RPGNow.com
Close
Close
Browse









Back
Other comments left for this publisher:
2300 AD Energy Curve
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/09/2015 08:01:34

This is basically an adventure module, which starts out (after some directions for the Referee that are good but a bit condescending in tone!) with a trip to a system called DM +17 2611-II. It's assumed that the party have been hired by a company called Trilon, who want to explore the place... if that's not the case, you might wish to ditch the opening 'ship's log' handout and substitute your own events which will end up with the same result: the ship crashed on the surface of DM +17 2611-II due apparently to a Kafer attack.


However you get to this starting point, this starts off with a survival situation in which the party will need to assess their injuries (determined using the task system) and see what equipment they have managed to salvage... before the crashed ship blows up! Not to mention that the Kafers might be coming to clean up...


Next comes a Referee's Synopsis of how the adventure as a whole ought to play out. Beginning with a crash-landing on an unexplored and inhospitable world, the starting point is pure survival, and a trek to somewhere a bit nicer than the ice field/tundra they have crashed upon. Further exploration can lead to 'First Contact' situation with the as-yet unknown denizens of the planet. Are they even sentient? Meet them and find out.


It is anticipated that the party will be stranded here for quite some time, years perhaps, before they are rescued. This will give them time to explore, to learn about the planet and all its inhabitants, and to get involved in anything that's going on. Once rescued, they'll need to determine how much information they will share with the rest of humankind. There's fame to be had - which could lead to a whole raft of potential adventures - or they may prefer to stay quiet and look at carving out their own domain on DM +17 2611-II.


The next section is The Planet. This provides a wealth of data about DM +17 2611-II itself, as well as ideas about how to run this extended survival scenario with plenty of advice on the sort of challenges that the characters will face and, from the mechanical standpoint, what they will need to do to overcome them. To help, it's followed by a section on Encounters and other material that cover the strange lifeforms that live on DM +17 2611-II. For example there's one called Color which helps you develop evocative descriptions of what the party sees and feels as they explore.


Finally, there's extensive information on the dominant life-form. They are truly alien, but are explained clearly and it should prove an interesting exercise to 'play' them for your party. Referees who get most of their enjoyment out of providing 'opponents' for the characters to fight may find this module less engaging, but if you like exploration, discovery and interaction this should provide a memorable game for you and your players. Unusual challenges include getting to grips with a completely non-verbal language/communication system and even getting involved in local affairs.


Overall, this is a lot more than a 'mere' survival adventure, with a very original bunch of aliens with whom to interact. Groups who like to push the boundaries with their games should find this enthralling.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
2300 AD Energy Curve
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

T4 Marc Miller's Traveller Game Screen
by Richard C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/06/2015 19:00:08

excellent product. Covers all major rules of the game. The included adventure, "Memory Alpha is a very nice touch. Some pages need to be printed seperately or two pages per sheet landscaped in order to view them comfortably. Rules sheets can be printed individually and come out fine. Wonderful for the money. Wish they had an option for a hard copy. Over all, this is a good product for those new to Traveller or just new to Marc Miller's Traveller (T4)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
T4 Marc Miller's Traveller Game Screen
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

2300 AD Beanstalk
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/06/2015 07:45:06

Beginning with a short piece of atmospheric fiction and an explanation of what a beanstalk is, this is a set of adventure resources set on the planet Beta Canum Venaticorum-4 where the first beanstalk was erected. There's also material useful for use with plotlines that concern Earth's beanstalk, particularly useful if you have Rotten to the Core, although you don't need that to make use of this book.


The first chapter, The Stage, deals with the history, geography and current state of Beta Canum, useful whenever the party might choose to visit, or in devising reasons for them to go there. Like any frontier world in 2300AD, it is a series of contradictions, high tech rubbing shoulders with primitive - people either have the very best, most advanced, equipment for a particular job or they make do with what they can make for themselves. So a fishing village may boast boats crammed with high tech equipment to find and catch fish, but still use outhouses rather than indoors plumbing! Several nations are represented amongst Beta Canum's colonies, generally occupying their own continent. Whilst native plants and animals are inedible (indeed toxic) to humans, imported Earth flora and fauna have flourished and the planet is already exporting produce to other worlds.


Next is The Actors, a chapter jam-packed with relevant NPCs. Most will turn up if you use the adventures in this book (and are cross-referenced so you know where they'll show up, but may be of use elsewhere as well. Each has a detailed background which will help you bring them to life as rounded figures who have a full part to play in this alternate reality, not just cardboard cut-outs there to fill a single purpose and then be forgotten.


The following chapter, The Technical Data, provides loads of background as well as maps and charts, including a lot of detail on beanstalk construction and operation. There's even a handout in the form of a leaflet aimed at tourists newly-arrived on Beta Canum, excellent for setting the scene when the party first arrives.


