With Starfinder on the horizon, I thought it might be fun to revisit one of the great space adventure cartoons of the 90s. The Silverhawks! Who hasn’t wanted to visit the ‘Galaxy’ of Limbo and engage in daring capers either as the scrappy frontier law enforcement of the Hawks, or as part of the varied criminal elements to be found outside the light year limit? So I set out to bring a rough conversion to the Pathfinder ruleset.
First, let’s look at the setting. For a cartoon that contains a brief segment on real astronomy at the end of every episode, they really play fast and loose with actual astrophysics. For starters, Limbo isn’t a Galaxy. It is, at most, a solar system. A solar system with an artificial sun and some strange planet called the Moon Star, as it turns out, but without anything that could provide the kind of cohesive gravity that would hold a solar system together. Also, absolutely no one ever worries about vacuum, the coldness of space or heat of a star, the lack of atmosphere in space, gravity, or other real problems of space travel. The closest analog to Limbo in the Pathfinder ruleset would be the Plane of Air – a vast and largely empty plane with subjective gravity, floating islands/asteroids and small planetoids, ubiquitous atmosphere, and an emphasis on flight as the main means of travel that will suit our purposes quite well. So instead of outer space, our Limbo should be a demi-plane.
Second, let’s talk about the level of technology. Here, we are actually much closer to Starfinder in that there is a heavy mix of high technology and magic in the setting. Robots, energy weapons, a vast array of space ships and the aforementioned artificial sun all exist comfortably alongside a weather controlling druid, psychic twins, and the dark magic of the Moon Star. In mechanical terms that means pretty much everything in the Technology Guide is going to be fair game, and the resultant emphasis on ranged combat and high touch AC is perfectly in keeping with the setting. It is also going to be important for your characters to all have access to some form of flight, either via animals or vehicles, or because they have become ‘Partly metal, partly real’ like the Hawks:
|The Steel Raptor race is a racial type that supercedes a creatures original race, acquired through extensive cybernetic alteration. The creature must have the humanoid type, and be small or medium size to undergo the transformation. They retain their languages, and some resemblance to their original form, but in all other ways take on the Steel Raptor race.
Normal Speed: 30ft
Constructed (Ex): For the purposes of effects targeting creatures by type (such as bane weapons and a ranger’s favored enemy ability), Steel Raptor creatures count as both their original race and constructs. Steel Raptors gain a +4 racial bonus on all saving throws against mindaffecting effects, paralysis, poison, and stun effects; are not subject to fatigue or exhaustion; and are immune to disease and sleep effects. Raptors receives only half the benefit of healing and repair effects, due to being both partly metal and partly real.
Flight (Ex): Steel Raptors have built in gliding wings and internal jets that grant them a fly speed of 30 feet with clumsy maneuverability.
Integrated Lasers (Ex): as a standard action a Steel Raptor may fire a blast from one of its shoulder mounted lasers. This is treated as an attack from a Laser Pistol (Technology Guide) with a base damage of 1d6. While flying, as a full round action, the Raptor my fire both lasers at one target.
Natural Weapons (Ex): Steel raptors have spurs and can make a talon attack that deals 1d4
+2 Natural Armor: Steel Raptors are made to survive adverse conditions and long journeys.
Finally, what character options work well in Limbo? From the show we have Windhammer, a storm focused druid, two Weird Words bards (Melodia and Bluegrass) several robots with class levels (Mumbo Jumbo the barbarian, Pokerface the charlatan rogue, and Buzzsaw the slayer), and the rest of the Hawks who are a mix of rangers and investigators. Not to mention a broad array of alien races to choose from. Some customization may be needed to tailor to suit : everyone should have Fly as a class skill for instance, and the Technologist feat should be assumed, not to mention proficiencies should be altered to include tech weapons and armor. There are also some setting unique options, like Mon-Star (variant Vigilante with the Brute archetype perhaps?)That should be enough to get you started on playing in the frontier realm of Limbo. I’ll leave you with one more thing:
The book Horror Adventures introduced a spell – Maze of Madness and Suffering (page 122) – that transports the target into one of a number of nightmarish hellscapes each time they attempt the Int check to get out. I propose a possible substitution for the Strange City option – the Planet of the Mimes.
Planet of the Mimes: the creature travels through a world devoid of sound and populated by people with garish painted faces that leer and caper as though interacting with imaginary winds and objects. The creature must succeed at a Will save or take 2d4 points of Wisdom damage. If your campaign uses the sanity system (page 12, Horror Adventures), the creature instead takes 2d10 points of sanity damage.