New Cepheus Engine Releases

Before I start with the main feature, I just wanted to mention that I left my (now former) employer in local government on Friday, after a very enjoyable seven years in employment. It also marks just over 25 years working in front-line IT support in the education sector, which I have now left. I’m starting with my new employer (also local government) in less than two weeks, but with a bit of a career change moving into Information Governance. The biggest difference will mean that I will get at least three hours of my life back from the daily ~70 mile commute, which will now turn into a <5 mile round trip. Its a career and employer I have thoroughly enjoyed, but its time for a bit of a change. A side benefit is that I might get a bit more writing time back…! Thank you for listening.

Anyway onto Cepheus Engine; there seems to be a lot of goings-on in the Cepheus Engine world at the moment; plenty of new releases, some free content along with printed (dead-tree) versions. I’m finding that more and more I’m enjoying the latest Cepheus Engine releases coming out of publishers such as Stellagama Publishing, Gypsy Knights Games, Zozer Games and Moon Toad Publishing. I thought I’d do a round-up of the new releases that have come out over the past few weeks along with other content that I have found just before going on holiday (I’m writing this at the cottage I’m staying at with my family in Bowness-on-Windermere in the English Lake District).

Printed books purchased from; I ordered some books from which I’d spotted. I picked up:-

Cepheus Faster-than-light from Stellagama Publishing

Cepheus Light Pocket Edition also by Stellagama Publishing

Dirtside by Zozer Games

Hot Zone by Zozer Games

Pioneer Class Station by Zozer Games

The delivery arrived pretty quickly (despite some confusing information about who was the courier) and I’ve brought the CE Pocket Edition with me on holiday. I’ve always been pleased with items that I’ve bought from and these books are no exception. All the books except CE Pocket Edition (I’ll call CEPE from now on) are roughly A4 in size and feature a glossy cover and back. Inside the pages are bright white with paper what feels comparative to standard photocopier paper in weight. I’m going to be taking a more detailed look at the books and content at a later date, but in the meantime here are a few snapshots. A nice touch is that if you order the print books, you can contact Paul Elliott of Zozer Games with your order details and he will send you a copy of the same books in PDF format, redeemable via DTRPG. CEPE is a digest-sized book in 196 pages, condensing the Cepheus Light rules set (also by Stellagama) down into a nicely portable book.

Gypsy Knights Games Releases

Gypsy Knights Games have released ‘Interface: Cybernetics in Clement Sector’ which is (loosely) a companion to ‘Artificial: Robots in the Clement Sector’ though both are distinct products and do not require each other to be used. Whatever types of 24th century personal enhancements you want, you can probably find them in this book.

Also out from the same publisher is ‘Almighty Credit: Corporations in Clement Sector’ which covers as the name suggests major and minor corporations and finance in the GKG background ‘Clement Sector’.

Moon Toad Publishing

Want to build your own vehicle? Drive around in your own tank and squish some ground-cars? Well now you can with Moon Toad Publishings ‘Vehicle Design Guide‘. This has only just come out in the past ten days or so and I’m hoping to obtain a copy to review soon!

Cepheus Engine Forum

A new website forum has been launched (on the 18th of May) catering for many of the Cepheus Engine publishers. The forum can be found at: and is free to register.

Stellagama Publishing Releases

Stellagama have updated their ‘Cepheus Faster-Than-Light’ super-rules-light edition of the CE SRD book for 2D6 SFRPG gaming. The latest version features an updated cover and layout changes; biggest difference I’ve noticed is that the page count has gone up from 38 pages to 60. I’m going to take a more detailed look as to why at a later date. I should note that the print version on has also been updated with a gorgeous new cover.

I have also found on DTRPG some free content created by Stellagama (variously by Omer Golan-Joel, Richard Hazlewood and Anthony C. Hunter), under the following headings:-

Cepheus Light Character Sheet

Cybernetics for the Cepheus Engine


Trauma Surgery for the Cepheus Engine

Cepheus Light Character Sheet

This download contains both A4 and US Letter PDF formats for a nicely laid out character sheet, in both landscape and portrait formats. Clear, functional and does the job.

Cybernetics for Cepheus Engine

A three page PDF of which two pages is actual content, the last page being the legal open game license statement. A shame that on a three-page PDF one third of the content is legal stuff, but thats the license so it has to be part of the package, free or not. The first two pages list a total of ten cybernetic enhancements that someone can buy (with a few variations for some of the enhancements). For example telescopic limbs; hacking module or subdermal armour. You get a description, cost per tech level and details of enhancements.

