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Mindjammer - The Novel
by Christopher W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/31/2022 20:13:27

I really wanted to like this, but it starts middlin' and gets worse over time.

Pros: Some character development Mindjammer!

Cons: Plot-driven to a fault — the characters need to be stupid for the plot to work, so they are stupid, especially the team leader. My god, what a disaster he would be. “And now the bad guys can do—THIS!”

I wish this novel was anywhere near as good as the game.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Mindjammer - The Novel
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Monsters & Magic Roleplaying Game
by James B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/21/2022 20:35:15

The first game produced by the Old School Revival that really caught my attention, Monsters & Magic combines an old-school D&D sensibility with more modern narrative-focused mechanics. The core system, called the Effect Engine, features a ton of innovations that make it one of the most interesting variations on D&D I've ever seen.

Its best ideas include character-related traits that can be applied to checks; certain degrees of success allowing you to add narrative effects to the results; mental hit points, used in social combat and other forms of mental stress; and alignment focus and drift, allowing you to better define what alignment means for your character as well as what tempts them towards other alignments. This is also one of the few RPGs I'm aware of that makes a serious effort to integrate large-scale play into the core rules, through a concept called Constructs - allowing characters to plausibly affect everything from gangs and armies to cities, nations, and even worlds. (Usually, this is treated as a separate subsystem.)

This is such a great system that I wish it wasn't trying to be compatible with old-school D&D... because I think that's seriously holding it back. While they try their best with new takes on concepts like Treasure Types, it still feels like certain aspects of classic D&D should have been abandoned to make a better, standalone fantasy RPG. Perhaps we'll see something like that in a future evolution of the system?

Speaking of old-school compatibility, my other major complaint is the limited amount of monsters, spells, and magic items described in the book. They expect you to use existing D&D sourcebooks for additions, but I would have appreciated more conversions, to better compare this system to its relatives.

All in all, though, this is a very cool and inspirational system, and I look forward to using it! (Originally posted on Goodreads)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monsters & Magic Roleplaying Game
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Mindjammer - Traveller Edition
by Sapphire C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/15/2021 04:49:43

To preface this, Mindjammer can produce some high-falooting player characters. But that's kind of part of the charm.

Like Ironclaw, it's a setting that knows what it wants and how to get it. It's a setting and system that veers towards a single, powerful, expansionist bunch of technically good guys who ultimately trip, stumble and crash into every other planet. No aliens, BTW, all old human expansion efforts of thousands of years ago, reconnected into the Commonality.

I rather like the emphasis on cultural warfare. To fight an enemy by changing their mind through subversion and propaganda, undermining destructive ideals and replacing them with compatible ones. In general, the book feels very smart and forward thinking, which gives the setting itself a lot of shine.

It is, however, a very distinct thing its going for. Great gunslinging heroics are possible, but the way it's set up far prefers something more thoughtful, personal and intimate.

And if that all doesn't appeal, the fricking book is stuffed with just fun ideas on campaigns, technologies and more. You get your money's worth, one way or another.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mindjammer - Traveller Edition
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Mindjammer - The Roleplaying Game
by Jeffrey Z. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/11/2021 17:27:38

This article originally appeared in the June/July 2014 issue of Freelance Traveller, and as such is written from the perspective of using it with Traveller*.

Disclosure: A complimentary copy of the PDF edition was made available to the author for the purpose of review.

Like Diaspora and Starblazer Adventures, previously reviewed in Freelance Traveller, Mindjammer is based on the FATE system. It represents a third esthetic for FATE-based SFRPGs, lying somewhere between the rollicking comic space opera of Starblazer Adventures and the very Traveller-like crunch of Diaspora.

The FATE system is very strongly narrativist, so the emphasis is on role-playing, with simple mechanics and little of the bookkeeping that characterizes most versions of Traveller as written. It has been discussed in Freelance Traveller’s prior reviews of Starblazer Adventures (reviewed by “kafka”, October 2010) and Diaspora (reviewed by Jeff Zeitlin, February 2011), and so will not be discussed here; rather, the focus will be on the setting.

Transhumanism has not been a significant part of Traveller, though Mongoose Traveller does allow for some possibilities outside of the Third Imperium setting. Mindjammer, however, is a strongly transhumanist setting, and offers a significant degree of modularity, to allow elements of the setting to be transplanted to other games, or to be included or omitted as desired in a Mindjammer game. Rules for creating various aspects of the setting are detailed enough to satisfy even hard-core “gearheads” of all types, but where gearheading is unnecessary or undesirable, a few broad strokes of FATE Aspects can be enough to satisfy the needs of the game.

