Alegis Downport 2017 in Review

It’s 2017 and it’s time for the inevitable review of the year. To be honest, I was expecting the usual email from WordPress.com with a breakdown of my stats, but it never arrived. Looking at other websites I subscribe to, they haven’t been posted either, so I wonder if WordPress has changed its policy and is no longer sending these out? Oh well. 


Dad – stop taking pictures of me for your bloody blog!

I like to do a site stats review as it gives me some idea of what posts are the most popular, where I get my visitors from as it gives me some sort of idea of what to write over the coming year. So, without further ado, lets have a bit of a look what people found interesting at Alegis Downport…

Total number of visitors for 2017 was 5400; this is fantastic and nearly a 50% increase on last years total number of visitors of 3716. Average per month has gone up from 309 last year to 450. The most popular day was the 12th of September with 114 views and there are now 111 articles on the blog, up from 86 last year. Top three countries that my visitors came from were the United States of America, United Kingdom and Canada. The most popular day was the 12th of September with 114 views and there are now 111 articles on the blog, up from 86 last year. However it’s nice to see some visitors from as far away as Taiwan, Ecuador and New Zealand! I have tried to make a concerted effort to get posts done on a regular basis, though the start of summer are still low points with posts and number of visitors.

The top three posts were ‘Traveller Rules and Near Space’, ‘The Fantasy Traveller’ and ‘The Space Patrol Review’. The first and last of these I suspect are linked from Facebook (even though I’m not on Facebook) where a number of referrals have come from. The middle post shows the continuing interest of using and converting the Traveller rules set in a fantasy environment. Overall, its the reviews (especially for Gypsy Knights Games and Stellagama Publishing) products that generate the bulk of the traffic to the website.

Conclusion? 

I don’t see much need to deviate from current writing plans, I intend to continue to write reviews as products are sent over to me, but also still put in some variety with ‘The Fantasy Traveller’ series and the occasional single, non-series article (my Traveller Ships Crew Miniatures post seemed to be incredibly popular). I do publish thanks when publishers send me products to review, but I would like to send a couple of ‘big’ thank you’s – to John Watts and Omer G. Joel, of Gypsy Knights Games and Stellagama Publishing respectively who are very kind in sending me over copies their latest releases to review. Gents – I very much appreciate you doing this and this blog would be less without your support! I would also like to thank each and every visitor, from wherever in the world you may be; your support by visiting Alegis Downport, posting comments and ‘likes’ (not just here, but on Twitter as well) is really appreciated! 

I hope 2017 is safe and healthy for you all – best wishes, Steve.

PS – a couple of releases just appeared on DrivethruRPG – SOCS17: Atlas-class Freighter by Gypsy Knights Games and Far Horizon by Zozer Games, the former I’ll be reviewing shortly!

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Horizon Survey Craft Review

For my last blog post of 2016, I’m reviewing the Horizon Survey Craft by Zozer Games. This is a free download available at Drivethru RPG and is compatible with the Cepheus Engine game rules. It’s a book that seems to have been on DTRPG for a while having being added to their catalogue back in 2012 but for some reason, I never saw it on Zozer Games product listings until recently, probably because it has recently been updated to the CE rules set.

The books ten pages of content starts on the third page (cover being first, with credits on second) with a brief mention of the setting it is designed for (Orbital 2100 / a TL9 setting) where humanity has conquered the solar system. There are no Zimm / jump drives – everything is using near-current (believable) technology and the limits that imposes. Earth and Luna are in a state of Cold War and look to gain advantage over each other, with the prospect of war never far away. For more on this background, why not take a look at the Orbital 2100 setting? I reviewed the book back in January 2013 – the product was called simply ‘Orbital’ then, before the update to the Cepheus Engine rules and name change to Orbital 2100.


The remainder of this and the following page describes how the Horizon Survey Craft came about, its game specifications (100dTon ship), specifications for the 5dTon Spider lander which it typically carries and external appearance. You then get a page of deck plans, showing all six decks and their components. You then get a one and a half page walk through with the pilot from end-to-end of the ship; this is a good way to add a description of the ship without getting too dry about what each deck is like. There is a brief mention of the variants available of the ship, a notable one is the type which has extra sensors and is used to keep an eye on Earth activities without drawing too much attention, much like the Russian trawlers that used to monitor UK military activities in the 80’s and 90’s. To round the book off, you get the stats for the pilot mentioned earlier and three other crew members of an example ship, the DRV 364 ‘Red Shift’.

