The Seven-Sided Die

The Wormhole Nexus setting resources

Posted Sunday November 09, 2008 at 10:46 AM

Ever since reading Lois McMaster Bujold's series revolving around Miles Vorkosigan I've wanted to play or run an RPG in that setting. It's brilliant space opera without the usual drags of a huge cast, ungraspably-complicated political networks, or soap-opera plotlines.

The level of tech varies from swords and ageing energy weapons in the backwoods of some planets to cryo-suspension medical technology and cloning in the more advanced polities. The habitable systems are connected in a wormhole network, and have a lot of within-system and substantial inter-system traffic. The political entities range from feudal to democratic to capitalist anarchy, with subgroups and independent mercenaries in between and among them.

The wide range of tech, political situations, and scales of travel offers a diversity that is rare in a setting and makes it really appealing. As Bujold designed it so that "I can have my swords 'n' spaceships in a way that makes both historical and economic sense."[1. L. M. Bujold, "Putting It Together: Life, the Vorkosiverse, and Everything", The Vorkosigan Companion. Apart from pithy quotes, there are some great notes to be taken about the themes and character arcs that shaped the books and the setting.]

To properly run a game in the Nexus I'd have to re-read the not-insubstantial series, but I wondered what I could find online. For the sake of sharing I've collected the resources I could find together here.

(It should go without saying that the following links contain major spoilers for the books.)

Unsurprisingly, my recent interest in the multi-genre rules of Savage Worlds had a hand in inspiring this rekindled interest in playing in this setting, though I have to thank icedrake @ LJ for getting me thinking about sci-fi settings earlier this evening. The ease of mixing "swords 'n' spaceships" that Savage Worlds offers would make it a good fit.

Comments (2)

Chris Tregenza

Monday November 10, 2008 at 11:50 AM

The Vorkosigan books are great and I've often wondered about them as an RPG setting. You could probably adapted the Traveller rules for them. The only real difference is the reliance on Nexus rather than being able to jump from anywhere to anywhere.

Chris Tregenza’s last blog post..Wicked Art


Monday November 10, 2008 at 09:53 PM

I've never played Traveller of any edition, but one of my players is a fan. I'm lately moving away from d20 as a system of choice, though, so I'm not likely to use the currently-available ruleset.

What system I'd use depends on what kind of game I and my players wanted. By default I think I'd use Savage Worlds, but for something more focused on player motivations I'd probably use Solar System (aka The Shadow of Yesterday). For a game with very few players (one or two) I might use Trollbabe to echo the books' slow build of an epic yet personal story, but with a Force/Cunning ability binary instead of the Combat/Magic one in the rules.