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Cepheus: Faster Than Light!
by Jon S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/02/2019 21:22:32

As I'm sure most people reading this will know, Cepheus Light is a simplified version of the Cepheus Engine sci fi rpg, based on the classic Three Black Booklets of the first well known space based rpg. This Faster Than Light version contains the basic rules for character creation, mustering out and benefits, equipment and the money system including weapons. Rules for ground, air and spaceship movement and combat. There are example ships with stats. As such, it's not the whole game. But it doesn't claim to be and wasn't designed to be. So, how useful is it? The answer is, very useful, within it's scope. It is clearly written, concise and for someone who knows their way around an rpg, sensibly laid out. How would you use it? I can see two main uses straight away: firstly as a quick reference book for referee and players at the table. You could even give copies to the players before the game if they've not played before. Secondly, if you as a referee are familiar with the genre and are happy to create your own material, you don't need pages and pages on world building or detailed table top spaceship combat rules. You could hack these up yourself. Or, with relative ease you could use source books from other games to give you campaign material. One would only need to adjust the money system and assign equivalent tech levels to do this. In fact, that's probably what I will do for a few games and see how it goes. I gave it five stars because anything else would be churlish. If I do have a quibble, it's only with the lack of artwork. But then, thinking of the game's ancestors, those little black books where just a wall of text weren't they?



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cepheus: Faster Than Light!
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Cepheus: Faster Than Light!
by Michael J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/12/2019 22:02:40

Pretty much everything available to run an scenario with a group of mates, some beers and some nibbles. The full CE:SRD or CE: Lght rules sets are available for those wanting to run campaigns within a fuller setting.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thanks for the review!
Cepheus: Faster Than Light!
by David J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/12/2019 07:33:13

It's free, it's stripped down to the essentials of sci-fi roleplaying, and it's concise. This is a framework--there's no DM advice, and a great deal of the roleplaying elements are left up to the referee to make up (trading, for example, as a previous reviewer has mentioned)....and that's 100% OK. If you need something weightier, get Cepheus Light or the full-blown version.

You really can't complain about a free product that simply and effectively does exactly what it advertises....and best of all, no death at character creation. ;)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thanks for the review! Oh, and you CAN die in character creation. That what happens when you fail a survival roll. ;-)
Cepheus: Faster Than Light!
by A customer [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/11/2019 01:17:34

Cepheus: Faster Than Light is just about all you'd need to play, but it lacks a few things you'd need to run the game. There is nothing on planet/system building, building your own ships or vehicles or trade. However, that's not a problam though as Cepheus Light is also "pay what you want", available here and that adds everything else you'd need!

I will add one nit-pick, though, and that is the lack of a Trader/Broker skill in both of Omer's Light versions of Cepheus. I typically run Merchant campaigns or, at least, the PC's are having to "do trade" to keep their heads above water and make their ship payments. :) I've decided that I'm going to add it myself at 1/2 the number of terms a character was in the Merchant career...1 term = Trader-0, 2 or 3 terms = Trader-1, 4-5 terms = Trader-2, etc. I know Omer included other skills for the find cargo / negotiate price routine, but I want something specific and I'm going to let the Trader skill replace any of the other skills used for Trading. This is just a nit-pick, though, as using Liasion/Streetwise/Admin/Carousing/Int/Soc would get the job done.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thanks for the review! Indeed, for running the game, you will be well served by getting Cepheus Light. As for trading, I felt that it was context-dependent; the skill depends on what you trade and with whom. Trading with a corporation will use Admin, as you'll have to negotiate a proper contract. Unless you close the deal with their CEO over a cocktail or at the gambling table, in which case it will be Carousing. Black marketeering uses Streetwise. In most other cases, you use Liaison. Oh, and Deception can be handy, too, in some "niche" cases :-)
TSAO: These Stars Are Ours!
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/07/2018 23:23:38

I want more. Not in a bad way. This product leaves me hungry for more of this setting. Don't worry this is a complete, albeit in broad strokes, setting. Plenty of room for adventures in a campaign setting set almost immediately following a war between humans and reticulans. The reticulan masters have been overthrown and other alien races have been liberated. Alien allies and villians populate the setting as well as humanity. Plenty of setting material screams to be used in adventures. There are the typical typos when you have a small publisher, but nothing egregious. Rules are well organized. Overall a solid buy.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
TSAO: These Stars Are Ours!
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Variant Psionics for the Cepheus Engine
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/07/2018 23:15:41

