A Vast & Starlit Paradox

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If you’ve read much of what I’ve written, you probably know that Epidiah Ravachol is one of my favorite game designers and overall people. Furthermore, I am a big fan of the misfit space friends genre of fiction. That’s what makes it strange that it took me so very long to play Vast & Starlit, his microgame of miscreants in space that is so short it will take you less time to read the whole game than it would to read my summary of it. In 2016 I have rectified this oversight to the tune of two plays.

And what wonderful stories we came up with! The kind that you look to shoehorn into any discussion of roleplaying you can. “Oh, that reminds me of the time our spaceship got jealous of the android and human interfacing and refused to play anything but jilted lover laments on the stereo…” Rich, exciting stuff that is the space equivalent of what Brendan Conway talks about as the Swords Without Master effect; when you hear an over-the-top, almost too good to believe story of sword and sorcery roleplaying, you can almost always pinpoint it as a Swords story. And the space version of that is what came out of our two Vast & Starlit sessions.

But…

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“…builded by human hand and brain…”

The question arises: why “Human Hand and Brain?”

My wife grew up in Wilkes-Barre, PA. There is a bridge there that she would talk about. One part of its dedication stuck in my head:

PROSPERITY
 in the INDUSTRY builded by human hand and brain, on our mineral resources, we owe growth, influence and welfare.

It never really left me and I think it has a certain resonance to all creative endeavors – gaming included.