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The Universal World Profile
by Anthony F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/27/2018 13:07:21

Amazing wealth of information, and like all of the work tied to SOLO and their other publications, this is just a fantastic resource. Paul offers usable concise and inspiring insights into both how the UWP is often portrayed, and in expanding it to make worlds, and the situations and encounters, colorful, usable, and above all memorable. I cannot give this one enough praise.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Universal World Profile
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Pioneer Class Station
by Anthony F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/27/2018 13:02:29

I was so very delighted by this supplement, and it will be seeing a Lot of use in my Traveller campaign, and make a great handy reference and locale for my writing projects as well. Lovely flavor, detailed maps, concise and consistent information across the board. I will be looking into more of these guys work. Highly recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Pioneer Class Station
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Pioneer Class Station
by MR C D T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/19/2018 13:23:29

An excellent product. I love the overall flavour and background detail of the Hostile RPG and I envisage this station design will also get a bit of use in my Traveller campaign too. The adventure that comes with it is also very good; full of tension and putting the players into a dangerous situation from the outset before turning up the scare factor!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hostile
by Omer J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/16/2017 03:56:02

Admit it - you watched Alien(s), Outland, Blade Runner, and many other 1970's and early-1980's sci-fi films. You loved them. You've always wanted to run role-playing games in their settings. There was once a relatively obscure Aliens RPG published in 1991. Classic Traveller also comes quite close to Alien(s). However, none of them captures the spirit of these "retro-industrial" hard-line 1970's universe as brilliantly as HOSTILE does.

The entire thing oozes atmosphere. It is clear that the author knows the milieu like the back of his hand and has analyzed it, dissecting it to its most basic elements: a focus on work and working-class heroes; industrialization and an "industrial" look and feel; danger lurking in the many corners of space; anthropocentric milieu; retro-futurism; and a hearty dose of cynicism. It provides a list of several movies inspiring HOSTILE games, from Alien to Elysium.

Also, it lists Red Dwarf as inspiration! And also mentions it again as a source of adventure inspiration! BONUS POINTS!

HOSTILE comes in the form of five PDF files:

  • 1970's-style Classic Traveller-inspired rules. These are almost exclusively combat rules, which supplement the many rules included in HOSTILE. However, ship combat is still absent.
  • A PDF with 15 floor plans of various "space colony" locations, from Aliens-style colonial corridors to a warehouse.
  • An in-universe starship-trade "Magazine" showcasing the "Hercules"-class tug, which is, in a nutshell, the Nostromo (of Alien fame) with its serial numbers filed off.
  • A HOSTILE-specific character sheet, in the shape of an in-universe PERSONNEL Form.
  • The HOSTILE book itself.

After this introduction, there is a 9-page setting overview, out of which 3 pages are setting history, 3 are nation-state and corporate overview, and the rest is mostly art. I love this: short and to the point. History serves the setting. No need for long fluff here. Just the bare bones necessary to provide context to the rest of the book. Excellent game-design choice, in my humble opinion.

After that comes astrography. This is meaty - 54 pages, most of which describe worlds. As in Aliens and 2300AD, HOSTILE organizes space into "arms" of human expansion into the stars. This book focuses on the American Arm. It also divides space into "Zones" - i.e. Traveller-style Subsectors. The book includes six of these, in excellent blue-and-dark maps. Before the worlds, it overviews the standard Cepheus/Traveller world generation rules, with minor modifications. The book details 23 worlds, all "Core" worlds, and then mentions Frontier worlds in a passing, without details. This is a shame - Frontier colonies are a hotbed for adventure.

A major point of divergence from standard Cepheus/Traveller is that of tech levels. HOSTILE combines TL15 in computers, robotics, and ship drives with TL10 in everything else. It also totally lacks cybernetics - remember, this is Blade Runner, not Johnny Mnemonic. Other than a short table on p.38, the book does not mention tech levels. As in Aliens, colonies have similar technology to that of the Core.

After this come the actual setting details - those of the "Big Seven" mega-corporations, the obligatory spacefaring USMC, the United States Space Command (refreshingly a development of the Air Force rather than the navy), starlines, NGOs, mercenaries ("Primate Military Contractors" - PMCs - HOSTILE uses the real-world contemporary term), non-profits, and criminals. Ah, and Antarctica Traffic Control! It also has the equivalent of Bladerunner Replicants, that is renegade psychopathic clones which authorities are trying to hunt down.

As in most third-party Traveller and Cepheus settings, such as Clement Sector and These Stars Are Ours!, HOSTILE has a sizable character generation chapter. This follows standard Cepheus Engine rules, though with 15 new careers such as Corporate Exec (the replacement of a Noble), Marshal (frontier lawman), and Roughneck (space miner). There is also an option to play Alien(s)-style androids. They have several limitations, such as Asimov's rules they are programmed to follow and limited skills, but still - playing an android is cool!

