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Hostile Technical Manual


The HOSTILE Technical Manual digs deeper into the retro-technology of  this alternate future. It includes in-depth articles on hyperdrives, artificial gravity, androids, fusion power, hypersleep chambers, communications and computers. It also explains the existence of 'retrotech' - could a futuristic setting live this way?  How would it come about? 

Essays by the experienced contributors Richard GroveShawn Fisher and Paul Elliott add a little more detail, a little more verisimilitude to your HOSTILE roleplaying games. So when some player asks you, "can I contact the USCS Cheyenne while in hyperspace?" you will have an answer! 

HOSTILE is a gritty SF setting based on thos ate-70s and early-80s movies we all grew up with, and can be played with Cepheus Engine or any version of the Classic 2D6-based SF RPG. 

Our setting of course, must not just look and feel realistic, it must act realistically. Of course much of this technology is imaginary, yet we still want a sensible degree of engineering logic to back it all up. If the player characters want to disable all the anti-gravity on a ship’s deck, were do they go? What kind of infrastructure will they be sabotaging? It’s these practical in-game problems that depend on what would normally be considered the totally theoretical and frivolous assertions appearing within the HOSTILE Technical Manual. 

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Reviews (2)
Discussions (5)
Customer avatar
John J November 27, 2020 7:33 pm UTC
I must admit, reading the preview I love the authors' thought-exercise to explain the look and feel of the technology. Brilliant, in-game reasoning. In some ways, I wonder if this would also be a great idea of why the technology in Classic Traveller also seems bulky and clunky at times. (Well, that and try to make standardization work across 11,000 worlds, millions of cultures, with travel times in months or years between far-flung systems). Really good stuff. Not my setting of choice, but considering the purchase as a sourcebook and ideas generator.

Now, if someone could come up with a great in-universe reason the Star Frontiers setting does not have gravitic or anti-grav tech in a universe with energy fields, energy weapons galore, smart robots, and the like ...
Customer avatar
Warren E March 06, 2020 1:20 pm UTC
This is a great book to get an explanation of how things work in-setting.

Even so, I kind of both like and dislike the explanation for why technology is the way it is in the backstory. My biggest pet peeve is the mentioning that people "chose" to go retro instead of going for touchscreens and such.

I would rather have had it that it simply wasn't possible to make touchscreens here or LCD monitors here. Like for whatever reason, scientists weren't able to make real advances there.

That going retro wasn't a choice, but instead a continuation of the 80's/early 90's because while memory and such was able to advance, monitor technology and keyboards weren't able to improve much beyond what we had.

Same with wireless tech. I wish it hadn't been mentioned early on.

I guess part of me doesn't want HOSTILE to acknowledge real world advances and then choosing to deliberately go retro. Instead I wanted it to be retro because that was literally the...See more
Customer avatar
Philip C August 26, 2019 11:08 pm UTC
Less for players (unless they demand a lot of background) and more to give Gamemasters a detailed look into the setting so that they can get a true feel for it. A quick read through shows how much thought was put into the background and provide a few adventure seed ideas.
Customer avatar
Neil L June 10, 2018 9:26 am UTC
Worth having and reading, it gives justifications for the style of technology in the game, so when player argues that they should have a smartphone or iPad style device, you can tell them why no one makes them. This is essentially the background thinking and research that underpins the game, so not always worth including in the final product but interesting if you like the universe.
Customer avatar
Andrew T June 08, 2018 9:54 am UTC
A useful little guide. I have used similar reasons to explain the retrotech in Red Dwarf for that RPG, a combination of durability, ease of repair and the fact that while they do have 3D printers to create new parts, most technology is copyrighted by the Megacorps and the licences for the printing programmes are extortionate or limited only to specific company ships, installations and personnel. Hence old "open license" 80's tech is a lot cheaper (and much simpler) to produce.

I see you've steered clear from one of the more sordid android applications but you know they'd be out there. I'm sure the Realdoll Corporation is doing quite well in the Hostile future...
Customer avatar
Paul E June 08, 2018 4:51 pm UTC
Thanks Andrew. We have a book lined up covering the sordid world of clone exploitation ... written by GURPS writer, Shawn Fisher!
Customer avatar
Warren E March 06, 2020 10:53 pm UTC
Do you know when this clone book will be out?
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File Last Updated:
July 14, 2019
This title was added to our catalog on June 07, 2018.