Freelance Traveller July-August 2018 Out Now

Just a quick mention to say that the latest issue of Freelance Traveller magazine is out now (July-August 2018, issue number 088); I’m very proud to mention that Jeff Zeitlin (editor) has included my review of the Gypsy Knights Games product ‘Manhunter: Bounty Hunters in Clement Sector’ which has been previously published on this blog.

I’d like to thank Jeff for asking if it could be included in Freelance Traveller and hopefully he will consider future submissions.

Its an excellent read (as always!), which this month includes amongst others a scenario for Zozer Games ‘Orbital’ setting, a scout/courier design, a TravCon 2018 report, reviews and rules supplements contained in 68 pages.

Freelance Traveller can be downloaded for free following this link.

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Posted in Classic Traveller, Clement Sector, Freelance Traveller, Mongoose Traveller | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Games Day 86 Programme

Whilst sorting through some of my old gaming material the other day, I came across a few programmes and leaflets from some of the conventions I went to ‘back in the day’. I’ve scanned some in, the first if which is presented here; the programme for Games Day ‘86, held at the Royal Horticultural Society Hall in London.

I hadn’t long turned seventeen and I was on an electrical engineering course at college. I’d managed to save some money from the meagre wages I was getting and my cousin Carl and I travelled down to London on a National Express coach (North American visitors = equivalent is the Greyhound buses) from Birmingham. I think it arrived at Victoria coach station and we walked to the venue. We went on the Saturday so it was pretty busy; arriving at the entrance was like turning up at some hallowed halls of legend as we’d been looking forward to the day out for months.

My memory is a bit vague of what was there, I can recall visiting most of the stands; there were some live games taking place, plenty of books and miniatures to look at – some were up some steps either side I think, looking at the programme. I also recall leaving the venue and making our way to outside Parliament and standing at the bridge crossing the river Thames. We made our way back and the serious spending started. I went with the full intention of purchasing a new set of gaming rules and bought the Palladium RPG (black and red cover). I’m not sure what other books I bought, but there were plenty of figures from Citadel purchased. An endearing memory was hauling what I bought across London back to the coach station in several plastic bags which felt like it weighed nearly half a ton! We poured over our purchases all the way back as we had table seating on the coach.

It would have been nice to visit the Games Workshop store whilst in London but alas this was my one and only visit to Games Day in London.

The programme is in excellent condition so I’ve provided a scanned copy free to download here. I wonder if anyone else visited the same Games Day? If so please feel free to comment in the usual place!

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Laserburn as an RPG Part 2

Now its time to put my example character through a scenario that will hopefully test a range of stats. I’m not going to set it in the default Laserburn universe, but the Gypsy Knights Games Clement Sector background just to give it an introductory starting point.

So Amer Rivis is hanging around in a bar, in between jobs on Sequoyah. Its one of the more seedy bars there, with lots of rough and tough looking individuals. Propping up the bar, he is approached by a patron who starts a conversation with him. Amer finds out that the patron is looking for someone who is discrete and reliable, who can ‘do a little job for him’. The little job involves a little industrial espionage, where this evening there is a party being held for some senior executives of the Blaylock Mining Corporation in a nearby hotel. Andreas Morgan (as the patron is named) would like Amer to gain access to the hotel and obtain copies of some files which are likely to be held in one of the executives rooms. Andreas will pay 20,000Cr if copies of the files stored on the executives handcomp can be made, without anyone from Blaylock noticing.

Ok, so at this point would I want to make any rolls regarding the job? At best, probably just an intelligence roll to see if there is any sense that the patron is telling the truth. Amer has got a 3, so roll a D6 or less and I get a 3, so Amer gets a good sense that the patron is telling the truth. Andreas gives Amer the plans for the hotel and a pass that should get him past the Blaylock company security agents.