Perfect Classic Traveller/Cepheus Engine "character sheet" if there ever was one! Just add equipment on the back and start chasing star outlaws!

Similar to Outer Veil, HOSTILE provides equipment, complete with in-world brand names. Expect Pulse Rifles and an AK-equivalent. The equipment chapter also discusses technology as a whole in this setting. This is straight 1970's-mid-1980's sci-fi. No cellular phone, no flat or touch screens, no nanotechnology. Video-Phones rule the day, as well as data cards and minidiscs. A great addition is in-universe "medicinal" names for the otherwise dry Traveller drug names; you will find ACE Inhibitor and Dexamphetamine here, not Slow Drug and Combat Drug. There are all sorts of equipment, as well as guns and vehicles. There are no gravitic vehicles in HOSTILE, so vehicles are restricted to pretty realistic ones, from cars to tilt-rotors. This chapter is very long, and has its fair share of "Gun Pr0n".

Oh, and the Referee/GM is called here... The "Manager"!

The next chapter details styles of play and the general milieu, with adventure hooks aplenty. The three recommended play styles are Work - that is, playing corporate troubleshooters solving all sorts of nasty frontier problems; Fight, where the PMCs and the said obligatory space USMC come in; and Explore, which is boldly going where no man has gone before and probably getting eaten by a xenobeast as well. HOSTILE then gives many tips about how to run and describe an Aliens-style setting. This includes visual and auditory ques, as well as the main themes of the game. There is also an excellent discussion of horror gaming, with tips to the budding horror Referee ("Manager"). Including Xenomorphs. And Hyperspace anomalies! HOSTILE mentions Red Dwarf in the latter, which, again, is wonderful. I love that series!

There are also stats for various dangerous xenomorphs, including, as you expect, a Reticulan Parasite, i.e. an Alien (in TSAO!, of course, a "Reticulan Parasite" has another meaning :-) ) and a creature inspired by the one from John Carpenter's The Thing. The next section discusses environmental hazards, including radiation and a realistic depiction of vacuum exposure. Everything is well-detailed and clear: from extreme temperatures to poisonous atmospheres. I think that this chapter will be perfectly useful in other settings as well, as it is, in my opinion, superior to the discussion of these subjects in Mongoose Traveller or the 2D6 Sci-Fi SRD. The only downside is that the chapter only lists the amount of rads a given radiation source causes, but does not list their effects on the human body; this sends the player to browse the Cepheus Engine.

There are belting rules, along with some new equipment, which is very well thought out. The mining rules themselves remind me of Outer Veil - these are OGL, of course, and this pleases me very much.

The next big chunk of HOSTILE is starship construction. This is a major point of divergence from the Cepheus Core. HOSTILE ships are big; as big as those of old Classic Traveller Book 5: High Guard. Up to a million tons! However, maneuver drives are plasma reaction drives. Hyperspace engines require no fuel, but M-Drives require fuel similar to that of a Cepheus Core J-Drive. Thus, you can use ship designs from other 2D6 OGL-compatible products in HOSTILE, including their deck plans, with minimal adjustments.

This is "not"-Alien(s) so while in Hyperspace transit, everyone must hibernate in Hypersleep or suffer horrid effects. Ships still have staterooms for in-system flight, though, and Hypersleep seems much safer than vanilla Traveller Low Berths. There are also shipboard medical facility rules (possibly) inspired by my Outer Veil, but sadly no hydroponics, which would be, in my opinion, highly appropriate to this setting. Finally, the chapter clarifies the Cepheus/2D6 SRD missile rules, which is a boon.

The book provides several ship designs, from tugs and refineries (ahem, Nostromo) to Naval patrol ships - similar to cruisers in MGT terms, I think. There are no deck plans, but there are beautiful renders of some of these ships.

Finally, there are adventure seeds - they are short, but there is a large number of them.

The book ends with some NPC stats - including a very well-known crew with its serial numbers (and names) filed off - and a filled character sheet example.

The bottom line is that this is a wonderful product. I think that, far more than a setting book, it is a genre toolbox. If you want a gritty, Alienesque near-Terra, near-future setting, this is the book for you. If you want to build your own near-Terra, near-future setting - this book would also be of immense value to you.