Finally, The Drama contains three separate scenarios that you can run. Interestingly, this section starts by referring to the adventure The Tricolour's Shadow which was included in the original Traveller: 2300 box set, as the adventures here could be run following it (but you do not need to have played it to enjoy these adventures, fortunately!). These three adventures are all suited to 'troubleshooter' characters, and two at least involve riding the beanstalk, whilst the other includes rooting around its ground facility. All provide good, edge-of-the-seat fun, although those players who prefer to use combat to solve every situation will do less well than those who enjoy interaction and infiltration.


A brief Afterword has additional material about Beta Canum, and that's it. The adventures are good if acting as hired troubleshooters appeals to your group (although the last one could be run for any party who has occasion to ride the beanstalk at any time), and the other material provides you with yet another well-imagined planet to visit.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
2300 AD Beanstalk
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

2300 AD Rotten To The Core (2300AD)
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/05/2015 07:55:05

Much more than an adventure, Rotten to the Core is a sourcebook to Libreville, Gabon - the Earth end of the Beanstalk (introduced in the Earth/Cybertech Sourcebook - with plenty of the sort of information that you'll need if the party ever visits.


It dives straight in with what sounds like corporate propaganda extolling the virtues of Libreville (with sarcastic comments from the hacker community in the margins). Calming down and becoming more objective, we then learn about sightseeing in the town. The wealthy live well, and corporate employees have a safe and sheltered life in gated communities but there is a large underclass in the slums known as Mudville. Maps, tables of costs and even random encounters are provided to facilitate the running of a visit to Libreville, whether passing through or as part of your plot.


Next comes a section on how Libreville is governed - which is complex enough to provide plenty of scope for intrigue, if you enjoy that kind of adventure. Governance of the city is split between a Corporate Board (representing the various corporations headquartered here) and a democratically-elected Mayor and Council (most of whom are in corporate pockets...). Law enforcement is also split between several organisations, including police departments, corporate security, the Beanstalk's own personnel and even the French Foreign Legion (don't get in their way!). Suspects who survive arrest are handled in accord with the proceedures of whoever caught them. Many 'public' services are also privitised, with 25 ambulance services competing for your custom, an expensive fire brigade and cheap electricity. Water and sanitation are also contracted out, but to a single provider in each case.


The following section is entitled Cooperation and Competition, and talks about the corporate scene, describing a selection of the big players. This useful information is followed by a section on Going Shopping. The retail experience depends on where you decide to go, of course, with downtown being eye-wateringly expensive and the mudville slums described as 'interesting'. Most of the city prefers credcard use, many places frown on cash if they'll even take it at all, apart from in mudville - there anyone with a credcard is assumed to have stolen it! A discussion of the black market and what you can get there is followed by sections on nightlife, mudville and the lives of the rich and shameless.


Then we get to the adventure proper, Rotten to the Core. This is very 'cyberpunk' in style and begins with a visit to a friend who works in a well-guarded corporate building... and naturally, things go downhill from there. The party will get a swift tour of Libreville (well, the police and others are chasing them after all), with plenty of opportunities for interaction and combat when absolutely necessary - there are some places where getting into a fight is not a good idea, however there are others where it's the main way of doing business. The adventure is well-supported with descriptions, maps and NPCs.


Overall, this is an enjoyable and interesting book. The adventure itself is fast and furious, whilst Libreville has plenty of potential if you want a good setting for urban, cyberpunk or corporate intrigue adventures.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
2300 AD Rotten To The Core (2300AD)
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

2300 AD Deathwatch Program
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/03/2015 07:35:31

Deathwatch Program is an adventure that makes considerable use of the 'cyberpunk' feel and the Introduction talks about how important it is to keep events moving quickly, giving the characters the feeling that the world is literally changing and developing about their ears as you run them through the adventure. It ought to feel as if they are being bombarded with new information in an almost out-of-control stream... which of course means that you, as referee, need to be completely IN control! Having a copy of the Earth/Cybertech Sourcebook will be useful for the cyberpunk rules therein, which are built on and expanded in this adventure.


Most of the adventure is set on Earth, but to bring matters to a conclusion the party will have to venture into space, and even engage in some ship-to-ship combat. It all begins with the offer of a simple job from an old friend or former colleague who's now freelancing in the 'troubleshooter' business...


As you might expect, hardly anything is what it seems. You can say that about many adventures, but in this one it is not even completely clear what the adventure proper actually is, as external events conspire against the party without their knowledge... this is quite hard to explain without giving the whole plot away! It does give an excellent feel of the world carrying on around the party irrespective of what they do or even whether or not they are there, providing a real air of reality to the game.


