest two dice. If the result is zero, simply roll 2d6 + skill. If the result is negative, roll 2d6 + skill and an additional number of dice equal to the sum, and choose the lowest two dice.

The same applies to the Personnel Damage roll; throw 2d6 without any modifier and check the Personnel Damage table. Apply Advantage and Disadvantage dice as given by weapons and armor.

We note Advantage and Disadvantage Dice as (+1D) and (-1D), respectively. Multiple dice are noted in the same way, for example “+2D” or “-3D”."


Highlights if the FTL: Nomad ruleset include:

(Note that the following are subject to change based on playtester feedback)
  • Streamlined 2d6 core mechanic with "dice pool" components, as described above. Instead of rolling 2d6 with a series of modifiers as in the old Quantum Engine rules, you roll a bunch of dice, and choose the lowest or highest two, then add them together and add the skill modifier.
  • Fast but deeply customizable character generation. Distribute 5 points among 7 skills (3 points max in any single skill), choose an Archetype, choose a Talent, and roll for starting cash. That's it. But this means that a wide range of combinations are possible!
  • Straightforward psionic rules using a simple skill roll rather than "psi points". If you fail that roll, you can't use the same power again until the next day. 36 powers included.
  • Streamlined combat, with only 4 "range bands"; a "FRENZY!" mechanic for multiple attacks if you "drop" an enemy; and "hit point"-less wounding damage for strong grittiness and minimal book-keeping.
  • Tech Ages rather than numerical "Tech Levels" as in Traveller/Cepheus. Your ship was made in the Early Interstellar Age, not "TL12".
  • Varied equipment, including a detailed collection cybernetics, low-tech and high-tech weapons and armor, pharmaceuticals, and, of course, many Galactic Age and Cosmic Age (i.e., ultra-tech) gadgets!
  • A long list of vehicles and streamlined vehicle combat, using the "chase" mechanic inspired by the Quantum Engine and our old Cepheus titles.
  • Robot design rules!
  • New "harder science" spacecraft design rules. These are an advanced version of the rocket rules first published in Solar Sagas. Build your rockets - which involves design and mass trade-offs - then travel to the stars with it!
  • Streamlined world generation, focused on things players are likely to encounter, in both game-mechanic and descriptive manners.
  • Detailed starship, social, and xenofauna encounter rules!
  • Reference document released under a Creative Commons license, available for download in an editable file for anyone who purchases FTL: Nomad!


  1. I am super excited to see this! It sounds like the best of both worlds between Cepheus Light/FTL and Quantum Starfarer. A perfect match!

  2. This sounds really cool. Will it allow for alien PC's?

  3. How hard will it be to pull in stuff from other Cepheus Engine Products to this system?

    1. FTL:N is not a Cepheus game, and is using its own engine and different technological assumptions. However, it still uses 2d6 + skill for task resolution, and has lightweight core rules, so conversion should be reasonable easy.

    2. Great to hear! Thanks for the informative response!