It’s Finally Here!
Hello everyone! For over a year now I have been trying to turn the world of Martian Muckraker into a an RPG. As you may know a play-testing word-doc-turned-pdf has been on itch.io but as the rules were revised into their final form I wanted something that would do the world of the Muckraker justice.
I am really proud with how it came out – the book layout was done on InDesign, and features the new Muckraker Storytelling Deck. One of the challenges found in playtesting is that while Tarot produced really strong character memories for character creation, occasionally for plot developments it would be difficult to get the card theme to fit the situation. The Muckraker Storytelling Deck allows the game to keep its spread-based dynamics while also more frequently evoking sci-fi themes. Nonetheless for an experienced Tarot-reader, I imagine playing the game with a standard 78-card deck could be preferred for some story-types.
What makes Martian Muckraker Special?
First, I think Tarot and Tarot-like mechanics are still very underutilized in RPG’s generally and I hope the game helps popularize intuition-based RPG mechanics. I also think Muckraker is unique in that it is a mystery-based game, that requires no-preptime. By having clues be decided by the deck, everyone, including the gamemaster can be surprised as to where the unravelling conspiracy goes.
One of my favorite moments from playtesting was when in the middle of a raid to save aliens in a government lab, the “Great Old Ones” was drawn. So it was ruled that the scanners were wrong – it wasn’t six aliens in cells, it was one big alien and each tentacle had its own cell. Such surprising plot twists can help GMs who feel they are running low on ideas for prep time-dependent games and allow for a unique story telling experience.
I also think the world of the Martian Muckraker is great for spurring creativity. Sufficiently goofy to be fun, while touching on some fairly pertinent themes – how do we defend the truth when truth itself is attacked by politics? What are we willing to do stand with outsiders? Is it still possible for lone individuals to stand up to government powers?
For character creation players have a situation that inherently builds drama and depth. What does the Martian miss about their real home while they are stranded on Earth? What relationships do they have with there fellow Martians? With Earthlings? With what level of optimism do they approach their situation?
I hope the Martian Muckraker helps spur your creativity. This will not be the last Martian Muckraker publication nor will it be the last Muckrakerverse campaign setting. Some Arthurian ideas are also in the works.
The book is available on DriveThruRPG and on Itch.io – it is Pay-What-You-Want. Even if its zero, I hope you will take the time to explore the world and game of The Martian Muckraker!