Solo Skald |||

5 Parsecs From Home is a solo adventure wargame by Ivan Sorensen published by Modiphius. It’s a science fiction game where you assemble a ragtag crew of galactic trailblazers and head out to explore the stars, pick up jobs, and every now and then — engage in some action-packed, sci-fi combat!” This has a lot of RPG elements and I’ve watched a lot of battle reports on YouTube, but I’ve never actually played it before.

Crew Creation

As recommended for starting players, all my characters will be Baseline Human. I’ve added some personality rolls from Mythic GME v2 and will generate Starcraft names.

Character 1: Stroud Ogden

  • Background: 71 Primitive or Regressed World
    • +1 Toughness
    • +1 Low-tech Weapon
  • Motivation: 84 Political
    • Patron, +1 story point
  • Class: 86 Nomad
    • +1 Gear
  • Personality: 41 Foolish
  • Pronouns: They/Them

I thought they might be some sort of revolutionary, but since they’re nomadic” and foolish, I decide they’re out in exile, or at least a drifter, partly inspired by Jar Jar Binks. Not Captain material.

Character 2: Reyna Crowder

  • Background: 70 Primitive or Regressed World
    • +1 Toughness
    • +1 Low-tech Weapon
  • Motivation: 27 Escape
    • +1 Speed
  • Class: 08 Technician
    • +1 Savvy
    • +1 Gear
  • Personality: 59 Leader
  • Pronouns: She/Her

Reyna’s from the same world as Stroud, but not from the same nomadic lifestyle. I don’t know what she’s escaping from, but maybe it will come up in play. Possibly a captain?

Character 3: Shurl Reeves

  • Background: 12 Low-Tech Colony
    • +1 Low-tech Weapon
  • Motivation: 37 Adventure
    • +1D6 Credits
    • +1 Low-tech Weapon
  • Class: 36 Primitive
    • +1 Speed
    • +1 Low-tech Weapon
  • Personality: 38 Fair
  • Pronouns: She/Her

I’m starting to see a theme here regarding the lower technology. She just wants to get out and see the galaxy.

Character 4: Thornton Darby

  • Background: 07 Giant, Overcrowded, Dystopian City
    • +1 Speed
  • Motivation: 25 Survival
    • +1 Toughness
  • Class: 50 Starship Crew
    • +1 Savvy
  • Personality: 55 Intolerant
  • Pronouns: He/Him

He’s the Captain, I’m pretty sure. What will intolerant” mean in this context? It’s a personality, not a motivation, so he could just be difficult to get along with.

Character 5: Ellen Swales

  • Background: 01 Peaceful, High-Tech Colony
    • +1 Savvy
    • +1D6 Credits
  • Motivation: 40 Truth
    • 1 Rumor, +1 story point
  • Class: 50 Starship Crew
    • +1 Savvy
  • Personality: 72 Prepared
  • Pronouns: She/Her

Oh, no, she’s the Captain. I’m really interested to see what kind of truth” she’s seeking.

Character 6: Mark Notley

  • Background: 09 Giant, Overcrowded, Dystopian City
    • +1 Speed
  • Motivation: 32 Escape
    • +1 Speed
  • Class: 52 Starship Crew
    • +1 Savvy
  • Personality: 97 Wary
  • Pronouns: He/Him

He’s the pilot, and always looking back over his shoulder for whatever reason.


  • 3x Military or High-Tech Weapon Table (using 1 Military, 2 High-Tech)
    • Boarding Saber
    • Dueling Pistol
    • Blast Rifle
  • 7x rolls on the Low-Tech Weapon Table
    • 2x Colony Rifle
    • Handgun
    • Scrap Pistol
    • Brutal Melee Weapon
    • Blade
    • Shotgun
  • 3x roll on the Gear Table
    • Nano-doc
    • Bipod
    • Sector Permit
  • 1x roll on the Gadget Table
    • Nerve Adjuster

10 weapons to allocate among 6 crew members. I decide that Captain Ellen Swales will have the Dueling Pistol, Colony Rifle, and Nerve Adjuster. Mark Notley will get a Blade and a Scrap Pistol, in keeping with his wariness. Thornton Darby is tough and fast, so he’ll have a Brutal Melee Weapon and a Handgun. I’ll give Reyna Crowder (similar in Toughness and Speed) the Boarding Saber and the Shotgun. Shurl Reeves will get a Colony Rifle, modded with a Bipod. For Stroud Ogden, I’ll give them the Blast Rifle.

