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Hostile
Publisher: Zozer Games
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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Dieselpunk in a Nutshell
Publisher: Surreal Estate Games
by Omer J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/11/2017 01:57:51

This is a ruleset-neutral system for generating Dieselpunk-style settings, either randomly or by choosing between various options. Dieselpunk, for those unfamiliar with the term, is the aesthetic of the 1930's to the 1950's, where the Diesel engine ruled supreme over the real world and the Rocketship (and Raygun!) over the science-fiction imagination.

The product serves as a source of inspiration for creating setting and adventures along the lines of an 1930's comic book or 1940's space-pulp tale. There are approximately 20 1d6 rolls, each giving you six detailed options, such as what superscience technology exists and what stars and planets you can go to. Each option is detailed and well-written, well-built to spark your imagination.

I would have loved to see a more detailed discussion of the Dieselpunk genre in term of concrete rules, using one or more rulesets, such as stats for the various technologies presented here, but this product is excellent in helping you build an imaginative retro-sci-fi setting.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dieselpunk in a Nutshell
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2D6 Magic
Publisher: Michael Brown
by Omer J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/11/2017 01:47:33

This is a one-page freeform magic system for the Cepheus Engine and similar OGL 2D6 rulesets. While extremely short, these rules provide surprising complexity. This is a mana point-based system similar to the Classic/Mongoose Traveller Psionic rules. There are no specific spells, but rather six spell categories varying in skill throw difficulty and mana cost. The difficulty (total skill throw modifier) of casting a spell depends on a wide variety of factors, allowing for interesting situations - for example, using somatic and vocal components (ala D&D) provide positive modifiers.

The system is heavily Referee (Game Master) dependent. The spell category and qadditional modifiers are up to Referee judgement, with very general guidelines. This is very Old School in flavor.

I would have liked to see a slightly loonger product including more concrete examples of spells, but the current rules are definitely solid and recommended.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
2D6 Magic
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Creator Reply:
Thanks for your kind review. Indeed, it's short (I believe in brevity and simplicity) and I deliberately avoided long spell-lists as there are plenty of those out there. But I was also going for something that wouldn't get in the way of the game.
66 Suns
Publisher: Triassica Games
by Omer J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/10/2017 11:17:00

This product stands apart from most other commercial sci-fi RPG settings for the Cepheus Engine, Traveller, or similar games. The sheer creativity, originality, and sense of wonder is amazing. To sum up this wonderful product, this is an ultra-far-future setting taking place in the Magellanic Clouds - another galaxy - in AD 13,686. The setting is weird - do not expect the run-of-the-mill offering of recognizable empire types and rubber-suited aliens. Instead, the polities are weird; the organizations are weird; and aliens are weird. Weird in the best meaning of the word - a weirdness evoking an immense Sense of Wonder. With excellent writing and hand-drawn art, it artfully depicts vast alien vistas of a distant galaxy. Highly recommended to anyone desiring to try something new and imaginative in their sci-fi games.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
66 Suns
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Far Horizon
Publisher: Zozer Games
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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Ship Files: Polixenes Class Courier
Publisher: Moon Toad Publishing
by Omer J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/22/2016 11:47:18

This product is a high-quality ship book. While the background material is not as expansive as in some of the Clement Sector books, for example, this book provides a highly detailed and highly useable starship which you could easily insert into any Cepheus or Traveller campaign. The 100-ton Polixenes Class Courier is, essentially, the good ol’ Scout/Courier, but in a more elegant “airframe” form. It has two variants. The main difference between them is fuel storage, with the longer-range one capable of 2-Jump-2. I wonder why it doesn’t have Jump Drive B to provide it with Jump-4 capabilities if it already has the fuel for this (I guess that this is a TL11 design?). Each variant gets a deck-plan in the book itself, and the regular variant also gets a color deck-plan. You also get the deck-plans and ship record sheets in separate, ultra-high-res JPEG files for your own printing.

Everything gets wonderful renders, including several paint-job variants of the ship and an Air/Raft it may carry (in its regular variant, that is). This also includes full Cepheus Engine ship (and air/raft!) stats and ship record sheets.