Resources provided are good, with maps and plans and plenty of NPCs and encounters... some are connected with the adventure, some don't appear to be and some have nothing to do with it at all. Some events are intended, others are random and may be used as and when desired. The party can be easily given the impression that they are free to do whatever they want, despite the fact that the plot is rolling along merrily in the background. With time to wander around Corpus Christi in Texas, a jaunt over the border to Mexico to carry out the mission they've been hired for and then some... unexpected... events when they get back to Corpus Christi, they will have plenty to keep them entertained, with a balanced mix of interaction and combat with which to exercise their skills. NPCs are well-rounded, with background detail to make them appear 'real' people, not just there for their purpose in the immediate plot (which means, of course, that survivors may turn up in future adventures if you deem it appropriate!). Everything is tightly-paced, but the information you'll need to run each event is provided just where you need it.


If the party succeeds, they have the chance to literally save Earth from disaster... and sow the seeds for further adventure if those they have thwarted survive long enough to seek revenge! Overall, it's a cracking adventure and well worth a look... and if you don't run 2300 AD there are notes on converting it to another system!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
2300 AD Deathwatch Program
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

2300 AD Earth/Cybertech Sourcebook
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/02/2015 08:00:13

This book takes a look at Earth in 2300 AD - after all, however far explorers roam the galaxy, there's still something special about the place everyone came from! It's made up of three main sections. Firstly, there's a more detailed look at Earth itself than was possible in the core rulebooks. Next comes a section on 'cybertech' - surgical, chemical and mechanical augmentations - for those who'd like that aspect introduced to the game, and finally there's an adventure which makes the most of both.


The first chapter is The 24th-Century World. This looks primarily at the 'Western World', on the grounds that the majority of role-players are most familiar with the present-day west, rather than any lack of significance of other parts of the world. It provides an overview of the sort of place Earth has become, and is followed by a chapter OQC which is Orbital Quarantine Command. Just as today many nations wish to control what is brought into them, it was realised as soon as space exploration began that anything brought back to Earth from space could prove hazardous if not devastating to the biosphere (older gamers may recall that the Apollo 11 astronauts were quarantined when they returned home from the Moon!). OQC is a collaborative effort between all spacefaring nations with its headquarters at the orbital end of the Beanstalk and a lot of roving spaceships to intercept every vessel approaching Earth.


This leads naturally into the next chapter, Gateway, which is all about the settlement at the orbital end of the Beanstalk, but takes the time to explain the operations of the Beanstalk itself as well. Gateway is a very cosmopolitan settlement, and it has duty-free status, and it is a destination in its own right as well as a transit point for those arriving at or departing from Earth. There are quite a lot of plans here of Gateway and the Beanstalk to help you get the picture.


This is followed by a series of chapters looking at the history and present-day state and geography of a range of nations, starting with America followed by Texas (now indenpendent), Mexico, Canada, South America, Australia, Japan, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. There's a lot of information here, well worth a read if you want to know what Earth has become. Players should at least read up on where their characters hail from. Everything in this part of the book is 'player-friendly' - it's the sort of stuff you get in history, geography and current affairs class in school.


We then move on to the second section, with a chapter called Cyberpunk: An Introduction, which pretty much does what it says on the tin. The use of augmentation technology appears tied in to the rise of megacorporations that rival nation-states in size and influence, and in some smaller corporations that have been swallowed up by organised crime, and it is these two groups which make the most use of it. This overview is followed by chapters on Bionics and Cyberspace (remember, this book was written before the World Wide Web took the internet out of academia and into popular use). These both provide plenty of options that may be utilised by the characters or indeed their enemies.


Finally, the adventure Worm in the Big Apple provides an adventure in which Provolutionist terrorists strike fear into New York City. Pregenerated characters are provided, but if you'd rather use your own make sure that they have the necessary skills to succeed. The adventure starts as everyone takes a bus from the airport into town and... well, they are thrown right into the middle of things. Maps are plentiful, and game mechanics are presented in sidebars adjacent to the text for which they'll be useful. It's quite short, but should provide for an evening of entertainment.


All good solid stuff, its use being determined by whether you intend your plots to bring the characters to Earth and if you want to include cyber-tech in your game. The background material about the Earth nations is interesting, and will be of use to any characters coming from there.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
2300 AD Earth/Cybertech Sourcebook
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Guide Checklist to GDW RPG Titles
by Richard C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/01/2015 15:24:45

As far as I know the only full list of Traveller4 titles available. An absolute essential for anyone interested in game designer's workshop.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Guide Checklist to GDW RPG Titles
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

2300 AD Kafer Sourcebook
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/31/2015 11:52:43

In exploring the universe according to 2300 AD, human beings have encountered a few alien species... most are friendly and only one poses a massive threat: the Kafer. This book presents the Referee with all he needs to know to use them to best effect in his campaign (and would be an absolute treasure-trove to human military intelligence, so make sure they never get their hands on it!).


The first chapter, Kafers: An Overview, presents basic information on Kafer appearance, culture and history, with special emphasis on their dealings so far with humans. Throughout, hints are provided to enable you to present them effectively, bringing out salient features of their behaviour and nature without explicitly stating them, rather giving the party the information they gain by observation and letting them draw their own conclusions - a neat approach.