Belting for Cepheus Engine

This supplement is four pages long, three of which is actual game content. You could look at this as a massively-reduced version of Uranium Fever (also by Stellagama) which is a full set of rules for mining and prospecting. Belting could be used to fill in a gap in a nights session to see if a party with its prospecting ship could find enough minerals and make a few credits on the local minerals market. You get details about how to find asteroids, mining them and what they contain – the basics to get you by.

Trauma Rules for Cepheus Engine

Once all your core three stats are reduced to zero in Cepheus Engine, your character is dead. However Trauma Rules offers options (over two pages of content plus one license page) for your character to cheat death. There is a chance that through surgery, your character can be saved with help from a medical team / autodoc – as long as you are fast in getting that character the attention they need.

These are some really useful optional rules and all add to your Cepheus Engine game and even better they are free to download via DTRPG. I think its really good of Stellagama to offer short supplements like this and it would be great to see a few more like this to enhance your Cepheus Engine game. With all these releases Cepheus Engine seems to be going from strength to strength and its nice to see a wide variety of content being released.

Posted in Cepheus Engine, Clement Sector | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Cepheus Engine Fantasy Traveller Part 2 – Character Classes

I’ve been interested in the responses and comments on the ‘Citizens of the Imperium’ Traveller RPG forum following my first post in converting the Cepheus Engine SRD to a fantasy world. So for part 2, I’m going to expand the number of converted careers from the CE SRD into something that would look like a your typical player-character party. From the SRD I’m going to apply the same methodology as I converted the ‘Hunter’ career, to the following careers:-





An entrance to a dungeon, castle, or something else?

Character Generation Process

Background Skills (all four careers)

Same as on page 25, choose 3 or roll a D6 plus 1 per Education attribute DM and all are at level 0. This also replaces the homeworld-specific skills in the CE SRD.

1 Animals

2 Linguistics

3 Survival

4 Tactics

5 Vehicle (Wheeled Vehicle)

6 Streetwise

Career Qualification

Rogues, Mercenaries and Scouts roll as normal to qualify. I would say not to bother for qualification for a Barbarian, on my fictional fantasy world of Grond it’s not something you really have a choice in; more through matter of circumstances that a Barbarian becomes a Barbarian.

Service Skills

All careers get all the skills listed in their specific table, at level 0.

The replacement skills for each career are listed below.

If you already have a skill at level 0, there is no additional advancement if you get the skill again.


Roll for survival:

Barbarian roll STR 6+

Mercenaries roll END 6+

Rogues roll DEX 4+

Scouts roll END 7+

Commissions and Advancement

Because Barbarians and Scouts do not have commission or advancement checks, they get to make two rolls for skills instead of one for every term. However at rank 0, Barbarian’s get Melee Combat -1 and Scouts (instead of Pilot -1) get Recon -1. Mercenaries and Rogues can make a commission check at their second term of service by rolling INT 7+ / STR 6+ (bringing them to rank-1 Lieutenant / Associate level) where they can then make an advancement roll on INT 6+ and Rogues advance on INT 7+.

Replacement ranks and skills tables for Mercenary and Rogue careers.

Skills and Training

Each term you can choose from the Personal Development, Service Skills and Specialist Skills tables. If you have EDU 8+ you can also roll on the Advanced Education table. Remember that Barbarians and Scouts get to roll twice every term, all other careers have one roll per term. Select a table and roll 1D6 for the skill that you receive at level 1. If you have already have the skill, then increase this by a further level. (See replacement skills tables above).

Once you have made your skill checks, you then roll for survival as per each careers chance of survival. If you make the roll, repeat the process. If you don’t, something terrible has happened to your character (killed by huge boulder, tripped over and impaled on your own sword, fell into a shark infested… you get the idea). Alternatively you can muster out and receive the benefits entitled to you according to the number of terms served. For every term that your character serves, they age by four years.

Mustering out and Material Benefits

Characters receive one benefit per term served. An additional benefit is gained if the character achieves rank 4, two additional benefits for rank 5 and three for rank 6.

Cash Benefits

Up to three benefit rolls can be taken on the cash table, all the others must be taken in material benefits. Characters with Gambling skill receive +1 on cash benefit rolls. Note that cash is in gold pieces (gp) rather than credits (Cr).

