The Last Titan

Whilst clearing out the garage a while ago (at the same time as coming across my old copy of ‘The Sorcerors Cave’ actually), I found one of my miniatures carefully packed away. Retrieving the box, I managed to grab a few shots before packing it away again as I was short of time clearing all the junk I had found.

I thought I would mention this as this particular miniature is quite significant for me; it was the last ever figure that I converted and painted, around 1992 and represents the pinnacle of the conversion jobs I used to do.

It still has some of the patches of white primer that I applied with the intention of fixing some minor chips and abrasions, but never got round to it. Twenty-five years later, the figure remains locked in time, those Citadel paints having long dried up.

I’ve done a bit of digging on the SOL (Stuff of Legends) which hosts scans of the Citadel catalogues, I recall buying at least two of these Reaver Titans from the Warhammer 40k Epic scale series. From the available parts, I chopped off two arms to get the shoulder mountings and fixed them to the rear of the titan with a mixture of Araldite glue and Milliput, which allowed me to have four hardpoints to attach weapons. Having access to a number of defunct 1/72 scale aircraft models, I ‘borrowed’ an ECM pod and at least an (I think) AIM-120 air-to-air missile. The rest of the scene was constructed from Milliput and various bits and pieces glued together.

I noticed that a missile or two has become detached, which a drop of superglue should sort out. The whole thing was a b*****d to transport to my mates and I think I moved it only once.

With a gap of a few years, I was painting and converting miniatures for nine years in total, I’m glad this has survived largely intact and hope to get a more detailed look at it soon.

Now, how much are Citadel paints again?

…Bloody hell…!

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The Fantasy Traveller Part 13 – Magic Items

For this part of of my ‘The Fantasy Traveller’ series of looking at using the Classic traveller system in a fantasy background, I’m going to take a look at magic items.

Magic items as everyone knows, are an integral part of most fantasy games. They typically offer some sort of enhancement or benefit to the bearer, be it an increase in abilities, a weapon, the ability to heal themselves or another or a way to summon some sort of deity to name a few.

So how do I want this to fit into the Classic Traveller game system? I think I’m going to approach it in this way; there are two types of magic item, simple objects which have a magical ability and shamanic magic items.

Trollcross image used under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported licence

Simple Magic Items

These are items that on the world of Grond, have some sort of magical enhancement that gives the bearer a benefit or bane. For example Thorrin’s mighty axe doubles the amount of damage rolled. As it is a double-bladed broadaxe, normally giving 4D+1 damage, the player rolls 17, thats 34 instant hits.

Or we have Barzil’s magic bow which can be used with a +3 to hit DM and gives a +1 point advantage to damage rolls.

Alternatively the referee can determine that the player thinks they have a positive adjustment to their fighting capabilities, but instead they have a negative effect such as -2 to all damage inflicted on an opponent. By using the CT format weapons charts and picking out what adjustments you want to give (or inflict), its quite easy to make up a magic item. For the world of Grond though, I’m going to keep such simple magic items to pretty low level values, such as +2 to hit or +2 damage as a rough maximum.

Shamanic Magic Items

As mentioned in my previous post of how magic works on the world of Grond, it isn’t an all-encompassing thing that is always there, but instead it fluctuates in strength and intensity. You have to roll for its success and depending on the result, it can have some very negative effects. So how does this help the Shaman? They are the only ones that can wield such magic items; to anyone else a stick is just a stick. To a Shaman, they would see the stick glowing with power and would be hot / cold / tingly to touch.

At the time, the Shaman would know it is magical, but wouldn’t necessarily know how powerful it is. I’m going to add three new spells based on the levels of ability a Shaman has. By casting it they can identify how powerful it is. If a magic item is level 1 and the Shaman successfully casts the spell, they can identify it and know its capabilities. If the item is of a higher level, the Shaman can’t identify anything about the item – it just remains a cloudy, indistinct object that is obviously magical. Higher levels of ability allow the Shaman to identify objects of the same or lower levels.