The Nano-doc and Sector Permit actually go on the ship.

Ship and Crew Details

The ship was built from salvaged wrecks and has 26 Debt & 30 Hull. I decide to name her the Acidic Angel.

The crew met through [70] a previous job, and are best characterized as [08] lovable rogues. They’ll call themselves The Weekenders”.

We have 6 crew members, thus 6 Credits plus an additional 2D6=4 Credits (10 total). Only 1 Patron and 1 Rumor to start, but no Rivals yet. We have 2 story points to add to the default 1D6+1 for 6 total. The book recommends not using the Story Track until at least my second campaign. Similarly, as this is my first time playing this game at all (and I didn’t really do well with The Doomed either), I’ll be using the Easy” difficulty level.

Campaign Turn 1

We already have a starting Patron and no Rivals, so I’m not rolling for those. This world requires a Freelancer License, but our Sector Permit is accepted. I’m using Stars Without Number world tags to add a bit more depth as well, albeit modified slightly to fit the 5PH setting.

  • World Trait: [97] Fog - All shots beyond 8” are -1 to hit.
  • World Name: Kothea 4”
  • Tags
    • [24] Fallen Hegemon
      • At some point in the past, this world was a hegemonic power over some or all of the sector, thanks to superior tech, expert diplomacy, the weakness of their neighbors, or inherited[…] legitimacy. Some kind of crash or revolt broke their power, however, and now the world is littered with the wreckage of former glory.

    • [65] Prison Planet
      • This planet is or was intended as a prison. Some such prisons were meant for specific malefactors of [Unity], while others were to contain entire dangerous” ethnic groups or alien races. Some may still have warden AIs or automatic systems to prevent any unauthorized person from leaving, and any authorization permits have long since expired.

This gives me Belsavis vibes from Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Also, as this is the first campaign turn, I don’t want to deal with Upkeep, Ship Repair, or Debt (although the example in the book does). Medical Care isn’t relevant yet.

Crew Tasks

  • Ellen Swales: Find a Patron
    • 1D6+1 = 7, success! Found two (we have an existing one plus a job from a new one)
    • Existing Patron: Corporation, +1 credit for Danger Pay. Time Frame: this or the following 2 campaign turns. Conditions: Full Squad.
    • New Patron: Private Organization, +1 credit for Danger Pay. Time Frame: this or the following 2 campaign turns. Hazard: Dangerous Job, increase enemy force number by 1.
  • Stroud Ogden: Explore
    • Make a new friend, add them to the crew.
  • Reyna Crowder: Trade
    • Something interesting, roll on Loot Table.
    • Odds and Ends, Ship Items, Spare Parts.
  • Shurl Reeves: Explore
    • Overheard some talk, gain a Rumor.
  • Thornton Darby: Train
    • +1 XP
  • Mark Notley: Trade
    • Trade Goods: Try to sell on future planets for 1D6 Credits.

Captain Ellen heads to the administrative offices to see what works needs to be done. The crew had a pending contact from a corporation called Worldwares”, and they’re looking for a full squad to do some dangerous work. While she’s there, a mysterious stranger approaches her and asks about whether her crew is looking for work. They’ll meet up later to discuss the details, but it sounds like they’re expecting it to be a little extra hot.

Stroud and Shurl go exploring” which mostly seems to mean hitting up the local drinking establishments. Stroud strikes up a conversation with someone about the politics of private prisons, one thing leads to another, and they end up with a new crew member named Vanesa Foy” ((I’ll generate her stats later)). Shurl overhears some talk about a prison break, but nobody’s quite sure what details are true just yet.

Reyna and Mark stay around the starport making deals, ending up with some spare parts and consumer goods. The latter might be more valuable elsewhere, so they’ll stash those against future buyers. Thornton’s a little grumpy so he hangs around the ship and does some training.

Choose Battle

There are two Patron jobs, though neither of them are particularly time-sensitive. One of them is a bit extra dangerous, so I’ll go with the other one because it’s my first time.

