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Achtung! Cthulhu Audio Adventures: Ep.1 S.1: A Rude Awakening
by chris c. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/15/2017 12:18:55

Wonderful audiobook style introduction to the Cthulhu games. Really enjoyed listening to this. my only concern is when will they make more episodes



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Achtung! Cthulhu Audio Adventures: Ep.1 S.1: A Rude Awakening
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Cold & Dark Quickguide (Free)
by Roger L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/20/2017 04:52:24

http://www.teilzeithelden.de

Wollte man die Geschehnisse des Sci-Fi- und Horrorklassikers Event Horizon – Am Rande des Universums am Spieltisch erleben, so wäre Cold & Dark in Sachen System und Setting das Mittel der Wahl: düster, beklemmend, schonungslos. Ressourcenkriege, der Kampf gegen die bestialischen Ripper und die endlose Leere des Weltraums fordern ihren Tribut.

Vorstellung: Cold & Dark Quickstart Guide – Schwerelose Horrortrips für Anfänger Wollte man die Geschehnisse des Sci-Fi- und Horrorklassikers Event Horizon – Am Rande des Universums am Spieltisch erleben, so wäre Cold & Dark in Sachen System und Setting das Mittel der Wahl: düster, beklemmend, schonungslos. Ressourcenkriege, der Kampf gegen die bestialischen Ripper und die endlose Leere des Weltraums fordern ihren Tribut.

Im Gegensatz zu dem umfangreichen Grundregelwerk enthält der Quickstart Guide von Cold & Dark eine abgespeckte Version der Regeln, die einen schnellen Einstieg in das System ermöglicht. So wurde beispielsweise im Guide komplett auf die Regeln zur Avatar-Erstellung verzichtet und einige Abilities wurden zu Zwecken der Übersichtlichkeit zusammengefasst, sodass Unterschiede zu den eigentlich wesentlich komplexeren Regeln gegeben sind. In Kombination mit dem enthaltenen Abenteuer „Darker Than Most“ sowie den darin beinhalteten vorgefertigten Charakteren, der Crew des illegalen Bergungsschiffes Valhalla, kann ohne spielerseitige Vorkenntnis und mit wenig Vorbereitung der Einstieg in das System erfolgen.

Cold & Dark wurde vom schwedischen Spieledesigner und Autor Mischa L Thomas (Wicked World Games) entwickelt und wird von Modiphius Entertainment publiziert.

Setting

Mit der Besiedelung von Mars und Mond legte Japan den Grundstein für eine Ära des Bergbaus jenseits der vertrauen Erdatmosphäre. Durch die brutalen Taten radikaler Umweltschützer, den internationalen Machtkampf um die Vorherrschaft im Weltall und durch Konflikte geldgieriger Megakonzerne entbrach ein Krieg über die neu erschlossenen Ressourcen. Das Auftauchen der Ripper, einer primitiven, aber blutrünstigen Rasse außerirdischer Lebewesen, sorgte in Teilen für neuen Zusammenhalt auf der Erde – der sogenannte „Ripper War“ sollte jedoch für lange Jahre das Antlitz der Wiege der Menschheit zeichnen. Doch auch Verbündete, wenngleich fraglicher Natur, können gemacht werden: Die Gerion sind eine hochentwickelte Alienrasse, die die Menschheit anteilig von ihren Kenntnissen und wissenschaftlichen Errungenschaften profitieren lässt, so beispielsweise von der Kenntnis des fremdartigen Treibstoffes Belinium und von dem Wissen darüber, wie dieser zu gewinnen ist. All diese Geschehnisse stehen im Schatten einer einstigen, mutmaßlich vergangenen Alienrasse, die ihre Spuren hinterlassen hat und somit Neugier wie auch Forschergeist weckt.

Cold & Dark brüstet sich Kontrast zu einer Vielzahl fantasy- und sci-fi-orientierter Pen&Paper-Systeme nicht mit einer großen Vielfalt (spielbarer) Rassen. Tatsächlich wird im Quickstart Guide unmittelbar darauf verwiesen, dass das hiesige Universum jenseits der zivilisierten und beengten Welt eine große Leere vorweist. Mag diese für den einen abenteuerhungrigen Entdecker ein Versprechen von Freiheit beinhalten, so ist für andere die Masse des Nichts nahezu erdrückend. Dem selbstgesetzten Motto „Dying is easy, living is hard and pain is a given … “ wird das Setting gerecht.