What the Item can do to Help the Shaman

Once identified successfully, the object can be used only by the Shaman according to what the item is imbued with. For example, it may contain the ‘Bright Light/Make Darkness’ spells that can be used without any points cost to the Shaman. By the same merit that a Barbarian can wield a +2 mighty hammer without knowing anything about magic, the Shaman should be able to use the magic item without prior knowledge of the spell or ability.

A few examples:

Mozzek the Unwise has Shamanic Magic skill -1. He finds a stone that appears to be magical and casts a Identify Magic Item spell on the object. Even though he has made the roll, the stone’s power eludes him so it doesn’t appear to be an item he can wield.

Not giving up, Mozzek decides to take the item to the local village Shaman named Ula (-3 skill) and see if she can see what the item is. After paying his fee, Ula successfully identifies it as an item that requires a -3 skill to wield and contains three Shatter Weapon / Harden Weapon spells. Because Mozzek only has -1 skill, he can’t wield the item – even though he knows what’s in the item. Only when has he reached sufficient skill level will he be able to wield the item.

That’s where I think I will draw the line where a Shaman can use a magic item; it must be ‘rated’ at the same level of skill as the person wielding it, for them to be able to use it. Because Shamanic magic can be more powerful than simple magic items, I think there has to be some sort of restriction.

However to keep the balance, magic items always ‘work’ – where an item contains a spell that would have a positive and negative effect, the item always works as intended. This requires the referee to specify exactly what the magic item can do. For example Mozzek has found a pointy stick (he finds a lot of magic items, old Mozzek does…!) which he has successfully identified as having two Cure Wounds spells, but always work in a negative way – ie. take points away. So Mozzek knows he can use this effectively as a weapon, rather than as something to heal with.

New Spell

Identify Magic Item (same name each skill level)

Cost: 1 STR (level 1), 2 STR (level 2), 3 STR (level 3)

Allows the caster to try and identify a magic item. Casting it at the intended level will reveal only if the item is of the same level, or lower. The caster must specify at what level they intend to cast the spell. Failure results in the item simply not revealing what it is, or implying that it may be of a higher level than what it actually is.

In the next part of this series, I’m going to look at creating magic items.

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Top Five Issues of White Dwarf

Over on Twitter, @DailyDwarf was posed an important question by @Smiffymark66:

Which started a little discussion amongst other gamers, so I got thinking about what are my five favourite issues of White Dwarf magazine? Rather than just posting the magazine covers, it was an excuse to write a blog post and briefly qualify why they are my favourite issues. I’m not going to rank them, because they are all in my top five for different reasons.

Favourite Cover

Got to be issue 46; two F-16 Falcons blasting past and unidentified alien spacecraft, that looks like its just appeared in low Earth orbit. Why has the ship appeared? Where is it from and what does it want? The scene I find so thought-provoking as to what is happening. The artist style reminds me of Angus McKie, but it is actually a piece by Gary Mayes. Dramatic and beautifully composed, a brilliant piece of artwork.

Favourite All-Round Issue

This one is issue 53; the first ever issue I bought back in May 1984. I was hooked – I read every single review (which included Traveller Book 6: Scouts) and that epic Warhammer Fantasy Battle (1st edition rules) scenario ‘Minas Tirith’, which depicts ‘The Battle of the Pelennor Fields’ from the Lord of the Rings. Of course there was the humour; Thrud the Barbarian and The Travellers, both of which would become firm favourites.

Favourite Scenario’s

Two issues come to mind, issue 56 has the adventure ‘The Last Log’ for Call of Cthulhu. What set this scenario apart for me was the utilisation of the Grenadier Miniatures Traveller Imperial Space Marines, with some Space 1999 ‘Eagle’ Transporters to create a gorgeous diorama. I have got some of these Space Marines somewhere…

The second scenario is the Traveller adventure ‘An Alien Werewolf in London’ in issue 62. The cover is pretty good as well (by Chris Achilleos, whose exemplary artwork has graced many a cover of WD), which to me implies a sort-of link to the Traveller adventure, depicting some sort of wolf-like creature about to attack an adventurer.