So Amer arrives at the Ross Interstellar hotel (one of the largest and most prestigious in the Clement Sector) and approaches the security desk. He passes the ID card to the security officer; the officer looks suspiciously at Amer and asks a few questions about why he is here and what he is doing. Another attribute check to convince the officer; I’ve got a choice – Initiative or Intelligence. The problem with Initiative is that its generated using a variable number of dice – so Amer’s score of 18 sort of ‘floats’ and I can’t roll using a set (or calculated) number of dice in order to check against it. So I’m going to refer back to the Intelligence score (even though it doesn’t feel like the most appropriate characteristic to check against) so I roll a D6 to get 3 or less. Amer gets a 5 and fails to convince the security officer, so he’s unceremoniously ejected from the hotel.

Feeling a bit frustrated at failing at the first hurdle, Amer decides to try and gain access through a back route. Finding a service route into the hotel, he needs to make a dexterity roll to gain access through a partially open window. I’m going to make this a bit difficult and apply a -1 DM to the DEX roll, so I need a 4 or better. I roll a 4, so entry is gained without anyone noticing. Amer manages to walk down several corridors before I reckon he needs to make a random encounter check. So a roll of a 6 on a D6 will result in someone seeing Amer… and I get a 5, so he hasn’t been spotted yet. He eventually arrives at the hotel room where the executives hand comp is located; the door is locked, so a turn of brute strength (and ignorance) should force the door in. I reckon a DM of -1 (because I think the door is hard to beat) so Amer needs to get 5 or less. I roll a 6, so he bounces off the door which remains in place, undefeated.

He decides to try and find another way in and looks around for a member of the hotel staff, who might have a keycard. Hearing the clattering of a trolley, he sneaks around and waits for the trolley to get closer in an adjacent corridor. Here I make a combat factor roll based on civilian stats 40.10.1 – the hotel worker rolls 80 + 10, gets 90. Amer rolls 90 + 70 = 160 and wins the round. To hit Amer has a chance equal to his combat factor (70) minus using a bare fist (-30) and gets an 18 for a successful strike. Now I need to roll for the hit location (D100) and I get 94, a left leg location; bit of an odd place to land a hit in a brawl. Now at this point, I’m starting to struggle for the hit effect. There doesn’t seem to be any mention of what effect a punch to a part of the body has on a victim. Therefore for ease of use, I’m going to say that Amer kicks the hotel worker’s leg from under him and manages to silence him without killing him.

Now that Amer has obtained a keycard, he is able to successfully gain entry to the executives room and start searching for the hand comp with the documents. Again I’m going to use Intelligence to roll a D6 against, I roll a 5 (Amer has 3 Intelligence) and he doesn’t find anything in his initial check. At this point, I think Amer should make a second check but with a DM of -1 to reflect that its a bit more difficult; I roll a 2 so Amer (just) finds the hand comp and starts the download of information required.

By the time Amer has completed the download, he can hear noises from outside. Chances are someone has found the unconscious hotel worker and is raising the alarm. At this point, Amer grabs his kit and makes for the door. He can make out the sounds of activity nearby, so he makes a break for it. Just as he turns the corner of one of the corridors near the exit, he can see a security officer at the far end. Amer is going to have you fight his way out, so lets roll for ranged combat.

I’ll stat the security officer as 100.40.10, so rolling for initiative he gets 47+10 = 57. Amer rolls a poor 18 plus his initiative results in a total of 36, so the security officer gets to fire first. Armed with a slug gun, I work out that Amer is a moving target (-10), is 5m away (-20) and because the firer is using a slug gun, -15. So that totals -45 take away from 100 is 55, so I roll an 83 and miss. Amer’s turn to fire results in (WS) 140, firer is moving (-15), -10 for 5m distance so he needs to roll 115 or less on a D100, so thats a guaranteed hit. Roll for hit location – I get a 24 (left arm). I roll a D10 as the security officer is unarmoured, on a limb the 6 I rolled is a serious hit. The security officer’s left arm is completely unusable for the rest of the combat.

So a new combat round starts with an initiative check; security officer rolls 1 on a D100 (!) plus 10 equals 11, Amer rolls 24 plus 18 equals 44, so Amer wins this round. He rolls to fire with -25 modifiers, results in a direct hut, so roll for hit location. A D100 results in an 8, thats a head shot. A throw of a D10 gives a 7, so thats a knocked out security officer.

