Welcome to Asteria’s Guide Book. This is where you will learn to Abide Asteria and guide others to do the same.
The Guide’s Mission
To guide a party through Asteria and breathe life into the universe. You will be in charge of deciding the fate and story of Asteria. We want you to be able to make your own version of Asteria, or you can follow the lore already set in place.
This Guide’s Book will help lay a foundation of rules for you to follow for a memorable experience in Abide Asteria. Ultimately, even if our rules say otherwise, your judgement as the guide supersedes these rules. This is a great responsibility. We and your group trust that you will never abuse it. Remember that everyone wants to enjoy Abide Asteria.
The last thing we want to mention is everything here is still changing and is currently a work in progress. Of all the pages in Abide Asteria, this is the one in which we strive to reach a gold standard and published status most of all; however due to the size, scope, and the “team size” of Abide Asteria it could take a very long time to accomplish. This is essentially a passion project from mostly one person, their spouse, friends to test play and you the person reading this right now. Please feel free to improvise if we miss anything. Finally I, as the primary developer for Abide Asteria, personally invite you to join our discord server and to email us any thoughts, ideas or rules that we may have missed.
Thank you for considering our game.
Players and Player Characters
Abide Asteria is meant to make the players feel both powerful (which can be a little frustrating as a Guide) and weak (which can be frustrating as a player). Both the players and the Guide should remember that what comes around goes around. Abide Asteria may seem a little more unbalanced than a dice-based game since you can add more strategy to each play. The game tends to favor the player as most NPCs won’t have exploits and don’t typically have the same skill sets. Each party or group will have their own strengths and weaknesses however. It will be up to the Guide to play to the strength of each character while also exploiting their weaknesses. Even the players themselves may have strengths and weaknesses that can affect the game. Understanding that every party is different will be a large challenge and because of this, we encourage less planning for each session than a typical pencil and paper game on the Guide’s end.
Again we stress to play the game how you envision it. You are the leader at your table, not us. However it is recommended that if a ship is destroyed or a party member is reduced to zero cards, don’t instantly kill the party or player respectively. There is also the chance for respawning if the player wants to see their character live on. See the Respawn and Spawn Tubes section (coming soon) for more info.
Recommended NPCs and Mobs
The goal of Abide Asteria is to make being a guide easier for everyone from a seasoned game master to a fresh first time guide. Creating NPCs and mobs can take hours or days in some cases. If you are interested in some suggestions for character, space station or star system names for your game, please consider using our supporters’ names which can be found on the Asteria’s Notables page.
Generating NPCs and mobs is as easy as drawing a card (instead of using the more traditional dice roll). The idea is to use whatever suit is drawn, plus the face value, to generate the encounter. The suit being drawn represents a defining skill and the face value can either represent the actual number of individuals in the group or the level of a single NPC. Some examples:
2 of clubs – the table in the bar the party is asking about might have two technology oriented people sitting at it.
Ace of hearts – perhaps the party spots someone very famous like an actor or politician.
3 of hearts – could be something like three pilots or a group of businessmen.
Jack of spades – might be an officer in the military or an active bounty on a target.
If you draw diamonds but this area shouldn’t have magic or wizards, you can either draw again until you feel inspired or play off it with a different spin. The idea is that you’ll need to think on your feet quickly to fill in the gaps but you’ll spend much less time prepping and the cards will hopefully give you enough to go off of.
Mob generation and basic combat. This is rather simple but will constantly be changing at the guide’s judgement. This is just a guideline to get you introduced to the first few combats. Generic mobs should be a set number of hit points. You can choose to follow their HP exactly or even use a map with figures if you’d like. However the recommended play is to subtract damage from their set hit points and if they aren’t defeated then the next player may deal damage to them directly or choose to hit someone else. The reasoning for this is that player might be able to play a 25 against a mob with 15 HP. They may not wish to play only 2 damage to finish a weakened mob. Then the next player may choose to hurt the damaged one or an undamaged one. For easy play we try not to allow too many damaged mobs per combat session. It should be noted that a party is usually best served to defeat as many as possible in a round. Generic mobs shouldn’t have a hand so when a generic mob attacks they should have one skill of the guide’s choice that they are good with before starting combat. It’s usually whatever weapon they have at the ready. Flip cards equal to the number of mobs currently in play and play techniques that might apply to these drawn cards, assuming the mobs are skilled enough to have techniques. “Deal” or point these cards to the party members receiving damage before discarding all damage cards for the round. The recommended use is spreading the damage around, don’t focus a single party member unless they are trying to taunt or otherwise provoke more than one attacker. If you’re using figures and a map use line of sight and weapon ranges.
