A couple of important pieces of news this week, along with a mini-review. First off the news – Gypsy Knights Games has released ‘Clement Sector: The Rules’, a full Cepheus-Engine 2D6 derivative set of rules for their sci-fi setting. This is pretty significant as there have been quite a few changes and upheavals in the Traveller RPG rules and supplements world. The changes involve the licensing of the Traveller RPG and the release of the second edition of the Mongoose Traveller rules set. Rather than trying to explain it myself, Rocky Mountain Navy has posted an excellent article about how the licenses affect publishers who wish to use the Mongoose 2nd edition and why many of these publishers have moved to release future material under the Cepheus-Engine rules set. This is more like the original Classic Traveller / Mongoose first edition / OGL rules set.
A number of other publishers have been updating their products to fit in with the Cepheus-Engine such as Zozer Games, with their ‘Orbital’ supplement, which has become ‘Orbital 2100’. Gypsy Knights Games have been releasing all their new material under the OGL license and in what seems to me to be a sensible move, have released their own rules set for their Clement Sector background and supplements. In some way this fills in a major component in their product line and perhaps makes them completely ‘independent’ of having to rely on a rules set publisher, such as Mongoose. This way, the publishers get to keep their intellectual property without having to hand it over to Mongoose, for the right to simply be able to publish supplements. In some way, it’s a shame because the Traveller RPG is becoming even more fragmented with variations on rules sets, but on the other hand it may make third-party publishers all the more stronger as they will have even more freedom to develop SFRPG material. In the end, hopefully the RPG market and players will all benefit.
In the past few days, I’ve been sent a copy of the Clement Sector rules by John Watts of Gypsy Knights Games, which I’m going to be reading and reviewing very soon. It looks like a fantastic product and I’m looking forward to getting stuck into it. In the meantime, I’m going to take a look at ‘Near Space’ by Stellagama Publishing, a 2D6 Cepheus-Engine compatible supplement.
Near Space is a 20 by 16 star map of the local neighbourhood of stars around our own Sol star system. It is based on actual, real stellar data to provide the most accurate star map, as of the summer of 2016. Many games and films feature such worlds, so why not have a supplement that you can use in your SFRPG 2D6 games?
It is a short book, containing only 12 pages of content; don’t be put off by this though as there is a wealth of useful material here. The book is divided up into the following sections: Introduction; which includes some background about the authors and how to use the product, some rules expanding the world creation system based on astronomical classifications and explanations around the types of world, broken down by temperature and atmosphere. There is a comprehensive star list of all the worlds included on the map, along with UWPs. Ian Stead has provided the artwork for the maps and planetary scenes used in the book.
The maps are clear and you are provided with several different versions in colour and monochrome for easy printing along with a large A3 version (dimensions – over a 20 by 16 parsec grid. The star map is based upon current astronomical knowledge of known stars that have been discovered so far by various means, such as ground-based telescopes or space observatories such as Hubble or Kepler. I’ve always enjoyed maps of the local star systems, originally fuelled by reading the Hamlyn TTA books when I was a child. They described world’s that were just within man’s reach after the invention of the DeVass warp generator and the discoveries made in the mid-life 21st century. The computer game ‘Frontier – Elite 2’ used the same local space map as background, presented as a 3D map. Frontier started at Ross 154, listed as a habitable world – as well as in the Near Space supplement. Ross 154 must have something going for it!
To back this supplement up, I would recommend visiting SolStation – a website that lists all the known stars within certain distances of our home star system, Sol. SolStation is a great resource which can help to provide additional background on what our nearest stars are really like, as far as we know now.
The second version of the provided maps aka the ‘HSC’ versions have a few stars added to make the map a little easier to use, for gaming purposes. That way you have the best of both worlds (no pun intended!). Though it’s a short book, there is enough content in this beautifully presented supplement to make this an essential purchase which can be adapted to any referees setting. The cost of the book is set at what you can pay (average is around $2.80) but I’d recommend being generous – it’s another great product from Stellagama Publishing! I’d like to thank Omer Golan-Joel for kindly sending me a copy to review.