The Bronze Case Review

The Bronze Case is a new release by Stellagama Publishing for Mongoose Traveller 2nd edition and is released under the Open Game License / Community Content Agreement for the Travellers’ Aid Society. The 20-page PDF is available via DrivethruRPG for a very reasonable $4.99.

The book details an adventure that can be run as a quick evenings game or form a diversion during a larger campaign. The background describes the players getting involved (somewhat by accident) with the central character named Amy. Without giving too much of the adventure away, Amy as the name of the adventure suggests has a bronze case that various parties want to get hold of.

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The adventure is well structured, broken down into five distinct parts. The style of writing is engaging, without the reader getting too bogged down by hugely detailed descriptions or conversely by being overly simplistic. The world that the players are currently located on does have some restrictions which will hinder the players in assisting Amy and their overall objective. There were a couple of situations in the adventure that came to mind that I think the most appropriate background music would be from the original ‘Terminator’ films where Arnold Schwarzenegger strides in slow-motion and storms the police station; a nicely-written situation that got the imagination going…! It’s a fast-paced adventure; the referee will need to keep on their toes to make sure the players do not get any respite or chance to recoup. That way they will be able to make the most of the opportunities to damage the players as much as possible. There are some tough characters, so once the players get out of the other side of the adventure (assuming they are one piece!), there is scope for these tough’s to reappear should the referee wish to bring them back and be a recurring thorn in their side.

A nice touch I’d like to mention; the writer has made the flow of events quite straightforward and describes a couple of outcomes which either allow the adventure to continue or to end there, with some form of result for the players.

There are full character statistics provided for Mongoose Traveller, but if you are looking for a book with lots of artwork, this is not it. There are a couple of black-and-white illustrations by Luigi Castellani which are of the highest quality (see the cover above) which for the size of the adventure, is about right; any more and I think it could be interpreted as ‘padding out’ the book. In some ways they remind me of some of the Traveller T20 publications (I can’t remember exactly what but it was some adventures or supplements I’d seen with a similar style of monochrome artwork). It’s a well edited and laid-out book, which I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

The Bronze Case is an enjoyable, action-packed dash which should prove to be reasonable challenge to a bunch of PCs. I highly recommended it and I look forward to seeing more from Stellagama Publishing. I would like to thank Omer Golan-Joel for being kind enough to send me a copy to review.

 

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Clement Sector Second Edition Release

April the 15th is a very significant date in the Gypsy Knights Games universe, a few hundred years into the future the wormhole that serves as the link between Earth and the other side of the galaxy, suddenly collapses and strands everyone in the Clement Sector thousands of light years from Earth. 15th of April 2016 is also another significant date, being the release date for the second edition of the Clement Sector sourcebook. The book has been significantly expanded and has now been released under the Open Game License (OGL) which removes any sreferences to the Traveller RPG. However the book is in now diminished for it as CS has always been an independent setting that has never relied on the Third Imperium background.

People who have already bought or been gifted CS will find they have an updated download available from Drivethru RPG. Its a huge change but from my initial run-through of the book, it is most certainly worth it – its a cracking read and if you haven’t already picked up a copy, I highly recommend that you do so.

Clement Sector can be purchased in various formats from Drivethru RPG.

I’ll be reviewing the second edition very soon!

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New Traveller RPG Releases from FarFuture.net and GKG

Well, this is excellent news; I had an email arrive in my inbox yesterday from Marc Miller over at Far Future (FFE), your one-stop shop for reprints and PDFs of the original Games Designer Workshop materials. Some time in production but very glad to see its release, are two new CDROMs available to purchase. The first is called ‘The Lost Supplements’ / Apocrypha-3, a copy of the disc contents is available by clicking on this link.

The disc contains such lost supplements such as ‘The Arctic Environment’ by the Keith Brothers and the thirteen issues of the ‘Traveller Chronicle’. Both CDROMs are available purchase from FFE for $35 each.