Creating bosses or named mobs is very easy and doesn’t require a lot of prep work. There are two methods: one which is randomized and one that is partially the guide’s choice.
The randomized method is usually done when creating a random encounter. For example if you draw a face card (jack, queen, king, ace) this should give you both the type of boss (based on suit) and what their difficulty level is. Spades would be a physical attacker or a gunner; Clubs would be a technology based boss such as a mech suit or an elite hacker who has taken control of systems; Hearts could be a pilot, politician or famous figure who is either flying a ship or convincing others to attack you; Diamonds could be a wizard or someone using a magic weapon. The only thing you’ll need to decide is how skilled they are in each action and the difficulty of the encounter. To start, draw a hand for each boss and play them as characters around the table on the guide’s turn.
The method where the guide knows what type of boss there should be is typically a story driven boss and is how we usually generate bosses. We are going to assuming you know this boss’s general skill set and the encounter type.
Recommended boss hand sizes. This will vary greatly depending on your party size and ability. You may find that a boss with -1 hand size to the party’s average hand size is as high as they can go or they may need to have several bosses with +2 hand sizes to the party’s average. A good starting point is +0 to the party’s average, as long as you have 2 or more players. Usually a boss can have henchmen as back up if things are going too easy for the party so it’s easier to scale up a little by adding to the encounter. After you get a base line for the party try scaling it up or exploiting weaknesses with the same difficulty.
Currency & Economics
Spell Chips or SC is the most widely accepted currency in Asteria. You may use any other currency you like in your own game or you can read the lore about Spell Chips or other possible currencies (Coming Later). Spell Chips come in two types:
The digital kind can be transferred using your implant while making physical contact with another implanted person (Just think of the amount you want to send and shake hands).
HSC or Hard Spell Chips are the older version and are still very popular to this day. They are physical, hexagonal, purple glowing chips with magical properties. A Hard Spell Chip is about the size of a standard poker chip. They may be compressed as deep as 50,000 or as little as 0.01. They are nearly unbreakable when compressed and have virtually no weight, even when compressed. To compress HSC you hold two or more and think about making them as small as possible, then it will magically do so. Uncompressing is just as easy. All that is needed is to think about the amount that you’d like to make while holding one. A good use case for HSC is if you need the party to do some shady dealings with a suitcase full of them or as a loot prize.
A good thing to note is, nulls cannot use virtual SC and will always be limited to HSC. This may keep a small number of vendors from selling to a null, while other vendors will only accept HSC.
There might be times the party wants to charter a ship or pay for small fees like eating out. These prices will depend on the area, but a good rule of thumb is that if it’s required to live (like food and water) then it can be handled by matter reconstructors that create the desired output of food or beverage. If the food or beverage is created in this way, it should be cheap. Of course “real food” can be available too but only at an inflated price. In the lore we’re writing, the matter reconstruction device is mainly used for food or beverage and although the technological version is more popular now, it is based off of a magical version with the same constraints. The primary reason we have written it this way is to allow parties who want to be ‘space truckers’ to find more work for various goods or materials.
There would also be uses for a matter reconstructor in industrial settings. For example the “Creature Corporation” would have a matter reconstructor to make parts and ships, though this type is insanely expensive and still requires matter to be pushed into it. So the cost for items using this would still be quite high.
Flights could cost hundreds of SC if they are far away but most flight purchases will be very low. A same system flight should only cost a few SC. However a flight with a famous character or that includes other special needs may cost thousands or more.