As a free download, the Horizon Survey Craft is a bargain and contains more content than some paid-for single-page scenario’s. You don’t get any 3D art like some books, simply the deck plans and a simple drawing of the external view which is more than adequate. The book could be used in almost any setting that is at least TL9, or one where low-tech spacecraft are still used. It’s nice to see specifications for more primitive spacecraft types for 2D6 sci-fi, something that was in short supply a few years ago for the Classic Traveller rules set. Well worth a download – you never know when it may come in useful for your games!

As this is the last blog post of 2016, I’d like to thank all my visitors and people that have commented on the blog. WordPress will send me a stats summary in the next couple of days, but I know that there has been a rough 50% increase in visitors this year, which has been absolutely fantastic! Thanks again, here is to a safe and happy new year!

Posted in Cepheus Engine, Classic Traveller, Mongoose Traveller, OGL | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Space Patrol Review

The third in my big blog posts for this Christmas holiday is a review of the Stellagama Publishing book ‘The Space Patrol’, a supplement for the Cepheus Engine 2D6 sci-fi gaming rules. It can be purchased from Drivethru RPG for a currently discounted price of $8.39 (normal price $11.99) as a watermarked PDF containing 102 pages.

Various forms of law breaking can take place, depending how far you are away from the core worlds of any established space-faring empire / federation. The space navy is more concerned with the larger issues of maintaining security such as defending against planetary invasions or large-scale pirate attacks. So day-to-day law enforcement falls to the Space Patrol; they deal with criminals, investigations, chasing down perpetrators and crime prevention. Local law enforcement is managed by planetary law agencies, the Space Patrol works with them with what happens in between worlds, within their area of jurisdiction.

In some ways, members of the Space Patrol could be considered to be the ‘Paladins’ of the space ways (without the religious element); they have to have a great deal of integrity, self-sufficiency, high morals and professionalism as they spend a great deal of time on their own or in small teams.

The book (written by Richard Hazelwood and edited by Omer Golan-Joel, Josh Peters and Kathy Hazelwood) and begins by looking at the Space Patrol with a short introduction and overview of the book and any required materials. The next seven pages then describe the history of the organisation and its mission; this is where the book really hits the ground running with an extensive description of the different types of law and how this fits within the Space Patrol’s mandate. This doesn’t just cover space-related law, the difference between public and private law is described with everything from commercial law to major crimes are detailed. I think this is an important aspect and most definitely worth covering to the extent that the book does; It may seem boring, but by making good use of the different types of law, the referee can set up scenario’s that cover end-to-end an event that Space Patrol characters get involved with, to the evidence-gathering,  investigation process and finally judgement.


I mentioned earlier that Space Patrol characters have to have high morals and absolute integrity; it would be all too tempting to capture a bunch of criminals with their ill-gotten gains in the depths of space and hide all the cash on some remote asteroid for collection at a later date. The space patrol deals with this situation with the ‘Prize Money’ aspect. This is awarded to its crews based upon the value of the confiscated items, as a percentage. The Navy takes a dim view of this, but its a system that works for the Space Patrol.

Mentioning the Navy, there is some overlap with the Space Patrol and more often than not, their paths will cross and they will have to work together to enforce the law. This is covered in the ‘Jurisdiction’ section, which then leads nicely into the part which covers ‘Interstellar Law Enforcement’. A planets UWP is used to build some rules around its legal characteristics which finishes with how sentencing is handled.

Once you suspect criminal activity is taking place, how do you go about investigating it? The book describes how to obtain a search warrant and gather evidence. Again, this is extensively described – and if you are successful in getting the crim into court, the book covers the types of trials and the results (sentencing) that can form the outcome. Because the process can get a little complicated, you have a useful example which walks you through the procedure.

The next section looks at the Space Patrol Organisation and career development, building on the careers that are available in the Cepheus Engine rules. You are taken through the career development, ranks, commissions, awards and mustering out. You also get a couple of tables with the service skills that can be gained.