Avatars

Der Quickstart Guide bringt eine Auswahl vorgefertigter Charaktere mit, die hier als Avatars bezeichnet werden. Auf diese Weise dient die Vorstellung der Skills Aptitudes und Abilities dem Verständnis und stellt an dieser Stelle kein Werkzeug zur selbstständigen Erschaffung eines Charakters dar. Ein solches wäre jenseits des Quickstart Guides im Grundregelwerk zu finden. Bei der Auswahl der aufgeführten Beispielcharaktere ist explizit darauf geachtet worden, dass diese alle im ebenfalls enthaltenen Setting „Darker Than Most“ Aufgaben meistern können. Die Avatars stellen eine Schiffscrew dar, sodass die Spieler beispielsweise in die Rolle des Piloten David Xi oder die Rolle der Security-Offizierin Kauri Hansson schlüpfen können.

Die Avatars definieren sich primär durch Aptitudes (Begabungen/Neigungen) und sekundär durch Abilities (Fähigkeiten). Aptitudes stellen die grundlegenden Charaktereigenschaften dar. Insgesamt gibt es hiervon acht verschiedene: Attention (Aufmerksamkeit), Brains (Intelligenz), Brawn (Muskelkraft), Cool (Willenskraft), Clout (Einfluss), Gut Feeling (Bauchgefühl), Quickness (Schnelligkeit) und Reaction (Reaktion). Während ein einziger Punkt in einem dieser Aptitudes als „poor“ anzusehen ist und zwei Punkte als „average“ gelten, wäre das Maximum von fünf Punkten als wirklich perfekte Begabung einzustufen.

Ein Avatar wird mit besonderen Aptitudes geboren bzw. entwickelt diese längerfristig. Hingegen stellen die Abilities Wissen und angeeignete, wesentlich konkretere Fähigkeiten dar. Sie geben vor, was ein Avatar in der Lage ist, zu tun und kreieren insoweit die Grundlage für seine tägliche (berufliche) Tätigkeit.

Combat Diese Ability beschreibt die Fähigkeit eines Avatars, mit Nah- und Fernkampfwaffen umzugehen. Zum einen wird eine effektive Nutzung innerhalb einer Gefechtssituation gegeben, zum anderen ist hier auch theoretisches Wissen beispielsweise über die Wartung von Standard-Waffen gegeben. Combat ist eine Mischung der beiden Abilities „Shooting“ und „Close Combat“ aus dem Grundregelwerk, die zur Vereinfachung des Guides entstanden ist.

Engineering Engineering ist eine weit gefasste Fähigkeit: Sowohl ein beschädigter Schiffsrumpf, eine undichte Luftschleuse als auch ein defekter Computer können hiermit repariert werden. Ein Umstand, der für ein dauerhaftes Überleben im offenen Weltraum durchaus nützlich ist.

Infiltration Zum einen wird die Infiltration-Ability benötigt, um ungesehen agieren zu können. Sie beinhaltet aber auch das Umgehen mechanischer und elektronischer Schlösser und diverser Sicherheitssysteme.

Interaction Diese Ability bringt alles mit, was das klassische „Face“ der Gruppe benötigt: Die Fähigkeit, gekonnt und überzeugend zu sprechen und zu verhandeln.

Medic Ein niedriger Rang in der Medic-Ability erlaubt das Leisten von erster Hilfe. Auf höheren Leveln – mithin ab Rang 4 – können auch komplexe Operationen seitens des Avatars durchgeführt werden.

Movement Die Sportlichkeit eines Avatars wird in dieser Ability umfasst. Sowohl athletische als auch akrobatische Proben greifen hierauf zurück.

Search Search beschreibt die Wahrnehmung eines Avatars und darüber hinaus seine Fähigkeit, nach einem zuvor definierten Gegenstand oder Gegner suchen zu können.

Science Ein Avatar mit einem hohen Wert in Science verfügt über ausgeprägtes Wissen im mathematischen und physikalischen Bereich. Auch die Xenoarchology – die Expertise, Relikte unbekannter früheren Alienrassen bergen, untersuchen und analysieren zu können – ist in dieser Ability beinhaltet.

Technology Um Computer und ähnlich komplexe Geräte technischer Natur wie beispielsweise Scanner nutzen und auf ihr volles Potenzial zurückgreifen zu können, wird diese Ability benötigt.

Vehicles Ein niedriger Wert in dieser Ability erlaubt es, Bodenfahrzeuge und Hover-Fahrzeuge zu nutzen. Sobald der Rang den Wert von 3 oder mehr erreicht, kann der Anwender auch Flugzeuge und Raumschiffe navigieren und steuern.

Würfelsystem und Proben Zum Würfeln greift Cold & Dark ausschließlich auf W8 zurück. Jede gewürfelte 7 und 8 stellen hierbei jeweils einen Erfolg dar. Cold & Dark beinhaltet zwei grundsätzliche Arten von Proben: „Aptitude rolls“ und „Ability rolls“.

