Ashen Stars Review

A thorough review of Ashen Stars from Matthew Pook.

In fact, in comparison with other Gumshoe System RPGs, Ashen Stars is fundamentally straightforward and unfussy. Were it not for what the RPG does to the genre it is emulating, that is rework it as an investigation game, Ashen Stars would be considered to be a very traditional RPG. Instead it highlights and makes its focus upon the usually ignored investigative nature of the genre, the feature of Ashen Stars and so refreshes the genre.

Justice Trade cover

Now the war’s over, and you and your crew of freelance effectuators patrol the edge of civilized space, trying to pay the bills while you keep the peace.   But the competition in this line is fierce, and sometimes you have to cut corners — which makes you wonder if justice bought and paid for is any justice at all…   The Justice Trade contains three adventures for Ashen Stars – The Justice Trade, Terra Nova and Tartarus – written by Leonard Balsera, author of Profane Miracles and co-author of the smash hit Dresden Files; GUMSHOE designer and gaming luminary Robin D. Laws, and Bill White, author of The Big Hoodoo. It also includes a bonus twenty-minute demo game by Kevin Kulp to introduce players to the world of Ashen Stars.     The Justice Trade When the PCs answer a distress call from the planet Cabochon, they become embroiled in the political machinations of two powerful figures who each seek to shape the future of the Bleed. Will they choose to do good and make the Bleed a better place – or to do well for themselves? Tartarus In a devastatingly hostile environment,  hard-bitten lasers – who know enough not […]


Jontheman over at has reviewed the new music for Ashen Stars, All We Have Forgotten, by James Semple, Marie-Anne Fischer and Yaiza Varona.

All in all it’s an excellent album with some great music, and it’s suitable not only for Ashen Stars but for any science-fiction game. I can see this music working well for sci-fi horror, cyberpunk or a general exploration game.

You can read the full review here.

Kafka over at RPGNet has written a fantastic review of the Ashen Stars theme music, All We Have forgotten. You can read the full review here.

An excellent audio journey through the fragmented but exciting world of Ashen Stars – in all its glory of a heroic and shiny past where the horrors of the present were banished into the abyss.

All We Have Forgotten has been nominated for a 2013 ENnie Award as Best Aid / Accessory. More on this here. All We Have Forgotten is music for Ashen Stars by James Semple, Marie-Anne Fischer and Yaiza Varona, the talent behind the chilling Eternal Lies Suite. All We Have Forgotten contains 10 original tracks and 4 stings, short bursts of music to mark the end of a scene. The tracks are supplied as MP3s so can be quickly loaded onto any player to add that extra dimension and atmosphere to your game. The music has been designed to be used with Ashen Stars but can, of course, be used with any number of sci-fi games. You can listen to a sample here – Review Highlights Read the reviews to date here. Buy


Robin appears as the guest in this week’s exciting episode of Jennisodes, where, in addition to explaining your dreams to you, he talks Hillfolk, Ashen Stars, Dreamhounds of Paris and more.

There is a fantastic review of the newest Ashen Stars adventure, Tartarus, from kafka over at RPG.Net. He has given 4 for Substance and 5 for Style. You can read the full review here.

The secret is to keep players ignorant, as this adventure is a blatant rip of major Hollywood summer blockbuster. Although, as that film will recess in popular amnesia this adventure will become more significant and the full glory of it can be revealed to unsuspecting players.


A new adventure for Ashen Stars from Robin D Laws.

In this scenario of exploration and confrontation in a devastatingly hostile environment, hard-bitten lasers, who know enough not to touch the gooey stuff or take off their helmets in an untested biosphere, investigate the demise of a survey crew doomed by the above mistakes, and more.

The interstellar corporation Shrawley-Gosha Industries offers a contract for an extraction operation on a notorious Bad Planet called Tartarus. A recent SGI survey mission went awry there, with all hands presumed lost. The company seeks a crew to retrieve DNA samples from the dead team members, to see if they were exposed to an experimental viroware treatment, and, if so, whether it contributed to the mission’s failure. As a secondary objective, the lasers are to gather enough evidence to reconstruct the sequence of events leading to whatever catastrophe destroyed the original team.

To be released as a stand-alone PDF and in a print bundle with Terra Nova.

Out Now

Stock #: PELGA05D Author: Robin D Laws
Artist:Kyle Strahm Pages: 27pg PDF


A revolt against a planetary despot disrupts your rescue mission. Do you intervene or stick to the brief? The latest installment of my StoryCraft column for The Ancient Scroll is eminently suitable for Ashen Stars. Check it out.


An Ashen Stars scenario
by Robin D. Laws
Driven crazy by the muddled motivations and blatant idiot plotting of a certain eagerly-awaited SF movie franchise reboot?  Exorcise your frustrations by giving your players the chance to do it right. Under contract to the Shrawley-Gosha corporation, hard-bitten interstellar operatives investigate the demise of a survey mission to a devastatingly hostile alien world. Didn’t they know enough not to touch the gooey stuff?  Why did they take off their helmets? Can your PCs learn from their mistakes—or are they doomed to repeat them?

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