You also have some advanced career options with the introduction of two new concepts: gaining allies or enemies. These are either friends who could help the character at some point or people who could hinder the character. You don’t get one of these with every option on the survival or event tables, but there is enough chance you’ll pick one or the other along the way which the referee can use to challenge player characters at a later date.

The Space Patrol isn’t much of an organisation that lives up to its name, without spacecraft. The next section describes the range of TL12+ ships that the Patrol usually uses (a total of ten are detailed) along with three of these with colour illustrations by Ian Stead and their associated deck plans. Continuing the equipment theme, you get a detailed breakdown of what standard equipment the patrol has in its disposal; kit such as the specialist Vacc suits the patrol uses, battle dress and combat armour. The Patrol’s ships are limited by Imperium edict in that they can’t exceed 2000dTons in size, so as not to entrench on the Navy. The Patrol has a large number of wide ranging powers, some of which could be more powerful than the Navy, so they have to be kept in check somehow.

Now that you have the legal and technical aspects of the Patrol, you are then presented with a section on Space Patrol campaigns. The basic structure of having a Space Patrol is by having an interstellar empire behind it. However you get a list of variations on this structure so you have the most flexible approach available for whatever your current ‘universe’ is like.

The penultimate section is pretty extensive (22 pages) detailing a number of Space Patrol non-player characters ranging from senior figures in the Space Patrol; investigation NPCs, officers and an inspection team and ship crew members. You also get the stats for six of the most wanted criminals in the subsector – there are some very nasty pieces of work presented here who would be more than a challenge for Space Patrol player characters. The final section details eight adventure seeds (roughly one per page, so you get a lot of detail) to help get the referee started.

Whilst reading the book, it reminded me of a number of paintings that the great sci-fi artist Peter Elson produced, which were featured in some of the Terran Trade Authority Handbooks (TTA): I’ve linked (but not copied) these which may be helpful in some visual inspiration when reading the book. I hope you find them useful!

Pirates of the Asteroids

Trader to the Stars

Prime Number

The Rim of Space

This is a really comprehensive and detailed book on an important service in an established interstellar empire. Though the book is light on illustrations (there are pieces by Ian Stead, Axel Lofving, Luigi Castellani plus some from fotosearch stock photography) you get a very well written book that clearly presents each aspect of the Space Patrol and how the organisation operates. It’s interesting to read but detailed enough without getting too heavy (especially on the legal stuff). This is a very useful supplement that can be used in a number of backgrounds and is flexible enough to suit a number of tech levels – a highly recommended purchase for your RPG library! I would like to thank Omer Golan-Joel for kindly sending me a copy of The Space Patrol to review.

Posted in Cepheus Engine, Classic Traveller, Mongoose Traveller, OGL | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

SOCS16 Rucker-class Merchant Review Part 2

First off, I’m truly saddened to hear of Carris Fishers passing earlier today. Though I’ve never been a ‘fan’ of the Star Wars universe like I have other imaginary worlds, I’ve always enjoyed the films and was inmensely pleased to hear that the original characters were joining from SW:TFA onwards. She led a colourful life and I have a lot of respect for her talents and her artistic skills in acting and writing. She will be sorely missed.

Rucker-class Merchant Design Notes

Following on from my last blog post reviewing the SOCS16 Rucker-class Merchant; in case anyone is interested, I’ve taken some snapshots of the 3D views from my modelling software AC3D, which I used to build the original Rucker. I suppose you could call them ‘designers notes’? I wanted to show the underside and what the landing gear looks like, which is missing in the SOCS16 book. I used this model for the cover of ‘The Lost Girl’, where the ship is a matter of a few feet off the ground, kicking up dust just before touchdown.

The landing gear at the front is a couple skids that retract from the underside of the ship. The two back legs are telescopic, needed as they have a greater distance to cover before becoming level with the retracted front gear. The rear feet have ‘pyramid’ studs to help provide grip once on the ground. The feet can be angled slightly to provide a flat ‘foot’ in respect to a tarmac’ed surface, for example at a space port.