Eine Würfelprobe auf eine Aptidude („Aptitude roll“) wird vorgenommen, indem der betroffene Aptidude-Wert verdoppelt wird. Das hierbei entstehende Ergebnis stellt den Würfelpool dar; es werden W8 in gleicher Höhe gewürfelt.

Beispiel: „Aptitude roll“ Der Spielleiter, innerhalb des Systems als AI bezeichnet, nimmt eine Attention-Probe für einen Avatar vor, da dieser zwar nicht explizit Ausschau nach einer bestimmten Sache oder einem bestimmten Umstand hält, durchaus aber etwas Ungewöhnliches entdecken könnte. Der Avatar hat einen Attention-Wert von 3. Dieser wird verdoppelt, sodass ein Würfelpool von 6 entsteht.

Bei einer Ability-Probe („Ability roll“) werden die Ability und die aktive Aptitude, die mit der Ability verknüpft ist, zusammengerechnet, um den anzuwendenden Würfelpool zu definieren. Verfügt der Charakter über keine passende Ability für die Probe, die er anzuwenden gedenkt, so würfelt er nur die Aptitude. Da es sich hierbei nicht um einen Aptitude-Wurf wie oben beschrieben handelt, wird der Wert hier auch nicht verdoppelt. Es ist nach wie vor ein Ability-Wurf.

Beispiel: „Ability roll“ Ein Avatar möchte einen Angriff mit einem Scharfschützengewehr vollziehen. Hierfür verwendet er die Ability Combat mit einem beispielhaften Wert von 4 und die Aptitude Attention mit einem beispielhaften Wert von 3. Es entsteht ein Würfelpool von 7. Alle nunmehr gewürfelten 7 oder 8 sind ein Erfolg.

Bereits eine 7 oder 8 können eine erfolgreiche Handlung indizieren; mehr Erfolge verbessern den Erfolg bzw. das entsprechende Ergebnis der Handlung.

Hätte der Avatar keine Ability für die geplante Handlung, so würde er an dieser Stelle nur die Aptitude, also Attention (3), würfeln.

Offensichtliche und automatische Erfolge

Ein offensichtlicher Erfolg ist ein Erfolg, für den das Erstellen eines Würfelpools sowie das Würfeln selbst entfallen. Der Guide nutzt als Beispiel hierfür eine unbeschädigte Leiter, die ohne Zeitdruck oder Stress hinaufzuklettern ist. Diese Handlung kann von jedem vorgenommen werden und bedarf demnach keine Probe.

Ein automatischer Erfolg ist nur außerhalb einer Kampfsituation möglich und nur dann, wenn keine anderen Stressfaktoren wie z. B. Zeitdruck vorhanden sind. Er entsteht dann, wenn der Würfelpool eines Spielers mit allen eventuellen Modifikatoren die Zielnummer (7, da diese den niedrigsten möglichen Erfolg darstellt) übertrifft bzw. gleich hoch mit dieser ausfällt.

Beispiel: Automatischer Erfolg Ein Avatar möchte ein Schloss knacken bzw. die Türsicherheit umgehen. Er hat Zeit, keinen Stress und ist überdies ungestört. Sein Würfelpool beträgt 8. Die Probe gelingt, sofern er die nötige Zeit aufbringt, ohne Würfelwurf automatisch, da der Würfelpool höher liegt als die Zielnummer.

Hat ein Spieler überdies einen höheren Würfelpool als 8, beispielsweise 9, so würfelt er nur 8 Würfel. Der neunte Würfel kommt im Falle eines erfolgreichen Wurfes ungerollt als automatischer Erfolg hinzu.

Fazit Die Zielsetzung von Cold & Dark – so wird es im Guide seitens des Autors und Layouters Mischa L Thomas erklärt – ist es, ein System anzubieten, das im Kern zwar einfach und schnell gehalten ist, jedoch Raum für Ausbau bietet. Zwar lässt sich auf Basis des Quickstart Guides keine Einschätzung des gesamten Systems vornehmen, jedoch ist auf Grundlage des daraus gewonnenen ersten Eindruckes die beschriebene Zielsetzung als erfüllt anzusehen: Der kostenlose Guide steht z. B. auf Drivethrurpg zum Download zur Verfügung und ermöglicht ein leichtes Verständnis von Regeln und Inhalt. Mit der Vereinfachung bzw. Zusammenfassung von mehreren Abilities in einige wenige werden Komplexität und Kleinkariertheit abgeschwächt und ein schneller Start – ein Quickstart – wird spielerseitig möglich. Seitens der Spielleitung ist eine Recherche vorzunehmen, die jedoch vor allem mit Vorkenntnissen aus anderen Rollenspielen wenig Zeit in Anspruch nehmen dürfte.

