New Hostile Releases

In the past few weeks there have been four new releases from Zozer Games, for their ‘Hostile’ setting. These are only small releases, but of course welcome as they add to the content that is already available. The first is ‘Introduction to Hostile’, which is available from DTRPG for a PWYW (Pay What You Want) fee. I would encourage potential buyers that even though you have the option to download the product for free, if you can afford a couple of quid/bucks to send it Zozer Games’ way as it all helps towards the development of future products.

The book is 31 pages in length and is designed to give potential purchasers of the Hostile core book a ’taste’ of the setting and what you can expect to do in an adventure. The ‘Orientation’ section looks at what careers and jobs players characters will be involved in. It is worth noting that the core Hostile book requires the Cepheus Engine rule set, or the original 2D6 Classic Traveller rules. A proposed Hostile rulebook will soon form a companion product for the current core book with rules tailored for the setting and its assumptions. A brief explanation of task resolution is described along with characteristics and skills, so you have an idea of what a sample character looks like.

The next couple of pages list the current line of Hostile books and supplements. Hostile is set in 2225-50, over a hundred years after another Zozer product, Orbital 2100. All the products listed include active links so that you can open them up in a web browser straight away. It is worth noting that a couple of the products lists do not include active links because they haven’t been released yet; ‘Colony Builder’; create and run colonies within the Hostile setting and ‘Hostile Solo’ which details how to play Hostile alone, running a crew on the frontier. Both are listed for a 2021 release. I also featured a number of Hostile books and supplements which I maintain, in the blog post ‘A Hostile Christmas’.

Pages 11-12 provide a brief overview of the nations and alliances of Earth. Corporations are immensely powerful and chances are you’ll probably be working for one of them in a Hostile game. Space travel involves massive starships if you want to move between solar systems, typically using ships that are over 5,000 tons in size. A couple of pages follow with some adventure seeds, ranging from types of ‘jobs’ that a crew would have to perform, to some of the worlds in the Hostile ‘universe’.

The next three pages provide a short narrative situation with a couple of nice illustrations of a space to surface transport illustrated by Ian Stead. Page 20 delves deeper into the setting itself and the vision of Hostile; this is a grim, dirty and threatening place and being out on the frontier has a good chance of killing you, or worse. You can play a corporation employee, a colonial marine or troubleshooter; the latter being on call by the company to fix a difficult and potentially expensive situation. A complete spacecraft with deck plans is also provided; the Orchid Lifeboat, which looks not unlike a certain shuttle craft from the films Alien / Aliens. Rounding off the book are four pages of ‘advertisements’ with ‘situation reports’ from the setting. If you are thinking of dipping your toe into the Hostile universe, this is a really good introduction as to what sort of games you can play and is certainly worthwhile picking up a copy.

Also just published are three single-page NPC / scenario hooks, available from Drivethru RPG as free downloads. Published under the heading ‘Hostile: Situation Report <number>’, the three titles are:

#001 – Ghost Ship (scenario) – the players have to investigate an unresponsive starship whose orbit is slowly decaying towards the gas giant it is currently orbiting.

#002 – Snakehead (NPC) – a profile of a techno-criminal for the Snakeheads crime syndicate.

#003 – Repellent (Scenario) – the crew is woken from Hypersleep to find they are still in Hyperspace with the ship damaged. They must effect repairs but the question is, what caused the damage…

Its good to see the Hostile range of supplements expanding and the two upcoming releases (for later in 2021) mentioned previously will certainly help to bolster what is already a strong line-up.

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UFOs – Ships of the Reticulan Empire Review

For those that grew up in the 1970’s and were interested in unusual phenomena, one magazine that will probably stand out for you is ‘The Unexplained’. Featuring as diverse subjects as ghosts, spontaneous human combustion, the supernatural, bigfoot, monsters and of course, UFO’s. A number of incidents became famous and some of the photos of the alien spacecraft are immediately recognisable such as the George Adamski case, or those photographed by Billy Meier. Fast forward to the future and some of these UFO’s have helped to form the basis of the ‘These Stars Are Ours’ (TSAO) setting, where the Gray aliens so often depicted in such close encounters have enslaved the human race. I’ll keep to the ‘Gray’ spelling throughout this blog post as this is how they are referred to in the book. Eventually the peoples of Earth (with allies) fought back and defeated the Grays and created their own Empire, The United Terran Republic.