I’ve also found the original sketches of the Rucker I made when John Watts of Gypsy Knights Games commissioned me to design the ship back in 2012. I’ve taken a couple of snapshots which I’ve repoduced here:-

ruckerdesign1

The first sketch in the image above (top left hand corner) has the Rucker’s wings much lower than the final design. I felt that it would make the ship too aircraft-like and moved the to the top of the wing surfaces were almost in line with the top of the main body. Most of sketch involves where the sections along an extrusion have to be modified, in order to make a curved surface. It also helps to work out the number of sections I have to count when specifying an extrusion.
ruckerdesign2

My Rucker Merchant Crew

Over the past few years, I have been running a sort of solo game based around my own rules for trading and diversionary adventures. I call them ‘The Elite Traveller’ rules, where I used the Classic Traveller book 3 trading rules modified with additional encounters – its sort of inspired by the space trading game ‘Elite’ which I used to play on the Sinclair ZX Spectrum and Atari ST, hence the name. The crew (motley, of course) originally started with a Type-S Scout ship but part way along happened across an abandoned Rucker-class, with a mysterious female passenger, Ki. She has joined the crew and after being attacked by two military ships of an unknown type or identification, half of the original Far Horizons crew were killed.

Now all that remains are the following crew, looking for additional crew to join them at a starport, at the same time as trying to work out what Ki’s background is and why she appears to be being followed.

Rucker-class Merchant ‘Far Horizons’ Ship Registration ID: 271156

Current Crew Members (Classic Traveller Stats):

‘H’ Harry Slattery (rank General)

UPP AAC9A7 30 years old, 3 terms completed. 6′ 3″ tall. Looks like Clint Eastwood from the Dirty Harry films, with a bit less hair and longer side burns. Benefits acquired: 33000Cr, middle passage, gun – SMG, +2 education.:

Gambling-1 Vehicle-2 Blade Combat-3 Medic-1 Rifle-1 Tactics-1 SMG-2 Air/Raft-1 Electronic-1

The leader of the group, Harry is a grizzled veteran who was promoted and lucky in his army career. He met Robert during a visit to Regina and the two struck up an unlikely friendship through a love of bad sci-fi shows and Scottish malt whisky. Harry promised to help pay for some repair work on Roberts newly-aquired scout ship and the pair have had a agreement ever since. As they needed a crew to help run the ship, they advertised for additional crew members. The first of which was Dexter. Harry carries a rather special handgun, modelled on the ‘Robocop’ Beretta M93R. He had the gun specially made after seeing a similar thing on an ancient Terran TV show, its cost was 2000Cr.

Robert the Persian (ex-Merchant, achieved rank of Captain)

UPP 46A686 38 years old, 5 terms completed. Looks like: Robert the Persian from the American Road Trip special of ‘Top Gear’. Benefits acquired: 35000Cr, 3 guns, Blade, Suleman class scout ship (now sold)

Pilot-2 Steward-1 Navigation-3 SMG-1 Streetwise-1 Gunnery-1 Bribery-1 Blade Combat-1
Robert was an owner of a free trader after working his way up to the rank of captain, but due to some bad debts had to sell it to pay them off, along with his old crew. He eventually had enough money left over to buy a battered scout ship. After a couple of runs, he ended up at Regina where he met Harry. He smokes very bad smelling herbal cigarettes and is contunually unshaven and sweaty.

Dexter Yamunkeh (ex-Scout)
UPP 788876 26 years old, 2 terms. Looks like: Jackie Chan (Police Story, 1985). Benefits acquired: 50000Cr

Gun Combat-1 Vacc Suit-1 Electronic-1 Jack-o-T-1 Pilot-1

Dexter is of Chinese ancestry and unfortunately didn’t have a great time in the scouts, leaving after two terms. He drifted around a couple of starports before finding himself at a bar where he saw an advert posted by Harry and Robert. As Dexter has some useful skills to bring to the crew, they took him on. He keeps a pet badger named ‘Alf’ which he keeps in his stateroom; Gordon continually winds Dexter up by threatening to turn the badger into a sort of hat.

Gordon Burns (ex-Marine, achieved rank of Captain)

UPP B9A977, 35 years old, unknown number of terms (won’t reveal). Looks like: Jesse Ventura (Blain in ‘Predator’ 1987) but with grey hair and fuzzy beard. Benefits acquired: Dagger, 0Cr.