Negativ ins Auge fallen einige kleinere Aspekte in der Gestaltung des Guides. So werden beispielsweise nicht alle Aptitudes, die erst aufgelistet und sodann näher beschrieben werden, genau definiert: Was sich hinter „Clout“ und „Gut Feeling“ verbirgt, ist der Interpretation des Lesers überlassen. Diese Inkonsistenz erweist sich beim Lesen als teilweise störend, zumindest aber als irritierend. Auch ein doppelt beinhalteter, beim zweiten Auftauchen zudem unvollständiger Absatz („Automatic and obvious successes“) lässt beim Durchgehen der Lektüre einen unsauberen Eindruck entstehen. Darüber hinaus wird die oben beschriebene zusammengefasste Ability Combat stellenweise durch „Shooting“ ersetzt – einer Ability, die in dieser Form zwar im Grundregelwerk, gemäß Vorwort nicht aber im Quickstart Guide existiert, sodass es hier zu Verwirrung kommt.

Das Setting, mithin eine Mischung aus Sci-Fi und Horror, ist trotz oder gerade wegen seiner Nischenhaftigkeit ansprechend. Bereits vor oder ergänzend zum Erwerb des Grundregelwerks bietet Wicked World Games auf seiner Website zusätzliches Bildmaterial, Charakterbögen sowie weitere Informationen zum System an.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Cold & Dark Quickguide (Free)
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Monsters & Magic Roleplaying Game
by Mauno J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/15/2017 10:39:57

This game was such a disappointment. I tried to run a Basic D&D adventure (Sword and Shield) converted to the Monsters & Magic rules according to the guidelines given in the M&M rulebook. The adventure was designed for a single 1st-level player character, but it was just too difficult for two ordinary 1st-level M&M characters and we had to quit the game because the players were not having fun. So if you are looking for a more modern ruleset to run old D&D adventures with, I don't advise picking up this game.



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[2 of 5 Stars!]
Monsters & Magic Roleplaying Game
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Mindjammer: The Core Worlds Sourcebook
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/10/2017 08:37:16

This book transports you to the very heart of the Commonality of Humankind. The Core Worlds are where humankind has its origins, settled in ancient times and containing some three hundred populated worlds. This is where the most extreme parts of the Commonality philosphy are accepted as givens: many people may find this rather uncomfortable. They are tradition-bound and conservative in outlook, very stratified and detest individuality. Religion, unlicensed sexual activity and news are also outlawed as being 'disruptive'. They've been like that for a long time, but Rediscovery is now opening up Frontier worlds again - a threat to some, a glorious opportunity to others.

Yet the Core Worlds are not homogeneous of themselves. Each is unique, and they can be grouped into five regious. The first is Old Earth itself, where humankind first began. Then there's Manhome, the entire solar system in which Old Earth is found. The settled solar systems within 100 light year (LY) of Old Earth form the Old Commonality. Further out are the Penumbral Worlds and finally the Satellite Domains. Chapter 2: The Structure of the Core provides maps and information to explain all this, with notes on cultural regions and explanations of how folks travel around. On a given planet, individual vehicles are rare but mass transit systems meet most needs. Many worlds do not permit spacecraft to land, those that do generally operate an 'air traffic control' system to keep flying spacecraft in known patterns. Interstellar travel is frequent and speedy, it's generally easy to find a ship going where you wish to go. There are also 'gates' - but you start at a spaceport and get into a ship which goes through the gate... and there's loads of detail - and even the odd plot hook - about getting around the Core Worlds. Be prepared to think in three dimensions, though!

Next, Chapter 3: The People of the Core introduces the startling diversity to be found here. It might have been challenging to think of your ship as a 'person', now get to grips with planetary sentiences, as well as a vast variety of sentient beings who may be autotrophes (green and capable of photosynthesis), adapted to an extreme environment or plain weird because... well, that's the way they are. The concepts of 'government' and 'administration' are inextricably combined, producing vast bureauocracies overseen by sentiences, with departments or Instrumentalities dealing with various functions. Despite all this, factions abound, each with their own ideas... yet society as a whole can be quite stifling and hidebound. Thousand-year-old algorithms dictate the aestetics of music, education concentrates on learning how to do things the correct way and studying the great masters of the past, with innovation and experimentation regarded negatively. Unlicensed reproduction is illegal, and once born most youngsters are raised institutionally - you need a special licence to raise a juvenile in the parental home. Life is communal in general, very structured, yet with great opportunities and resources made available to all. Deviance from societal norms is not acceptable - and visitors have to learn them fast as little allowance is made for them. Deviants can expect to be re-educated.

