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.

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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!

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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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SOCS14 Boyne-class Replenishment Ship Review

The past week or so has seen the launch of two new Cepheus-engine / OGL compatible gaming aids; the first from Gypsy Knights Games; ‘Wendy’s Guide to the Fleets of Hub Subsector’, which describes fleet and naval backgrounds of the Clement Sector. Secondly, there is the ‘Space Patrol’, published by Stellagama Publishing. They will be both reviewed here soon! That’s the news, so lets jump into the review… 

Second in the ‘Ships of the Clement Sector 13-15 – Escort and Support’ collection, the Boyne-class Replenishment Ship is also available on Drivethru RPG as a single PDF for $4.99. Using the OGL / 2D6 Cepheus-Engine rules, it describes a 1000dT starship originally developed for the Royal Navy to support their fighting ships and became a successful export in its own right. It’s a very nice design; Ian Stead who has provided the starship artwork, has provided plenty of highly detailed illustrations. It’s a ship that looks the part and can more than hold its own with a total of ten hard points mixing offensive weaponry such as beam lasers and missile launchers, with sand caster defensive weaponry.

A number of nations bought the Boyne-class, despite some shortcomings which became apparent later in its service life, due to its size. Having the ability to scoop for fuel, it is supported by two transfer launches and two modular cutters. You get ship specifications and deck plans for both small craft.

Boyne-class

The book itself is 38 pages long and follows the same format as previous ‘Ships of the Clement Sector’ where it is divided into a situational commentary, introduction and how the ship came about, deck breakdown and deck plans (by the author, Michael Johnson) for the Boyne-class and service vehicles. There is plenty of artwork by Ian Stead and additional material by Bradley Warnes. There are some NPC stats for a military officer and six useful adventure seeds. However, you just don’t get the Boyne-class, which could limit the books usefulness, you also get the details of the commercial version of the ship – the Aranui-class.

The main differences between the Boyne-class and Aranui-class are a reduction in the amount of armament and the refitting of some parts of the ship as cargo holds. This bumps up the total cargo capacity to over five hundred tons – a substantial carrying capacity. There are five pages covering the the Aranui’s specifications including deck plans. The final main section describes a crew that operates an Aranui-class in the Clement sector, the merchant ‘Eveline’ commanded by captain Roxanna Trace. You get six pages describing four members of the crew (some useful NPC-stats here) and background to the merchant vessel, such as the trade route they take across the Clement Sector. To round off the book, you get another page with six more adventure seeds geared towards the Aranui-class.

Overall, this is a really nicely detailed book on a very useful spacecraft. The Boyne / Aranui-class is definitely something that the players could aspire to owning and having a 510 ton cargo capacity, there is plenty of room for long (profitable?) shipping runs – definitely a useful addition to your Clement Sector collection! My many thanks to John Watts of Gypsy Knights Games for kindly sending me a copy to review.

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Tunnels and Trolls Memories Part 2

Continuing my review of how I got started in Tunnels and Trolls, inspired by the GROGNard RPG files podcast. I was introduced to the solo dungeons by my cousin Carl, who bought ‘Buffalo Castle’, ‘Naked Doom’, ‘Arena of Khazan’ and the large-format ‘City of Terrors’. All the dungeons I’m writing about are the A5 format produced under license by Chris Harvey Games in Walsall, West Midlands. I never bought any of the Corgi colour versions, preferring the monochrome Chris Harvey versions with single-colour card covers. Comparing Buffalo Castle and Naked Doom, they couldn’t contrast each other even more if they tried; Buffalo Castle I found to be a bit easy, but a sod to make your way around. Too many adjoining corridors in between stuff happening. Naked Doom is a ba***rd of a dungeon; there is a 90% chance that your character will die in it, but it was immensely enjoyable! Finally seeing the Rob Carver graphic at the end ‘If ya got it, flaunt it’ gave me a huge sense of satisfaction in completing it.

Arena of Khazan is tough, but beatable. You become a gladiator fighting in the arena and can potentially earn a large amount of cash quickly by fighting various opponents. What I did like about the book was the variations and special combat situations where both you and your opponent could use unusual combat tactics. It added colour to otherwise what could end up as a ‘monster-bash-collect-the-cash’ type of adventure. When you get the hang of the betting system, you can make some cash quickly; invest it in arms and armour for the next rounds and you’ve have a chance of beating it. I’ve only managed to beat the dungeon one or twice by running through 10 fights and getting the 1000gp bonus.


Finally the City of Terrors (in the large A4-ish format with the gorgeous Liz Danforth and Rob Carver artwork); I’ve spent weeks in this mega-solo, be warned there is a good chance you won’t come out looking like you did before…! There are some truly odd situations that you can get into, but it does last and was incredible value for money.