Highly recommended!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hostile
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Solo
by Jens G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/08/2017 14:52:46

Looks great, it has already been put to good use for background events in my regular campaign. I'm looking forward to start using it myself, for my own solo adventiring.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Solo
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1970s 2D6 RETRO RULES
by alistair l. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/10/2017 20:51:46

If you're a fan of the original 2d6 game this was based on, this provides a good return to the simplicity of those days of the 1970s. Nice to see a variant that bolts on to a current rule set rather than yet another different stand alone rules set that unnecessarily re-invents the wheel. I'll be using it, and the advantage is that if there is anything I think I need to add back in, thats pretty simple. But the baseline provided I think will allow for good quick simple game flow. Mostly. My only reservation is the simultaneous combat rules. My experience is that all the rules in various rpgs for simultaneous combat that I've used in the past require a moment or two in the combat where everyone writes down what they're doing, or at least commits to an action in their head. And that slows things down for me and my typical playgroups. I don't see any explanation in the text for implementing the simultaneous nature of combat, and I think an example and a bit more explanation here would add clarity. And especially, an explanation on how it'll speed things up. I personally find a simple initiative system to work fine for defining an order of declaration then reaction, and I think something similar could have been provided as an alternative option - even if only a suggestion to let people know that its ok to tweak things. Aside from that, I like it. And I think I'll like the twist that has melee going before fire combat. The explanation, and the things it allows that mimic your favourite TV/film combats, are nice. I can always change it if I don't like it. The elegance and straightforwardness of the rest of it certainly make it worth while in my opinion. The quibbles are why its 4/5 not 5/5.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
1970s 2D6 RETRO RULES
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Solo
by Jesus D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/16/2017 18:20:25

Great framework, will be using this for my campaign #Space1888, with Cepheus Engine. Worth every penny ! :-)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Solo
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Far Horizon
by Omer J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/29/2017 09:46:40

Space is awesome. Rocket science is awesome. Astronauts are awesome. As children, we dreamed of traveling the stars in a space capsule or rocket ship, wearing a space-suit, visiting all sorts of weird and wonderful alien planets. For me, the most important element of science-fiction is the Sense of Wonder, that sensation you feel when you encounter strange and wondrous scenes, objects, and ideas. Science fiction allowed me to escape the boring school life to far more intriguing places in our imagination. Far Horizon scratches this very itch.

Far Horizon is space exploration. Realistic space exploration - scientists in a spacecraft visiting a rogue planet passing through the outer edges of our solar system. It is 2100 AD and the characters' deep-space vehicle, the eponymous Far Horizon, undertook the first manned mission to Pluto. In 2095, astronomers detected a new planet passing through the Kuiper Belt. Strangely enough, they also found tiny shifts in the planet's trajectory - and have added a visit to that planet to Far Horizon's mission. This world - Tartarus - is a mystery for the players to crack.

This adventure is devoid of combat, yet action abounds. This is an adventure of interplanetary exploration, including all the challenges and threats of realistic spaceflight in a thermal rocket with limited fuel flying through the outer system. This is science fiction at its finest - the characters have to figure out a puzzle of science while exploring an alien planet, all while avoiding the deadly dangers of deep space travel. They have a limited time to explore Tartarus due to orbital mechanics and limited fuel; overstaying can spell slow death in the cold reaches interstellar space.

Far Horizon takes place in Zozer Games' Orbital 2100 hard-science setting, though the setting book itself is not necessary to run the adventure. It focuses on the deep space exploration aspect of the setting rather on its Expanse-style interplanetary politics. It should be very easy to set this adventure in any other hard-science, near-future solar system setting, or run it as a one-off.

The book also provides a detailed overview, including stats, description, deck plans, and excellent renders (by the wonderful Ian Stead) of the Far Horizon deep space vehicle itself; also, it has detailed stats and rules for realistic TL8 and TL9 space suits. These will be useful for a wide variety of hard-science near-future games and are second to none. The adventure also provides pre-generated characters (in Cepheus Engine stats) in case the players lack the setting book.

I heartily recommend this adventure, as it is a very unique and interesting hard-science space-exploration romp.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Far Horizon
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Solo
by Morgan G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/19/2017 22:56:47

I've been playing a fair few solo games in the last few years - blame grad school and multiple moves for depriving me of my usual gaming fix. I've shopped around for solo systems for a long time too - Mythic, Scarlet Heroes, and more. None of them scratch my solo gaming itch quite the way Solo does.

The core "mechanic" - a scene-based resolution - opens up roleplaying opportunities and simplifies what often ends up being an exercise in tedium (see my habit of asking Mythic a dozen variations on "is the door locked?"). The mechanic in Solo is super simple - so simple that it would be downright insulting that it's going for $10 except that the other 140 or so pages in this product are chock full of excellent subsystems, random tables, and inspirational ideas. This is a Traveller GM simulator - built to run multiple campaigns and spit up something new and exciting every time. As much as I love things like Stars Without Number or Scarlet Heroes, the random tables in this product nail the flavor and feeling I want from a solo SF experience - something between the flavor of Firefly and The Expanse, with lots of room to wander in.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Solo
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Solo
by David S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/15/2017 10:04:01

The beating heart of this product is the "Plan" mechanic, which replaces the mechanics of the host system you're using it with, whether Cepheus, Traveller, or pretty much anything else. The Plan mechanic is a one-roll scene resolution mechanic, meaning that you don't play things out blow-by-blow, but instead roll once to see whether you succeed or fail overall, then go back and write a story telling how that result came about. Or, as the text puts it, "These kinds of questions would not arise in a table top RPG because they would have emerged naturally through game-play. We dispensed with the game-play – but we still need the answers to these questions!"

