Bit of a mixed bag for this post, so an announcement first; I’ve been very lucky to be awarded second place in the Zhodani Base ‘Amber Zone’ contest for 2019! I’d like to thank BeRKA and Jono for the award for my scenario ‘Oceans Dirtside’. Well done to winner Mark Suszko for his scenario ‘A Shot (and a beer) in the Dark‘, to Marcus Maximus for his third place entry ‘Research Double-Cross‘ and to everyone that took part, I’ve enjoyed reading all the other entries.
Gypsy Knights Games have just published an addition to one of the ‘ship books’ series, namely the ‘Lance Class Gunboat’. The interesting thing about this is that it looks like GKG is going to expand into covering the Earth Sector in their Clement Sector background / ATU. I think this is a great move and I look forward to seeing how GKG envisages the Earth Sector in the 23rd and 24th centuries.
Just out this weekend (26th of October) is Stellagama Publishing’s ‘Liberty Ship‘ for its ‘These Stars Are Ours‘ setting, though it is compatible with Cepheus Engine in general. I’ll be reviewing both the Lance Class and Liberty Ship shortly.
Stellagama Publishing have updated their Cepheus Light product on DTRPG; though there aren’t any changes to the content itself, the layout has been changed so that the page count has gone down from 164 pages to 109, utilising a more compact layout. Its price has changed from a PWYW (rec: $10.00) down to a fixed price of $5.00. The revised print on demand softcover book version has just been made available (27th of October) and can be purchased this time through DTRPG for $15.00 (which includes the PDF version) as a special offer price. Previous print editions were available through Lulu.com. If you have already purchased this as a PDF through DTRPG, then you will receive the updated version free in your library.
Talking of Cepheus Engine and this posts main review, Omer Golan-Joel of Stellagama has taken the CE rules set and condensed them (using some sort of shrinking ray no doubt) down to a single sheet of rules, named ‘Cepheus Quantum’ which is available as a free download from DTRPG.
The rules allow for a referee to set up a game extremely quickly with a minimal amount of set up. You can create a character and run an RPG session using the set of core mechanics. Available in both European A4 and US Letter formats, the first side of the page describes the basic mechanic of resolution which of course uses two six-sided dice. This is then modified according to difficulty and your skill rating.
Character creation is a little different, condensed down into two attributes (Endurance and Lifeblood) which basically act as hit points and determine when you receive wounds that impair your ability to continue. For space reasons, Omer has chosen to take out all the usual CE character stats which initially makes the game feel a little ‘alien’ to the usual rules, but does make sense and I think works well.
You get the choice of twelve careers and are assigned a number of predetermined skills with the option to assign a point to one of the six available skills (Combat, Knowledge, Physical, Social, Space and Technical). Rolling up 2Dx1000 Credits, you have tables to choose Armour, Weapons, General Gear and Vehicles. I’ve pinched this reply from Omer on DTRPG as I thought it was worth expanding on what the skills encompass:-
Combat – any ground or vehicle combat or related activities, from guns to swords to artillery to demolitions.
Knowledge – science, general knowledge, general knowledge, medicine, art.
Physical – athletics, stealth, recon, acrobatics, and so on. May also include lockpicking at the Referee’s discretion.
Social – all social skills, such as Streetwise, Deception, Carousing, Liaison, etc.
Space – anything space-related; piloting starships, shooting ship weapons, using a vacc suit, etc.
Technical – various technical tasks, repairs, hacking, jury-rigging, and so on.
The first side of the page is then rounded off with a set of Personal Combat rules. The reverse side of the page starts with Vehicle Combat and what sort of damage weapons can do. Depending on how high your dice roll is, you refer to the regular or critical damage table. Even spaceship combat is covered; a nice quick system which has a table identifying location should your craft be unlucky enough to get hit. The rules are clearly laid out in two columns per page with text that is easy on the eyes to read. Most of the second column on the reverse page includes the legal statement and Open Game License, plus a QR code for a link to Cepheus Light. Its a shame that such an amount of space has had to be sacrificed for a two-side set of rules, but Omer has managed to shrink the OGL statement down as much as is physically possible. The legal stuff is necessary to make publishing this sort of thing possible.
For free, you can’t argue with this set of rules; it condenses the core mechanics down to an easy-to-pick-up product that you can use to set up a game with friends (even if they have never played an RPG before). I can see this product appearing with a short scenario so you have a complete evenings play in a single book, similar to what Flying Buffalo have done with many of their recent scenarios where they include a set of mini-rules with the book. I look forward to seeing more releases like this – keep up the good work Stellagama!