Next comes a visit to the Kafer Homeworld. This is described in standard astronomical and planetographical terms although it must be remembers that it hasn't been explored by humans yet so this information is only available to a party if they go to take a look - it won't be found in any databanks, however obscure or comprehensive they are! This is followed in quick succession by chapters on Kafer Physiology, Psychology, Sociology, Government, Language and Technology. It's all quite fascinating to read, and highlights why humans and Kafer do not get along... and may never be able to do so. The coherency of such a well-designed alien species makes them into excellent adversaries, it is one of the best such alien designs that I have seen. Telling is their relationship with another species, the Ylii, an advanced but much less aggressive race, the Kafer find it incomprensible that the Ylii would prefer to live in a state of 'not-war' with them.


Kafer language is hard to translate and even harder to pronounce or for that matter to read and write. It's worth the effort to pick up a little, though, as it is another way to highlight the 'otherness' of Kafers. To pronouce it properly you'll need to master an epiglottal click and trill your Rs. Their technology is equally baffling and suggestions are given as to how to bring it to the party's attention and facilitate their experimentation. Ingeniously, notes are given suggesting the 'obvious' interpretation of each item to human eyes as well as stating what they actually are: something the party may only get a chance to deduce if they see the item in action. Their naval vessels are presented with different levels of data: that known to Naval Intelligence, that which any Naval officer who's encountered them (or been told about them by one who has) might know and the real data, as well as the observable performance should the party see one. Again, neat information-handling at various levels to enable you to pass on what might be known. There's a chapter on Kafer Space that will allow you to take the war to them - or explore the region - with plenty of detail to make this exciting.


For those wanting to understand the Kafer further, there's a chapter called The Politics of Power which examines the political landscape - again something innovative and quite alien (and possibly having the potential of being manipulated against them, if only you could get a few of them to listen to you rather than to attack!). There's even more about the Ylii with a chapter devoted to them, then finally comes Fun With Kafers, a chapter that offers an assortment of ideas for mixing them into your plotlines.


Some of the most 'alien' aliens written for a science-fiction RPG, these are well worth a look even if you don't play 2300 AD... and if you do, they pose a remarkable threat to your party's peaceful life.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
2300 AD Kafer Sourcebook
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

2300 AD Colonial Atlas
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/29/2015 09:13:33

This book contains details of the 29 worlds that have so far been colonised by people from Earth. They are organised by where they are - Core, the French Arm, the Chinese Arm and the American Arm - and each receives an essay-style presentation that includes astronomical data about the complete system, details about the colony world itself (with special note taken of those natural and environmental characteristics that could make it a challenge to live there) and wide-ranging backgroud and historical material covering its development from discovery to the present day. The intention is to provide the referee with sufficient information to allow the characters to visit any world, and have adventures thereon.


The only colony in Core (i.e. near to Earth) is Tirane, a planet in the Alpha Centauri system. It was the first world outside of our Solar System to be visited and colonised, and still serves as a jumping-off point wherever else in the galaxy you might wish to go. It is very Earth-like, capable of supporting Earth flora and fauna whilst people from Earth can eat native plants and animals (and, of course, vice-versa!), and is now well-populated by people from many nations on Earth.


Next, we take a look at the French Arm. Not everyone here comes from France, however, but they are in the majority (remember the dominance of France in the 'future history' in the core rulebook?)... although there are a lot of Bavarians there as well, due to a strange (and as yet unexplained) tendency for French probes to get lost whilst identical Bavarian ones operated as intended. There's a map, a cunning attempt to present 3D space in two dimensions - although the formula for calculating the distance between any two stars is enough to daunt all but confident mathematicians! Some entries include adventure ideas, others highlight places of interest that a tourist might want to visit... it's thought, however, that it might take a lifetime to visit all the planets described in this book, so choose wisely where you want to go! Many worlds have colonies from several nations and they do not always coexist in complete harmony.


The Chinese and American Arms follow, with similar diversity including some truly fascinating native wildlife. Most worlds are still actual colonies, owing aliegiance to their 'home' government back on Earth, although the distances involved means that they all have to be to at least some extent self-governing. Those who revel in the concept of different ways of doing things will find plenty here, the 'what-if' that makes for good science-fiction is well represented amongst the 29 colonised worlds.


It's a fascinating glimpse at a wide range of well thought out worlds, any of which could provide a place to visit or even a home to your party, with plenty for them to do whilst there... and virtually all is generic enough rules-wise that you don't need to be playing 2300 AD to make good use of them.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
2300 AD Colonial Atlas
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

T2000 v1 Twilight: 2000
by James L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/28/2015 14:25:30

Out of all the games I have ever played, I have to say this one had the best character creation. I loved making characters for this system.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
T2000 v1  Twilight: 2000
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

2300 AD Nyotekundu Sourcebook
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/28/2015 08:39:13

The Nyotekundu Sourcebook describes a system in the French Arm that is pretty hostile to life, but has excellent mineral resources so people persevere with the place. Providing a wealth of detail and a complete adventure, the book has been designed with a mind to present a thoroughly detailed place through which the party can pretty much wander at will, whether or not you want to run the adventure. Plenty of ideas are scattered throughout to facilitate this, with suggestions for possible encounters, interactions or even complete adventures being provided amidst the descriptions of locations and details of inhabitants. Neat!


