A downloadable game


Note: This is the free, unedited, pre-release text of the Lancer Core Book. Everything you need to play the game is here! 


Lancer imagines a future where a survivor humanity has spread to the stars after weathering terrible ecological collapse on Earth -- the end of the Anthropocene as a consequence of unrestrained consumption and poor stewardship.

Lancer features a mix of gritty, mud-and-lasers military science fiction and mythic science fantasy. In the setting, conscript pilots mix ranks with flying aces, mercenary guns-for-hire brawl with secretive corprostate agents, and relativistic paladins cross thermal lan es with causality-breaking, unknowable beings.

Players of Lancer adopt the roles of mechanized chassis pilots -- mech pilots -- comrades together in a galaxy of danger and hope. Some groups will fight for Union, working to rectify the crimes of previous administrations. Others, for a corprostate, working to advance private interests while lining their pockets. Others still will fight for groups acting in opposition to those in power, or for themselves.

Lancer offers deep, modular mech customization, a wide range of player backgrounds and hooks to prompt storytelling, and a system and setting with room for any narrative you and your group want to tell. It’s best with a group of 3-5 players, and can be used to run a one-shot session or persistent campaign. 


Lancer Core Book (PR2).pdf 25 MB


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Love seeing how the game is progressing! Very minor note: the February 2019 pre-release PDF I had downloaded has a nicely nested PDF table of contents, with subheadings grouped under headings, etc. The PR2 version just has a flat PDF TOC, which I find a lot harder to intuitively navigate. I can fix it myself for my own use, but I just wanted to put on your radar that nested TOCs for PDFs are a good idea. :)


I found a few things that may need to be reworked:

1) ["Union is post-scarcity and does not function as a market-based economy." 

- Pg. 504, Lancer Core Rulebook Pre-release Beta v2 (LCR Bv2)

"Furthermore, while printers are relatively ubiquitous, not everyone has the licenses, resources, or time to field a printer large enough to fabricate mechanized chassis." 

- Pg. 500, LCR Bv2 

"First, to be a human being in Union is to be afforded the decency of a life lived with your material needs seen to: your state will make available to you food, water, shelter, and labor, and will never deny you those rights. To do so is to violate the most basic of social contracts."

- Pg. 490, LCR Bv2

"Capital and diasporan worlds that participate in intergalactic trade use Manna to effect trade outside their borders."

- Pg. 502, LCR Bv2

Question: If the Union is a post-scarcity society, why is there an arbitrary withholding of licences? Why can't everyone (especially those in UNION) have access to GMS licenses to become EVEREST Lancers at the very least? And if everyone doesn't have the time to field a large enough printer to fabricate mechs, doesn't that make both TIME and the PRINTER scarce resources? And why participate in trade at all if there is no scarcity (or operate in a post-scarcity system)?]

2) ["There are few truths held by the majority of humanity — our numbers are simply too vast — but the ones that are universal are fundamental, seen as core tenets of what it means to be human, and enforced by Union to the best of its ability outside the Galactic Core:"

- Pg. 489, LCR Bv2

"Remember: power never gives up power. Power is only ever taken from the powerful and redistributed to the people, where it must constantly be cultivated, regulated, and maintained — this is the dream some worlds have realized, and the project that Union, humanity’s core organization, works to accomplish."

- Pg. 490, LCR Bv2

"Crowns and borders were placed in the ruins of empire, cast down. Humanity, finally united in trust, contrition, and solidarity, raised one single banner, the last to fly over Earth: Union."

-Pg. 486, LCR Bv2

Definition: Empire

"an extensive group of states or countries under a single supreme authority, formerly especially an emperor or empress."

"an extensive operation or sphere of activity controlled by one person or group."

- 2019 Merriam-Webster, Incorporated]

I know I picked hard at these things. I want to make the point that I believe that Socialism is a noble endeavor; yet, in a universe that will always have scarcity (unless someone is able to create a process that transforms matter), Capitalism will always be the most efficient system for resource management.

That being said, in the universe of  the awesome creation Lancer, the creators have every right to make whatever they want; I just want it to make sense to me. 