If scene resolution is your thing, then the Plan mechanic will provide one, along with tips on using it in a solo gaming context. Unfortunately, scene resolution is really not my thing, so I can't say how it compares to other scene resolution systems.

If, on the other hand, you prefer to have things emerge naturally through game-play, you'll probably want to stay away from this one. While it does provide a number of decent random encounter/event tables, along with step-by-step procedures for using them in various types of campaigns, I don't feel that these tables and procedures alone are worth the purchase.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Solo
by Jacob R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/12/2017 00:15:14

This book makes me mad. Mad that I didn't write it. It's a follow-up to Paul's now-classic Star Trader, adn pretty much replaces it. When Star Trader first came out I asked the author to make a version for scouts, and not only has he done that, he also includes solo campaign ideas for naval patrols and just vanilla Traveller. The only thing that I don't like is the Plan section. Something about it feels non-Traveller. I like that it simplifies things, but I really would like it better if there were a more granular option, where instead of rolling once for the whole adventure you roll for sections or something, or where you generate X number of challenges and then resolve them, even with a single roll. Overall very good book. Buy, play it, live it.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Jacob! I distinctly remember you asking for a scouts version of Star Trader, and I remember telling you that it was a very difficult proposition. It took many months of play-testing to reach a viable exploration system - I'm glad you like it! I should say here, that the Plan is a great tool, but it doesn't replace the normal skill system. Skill rolls for characters can be made at any time to resolve problems or issues that are on a smaller scale. I'm reasonable sure I included an example or two of that in the Example of Play.
Orbital 2100
by Christopher D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/03/2016 07:20:34

If like me your film libray includes such titles as "The Martian", "Star Cops", "Outland" and so on and your reading runs to Allen Steele's "Rude Astronauts" then this source book i definuitely for you. I wasn't tottally blown away by the polotics of the background but everything else was well worth it. There are things of use if you use a more standard Traveller background as the rules for TL9 space craft and working in space will be useful in any setting and it acts as a reminder of just how much adventure you can get in a system beyond the main world.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Orbital 2100
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Warlords of Alexander
by Christopher B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/19/2016 09:31:11

A interesting D100 historical adventure setting in the world after Alerxander the Great. Will work with any system but created for D100



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Warlords of Alexander
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Grunt - Roleplaying in the Vietnam War
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/03/2016 15:10:43

Good introduction to VIETNAM ERA terms and keywords. GRUNT is a good resource for running encounters involving unseen ambushers. I use it as a resource for creating ambushes (lots of ambush inspiration and good introduction to how a weaker force engages a more powerful force) and running gaming-as-war style rpgs. Gritty, dark style of play that reflects some of the horror of the period. Simple and effective mechanic for handling the stress of combat and horror of war.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Grunt - Roleplaying in the Vietnam War
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World Creator's Handbook
by paul h. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/05/2015 21:21:34

I couldn't justify a 4 star rating, but it's a good 3.5 stars. I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked this up, but the price point is low enough that there's very little risk even if it was a total disappointment.

For those that like more references and explanations regarding a planets UWP, this book does an adequate job of explaining them and providing real-world examples. None of the sections are bad, a few could really use more details, and there are some that they do a really good job with. There is some inconsistency with the explanations - in some sections they start at the beginning of the chart and work their way 'down'. But in others they do the opposite. It's not a huge issue, just a minor quibble. The art inside is fairly standard, with a spacey clip-art feel to it.

I thought the two sections that could have used a lot more content were the Bases and the travel zones sections. Both of these usually get the short of the stick in virtually every supplement I've ever seen published. Sure, what more do you need with "Naval Base Present"? A whole lot, that's what! It would have been easy to add pages on the various types of naval bases/scout bases that one can encounter. A naval base could be anywhere from a couple of shacks on the ground, to say the Traveller equivalent of a submarine tender with patrol cruisers, all the way up to depot-class bases. This is an area that has so much to explore, but rarely is. On the travel zones, these hardly ever have much detail. Amber or red zones are present in virtually ever sub-sector, but rarely are we ever given much background behind them. Previous books have talked up how the Navy is typically punitive in assigning zone classifications, while the Scouts tend to be protective of worlds with theirs. So there's all that area to be explored, not to mention the concepts behind how they are interdicted, how players might try to evade interdiction, and what the Imperials or others might do to catch them.

Still, I'm not disappointed with it. It's definitely worth passing on Starbucks one day to add to your Traveller toolbox.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
World Creator's Handbook
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