Missions and Quests
Players may want direction or just something to do. It really depends on the party but either way, generating or creating missions is easy. There should be two main methods outside of organic mission/quest generation. The first way is through station or planet terminals. These also can be accessed from a ship with a powerful enough system. The second way would be related to quests with more shady dealings – like back alley deals or between bulkhead meeting places. The first type of mission/quest is more upstanding: courier missions, legal bounties or other things that come to mind. The second, shady kind are typically smuggling, theft or other such deeds that might not be considered legal. These really should be in support of your main over-arching story and also be a good way for a party to supplement their pay. If you don’t have a larger story please feel free to use our lore and story pages (Coming Later). If you’re not feeling inspired by what the party is asking for just draw a few cards and correspond each to the suit that is drawn. Spades for fighting or defending, Clubs would be technology related, Hearts might be something like a VIP transport, Diamonds may be along the lines of finding an ancient relic.
Rewards and Experience
Each background has a certain reward value attached to them. You can opt to not follow this rule but it is recommended. Each character should receive a payout of the entire mission. Meaning if the payout is 1,000 SC then each player should receive 1,000 times their background payout multiplier. Dragon Class is an exception to this rule and earns a flat rate of 25,000.
Experience points is really your choice as the guide on how quickly you want to level up the party. If you have a group who will only play a few games, it might be best for you to just level them after each session. If you have a group who will play every week for a year, you can use this quick guide for a long game or increase the rewards for a medium length. You could even vastly increase the rewards for a short game.
Each 10,000SC rewarded to the party (meaning before the background multiplier) should equal 1 exp. After each level start every new level with 0 exp (or carry over additional from most recent exp gain).
Level – 2 – 10exp – 100k SC
Level – 3 – 20exp – 200k SC
Level – 4 – 40exp – 400k SC
Level – 5 – 80exp – 800k SC
Level – 6 – 160exp – 1.6m SC
Level – 7 – 320exp – 3.2m SC
Level – 8 – 640exp – 6.4m SC
Level – 9 – 1280exp – 12.8m SC
… and so on. Just multiply the exp and sc amount by 2. At level 15 this should equal 163,840 exp or 1.6384 billion SC. At this time there is no content for this much money however we do plan on adding it. We don’t want to discourage you from getting to end game, feel free to make up whatever high-cost items you want. These items would be along the lines of experimental capital ships or purchasing a (low cost) planet in the outerworlds from the government legitimately.
Ships and Purchases
It is entirely up to the Guide if you want the party to start with a ship or not. Parties who have Captains can purchase a new ship for the party from the Ships section. If you wanted a party to have a ship but they cannot afford it by pooling money together, you could have it be a quest reward to receive a used one which might have effects like: it’s stolen, has damage that needs repaired or breaks down frequently. They could also purchase a used one at a price you decide with or without the effects above. Feel free to go whatever direction you want with it.
Purchases are typically made in person at a vendor stall. It’s hard to say what your version of Asteria will be like but the example we use is a miniature mall inside each station that has vendors of all sorts. After a purchase is made – if the goods are too large to be carried they are sent to the ship’s landing pad and loaded into the cargo hold. Most vendor’s stalls will be a digital catalog of what they have to offer because it’s cheaper for the vendor this way. If the purchase is ship parts they can also pay another fee to have them installed – otherwise the parts will be delivered to the cargo bay or (at request) outside the ship.
Magic should disrupt technology, this is by design as magic characters would be far too powerful without it. On planets wizards should thrive whereas on ships or in stations they may need to use some discretion. If you find a player isn’t doing particularly well or a party doesn’t go to planets often, make sure your magic users are aware of the exploit Magical Grounding. Feel free to let the player expand this to more than one use per-day if needed but this should be rare.
Magic disruption size and scope
– Approximately one meter per one point played.
– For every ten points played, it will take the round’s sign to be a clubs to reboot the technology systems.
– At twenty points or higher the guide may choose to fry nearby electronic devices. (Or for random chance, draw card(s) and diamonds will break technology.)