Character types, including various humans, both genetically modified and not, uplifted animals (“Xenomorphs”), artificials (including such things as sentient starships, space stations, and so on), and aliens, are available to players, each defined by various combinations of Aspects, Flaws, and Extras. Further definition of characters is defined by additional Aspects, Skills, Stunts, and so on of Careers. While a wide range of sample careers and character types are presented, instructions for creating your own follow the examples. There is even a chapter on organizations in the Mindjammer setting, with rules and templates for creating your own.

While the distinction between the ‘real world’ and ‘virtual reality’ continues to exist in Mindjammer, the line between them begins to blur with the Mindscape and an individual’s ‘halo’. The halo is described as an individual’s extension into the Mindscape (through a Mindscape implant), and that extension enables the use of certain skills, enhancements, extras, and so on. Many of the skills provide analogues to “classic” psionic powers such as telepathy, psionic assault, and perception. Beyond that, virtual realities can be as convincing as the real world, and what happens in the Mindscape can have real-world consequences. The speed of light is still a limit for data transmission, so the Mindscape is kept approximately synchronized between worlds through starships carrying updates.

An in-depth look at the sociopolitical structure of the setting is presented, outlining polities, corporations, cultures, and technology, fitting them together and providing rules for using them in the game, and (as usual) creating your own. Extensive rules for world-building (and star system building) are included, as well, and potentially offer a greater range of environments than stock Traveller. It is even possible to define ecosystems ranging from artificial (for food production) through transplanted Terrestrial biota to habitable-but-incompatible and completely alien.

One resource that Mindjammer provides in the core book that Traveller to date lacks is a guide to creating scenarios and campaigns. Obviously, it focuses on (and provides examples using) the standard Mindjammer setting and the FATE system, but the linkage is not strong, and the two chapters that comprise the guide would be a useful resource for any system.

Mindjammer is not Traveller, but this book is worth using as a resource for ideas that can be incorporated into Traveller, even if you don’t want the high level of Transhumanism that its setting assumes.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mindjammer - The Roleplaying Game
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The Worm Within - The First Chronicle Of Future Earth (novel)
by A customer [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/01/2020 10:16:36

Short take: The Worm Within is a very enjoyable read. I recommend it and look forward to the next installment.

Long take: I won't describe the plot in details, but it's pretty standard stuff for anyone who's read a smidgen of pulp fantasy and/or sat on fantasy and science-fantasy role-playing game sessions. There's a young apprentice with a mysterious past, a paladin, a magician of sorts, a thief, and a dark threat that puts the whole wold in danger. Still, Sarah Newton manages to inject enough energy in these over-used formulas to keep The Worm Within interesting.

The short chapters, organized around brief sections showcasing Newton's resolute writing style, give the story a strong forward momentum almost from the get-go. There's little to no fat either: the novel's very well edited, with less than a handful of typos. Jargon pertaining to the world in which the story takes place fills the text, but I never found it so distracting that I stopped enjoying the read. In fact, as the story progressed, said jargon drew me in further.

The Worm Within contains memorable, well-drawn characters. Although the novel's plot-driven, the people we get to spend time with never feel like after-thoughts. It is in fact our concern for their fate that makes The Worm Within such a fun read. As the novel reaches its climax, so too do the emotionally-charged threads tying all the characters together. The result is a very satisfying climax, one that's emotional as well as awesome in scale.

Finally, there's the world, which is one of the novel's main strengths: it's vast and resplendent, full of far-out deep history where super-advanced technology functions alongside awe-inspiring sorcery. Anyone interested in the world of Chronicles of Future Earth would do well to read this novel as it stands as its best introduction, one that is filled with magic, high-tech, weird creatures, strange customs, evil fiends, and long lost ruins full of wonders and dangers. Just pure, unadulterated, pulpy fun.

Note: The Worm Within is also the name of the good adventure that appears in Chaosium's 2011 Chronicles of Future Earth supplement. The novel and the adventure have very little in common though, beyond their common title and one of their plot-points. So, dive in.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Worm Within - The First Chronicle Of Future Earth (novel)
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Capharnaum Quickstart: THE TEARS OF AMPHAROOL
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/12/2018 09:17:08

Lushly presented, we have here a rich fantasy world that is Arabian in style. In this world, certain individuals are born with a birthmark on their backs shaped like a dragon's claw. It is belived - and expected - that these individuals are capable of great heroism, of achieving great renown... or notoriety, should their astonishing feats tend to the evil rather than the good. The player-characters are all marked thus: what will they accomplish? What songs will be sung about them, or stories told?

