Your freelance law enforcement crew may have formed and then found a ship with which to ply the justice trade out in the Bleed. Or perhaps you joined an existing laser gang that already had a ship. Whether or not you had a say in the class of ship you crew on, it has an attitude toward the galaxy that eventually comes to affect the way you see things. All right, all right, you’re a perfect flower of free volition, unencumbered by cultural influence of any stamp. But you have noticed that you can type other crews according to the type of ship they ride, right? You can guess an investigator’s ship class from seeing how she drinks in a bar, and can likewise estimate the sort of person you’ll be dealing with from the class of ship that hails you in the big bad black.

Let’s start with the obvious. And there is no ship class more obvious than The Hammer. The ship class that notoriously got liberated from its original designers by disgruntled operators. That tells you how a bullish craft shapes the decisions of those behind its consoles.

Hammers require more crew members than most to op their many battle stations. They take more casualties than most laser crews. This means recruiting a steady stream of expendables. Seasoned investigators may fill lead positions, but that leaves a lot of hair-trigger jarheads wandering around starport when the main folk are off gathering information. Look for the thick-necked young crewperson with the heat burns and skull-shaven hair, and that’s your typical Hammer crewer.

Used to cruising the Bleed in their shoot-first, question the debris later vessels, they default to bullying when challenged. Like most no-necks, you can back them down with a superior show of force and steelier Intimidation of your own. Many have criminal pasts whose past Downside associations you may recall and therefore leverage. Flattery regarding their workout routines can loosen their lips, too. Just be ready for a long stream of details about the relative merits of zero-grav versus heightened-grav core strength moves. Hammer crews don’t literally meet the definition of an alien species but they do tend to form their own cultures. Ergo, a show of Respect may be the fastest way to earn the trust of these authority-loving outlaws. Yep, they’re walking contradictions: folk who used to be loners on the run and are now valued members of a keenly survival-oriented unit. They’re ready to die for their brethren, so never try to get them to rat on each other. Whatever you need from them, holo it as something that benefits the team. Their sweaty, edge-dwelling, aggro team.

 


Ashen Stars is a gritty space opera game where freelance troubleshooters solve mysteries, fix thorny problems, and explore strange corners of space — all on a contract basis. The game includes streamlined rules for space combat, 14 different types of ship, a rogues’ gallery of NPC threats and hostile species, and a short adventure to get you started. Purchase Ashen Stars in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.