The Vast & Starlit Library

Introducing the Vast & Starlit library.

A nano-game of interstellar crime & rebellion by Epidiah Ravachol


Vast & Starlit: The core rulebook. A universe of adventure that fits in your pocket. Just under 445 words long, and jam packed with all you need to play:

  • Character creation rules;
  • Rules for creating your rogue vessel;
  • Aggressive GM-full, drama-forward, scene now, story framing mechanics;
  • Complete rules for creating alien species, cultures and environments;
  • And bold diceless resolution mechanics.

Bodies in the Dark: The sex and warfare supplement. Romance among the stars! Orbital bombardments of the moon! The longest book in the library, clocking in at just over 460 words long in two full-color pages, this tome includes:

  • Rules for commanding troops and seducing lovers;
  • Tension mechanics for turning up the heat on a firefight or romance;
  • Add-ons to make sexier or more warlike alien species, cultures and environments;
  • Mechanics for handling long military campaigns and drawn out love affairs;
  • And forbidden taboos!

Stellar Atlas: A full-color map of the entire galaxy rendered in loving detail over a gorgeous two-page spread. Also included:

  • Mechanics to govern interstellar travel and pursuit;
  • Add-ons to customize alien species, cultures and environments to their origin in the galaxy;
  • And a complete account of the Seven Wonders of the Galaxy.

Renegade’s Technical Manual: This is the one for all you savvyheads out there. Gear, gear, gear. Almost 450 words of technical know-how, this full-color manual includes:

  • Rules for creating new and alien technology;
  • Calibration mechanics to make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to the wacky, weird and powerful;
  • Guidelines for customizing technologies to the cultures that created them;
  • Customization rules for the player character’s personal gear;
  • And rules for building, repairing, inventing, constructing, jury rigging, and demolition on a deadline or at the sort of leisurely pace only interstellar travel can allow.

Awesome! How do I buy this?

Well, we can do this the easy way or the hard way.

The Easy Way

You find me, at a convention or meet-up or in a coffee shop (I’m rather partial to the Brass Buckle in Greenfield, MA) and you hand me one lousy American dollar and I had you the book of your choice. We can continue handing dollars and books back and forth until you’ve had your fill or one of us runs out of dollars or books.

The Hardest Way

I am just about out of physical copies of the game. So the hard way is discontinued until conditions are right for a reprint.

The Hard Way

If you don’t want to meet me face-to-face, that’s fine. I totally understand. I wouldn’t if I were you. I can still get the game to you. Here are the hoops I’m going to make you jump through:

Mail me one dollar, or whatever currently exchanges for a dollar in your country’s currency; along with a self-addressed, stamped* envelope; and a drawing for each book you wish to purchase. You may use the same self-addressed, stamped envelope for up to four books, but you need spend one dollar and one drawing per book.

The subject of your drawing will depend on which book you’re getting.

  • Vast & Starlit: Send me a drawing of a spacecraft of your invention.
  • Bodies in the Dark: Send me a drawing of two aliens fighting or making out.
  • Stellar Atlas: Send me a drawing of an alien sunrise, sunset, moonrise, moonset, or any other view of the sky from an alien planet.
  • Renegade’s Technical Manual: Send me a drawing of some alien piece of technology.

You don’t have to do the drawings yourself, though I wish you would. However, you must have the rights to grant me the non-exclusive rights to use the drawings to promote Vast & Starlit and use them in future Vast & Starlit related materials. Because that’s what you’re going to be doing.

Warning: I am not responsible for the condition the game reaches you in if we do this the hard way. I’m sure the post office will be as gentle as possible, but I can’t guarantee anything.

* International orders can ignore the stamped requirement and just send an additional dollar. More details here.


  1. Jay Shaffstall · March 13, 2013

    Any plans to make it to Origins this year? I’d love to pick these up!

    • Epidiah · March 13, 2013

      I’m not sure about Origins yet. I’m pretty sure I can’t make it, but I may find a way to get the game there anyway. I’ll look into it.

      • guyintheblackhat · March 14, 2013

        Copies can arrive to Origins via our luggage, methinks. I’ll serve as an Epidiah Proxy.

      • Epidiah · March 14, 2013

        Excellent! It’s all coming together now.

      • jshaffstall · March 14, 2013

        Great! Let me know how to locate you, and I’ll bring the dollar bills.

      • Jay Shaffstall · June 10, 2013

        With Origins coming up very soon, did plans come together to get the Vast & Starlit library there? Who can I meet where, to convert dollar bills into books?

      • Epidiah · June 11, 2013

        Unfortunately, I won’t have a presence at Origins. Too much real life stuff intruding and making the arrangements too difficult.