Favourite Article

The earliest issue that I own is issue 34, which was purchased when Games Workshop started selling off back issues at their Birmingham store, before they started to become more of a ‘house’ games shop and less emphasis was placed on other manufacturers games. Again, it’s something for the Traveller RPG; called ‘Droids’, it was a feature on robots by Andy Slack. What always catches my eye is the line art by Russ Nicholson (@RussNicholson), two robots starting a patrol on a flyer, streaking away from their base. Andy has contributed many quality articles to WD over the years, as has Russ artwork.

I wonder if anyone else has some favourites? If so please post to the comments boxes below!

Update 20th Feb:

Daily Dwarf has posted on his blog his top five WD issues here. Why not hop over to his blog and take a look?

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Wendys Naval Weekly Giga-Review

I’ve been compiling my list of reviews to do and checking back on any products that I haven’t had chance to take a look at. One ‘set’ is the ‘Wendy’s Naval Weekly…’ series by Gypsy Knights Games. I took a look at the first two in the series back in April 2017 with ‘Wendy’s Guide to the Fleets Double Review’.

…and I’ve got the latest three here:

(3) Wendy’s Guide to the Fleets of Franklin Subsector (released August 2017)

(4) Wendy’s Guide to the Fleets of Sequoyah Subsector (released November 2017)

(5) Wendy’s Guide to the Fleets of The Colonies (released January 2018)

All three books are currently available for $5.99 each as a watermarked PDF from Drivethru RPG, or you can purchase all five books in the series for a bundle price of $39.95. The earlier books in the series are also available in softcover dead tree format for around $20 each. Because all three books are broadly the same in format and content, I’m not going to review them in separate blog posts because of the risk of repeating myself across three articles. Instead, I’m going to review all three books in this single post and pick out the differences between each, so that you know what you are getting in each product.

Overall Format and Structure

All three books are presented with a gorgeous colour cover by Ian Stead, whose starship illustrations feature prominently throughout the book. Each book has been authored by Michael Johnson and Bradley Warnes has contributed additional character-scene artwork, which is of his usual high standard.

You then have a 8×10 hex map showing the location of the star systems located in that subsector. The aim of each book is to describe the composition and make up of each star systems navies and significant security forces. Dependent on the size of the colony / world, you get a brief historical background of the system and why you have the naval forces operating there. This forms the bulk of each book with along each background, you get a table (sometimes tables) of the type of ship right from capital-class sized ships down to patrol cruisers / cutters and its designated name. To break up the text, there are plenty of colour illustrations by Ian and Bradley which makes reading through each book a pleasure.

The System Navy Career path which is described across all three books, is an important part of the Naval Weekly books. Though the career path is exactly the same in all three books (with some minor changes in layout), the three common pages form the basis for the differences between each navies rank structure from earlier in each book. This helps to describe the individual differences between each navy described.

The final main section of each book contains a large or significant spacecraft that is related to one or more of the subsector’s systems, complete with deck plans.

Franklin Subsector – Featured Sections

The Franklin subsector covers key systems such as Franklin (of course), Chennai, Serapis, Vasynov and Minerva to name a few of the twenty systems. For example, Tal’Kalares has two distinct militaries that work together, but with different purposes; the first being in-system defence and the second (Her Majesty’s Royal Navy) performs outside-system duties such a striking against pirates or other colonial ambitions. Tal’Kalares doctrine is to protect shipping and protect against piracy – however it’s fleet seems to have a far greater capability than what is really needed. Does Tal’Kalares have ambitions that involve neighbouring systems? Only time will tell…! There is plenty of background material about command structure and dress code, so you will have no doubt who you are dealing with should you encounter a Tal’Kalares officer.

The Minervan Space Navy boasts a number of vessels, driven by their leader Blake Wofford – and he hates pirates! This chap seems to have a number of prejudices – hatred of pirates and has something against the New Perth Navy, which isn’t immediately obvious. Differing from Tal’Kalares, Minerva has a single fleet which is divided into squadrons. This gives them the flexibility to respond to complex situations and any threat to the system.

The Franklin Space Navy is the largest of the subsector, whose main strength lies in the deployment of four locally designed 10,000dTon monitors. Franklin sports a number construction programmes that are equal to some of the largest construction yards in other parts of the Clement Sector.

