Friday, December 11, 2009

Justifiers - Indy RPG Goodness

Back in high school we found and played, quite vigorously, an indepednently produced game called Justifiers. Justifiers was a sci fi game that took place in a corporate dominated universe where the players took on the roles of living property (more on this in a moment) tasked with exploring and "justifying" alien worlds for conquest and exploitation by the corporporations they belonged to. The characters each had a "buy back" that was a dollar amount determined by their skills, attributes, and powers/gear that they had to pay off before they could be free citizens.

In the core game, you played one of four races -

Humans - human characters tended to be those working off some sort of binding contract or sentence bought off by the corporation.

Heavy gravity humans - stunted dwarf-like humans genetically engineered for use on planets with substantially higher than Earth gravity. Being genetically engineered, these guys owed their lives and therefore money, to the corporation.

Altered humans - genetic supersoldiers that couldn't blend into normal society. They were pretty much in the pocket of the corporations who gave them a place.

Betas - totally vat-grown life forms combining human and animal DNA into a humanoid being with the mind of a man and the abilities of an animals. Betas had the biggest buy back as they were totally a product of their corporations.

There were plenty of detailed planets to get you started as well as some premade adventures. Books on cybernetics, aboriginal life and the military rounded out the game. A later suppliment introduced the concept of hybrids and alien betas. Hybrids came in two forms - near-human Gammas (beta/human hybrids) and Mutants - funky beta/beta crossbreeds (dog/cat, lizard/horse, etc). Alien betas took the form of experimental betas developed from alien animals, including an couple of really wierd ones such as a silicon life form and a plant.

This was a game heavy on setting and crunch that gave the players a solid ideao f the universe they were in and what they could do without hemming them into a single course or mode. In our own games were dealt with corporate intrigue, general exploration, crisis, betrayal, the whole nine yards. Justification missions were lots of fun to run and allowed me to create lots of interesting alien creatures and environments. The characters on these missions were slingshot across the cosmos with their only hope of return being their ability to pacify a safe base for themselves and the assembly of the return transport gate.

There were lots of quirks and interesting points to this game and it really si too bad it's out of production. I really wish it was available as a PDF for those who would like to play it, but I don't know what became of Starchilde Publications. Starchilde also has a Kaiju game, a superhero game and another scifi setting that was all about an alien invasion of earth who's name escapes me.

Hope you enjoyed reading about it,



  1. Sounds fun. I used to play EarthDawn and a game called Fading Suns when I was younger (in my early teens)

  2. I've got all the Justifiers books.
    Haven't gotten a chance to ever play the game though.

  3. Sabot & Laser was the miniatures rulebook; I had a copy a looooong time ago.

  4. I think they did a newer version of this a couple of years ago, but I don't think it added much to the original. Also there is a Savage Worlds conversion for it.

  5. @El Grego - Sabot & Laser was the miniatures combat game for the other sci-fi game. I think it was called "Dominion" or "Domination" or something like that.

    @Bill - Links man! Links! I do agree, however, that Justifiers would be an easy conversion to another system. I don't believe a new edition came out any time recently. I do recall seeing some cover art for it, but I think it disappeared into the ether.


  6. I had this game too. Never got to play it, though. Not many gamers in my area, and they were strict D&D guys.

  7. Thanks so much.
    I just stumbled across your blog, and this post.
    I've been trying to remember the name of this game for a while.
    My friends and I played the hell out of it back in the day.
    Great game.
    Thanks again.

  8. Welcome Legion!

    This is one of those games that just screams to be reincarnated in another system. I have to wonder where the IP is and if anyone is planning to do anything with it.


  9. the rights were bought by someone in Germany and is planing to release an new version there. Big plans small scope i wish them well and hope english/american publishing company gets it to press

  10. It'd be awesome if someone could do a version of the game based off of the X-plorers RPG mechanic.


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