Star Log.EM: Shirren Knickknacks (SFRPG) (Priority Review)
This Star Log.EM-installment clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
This review was moved up as a prioritized review in my reviewing queue at the request of my patreon supporters.
So, what are knickknacks? They are small little items that cost 5 credits or less, allowing them to be potentially handwaved by GMs, but prices are provided. (Personally, I’m one of the GMs who’ll have you track every copper and pound/bulk, but that’s just me – it’s nice to see this option acknowledged.)
Anyhow, so what does this pdf introduce? Well, first of all, there are the Choicetales – essentially choose-your-own-adventure novels; we learn about chitin tattoos (prices scale with artist skill, obviously!) and learn about decals – yep, including notes on what action applying them is, alongside information on how long they last. Oh, and did I mention psychic decals (a frickin’ nightmare when the concept is applied to advertisement – here you go, a really neat adventure hook!). There is also a d12-shaped equivalent of a magic eightball for making decisions, which is cool – but I wished we actually got 12 sample answers spelled out here. Shirren hygiene kits (which can help shirren with disguises) and two types of larval containers may also be found here.
Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, and the pdf comes with a nice artwork. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.
Randal Meyer’s knickknacks are genuinely something I feel SFRPG needs. Why? Because, while we know a lot about the adventuring realities in the game, the day-to-day operations that render daily life easy to depict are somewhat less fleshed out. This is by necessity, obviously, but ultimately it’s the small bits and components that particularly render scifi/space opera settings plausible; it’s why e.g. the Pop Culture Catalog-series works so well for me, why I consider it to be a must-own series. So yeah, I should adore this pdf, but I’m a bit less in love with it than I thought I’d be.
Why? Because the supplement, ultimately, primarily focuses on objects we know from real life and translates them; I’d have loved to see more concepts like psychic decals and similar consequent evolutions of familiar things, instead of e.g. reskins like the magic 12-ball. This is a winner of a concept, but one not taken to the levels I’d like to see it reach. As such, my final verdict will be 4.5 stars, rounded down.
You can get this neat, inexpensive pdf here!
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