The first section, Inferno, is much more than information about one of the two planets in this system, beginning with a bit of background history about the early exploration of the system, indeed about early exploration of space in general. Much of this is probably known to the characters, but there is a neat suggestion that you can let the players read the background prior to the game, but if they want their characters to know it once you have started play, they either have to rely on memory (or, if cunning, any notes they made!) or make a computer use role to access the data! (Incidently, readers of Napoleonic-era naval fiction will recognise the captain of the survey vessel responsible for the initial exploration of the Nyotekundu system as the descendant of Nicholas Ramage, hero of a series of books by Dudley Pope!) There's plenty of astronomical and planetological data here, with Inferno being hot, tide-locked and with an unbreathable atmosphere and the other planet - Cocito - being a gas giant. Inferno boasts metal ores aplenty and at least one of Cocito's rings has lots of ice, so plenty of miners are to be found here, and there is a lot of through traffic as well because the Nyotekundu system is the 'gateway' to the rest of the French Arm where ships at least pause to discharge their stutterwarp engines before proceeding.


Next comes Outposts, in which we learn about living, working and just visiting on Inferno. Lots of people intending travel to destinations further on down the French Arm end up here for at least a layover - it's cheaper, apparently, to get a ticket to Nyotekundu and then pick up a vessel going to your intended destination than to book a through passage. On Inferno it's either too hot or too cold, you cannot breathe the atmosphere, there are frequent earthquakes and other unpleasant environmental factors mean that most residents live and work inside pressurised environments that are mostly underground. These actually are surprisingly nice, as the detailed descriptions of the French settlement Portes d'Enfer demonstrate - there are even nightclubs to visit and luxury apartments as well as more basic facilities. There's also a smaller Azanian outpost, Naragema.


This is followed by Training Mission, which sets the party as new recruits in the Aberdeen Mineral Exploitation Company. AMEC has a robust and extensive training programme to prepare its employees for life and work out in the black and it's a good way to ensure that the party has the skills they'll need to survive. There is quite a lot of detail about employment with AMEC and this suggests one way of weaving it into a game: leave allowances are generous, so maybe that is when the party has its adventures, with work being more or less glossed over in between vacations unless you deem something noteworthy occurs.


Training complete, the next section introduces the Orbital Mining Station Andrew Carnegie, an AMEC station which could provide a base and workplace for the party. There's a lot of detail about its layout and operation, befitting somewhere that becomes 'home' for the characters. This is followed by a section called Player Dossiers, which provides a wealth of detail about 21 people based here. Some can be used as player-characters if you wish, the rest are NPCs. The idea is that these are their personnel files, so inquisitive characters may actually come across them in the course of play... unlike the Referee Dossiers which follow! These contain full stat blocks, so if a player will be playing one of these characters, you have the materials to provide them with a complete character sheet.


Finally, there's the adventure Echoes of the Past. Two routes into this adventure are provided: either the party are already working aboard the OMS Andrew Carnegie or they are on Inferno for whatever reason and are approached by AMEC and asked to investigate when a distress call is received - a neat way of making virtually everything in this book useful even if you cannot convince your characters to sign on with AMEC as employees! It all begins when something... unusual... is discovered during a routine sweep of ice from Cocito's rings, and things rapidly go from strange to worse. It all provides for an atmospheric and tense adventure, and plenty of ideas are provided to extend it into the start of a whole campaign, or at least supply material for further adventures.


All in all, this is an outstanding example of how to present a location and use it to the full. Even if you are playing some other star-faring game rather than 2300AD you could well find material to adapt to your preferred ruleset to good effect.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
2300 AD Nyotekundu Sourcebook
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

MT MegaTraveller Robots
by Jason B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/27/2015 20:19:20

The positives FAR outweigh the negatives in this supplement. the only "typo" I've found is the part where additional armor cannot be added to pseudo-bios. (They can get up to 12 [cloth] but it makes them HEAVY.) Fact is, MT's combat system is based on Striker and the math for the Striker conversions is in B8. And I've ALWAYS used this to build MT robots.