Then there are chapters on each of the five regions beginning with Old Earth itself. Here the majority live in arcologies, and this concept is explored in detail. Oh, and the moon has been terraformed into Green Moon. It's all quite different from what we are used to... Next is Manhome, the rest of the solar system, then on to the Old Commonality and beyond. Each is described in rich and evocative detail, it's easy to imagine every place that is written about. Plot ideas abound, so wherever the party ends up, there ought to be plenty going on around them - but reading the paragraph or two about each planet spawns plenty of your own as well.

Finally, Chapter 9: Gaming in the Core Worlds provides a wealth of information that will give you plenty to think about if you intend to run games set here. Several themes are suggested, each with a series of questions that your plot may be attempting to answer, ample scope for exploring and discovering, and perhaps - if outsiders - getting into trouble.

It's quite a breathless sweep across a vast cube of space that has Old Earth at its centre. It tells you a lot, yet if you want to actually use it in your game you will need to put in the work to create plot and antagonists and all the other resources required... yet here is a magnificent framework on which to build.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mindjammer: The Core Worlds Sourcebook
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Achtung! Cthulhu Audio Adventures - Teaser
by Roger L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/10/2017 04:53:20

I love this french-german accent, quite funny listening to it as a german.

Unfortunately, the content is nothing more than a fight scene with disgusting noises in the background. A small hint of what it is all about would be interesting for listeners who do not know the game.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Achtung! Cthulhu Audio Adventures - Teaser
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Mindjammer: Children of Orion—the Venu Sourcebook
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/09/2017 08:38:55

Does the Commonality cloy a bit? Or do you want to get to know the 'opposition' so as better to defeat them? The Venu are the 'bad guys' of this setting, being a cruel and oppressive civilisation that are the diametric opposite of what the Commonality stands for and strives for. Of course, there are opportunities there too...

The Introduction explains how the Venu can be seen as what Earth's civilisation might have become had they chosen a different path. They left very early on, maybe eight thousand years ago or more and have been treading their own road ever since. The present Venu aren't that old, because they destroyed themselves fighting one another - this Venu civilisation is at most fifteen hundred years old, having built itself up on the ruins of more ancient ones. They are a rich and complex society, and this book attempts to present them - warts and all - with the aim of providing resources for adventuring in Venu space, creating meaningful Venu NPCs as adversaries (or allies?), and maybe even playing the odd Venu character.

Chapter 2: History and Prehistory goes into detail on the real history of the Venu. Most if not all of the present-day Venu don't know about it, as that apocalyptic war fifteen hundred years ago wiped out most of what went before, and the time since has been one of oppression, false news, and lies masquerading as the truth. It all began with the first ship using stasis technology to leave Earth. Heading for the Orion Nebula, their intended destination turned out to be unsuitable for habitation but fortunately they found a nearby world on which to settle. It wasn't ideal and after some struggles a major terraforming plan was put into action. They'd been there almost a thousand years before a message from Earth arrived... by then they'd almost forgotten where they came from and it was a decided shock to hear a planet on the other side of the galaxy claimed to be their origin. Even more, technology on Earth had advanced far more than theirs, and the information transmitted enabled the recipients to gain ascendancy over the rest of the planet, leading to a three thousand year long golden age. Then a second message came, reflecting further changes on Earth and again sending the Venu into a tailspin. Some accepted what they were told, others refuted it, nobody would agree to differ and it all ended in tears... and apocalyptic war!

From the shattered remnants left by that war arose the immortal God-Emperor Venu. Forty generations later, his followers the Pure hold true to his Tech Commandments, building their world as directed. And then the Commonality came, a real cat amongst the pigeons. The God-Emperor broke a long silence to issue more edicts, the New Pronoucements, and now leads his people in war against the Commonality seeking to defeat their 'lies' and embrace something called the Radiant Darkness, a relgion seemingly cooked up for the purpose, having consolidated his hold on surrounding worlds and colonies seeded before all the unpleasantness happened and contact lost.

Scene set, we then begin to find out about the Venu people themselves in the next chapter. They seem to be a surprisingly uniform bunch, tending to dark hair and skin, but more worryingly, in their behaviour too. Society is very conformist (at least in part out of fear) and hierarchical. Technology is prolific yet subject to myriad rules and restrictions, for example travel permits are required even to move about your own city let alone travel to another planet.