The spacecraft described in the latter part of the book is the Ledford-Class Frigate, which reputedly came into being initially as a sketch by the Crown Prince Luana. Twenty six years later the new 1000dTon warship was constructed, looking very much like the sketch by the young princess. Its a very nice looking ship; it has a streamlined shape, bulbous front half and manoeuvre engine nacelles at the back half. Though it can carry additional troops and a vehicle hangar, this has been at the expense of main offensive weapons. The book lists locations for weaponry, game specifications, colour and monochrome illustrations and the essential deck plans.

Sequoyah Subsector – Featured Sections

Major worlds of the Sequoyah subsector include Boone, Galawdewos, Selu, Sequoyah, Harrison and Dukagjin.

Boone is allied to and now home to the United States Space Navy (USSN) and historically has supported its fleet ever since the system was first settled. Pirates are really seen in this system, though it is not unknown. The fleet fields some pretty meaty spacecraft – including the Lexington class cruiser and Farragut class destroyers. The Lexington-class is described in detail at the back of the book.

Selu Station is maintained by the ‘Bridges Unlimited Security Fleet’ corporation, which is open to all visitors, which includes pirates. However attacks in-system are not permitted and the security fleet will deal with them harshly. In addition, because of the previous leasing agreement with the United States which is no longer in operation, the USSN occasionally visits Selu Station to ‘remind’ the BUSF that it is only leasing the moon where Selu Station is located.

The Sequoyah Defense Force retains a lot of links with the USSN, especially dealing with previous pirate threats. Fleet tactics involve patrols by some of the smaller vessels such as Frigates, but pirates beware that there might just be a larger cruiser in ding behind that moon nearby…!

The Harrison System Navy though the third-largest in the subsector, two-thirds of its ships are in need of modernisation. This isn’t just the ships themselves, personnel need training and support as well. Harrison feels it is being backed into a corner by resurgent powers in neighbouring systems, so it has signed a naval assistance agreement with the Hub Federation, which is allied to Harrisons own concerns and aims. Construction of new vessels has started, along with joint fleet exercises.

As mentioned earlier, the final part of the book describes the Lexington-class Cruiser, a 1800dTon starship that was designed by the same team that designed the Farragut-class Destroyer. The Lexington is a formidable ship, armed with Meson guns, fusion guns, beam lasers and missile launchers. Compared to the curved design of the Ledford-class frigate, it has a number of sharp corners and looks very much like a warship. Some of the turret shapes look very much like the big guns from a Second World War battleship. The deck plans have had to be split across three pages for some decks as the ship is so large!

The Colonies – Featured Sections

This is the last book in this series, because all parts of the Clement Sector fleet review have now been covered in this series of books. However I expect Gypsy Knights Games will be updating the books periodically.

The Colonies cover the ‘outback’ / frontier worlds on the edge of the more developed worlds of the Clement Sector. Piracy is a big problem in these systems, which include the Dade, Superior, Peel and Dawn subsectors. System defence in Dade is typically made up of colonists banding together employing Rucker-class merchants as defense ships, or even ships as small as customs cutters. Trading with the five settled worlds in the Dade subsector is not without great risk!

Superior is a little better, though Tupolev Station is maintained by the ‘Bridges Unlimited Security Fleet’ corporation rather than any national government fleet.

The Peel subsector hosts the system of New Perth, which is an economic powerhouse exporting vast quantities of ore and minerals. To protect this valuable asset, The New Perth Navy is one of the most modern in the subsector. Because of the vast distances sourcing ships from the core worlds, it is having to produce its own. This drives its core fleet doctrine of protecting its ore carriers, but some worlds fear that New Perth may have colonial ambitions.

The Colonies book has many more worlds and subsectors mentioned in the book, simply because many of the navies are much smaller than the worlds of the core subsectors.

The Australia-class Cruiser brings up the rear of the book, a product of the New Perth shipyards it is a 2000dTon ship it has compatible weaponry to the USSN Lexington-class cruiser. The ship’s shape reminds me of a crocodile – not to be messed with! Again, the deck plans cover several pages per level.

Overall Conclusions

All three books are packed with useful materials, plenty of suggestions for adventures (though there aren’t any scenario’s specifically described in the books – that isn’t what these books are about), a customised career path so you can develop a character from the Boone Space Defense Force or the Layla’s Defense Force and you get a capital ship in each product. The Clement Sector background is now well-developed and these products help to build upon the background already presented by showing what defensive forces are present in each system.