Material Benefits

Material benefits may be characteristic alterations, physical goods or or some sort of societal benefit. Descriptions for the items in the tables:-

Riding Horse

This includes a horse that is trained to respond to a rider, plus the necessary equipment so that a rider can ride the horse effectively as for as long as reasonably required.

Scroll of Free Passage

The bearer is allowed to travel through the land of one kingdom or defined regional area and contains a seal of authority that is recognised and accepted by law-abiding citizens. It allows the bearer to pass unhindered and without financial charge through that regional area.

Armour (piece or full set, as described in the armour table)

A piece or complete set of armour can be chosen from the armour table and worn as per the requirements and restrictions for that item.


The character leaves the profession with an appropriate weapon, which can be a hand or missile weapon. Choice is made from the weapons tables. Where a weapon has already been chosen, subsequent receipts of a weapon can be taken as additional skill rolls or additional weapons as preferred.


The character leaves the profession with a choice of dagger or variant. Choice is made from the weapons tables. Where a dagger has already been chosen, subsequent receipts of a dagger can be taken as additional skill rolls or additional daggers as preferred.

Changes to Skill Descriptions


The character is trained in the use of understanding and using methods of short or long-range communications such as smoke, flags or leaving messages, patterns or signs that can be interpreted by others with the same skill. Other methods could be verbal (eg. making animal noises) or leaving a burning fire in a particular place. Increases in skill level allows the complexity of communication method to be increased and chance of it being interpreted by someone else reduced.

Specialist Armour (was Battle Dress)

The recipient was had training to wear and make effective use of armour that requires this skill to wear, in order to get advantage of its use. Specific types of armour require this skill at different levels which will be specified by the armour at time of purchase.

Gunnery (Cascade Skill)

The various specialities of this skill cover different types of large ranged weapons. When this skill is received, the character must immediately select one of the following: Trebuchet, ballista, cannon, mortar or battering ram. Some weapons may not be available due to the tech level of the world.


The character is able to construct, maintain or take apart with sufficient skill that the item can be reconstructed, equipment or constructions within the tech level of their world. For example the skill allows (within reason) the character to construct personal items (eg. A sextant) or put together building projects such as a small fort or defensive position.


This character is able to utilise calculations and equipment to help resolve complex mathematical problems. Typical equipment available would be a slide rule, abacus, books containing astronomical data and logarithmic tables.


The character is skilled at utilising explosives (which would be gunpowder-based on the world of Grond) in various amounts, for the purposes of blowing stuff up. Starting skill levels would allow the construction of personal weapons such as grenades, higher skill levels are required to facilitate large-scale demolitions.


The individual is competent in operating methods of transport such as boats, ships or domesticated flying creatures.

Final Conclusion

So there we now have a few character classes with some mechanics converted to a fantasy background. For the next part (subject to change – ha!) I think I’ll take a look at either a weapons and equipment book like I did for the Classic Traveller ‘Fantasy Traveller’ series, or look at some opponents for our character classes… which means monsters!

Part one of this series can be found here.

This article is released under the Open Game License as defined under the heading ‘In respect to Cepheus Engine and Open Game License (OGL) Products‘ in the ‘About’ page.

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Piracy and Privateering Review

Back to my (well-overdue) review pile, I’m going to take a look at ‘Piracy and Privateering’ (aka PaP from now on), written by Josh Peters and published by Stellagama Publishing back in October 2018. This is a product that is compatible with 2D6 OGL sci-fi publications such as ‘Cepheus Engine’, ‘Stars Without Number’ or ‘White Star’ but it could be used with other SFRPG’s such as Classic Traveller as it is written as a system-independent supplement. It can be picked up from Drivethru RPG for $4.99 as a PDF (normally $8.99) and contains 84 pages. There are no print on demand options available at the time of writing. Correction: there is a print-on-demand option availabe through – Piracy and Privateering PoD.

PaP immediately reminds me of the Gypsy Knights Games book released back in 2016 ‘Skull and Crossbones – Piracy in the Clement Sector’:-

…and there is an amount of crossover between the two products. However I’ll reserve comparisons between the two until the end of this review.

Bearing in mind this is a system and background-independent product, the introduction starts with a look at the ‘motivation’ as to why you would want to play a pirate character and the challenges this presents a referee. This introduction rounds off with a short overview of the books contents, required materials and a little about the author.