Colourful adventures, political, military, and magical intrigues await the characters in the land of Jazirat, once annexed by a crumbling Empire that itself was built on the remains of the Republic of Agalanthia. Jazirat is a vast peninsula with a big desert in the middle and Capharnaum to the north, regarded as the centre of the world, while the nation of Kh'saaba is found to the south. Many peoples with their own traditions and beliefs mix here, sometimes at peace, often not.

Scene set, we move on to the Quickstart Rules, a cut-down version of the full Capharnaum rules. The GM here is called Al-Rawi, which is the Arabic for 'storyteller', and task resolution is by rolling handfulls of d6s... you'll need a lot of them. The number rolled depends on your score in the appropriate attribute (Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, Intelligence or Charisma) and where appropriate you add in the number of points you have in an apposite skill. Most attributes and skills are rated 1-5, so normally you'll be rolling up to ten dice at a time. You then add up the best rolls, using the number of dice derived from your attribute - these are your Result dice, and you want as high a result as possible. This is compared against a target or against what someone else rolled if it's an opposed task. Sounds simple, huh? But there's more. Every time you roll, one die is designated the Dragon Die and if you roll a 6 on that, you keep that 6 and reroll, adding that result in as well... and so on until it rolls something other than 6. Only the Dragon Marked get to rill a Dragon Die. There are also extra effects if you roll three dice the same, called a 'Constellation'... and there are other bits as well. It sounds complex but once you have got your head around it, you'll find it works quite well, even if it makes the die-rolling a bit intrusive into the flow of the game.

The rules bit then goes into great detail about combat. It's a round-based system with everyone involved rolling initiative each round, then taking their actions in turn. Needless to say, there are a lot of different actions to choose from. There are also different classes of opponents from Champions (who give even the Dragon Marked a run for their money) to the hordes of 'Babouche-Draggers' who fall over at a harsh look and are there for local colour rather than real opposition. It's all intended to create a cinematic feel for combat, and flamboyant moves are encouraged. This is followed by a brief look at magic, which is supposedly flexible and profound; here it's limited to discussion of a single improvisational style practised by both of the magic-using pre-generated characters provided. In this, to cast a spell the player states which 'Sacred Word' (Create, Destroy, or Transform) is to be used, then describes the effect they are trying to create and then roll for the success (or otherwise) of your spell.

Next comes the adventure The Tears of Ampharool, which begins with the party travelling in a caravan across the desert when a sandstorm hits. Eventually an opportunity opens up, rather neatly it doesn't matter whether or not the party take up the offer, Whether or not they decide to explore a mirage palace that appears before them, there's plenty to do in the desert. It is all well constructed and hangs together neatly, leaving the party with the impression that the choices they may really do make a difference.

Finally, there are five pre-generated characters to choose from. Each is well-rounded and detailed, complete with charming illustrations.

Perpare to be swept away on a magic carpet of adventure. The game mechanics seem complex when you read through them, but become less clunky as you get to know them, with the magic system lending itself to some spectactular results if you are prepared to put the effort into designing your spells. There's a glorious immersive feel as this rich setting takes over and embraces you.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Capharnaum Quickstart: THE TEARS OF AMPHAROOL
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Mindjammer: Children of Orion—the Venu Sourcebook
by Nathan G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/10/2018 08:37:55

All this is, is the Imperium corrupted by Chaos. That's it. Lazy writing and blatant theft of another's IP.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Mindjammer: Children of Orion—the Venu Sourcebook
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Monsters & Magic Roleplaying Game
by Mauno J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/15/2017 10:39:57

This game was such a disappointment. I tried to run a Basic D&D adventure (Sword and Shield) converted to the Monsters & Magic rules according to the guidelines given in the M&M rulebook. The adventure was designed for a single 1st-level player character, but it was just too difficult for two ordinary 1st-level M&M characters and we had to quit the game because the players were not having fun. So if you are looking for a more modern ruleset to run old D&D adventures with, I don't advise picking up this game.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Monsters & Magic Roleplaying Game
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Mindjammer: The Core Worlds Sourcebook
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/10/2017 08:37:16

This book transports you to the very heart of the Commonality of Humankind. The Core Worlds are where humankind has its origins, settled in ancient times and containing some three hundred populated worlds. This is where the most extreme parts of the Commonality philosphy are accepted as givens: many people may find this rather uncomfortable. They are tradition-bound and conservative in outlook, very stratified and detest individuality. Religion, unlicensed sexual activity and news are also outlawed as being 'disruptive'. They've been like that for a long time, but Rediscovery is now opening up Frontier worlds again - a threat to some, a glorious opportunity to others.