-BUT NOW- it's been fully integrated with the MT system, one can literally build a starship that IS a robot. And the material type modifiers per tech level apply to robot chassis now, which I always thought was a great tweak. -AND- a lot of the skills that were never adequately described in B8 or 101 Robots are WELL described, plus a bunch of cool new skills, lots of little things that were not clear in the earlier material have been made clear and amplified on. For instance, cargo handling? Does a robot need that to move objects around without breaking them? No, turns out it's the specialized skill of a cargo master. And cooler devices and more of them. Full MT integration!!! Kudos!!! <3 <3 <3



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
MT MegaTraveller Robots
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

2300 AD Ships of the French Arm
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/23/2015 07:28:58

The Introduction explains the purpose of this book concisely: it's a compilation of data for some 46 spaceships commonly found in that particular region of space, classified as being warships, commercial ships, survey ships and, well, anything that doesn't fall into one of the other three categories. Warships belong mostly to the French and the Germans, some there to keep an eye on each other after the War of German Reunification (which spilled out into space colonies even though the actual issue was on Earth) and others to watch out for Kafer incursions. These last have been joined by vessels from other powers. Commercial vessels generally concentrate on transporting cargo or passengers, whilst just about everyone sends out survey ships to explore new worlds ripe for colonisation.


Each ship entry comes with an illustration and a history of how it came to be built as well as technical data about its capabilities, and there's also a 'Ship Status Sheet', compatible with the Star Cruiser space skirmish game or for use with the 2300AD rules for space combat should a brawl break out. The illustrations are line art, views of the vessel in question in flight, and quite good if you want a general impression of what a given craft looks like when encountered. There are no deck plans, you'll have to make something up if for any reason the party ends up going aboard.


There is a goodly collection of warships, as well as some fighters and even missiles and a few sensor drones. Various cargo carriers are provided, including one which carries 'drop containers' fitted with their own retro-rockets to facilitate being dropped from orbit to colonies who have not yet established suitable infrastructure to handle cargo arriving from space. Many are bulk carriers, suitable for hauling ores back from mining colonies, but there are others like, for example, an animal transport designed to move live animals out to colonies... they, unlike inanimate cargo, need artificial gravity to thrive, generally provided by spinning all or part of the ship. People tend to prefer gravity too, and similar techniques are used in the better passenger ships. Most of the survey ships presented are large laboratory ships equipped to go to a system and explore it thoroughly over the course of a year or so. The miscellaneous vessels include couriers and a mining ship.


Whilst there are many interesting spaceships in this collection, none jumps out as being really suitable for party use. These are the ships that the characters will encounter in the main, rather than the ones that will become their homes or workplaces. At least, not unless you intend a game involving serving naval personnel or the crew of a cargo hauler or something like that. The lack of deckplans also mitigates against using them as ships in which the party will travel, or only for a short trip just to get somewhere for the next adventure. It provides a good overview of what is out there in the black, though, to enliven encounters or indeed a character's backstory if they wish to include the vessels on which they served.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
2300 AD Ships of the French Arm
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

2300 AD Aurore Sourcebook
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/22/2015 08:25:28

The Introduction sets the scene: this is a sourcebook all about a planet called Aurore, first introduced in the adventure Kafer Dawn, which is actually a large moon in orbit around a gas giant in the Eta Bootis system in the French Arm. It's almost as big as Earth, with sufficient atmosphere to allow people to live there without the need for spacesuits, but challenging enough to make colonisation an adventure in itself. You can run Kafer Dawn without this book, but if you want to keep on using Aurore for your own adventures it will come in very useful.


The first chapter is entitled Aurore: Background, and it is recommended that the referee allows the characters to discover the information herein through research and experience rather than letting them read the chapter. It deals with the history of the exploration of the Eta Bootis system from the first survey and landings right up to the present, including the Kafer War. It is not so much secret material as stuff you need to make an effort to read up on, most is available in libraries and other records, or can be found out if you want to ask the locals. A native of Aurore would probably know it, should a character have this as their planet of origin. Although in the French Arm, the first colony was actually Ukrainian, with two separate colonies, one French and one by a consortium of American, Texan and German mining corporations, being established later. It was the French who named their settlement Aurore, which came to be the name used for the entire world. Early establishment of power satellites aided the growth of the mining industry but incompatibility of Earth and Auroran lifeforms made agriculture difficult until soil from back home was used to seed and terraform plots of land in which carefully selected plants and animals could be raised. The Kafer War caused widespread destruction and although humans have (just) clung on to the main settlements, mopping up operations to clear the planet of remnants of Kafer forces are still ongoing.


A detailed 2-page map of the surface leads into the next section, Aurore: The World. This provides a detailed run-down of Auroran planetography (you cannot really call it GEOgraphy after all!) with both physical aspects and information on settlements being covered. This is followed by a chapter on Life on Aurore, with information on typical careers pursued by locals, new skills and much more. As a frontier world, Aurore is always ready to welcome newcomers ready to grasp opportunities and work hard. If you don't fancy fishing, mining or homesteading, there are militia and mercenary opportunites as well. Many years ago, one of my characters (an expert sniper) found his services in demand!