The second CDROM contains materials published using the Traveller HERO system; notably, it contains such supplements such as ‘The Bowman Arm’ and the ‘Spinward Marches’ system and adventures. I’d read about these but never found anywhere that they could be purchased, until now. If you want to look at the CDROM contents, click on this link.
There has been another release from Gypsy Knights Games, notably another in their ‘Ships of the Clement Sector’ series, namely the Broken Hill Class Prospector. This is the twelfth book in the series and I will be posting a review very soon!

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Five Years of Alegis Downport

Alegis Downport is five today – happy birthday to this blog! I can’t believe that five years have passed since the first blog post on this day back in 2011. A huge amount has changed in those brief five years, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to review my first post and compare what I originally wanted to do when I set up this blog, to what I have actually achieved.

I would like to mention before proceeding an apology to regular visitors – sorry for the lack of posts over the past few weeks, due to a family bereavement. Some things have to take a back seat and you concentrate on the more important things in life before routine can resume.

Looking back at my first post Welcome to Alegis Downport there were a few key aims I wanted to achieve:-

See what I can make creating some form of solo rules/adventures.
Create sector/subsector environments, worlds and background.
Adapt and develop new 3D artwork suited for the Traveller background

So lets have a lookat each one in turn; ‘creating solo rules/adventures’,  the solo rules side of things hasn’t really happened, perhaps because of the inherent difficulty in creating such a thing. However, I have some unpublished solo rules for space trading which was adapted from the Classic Traveller rules set, which I have used for some solo gaming around trading and encounters. One of the days I’ll get round to compiling these into an article or two. The adventures side of thing hasn’t been too bad – I’ve sent in regular entries to The Zhodani Base and The Amber Zone, one of which won the Zhodani Base 76 Patrons contest in 2011 – The Builder. I’ve just sent in my latest entry for this years competition, overall I think I’d consider that as ‘achieved’.

The second aim – ‘create sectors / worlds and background’, seems to have been achieved but in a way that I didn’t expect. The first posts along this line were in creating a fantasy world but using the Classic Traveller rules set. These have become the series ‘The Fantasy Traveller’, of which there are now ten parts and have received nearly 1600 views, which I’m more than happy with. Obviously there is a demand to meld the Traveller RPG rules set with a fantasy background, so I’ll continue to add to this where I can.

The third part ‘adapt 3D artwork for the Traveller background’ has been exceeded beyond what I originally hoped for. I’ve been very lucky in receiving a number of art commissions including a number from Gypsy Knights Games which in turn have become the covers for both PDF and printed books. I am extremely grateful to John Watts at GKG for helping me achieve this long-held ambition of mine!

There are two things that aren’t mentioned above which I didn’t predict; firstly reviews of Traveller RPG products have become a major feature of the site. I thoroughly enjoy reading and reviewing the new books and from the site stats, plenty of visitors get enjoyment from reading them as well. The top rated post Lune Class Freelancer and Spacecraft Design Sheets has so far been read individually over three hundred times. Gypsy Knights Games products feature highly as well and are an extremely popular part of the website, however there are too many to mention here individually.

Secondly I’ve made some good friends and got to know people from around the world who share the same or similar interests as me. The Traveller RPG community that I’ve been in contact with have been kind and generous individuals and I hope that one day I can meet up with them to shake their hand and say ‘thank you’ for their contribution to this blog.

Here’s to the next five years and thank you to my 4864 visitors (to date) who have viewed 18,233 pages over the past five years and to all my future visitors to this blog!

 

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The Fantasy Traveller Part 10 – Non Human Characters in Traveller

Whilst I have been writing these articles about using Classic Traveller in a fantasy world context, I’ve written them with two environments in mind. The first is using them as a games system within a fantasy world, the second to provide a planet within the imperium with a very low tech level background that adventurers from the current imperial timeline can travel to and immerse themselves in.

The later is restrictive in that it doesn’t allow for non-humanoid characters from the ‘traditional’ races that you see in other FRPG games, including Dwarves, Elves, Goblins and suchlike. However, I’d like to suggest some stat adjustments when rolling up characters from these other humanoid races, for the former fantasy world environment.

Using my Tunnels and Trolls 5th edition set of rules (which has very much been my go-to reference during the whole of these articles over the past few years) here are some suggested statistic changes for when you roll up a new character. The stat changes are made before they embark on any career generation process.

