It seems, given enough time, every superhero franchise goes to space. Not only does it escalate the stakes, it broadens the possibilities for storytelling. The Power Rangers franchise is no different with multiple series becoming epic space operas.
That verve and creative spark is perfectly encapsulated in the Power Rangers TTRPG's first major sourcebook, Power Rangers Across The Stars.
What is Power Rangers Across The Stars?
Power Rangers Across The Stars is a 239-page Essence20 sourcebook. It contains comprehensive information of various alien worlds, organizations, and worldbuilding details.
This information includes new systems and mechanics for space travel, entries on various alien worlds from across the Power Rangers franchise, and tons of new Threats for GMs to use in their games.
Furthermore, the book contains brand new player options. These options include new playable alien races, new Perks, and new Grid Powers.
What new worldbuilding material is in Power Rangers Across The Stars?
The first chapter of Power Rangers Across The Stars does a great job bringing readers up to speed on the more cosmic end of franchise.
Some of these sections are staples of the franchise diehard fans should be familiar with. The appearance of the Machine Empire and the Zeo Crystal. The origins of the United Alliance of Evil. The formation of Space Patrol Delta. The list goes on.
The book also covers ever cosmic Ranger team. In Space, Lost Galaxy, SPD, and even comic-original teams like the Omega Rangers, Solar Rangers, and Supersonic Rangers all have entries.
But what is fascinating is the book also includes some TTRPG original lore. Some of this is a gentle massaging of events from the show's history, drawing from more recent comic runs especially, to fit a more modern timeline.
For example, Space Patrol Delta's foundation on Earth no longer takes place “in the far future of 2025” but is a direct consequence of the defeat of the United Alliance of Evil paving the way for the Troobian Empire.
But one of the bigger changes comes from the introduction of a new element type: Void. This is the dark energy manifested by the more mystical villains in the show's history, and is expressed as the polar opposite to the Morphin Grid.
Not only is it a great addition to the game's lore, it is a devastating element type in gameplay. Any Void-based attack ignores any defense bonuses granted by a Ranger's morphed form, which can flatten PCs at any level.
What New GM Material Is In Power Rangers Across The Stars?
Obviously, with the introduction of alien worlds, Power Rangers Across The Stars includes new rules for space travel.
These rules are robust. They include skill tests for navigating to certain locations, as well as different results for degrees of success and failure.
There are even charts and systems for travel times and complications. Everything from celestial catastrophes to being ambushed by space pirates are covered.
The book even contains extensive rules and modifiers for combat on alien worlds. These include zero-g and low gravity environments – complete with rules for inertia – as well as persistent environmental effects.
Examples include extreme temperatures, thin air, or even a corrosive atmosphere.
Lastly, Power Rangers Across The Stars is packed with Threats. While the Core Rulebook was lacking when it came to iconic villains, this sourcebook more than makes up for it.
It contains ten footsoldiers and over 30 unique enemies. These include threats from the comics like the Horrids and The Anointed, as well as major big bads like Emperor Grumm, Astronema, Trakeena, and the Psycho Rangers.
This sourcebook also has the unique distinction of having the highest level Threat in any Essence20 RPG: the head of the United Alliance of Evil himself, Dark Specter. And he is brutal.
What New Player Options Are In Power Rangers Across The Stars?
If you were underwhelmed by the options in the core rulebook, Power Rangers Across The Stars has plenty for you to enjoy.
First, the book contains new rules for playing as certain aliens from across the franchise.
These include aliens from the Zordon Era like Aquitians, Edenites, and Horathi, as well as other beloved races from the show's history like SPD's Sirians, Operation Overdrive's Mercurians and Time Force's Xabrians.
As for how this is implemented, it is pretty elegant. You choose what alien you want to be, take the Not From Around Here Influence and adjust its perks and hang-ups accordingly.
Overall, it works. Horathi, being humanoid lizard people, get a bonus to their Toughness defense. Edenites are hyperempathic, allowing them to read emotions and intent from afar, but take penalties to Intimidation and Deception. Aquitians are amphibious but dry out if on land for too long.
Either way, these alien influences really help expand roleplaying possibilities for players.
In addition to various multiclassing Perks like Grid Spectrum Echo and Prismatic Boon, the book contains new Form Perks. Using one of these Perks lets your character take on an alternate morphed form.
Each one has different benefits like Omega Enhancement and Lightspeed Response, but you can only have one active at a time.
If you enjoyed the ability boosts given by the Ninja Power Perk from the Core Rulebook, Across The Stars pushes that idea further.
But one of the more impactful additions to your Ranger team's arsenal are the introduction of Battilizers. These are powerful suits of armor Rangers can obtain, greatly enhancing their combat abilities.
In game terms, the Battilizers rely heavily on Personal Power. Spend the required amount, and you get the benefits of the armor for the rest of the scene.
My one problem is that, while the book does include examples of various Battilizers throughout the show, there aren't any rules for creating your own.
Finally, Power Rangers Across The Stars includes three new Advanced Spectrum Roles.
Gold Rangers are dedicated tanks. Not only do they get bonuses to their Toughness Defense, they gain Resistance to various effects the longer a fight drags out.
Silver Rangers are weapon masters and gadgeteers, able to spend Personal Power to manifest weapon enhancements, create helpful gadgets, and even teleport.
But the most intriguing Advanced Spectrum Role is Phantom Ranger.
The lore draws heavily from the recent Power Rangers Universe comics, which explains that Phantom Rangers are interdimensional entities meant to fix breaks in time and space by the forces of evil.
That clandestine nature is expressed well within the Role itself. Not only can Phantom Rangers turn invisible, they can unleash powerful bursts of speed for quick hit and run tactics, and call upon the Morphin Grid itself for knowledge.
Power Rangers Across The Stars – The Phantom Gambit Adventure
If you are hesitant about picking up Power Rangers Across The Stars, then Renegade Game Studios provided a preview of what you can expect in a new prewritten adventure: The Phantom Gambit.
Written by Ben Heisler and Paige Leitman, The Phantom Gambit is a great Tier 2 space adventure. Not only does it showcase the sourcebook's newest features, it is an entertaining adventure in its own right.
While the material is heavily mired in material from Power Rangers in Space, the greatest strength of The Phantom Gambit is its pacing and momentum.
It is a wonderful showcase of Essence20's upshift/downshift system and its ability make failure meaningful without feeling punishing.
The result is an entertaining rollercoaster of a module that is a great companion to this sourcebook.
Should I Buy Power Rangers Across The Stars?
If you were left wanting by the Core Rulebook, Power Rangers Across The Stars provides a lot of welcome improvements. The new player options make PCs feel like the stuff of legend, and the new Threats bring cosmic stakes to the table. If you ever wanted to take your adventures into space, this sourcebook will give you everything you need.
The Power Rangers Across The Stars sourcebook and The Phantom Gambit adventure were provided to the author by Renegade Game Studios. All photographs were taken by the author.