  • Deployment Condition: None
  • Notable Sight: Nothing special
  • Objective: Deliver
    • Package must go to a feature or marker at the exact center of the battlefield
  • Enemy: Roving Threats
    • Converted Infiltrators: The Converted often send in adapted members of a prospective target species to scout and spy.
    • Invasion Threat. 6+ Saving Throw.
    • Panic 0, Speed 4”, Combat Skill +0, Toughness 4, AI A [Aggressive], Weapons 1A
    • 6 Enemies (-1 for Easy so 5)
      • 4 standard figures carrying Handguns (Range 12”, Shots 1, Damage 0, +1 Brawling)
      • 1 Specialist carrying a Hunting Rifle (Range 30”, Shots 1, Damage 1, Heavy)

With this context, I decide that Worldwares needs something delivered to an old installation way out in the middle of nowhere, in a place that isn’t well patrolled by local authorities. The crew doesn’t know what sort of opposition to expect, but they’ve been warned that the area is known to be dangerous. For the purpose of this mission, Captain Ellen will be carrying the package, as that’s the riskiest part of the job.

Battlefield Setup

I’m going to use the Ventilation Shaft map (2x2 feet). Based on the guidelines in the book, I’ll have 2 large features, 4 smaller features, and a couple of linear features (like fences or barricades). Looking through my existing decor tokens and thinking about the planet, I’ll use a large satellite dish and a big set of cargo crates, some smaller bits of communications equipment, and some concrete barriers, in addition to the huge ventilation shaft that will dominate the map and a central marker for the package.

Battlefield Map

I randomly determine that my crew will enter from the southern edge of the map. The enemy therefore is assigned to the northern side. Since they’re aggressive, they’ll be clustered together with 1” between each figure.


I’ve got the Battle Round Reference up in front of me and it’s time to rock and roll.

Rules of Engagement

Reminders to self about specifics for this scenario:

  • All shots beyond 8” are at -1 to hit (World Trait: Fog).
  • Aggressive enemies will not Aim.
  • Aggressive enemies with opponents in sight will advance at least half a move towards them, attempting to remain in Cover if possible.
  • Enemies that are unable to see any opposition, or which are within 12”, will advance as fast as possible towards the nearest opponent, attempting to enter into a Brawl.
  • Heavy weapon figures will not move if they have LOS to a target.

The other rules for Aggressive enemies are not relevant here.

Round 1

I’ll try to Seize the Initiative first, rolling a total of 2D6+2 = 9, which is not enough and we’ll enter normal initiative. Everyone in my crew has the same Reaction score (1), and I only roll one die low enough to go first. I decide to go with Crowder as she ended up in front. She isn’t going to take a shot at anyone this round, so she gets 6” of movement and runs behind a crate over the central ventilation shaft, maintaining cover.

I decide the enemy can see where she is, and so the regular enemies will advance towards her. They don’t have a lot of speed, but they’re not in range either, so they will have 6” of movement each. The Specialist would need to shift slightly in order to take a shot at her, but he’d be at -1 to hit due to the fog and another -1 due to moving, so he can’t hit her (needs 8+ on a D6).

Darby moves near Crowder, staying low and behind cover as he gets to the ramp behind some crates. Swales has the package and therefore needs to get to the center as well, but she will be cautious for the same reason; she takes cover behind some old barrels. While she carries a Colony Rifle, the enemy is behind cover so (much like the Specialist) she doesn’t have a good shot. Reeves and Notley move slightly west in an attempt to flank the enemy, or at least prevent them from flanking the rest of the crew. Similarly, Ogden covers the eastern flank, although with the barrier and satellite dish, there’s not a lot of room to maneuver.

Round 2

Again this round, only one of my crew goes before the enemy. I decide it should be Reeves who has a Colony Rifle with a bipod (cancelling out the fog effect) and will Aim (rerolling 1s). She draws a bead on the Specialist, taking careful aim, but unfortunately the shot goes wide.

That crack, though, seems to spur on the enemy, who begin to rush at the crew. One dashes into the central shaft area, staying behind cover, and another follows right behind. The Specialist still doesn’t have a good shot on anyone because they’re all behind cover, so he slides over a bit but remains behind the barricade. Two others run into open ground, hoping to get to cover in the next round.

