Cepheus Light – Traits is a supplement published by Stellagama Publishing and is available from Drive Thru RPG for $1.00 as a downloadable PDF. With Cepheus Light Stellagama stripped out many of the rules and more complicated content from the Cepheus Engine SRD, concentrating on the ‘core’ game mechanics for running a 2D6 SF RPG game. This has a lot of advantages in that you can get a game set up and allow a game to ‘flow’ very quickly. However, depending on your preference this can leave some background details and ’embelishments’ out of a character’s history. Many people prefer to make this up as they go along, but some prefer to let the rules book guide what their character will be like by trusting the throw of the dice.
For those that prefer the latter, Stellagama have released this small supplement for their Cepheus Light rules set. It is light on page count, being only eleven pages in length. A light page count isn’t always an indicator of quality though, so what do you get for your dollar? The book contains 44 ‘traits’ that can be used to enhance or build up a characters background. A trait is classed as an ability or area of training which can partially overlap characteristics or skills. You could think of traits as experience that is applied to skills, or the sort of instinctive advantage that is gained as you build up experience, as you receive one trait per three terms of service. I should note that there are no disadvantageous traits listed – these are positive things that a character can have.
Because many of the traits are skill based, you usually have to have some sort of pre-requisite; for example the ‘Assassin’ trait has a pre-requisite of ‘Melee Combat’ skill. However there are some that have characteristic requirements, such as the trait ‘Hardy’ (ie. resistant to injury, not the silent film actor) has a requirement of having 9+ on their Endurance score. What sort of benefits do you get? You might have the ability to run a bit quicker than everyone else (15m instead of 10m in a combat action), or when making a saving throw, instead of rolling two dice you get to roll three and discard the lowest score. Each trait is described with a short paragraph including any requirements and the advantage gained and you are allowed to pick any trait on qualification as long as you meet the requirements. All the traits listed are advantageous, there is nothing that can be considered as detrimental from the choices available. As you can expect with a page count of 11, you’re not going to get much in the way of art which is limited to a couple of small illustrations. There is no random generation table as that wouldn’t work because the skills have pre-requisites
I’m really impressed with the amount of content that the author (Omer Golan-Joel) has managed to pack into this product. There is a lot to like about how it ‘enhances’ a characters background and adds those little ‘features’ which helps to make a characters skill stats that bit less ‘sterile’. For one dollar you can’t argue with its value – buy it! Finally I would like to thank Omer Golan-Joel for sending me a copy to review.
If you want to grab a copy of CE: Traits, please bear in mind that Drivethru PRG will be down for about 12 hours (possibly longer) on Monday the 28th of January for maintenance and a migration task.
Other Cepheus Engine Releases
Stellagama Publishing have published Cepheus: Faster Than Light, a stripped-to-the-bones 2D6 RPG system that is compatible with Cepheus Light. Available for a suggested price of $3.00 or pay-what-you-want.
Also available is an editable version of the same product, in Microsoft Word docx format which you can adapt for your own needs.