Next comes Aurore: Biology, and this is rich and strange indeed. Had I read this before the game, I'd have left the sniper home and played a xenobiologist instead! The conventional differences between 'plant' and 'animal' are blurred in a fascinating manner. Quite a few sample creatures are presented for characters to encounter - for study or combat is left open depending on inclination and situation. A neat piece is a collection of unknown and unnamed creatures, hitherto unknown to science or even the local colonists, which the referee can have the party 'discover' when appropriate during their stay on Aurore. If they survive, they can have the fun of naming and describing them should they so wish.


The next section is Adventuring on Aurore. This provides a wealth of encounters, each classified by where it might take place, and each with the potential of developing into much more than a mere encounter if that's what you want. Mechanically, there are notes on how to resolve novel tasks not covered by the core rules, and there's also a useful set of notes on the general appearance of the place designed to help you come up with vivid and colourful descriptions as the party travels around. This is followed by greater detail in a section entitled Planetographic Details, which gives extended descriptions of different parts of the planet. We also meet some typical locals, complete with colour illustrations. Throughout, there are hints which could be expanded into adventure ideas if you need them. There's also information about weather and environmental hazards, depending on where the party decides to go. A separate section of Special Information provides the referee with more hazards and opportunities for adventure based on the nature of Aurore itself.


This is followed by Personalities, a section which introduces some local movers and shakers, providing biographical and game mechanical information as well as notes on how they might interact with the party or influence the course of an adventure if they are encountered. Then comes material on the Kafers and their equipment, and finally a section called Military Operations - as Aurora is a world at war, it is likely that the party will be swept up in events even if they don't intend to become involved! There is a lot of material here that will aid you in running military actions, however you manage to embroil the characters (I seem to recall conscription being involved...). If you are wargamers at heart, there is plenty of technical information to cater for playing out skirmishes with various vehicles and combat units, or to provide a background for role-playing adventures - scouting or covert missions can always work well.


Overall, this sourcebook presents a vividly-imagined world with plenty going on, ripe for adventure and well worth a visit...



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
2300 AD Aurore Sourcebook
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

2300 AD Man's Battle for the Stars
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/19/2015 08:15:14

The main contents of this boxed set, a revision of the original Traveller 2300 rules, are an Adventurer's Guide and a Director's Guide. An adventure, Kafer Dawn was also included, but was released separately as well so will be reviewed on its own later.


The Adventurer's Guide begins by setting the game in context, describing the future history that led to the present day of 2300AD. There's an interesting note in the credits to the effect that much of this was actually gamed out by a select group in a massive political/social/diplomatic/war game over the course of a year or so: an interesting approach that ensured that it wasn't just a single person's ideas but born out of interaction between several independent viewpoints... a bit like the real thing! It also ties matters more firmly back to another GDW game by stating that the 'World War III' mentioned in this game is the one you are embroiled in if you play Twilight 2000. This introductory section rounds out with the usual potted explanation of what a role-playing game is and what you need to play it.


Then attention turns to character creation. This remains fairly similar to Traveller 2300 beginning with selection of homeworld and body type before determining characteristics by random die roll, although now there is a point-buy option for those who do not want to leave it all to chance. Throughout the explanation of the character generation process, sidebars describe the creation of a sample character to show how it all works. Skills are gained through spending skill points that come from background, education, career and any other training, with the options available coming from the careers and other training that the character has had. Every so often, you need to roll a 'turning point' to see if the character is able to continue in character generation. At this point, if he passes the roll he may opt to change careers or stay in the current one (he can only change career once for no adequately-explained reason), when he fails it is time to end the process and begin play. This section finishes with a flowchart and sample character sheet.


Next is the information that you need to generate a character, sections on Careers and Skills. Careers serve a couple of purposes. They determine which skills are available to the character and they identify some organisations which characters may have worked for or even may get hired by during the course of the game. Careers are grouped by type - academic careers, military careers, exploratory careers, etc. - to aid in chosing something that fits well with your concept. These sections are followed by ones on Upkeep (the cost of living) and Technology, which talks about the current 2300AD state of play in various areas, and this leads in to an Equipment section where you can find just about anything that the well-equipped character might want to have. It's quite amusing to look at the 1988 concept of future technology compared with what's available in 2015 - the 'hand communicator' is a lot bigger than today's smart phone, for example. Fascinating sidebars describe Pentapod technology, often organic, that's sold by an alien race but which is widely available.


