Machinations of the Space Princess (MotSP) is a tabletop role-playing game from Postmortem Studios. It is a science fiction game that leans more to your favorite memories of Heavy Metal than it does towards 2001. It is a game that embraces sexuality, sleaze and high adventure.
I am a big fan of science fiction but I rarely play sci-fi role-playing games. Most games are based on licenses like Star Wars and Star Trek and as a creative person, I rarely want to spend my games inside someone else’s creative endeavor. I especially don’t want to spend it inside a licensed universe that is geared towards mainstream acceptance and toy friendly properties.
The sci-fi games that aren’t based on a license often try to compensate by creating super complex universes where you have to learn an entire new culture to understand what is going on. Again, I want to be the creative one and not a passive participant in someone else’s world building exercise.
MotSP understands this and gives you a bare bones universe to play in. There used to be an empire and now there is a big ass succession war between the hundreds of Space Princesses. Your players are trying to survive/thrive in between the cracks of an unstable galaxy. It’s about bandits, mercenaries, war lords, robots, aliens and weird shit. No class in Galactic History is required.
In most games, you pick from pre-determined aliens created by game designers. MotSp takes the attitude of asking you, “What do you want to play?” and giving you very easy tools to create it. MotSP gives you a bunch of archetypes so if you want to play a simple Warrior culture alien, you can follow their guidelines with no trouble. Want to rip off an alien from a book or movie? MotSP lets you do it with no fuss. Want to make up your own brilliant creation? The game happily pats you on the back and lets you do it. It is an extremely flexible system.
Flexibility is the theme of MotSP. It uses a hacked version of the Open Gaming License that relies a lot on your characteristic stats which is fine by me. There is a lot of room for players to give themselves and other bonuses for just about anything. You can literally give a character a kiss for luck which is what I always look for in a game.
I was also impressed with the pages dedicated to describing the sexy theme of MotSP. As an erotica writer, I was nodding my head in agreement for the entire section. The designer understands that sex in a game is not just nudity and fornication; it’s about the senses, it’s about the charm, it’s about making the sexy parts just as thrilling and dangerous as the shooting parts. It’s about letting a player make a whispered plea to a broken engine and maybe seducing it to turn on. That is sexy high adventure.
Last I want to address the production values. I buy a lot of games from small studios but none of them look as good as this one. Satine Phoenix did her usual fantastic job but I have to give props to James Desborough for making the book so damn pretty. It is easily the equal of a game from one of the big publishers.
MotSP is pretty much my new go to game for science fiction role-playing now. Heck, if you wanted to role-play any of my Erishella or Vaquel stories, this is the system you should be using.
I give it Five out of Five Pam Griers.