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There are some limits when making the adjustments to the initially rolled UPP statistics; if a modified stat falls below 3, then the adjusted value remains at 3. By the same merit the maximum UPP value that can be achieved after adjustment is 15 / F. I’ve included a few from the ‘monster’ races as a tip to the Flying Buffalo ‘Monsters! Monsters!’ rules set, a self-contained expansion of the TnT rules which I think brings a little extra variety to the character generation process.

I’m currently working on a huge weapons list which expands the Classic Traveller weapons and armour charts and tables, which I hope to post in the next part of this series.

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Painted Traveller Miniatures Revisited

Following on from my Ships Crew article not so long ago, I managed to dig out a box containing a number of Traveller miniatures from the various boxed sets that were available. In addition, there are a few that were added on to the Traveller line after the boxed sets were pulled from Games Workshop’s range in late 1983.

I’d like to present these paint jobs after they last saw light around thirty years ago; thankfully they’ve managed to survive until today and I’m fairly sure I have got some more lurking in my garage somewhere.

Image #1 – Ships Crew Marines

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Featuring Star Wars-style Imperial Stormtrooper white paint job and flourescent detailing, these marines will have absolutely no chance in being able to hide aboard a starship. The chap on the right is probably my favourite.

Image #2 – Ships Crew Marines

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I think the red markings on the marine on the right have stood up well after thirty years, a good action pose featuring a rifle of some sort. The bases are one pence pieces with milliput modelling putty to fix the figure to the base.

Image #3 – Ships Crew Wearing Vacc Suits

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A deviation from my usual paint jobs that ended up on these particular figures, having a mainly white main colour with some red and black detailling. I decided to go for something more colourful, here orange forms the main base colour but with black under the markings, which I think enhances the stripes.

Image #4 – Ships Crew Wearing Vacc Suits

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Nice bright colours which I think would lend themselves to a real zero-g environment, easily spotted when working outside a starship. Unfortunately the chap on the right never got his base painted properly.

Image #5 – Mad Gav and the Breakdancer

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A tribute to the comic character ‘Mad Gav’ from the White Dwarf series ‘The Travellers‘ which was one of my favourite sections of the magazine. One of the miniatures from the ‘Military’ boxed set I think, repurposed. The chap on the right is another tribute to another eighties phenomenon ‘breakdancing’, hence the word ‘break’ painted onto his cap. Not something I ever tried I must say.

Image #6 – Ships Crew Pilot and Vagrant

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Ok, I know that isn’t the proper title for the figure on the right, but I always envisioned him to be some sort of scruffy adventurer that whips out his rifle from under his grey mac. The pilot on the left obviously taking inspiration from Star Wars rebel pilots garb again.

Image #7 – Adventurer and Vargr

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The female adventurer is another figure of mine that never got finished, evidenced by the lack of colour for her hair and the plain white base. If I remember, I don’t think I was completely happy with the camouflage colour scheme and I halted finishing the paint job. The Vargr was a favourite from the ‘Aliens’ boxed set I bought.

Image #8 – Ships Crew Officers

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Two differing colour schemes here; the officer on the left is one of the later schemes I’d tried out whereas the figure on the right dates from 1983 and must be one of my original paint jobs. Unfortunately he has an unpainted milliput base.

Image #9 – Dreadnought Armour

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These two have always been a bit of an ‘oddity’ for me, in that they were never part of the original boxed sets. I remember first seeing them in the ‘Citadel Compendium’ as hand-drawn figures (rather than bare metal photographs) and I think I picked these up in some multi-pack blister packs.

Image #10 – More Military

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The final image, this one having another Dreadnought-armoured character and the figure on the right being a member of the boxed set ‘The Military’. This particular figure (on the right) I know I have several of as they were sold off in blister packs when GW decided they wanted rid of their remaining Traveller miniatures stock.

So there we go! I’m pleased the figures have stood the test of time and the paint jobs have remained, if I find any more whilst digging in the nether recesses of my home I’ll get some more images posted on here. I hope you’ve enjoyed this feature on some of my Traveller miniatures!