Amer then makes a break for it and exits the hotel from the same way that he got in. Returning to the same seedy bar where he met the patron, who hands over the 20,000Cr for a copy of the data extracted from the executives hand comp.

Conclusions

Ok, that was a fairly simple scenario to demonstrate how Laserburn could be used as an RPG, comparitive to Classic Traveller or Cepheus Engine. First of all – for all you Laserburn afficiando’s, if I’ve mis-intrepreted or mis-used a rule, I apologise. Its been 30 years since I ran a proper Laserburn scenario and I’m having to read the rules and adapt to my demonstration situation as I go along. What I found that whilst coming up with different situations to run stat checks against, I was coming up short on a few things. Because much of Laserburn is so combat orientated, I found that I couldn’t match a number of situations to what I felt was the most appropriate stat. For example, trying to gain access to the hotel (first time) I could have done with some sort of personality / appearance stat or skill to try and convince the security officer that Amer could enter the hotel. Initative or intelligence didn’t seem to cut it as the most appropriate stats to use. I also found it a bit difficult to try and apply a simple punch to knock out the hotel staff and steal the keycard. However ‘general’ combat using guns and ranged weapons was very easy and I like having the hit location tables to illustrate where your shot landed.

Through my simple example, I’ve at least demonstrated to myself what Laserburn’s strengths are – combat orientated gaming, mainly using miniatures which is exactly what it was designed for. It does lack a number if elements for non-combat orientated role-playing where I would want to use some stats / skills found in Classic Traveller or Cepheus Engine, but depending on your style of play you may wish to ignore this completely and stick to just the combat rules to resolve those situations. However if you use Laserburn, enjoy it – its a great system and there is still a lot of support for it!

Link for Alternative Armies Laserburn 15mm range.

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Laserburn as an RPG Part 1

I’ve been taking a look at the Laserburn rules set again and though the book is largely pitched at 15mm or 25mm miniatures skirmishes, it does mention that it could be used for role-playing. So I thought I’d take a break from Classic Traveller / Cepheus Engine products and take a look at how well you can roleplay using Laserburn. There are a couple if things I want to do to prove this (even if its just to myself!)

1. Create a ‘lite’ set of rules that cover the basic RPG mechanics.

2. Develop some sort of scenario that can be used with the above rules set.

The intention behind this is to adapt the rules in such a way that you can use it entirely without miniatures and set up a RPG scenario. I’m going to call these ‘house’ rules ‘Laserburn Lite’, the reasons of which I’ll describe below.

I’m going to take elements of the rules set from two books; the main ‘Laserburn’ (LB) rulebook and ‘Advanced Laserburn and Aliens’ (ALA). Keeping in with the spirit of Classic Traveller, it should be an easy system to pick up and run with. Going back through both these books, there are a great number of tables and some rules that seem to over-complicate a character generation process, for example. I have read that ‘Advanced Laserburn and Aliens’ isn’t that popular in the 15mm gaming circles, with the original rulebook being preferred. So let’s pull the best elements from the two rulebooks in a bit of a mashup!

Character Generation

Basic Laserburn has three combat-orientated stats, plus 14 (again combat-orientated) skills. Advanced Laserburn and Aliens (‘ALA’) expanded on this by introducing a number of ‘Character Capability Factors’ or ‘CCF’s’ which add some basic stats such as Strength, Endurance, Agility etc – the sort of thing that you would see in many other RPG systems. To me, the CCF generation process seems very complicated and overly ‘clunky’… perhaps I’ve been too used to simpler systems such as Classic Traveller or to a lesser extent, Cepheus Engine.

So how do I turn this into a workable RPG system then? The basic combat stats (WS, CS and I) stay and I’ll stick to the same generation process as in the basic rules. So depending on whether you want to generate a conscript, pirate or hero, that stays as the system I’m going to use. So to start we have:

Weapon Skill (WS)

Combat Skill (CS)

Initiative (I)

Based on the table from the LB rulebook. I’ve reproduced the basic attributes table here.

