Happy Independence Day to all our American cousins! So rather appropriately, I’m going to take a look at a recent Independence Games publication. The company continues to develop its Earth Sector setting with a number of recent releases, including:
Copeline-class Merchant Vessel ($5.99)
Ensemble Cast ($9.99)
Independence Games currently has a 30% discount for all their products from now until July the 6th; apply the code ‘Indy’ at the checkout.
I would also like to mention that Stellagama Publishing has a 25% discount on all their products over on Drivethru RPG, until the 6th of July.
The Lance-class Gunboat is authored by Michael Johnson and published by Independence Games and is available from Drivethru RPG for $7.99 as a PDF or as a softcover print-on-demand book for $14.99. The book contains a total of 61 pages. The Lance-class gunboat is a non-Zimm drive class 300dT spacecraft that operates entirely within a solar system. Originally designed by the United Kingdom in 2202, the Lance-class was conceived to provide a more effective weapons platform than other comparable patrol vessels. It was also notable for being the first ship to employ Crystaliron armour, an effective defence against both kinetic and energy weapons.
It’s design is characterised by the fifty ton particle beam weapon which takes up a substantial part of the ship. It is also slightly different to most ships that you would encounter, in that if you was stood on the deck of the ship instead of the rear (and engines) being at the back of your head, the rear of the ship points away from your feet. As such, there are a total of thirteen decks for this reaction drive ship; room on each deck is at a premium probably no larger that the total floor plan area of a new build UK home. Thats a lot of climbing to do if you need to get to the fresher and you’re on the bottom engineering deck…
If the Lance-class did not have its own Zimm drive, then its area of operations would be severely limited. To assist this, the Maidstone-class Gunboat carrier was constructed, of which there are two examples. The one being sold off with her compliment of gunboats, the other now resides in the Clement Sector. The Maidstone-class carrier is a 250m long 2000 tonne starship design which can accommodate six Lance-class gunboats at any one time. Again, the deck arrangement is the same as the Lance-class as this is another reaction-drive vessel. Due to its size however, there are a total of 26 decks with additional habitat pods. The Lance-class was decommissioned by 2248, though a small number are in use by a small interstellar polity, so the chances of seeing one in the current Earth Sector timeline are very small.
The book itself comprises of a set of deck plans (also by Michael Johnson) for both the Lance-class gunboat and the Maidstone-class gunboat carrier, game statistics, the same for the WP-18-9 Work Pod, the SBA-36-9 Ships Boat with plenty of monochrome illustrations by Ian Stead. These are especially detailed, such as the isometric views showing the panels and how the ship is put together. The remainder of the book is made up from the background, development and specifications of the ships plus some fictional ‘situational narratives’ of incidents set in the outer solar system, written by Bradley Warnes. The book is then rounded off with a couple of Royal Navy NPC’s.
I was initially a bit puzzled by how the Lance-class would fit into an current Earth Sector campaign, as it is an older ship design. The chances of encountering one would be limited unless the players were travelling in the polity who bought a number for their navy. However, there is always a potential idea where one of the Lance-class ships escaped the scrap yard and is currently being used by pirates to attack shipping. Or there is the option of trying to obtain spares from one that is lying broken-up on a graveyard world and shipping them to the polity. So with a bit of imagination, even though the Lance-class doesn’t immediately fit in with the current timeline for the Earth Sector, plenty of good use can be made from the book. The book can of course also be used for any other 2D6 Cepheus Engine-based science-fiction game as the statistics are fully compatible. This would make for a pretty mean ship to deal with due to that fifty ton particle beam cannon! The Lance-class gunboat is another excellent quality spacecraft book from Independence Games that you won’t be disappointed by picking it up. I would like to thank John Watts of Independence Games for kindly sending me a copy to review.
I would also like to mention the second issue of ‘Darkest Stars’ fanzine is now available to download. This issue features more of the Dark Nebula setting, scout/seeker deck plans and dinosaurs! Click the link to jump to the website.