Yet the Core Worlds are not homogeneous of themselves. Each is unique, and they can be grouped into five regious. The first is Old Earth itself, where humankind first began. Then there's Manhome, the entire solar system in which Old Earth is found. The settled solar systems within 100 light year (LY) of Old Earth form the Old Commonality. Further out are the Penumbral Worlds and finally the Satellite Domains. Chapter 2: The Structure of the Core provides maps and information to explain all this, with notes on cultural regions and explanations of how folks travel around. On a given planet, individual vehicles are rare but mass transit systems meet most needs. Many worlds do not permit spacecraft to land, those that do generally operate an 'air traffic control' system to keep flying spacecraft in known patterns. Interstellar travel is frequent and speedy, it's generally easy to find a ship going where you wish to go. There are also 'gates' - but you start at a spaceport and get into a ship which goes through the gate... and there's loads of detail - and even the odd plot hook - about getting around the Core Worlds. Be prepared to think in three dimensions, though!

Next, Chapter 3: The People of the Core introduces the startling diversity to be found here. It might have been challenging to think of your ship as a 'person', now get to grips with planetary sentiences, as well as a vast variety of sentient beings who may be autotrophes (green and capable of photosynthesis), adapted to an extreme environment or plain weird because... well, that's the way they are. The concepts of 'government' and 'administration' are inextricably combined, producing vast bureauocracies overseen by sentiences, with departments or Instrumentalities dealing with various functions. Despite all this, factions abound, each with their own ideas... yet society as a whole can be quite stifling and hidebound. Thousand-year-old algorithms dictate the aestetics of music, education concentrates on learning how to do things the correct way and studying the great masters of the past, with innovation and experimentation regarded negatively. Unlicensed reproduction is illegal, and once born most youngsters are raised institutionally - you need a special licence to raise a juvenile in the parental home. Life is communal in general, very structured, yet with great opportunities and resources made available to all. Deviance from societal norms is not acceptable - and visitors have to learn them fast as little allowance is made for them. Deviants can expect to be re-educated.

Then there are chapters on each of the five regions beginning with Old Earth itself. Here the majority live in arcologies, and this concept is explored in detail. Oh, and the moon has been terraformed into Green Moon. It's all quite different from what we are used to... Next is Manhome, the rest of the solar system, then on to the Old Commonality and beyond. Each is described in rich and evocative detail, it's easy to imagine every place that is written about. Plot ideas abound, so wherever the party ends up, there ought to be plenty going on around them - but reading the paragraph or two about each planet spawns plenty of your own as well.

Finally, Chapter 9: Gaming in the Core Worlds provides a wealth of information that will give you plenty to think about if you intend to run games set here. Several themes are suggested, each with a series of questions that your plot may be attempting to answer, ample scope for exploring and discovering, and perhaps - if outsiders - getting into trouble.

It's quite a breathless sweep across a vast cube of space that has Old Earth at its centre. It tells you a lot, yet if you want to actually use it in your game you will need to put in the work to create plot and antagonists and all the other resources required... yet here is a magnificent framework on which to build.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mindjammer: The Core Worlds Sourcebook
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Mindjammer: Children of Orion—the Venu Sourcebook
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/09/2017 08:38:55

Does the Commonality cloy a bit? Or do you want to get to know the 'opposition' so as better to defeat them? The Venu are the 'bad guys' of this setting, being a cruel and oppressive civilisation that are the diametric opposite of what the Commonality stands for and strives for. Of course, there are opportunities there too...

The Introduction explains how the Venu can be seen as what Earth's civilisation might have become had they chosen a different path. They left very early on, maybe eight thousand years ago or more and have been treading their own road ever since. The present Venu aren't that old, because they destroyed themselves fighting one another - this Venu civilisation is at most fifteen hundred years old, having built itself up on the ruins of more ancient ones. They are a rich and complex society, and this book attempts to present them - warts and all - with the aim of providing resources for adventuring in Venu space, creating meaningful Venu NPCs as adversaries (or allies?), and maybe even playing the odd Venu character.