The Advanced Laserburn and Aliens (aka ‘ALA’ from here) supplement is designed to provide additional rules for character generation. From what I understand reading other blogs, it doesn’t seem very popular. I can see why; it feels like a bit of a jumble of tables and slightly obscure rules. However there are some useful parts which I’ll use in my ‘lite’ rules here.

To get the total number of skills available for the character, roll a D6 and consult the chart:

To cover the basic sort if statistics that you would need to ‘flesh out’ a character and provide the additional stats you would use to base stat checks / saving rolls etc, I’m going to simplify the CCF system.

Out of the ones listed in ALA, I’m going to use these as a basis of gaving a ‘rounded’ set of character statistics:

Intelligence, throw a D6

Dexterity, throw a D6

Endurance, D6 consult chart

Strength, D6 consult chart

The way I’m envisioning that these stats will work is to simply roll a D6 against the characteristic and get equal to or less, modified by DM’s. So a bit like Classic Traveller then…! Having just a D6 (instead of 2D6) though might make such skill checks easier… or harder, so I’ll try this out in the adventure.

Skills

The basic rules list of skills are entirely combat-orientated; ALA seeks to address this my adding a wider variety of skills, so I’m going to use the ALA chart for choosing them as this does the job quite nicely. Something I’d like to mention is that Laserburn skills aren’t like Classic Traveller, they generally just allow you to do certain things but with no dice roll checks for success / failure. This takes a bit of getting used to after being used to the CT skills system.

For example, ‘Martial Arts’ states at first level, double combat throws. At second level treble combat throws. ‘Nerves of Steel’ skill allows the individual to ignore duckback results if desired. Straightforward stuff.

So, lets roll up a character;

I’m going to start with a ‘Grizzled Veteran’ and call him Amer Rivis. Weapon Skill is 4D6-1 x 10 rolled 15, minus 1 is 14 x 100 = 140. Combat skill rolls up as 2D6 x 10 = 70, equals 70. Initiative is 4D6 + 1 results in 18 total. So thats 140.70.18.

Rolling for the CCF’s, we get:-

Intelligence = 3

Dexterity = 5

Endurance = 2

Strength = 6

For number if skill, I rolled a 3 and got 1 skill to roll for.

Now to roll for the number of standard skills based on the ALA table. I rolled an 88, so roll again on the second table, and I get the Vehicular skill.

I want to give the character some starting cash so that they can buy some kit, a bit like the Tunnels and Trolls character generation process (one of my favourites). Therefore I’m going to add this into the CharGen process:

Starting Cash

Conscript or Raw Recruit 1D6+4 x 100 credits

Regular Soldier 2D6+4 x 100 credits

Elite Soldier 3D6+4 x 100 credits

Grizzled Veteran 4D6+2 x 100 credits

Hardened Space Pirate 5D6+2 x 100 credits

Hero 6D6+2 x 100 credits

The table in the LB handbook gives prices and availability; I think if you choose the item you wish to purchase, roll on a D100 to see if its available, if so you pays your money and you takes your choice. If you miss the roll, it simply isn’t available and you will have to pick something else. That introduces a random element to determine what the character has picked up over the years.

I rolled 180 credits, so looking at the shopping list I can afford:

A bolt gun

Complete set of flak/mesh armour

10 rounds of bolt ammo

…which isn’t going to get me very far. So I’ll add +5 to all the rolls, which now gives me 230 credits. So back to the shops and successful rolls award me with:

An assault rifle

Complete set of flak / mesh armour

A sword

Oddly enough I couldn’t see any cost for assault rifle ammo, so I’ll just ignore that for the moment.

So, now I’ve got a character, I’ll come up with a scenario that I can run in a sort of solo-RPG game to test the character stats and how they stack up as a set of mechanics.

Out of interest, the Penultimate Blog has a little bit of history about Laserburn (and also comments about its use as an RPG) if you want to learn more.

