Starhold is a space-themed survival horror TTRPG using the Powered by the Apocalypse system. Players create their characters by choosing one of the eight available playbooks and selecting their starting stats and moves. The game setting and tone take inspiration from media like Alien, The Expanse, Mass Effect, and The Martian– that is, media that explores what it’s like to live in the claustrophobic margins of a universe that is wholly hostile to our existence, and the moments of terror and glory that can arise out in the void.

Like many PbtA games, Starhold is flexible. It’s suited for both one-shots and campaigns, and can accommodate groups ranging roughly from 2 to 6 players. And while the initial intent was to create a game that facilitates a grimdark experience, there’s no mechanic that limits what kind of game you can run. Whatever your space-themed story might be, it can likely be played in Starhold.


Starhold was developed by S.M. Noble, aka Remescient (but you can just call her Rem). Rem is a queer game designer, writer, artist, and Twitch streamer. She started designing games in university with a group on campus, where she worked as a writer and developer on four indie video game projects before graduation. Later she worked as a professional QA tester before returning to university to get her MLIS. She loves science fiction, national parks, and her cats. Starhold is her first TTRPG.


Starhold is a great choice for players that enjoy a narrative-focused game system and want to create stories that reflect a darker, grittier version of humanity’s future in space. Like many Powered by the Apocalypse games, Starhold uses 2D6 dice for rolls, and results can range between a success, mixed success, and a miss, where a miss grants the player experience points and complicates things for the characters. The handbook provides eight playbooks for players to choose from when creating their characters, and each playbook has an additional three variants – that is, character subtypes that fit under the main umbrella archetype of the playbook—meaning players can customize their starting playbook to create highly unique characters from the start of the game.

In addition to the game mechanics, the handbook itself has been optimized for use on computers, tablets, and phone screens. The handbook comes in landscape mode instead of portrait so that players can see the entire page at once, and every purchase will include two PDFs of the handbook: one in “light mode” and one in “dark mode”, to help reduce eye strain and fatigue when reading. All handbook PDFs also include a fully-linked table of contents and index, so that players can find the information the need quickly, and each purchase will have separate reference sheets for the players/GM, and individual PDFs for each playbook.



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The game is available for free now on our Ko-Fi page.

The official game release was at midnight PDT on 10/10/2020.


Questions? Contact Rem on Twitter @remescient or email