Advanced Search >

[explorers] Core Rulebook
Quick Preview
Full‑size Preview

[explorers] Core Rulebook


It is the year 376 in the Galactic Human Empire, mostly just called The Empire. Humanity spans a hundred thousand worlds in as many solar systems. Poverty, scarcity, disease and even work are curiosities of history. Spending their days in a perpetual holiday, engaged in philosophy and arts or simply in relaxation and fun, humans of The Empire are living a good life.

You are not a human.

At the edge of human space, genetic clone slaves are guarding the borders of The Empire against aliens, and exploring and preparing new worlds for the growing human population to settle or exploit for resources.

Of course, exploration of new worlds is dangerous and many explorer teams never return to mission control. No sane person would risk real human life on such a dangerous adventure.

You are an Explorer.

You are a clone.

You are expendable.

[explorers] Overview

Every roleplaying game has different assumptions and core ideas. Some games are horror games focussed on internal conflict, others are epic adventures focussed on the heroes defeating hordes of enemies. Different games appeal to different players and require different approaches.

So here is what [explorers] is intended to be:

  • cooperative
  • modular
  • narrative

In [explorers], the players are a team working together towards a common goal. There is a little space for conflicts within the group and players who enjoy conflict-play should find a different game.
It also means the game is not suitable for solo play. A group of 4-6 players is probably perfect.

It doesn’t mean characters cannot exchange quips or be of different opinions. It does mean that a base level of cooperation between player characters should be considered a given. There is never a question why the characters are working together (they have been selected as a team, simple as that) nor would conflicts between them be allowed to continue by mission control (one or both of the squabblers would be retired or assigned to a different team).

[explorers] is played as a series of individual missions, not as a campaign. It is fully intentional that there is no big storyline and the background material is intended to set a mood, not provide play material.
This modular concept makes the game suitable for both fixed groups and groups that meet irregularly or that change composition often. Like an episodic TV show, it is the characters that bind the individual stories together.
All game mechanics, from requisition to the automatic healing of all injuries between missions, are designed to isolate individual missions from each other. Starting a new mission in [explorers] is starting from a clean slate.

There are various approaches to roleplaying, all of them equally valid, but appealing to different kinds of players.

[explorers] is a mostly narrative game, where the focus lies on telling a story together. The rules are designed to give a reasonable level of realism, but they are not intended to be a simulation.

[explorers] is not, however, a game about character narratives. On the one hand, character advancement is possible, but even very experienced characters will not be several times as powerful as beginning characters. On the other hand, character motives and goals are clear by definition and while some missions might provide questions of morals and motivation, in general the team will be in conflict with the external world, not their inner demons.

There is a strong element of challenge and overcoming obstacles in the game, no doubt. It is, however, designed to make narration the primary tool to overcome these challenges. [explorers] is not about gathering up the right artefacts and building up enough bonuses to finally overcome the boss monster.


The rulebook contains a background world description and game mechanics for a science-fiction roleplaying game.
The game is strongly team-based, modular and narrative. All players work together to beat the dangers of the environment, individual adventures stand on their own and the focus is on narration and storytelling and not on rolling dice.
The book contains everything you need to play, except for dice and pens. It includes empty character sheets and other templates for copying. These and a few small tools to support gameplay are also available online.

The game itself consists of the player team exploring so far unknown planets, where they meet dangers of the environment as well as local animals, human colonists or possibly aliens. Many different adventure concepts are possible. Even though every mission is different, a set structure gives the players guidance and orientation.

For the game-master, the book contains a number of hints and support sections to allow both newcomers and experienced GMs to learn how to run a mission easily and quickly. For more in-depth information it also contains design notes to explain many aspects of the game further.

The book also contains three complete adventures to allow immediate playing. These include graphics images and other visual material.

A glossary and a quick reference make it easy to access vital information during gaming sessions. The glossary especially contains not just page numbers but short texts making paging through the book unnecessary in many cases.

Special Features

The game uses a simple and yet very carefully designed dice mechanic based on the award-winning Sorcerer game by Ron Edwards (permission granted). This dice system has been carefully analysed and a statistical analysis is included in the appendix. I‘ve given a presentation on dice mechanics statistics at the german Brett XIII conference.

Instead of the usual tables of equipment, [explorers] uses a cards-based system. This allows for much more fluent gameplay especially regarding selecting, exchanging, losing, etc. items In the test groups, this system has received excellent feedback from players. The cards can be copied and printed out, but they are also available seperately as a high-quality printed card deck.

Finally, the game knows exactly what kind of game it wants to be. It is strongly cooperative and the game mechanics promote teamwork and cooperation. This goes beyond the pure mechanics as the book includes advice regarding gaming group management (what the Big Model calls Social Contract). But the game mechanics also support teamwork with a number of nifty tricks, for example all player characters have implanted communications devices making the table-talk that always happens during gaming sessions permissible in-game as well. All of these mechanics have been positively received during test games.

You can also purchase a deck of cards containing the equipment cards used in the game, if you do not want to print them out yourself:


 Customers who bought this title also purchased
Reviews (0)
Discussions (0)
Browse Categories
 Follow Your Favorites!
NotificationsSign in to get custom notifications of new products!
 Recent History

Product Information
File Size:
53.93 MB
Original electronic
Scanned image
These products were created by scanning an original printed edition. Most older books are in scanned image format because original digital layout files never existed or were no longer available from the publisher.

For PDF download editions, each page has been run through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to attempt to decipher the printed text. The result of this OCR process is placed invisibly behind the picture of each scanned page, to allow for text searching. However, any text in a given book set on a graphical background or in handwritten fonts would most likely not be picked up by the OCR software, and is therefore not searchable. Also, a few larger books may be resampled to fit into the system, and may not have this searchable text background.

For printed books, we have performed high-resolution scans of an original hardcopy of the book. We essentially digitally re-master the book. Unfortunately, the resulting quality of these books is not as high. It's the problem of making a copy of a copy. The text is fine for reading, but illustration work starts to run dark, pixellating and/or losing shades of grey. Moiré patterns may develop in photos. We mark clearly which print titles come from scanned image books so that you can make an informed purchase decision about the quality of what you will receive.
Original electronic format
These ebooks were created from the original electronic layout files, and therefore are fully text searchable. Also, their file size tends to be smaller than scanned image books. Most newer books are in the original electronic format. Both download and print editions of such books should be high quality.
File Last Updated:
April 11, 2018
This title was added to our catalog on April 13, 2018.
Publisher Info
Publisher Average Rating