 

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My FourRPGs – Part Three

In this final part of reflecting back at the RPG systems I’ve tried over the years, I’m going to look at the four RPGs that never really made it for me, for the various reasons explained below.

The Palladium RPG (PRPG)

Palladium RPG

I was always interested in different game systems and my thinking at the time was that more always equals better. More rules, more background, a thicker book would result in a better gaming experience. One of the systems that offered this gaming nirvana was the Palladium RPG – a huge big thick soft cover black book with simple red and white graphics. Having flicked through the book at GW Birmingham, I saved some pennies and decided to pick up a copy when my gaming oppo Carl and I decided to travel via National Express coaches to Games Day ’86, in London. Having procured a copy from a trader there, it seemed to offer hours of reading when I flicked through the pages whilst sat at one of the table seats on the coach on the way back home.

…and that was part of the problem I found with the system – there was simply too much to absorb. There were rules for this, rules for that and I felt overwhelmed by trying to get my head around it. Carl read it and came to the same conclusion. Aside from providing a little inspiration for a few monsters, the book remained on my bookshelf until I bought my own house several years later, I think its now ended up in the garage stored in a box somewhere.

On reflection, with more life-experience and maturity, I’ve found that such systems are fine if you have the time and commitment, but there is a saying; less can sometimes be more. I think this is why I’ve been able to pick up TnT and CT after periods of inactivity and get straight back into the system – they’re simple and the mechanics are easy to understand. Unfortunately I don’t have the time to get into a complicated gaming system and due to work commitments and ‘real life’. I can have periods of not being able to even write for this blog, let alone have a work through a gaming book. At least for now, ‘simple’ gaming systems are the way forward for me.

Runequest (Games Workshop Edition – RQ)

Runequest GW

Though I’d purchased a number of the Runequest miniatures that tied in with the 2nd edition ruleset back in 1983, the rules never interested me. GW doing one of their re-issue / under license publications, launched their edition of Runequest in hard back form in 1989 (I think). The production was of a very high quality, with loads of pencil artwork. Again, this was another system that my initial enthusiasm fell down after rolling up the initial characters and thought ‘what do I do next’. I introduced the book to my gaming group and we bought a few of the supplements, including ‘Griffin Island’, ‘Land of Ninja’, ‘Advanced Runequest’ and ‘Runequest Monsters’ but they ended up being used as source material for WFRP.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Other Strangeness (TMNT)

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I’d come across this advertised no doubt, in White Dwarf magazine, where it received quite a reasonable review if I recall correctly. In the interests of trying a system that was a ‘bit out there’, I thought I would pick up a copy of the rule book from GW Birmingham. Perhaps I should have learnt my lesson from the Palladium RPG… Unfortunately I found the rules laid out in an illogical way for me and I had to keep flipping back and forth to try and make sense of the system.

That was as far as I got with TMNT and to be honest it put me off venturing any further with ‘superheroes’ RPGs. Not a natural format for me so this was quickly abandoned and consigned to the bookshelf.

CyberSpace (Iron Crown Enterprises – CS)

Cyberspace

At the height of everything ‘cyber’ in the late eighties and early nineties, I picked up a copy of this as one of my gaming group (Matt) had also bought a copy and was interested in setting up a game as a diversion from WFRP. It was an ok system, to be honest I found reading the background and future timeline more interesting than anything else. Matt ran a short game where we had to extract some information from somewhere for a patron but the diversion was too far out of our comfort zone, so we never played it again and reverted back to WFRP at the next meet-up.

Conclusions from looking back at these game systems

I am very much a person (and to some degree the people who I have gamed with) who once I find a system that suits me, I stick to it for some considerable time. Tunnels and Trolls and Classic Traveller are evidence of my current systems that I started playing a number of years ago and through various means, continue to have involvement with. Warhammer FRP I played and developed scenarios for at the height of my gaming in the early nineties but aside from the occasional product read, that’s as much as I’m involved with the system now.

It’s been interesting reflecting back on my gaming history and expanding on the original Twitter hashtag, I hope you have also found these musings enjoyable as well! I really must clear that garage out one day and find those books…

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