All in all, this is an excellent book. I now wonder, will the author publish his Terran Union setting itself in a later book? It sounds interesting...

Highly recommended!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ship Files: Polixenes Class Courier
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Clement Sector Core Setting Book
Publisher: Independence Games
by Omer J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/17/2016 02:00:30

Reading through the Clement Sector book brings back fond memories. The author, John Watts, wrote a book in the spirit and general format of my old Outer Veil - my first published product. His setting is different, of course, but the overall atmosphere and product design are similar. Great minds think alike!

The Clement Sector is an independent setting for the Cepheus Engine, and by extension - for Traveller. It is set in a remote sector of the galaxy which was reachable from Earth only by means of a wormhole. The wormhole collapsed relatively recently, stranding the colonists on the far side of the galaxy. By its very nature, this sector is underdeveloped. Much of it is open frontier and a good amount of subsectors are either unsettled - some are even unexplored - or very sparsely inhabited. I like that - there is room for exploration and colonization and many, many lawless frontier worlds - perfect for adventuring.

I must say that love the setting’s grand vision and overall atmosphere - a wide-open frontier inhabited by people cut off from Earth and forced to fend for themselves.

However, the main weakness of the Clement Sector Core Book also lies in its setting. It describes sixteen subsectors - one full sector - with full star-maps and UWPs. However, it barely describes the worlds themselves. Similar to Classic Traveller’s S3: The Spinward Marches, it presents a few of them very briefly. The book does not describe most worlds and instead refers the reader to other products, costing $19.99 each. This would probably have been acceptable in the 1970’s or the early 1980’s, but when today’s gamer pays $19.99 for a setting core book, he often expects more than this. As a side note, this was one of the greatest weaknesses of my own Outer Veil, which had similar format even though I (very partially) covered for it by adding five Patrons and a short adventure.

A short introduction and 20 pages of setting history precede this expansive but rather empty astrography chapter. While it is a good read, for the most part it is of relatively little relevance to the setting itself - the politics of the 21st century United States have little effect on events set in the 23rd century on the other side of the galaxy. Sure, some of the states created by this crisis, such as Cascadia, did affect the setting, but I feel that two or three paragraphs, instead of a dozen pages, would have been sufficient for the history preceding the Clement Sector’s colonization.

The real value of this Core Book, however, lies in its massive character generation chapter. This is, in my opinion, one of the best treatments of 2d6 OGL or Cepheus Engine or Mongoose Traveller character generation. The chapter oozes color added to your character and ensures that each character will have a detailed and unique background. The chapter greatly expands on the regular character generation rules. It includes detailed tables to generate your character’s childhood and youth; a mind-boggling number of careers with d66 event tables and 2d6 mishap tables; and pre-enlistment options, again with their own event tables. There are homeworld skills tailored to the various Clement Sector colonies, but the Core Book does not describe their vast majority. However, it would be easy to replace those with homeworld skills for the planets of your own campaign. There are no known alien species in the setting (though there is some evidence of their existence), but humanity did “uplift” a number of animals, from dolphins to bears, and the book provides detailed rules for generating and playing members of these species (You can play a sentient, upright grizzly!) as well as genetically-modified humans. I must emphasize again - this chapter is amazing. You will also find it extremely easy to adapt it to any colonial sci-fi setting. The character generation chapter alone - which takes a whopping 45% of the book (!) - is well worth the $19.99 price of this product.

A few additional rules and a short discussion of technology in this setting follow the wonderful character generation section. There are quite good experience and character advancement rules and some alterations to the Cepheus Engine skill list. The technology section is relatively unremarkable except for the Zimm Drive - this setting’s Jump-2 Drive equivalent - and the Mindcomp. The former is very similar to a jump engine and could jump and distance up to two parsecs, with reduced transit time for closer destinations (e.g. 3.5 days to jump one parsec away), unlike the default Cepheus/Traveller J-Drive. The latter is a cybernetically-implanted computer, presented in a relatively interesting manner with its own unique rules and software. Oh, and there is a Handcomp which looks like a combination of the Pip Boy from Fallout and the Omnitool from Mass Effect!