Brawling-1 Dagger-1 SMG-2 Vacc Suit-1 Rifle-1 Revolver-1 Cutlass-1 Electronic-1 Engineering-1

Gordon is from a proud Scottish family and joined the Imperial Marines at 18 years old. Always having a love of guns and weapons (not matter whether its something that can be picked up or if its attached to a traders upper turret), Gordon built up a great deal of experience involving ship-borne and planetary surface actions. Gordon won the respect of Harry and Robert after intervening in a bar room brawl, where they were both outnumbered in a dodgy bar on Regina. Gordon fought off all the attackers and the three of them walked out, leaving the destroyed bar.

Somewhere along the line, Gordon learnt ship engineering skills, but lost all of his money at the same time. He is the ships engineer when needed. He usually sports a white t-shirt with ‘No, I will not fix your computer’ in blue lettering or another t-shirt with the lightning symbol and the logo ‘Flash’ from a late twentieth century sci-if film. He also has an extensive collection of hats which he changes every day, favourites being a knitted Pom-Pom hat in light blue and orange knit or a Tam O’ Shanter with comedy red hair. This is usually designed to elicit comment so a fight can be provoked.

Ki (Zhodani runaway) Prole (ex-Government clerk)

UPP 889799, 26 years old, 2 terms. PSI-12. Looks like Quora in the film ‘Tron: Legacy’. Benefits acquired: Cr 10000.

Admin-2 SMG-1 Computer-1

Ki was picked up when the Far Horizons crew was visiting a frontier world. She is on the run from the Zhodani military who want to use her high psi skills against her will. Taking pity on her and after helping the crew out on a few occasions, she has now become the latest member of the crew. When needed, Ki can be the ships steward. This can prove to be useful in extracting information from passengers, due to her high PSI ability.


One of the days I’ll be converting this crew (and rolling up a few more characters to complete the ships compliment) to run in the Clement Sector and Cepheus-Engine rules. In the meantime, I hope you have enjoyed the past couple of posts about the Rucker; in the next one which will be out before the new year I’ll be taking a look at ‘The Space Patrol‘ by Stellagama Publishing.

Posted in Cepheus Engine, Classic Traveller, Mongoose Traveller, OGL, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

SOCS16 Rucker-class Merchant Review Part 1

Well, its now Boxing Day (aka the 26th of December) here in the UK and after much rushing around for the past week to get ready for Christmas, its now time to settle down with a bit of blogging and reviewing. I’m going to start off with a biggie; the latest release from Gypsy Knights Games – ‘Ships of the Clement Sector 16: Rucker-class Merchant’. I’ll start with a declaration, though I haven’t had a hand in the writing of the book, I was originally commissioned by John Watts of GKG to come up with a design for the Rucker-class and produce some artwork back in 2012 (including covers for ‘Save our Ship’ and ‘The Lost Girl’). Though only one image of mine has been used from the original set I produced for GKG in this book, this review should be read in the context of what input I originally had.

The book was released at the end of November on Drivethru RPG and is available for $7.99 as a watermarked PDF, containing 65 pages. Ian Stead has been commissioned by GKG to produce some new artwork along with some variants of the original design. This is a book that has substantially more content than other books in the ‘Ships of the Clement Sector’ series, hence the slightly more expensive price. The book is compatible with the Cepheus-Engine rules by Samardan Publishing.

The book starts with the usual few pages with a descriptive scene involving a dodgy deal and a bunch of dodgy Russians, which involves a Rucker-class. The next section describes the development of the Rucker and how it has become the most commonly-seen light merchant spacecraft in the Clement Sector. Being a 300dTon design, because of its flexibility it has gradually been developed into a number of variants and types. Rucker’s can be found in various states of maintenance and condition and because they are so common, spares are plentiful – you could quite rightly consider the Rucker as the Type A Free-Trader of the Clement Sector. It’s shape allows it to land on planetary surfaces, but it only has enough streamlining to allow landings, but it is not aerodynamically efficient. The next eight pages break down the deck arrangements which include colour illustrations by Ian Stead and deck plans by Michael Johnson.


Following the next four pages of a descriptive scene, is the passenger version of the Rucker. The author Michael Johnson hasn’t skirted on the amount of text around this version as you get the full background of what makes this variant different to the standard version plus a ship specification page and deck plans. This version, in addition to the eight crew, accommodates up to 6 high-passage and 24 middle passage passengers.

The next variant is the (pure) cargo variant of the Rucker. All passenger facilities have been removed to get the maximum amount of cargo-carrying capability from the hull. By stripping out the passenger facilities, a total of 114 tons of available cargo space is achieved.