Weapons, armour and vehicles get their own sections, and then comes the History section. Starting in 1700AD, this sets everything in context with an overview of history rooted in real-world events (at least until the 1980s) and continuing on with 'future history' to bring you up to 2300AD. OK, there are some differences as you might expect: here the Iron Curtain didn't fall until the Cold War turned very hot around the turn of the century with World War III taking place (and going nuclear) around the year 2000, but it's all very plausible... and for a game set in 2300, even this is getting into the realms of history that most people only have a general idea about, so unless your character is a history buff, it's of less relevance than what your grandparents did during the real World Wars last century is to you! Three events that followed, however, built the foundations for this game's present: a fuel crisis that led to the end of dependence on fossil fuels, the French Peace (in which France, the only European nation to survive the war unscathed, rose to global prominence) and the Melbourne Accords, which set agreements about space exploration in place. From there, mankind reached out to the stars... with a few wars and skirmishes and national rivalries to keep everyone on their toes. Notes on political geography (on Earth and in the Solar System) and on the far-flung colonies which arose from exploration finish up this book. There are some 50-odd colonies which are arranged roughly by national origin, so there's a French Arm, a Chinese Arm, an American Arm and so on. Many are now independent, but hark back to their original culture and nationality.


And then on to the Director's Guide. This provides a wealth of resources for the GM, from the nuts and bolts of running combat to deeper wide-ranging issues of theme and goals. The Introduction begins by musing on the nature of the GM's role and provides some broad sweeps which are defined in following chapters. There's also the usual admonition that players should read no further... in expectation that only one member of a group will ever be the GM, it appears! And why would you buy a boxed set (or download the PDF) if you only intended to read half of it?


The first section is on Running Adventures, and offers suggestions on presenting scenes such that they come to life for the players, and running NPCs as individual characters in their own right. Discussions follow on running linear and open-ended scenarios, breaking an adventure into episodes and scenes and a lot more nuts-and-bolts that may be obvious to experienced referees but new to those just beginning their stint behind the screen. All along it encourages flexibility in response to what the players want to do: allowing them as much freedom of action as possible is, perhaps, the greatest difference between a role-playing game and a computer one, you're not constrained by the programmer's imagination but can respond to anything, however unlikely, that the party comes up with. There are suggestions as to where to get ideas for adventures, including pinching... ahem... being inspired by... plotlines in other genres.


The next section, Organisations, not only suggests a few but looks at ways of using the concept of large organisations to effect - perhaps to foster ideas of identity, as employer, enemy, supplier... you name it, there are many roles organisations can play. They might be military or paramilitary, academic, commercial... and all have the potential to be influential in your game.


We then move on to more game-mechanical areas beginning with Experience and Renown. Characters can gain both during the course of their adventures, using experience to improve themselves (by increasing skills) whilst renown is a measure of the character's fame or notoriety, and can influence they way in which people react to him or even how much he gets paid. Next is a look at Aliens. Yes, humans are not alone! However, encounters are still rare enough to be exciting and out of the ordinary. There are notes on their motivations and physical appearance, and suggestions of how they can be used in adventures here, along with sample NPCs and sketches.


Back to game mechanics and Event Resolution, with a methodology of describing a 'task' that includes what is being attempted, how hard it is and what resources are being brought to bear, ending in giving a target that you can roll against with 2d6. It looks more complex than it is, and with practice ought to become second nature. Next is a look at Non-Player Characters, with plenty of ideas for coming up with distinctive ones quickly without having to go through the complete character generation process. This is followed by Combat, basically a specialised event resolution conducted in turns during which each participant acts in a set order. There are plenty of examples to help you understand, fortunately, but again it sounds more complex on paper than it really is once you have got your head around it and begin to play.


A section on Star Travel follows, with lots of detail on how to run normal starship operations and even an explanation of 'Stutter-Warp' (the way faster-than-light travel is achieved). When things are less than peaceful, turn to the next section on Space Combat, which is run board-game style with miniatures or at least some kind of markers being regarded as well-nigh essential. This is followed by a section called Ship Listings which provides a myrid of ready-made craft to use in your game.


Space travel dealt with, where will you go? The next part of the book opens with a section on World Generation - which can get quite addictive! This system will result in incredibly-detailed star systems, you may prefer a more simplistic narrative approach and just describe what the party sees as it approaches a habitable world and lands there instead. If you enjoy making things as realistic as possible, work through the entire process, it is quite robust and gives fairly accurate results as far as my knowledge of space science can tell. This is followed by World Mapping and Animal Encounters. The book rounds out with listings of known colonies, star charts and assorted useful forms.


There is also a solo adventure, Terror's Lair, whose initial intention is to help new Referees get to grips with the rules by actually playing through it. It can then be adapted to provide an adventure for the entire party if you like. It involves the exploits of a narcotics agent in pursuit of a drug smuggler aboard an interstellar liner and is quite entertaining if straightforwards.


Overall, this is a slightly more streamlined and improved version of Traveller 2300, but remains the sort of game that resonates with those who like a high degree of detail. complexity and realism in their games. It certainly makes me want to grab some dice and head for the stars!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
2300  AD Man's Battle for the Stars
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Displaying 16 to 30 (of 405 reviews) Result Pages: [<< Prev]   1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 ...  [Next >>] 
0 items
 Hottest Titles
 Gift Certificates
Powered by DrivethruRPG