The section ‘Piracy and Privateering Campaigns’ takes an in-depth look at how a referee would go about setting up a PaP environment so that characters can follow such a venture. The author looks into the different types of setting where the possibility of piracy could exist and the chances that players could make this a sustained campaign. There are a lot of useful points looking at the practicalities of space piracy. Do you ‘wait and lurk’ hoping that retirement-level-value cargo just happens to come along? Or do you actively go out and get intelligence on when the most valuable cargos might be shipped, will the ship be escorted and will there be anywhere advantageous where the players can press home their attack? There are pro’s and con’s in how you deal with the crew, once you have your prey within your grasp. Unless you want to make a reputation for yourself, you’ll want to take the cargo and leave with as little fuss as possible. There are risks in taking the whole ship as well, as the owner would want to involve the authorities in tracking down those responsible; there is more chance of this occurring than if just the cargo was stolen, which could probably be claimed on the insurance. The differences between piracy and privateering are discussed in quite a bit of depth and what the ‘Letter of Marque’ means. States-sponsored piracy may seem like a good proposition but if you get caught without sufficient justification, the state won’t get you out of trouble…

The next section ‘Random Space Encounters’ sets up the background to the encounter tables and how to present a star system that could be raided for pirate plunder. The text discusses the valid point that in reality because space is so vast, there is little chance of an encounter occurring. However, because there are many travel zones and shipping lanes, refuelling points and stop overs these chances are not going to be zero. To enable this, a number of encounter tables are presented depending on a number of factors, which include:-

– The Encounter Terrain; mainworlds, gas giants and the various zones of a solar system where traffic could be encountered.

– Traffic; the number of starships and stop over locations that are in the system at any one time.

– How safe is the system; is the system well patrolled, a frontier world or a backwater?

This then feeds the the process to generate the encounter which is described in a clear, easy-to-read set of steps, followed up with tables based on the factors previously described. These are all non-system specific but you are given enough guidance so that you can adapt the tables into whatever SFRPG system you happen to be using. For example one of the ship type tables (courier / scout) is broad enough that it could be easily be adapted to Classic Traveller or Clement Sector / Cepheus Engine with complete ease. The encounter tables aren’t limited to starships though; you have tables for ‘item encounters’ which include things like ‘large stations’ (naval bases, research or mining stations to mention just a few), planetoids or hazards.

Pages 57 and 58 give you a detailed example of how to put all this information together, so that you have a fully-fleshed out encounter.

Page 59 looks into the economics of piracy. No, this isn’t like a boring college lesson at all; its all relevant information for your players to actually make some cash out of the raid they’ve just performed on that huge naval base. This discussion is full of adventure ideas; the players having to pay off bribes to insiders who have helped the players with the raid; keeping the ships crew happy and paid; where do you sell the cargo, especially if it is ‘hot’? You’re not going to get market value so you’d better set your expectations low if you think you’re going to retire on the payoff from that cargo you’ve just nicked! This isn’t just a discussion however, you are given some game mechanics with how to deal with such situations.

To round off the book, you are presented with several adventure ideas (in the style of GKG’s ‘21 Plots’ or the Classic Traveller ‘76 Patron’s’ books), plus two specific system encounter tables and some NPC’s. The book has a limited amount of stock artwork in monochrome and colour which complements the content of the book.

Comparing to GKG’s ‘Skull and Crossbones: Piracy in Clement Sector’, the page count is almost the same, but GKG’s product takes a more descriptive approach (obviously as it is based around their ATU Clement Sector) but there are some common themes such as the economics of piracy, payments and life as a pirate. However much of GKG’s product is built more around the Clement Sector-specific content such as starship deck plans (which PaP does not have) and less around the generic encounter building that PaP is geared towards. GKG’s book is one of my all-time favourite gaming products and though PaP has some similar content, I find it stands extremely well on its own and has its own distinct identity compared to GKG’s product. In many ways they complete each other; the additional discussion around being a pirate and running piracy operations is stronger than GKG’s book, but GKG has more to offer with personalities, starships and what some individual worlds (in the Clement Sector) policy is towards piracy.