Chapter 4: The Venu Empire starts by looking at the political hierarchy with the God-Emperor at the top assisted by fifteen Lords Countenant who each head one of the government departments or commissariats. They deal with nearly every aspect of life - it's quite hard to do anything at all without their influence being felt. The majority of the population are the Pure, the obedient masses. There is great fear and hatred of so-called Abominations; mutants in other words. With loads of detail to bulk this out, there are also plot seeds scattered throughout. Chapter 5 continues this background information by looking at the Dark Radiance... but just what is this? It hovers somewhere between a religion and a personality cult, centred of course on the God-Emperor himself. It's of particular interest because it appears to confer certain powers on those it mutates. Those mutated by Dark Radiance are not ostracised like other mutants, rather they are regarded as favoured or blessed. Chapter 6 then explores Venu technology, something they are ambivalent about. The society is anti-intellectual, yet they realise that they need tech to survive and prosper. This results in most people having little understanding of the technology that they use, often with disasterous results. The chapter contains an extensive catalogue of equipment.

Moving on, Chapter 7: Starships and Space Travel reveals that Venu space technology is somewhat behind that of the Commonality. The classes and deployment of military vessels are discussed here, as well as civilian ships - there are even a few deckplans. Ships sorted, we go on in Chapter 8 to explore Venu Space, beginning with the homeworld, Venu Prime and including detailed instructions for designing your own worlds. There are plenty of examples of solar systems in Venu space to visit as well.

After what seems to be quite a massive information dump - fascinating stuff, it's taken me ages to read and I've enjoyed every word! - we move on to more game-mechanical stuff with Chapter 9: Creating Venu Characters. Whether or not you are willing to let your players be Venu depends on the game you want to run, but it's useful to be able to create detailed antagonists anyway. There are a range of different cultures, genotypes and careers to choose from. Then it's time to look at Chapter 9: Venu Adversaries, which provides an array of ready-made 'bad guys' to throw in the party's path. There's a bestiary here too.

Finally, Chapter 11: Venu Campaigns looks at the vast variety of things you can do in Venu space now that you know about it. Perhaps the party are Venu, and options range from Imperial intrigue to trying to discover what Dark Radiance actually is, or perhaps formenting a rebellion against a repressive society. On the other hand they might be Commonality - spying, perhaps, or out to wreak havoc amongst their enemy. There are plenty of ideas thrown out in a sentence or two... but like most everything else in this book, you will need to put in some work to actually use it in your game.

A fantastic overview of a major player in galactic space, which really gives a good feel for and understanding of what to the Commonality are bogey men. There's too much that isn't for player eyes to make it a useful book for the whole group - even if they are playing Venu - so be prepared to explain a lot! Definitely a useful addition exploring this whole new region of space and its inhabitants, an addition to the setting capable of being used in many differnt ways.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mindjammer: Children of Orion—the Venu Sourcebook
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Mindjammer: The Mindjammer Companion
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/06/2017 08:17:16

This book presents the Outremer Subsector, located on the extreme edge of Commonality Space. It's the setting of the adventure Dominion and much of the material here is in the Traveller version of the Mingjammer rules, but it's now been completely rewritten for those using the original Fate system rules.

Situated on the edge of Commonality Space, Outremer straddles several interstellar political regions and contains unaligned and unclaimed planetary systems as well. If you think you'd like to set your game here, in these pages you will find detailed planet and star system details for the Heritage Contestation, octant zeta of the subsector, including planetary maps, and more outline material on the rest of the subsector - so plenty of space to add the elements you fancy.

First off, some history of the region. Like much of the rim, planets here were colonised long ago in earlier diasporas, but contact was re-established some 130 years ago just before contact was made with the Venu. Indeed many battles in the war with the Venu occurred here, and the situation is still tense with violence flaring up occasionally.

Maps in the endpapers show all eight octants with political markings, and the various groupings planets can belong to are discussed next. Some are friendly towards the Commonality, others hostile or at best undecided; and of course there is an unclaimed region as well. Plenty of xenomorphs and even plant-based intelligences are to be found (and yes, the necessary information to play one of the latter as a character is included). Details of the natures of each group are provided, to aid in the development of individuals and the overall look and feel of each one.

The discussion then moves on to the economy of the area which, quite frankly, is a mess. It is chaotic with various factions trying to exert control be it for themselves or for the common good. Various economic systems are to be found and it can be fun when those accustomed to one suddenly find themselves in a completely different one. Then we meet other groups: the corporacies. Several are detailed, there's even the suggestion that the party might like to hire out to one or even set up one of their own. Technology and space travel round out this chapter.

Next is Chapter 2, which goes into more detail about the Heritage Contestation octant. It bore the brunt of the fighting during the recent unpleasantness with the Venu and as a result has aquired the nickname 'The Anvil'. There is a detailed map, including an anomaly called the Hammer - space is unstable there, possibly due to the presence of a black hole. Notes - and maps - of individual worlds are provided, excellent if the party wishes to travel in this region. It's a wonderful gazetteer whether you are looking for just the right planet for the adventure you have in mind or if you want to go exploring.