An unusual version of the Rucker, is the casino variant; this is a truly luxurious craft to board, with an increase in the number of high passage staterooms and accommodation for hospitality staff. The ship can be found outside the jurisdiction of worlds that do not allow gambling.

The next six pages describe the escort / system security variant. Many worlds cannot afford specialist military ships and repurpose Rucker’s to provide a cheap alternative. Equipped with additional armaments, they are used extensively for shipping patrols and pirate interdiction as the Rucker can accommodate up to three hardpoints.

The Rucker can carry a ships boat which is accessed at the rear of the craft and you get a two-page description (with deck plans) of the vehicle. 

The final (and in my opinion the most bonkers variant!) Rucker type is the missile ship. The front section is converted to accommodate a number of (double-digit!) launch bays for missiles with additional stocks of ammunition (288 missiles!). You really do not want to pick a fight with one of these; the theory being that these missile ships would tie up a number of their opponents weaponry by dealing with the missiles, whilst other ships could attack. Even a number of small ships could quite effectively attack a larger military craft by employing Rucker missile ships.

The next ten pages describe an example crew of a Rucker-class merchant vessel (the ‘MV Wucker’), with illustrations by Bradley Warnes for each of the nine crew and NPC stats. The final couple of pages list twelve adventure seeds (six each for trader and military) to suit whatever variant of the Rucker the players are using.


This is an absolutely cracking book; despite the slightly higher-than-normal price compared to other books in the same SOCS series, you get a huge amount of high-quality content. Ian Stead, Bradley Warnes and Michael Johnson have all done a brilliant job of illustrating the book. Michael has written an interesting and engaging book that builds on the single standard version of a trader to include a number of useful variants. These variants will help to supply a number of adventure seeds for referees, expanding on what is supplied in the book. If you’re adventuring in the Clement Sector, this is an essential purchase as at one time or another, you’re going to come across a Rucker-class merchant. Let’s hope it’s not the bonkers missile ship with a trigger-happy captain challenging you…!

I would like to pass on my many thanks to John Watts of Gypsy Knights Games for kindly supplying me with a copy to review. In my next post, I’ll be posting a few images showing some different views of the Rucker along with my own Rucker and crew!

The seond part of the Rucker feature can be found here – SOCS16 Rucker-class Merchant Review Part 2!

Posted in Cepheus Engine, Classic Traveller, Mongoose Traveller, OGL, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Game Planner Micro-Review

For this final post for the month of November, I have picked up a copy of ‘Game Planner’ from Drivethru RPG, written by Felbrigg Herriot. It is a scenario generator for Mongoose Traveller first edition, containing 8 pages of tables. The process is very simple; phase 1 you roll a D6 and you consult the first section of the charts, which lists the type of scenario. This then gives you an event with another number. Jump to that number and roll again on the chart. This gives you a specific type of scenario, again listed on the first page of the book. The remaining book lists the choices that you can make from phase 3, which provides the final bit of detail to help you construct your scenario.

For example, roll on the table for phase 1 (General type of scenario) – a 4 = an assault. Then roll for phase 2 (type of scenario – what type of assault) a 1 = stronghold. Then refer to table 24 for phase 3 – a 5 = military camp.

In addition, you roll again to help construct sub-plots, allowing the referee to build up the structure of a scenario. Its a nice idea that works well, its a shame that the instructions are supplied in a readme.txt file separate to the main book, which gives a feeling of inconsistency in the package. However, there are two additional files supplied, the book has been written in ‘Pocketmod’ format which allows you to fold an A4/letter printed copy into a small booklet, which you can carry around with you. The editing could have done with a bit more proofreading, as there are one or two spelling mistakes.

Overall, not having the instructions as part of the main book doesn’t really matter as you get the idea pretty quickly and is good value at $1.49. 

I have also seen a notification on my Drivethru RPG inbox that the ‘Ships of the Clement Sector 16: Rucker-class Merchant’ has just been released, so I’ll be downloading this later today and checking it out!

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SOCS 15 Milligan-Class Hospital Ship Review

SOCS 15 Milligan-Class Hospital Ship is the final book in the set of three Gypsy Knights Games ‘Ships of the Clement Sector 13-15: Escort and Support‘, available from Drivethru RPG as a Softcover colour book for $24.99 or as a PDF download (for just SOCS 15 only) for $4.99. It is 32 pages long and describes an important component in any fleet operations – hospital and medical facilities.