Piracy and Privateering is a thoroughly enjoyable read and useful resource for running space-borne piracy operations, 2D6 SFRPG referees will find a huge amount of useful material for their games which can be easily adapted for their own gaming ‘universe’. I’d consider this an excellent resource and set of tools for your games – therefore it is highly recommended! I would like to thank Omer Golan-Joel for very kindly sending me a copy to take a look at and for bearing with me for such a late review.

Posted in Cepheus Engine, Classic Traveller, Clement Sector, Mongoose Traveller, OGL | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Artifical – Robots in Clement Sector Review

Finally, spring and lighter mornings are returning to the UK at last. Though the first three months of the year haven’t been any near like last years poor weather, somehow it’s seemed harder to get motivated to write for the blog. However some time in the sun and fresh air has brought about a renewed attitude and a change in personal circumstances, which I mentioned in my last blog post. After twenty-five years, I’m finally moving on from working in front-line IT technical support and going into the field of information governance, having handed in my resignation with my current employer today. Its been a long time in coming but I’m finally getting to specialise in a field that has piqued my interest and I’ve been doing more and more work in the past eighteen months. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with my current employer, but its the right time in my career to move on into a subject that I’ve found interesting and challenging. However I’ve got a period of notice to work and a lot of work to do in the meantime, as I want to leave my current employer in the best possible position for the future.

A very long time overdue, I’m going to tackle the review pile, starting with ‘Artificial – Robots in Clement Sector’ by Gypsy Knights Games (which I’ll refer to as ARCS from now on).

Robots are obviously a huge part of many sci-fi stories and worlds and though its been a while in coming, GKG have put a lot of thought and consideration into ARCS. The book is available from Drivethru RPG for $9.99 as a PDF or $24.99 for the softcover book (hardcover is the same price at the moment, normally $34.99). The book is 100 pages long.

Compared to other books from the GKG stable, this could be considered one of their medium-weight supplements which is reflected in the price. The book has a very attractive cover by Bradley Warnes; you immediately get a good idea of how much detail there is in the book by the contents section, which is seven pages long.

The books core aim is to give players and referees the ability to ‘build’ robots by following a design checklist. Breaking the book down into its main sections:-

After the contents pages, you are introduced to the world of Clement Sector robots with three pages of background how robot technology has evolved from the twenty-first to twenty-third centuries.

The design process is summarised on page 13 with a clear and concise break down of how to build your robot. I’m not going to repeat the whole process here, but highlight the key parts. As you work your way through the design process, at the bottom of several pages you have a design example which helps to clarify the step. I’m always pleased to see this sort of thing as it always makes getting used to a new system / process a lot easier.

The chassis forms the base for all the components and parts of the robot; a variety of shapes and types are described, from basic frameworks to biosynths, the ultimate robot chassis in the Clement Sector. A biosynth is essentially a replication of the human body, almost completely to the point that muscular and certain nervous systems act in the same way. Chassis sizes range from 1kg all the way up to 20,000kg! A table lists the available space with which you can add components and its strength rating. You have a huge number of options available for the chassis such as additional armour, types of false skin and protection against radiation.

The power supply is the key component in deciding on what the robots duration and how much power will be needed to power its attached components. There is as much here in creating your type of power unit as there is building a spacecraft; there is plenty of information describing the type of power unit, recharge times and operating times.

Page 28 looks at extraneous appendages aka ‘arms’. Depending on what your robot will be used for you can choose from different types of armature such as ‘assembler’ (specialised attachments used for construction for example), ‘standard arms’ (human-like), or ‘tentacle’ (Cthulhu has had some design input). The section then follows with how to break the arm down into components such as having characteristic increases, branching (multiple arms from the arms chassis connection) or hydraulics.

Page 35 has a couple of pages on what ‘head’ options are available. A head could make the difference between how an organic life-form interacts with the robot, acting almost as a point of focus for communication, in the same way that two organic life forms would with each other. Ok, is it just me that find those headless Zhodani warbots a bit sinister?

Want your robot to get around? You’ll need some form of locomotion which is covered in the next six pages. You have quite a bit of choice in this area, ranging from air cushion and anti-grav, through to legs and wheels to water-based forms of propulsion (and a few others in between). Each form of propulsion has a table with its respective capabilities and costs, plus a brief description.

Part 6 (page 43) delves into types of armament, if you intend your robot to have offensive or defensive capabilities. Robots can carry weapons on integrated or external mountings and these are covered in the next four pages of the book. Note though; a biological synthetic can’t accommodate an internal weapons mounting, for obvious reasons…!