        There will be, however Vast & Starlit at DexCon early next month.

      • Jay Shaffstall · June 11, 2013

        That’s sad. Guess I’ll have to break down and actually draw something, since I won’t be able to make it to DexCon

  2. Storn · March 14, 2013

    Can I send links to drawings instead? I hate sending originals through the mail. And one, the alien sunset one, well, I’ve got an existing pic that is a large oil painting. I think it would be perfect for you, but I dont’ want to part with an original like that. Besides, the others might be digital. I’m perfectly happy with signing non-exclusive rights though. I will get you digital files that are 600 dpi, plenty good for any kind of printing you might need.

    • Epidiah · March 14, 2013

      Wow! I was expecting hastily drawn sketches on greasy cocktail napkins. But if you want to go digital, I’m not going to stop you.

      I still need snail mail, though. So feel free to print up out the link’s URL and mail that to me so I have to type it in. Or maybe put it in a QR code or whatever. I don’t mind jumping through a few hoops myself.

      I look forward to this!

      • Storn · March 14, 2013

        Cool. I want all 4 books. So I will do some doodles for the other 3.

  3. Alan · March 17, 2013

    I’m a bit puzzled. If I send you a stamped (UK stamps) envelope, and you post it from the USA, won’t your post office reject it?

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  8. shrikedesign · April 19, 2013

    Hey Eppy, what are the dimensions on the books? I may send you a slightly larger envelope than normal if that seems likely to help stuff arrive undamaged. Also, I am assuming the total weight for all 4 will exceed the US Postal Service’s limits for a single stamp. What do you think? Will two stamps cover it?

    • Epidiah · April 19, 2013

      3 inches by 2.5 inches. All four books, shrink-wrapped together weigh less than half an ounce. So one stamp with a standard envelope will do.

      • David Berg · April 20, 2013

        Whoa! Funky. Alright, I shall commence doodling.

  9. Patrick Henry Downs · April 23, 2013

    I’ve got a couple of people in my group who refuse to play Vast & Starlit until I have concrete answers to give them regarding these questions:
    Firstly, why impose cliffhangers? This seems awkward, especially when a Difficult, Dangerous or Both (DDoB) task can lead to further DDoB tasks. We found that wanting to resolve the DDoB tasks as they arose was less cumbersome.
    Secondly, non-focus crew seem to get the short end of the stick, is “non-focus crew” meant to apply to NPCs in a scene, or does it apply to a player’s crewmember who isn’t the center of the scene? If the latter, doesn’t that lead them to becoming a focus crew for the scene, since DDoB tasks tend to lead into more DDoB scenes? Essentially, what defines the differences between a “focus” and “non-focus” crewmember?

    • Epidiah · April 23, 2013

      Why cliffhangers? You only need to have as many cliffhangers as the group wants. The trick is only one person gets to make that decision, and who the person is changes every scene. The reason there are mandatory cliffhangers when an in-focus crewmember does something Difficult, Dangerous or Both is to put the power in a single person’s hands–the next person to set up a scene. If you are that person and you don’t want a cliffhanger, simply set your scene at that exact moment in space and time where the previous scene ended. That way you can resolve the Difficult, Dangerous or Both action right away.

      This gives that next scene creator a lot of options: resolve the cliffhanger; leave it hanging as we turn our attention to a different set of crewmembers dealing with something elsewhere; flashback to an earlier moment not involving any crewmembers with cliffhangers pending; complicate the cliffhanger by setting up a scene that contains a crewmember with a pending cliffhanger in such a way that makes some of the possible cliffhanger outcomes seem impossible; or, if you’re also using Bodies in the Dark, setting up a scene with rising heat beat instead of an action beat.

      What’s the difference between focus and non-focus crewmembers? The player setting up the scene chooses 1 or 2 crewmembers to be in-focus. This essentially means two things. First, the in-focus crewmembers’ players must play their respective crewmembers and only their crewmembers in the scene. Second, this gives these crewmembers the unique power to get a Dangerous task done safely, but with some Difficulty. Or to get some of the more Difficult tasks done sooner, with less resources, or in an impossible situation by putting themselves in harm’s way. Or to make a task that is Both merely Difficult or Dangerous.

      Non-focus crewmembers do indeed get the short end of the stick when they’re in someone else’s focus scene and trying to steal their thunder. But that’s cool, because they’ll get a focus scene soon enough.

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  12. Kevin Rolfs · July 25, 2013

    I would like to obtain each so is the address and this email good? I will sketch each or pay for all. Let me know

    • Epidiah · July 27, 2013

      The address and email are indeed still current.

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