Back to the crew, Crowder gets to the delivery terminal. Her opponents are behind cover and within 6”, so she lets off a shotgun blast, which misses. Darby follows to her old spot and fires his handgun, also missing. Ogden and Swales get to the ramp but don’t have a shot. Finally, Notley runs along the western edge of the map, behind a large round tank.

Round 3

Probability keeps being predictable, and one of the crew gets to go before the enemy. Notley gets behind cover more solidly but doesn’t have a shot yet.

These cybernetic corpses are now in full attack mode. Two of them are in the central area; one of them takes down Crowder with a handgun. Two others run toward Notley but can’t get there yet. The Specialist is effectively neutralized at the moment by the fog but is waiting for an opportunity to take a shot if any of the crew end their turn in the open.

Darby aims and fires back with a handgun at the bastard who took down Crowder, hitting it and neutralizing that threat. That opens up the infiltrator behind it for Ogden to fire their blast rifle but missing. Swales realizes she has an open shot on one of the infiltrators rushing Notley, but misses as well. Reeves aims carefully, steadying her rifle with a bipod, and nearly hits an uncovered infiltrator.

These enemies have a Panic rating of 0, meaning their cyborg controls prevent them from bailing.

Round 4

Again, one of my crew gets to go in the Quick Action phase. Swales tries the same shot again, taking careful aim, and this time takes down the enemy!

The infiltrator closest to Notley gets to him and gets into a brawl. That’s 1D6+1 vs 1D6+2, or 5 vs 6, so Notley pulls his Blade and wins, taking down the enemy. The lone infiltrator in the center moves into cover and fires a handgun at Darby, hitting but only stunning him. The Specialist still has no shot.

Reeves continues squeezing off rounds at the infiltrator up in the middle, this time hitting it center mass, clearing the way for the main force of the crew to advance. Darby is Stunned and can only move up to the terminal. Ogden moves back behind barrels, intending to follow Notley and Reeves around the western side of the map.

Round 5

This time, two crew members go first. Notley is fast and can get to a clear shot on the Specialist, but if he misses he’ll be vulnerable: he hits and stuns the enemy, knocking it back slightly and, crucially, out of cover. That’s enough for Darby to run forward, firing his handgun and stunning the Specialist again.

All that’s left is this Specialist, who has LOS on Notley and fires its Hunting Rifle, but misses! What a relief!

Reeves and Ogden cover each other as they advance to back up Notley. Swales dashes to the terminal and will deliver the package next round.

Round 6

Just like last round, two crew members act in the Quick Action phase. Notley moves to cover and fires his Scrap Pistol, taking it down hard.

At this point, the crew can successfully deliver the package and complete the mission while Holding the Field.

Post-Battle Sequence

Roving Threats like these are not eligible to be rivals, so we don’t need to worry about that. The Patron gets added as a contact (helping with finding future jobs). The crew earns 1D6+2 = 6 credits in pay (Easy mode plus bonus Danger Pay). While checking over the battlefield after the fight, they find nothing of value but they do earn a blast rifle. The invasion saving throw succeeds (invasion is avoided for now).

Checking over Crowder, she’s seriously injured and will spend 3 turns in the Medical Bay but otherwise will survive with no long-term effects.

XP is earned for the crew as follows:

  • Ellen Swales: 3 (survived and won) +1 (Easy mode) = 4
  • Stroud Ogden: 3+1 = 4 (as above)
  • Reyna Crowder: 1 (casualty) +1 (Easy mode) = 2
  • Shurl Reeves: 3+1 = 4 (as above)
  • Thornton Darby: 3+1+1(first to inflict a casualty) = 5
  • Mark Notley: 3+1 = 4 (as above)

None of them are spending any XP on Character Upgrades yet (only Darby even has enough to do anything with).

After the battle, the crew spends a night hanging out together, drinking and playing cards, raising a toast to Crowder, who joins them remotely from her sick bed. (That’s +1 story point as well.)

Notley ends up with a lot of time to burn, so the next campaign turn he’ll be able to take an additional action.


This was a lot of fun, and felt like an actual RPG with a significant tactical element. It doesn’t have as many special abilities as other RPGs or The Doomed, but I think some of those come with equipment and growth. The guidance on battlefield setup was what I needed, and I’m looking forward to the next campaign turn and getting more familiar with the rules.

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