Page 47 looks at the one part that controls the robot – the computer. A number of factors influence the computer that is used in the robot which in turn effect game stats. There is quite a bit of information here giving you the choice of how much sophistication you want to put into the robot, balanced with how much money you have of course!

Page 53 (Software Programs) is a comprehensive section describing the programs that run in the robots computer. This isn’t just a list of autonomous commands, you have things like the ‘emotion emulator’ where you can give a robot the ability to express facial capabilities such as being happy, sad, surprised etc. I do like the table of ‘personality patterns’ where you can have the choice of ‘grumpy disposition’, ‘dull with a matter of fact attitude’ or ‘friendly and engaging’. Ideal for making a ‘Marvin the Paranoid Android’ robot character I think! The task software list contains software that is the equivalent of the usual skills that characters can gain, except that robots have to have sufficient core memory storage (ok, characters have to have this as well in some way, in the ‘old grey matter). There are some additional task software descriptions such as ‘cargo handling’ or ‘security’ or ‘valet’ which are specific to robots only.

A nice addition to what software programs are available for robots (and perhaps a reflection of modern technology and the way that we use applications) is the list of ‘apps’. These small programs are designed to perform a specific function and are much smaller than the regular programs. For example, you have ‘Jimmie’s 20 minute meals’; guaranteed pukka meals for your passengers with streaming narration and video (shoot me now or the robot, please). Or there is ‘mapfinder’; get the best maps for your local area/planet (useful) or ‘Yolanda’s Children’s Library’ (imagine a rogue robot blasting this out as it runs after you armed with lasers on a locked down transport ship). A very nice addition.

Section 9 includes all the types of sensors, communications and electronics you could ever want. Everything from visual, audio, taste and communications from civilian to military-class capabilities.

Section 10 (page 70) rounds up with ‘Other Components’, anything that isn’t already covered in the previous nine sections.

Sections 11 to 13 cover the game stats and how robots would ‘work’ within the Clement Sector rules. You also get a comprehensive section on attitudes to robots within the different subsectors; don’t assume that all robots are allowed within each planetary society. Some planets because or religious, cultural or historical reasons allow robots (or not) to varying degrees. This is especially useful if you intend to play a robot character, which neatly brings me to the following section on page 82. Its a useful and thought-provoking addition to look at the challenges when playing a robot character, some of which are similar when playing uplift or non-human characters. Its not a simple way to get a character with enhanced abilities by playing a robot, there a are great deal of disadvantages as well. The book rounds off with a number of design types, organisations and robot examples which are always useful to compare against when building your own robot.

So what do I think of ARCS? Its a thoroughly well researched book, presenting lots of options and components with which to build your robot, whether it be as an NPC, character or simply for an interesting encounter. It is lavishly illustrated with gorgeous colour artwork by Bradley Warnes, Stephanie McAlea, Tithi Luadthong and Kittipong Jirasukhanont. The author Michael Johnson has put together an excellent gaming resource for the Clement Sector (and Cepheus Engine) that is also an interesting read exploring the aspects of playing a robot character. Along with the usual high-quality editing and layout, this is another excellent product from Gypsy knights Games which I can highly recommend. I would like to thank John Watts for sending me a copy to review (and bearing with me so long in turning around a review!)

Posted in Cepheus Engine, Clement Sector, Mongoose Traveller | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eight Years of Alegis Downport

Its been eight years since I launched this blog, so happy birthday to me (if thats possible!) As much as I have tried however, its been a tough couple of months since I last posted what with things going on in real life. However there is some light at the end of the tunnel and I am just waiting for some very positive news to be confirmed in the next week or so. Once I have got that out of the way I’m expecting to have a lot more time to catch up and contribute to my Traveller et al musings. Before anyone asks, no I have not won the lottery! I feel a bit guilty not reviewing or posting anything for nearly two months but sometimes real life has to take priority, I’m about to make a big change in my life, so my time for the moment has had to be made in that direction.

I’m currently working on a review of Gypsy Knights Games ‘Artificial: Robots in the Clement Sector’ which I will have posted in early April, along with some recently released products also from GKG and Stellagama Publishing. Though things have been a bit quiet recently in the Traveller RPG / Cepheus Engine world with a limited number of releases and Google+ about to shut down, refugees have been finding sanctuary on the MeWe social network and things are expanding there almost daily.