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Manhunter – Bounty Hunters in Clement Sector Review

Manhunter: Bounty Hunters in Clement Sector is one of the new releases from Gypsy Knights Games. Available from Drivethru RPG for $9.99 as a PDF, or $22.99 as a softback book (plus PDF) and it contains 94 pages. The material is compatible with the Clement Sector rules set or Cepheus Engine rules and could be adapted for other 2D6 SF RPG rule sets.

The bounty hunter is one of the more popular types of character that many gamers like to play; sometimes mysterious, usually tough and grizzled and always relentless its easy to see why they are well liked as either player characters or NPCs. It would be remiss without mentioning some of the more famous hunters from fiction such as Boba Fett from Star Wars and Deckard in Blade Runner. Io9 has an article on ten of the coolest in science-fiction:

https://io9.gizmodo.com/5798807/10-coolest-bounty-hunters-in-the-galaxy

There are also those from (real) history such as Thomas Tate Tobin who tracked his three targets and brought back their severed heads after refusing the help from a 15-strong militia:

https://www.history.co.uk/article/5-famous-bounty-hunters

So how does GKG expand on the ‘standard’ bounty hunter character from the rules book? The author John Watts delves in with a couple of pages of narrative ‘Another Day on Chance’ which describes the setting up of a deal between a bounty hunter and client. After a illustration depitching the deal by Bradley Warnes, you are introduced to what makes a manhunter in the Clement Sector. The next five pages break the eight types of manhunter down to the particular specialisms they are known for.

The (traditional) bounty hunter are usually independents who wait for a monetary bounty to be posted somewhere (could be a government or corporation) for the capture or death of a criminal.

Bail enforcement agents will track down accused persons that have jumped bail and return them to the law enforcement officials of the government that they have run away from.

Thieftakers offer their services directly to a victim of crime, where law enforcement does not appear to obtain justice.

Repossession agents will recover property for which payments have not been made in a timely manner.

Altrant / Uplift hunters are repossession agents working for someone or organisation that consider altrants or uplifts as property.

Skiptracers will search for databases and records in order to locate a fugitive or item of property.

Debt collectors recover funds lost to a person who has promised to pay those funds but has left the area where the organisation can legally recover those funds.

Marshals are specialised law enforcement agents tasked with the arrest and recovery of fugitives. The marshals remit may encompass many of the other types of ‘bounty hunting’ but only within the scope of what is legal.

Because the many worlds in the Clement Sector have different laws and views on what is / isn’t allowed, the next twenty-six pages describe in great detail the various worlds of the Hub, Cascadia, Franklin, Sequoyah and Colonies subsectors. This could get heavy going as there is a lot of text to go through (which is broken up with very fine images by Bradley Warnes) but John Watts has made the reading easy-going and engaging. Don’t expect to be able to leave one world where anything goes and stride into the bar of another world pointing your gun at your quarry and expect to get away with it. There are many nuances; its not just laws and governments, but many corporations have the say in a geographic area and their views take precedent. For example the Blaylock Mining Corporation believes that if they hire anyone, their employee is free of any legal problems that they have incurred on other worlds and they will not allow anyone to bring harm to one of their employees. What is considered as slavery on world, would be perfectly acceptable for a hunter to try and bring back an altrant on the run – dead or alive.

To help expand on the background of the eight character variations, the next thirty-four pages break down the variations between the careers and describe their respective specialisms. For example, Skiptracers have variant careers such as Investigators (on the ground investigations) or Researchers (office-based research and searches). Each variant career has a skills breakdown which are slightly different, plus the usual ranks and benefits, mishaps and events tables.

The next eleven pages help the referee to work out the various types of bounties, bail, debt, thieftaking and property recovery costs. It provides a good structured way of calculating how much a hunter could receive for a job, influenced by various factors. At least this way, you have a consistent approach for costing out jobs. I’m glad to see that the book has taken a look at this as it helps to build the ‘background’ to the careers and the legal basis (if any) for the types of job taken.

To help round off the book, you get four NPC manhunters of the Clement Sector (Seth Grinder looks like someone you definitely wouldn’t mess with!) and some background on a couple organisations.