The ship is a 1000dT displacement spacecraft that provides complete medical facilities with evacuation transport capacity, served by two medical cutters and a fast transfer launch. Medical ships have been used since the middle of the 19th century and facilities and function have evolved in following conflicts through the centuries. If anything, having a medical component in a fleet is even more important in the Clement Sector due to the vast distances involved between worlds.

Whereas many (wet-navy) ships used for hospital purposes are simply re-purposed civilian cruisers or liners, the Milligan-class is a bespoke specialised design which Anderson & Felix (the main shipbuilders in the Clement Sector) have now taken over the construction of new ships since the collapse. An important capability of the ship is being able to land on planetary surfaces, which helps to minimise the amount of time the injured are waiting to receive medical attention. This ‘golden hour’ has been proven time and time again, for example as most recently by the British Army Chinook helicopters evacuating injured personnel from the theatre of operations and getting them back to Camp Bastion in Afghanistan, where they can be seen by surgeons. 

Not just being part of a fleet, its entirely possible for one of these ships to be based somewhere (space or planet side) to provide a near-permanent medical facility.

The book describes how the ship is divided into three distinct decks, which can be isolated at various sections should the need arise. Double airlocks are also available in specialised isolation wards, essential when dealing with infectious diseases or viruses for example.

 

The deck plans are extremely detailed and cover just about every type of emergency or medical requirement needed. There was one design element I noticed, but this may be my 21-century thinking (and limited medical procedures knowledge here) forming this opinion; location 11 shows an isolation ward, containing 10 beds. However, as the recent Ebola virus outbreak shows, isolation procedures were vital due to the risk of cross-contamination between patients. I would have thought having a number of individual isolation wards would have been just as vital, especially with the risk of infection from unknown space-diseases (!) Perhaps the procedure would be to get the patients into the low berths at location 21, which is right next to the medical cutter docking bays. That minimises the route distance getting the patient from the cutter to isolation, perhaps that would be the 24th century approach?

Its rare to find a major problem with the Gypsy Knights Games products, they are always very well written, edited and illustrated (this book authored and deck plans by Michael Johnson with additional material by Bradley Warnes, who also supplied the artwork with Ian Stead. You get a complete breakdown of all three decks with location descriptions and deck plans, with details on the three service craft (one small shuttle and two medical cutters). The book is compatible with the Cepheus-Engine 2D6 SFRPG / OGL rules set. There is a great deal of background on how the design came about, along with its current operators (both naval and civilian) and some short operational ‘excerpts’. You also get a page of background on one of the major civilian operators of the Milligan-class; the ‘Lady of the Lamp Society’ and the book is rounded off with two NPC descriptions. I must say the one looks a bit like a serial killer – I won’t say which so you’ll have to buy the book to find out! The last page has six adventure seeds centred around the Milligan-class spacecraft.

Its good to see books like this featuring support craft, all too many publishers churn out books that look similar or have the same type of spacecraft. A very worthwhile purchase from Gypsy Knights Games, my thanks go to John Watts for sending me a copy to review.

Before I close this post, there are a couple of books that I wanted to mention; the first has just been released by Stellagama Publishing, called ‘The Space Patrol’. It is a 2D6 OGL / Cepheus-Engine compatible supplement that details rules and background for creating Space Patrol characters, background to the organisation and ships they use to patrol the spaceways. I’ll be reviewing ‘The Space Patrol’ soon.


Secondly, coming soon from Gypsy Knights Games is another spacecraft book – SOCS 16: Rucker-Class Merchant. I’m particularly excited to see this book as the original design is one I came up with for GKG a few years ago just as John Watts was launching the Clement Sector background. I produced a few covers and some deck plans for the Rucker-class, which were published in ‘Save Our Ship’ and ‘The Lost Girl’. Unfortunately due to real-life and job demands, my artwork has had to take a back seat and I only get chance to work on a few images a year, posted over at my art gallery Digital Waterfalls. Ian Stead is working off my original design, so I’m really interested to see his interpretation and the background to the Rucker-class! This should be out in early December – can’t wait!

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