Some examples; In the ‘Sequoyah’ book, ‘Selu Station’ offers an interesting adventure starting point, described as being somewhere where pirates are allowed and can refuel but attacks aren’t permitted. With the USSN paying occasional visits, it reminds me a bit of Mos Eisley spaceport or some of the worlds in the Firefly ‘verse. Perhaps an idea for a future supplement GKG? ;o)

In the ‘Colonies’ book (Dade subsector) the Osiris System Defense Force can only field obsolete customs and excise cutters – a force ripe for help from the players as a pirate group has just moved in-system and has started attacking shipping… and with the table of ranks, there is a chance to rise to Fariq yet…! The players have been contacted to source spare parts for the cutters, which are now hard to find. Once sourced, they have to ship them to Osiris, but pirates have other ideas… and so on. So it’s pretty easy to pick out adventure hooks from all the books, which could be easily adapted for a nights session or slot into an ongoing campaign.

They are all written to GKG’s usual high standards of editing and formatting, though I did notice ‘…The Colonies’ book has a paragraph / heading font which looks a bit different to the other books. Not sure if its something to do with GoodReader on my iPad. Fleet listings can be a bit dry by simply listing lots of stuff – but the ‘Wendy’s…’ series avoids this trap by providing lots of background and history to why a fleet is what it is. I think my favourite (but only by a small margin) is the last book, ‘…The Colonies’ because the fleets are a bit smaller, a bit more raggedy and don’t have the support of the orbital facilities of many of the systems in the Franklin and Sequoyah subsectors.

These are very good books to own and will provide a referee with lots of supporting material for their Clement Sector campaigns – therefore I consider them to be highly recommended purchases! I would like to thank John Watts of Gypsy Knights Games for kindly sending me copies of the products for review.

Posted in Cepheus Engine, Clement Sector, Mongoose Traveller, OGL, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2017 in Review

Its now a few weeks into 2018 and now I’m recovered from lurgy/flu/Nurgles Rot that seems to be doing to rounds again, I want to take a step back and take a look at how this blog has been performing. So I’ve been doing a bit of data mining, well – looking at the stats and come to some rough conclusions about who has been visiting and what is popular on Alegis Downport!

It can be a bit narcissistic to review your own blog I agree, but I try and write things that both the visitor and I enjoy so I like to find things that are interesting, useful and will hopefully generate repeat visits.

So, time for a bit of data crunching… get the performance review form out!

How the Blog Performed

Following a very slight decline in page views in 2014, I started to get more visits to the blog increasing significantly in 2016 with 5400 page views. I set a target for 2017 for 7000 page views – I managed to beat that significantly and get 8528 page views, which I am extremely pleased at! Visitor numbers also shot up from 2217 to 3653. I’ve tried to push blog posts with a bit more advertising and activity on forums and social media (even though I still refuse to join Facebook!) Monthly page views have gone up from 450/pm to 710/pm.

For ever single visitor that has read my writing, liked and posted comments – I would like to take this opportunity to say ‘Thank You!’ I am very grateful for your visits and feedback!

Where in the World?

No not PC World (sorry, that was a catchphrase from a dodgy TV advert), but what countries have my visitors come from? Top number of page views are from the United States – at 5206, followed by the United Kingdom at 1350. Though I am living in the UK (and British), I always post the prices of the products I review in US Dollars, simply because that is the largest proportion of my audience. The next three countries visiting (in page view rank) are Canada, Germany and Australia. However, its nice to see page views from countries as diverse and as far away as South America (Brazil, Argentina), Japan, South Africa and Congo – Kinshasa and Indonesia.