For the first point, It makes sense that the other Corp-State mech manufacturers would charge a "fee" for access to their licenses, with HORUS being the exception (although, if they have a vested interest in you and you provide some sort of "service" in exchange for them "gifting" you a license, then I guess they aren't the exception at all). It does not make sense, at least to me, why UNION citizens would be denied being a Lancer. If every UNION individual wanted to be a Lancer, would they not be in there right to have their labor provided? And if not, is that not a lack of supply that is observed in economics?

For my second point, I would like to know how UNION is NOT like an empire? If the UNION is taking resources from other powers and forcing their values upon others, does that not make them an imperialist power? Is UNION pacifist? Does UNION bother helping non-UNION members? If so, why? Is it a bargaining chip? A trade of goods and services for a mutually beneficial diplomatic deal perhaps?

But I digress.

I can only hope that I didn't piss anyone off and that you will recognize the work I have put into this. I do want Lancer to be good, which is why I spent the time and the labor to address these points.

Thank you.


BTW, I love the Star Trek universe and if that is what you are kinda going for, I totally get it.

Although if we were in the Star Trek universe, I would be a Ferengi for sure LOL

**OP replied to his own post and therefore sucks** LOL


"but don't you know capitalism is the best? I read it in a book once!"


It is the best. For now anyways. Until every country has reached an equilibrium regarding Production Power Parody. Once that happens, then Utopian Communism will be possible.


Free-Market Capitalism also saved Chile from economic collapse in the 70's.


Hail Milton Friedman.

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I don't see any contradiction or problem there, and I doubt that the authors do either.

1. A "post-scarcity society" is a society where resources are no longer scarce relative to human needs. It's so cheap to provide everyone with the best standard of living that there's no longer any reason to compel people to work for it. It can be given away essentially for free, like wifi at a cafe.

That doesn't mean that every resource in that society is infinite. It doesn't mean that the society can afford for everyone to build giant mechs and smash them against each other all day. It doesn't mean that blueprints are perfectly free or that there are no onerous restrictions. And TIME is just as scarce in Lancer as it is today: you get one second for every second that passes. (Sometimes less.) 

I also have no idea why resource abundance would eliminate trade. People have been trading stuff for a long time and will probably still want to trade stuff when they have more stuff.

2. Sure, Union is not that far from an empire. Under the Second Committee, it was an "empire in all but name." It's certainly not pacifist or particularly shy about imposing its values. And what's your point?

There are some authors who use their fictional works to validate their own ridiculous prejudices and dogmas. If they have an opinion, they write a novel where the people with their opinion are the best and good and smart, and everyone else is cruel and stupid. If you're coming from those authors, I am not surprised that you think the lack of an overriding, absolute economic and social dogma in Lancer is an error on the part of the authors.

But it is not an error. Union is not the best country with the best economic system and the best opinions that are the author's opinions. It is a realistically flawed future state.


(I'm going to extend the wifi metaphor a bit. If you use the wifi at a cafe, that does not compel you to buy things from it, but you probably will anyway. In a similar way, a post-scarcity society does not compel people to contribute, but they probably will anyway.)


[Post-scarcity is a theoretical economic situation in which most goods can be produced in great abundance with minimal human labor needed, so that they become available to all very cheaply or even freely. ... Writers on the topic often emphasize that some commodities will remain scarce in apost-scarcity society.]

This is the definition I am basing my knowledge upon.

Look ... I just want to know WHY the damn GMS licenses are restricted. What is the reason for it. I am hoping that it isn't an arbitrary "because we say it is" situation. 

With a little creativity, I am sure I could be satisfied.

My point is the author's stated that they want to depict a world that has escaped oppressive capitalism and empire, yet I don't see how they have achieved that when it still exists in the system.

And I will say it again, as I said in my original post... despite what I know, I understand it is their creation and they can have it whatever way they want. But if there are things screaming out at me that indicate inconsistencies, I feel that in order to be helpful, I should say something.

Read my post, not my profile name. Dig?

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Uh huh. If you supposedly knew that resources can be scarce in a post-scarcity society, then what was all that gibberish about the scarcity of TIME? And if you "just want to know why the GMS licenses are restricted," wouldn't it be more rational to ask the authors to go into more detail about that, instead of writing a lot of pseudointellectual stuff about alleged contradictions?