Chapter 2: History and Prehistory goes into detail on the real history of the Venu. Most if not all of the present-day Venu don't know about it, as that apocalyptic war fifteen hundred years ago wiped out most of what went before, and the time since has been one of oppression, false news, and lies masquerading as the truth. It all began with the first ship using stasis technology to leave Earth. Heading for the Orion Nebula, their intended destination turned out to be unsuitable for habitation but fortunately they found a nearby world on which to settle. It wasn't ideal and after some struggles a major terraforming plan was put into action. They'd been there almost a thousand years before a message from Earth arrived... by then they'd almost forgotten where they came from and it was a decided shock to hear a planet on the other side of the galaxy claimed to be their origin. Even more, technology on Earth had advanced far more than theirs, and the information transmitted enabled the recipients to gain ascendancy over the rest of the planet, leading to a three thousand year long golden age. Then a second message came, reflecting further changes on Earth and again sending the Venu into a tailspin. Some accepted what they were told, others refuted it, nobody would agree to differ and it all ended in tears... and apocalyptic war!

From the shattered remnants left by that war arose the immortal God-Emperor Venu. Forty generations later, his followers the Pure hold true to his Tech Commandments, building their world as directed. And then the Commonality came, a real cat amongst the pigeons. The God-Emperor broke a long silence to issue more edicts, the New Pronoucements, and now leads his people in war against the Commonality seeking to defeat their 'lies' and embrace something called the Radiant Darkness, a relgion seemingly cooked up for the purpose, having consolidated his hold on surrounding worlds and colonies seeded before all the unpleasantness happened and contact lost.

Scene set, we then begin to find out about the Venu people themselves in the next chapter. They seem to be a surprisingly uniform bunch, tending to dark hair and skin, but more worryingly, in their behaviour too. Society is very conformist (at least in part out of fear) and hierarchical. Technology is prolific yet subject to myriad rules and restrictions, for example travel permits are required even to move about your own city let alone travel to another planet.

Chapter 4: The Venu Empire starts by looking at the political hierarchy with the God-Emperor at the top assisted by fifteen Lords Countenant who each head one of the government departments or commissariats. They deal with nearly every aspect of life - it's quite hard to do anything at all without their influence being felt. The majority of the population are the Pure, the obedient masses. There is great fear and hatred of so-called Abominations; mutants in other words. With loads of detail to bulk this out, there are also plot seeds scattered throughout. Chapter 5 continues this background information by looking at the Dark Radiance... but just what is this? It hovers somewhere between a religion and a personality cult, centred of course on the God-Emperor himself. It's of particular interest because it appears to confer certain powers on those it mutates. Those mutated by Dark Radiance are not ostracised like other mutants, rather they are regarded as favoured or blessed. Chapter 6 then explores Venu technology, something they are ambivalent about. The society is anti-intellectual, yet they realise that they need tech to survive and prosper. This results in most people having little understanding of the technology that they use, often with disasterous results. The chapter contains an extensive catalogue of equipment.

Moving on, Chapter 7: Starships and Space Travel reveals that Venu space technology is somewhat behind that of the Commonality. The classes and deployment of military vessels are discussed here, as well as civilian ships - there are even a few deckplans. Ships sorted, we go on in Chapter 8 to explore Venu Space, beginning with the homeworld, Venu Prime and including detailed instructions for designing your own worlds. There are plenty of examples of solar systems in Venu space to visit as well.

After what seems to be quite a massive information dump - fascinating stuff, it's taken me ages to read and I've enjoyed every word! - we move on to more game-mechanical stuff with Chapter 9: Creating Venu Characters. Whether or not you are willing to let your players be Venu depends on the game you want to run, but it's useful to be able to create detailed antagonists anyway. There are a range of different cultures, genotypes and careers to choose from. Then it's time to look at Chapter 9: Venu Adversaries, which provides an array of ready-made 'bad guys' to throw in the party's path. There's a bestiary here too.

Finally, Chapter 11: Venu Campaigns looks at the vast variety of things you can do in Venu space now that you know about it. Perhaps the party are Venu, and options range from Imperial intrigue to trying to discover what Dark Radiance actually is, or perhaps formenting a rebellion against a repressive society. On the other hand they might be Commonality - spying, perhaps, or out to wreak havoc amongst their enemy. There are plenty of ideas thrown out in a sentence or two... but like most everything else in this book, you will need to put in some work to actually use it in your game.

