The October Revolution of 1917 marked the beginning of the beginning of the Soviet Union. The German Reunification of 3 October 1990 marked the beginning of its end. The Cold War between the USA and the USSR, between West and East, the symbol of which the German partition had been, was history.
Even after the end of the Cold War its depiction in gaming (where it happens) is still dominated by a western-centric perspective. In rpgs in particular Soviet spies and communist revolutionaries appear as villains and – at best – rivals, not as allies (unless it’s not a Cold War but a WWII game of course) or heroes.
A rare exception to this rule is the The Red Star Campaign Setting, which came out at the height of the d20-wave. Though created by an American it offers a Soviet-Russian slant to its point of view, and so we decided to dedicate the first October in the history of D6ideas to this game (obviously this has nothing to do at all with the game also being a personal favourite of mine).
To top things off, Christian Gossett the original creator of The Red Star has given us permission to use some of his artwork from the comics in our articles – so you can expect some great visual treats to go along with the gaming content.
So, what exactly is The Red Star?
The Red Star is set against the backdrop of the Cold War and its aftermath in a fantasy parallel Earth, where industrial sorcery complements conventional technology and spiritual energy along with oil fuels the international economy.
This world of mile long sky ships, telekinetic infantry weapons, and magically empowered guerrilla fighters was first painted – and literally so – in the year 2000 in the eponymous comic series, which follows the adventures of a band of Red soldiers from their defeat in Al'istaan and the fall of the URRS to the bitter house-to-house fighting in the breakaway republic of Nokgorka, and onwards to a far greater mystical struggle for the fate of the Motherland and the freedom of her people.
In 2004 Green Ronin released a campaign setting for this property, utilising a heavily modified version of the d20 Modern rules set. Lavishly illustrated with images from the award-winning comics, the book presents a wealth of background information making the world of The Red Star come alive even without reading a single issue of the comics, and the changes and additions to the game engine focus to translate the setting’s unique feel to the gaming table over the more generic approach of baseline d20 Modern.
Before the first Red Star article rolls around, though, we will get a Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (2nd Edition) from Dr. Gonzo on Monday. The Middenmen will present a non-chaos cult and conspiracy hiding and plotting away in one of the Empires greatest cities.
On Thursday, I will start our series of Red Star articles with Train Depot, a short adventure that pitches the players right into the bloody wars and secret history of the setting.