For those that grew up in the 1970’s and were interested in unusual phenomena, one magazine that will probably stand out for you is ‘The Unexplained’. Featuring as diverse subjects as ghosts, spontaneous human combustion, the supernatural, bigfoot, monsters and of course, UFO’s. A number of incidents became famous and some of the photos of the alien spacecraft are immediately recognisable such as the George Adamski case, or those photographed by Billy Meier. Fast forward to the future and some of these UFO’s have helped to form the basis of the ‘These Stars Are Ours’ (TSAO) setting, where the Gray aliens so often depicted in such close encounters have enslaved the human race. I’ll keep to the ‘Gray’ spelling throughout this blog post as this is how they are referred to in the book. Eventually the peoples of Earth (with allies) fought back and defeated the Grays and created their own Empire, The United Terran Republic.
What if you wanted to give one of these flying saucers a spin in your games? Then Stellagama Publishing has the perfect product for you in ‘UFO’s – Ships of the Reticulan Empire’. Authored by Omer Golan-Joel, the book presents eight Reticulan saucers along with background on the alien’s society and characters. The book is available from Drivethru RPG for $3.99 as a PDF only and contains a total of 30 pages.
The book begins with a short introduction and systems statement; the book is directly compatible with the Cepheus Engine rules, Cepheus Light (also by Stellagama Publishing) and any other 2D6 SF RPG rules set if you want to use the book with your own preferred game. The next couple of pages describe the TSAO setting and key protagonists with some nice illustrations comparing who is who.
Page 8 looks into the background, physiology and mind set of the Reticulans. Playing one as a character presents some interesting challenges, in that Reticulans should be played as rational as possible. Emotions are few and far between and should only be presented as a last resort. The following page gets into the guts of the game statistics and Cepheus Engine character generation process. The Grays mature more slowly than humans and enjoy longer lifespans and hence may have up to 12 terms using the career generation rules. One potential benefit on mustering out is a ‘Saucer’ (bit like the Scout getting a 100-ton scout ship in Classic Traveller) which starts with a Civilian Saucer and if you are lucky enough to receive the benefit again, you get to upgrade to a Military Saucer.
With the Reticulans obviously being a more advanced race with a greater understanding of advanced spaceflight, the Saucers come with improved technologies. Therefore pages 10 to 12 detail variant ship rules where the maximum tech level is 13. For example, a few paragraphs each provide detail on the types of equipment available, such as Breaching Tubes, Low Berths (a variant from the normal CE type), Dedicated Medlabs, Gravitics, Stealth Technology, Simulated Intelligence, Small Craft Acceleration Couches and the ‘Static Pulser’, a type of specialised electronic warfare system.
The remainder of the book provides detailed background, deck plans and illustrations on a variety of Reticulan craft; the 30-ton Military and Civilian Saucers (note: no jump drive in these), the jump-capable 100-ton Scout, the 200-ton Trader, the 400-ton Frigate, 600-ton Abductor, 1000-ton Light Carrier (used to carry up to 8 Military Saucers) and finally a 1000-ton Tender (as the same as the Military Carrier but for transporting Civilian Saucers). Each ship has CE statistics and a detailed deck plan, of which the author has provided as a separate image file in case you wanted to print them out.
In some ways, this is a sort of ‘Reticulan sourcebook’ and provides loads of material not just for the TSAO or sci-fi setting, but for any sort of contemporary game where you might want to include the Gray (or Grey, depending on your spelling preference) aliens such as those set in the mid-twentieth century, at the height of the UFO ‘flap’. One game immediately comes to mind is ‘Attack Squadron Roswell’ by Zozer Games. Though this is pre-Cepheus Engine (it uses the MG1e / Traveller rules set), I think if you wanted to play a game in this setting, the Stellagama product would offer a lot of value in enhancing ‘Attack Squadron’.
This is a really nice book, offers a lot of value in the download package and potential flexibility as source material for a variety of games and settings. I certainly consider this as another highly recommended product from Stellagama Publishing. I would like to thank Omer Golan-Joel for kindly sending me a copy of the book to review.
A couple of examples of the Reticulans visiting Earth (!) can be found in these news articles:
In other new releases, Independence Games have just published ‘Atlanta-class Carrier’ over on DTRPG for $7.99 for their ‘Earth Sector’ setting, which I will very reviewing very soon.