Planet One (Alone Among The Stars)
I was looking around for other fun solo games that can be played with a minimum of materials, and this search led me to a game called Alone Among The Stars by Takuma Okada. The premise is simple, and in that simplicity, there is beauty. The basic mechanic is that you combine die rolling and card drawing to get prompts for the exploration of alien worlds.
In setting up play, I decided to use my Alien Dice and a Star Trek Adventures figure I made in CAD along with my deck of cyberpunk cards (Bicycle - Synthesis.) In rolling for the number of points of interest on the first planet, I got six to prompt my exploration narrative.
Exploration Log for Planet 1
I came upon this place suddenly, with no memory of how I got here. There is something about this place, something that feels familiar, something I cannot place.
And then there is the crystal, massive and full of light, improbably floating before me in a glen of veiny alien trees. The leaves of the trees ripple like leathery sails, whispering as they dance in the subtle breeze. This world is full of whispers, and the whispers are leading me to the west.
And so I walk.
I found the canyon after a day of stumbling through rocky wasteland. The whispers are getting louder, and only when I have finally reached the rim do I feel compelled to rest. There is another of those rippling, leathery trees in the canyon, bigger and louder than all the rest. Waiting, listening from the rim, I feel like I can almost understand it, almost make sense of the whispering. Being at the edge of knowing compels me, and so I start down into the canyon, eager to see where the whispers lead me.
It takes me all day to make the hike down into the canyon. The whispers of the great tree get louder and louder as I go, but understanding never comes. If the words in the whispers are a language, then it is a language so alien even my translator cannot find the meaning in the hisses and clicks. By the time I reach the tree, the sounds are almost deafening, come so loud that it is all I can do to reach the roots and rest.
And that's when I spot the cavern tucked under the trunk of the tree. Wide and yawning, it is lit with an eerie light, a familiar light. The glow is from a crystal, one like the crystal floating back where I first stood when I found myself on this world. The cavern is quiet and welcoming, so I cross between the roots into the belly of the planet in search of the crystal's light.
The cavern beneath the great whispering tree is long and full of treacherous rocks that threaten to spill me at almost every step of the way. At times, I am forced to go deeper into the cavern on my hands and knees just to make progress. When I finally reach the crystal, it is so full of light that it is almost blinding. I have to close my eyes just to be near it, but I can't help feeling like I need to be near it.
I don't remember falling asleep, but when I awake, I'm in a field of vibrant alien grass with glowing stalks that tower taller than me. Even still, I can see the crystal, vibrant and full of light, yet less blinding than the one in the cavern. I stand and watch the crystal for a long time, waiting and uncertain, wondering how I got here, and where I might end up next.
I walk and walk and walk, and even as I walk the twin suns overhead hardly seem to move. I have no way to track time, no way to know how long I've walked, much less what I might be headed toward. Somehow, I can feel the crystal behind me, its light like a tether, pulling at me, but I know I dare not turn around, lest I find myself face to face with the glowing stone again. When the field of towering grass finally starts to wane and drop, I find myself staring at a huge temple cut into a cliff face. With all the walking behind me, this final walk to the temple goes easily and smooth, though when I reach the door, I hesitate, for I feel like I already know what is inside.
A crystal, blinding and full of light, beckoning me on to other wonders that the whisperers want me to see.