A fantastic overview of a major player in galactic space, which really gives a good feel for and understanding of what to the Commonality are bogey men. There's too much that isn't for player eyes to make it a useful book for the whole group - even if they are playing Venu - so be prepared to explain a lot! Definitely a useful addition exploring this whole new region of space and its inhabitants, an addition to the setting capable of being used in many differnt ways.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mindjammer: Children of Orion—the Venu Sourcebook
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Mindjammer: The Mindjammer Companion
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/06/2017 08:17:16

This book presents the Outremer Subsector, located on the extreme edge of Commonality Space. It's the setting of the adventure Dominion and much of the material here is in the Traveller version of the Mingjammer rules, but it's now been completely rewritten for those using the original Fate system rules.

Situated on the edge of Commonality Space, Outremer straddles several interstellar political regions and contains unaligned and unclaimed planetary systems as well. If you think you'd like to set your game here, in these pages you will find detailed planet and star system details for the Heritage Contestation, octant zeta of the subsector, including planetary maps, and more outline material on the rest of the subsector - so plenty of space to add the elements you fancy.

First off, some history of the region. Like much of the rim, planets here were colonised long ago in earlier diasporas, but contact was re-established some 130 years ago just before contact was made with the Venu. Indeed many battles in the war with the Venu occurred here, and the situation is still tense with violence flaring up occasionally.

Maps in the endpapers show all eight octants with political markings, and the various groupings planets can belong to are discussed next. Some are friendly towards the Commonality, others hostile or at best undecided; and of course there is an unclaimed region as well. Plenty of xenomorphs and even plant-based intelligences are to be found (and yes, the necessary information to play one of the latter as a character is included). Details of the natures of each group are provided, to aid in the development of individuals and the overall look and feel of each one.

The discussion then moves on to the economy of the area which, quite frankly, is a mess. It is chaotic with various factions trying to exert control be it for themselves or for the common good. Various economic systems are to be found and it can be fun when those accustomed to one suddenly find themselves in a completely different one. Then we meet other groups: the corporacies. Several are detailed, there's even the suggestion that the party might like to hire out to one or even set up one of their own. Technology and space travel round out this chapter.

Next is Chapter 2, which goes into more detail about the Heritage Contestation octant. It bore the brunt of the fighting during the recent unpleasantness with the Venu and as a result has aquired the nickname 'The Anvil'. There is a detailed map, including an anomaly called the Hammer - space is unstable there, possibly due to the presence of a black hole. Notes - and maps - of individual worlds are provided, excellent if the party wishes to travel in this region. It's a wonderful gazetteer whether you are looking for just the right planet for the adventure you have in mind or if you want to go exploring.

This is all setting material - magnificent setting material. You may find that reading through it spawns some plot ideas, or you may want to run a game that involves exploring or trading... or even a diplomatic mission. However, whilst providing you with a well thought out setting, the adventures will have to come from you.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mindjammer: The Mindjammer Companion
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Dominion Quickstart For Mindjammer Traveller
by James J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/27/2017 12:57:40

I wish this had come out for Traveller before the First version which is it's own stand alone system using Fate.

I really would like the Traveller version more.

You can easily see why this system earns awards. Great clean print, great ideas. DEfinitely a good intro to the full projuct. If you are seeking super high tech Post information age sci fi in a semi star trek universe, this is your product.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dominion Quickstart For Mindjammer Traveller
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Mindjammer – Dominion – FREE QUICKSTART
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/16/2016 10:07:18

The book opens with a brief overview of what Mindjammer is all about and an excellent concise summary of how the Fate ruleset works. Even if you do not intend to play Mindjammer, this is almost worth picking up for the Fate overview alone - excellent for introducing new players to the game mechanics. However for those who will be playing Mindjammer, comments relating to the game are woven through it, so again even if you don't need the introductory adventure, your players might find it a useful quick reference to the rules.

Next, four pre-generated characters are provided to enable you to jump right in and play - the rules summary doesn't explain how characters are created, it concentrates on how to actually play the game. They are carefully interwoven to create a coherent group with reasons to be together at this time and place, a nice example of how to create a party for this game... although they may or may not want to form a longterm relationship, as two of them are fugitives who have been captured by one of the others! One is a sentient ship, complete with a synthetic human analogue avatar for those occasions when being a starship in inconvenient.