The Clement Sector Core Book provides five setting-specific starships: a 300-ton Merchant, a 400-ton Yacht, a 300-ton Scout, a 800-ton Freighter, and a 1,200-ton Destroyer. The chapter does not provide TLs but all designs are seemingly TL11 and generally useable with whatever Traveller setting you prefer. All include excellent-quality deck plans and good renders. The merchant has an interesting design with a “saucer” lower deck and an engine nacelle/bridge section above and behind it (slightly reminiscent of the USS Enterprise of Star Trek fame); its lower deck does utilize its round shape for a less-orthodox radial layout. The Yacht is a traditional wedge and carries a 50-ton Cutter. The Scout is a round “flying saucer, but for some reason, its deck-plans, for the most part, fail to utilize its oval shape and instead opt for a rectangular layout surrounded by fuel. The freighter is excellent and interesting - an unstreamlined dispersed structure carrying six detachable cargo pods - a bit similar to the common freighters of Babylon 5 and Mass Effect. The destroyer is also top notch - a classical Babylon 5 or Halo elongated, unstreamlined design; it is also satisfyingly armed and armored with 8 points of armor, Meson bays, and Fusion bays - just as expected from a Traveller warship. The ship chapter concludes with a handy starship identification and size comparison diagram.

There are also handy, but mostly run-of-the-mill, starship operation rules, the highlight of which are wonderful wilderness fuelling mishap tables (applicable to almost any Traveller universe).

There is a short, 27-page setting information section at the end of the book - vastly dwarfed by the subsector charts and character generation rules. It presents seven corporations and four other organizations and only (!) four pages of setting politics. The corporate descriptions are mostly corporate history and contain a few good plot hooks. There is a Traveller's Aid Society equivalent (the Captain's Guild). The highlight of this chapter is a group called (surprise!) the Gypsy Knights who are "a group formed to travel across the colonized worlds helping those who are in need". There is also a religion/cult/terrorist organization called Solar Purity who are opposed to human presence on the Clement Sector side of the Conduit, or (in the case of moderates), preserve nature as far as possible. It reminds me of the "Reds" in Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy; you can use them both as terroristic villains and as patrons hiring the PCs to protect this or that planet from human environmental destruction.

Politically, the Clement Sector is - for the most part - a collection of independent worlds. The only multi-world polity is six-world the Hub Federation. Unfortunately (from a Referee's standpoint), the Federation has an insular policy, missing the adventure opportunities presented by expansionism. The far more interesting (one-world) polity is Cascadia of the eponymous Cascadia Subsector, which has a strong interventionist and expansionist policy fuelled by a faith in "Manifest Destiny"; I would have preferred, though, that it would have had several colonies or at least vassal/client worlds for more interesting politics. There are also two new religions presented in this book - in addition to all the Terran faiths which came with humans to the Clement Sector; both present opportunities for conflict, especially the second one, Caxtonism, which is, in a nutshell, an expansionist proselyting cult.

There is a brief discussion of aliens in the Clement Sector. There are no known live aliens but the Terran colonists have found a few alien artifacts, hinting to alien life present somewhere in the universe. The big plot here is the Alien Research Network - ARN - a crackpot (or so people in the setting believe) group following various alien-related conspiracy theories. Still, the opportunities for serious xenoarchaeology are very limited in the canonical Clement Sector.

The book ends with a four-page discussion of possible campaign ideas. Most are typical Traveller ones - active military service, mercenaries, exploration, crime, trading and so on - but there are also plot hooks about working as a Gypsy Knight or trying to find the way back home despite the Conduit's collapse.

Visually, the book is very readable and well laid-out. All art - and there is plenty of art - is CGI, similar to Outer Veil. This is understandable, as color CGI is far more affordable than color hand-drawing, allowing the author to put more art into his book. The art is always relevant to the topic at hand and the book is very readable if a little ‘heavy’ on older tablets. All artwork and maps are excellently high-res.