Amongst these solo’s, I also ran through the GM adventures ‘Dungeon of the Bear’, ‘Catacombs of the Bear Cult’ and ‘Uncle Ugly’s Underground’ just about managing to complete them. Just like Big Jack Brass on the Grog-pod I’ll never forget the trolls in the Zoot-suits that were the elite troll guard in Uncle Ugly’s. At the same time, it was things like that, that you remember; the bizarre humour, the slightly unhinged fun gained by dodging giant crossbows, the feeling that the dungeon denizens were working as a collective to kill your characters and after a hard days slaying, would go down the pub afterwards for a pint.

After Carl sold all his TnT stuff to me, I carried on playing and got one of my friends Andrew at school interested. So I introduced him to the solo dungeons and we trotted off to Games Workshop in Birmingham where he bought a load, including:

Beyond the Silvered Pane

Sword for Hire

Sea of Mystery

Misty Wood

Gamesmen of Kasar 

Blue Frog Tavern

…whilst I picked up The Sewers of Oblivion by Mike Stackpole.

Andy DM’ed the dungeons after running through them solo and I ran through the Sewers of Oblivion. Credit to Mike Stackpole, the latter is a brilliant dungeon and extremely tough. It took several attempts to beat it with all the twists and turns, which made it all the more satisfying when I eventually did.

By the summer of 1985, exams were taking over and Andy and my TnT sessions were having to take second preference to revising. Just before I left school, Andy said he wanted to sell his TnT stuff as he needed money to contribute to buying a bike (I think) so I bought all the above dungeons off him. Games Workshop had stopped selling TnT stuff as it was becoming more of a ‘house’ store selling GW branded productions, so this was my last chance to pick up some TnT stuff.

I kept all the TnT books very safe and well looked after over the coming years, getting the books out every so often when something would remind me of TnT and re-running those solos again.

Despite it being maligned by certain members of the gaming community (unfairly, for whatever reason) TnT has had a big influence on me and my gaming over the years which formed the basis of ‘The Fantasy Traveller’ articles, where I’ve married Classic Traveller into an FRPG format. Despite the limitations of the solo format, I for one am grateful for the writers and Flying Buffalo for providing me with many hours of enjoyment and the most important things for me in gaming – ‘fun’ and ‘humour’!

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SOCS13 – Strikemaster-class Brig Review

Catching up with some Gypsy Knights Games products, I’m going to take a look at ‘Ships of the Clement Sector 13 – Strikemaster Class Brig’ in todays post. Available on Drivethru RPG for $4.99 as a watermarked PDF, it is a 24 page supplement detailing a specific spacecraft set in GKG’s sci-fi setting ‘Clement Sector’. It can also be used with the OGL Cepheus-Engine 2D6 set of rules. The ship is also available in softback book format as part of the SOCS13-15 Escort and Support compilation for $24.99.

The book follows the now-familiar GKG format of a few pages of a descriptive background / situation related to the ship featured, background to how the ship type came into being and specifications. You then get a breakdown of the ships decks and structure, along with game statistics and service vehicles. There are plenty of deck plans by Michael Johnson (who is also the author), topped off with copious colour and monochrome illustrations by Ian Stead and Bradley Warnes. In addition, you get an NPC’s details and a page of adventure seeds, which can be randomly determined by a D6.

Strikemaster

The Strikemaster is one of the most common military ships in the Clement Sector, typically finding itself on escort duties, anti-piracy or working in pairs extending a fleets sensor range by relaying information. You could see it as a interstellar-capable version of the System Defence Boat (SDB), equipped with four hardpoints featuring a variety of weaponry such as a particle-beam barbette, beam lasers, missile racks or sand casters. It has the useful ability to make planetary landings as it is a streamlined ship, or scoop fuel from gas giants. It’s a 400dT design which has the capacity to carry one ships boat, the details of which are also provided in the book. There are some excellent illustrations, including one by Ian Stead of three Strikemasters in close orbit above a planet, it reminds me of a shot from the film ‘Starship Troopers’ during the planetary invasion of the bugs world Klendathu. There are also various side view designs showing variations on the decals.

The ship is a nice solid design, nothing that you would call unusual but then again a good, solid, reliable specification is what the USSN (United States Space Navy) requirement called for. In some ways I came to a similar conclusion about the book, its not an unusual design but there is plenty of good quality content and the ship is something that would fit quite nicely into more than one adventure or campaign. Definitely another good quality product from Gypsy Knights Games worth picking up. I’d like to thank John Watts of Gypsy Knights Games for kindly sending me a copy of the book to review.

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