I’ve been looking forward to reading this book for some time and I haven’t been disappointed. Though the book is priced in a slightly higher-price bracket than some other GKG supplements, you get a lot of source material in just under a hundred pages. This is a cracking read and I like that the book doesn’t just cover generating careers, but also the mechanics of bounty hunting and the logistics (who will allow what and where) within the Clement Sector. Another very fine product from the GKG stable and most definitely worth picking up! I would like to thank very much John Watts for sending me a copy of ‘Manhunter’ to review.

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Clement Sector Bundle of Holding and Can You Survive

It’s nearly May the 4th (…be with you) again and John Watts of Gypsy Knights Games has released a ‘bundle of holding’ containing much Clement Sector goodness for very reasonable prices!

The link for the bundle is here: Clement Sector Bundle of Holding

You can pick up two packages, the first a ‘starter’ set containing the following PDFs for $9.99:

Clement Sector

Clement Sector: The Rules

Rucker-Class Merchant (part 1 review) (part 2 review)

By levelling-up, you can qualify for the second bundle (threshold price $20.24), which contains the following:

Cascadia and Franklin sourcebooks (Cascadia review)

Anderson & Felix Guide to Naval Architecture

The Cascadia Adventures (mentioned)

21 Plots Go Forth (review)

This really is a cracking set of packages and a great way to get started in the Clement Sector!

Ah, but there is more…

Gypsy Knights Games have 30% off their products over on Drivethru RPG. So why not pick up a few extra books at a bargain price?

Can You Survive…

…is the title of last years GenCant free supplement from FFE, where they made light (and took a great opportunity) of the old Classic Traveller adage that its one of the few RPG systems where your character can die in the character generation process.

So at last years GenCon, there were free supplements available for you to try the character generation process and see how you get in. Additional cards were available for a PWYW fee on DriveThru RPG and I was lucky enough (by complete co-incidence) to obtain a free CharGen pack as I’d ordered the Traveller HERO CDROM at the same time the offer was on. This was some time ago and only had the chance during a quiet afternoon last weekend.

The pack included two Traveller dice, a ‘Can You Survive’ introductory rules pamplet and some character sheets to record your characters details. The CharGen process is clearly described – but I did notice a slight difference. Instead of having a fixed value that you need to roll for when enlisting, surviving, getting promoted etc and the same value is used each time you progress through a term of service, you have to pick one of your characteristics (Strength, Dexterity etc) and roll against that value for the period of the term. I can only assume this is a Traveller5 rule, its not something I have seen before as I don’t own Traveller5.

So I followed the instructions and rolled up a character, choosing a Marine career path. I picked a random name (Markeith Elson) from the website Donjon SciFi Random Names Generator, rolled the following numbers and assigned them to these attributes:-

STR 12 DEX 9 END 10 INT 6 EDU 10 SOC 5

Equipped with these stats he started his first term of service. If my character is to survive the CharGen process, it was obviously wise to go in on the highest possible value to roll against for survival, commission and promotion. Picking strength (12), I basically couldn’t fail to complete term 1. This allowed me to pick up 6 skills as he had also successfully rolled for a commission and promotion.

Term 2 started and I picked Endurance (10) this time. Still pretty high so I would be very unlucky to fail to survive the term. Another commission and promotion was gained; I successfully repeated this through terms 3 and 4, as EDU (10) and DEX (9) were still pretty high to roll against.

Term 5 came up and I had to roll against Intelligence which was an average 6… I was starting to get a bit nervous! Though I did survive (rolled a 2), my character failed his commission (rolled a 12) but did get promoted). Unfortunately the final roll to re-enlist resulted in a 10, so I assume he got fed up max’ing out his potential advancement and decided to take his pay and benefits.

The Benefits rolls were pretty lucky as well, one weapon (an Advanced Combat Rifle-10), 60,000Cr in cash, 80,000Cr retirement package, a Knighthood and a medal ‘SEH Starburst for Extreme Heroism’.