What if you wanted to give one of these flying saucers a spin in your games? Then Stellagama Publishing has the perfect product for you in ‘UFO’s – Ships of the Reticulan Empire’. Authored by Omer Golan-Joel, the book presents eight Reticulan saucers along with background on the alien’s society and characters. The book is available from Drivethru RPG for $3.99 as a PDF only and contains a total of 30 pages.

The book begins with a short introduction and systems statement; the book is directly compatible with the Cepheus Engine rules, Cepheus Light (also by Stellagama Publishing) and any other 2D6 SF RPG rules set if you want to use the book with your own preferred game. The next couple of pages describe the TSAO setting and key protagonists with some nice illustrations comparing who is who.

Page 8 looks into the background, physiology and mind set of the Reticulans. Playing one as a character presents some interesting challenges, in that Reticulans should be played as rational as possible. Emotions are few and far between and should only be presented as a last resort. The following page gets into the guts of the game statistics and Cepheus Engine character generation process. The Grays mature more slowly than humans and enjoy longer lifespans and hence may have up to 12 terms using the career generation rules. One potential benefit on mustering out is a ‘Saucer’ (bit like the Scout getting a 100-ton scout ship in Classic Traveller) which starts with a Civilian Saucer and if you are lucky enough to receive the benefit again, you get to upgrade to a Military Saucer.

With the Reticulans obviously being a more advanced race with a greater understanding of advanced spaceflight, the Saucers come with improved technologies. Therefore pages 10 to 12 detail variant ship rules where the maximum tech level is 13. For example, a few paragraphs each provide detail on the types of equipment available, such as Breaching Tubes, Low Berths (a variant from the normal CE type), Dedicated Medlabs, Gravitics, Stealth Technology, Simulated Intelligence, Small Craft Acceleration Couches and the ‘Static Pulser’, a type of specialised electronic warfare system.

The remainder of the book provides detailed background, deck plans and illustrations on a variety of Reticulan craft; the 30-ton Military and Civilian Saucers (note: no jump drive in these), the jump-capable 100-ton Scout, the 200-ton Trader, the 400-ton Frigate, 600-ton Abductor, 1000-ton Light Carrier (used to carry up to 8 Military Saucers) and finally a 1000-ton Tender (as the same as the Military Carrier but for transporting Civilian Saucers). Each ship has CE statistics and a detailed deck plan, of which the author has provided as a separate image file in case you wanted to print them out.

In some ways, this is a sort of ‘Reticulan sourcebook’ and provides loads of material not just for the TSAO or sci-fi setting, but for any sort of contemporary game where you might want to include the Gray (or Grey, depending on your spelling preference) aliens such as those set in the mid-twentieth century, at the height of the UFO ‘flap’. One game immediately comes to mind is ‘Attack Squadron Roswell’ by Zozer Games. Though this is pre-Cepheus Engine (it uses the MG1e / Traveller rules set), I think if you wanted to play a game in this setting, the Stellagama product would offer a lot of value in enhancing ‘Attack Squadron’.

This is a really nice book, offers a lot of value in the download package and potential flexibility as source material for a variety of games and settings. I certainly consider this as another highly recommended product from Stellagama Publishing. I would like to thank Omer Golan-Joel for kindly sending me a copy of the book to review.

A couple of examples of the Reticulans visiting Earth (!) can be found in these news articles:

Reticulan Scout Saucer

Reticulan Trader and Abductor

In other new releases, Independence Games have just published ‘Atlanta-class Carrier’ over on DTRPG for $7.99 for their ‘Earth Sector’ setting, which I will very reviewing very soon.

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Cepheus Journal #006 Published

Just in time for the weekend, is the latest edition of the Cepheus Journal (#006). Bit of a fantasy special, reflecting the flexibility of the Cepheus Engine rules set and the plethora of recent 2D6 fantasy games and supplements that have been published.

This month there are features on:

A Review of Barbaric! by Brett Kruger

Swashbuckler! More detail in melee combat by Peter Krett

The Dead Forest a fictional tale by Robert L S Weaver

The Legend of Ignatious a look at Dragons by Joseph Jaquinta

The Kobold Old School Rethink by Paul Drye

The Vengeance of Dimion NPC for Barbaric! By Timothy Collinson

Octorus a sea creature for Sword of Cepheus by P-O Bergstedt

…along with Alternative Magic and Spell Tables for Quantum Sorcery by yours truly…!

Along with some rather striking cover artwork by Stéphane ‘Wootha’ Richard, this is certainly worth a download and read with a morning coffee!

Issue #006 can be downloaded from here and the Cepheus Journal website can be found here. Thanks to the Cepheus Journal team for the latest issue!

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