Dealing with magically abusive players: This will be a challenge and ultimately you may need to ban that player from using magic or the whole table. Please read this whole section before making any rash decisions. We hope it never comes to that and tried to help create this system to slow magic players. Remember that magic characters take less actions per turn on average since casting cannot be combined with some exploits. Also try to keep in mind that magic players are using what they have. Good magic players shouldn’t be punished or lopped into this field. Abusive is the player who turns and twists the open ended-ness of our system. We want the magic players to have a larger variety of magic than most games allow, that’s why there aren’t specific spells and they are more like categories of casting. Consider ramping up the amount of technological disruption and maybe introduce other problems that magic will have a harder time solving. If the player or party continues on this path it’s very possible your party or player is very interested in using magic. We want to encourage everyone to have fun and that might mean changing your side of the story a little to meet and match their desires. Check out all of the magic things we have in Abide Asteria, this is going to become a huge and comprehensive list where you could run an entire party on nothing but the magic skill alone including space travel. (Coming soon.)
Signs & Natural Recovery
A character’s sign is primarily for health recovery. At the start of every round in combat the guide will flip one card from the top of the deck. If this matches a character’s sign and the face value is their level or lower, this character will heal for one damage card. Players will gain more HP on average than most systems, this is normal because of the brutal combat system where players will trade large blows with enemies. Even a player who has lost all cards could recover and return to the fight on their next turn, unless the character is killed.
The alternate use of signs is for a character’s luck. As covered several times throughout the guide book, we use the Guide’s deck to draw a card when we need random luck. If a drawn card matches a player’s sign it could be good luck. Extreme luck might be an ace of the suit.
Natural Recovery Player characters should fully recover after a rest. This is usually around 3 hours of in game time. If combat is going to continue shortly, the Guide should draw a card every couple of minutes in game time. Players will recover on signs as usual.
When grappling a target you will take a card from the target’s hand at random for every ten points played. This will reduce the target’s current hand size, do not refresh stolen cards. Keep the stolen cards for grapple on the table and face down until grappling is resolved. If a player or npc loses their entire hand to a grapple they are pinned and may be restrained on the turn they reach 0 cards in hand. To counter a grapple on your turn you will need to play unarmed/grappling and the same rules apply except you will need to recover your stolen cards. Once the face-down stolen cards on the table reach 0 you are free from grapple. If you break a grapple using the unarmed/grapple skill you may take one action on the same turn without refreshing. You may instead shoot pistols or use melee against your grappling partner at no penalty. Attempting to attack other targets while being grappled results in -5, if possible to do so at all. If the grapple initiator is damaged they must play 5 for every face down card to not lose their grip for each card. Refresh your hand instantly after grip check. If the initiator has no cards in their hand then the grapple ends instantly and all face down cards are returned to owner.
Attacking a grappled pair (or group) may result in hitting the wrong target. When attacking a grappled pair or more, both shooter and target draw one card. Highest card wins and chooses where the damage is applied. If this is a tie or if the suits match then both/all grapplers take half damage, rounded down.
Ranges For Weapons
|Ranges||Less than 5 Meters||Up to 50 Meters||Up to 150 Meters||Up to 500 Meters||Up to 2000 Meters|
|Thrown||In Range||In Range||<N/A>||<N/A>||<N/A>|
|Short||In Range||In Range||-5 to play||<N/A>||<N/A>|
|Medium||In Range||In Range||In Range||-5 to play||<N/A>|
|Long||-5 to play||In Range||In Range||In Range||-5 to play|
|Extra Long||<N/A>||-5 to play||In Range||In Range||In Range|
In Abide Asteria your party will often need to make checks against objects or challenges. This is fairly simple, just have the player make a play with technique and see if they pass the difficulty of that task. Example would be: “I want to hack this door” the player would play their skill “hacking” against a difficulty check. This will be ultimately up for you to decide. You should have the difficulty picked though not tell the party member. They may take one turn to assess the difficulty of a task so long as they are trained or higher in the skill. This will allow the party member to know the difficulty of the play needed. All checks below are listed as under pressure or during a stressful situation. Meaning how hard it would be to accomplish in a timely manner if you were in combat. If you’re not in combat or during a scene where timeliness is important or the party member is under stress, you should subtract 3-5 depending on the situation. Another thing to consider is, if this isn’t a time sensitive matter the character could continuously try and reach their theoretical maximum.
Trivial – 5
Easy – 7
Moderate – 10
Difficult – 12
Hard – 15
Very Hard – 18
Challenging – 20
Expert – 25
Master – 30
Monstrous – 35
Dragon Like – 40
Impressive – 45
Most Impressive – 50