I personally don't see any need for more detail there. I would need a license to drive a heavy truck. It doesn't blow my mind that I might need one to drive a spider mech with a particle cannon. In fact, I am glad that they did not go into much detail, because I've been coming up with my own ideas about how Union keeps people from printing things they aren't allowed to have, how successful that effort is, and what implications it has for Union society. You could do that too. With a little creativity on your part, I'm sure you could be satisfied.

"My point is the author's stated that they want to depict a world that has escaped oppressive capitalism and empire"

I don't remember them saying that anywhere. I think you are misremembering something.

"Read my post, not my profile name."

Is this a complaint about something that I wrote, or is this just what you type when you are sad?


Dude...you are being overly hostile man. Seriously. 

Time is scarce in the following way. Long ago, In agrarian  societies, people would work ALL day to make food for their lord or king. Then, when Capital and industry became a thing, there were machines that people could use that made the job faster and easier, thus freeing up more time for other stuff. That is how time is a scarce resource because there are always things we can do to maximize how we use our time.

It isn't pseudointellectual. To someone with no knowledge of how capitalism works, perhaps it seems pseudointellectual.

If the intent of the system is for the DM to come up with their own reasons for why the licenses aren't available to all, I suppose that is a good enough reason. I honestly didn't think of that. 

So you need a license to drive a truck. But again: WHY do you get to drive a truck and I do not? Is that also up to the DM as well?

In the PDF, press Ctrl + f. A little search bar pops up. Type in "capitalism." It doesn't appear too many times so it should be too hard. That or "empire." It's there in black and white.

I am glad to see you are so passionate about my criticism. Yet you want to see it stay the same, wheras I want to make it a better product for everyone. To buy.  With lots of their surplus income.


If you're experiencing significant blocker given that you can't imagine why the GMS licenses might be restricted, you might not be in the target audience for this game.

Part of the joy of roleplaying games with rich settings is exploring the gaps, implications, and assumptions of the text. If my group earnestly asked a question like, "Why doesn't everyone have a GMS license?", we'd probably have a real good time working together to find out!

All that to say: the most economical and enjoyable solution to this problem is very likely to be your group or GM figuring out something cool together.


see, THAT makes sense to me. Look, I haven't really ran any TTRPG games myself and I would like to. When I saw what I thought were inconsistencies, I freaked out because I was like, "how would I explain this to my players!?" 

It honestly didn't occur to me that I, the DM, could use these things to flavor or design the game I would like to run.

IF the 'inconsistancies' are intentionally written in order to create those holes for DM's to use, the bravo! Because that is awesome! Yet, if they aren't, I am also trying to be the Warcraft red shirt guy and help out.

I honestly haven't gotten to the DM section of the book so if that information is in there, THAT will be really helpful. I was really focused  on the lore and background information because I was really enjoying that aspect of the game. Even moreso than the game mechanics, which are also exceptional.


You think "Socialism is great" but are then "Capitalism uber alles!" 

Maybe this game isn't for you. Maybe just move on and not spam up the comments section. I came looking for testimonials/reviews and all I see is you rambling on about something that isn't related to the game.


Union isn't a socialist society for exactly the reasons you pointed out, and it's not supposed to be.  The contradictions you pointed out are intentionally made in order to imply that the lore is written from the point of view of Union propaganda.  Union is pretty explicitly still an imperialist power that's scaled back from it's second iteration only to a certain degree, which is exactly why it tolerates the existence of, for instance, Harrison Armory, within Union space.  Union talks a big game, but is no more interested in giving everyone their fair share than it is in dropping the deification of the core worlds and their citizens.

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Probably for the same reason that millionaires are not allowed to purchase M1 Abrams tanks even if they have the money? Even if you can produce something for free, it isn't always in your best interest to make it freely available for simple safety's sake. I doubt Union would allow you to freely print monster trucks either, you'd at least need to prove you can operate one without killing people. From a military perspective, it doesn't make sense for everyone to have a mech when they're specialist vehicles that take a lot of training to use, and while they may be free for the players, they're almost certainly not free for Union. Free food and free housing does not translate to free mechsuits. Fighter pilots don't have to pay for new jets when they bail out, same probably applies to Lancers.


The art for this game is beautiful!


looking forward to digging into it