Most Popular Posts

This I find very interesting, because its useful from the point of view what is useful for the RPG community. Taking the homepage page views out of the equation, the top posts are:-

The Fantasy Traveller

These Stars Are Ours Review

Zozer Games Solo Review Part 1

Zozer Games Solo Review Part 2

Traveller Rules and Near Space

These Stars Are Ours Review (the core Cepheus Engine product by Stellagama Publishing) was the top posting through most of 2017, right from when it was first published. However it was pipped at the post in the last few weeks of the year by my take on the Classic Traveller rules set in a fantasy background ‘The Fantasy Traveller’ which has now reached twelve parts. The Zozer Games ‘Solo’ product which I split over two parts to make sure I gave it a comprehensive-enough review, has been read many times despite only being posted in September. Generally, the most recent product reviews from Gypsy Knights Games and Stellagama performed consistently well, just under these top five.

Oddly enough though, where I have been able find some of my Traveller miniatures or Laserburn kit, these have featured highly in the rankings. Certainly food for thought and what to look at in 2018…

So what of 2018? I have some reviews to complete and post from my products pile and based on the popularity of the posts last year, at least two more ‘Fantasy Traveller’ articles should be aimed for. If I can get hold of some of my RPG stuff stored in the deepest parts of my garage, that should present some interesting old-school angles on gaming. I want to keep the numbers of articles up per month as well, so I’d better start catching up!

To round off, I want to thank again all the people who have visited my blog, the same thanks also go to the publishers that kindly sent me products to review, especially John Watts of Gypsy Knights Games, Omer Golan-Joel of Stellagama Publishing and Paul Elliott of Zozer Games, my best wishes to you all.

Cheers, Steve

‘…may your starports be bureaucracy-free and your fuel always be refined…!’

The obligatory end-of-year photo of my pet Greyhound Millie, pictured here at one of Newquay’s many beaches, last October.

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Variant Psionics for the Cepheus Engine Review

I hope you have had an enjoyable Christmas holiday (however you may have celebrated it), for my final blog post of the year, I’m going to take a look at Stellagama’s latest release ‘Variant Psionics for the Cepheus Engine’. It is available from Drivethru RPG for $3.49 and contains 32 pages in a watermarked PDF.

The book aims to bring a more straightforward system for the use of psionics, based on the Cepheus Engine (CE) system. Having not read the CE set of psionics rules before – I’ll admit I’m not really a fan of psionics in SFRPG’s, I had an open mind when approaching VP for CE. It should be noted that the book can be used with other OSR / 2D6 SFRPG systems and not just Cepheus Engine.

The product starts with an introduction about the book, a few links to reference documents and some notes about the authors. The next section goes into ‘Psionics in a Cepheus Engine Setting’ and how common psionics are, dependent on what TL your world setting is. There is an interesting piece on how psionics are viewed in society; not all societies view such abilities with an open, receptive mind. Some low TL worlds may be openly hostile, even viewing such abilities as witchcraft (and all the subsequent consequences).

The next four pages go into psionics specifically in the Stellagama CE-compatible setting ‘These Stars Are Ours’ and how such characters are viewed in the Terran Republic and the secret societies that employ such individuals.

You are then presented with the rules for the development of psionic strength and training which is covered in a page. Psionic talents follow, broken down into five abilities; Awareness, Clairvoyance, Telekinesis, Telepathy and Teleportation. This is bulk of the book as you are presented with the various powers that you can wield, depending on your strength level. There are quite a few abilities presented here so there is plenty of value to be gained from the book.

Just like magic items in a fantasy realm, there are ways to enhance psionic abilities through technology or drugs. The section ‘Psionic Technology and Mastery’ looks into ways that psions can enhance their abilities and some of the pitfalls that can come with the use of such technology. There is some nice tech here; favourite has got to be the ‘Improved Teleportation Suit’ which enhances your ability to teleport great distances… if you’ve got the cash of course!

The last five pages of the book describe the psion career and character generation process. There are a number of optional rules and there is plenty of guidance on how to generate a psion’s characteristics.

Not being familiar with the Cepheus Engine Psion rules, I set both the CE PDF up and the Stellagama variant rules side by side in my iPad to work through. Because a certain amount of content is Open Game License, there is some text which is repeated from the original CE rules set. I did start to wonder if this was simply a reprint of the CE rule set? However the Stellagama text expands, clarifies and where necessary simplifies the rules. I found the Stellagama text much easier to read through and quicker to pick up. Some of the book is geared towards their house background ‘These Stars Are Ours’ (which is to be expected) but the open game license material is clearly indictaed and the variant rules presented help to make psion character generation a lot easier.