This is all setting material - magnificent setting material. You may find that reading through it spawns some plot ideas, or you may want to run a game that involves exploring or trading... or even a diplomatic mission. However, whilst providing you with a well thought out setting, the adventures will have to come from you.



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Mindjammer: The Mindjammer Companion
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Conan the Barbarian
by Ryan M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/31/2017 03:09:33

Worthy addition to the series and great worldbulding.

Now if only we can get mercenary out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Conan the Barbarian
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Star Trek Adventures Quickstart
by Mark W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/20/2017 13:56:03

A great introduction to the new Star Trek rpg. Easy to understand and start up a game.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Star Trek Adventures Quickstart
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Mutant Chronicles Dark Soul Source Book
by Lauri M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/17/2017 04:53:01

I bought this book as a fan of MC universe. I had high hopes for it including stuff I could use in other games - background and fluff. But 90% of the book is monsters, powers and guns. If you are GMing Mutant Chronicles and need even more things to kill or to kill with, this might be a book for you.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Mutant Chronicles Dark Soul Source Book
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Star Trek Adventures FREE character sheets
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/07/2017 11:13:12

This free download provides a selection of record sheets to keep not just your characters but also your starships in order. Most are designed around the Next Generation era style, but some suit The Original Series (TOS) era.

Looking at the TOS era ones first, there is a single PDF with two pages. The first is a 'Starfleet Personnel File' (otherwise known as a character sheet) and the second page is a 'Starfleet Registry Entry' which enables you to record details of your starship. Naturally there's space to log damage as well as capablities and equipment on both.

It's interesting to see how the layout and design is changed to give a distintively Next Generation feel to the equivalent documents, despite them providing space to note exactly the same information. Of great benefit to those of us with poor handwriting, both the Next Generation Starfleet Personnel File and Starship Registry Entry are available in form-fillable versions as well as plain ones. Just make sure to save a new copy before you fill out and save your character or ship, then you'll always have a blank 'master' for your next one!

A neat and stylish way to keep track of your characters and ships... and it's free.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Star Trek Adventures FREE character sheets
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Star Trek Adventures Quickstart
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/04/2017 12:22:32

After a couple of pages advertising assorted Star Trek miniatures, the full rules and other accessories, we get to Chapter 1: Quickstart Rules. This consists of an introduction, basic operations and combat. The introduction provides brief basic details of what the game is about and what you need to play it, then there's a run-through of how a character is described in terms of attributes, skills and so on, and how these are used in play. There's a lot packed in, and as well as providing the detail you need to run the Quickstart could make a good introduction for new players joining an existing game. Finally, there's sufficient information for running a brawl. The concentration is on person-on-person combat, but there's a nice sketch of a Galaxy-class starship showing where all the weapons are located.

Chapter 2: Away Mission 'Signals' contains a short adventure. Apparently a small vessel, a runabout, has gone missing whilst investigating a mysterious signal emanating from the Carina Nebula, and the party's starship has been tasked to investigate. Finding a planet, the characters are beamed down to the surface as an away party, and that's when the fun begins... settlers and Romulans provide opposition, and there's the source of that signal to sort out as well. The notes are full of advice for the first-time GM, explaining how to use the rules to best effect throughout.

Finally, six pregenerated characters are provided: first officer, science officer, medic, engineer, a bridge officer, and the security chief. Amongst this we have a Vulcan, an Andorian and a Trill. Quite a bit of variety for the players to try out.

This presents a good introduction to an excellent interpretation of Star Trek as a role-playing game, with an adventure that captures the spirit of the show well. The illustrations and style of the whole thing suggests The New Era, but it would adapt reasonably to a different era if you insist. It certainly leaves you wanting to play some more of this game!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Star Trek Adventures Quickstart
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Star Trek Adventures Quickstart
by Alfred R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/04/2017 08:58:48

At 33 pages, the STA QS does an admirable job of distilling the 376 page rulebook into something easily manageable in an afternoon of gaming at home, or for a convention slot. This does mean that a lot of details are missing, such as the procedures for ship to ship combat, and the scientific method rules for testing hypotheses, but these absences are entirely forgivable. As a Quickstart, the document does a good job of communicating how the system works, being clear and concise, while giving a taste of the kinds of variations you might expect in the rules proper. The specific rules provided are largely adequate for the included scenario.

