Borderlands Adventure 1: Wreck in the Ring is the first of a series of adventures set in the ‘These Stars Are Ours’ ATU, based around the Cepheus Engine rules system. It has been released by Stellagama Publishing and is available for $3.99 from Drivethru RPG, though at time of writing it is available for the reduced price of $2.99.
The adventure describes a contract job for the players group, where they are hired to help the patron recover salvage from a wreck located in the Gliese 408 system. The pay seems reasonable and as long as the players can find their way around zero-g and a vacc suit, they should be ok. The description of the wreck at the start of the adventure and the background to the Gliese 408 system begins reasonably enough, covering a page and a half. The main task for the players is to recover as much salvage from the wreck as possible, with various bounties available depending on what the players can recover. There are a few complications, but nothing I can say that would really challenge a party – the overriding problem is dealing with the environment they are working in, ie. a derelict spacecraft. The single biggest challenge to the players is a creature that was being transported in a secure berth and has lain dormant. This will reap a pretty good reward for the players, if they deal with it in the right way.
However, beyond that, there isn’t that much else going on in the adventure; overall its probably some relatively easy money to be made by the players. Encounters and things to avoid are referenced on the deck plans.
I think there could have been more added to the content somewhere, as the total number of actual adventure pages totals only nine out of twenty in the book. Because the initial set up of the background starts well, I was left wanting to know more. For example what was the real reason behind the loss of the ship? The first three pages cover an introduction and setting overview. The rest if the book is made up of a single page devoted to the glossary, a page of stats for the patrons crew members and two pages for the spacecraft wreck description and deck plans. The last page (deck plans), unfortunately I have to say is poorly laid out. The ships plans are printed on the top half of the page and look ‘squashed’, leaving a substantial amount of white space on the bottom half. Better use could have been made of the remaining space and page elements made more in line with respect to each other.
There are a few images throughout the book, a mixture of monochrome and colour which have been used to break up the text, sources including public domain / NASA and Ian Stead.
Compared to the recent Stellagama products recently released, I’m really struggling to recommend ‘Wreck in the Ring’ – its a below average release I’m sorry to say and the cost of $3.99 does seem a little overpriced. The currently reduced price of $2.99 may make the product a bit more attractive if potential purchasers still want to give it a go. However, knowing the people behind Stellagama, I’m sure they will address this in future releases. All of their previous releases in the ‘These Stars Are Ours’ series have been of a very high quality and I can highly recommend them (see some of the previous reviews on this blog). I would like to thank Omer Gowan-Joel of Stellagama Publishing for kindly sending me a copy of the book to review.