Finally, there's the introductory adventure, which takes the party to Yand, a rediscovered world on the edge of the New Commonality of Humankind's sphere of influence. It is hotly contested by both the Commonality and a neighbouring (and hostile) bunch called the Venu. There's a lot of background about the planet itself and its current situation crammed in here. It's a fascinating and well-developed system. The adventure itself revolves around retrieving a kidnapped agent of the Commonality, and spreads over eight scenes - although you don't need to play all of them. For example if you only have a short playing time, like a convention slot or a single evening, you could get by with three scenes. There's a detailed timeline to help you stay on track. The adventure is exciting, and also demonstrates how the Commonality operates which - as it is all-pervading - is a good guide as to whether you and your players are going to enjoy playing Mindscape. There's a lot going on, a lot to keep track of, and the GM should study the adventure thoroughly before play begins to be able to stay on top of it. If the party is successful, other published adventures make for good follow-ons, assuming the party stays together, giving you the beginnings of a campaign as agents of the Commonality.

This is an excellent introduction to this game which makes the most of its particular character and should give your group a good idea if this is a system they'd like to play longterm.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mindjammer – Dominion – FREE QUICKSTART
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Monsters & Magic Roleplaying Game
by Douglas B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/04/2016 23:56:12

A staggering achievement; in Monsters & Magic, designer Sarah Newton has given us a rules-light game which runs off of D&D/AD&D stats, but uses its own 3d6 roll-high mechanic and narrative-style traits and consequences to use those stats in a completely new system. With that description, you might expect the game to be a horrible mess, or a fantasy heartbreaker ("let me just fix these minor issues in the most successful RPG of all time"); instead, it's an elegant, lean, fantastic reinvention which brings its own strengths to the party without throwing out any essential D&D-ness.

Here's a simple mechanics example which floored me on my first flip through the rules: instead of characters having movement scores of 12" or 9" as in AD&D (or 120 or 90 feet, as in D&D), they have Movement attributes of 12 or 9, rated on the same scale as Strength, Dexterity, etc. This means they have Movement bonuses or penalties that can be applied to action rolls where movement speed is important. Want to run a chase between a human with Movement 12 (+1 bonus) and a dwarf with Movement 9 (-1 penalty)? Simple! Pursuer and pursued make opposed action rolls using their Movement modifiers every round; the winner of the round's contest accumulates "effect points" equal to their margin of success, and this continues until one of them reaches a total of 10 effect points and escapes (pursued) or catches their quarry (pursuer). But this isn't a special set of chase rules, as seen in many games; it's just a straightforward and logical application of the game's basic action-effect and contest rules, which can be applied to handle almost any situation that arises.

Effects and consequences are the basis for the system; you use them to inflict damage in a fight, but that's the least of it. You can apply effects to disarm your foes, give them penalties (or yourself bonuses), move them, or pretty much anything else you want; it's a simple, open-ended concept with lots of good examples. My favourite thing so far is using an extreme effect (15 or more points of margin) to disable one of the special attacks or abilities of the monster you're fighting: you cut off the stinger with the poison, blind the eyes of the gaze-attacker, cut the vocal chords of the creature with the fear-inducing howl, etc. I can't convey just how brilliant an idea I think this is.

There are plenty of other changes. On top of D&D-esque physical combat, M&M adds a mental combat system (with its own initiative, hit points, effects, etc.) which covers everything from fear and shock to seduction or intimidation attempts. Characters have freeform traits (along the lines of Fate's aspects) and a very simple mechanism for their use; if you have a trait which is applicable to a contest, you add your level as a bonus to that roll (+1 for each additional applicable trait). Like many of the narrative-oriented elements of the system, the trait rules are optional, and easy enough to lift out of the game if you don't want to use them; that said, I think they're a great addition, and I'm eager to try them out.

This game came out in 2013, but I've only just discovered it. And I'm glad I did. If you like any kind of D&D-esque game and want to try a well-designed, flexible system that gives you that D&D experience deepened and enriched with more characterization and narrative interest, I strongly encourage you to check out Monsters & Magic.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monsters & Magic Roleplaying Game
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Mindjammer - The Roleplaying Game
by Heiko H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/24/2015 15:27:03

I grokked Fate thanks to this.
It is a behemoth of a book, a superb sci-fi setting and a great tool-box.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mindjammer - The Roleplaying Game
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