The bottom line: An excellent character-generation book paired with a bare-bone frontier setting.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Clement Sector Core Setting Book
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Caennai Class Merchantman
Publisher: Mongoose
by Omer J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/16/2016 04:35:14

Caennai Class Merchantman is a ship book published for Mongoose Traveller, 2nd Edition, by Out of my Mind Games. It describes a 500-ton armed and armored merchantman capable of carrying an additional 250 tons in an externally-mounted cargo pod (for a total tonnage of 750 tons, which reduces drive performance). The purpose of this ship seems to be the secure transport of expensive (or dangerous!) cargos, or transport through dangerous space

The product provides full Traveller stats for the ship and its potential cargo pods, as well as deck plans and a render of the ship. The ship itself has an interesting design - an elongated, blocky design reminiscent of the Sulaco from Aliens or of the Earth starships from Babylon 5, as opposed to the vastly overused "wedge" shapes. This is a good, refreshing change. However, the author missed an opportunity to design a non-streamlined ship - and the ship does look unstreamlined in its render - with integral hangarage for interface craft. Instead, it can fly through an atmosphere but not really land (though it can hover over the ground by anti-gravity). I find this somewhat sad, as the Traveller deck plan market is flooded with streamlined ships and unstreamlined ones are much less common - and thus interesting.

Personally, as a Referee, I would have removed the streamlining and reduced the common area and the cargo bay a bit to fit in a Ship's Boat/

The deck plans are low-res and unlabeled. The product describes the general contents of each of the three decks below the deck plan itself, but the deck plan is not always clear - which is a shame as this ship is interesting in its design. The layout is very basic but readable.

The great thing about this product, however, is its cargo pod system - a welcome unorthodox feature of ship design. This also allows for all sorts of interesting uses, including using this ship for exploration with a large laboratory/sensor pod, for example. It can also mount a "Docking Jig" carrying small craft - and I'd bet that some creative captains would convert the entire cargo pod into a fighter bay for an instant carrier (or pirate "Battlewagon"!).

Other very good features include a fully-detailed sample ship with a full crew, good adventure seeds for using the ship in a campaign, and flavorful details about the ship itself.

The bottom line is that this is an interesting, though flawed, product. This ship can be an excellent addition to any Traveller campaign.

I've graded it 3.5 out of 5 on my blog, but as DTRPG uses full-point ratings, I've rounded this up to 4 out of 5.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Caennai Class Merchantman
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RHI Sandpiper Light Trader
Publisher: Mongoose
by Omer J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/16/2016 01:53:12

This product describes three varieties of a 100-ton starship originally intended as a trader - the original trader version, a militarized gunship, and a "star ambulance" version. It includes a good description of the ship with enough flavor and color to make the ship relatively unique. Each variety has a description, MGT2 stats, a deck-plan, and a render. The deck plans are very simple but servicable and the renders are solid but nothing to write home about. Layout is very simple but readable.

For some reason, the book does not mention the ship's size (100 tons) until you reach the stats on p.5 - niether on the cover nor in the introduction nor in the technical details section on p.4.

The one thing which I love in this otherwise unremarkable ship book are the clever designs - the author managed to cram a Jump-3 drive, its fuel, and 30 tons of cargo into a 100-ton trader, and eight marines (!) on a 110-ton gunship.

All in all, a solid, useful booklet about an interesting small starship which you can drop into almost any Traveller campaign.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
RHI Sandpiper Light Trader
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The Celsius Agenda
Publisher: Michael Brown
by Omer J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/15/2016 11:34:12

The CELSIUS Agenda is a very nice one-page adventure compatible with various OGL 2d6 Sci-Fi games such as the Chepeus Engine. This is an fairly linear investigative cyberpunk adventure with a good amount of non-combat social interaction and creative skill use and a combat encounter in the end.

The beautiful thing about thsi adventure is that it feel like a complete program despite being a short "Amber Zone" type of adventure - this offers an evening's worth of fun which you could drop into almost any sci-fi campaign.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Celsius Agenda
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The Defiled
Publisher: Michael Brown
by Omer J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/08/2016 01:07:30

This is a short but well-constructed adventure. The author managed to distill a good amount of well-flavored sci-fi into one page, which is commendable; there are more than one route to the destonation (combat vs. sneaking for the most part) and opportunities for skill use, as well as combat. Nice structured.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Defiled
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Ship Files: RAX Type Protected Merchant
Publisher: Moon Toad Publishing
by Omer J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/17/2016 10:18:56

This product is what I want in a "proper", full-scale ship book - a detailed artistic and schematic layout of a starship with all sorts of details that makde things interesting for the players - from a side cutout to show how the decks connect to each other to detailed description of which stateroom belongs to which crewmember. The ship itself is a relatively "typical" Traveller-type starship, but in this case provided with detailed art and schematics above and beyonmd what most ship-books usually provide.