The book is nicely laid out, has a number of monochrome and colour illustrations dotted through the book and has been edited to Stellagama’s usual high standards. Is the product worth $3.49? Despite some initial concerns about the use of some repeated text, I feel that what the authors have met their aim in taking the original CE psion rules and enhanced them in such a way that you have a complete, easy-to-use rules set for creating characters with psionic abilities. Definitely worth considering if you want to run psion characters in your games, or using the TSAO background. I’d like to thank Omer Golan-Joel for very kindly sending me a copy to review.

As this is the last blog post of the year, I would like to wish all my visitors (thanks for all the links and comments!) to this blog a very happy and safe New Year! I would also like to thank the publishers who have continued to send me their fantastic products for me to look at and review (especially John Watts of Gypsy Knights Games, Omer Golan-Joel of Stellagama Publishing and Paul Elliott of Zozer Games) – I hope what you find to read on this blog useful and enjoyable!

Best wishes for 2018, Steve

For no other reason because I want to, here is a photo of my greyhound Millie enjoying some of her Christmas presents!

Posted in Cepheus Engine, Classic Traveller, Mongoose Traveller, OGL, Role Playing Games | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

RPG Releases and Merry Christmas

Its Christmas Eve and I have a chance to get a final blog post in before the big day. There have been a few interesting releases in the past few weeks so I’ll start by collating and mentioning them here.

First off Gypsy Knights Games have published ‘Wendys Guide to the Fleets of the Sequoya Sector’. This was released in November and is a sort of naval review of fleets and developments in a specific sector of the Clement Sector. Several systems fleets and background are described and though sounding like quite a ‘dry’ subject of material, GKG always put plenty of backstory and along with an additional set of deck plans for a fighting ship and new career, it looks like a great read. Out now for $9.99 on DTRPG.

The first part of the Kickstarter ‘Grognard: Ruminations on 40 Years of Gaming’ has been sent out to backers. This was a very nice Christmas present to receive when Marc Miller emailed out the link to download the various electronic reading formats. The Kickstarter had been delayed due to Marc discovering that he needed a heart operation, which pushed the publication back some weeks. I’m very glad to hear that Marc is making good progress with his recovery and all parts of the Kickstarter will be fufilled soon.

The book itself covers the period 2000 to 2015 when Loren Wiseman was editor of JTAS Online, for Steve Jackson Games and includes all the editorial posts that Loren made on JTAS Online; I’ve read through from the start of the book to 2002 so far and it makes for incredibly interesting reading. In some of the posts Loren is ‘speaking’ from the start of the internet age and makes some quite prothetic observations. Self-driving cars, the influences of mobile technology and how companies try to grab your attention when you are browsing the web, oh and of course some Traveller stuff of course!

I would like to make a more detailed review once my USB stick is delivered (with a copy of The SJG JTAS online) and I’ve had more time to read ‘Grognard’. In the meantime I’d like to wish Marc Miller a continued speedy recovery and good health for the new year.

Stellagama Publishing have just sent a copy of ‘Variant Psionics for Cepheus Engine’ for me to review. This introduces a complete variant system of psionics for the Cepheus Engine and other 2D6 OGL rules systems. If you want to take a look at the product on DTRPG, why not follow the link (available for $3.49 on DTRPG), or if you want to wait, I’ll be posting a review shortly.

The last bit of release news is something that I’m extremely interested in backing; its a book describing the heady days of Games Workshop. Dice Men: Games Workshop 1975 to 1985 is being funded through ‘Unbound’ (aka: United Authors Publishing) and is at time of writing, 36% funded. The book will include the story of how Games Workshop came into existence and its rise as the leading retailer of RPG’s and associated products in the UK. Personally I’m hoping it will include pictures of the Birmingham UK store from the early 80’s (the period when I first got into gaming) as these seem to be scarce and hard to find the internet.

Another fine ale beckons, so I’ll leave this short post there and wish everyone a very happy Christmas / holiday / winter festival celebration / snow god worship / however you may or may not celebrate this time of year! I’ll be back before the end of the year with a post or two.

Best wishes, Steve

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