Since I launched this blog back in 2011, there have been nearly 45,000 visitors at time of writing, more than I could have ever possibly imagined. I’m immensely grateful for the continued support and comments, here’s to getting back on track!

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Cepheus Light – Traits Review

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.

Other News

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.

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2018 in Review

Having worked off the excesses of New Year’s Eve with a full English breakfast and settled down to do a bit of writing, its time to have a look at what has been going on in the ‘Downport over the past year.

Perhaps perversely, one of my favourite things to do at the end of the year is to round up what were the most popular articles on the blog, page visits and interactions for the previous year. It helps me to take a step back and see what visitors are enjoying reading, which influences what I decide to write in the coming twelve months.

Site Stats in Numbers

2018 saw a total of 11,882 views from 5116 visitors, 38 likes and 46 comments. Thats up on 2017’s total of 8,528 views (by 3,354) by 3653 visitors, 30 likes and 40 comments. My target was to increase site visits and hit 10,000, so I’m very pleased this has been achieved! However the closure of Google+ later this year may hit 2019’s total, so we shall see. Before anyone suggests it, no, I will not join Facebook! Site stats are my own personal target and help to motivate me to write for the blog. I don’t deliberately place adverts on the posts, except what WordPress force into the article; I have no control over these which is the price of a free blog account.

Top 10 Most Popular Posts

Some context has to be taken with these, the penultimate blog post for 2018 ‘Cepheus Light Three-Format Review’ leapt into eighth position despite only being posted on the 28th of December. The top ten posts by page views were:

1. The Fantasy Traveller

2. Zozer Games Solo Review Part 1

3. Laserburn Memories

4. Spacecraft Design Guide Review

5. Zozer Games Solo Review Part 2

6. Uranium Fever Review

7. Cepheus Engine Fantasy Traveller Part 1 – Basic Character Generation

8. Cepheus Light Three-Format Review

9. Laserburn as Classic Traveller LBBs

10. Traveller Rules and Near Space


Worth mentioning just outside the top ten are quite a few of Gypsy Knights Games reviews, peppered with Stellagama Publishings products (including ‘These Stars Are Ours’) and individual ‘Fantasy Traveller’ articles. My attempt at using the Classic Traveller rules in a fantasy world continues to be the top post. The Zozer Games product ‘Solo’ has been a consistently popular product month-on-month that people have been looking for reviews. A huge surprise has been the popularity of the old Tabletop Games ‘Laserburn’ 15mm rules. A look at this mornings stats (1st of January) reveal every article I’ve posted about Laserburn has had several page views, with most from the United States. Someone is feeling nostalgic!

Focus for the Coming Year

Reviews will form the bulk of the blog posts through the year, starting with the list I posted on the 30th of December. I want to continue the expansion of my Fantasy Traveller articles into the Cepheus Engine / Light system and rewriting some of the Classic Traveller-based articles into CE / CL. Classic Traveller stills needs some love though, so I’ll continue to support this in some way. Laserburn has been a surprise for me in its popularity and this is something I’d like to continue to write for. I managed to pick up a copy of ‘Scavenger’ earlier in the year which is the only solo adventure published for Laserburn. I was working through this before the kitchen refurb halted everything for several weeks so I’d like to write something around ‘Scavenger’ this year.

I’ve also got another writing project ‘under the hood’ going at the moment, which I’ve been working on since last August. I’m not sure where this is going to take me or what it is going to develop into, so depending on my confidence with this I may post something about it later in the year.

There has been some resurgence in Tunnels and Trolls by Flying Buffalo, following on from several successful Kickstarters which I have taken part in. I enjoy the T&T adventures for my own bit of gaming when I can, but I don’t know where this fits into this blog, other than serving as a continual source of inspiration for the Fantasy Traveller posts. I may test the water with a review of one of the Kickstarter releases and see how it pans out.

I have written the occasional article on some of the less popular systems or products, though they don’t get a huge number of page views. I do like to dip my toe into a different system, even if it is just to give me a break from the norm.

Finally, one other aim I would like is to get to the UK Games Expo this year. The venue is not that far from me but holidays and other family events always clash with it. Perhaps this year…?

Thanks again for all the support from my visitors and publishers who send me stuff to review! It might be January 2019… but there is still eleven months to get flying cars as featured in ‘Bladerunner’… you never know!

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