Renders and deck-plans are high-res, clear, and professional.

The only thing which could be improved in this product would be the addition of a default crew, and some "juicier" in-setting background, but those are optional given the wealth of information and art provided by this booklet.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ship Files: RAX Type Protected Merchant
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Creator Reply:
Thanks for the great review. I have added an example crew, very basic and more an NPC sort of effort. Also added the Badger Class Launch!
Ships of the Galaxy: Vegas-class Light Freighter
Publisher: Blue Max Studios
by Omer J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/17/2016 09:55:49

There are literally dozens of sci-fi and space-opera trader-ship designs floating around the Internet, both commercial and fan-made. The Vegas-class Light Freighter does stand out among them. Why? Because unlike the large number of "aircraft-type" trader-ship designs with the engines at their "back wall", the Vegas is a "tail-sitter" - it's engines are under the "floor". The entire ship layout is thus unique among its many competitors, as its deck plans and overall structure are very interesting and a refreshing change.

This book describes a 300-ton trader-ship for the 2d6 Sci-Fi OGL/Cepheus Engine/Mongoose Traveller sci-fi rules. It includes all the regular material - ship stats and deck descriptions. However, it also features an economic analysis of the design showing how it will be profitable when ferrying cargo and passengers even without speculative trade. It also has some very nice "fluff" allegedly written by the "Skipper" - a "professional" stowaway of sorts.

The book features 3D renders of the ship and its nine decks from an isometric POV. It also comes with a booklet providing more traditional top-down 2D deck-plans. The author has obviously made the art and deck-plans with a relatively simple 3D modelling program, and they are not as "slick" as those in other ship-books, but the design itself is, as I have said above, very interesting and would be enjoyable for players to explore.

I have several minor criticisms of this product:

1) The page background sometimes makes the text slightly difficult to read. It is still readable, but a paler background would probably make it better.

2) The table on p.2 - which is repeated in the deckplan booklet - has some irregular alignment of its text.

3) The Asimov quote on p.5 and decks 02 and 00 of the deckplan booklet are slightly pixelated and blurred.

If this was a "regular" trader-ship book with an "aircraft-type" layout, I would have given it a score of 3/5. However, the design's uniqueness and coolness factor warrants a 5/5. Highly recommended for adding some variety to the star-traders of your sci-fi campaign.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ships of the Galaxy: Vegas-class Light Freighter
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[WOIN] Real Solspace: A Guide to our Stellar Neighborhood
Publisher: EN Publishing
by Omer J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/17/2016 02:37:40

A brief, concise and very useful product mapping the actual stars around Sol. Based on up-to-date real-world information, it provides the Game Master/Referee or publisher with an excellent basis on which to build a near-Sol setting.

It includes a short but clear explanation of teh astronomical information contained in thsi product, followed by a hex-map of the stars around Sol (with their actual colors), and a list of stars with their astronomical data. It also mentions a few relevant WOIN rules regarding interstellar travel.

Highly recommended for the WOIN sci-fi gamer.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
[WOIN] Real Solspace: A Guide to our Stellar Neighborhood
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Cepheus Engine System Reference Document
Publisher: Samardan Press
by Omar J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/13/2016 11:56:10

An excellent offering of old-school sci-fi role-playing rules similar to Classic Traveller. Cepheus presents clearly-written rules in classic flavor for everything from generating a new character in a few minutes, to building an interstellar starship, to generating a sector of space for the players to explore. Best of all, the rules are 100% OGL, so you can use this as a basis for third-party material or even repack the rules and republish them as your own variant.

In other words, the Swords & Wizardry of Traveller.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cepheus Engine System Reference Document
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