Overall it was an enjoyable, quick way of getting some characteristics and numbers-based skills and cash behind my character, so I can see this fitting in with its intended use at a convention very nicely. There isn’t any backstory to roll for (like Cepheus Engine or Mongoose Traveller 1st edition), but then again neither did Classic Traveller – you made it up (and in some ways that was the fun part!) A nice package to receive from FFE with my CDROM order (cheers Marc!) and was a useful dip into an alternative Traveller CharGen process.

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Uranium Fever Review

Uranium Fever is the latest release from Stellagama Publishing and is available from Drivethru RPG for $5.99. It is available as a PDF and contains 49 pages; the product is partially aimed at Stellagama’s own sci-fi background ‘These Stars Are Ours’, but the content can be used perfectly well in any Cepheus Engine-compatible / 2D6 SF-RPG background or rules.

The book contains a comprehensive set of rules and source material for asteroid mining operations in space, aka ‘belting’. The book is broken down into four main sections:-

Belting in the 23rd Century

The Belters Career

Setting Claims and the Mining Area

Mining Ships and Hardware

Starting with the first few pages (9 pages) ‘Belting in the 23rd Century’ describes the background and history to mining in the 2200’s using the ‘These Stars Are Ours’ setting. This is a very detailed section and was interesting to read, with lots of information about the miners organisations (with some amusing pronunciations, such as ‘GOAT’ and ‘Tickle’) and how many small prospecting operations came into being. There is even a page and a half of mining slang that is used in 2260!

The belters career section (8 pages) follows the first chapter of the Cepheus Engine rules, but expands on the original belter career greatly. However, for completeness so you don’t have to refer back and forth between books, you are given the complete variant career rules. My favourite part are the new material mustering out benefits; three out of four of the potential benefits are some form of spacecraft ownership, being the 10-ton Kobold-class Gig, the 100-ton Bucca-class Prospector or the Coblynau-class subsidised miner. The latter two you receive a partnership, whereas the Gig is complete ownership. The final benefit are ship shares which can go towards the purchase of a ship. The three spacecraft are described in more detail later in the book.

Setting Claims and the Mining Area (13 pages) – starting with ‘Striking the Belt’, describes the actual makeup of asteroids, definitions, sizes and how to make a claim. Its pretty comprehensive stuff, for example the types of find are broken down into the types of yield and the amount in tons. It isn’t simply a job of picking an asteroid and start mining it, there are all sorts of legalities and this section covers this is great detail.

The final section ‘Mining Ships and Hardware’ (13 pages) is probably my overall favourite section of the book. Here you are presented with some variant ship rules with a rather nice table of ‘ship quirks’ that a spacecraft can acquire for every 10 years of service. Helps to give a ship some personality, I feel. There are three fully-described spacecraft, including deck plans and some lovely 3D illustrations by Ian Stead. You start with the TL9 10-ton Kobold-class Gig, next up is the TL11 100-ton Bucca-class Prospector and finally is the TL11 600-ton Coblynau-class Miner. The latter two are essentially ‘canisters’ in which several decks are located. To back up the spacecraft, the following section is ‘Tools of the Trade’; after all a miner isn’t a miner without a pick or in this case, its 23rd century-equivalent, the TL12 Plasma Drill! However most 23rd century mining is done by automated drone, so you get a page of mining drone specifications. To round off the book, what if the miner needs to venture outside? They’re going to need the right Vacc-suit so this section breaks down some specifications of different types.

Reading through the book, I think the authors have covered pretty much everything to do with belting and space-based mining operations. An ideal use for Uranium Fever would be for solo play, as you could quite easily set things up so that you can run some mining operations and trade rules. Add in a table of random encounters, you’ve got yourself an evenings gaming easily sorted. I can’t think of anything that has been missed as the book is very comprehensive without being overly onerous by introducing rules or information for the sake of it. The original Cepheus Engine rules have been enhanced and the right amount of extra information has made the book ‘balanced’ in all the right places. Along with some very high quality editing and some tasty art from Ian Stead (along with some stock art), this makes for a very fine purchase and useful addition to your games. Highly recommended! I would like to thank Omer Golan-Joel for kindly sending me a copy of Uranium Fever to review.

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