It is worth calling out, however, that the QS consists primarily of two to three fight scenes, which raises two concerns. Firstly, that the QS isn't really showing off what a Star Trek system can do, though it will certainly teach the ins and outs of the dice system. Secondly, that relevant combat mechanics such as using Cover and Guarding yourself -- details and maneuvers mentioned in the rules -- are not given any mechanical explanation. The latter is frustrating given the emphasis of the scenario, but the absent rules are not in anyway dealbreaking or game-ending.

The scenario itself is simplistic: there's a missing shuttle, you investigate, there's an ambush, check out the mystery of missing crewman, the attackers, and an alien signal. It has the makings of something that could be very interesting, with some elbow grease from the GM. The scenario presents a more questions than answers, while focusing primarily on dice rolling, and the intent seems clear: get players interested in the system, but leave them with questions, and then use the expanded ruleset of the core book to give them the tools to resolve those plot threads. It's not a bad model, and looking at the QS as a tool to get players into the game, leaving dangling questions is certainly sensible.

The format of the QS has attracted a lot of negative commentary, and is worth mentioning. At this moment, while the pregenerated characters are printed on white background, the rules are printed with white and pastel font on black pages. This decision emulates the iconic computer displays of the Next Generation, Deep Space 9, and Voyager television series. The production values do an excellent job of living up to that aesthetic, which draws the reader into the setting and timeline of the product. With that said, the choice does render the rules prohibitively inconvenient to print out. How relevant this is, I cannot say, as everyone plays differently: I and many of my players run games off their phones and laptops, regularly. Meanwhile, the rest of my players run their games with physical materials, so all I can say is it's a matter of preference.

Ideally, alternative versions of this document will be made available soon. Modiphius did a good job providing a printer-friendly version of the core rules, and has responded to requests for a printer-friendly version of their Voyages adventure book, so hopefully they will follow suit here. In the meantime, I cannot dock points for what is ultimately a user experience preference.

In short: the rules distillation is impressive, while teasing more of what the core rules contain would have been nice. The scenario doesn't feel very thematic and is overly insistent on fighting; a poorly rounded play experience is worth docking points, but the way it leans directly into using the core rules to handle the dangling plot threads is welcome. Overall, a fine quickstart.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Star Trek Adventures Quickstart
by Will H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/02/2017 21:33:32

The quickstart is produced in saturated colors on an entirely black background. No pdf layers, so impossible to print without using $20 in toner. Worthless.

I run tabletop precisely to not be on electronic devices while playing.

I run demo games at a brick-and-mortar shop. People play in my games, and buy the systems they play. I can't run this without a printable version. My players won't buy it. Neither will I.

Really, how hard is it to produce a pdf with layers, so we can at least turn off the jet black background to print? Or a light-hued printable version? Isn't there a single person at Modiphius who can imagine how their products might actually be used?



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Star Trek Adventures: These are the Voyages - Volume 1
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/02/2017 07:44:10

Visually stunning, with the appearance of a Starfleet computer interface and apposite illustrations, there's a brief Introduction and eight completely-developed adventures to keep your starship crew busy. The Introduction points out that exploration is a major part of Starfleet's role, and that all the adventures are somewhat exploratory in nature. It also suggests that any of the adventures could be used either as a starting-point for a campaign or dropped into an existing one as preferred, and that they are amenable to modifications as necessary to fit in with what is happening in YOUR universe. Reassuringly, each is written without the need for specialist knowledge of any specific movie, era or episode; and while some are intended for a particular era notes are provided to help you fit it to the era you want to play in.

Each adventure comes with a synopsis, three acts and a conclusion... and there's plenty to get your teeth into. The first adventure, A World with a Bluer Sun, is aimed at The Original Series (TOS) era and involves a spot of time-travel. If you are not playing in TOS era, there are some interesting ideas to make it work for any other era. It all starts with a distress call... and ends with negotiations with a new alien lifeform and maybe the odd warp core exploding!

The other adventures are equally exciting, although each brings its own challenges. Border Dispute pits the party against the Romulans in a tense situation that could easily spark a war, Entropy's Demise has them investigation a planet where things get old fast, and in Forests of the Night they encounter a really strange alien vessel. Biological Clock raises issues around the Prime Directive, A Plague of Arias involves the commemoration of a major medical breakthrough that isn't quite what everyone thinks, That Which is Unknown starts off with a weapons-testing task that quickly goes astray, and finally The Shepherd discovers sentience in a very unlikely place!

Resources are good, with suggestions throughout as to what the party could check and what information they can receive, likewise their likely actions are laid out clearly so that even a novice GM should be able to handle task resolution easily, with plentiful complications and even alternate endings to enable you to accommodate player actions. This collection of adventures provides for hours of fun and should spawn plenty more of your own.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Star Trek Adventures: These are the Voyages - Volume 1
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