This is an excellent product for those used to systems powered by a resource (mana points, magic points, etc). Pump in the PSI points and the effect happens. This book gives a lot of great ideas for any 2d6 game. However, it really shines when used with "These Stars Are Ours". This helps to make the Reticulans truly insidious.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Variant Psionics for the Cepheus Engine
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Cybernetics for the Cepheus Engine
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/07/2018 23:11:18

Great material for an unbeatable price. This will get you chrome heads thinking.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cybernetics for the Cepheus Engine
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Uranium Fever
by Paul E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/27/2018 02:39:53

I’ve always been a sucker for mining, perhaps because of all those hours I spent playing Eve Online digging out Veldspar and Scordite and trying to find a nice load of Golden Omber so that I could upgrade my mining ship … and mining should make a great solo past-time. Uranium Fever provides you with all the essentials for a game of space mining; initially the book describes asteroid mining in the context of Stellagama’s These Stars Are Ours! setting, and there are ideas there for use in any SF setting. I particularly like the miner’s slang table. Neat! To add variety Stellagama has provided three variant careers for miners, the interdependent miner, the corporate miner and the planetary miner. The event and mishap tables are full of flavor and gaming hooks.

The meat of the book is composed of the prospecting and mining rules, and these are made up of dice roll ‘chains’ that eventually lead the player to an asteroid of ‘X’ value that he can mine. Earlier, when I said the Uranium Fever provides ‘the essentials for a game of space mining’ I sort of meant it, this is a ‘game’ in itself that could easily be played solo, the characters trying to locate and exploit bigger and higher yield rocks. Just as free traders chase the next speculative cargo, these miners are searching for that rock full of radioactives. But of course that is the problem, too … few gaming groups want to mine asteroids in every session – there has to be adventure too! Just as Marc Miller envisaged that speculative trade and the life of a free trader should serve merely as a vehicle for adventure, Uranium Fever should be used in much the same vein. ‘What can happen while we are mining?’ ‘What will we really find?’. Alien artifacts, pirate bases, lost shuttles, abandoned cargoes, fugitives from justice, wrecked battlecruisers … the genre is filled with exciting plot elements that sit ‘out there’ in the asteroids waiting to be found. Traveller itself based two of its adventures around such a situation, Adventure 1: The Kinunir and Adventure 6: Expedition to Zhodane. And let’s not forget that the TV show The Expanse opened with the ice mining ship Canterbury responding to a distress call in the asteroid belt…

Buried in the asteroid mining mechanics is a great section on the legalities and processes, including claim beacons, reporting claims, claim jumping and selling claims on to bigger corporate outfits. Rounding off the book are three small mining ships suitable for a little group of mining characters, the 10-ton gig (a shuttle), the 100-ton Prospector and the 600-ton Miner. These designs come with great deckplans, and are purposefully designed to resemble the ‘low-tech’ spacecraft that you see in The Expanse; perfect designs for my own settings in fact.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Uranium Fever
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TSAO: Wreck in the Ring
by pookie u. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/17/2017 06:47:27

A nice, little adventure, Borderlands Adventure 1: Wreck in the Ring should provide two good sessions of play, whatever game system the Game Master runs it in. It has a pleasing workmanlike, blue collar sensibility which should make for an interesting and low key change of pace. Even when the ‘monster’ does appear, it is done in a low-key fashion such that it feels like one possible consequence of the players’ actions rather than the whole point of the scenario. Not every Science Fiction adventure needs to feel as if the crew are just going to work, but when the Game Master knows that it is what his campaign could deal with, Borderlands Adventure 1: Wreck in the Ring is a good choice.

A full review of this scenario can be found at Reviews from R'lyeh: http://rlyehreviews.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/wreck-on-borderlands.html



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
TSAO: Wreck in the Ring
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TSAO: Wreck in the Ring
by Daniel M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/01/2017 21:55:26

To say that I was underwhelmed by this adventure is itself an understatement. A crashed starship, a psionic monster, a very specific campaign background and absolutely nothing original.

If the purpose of this product had been to detail the starship used, and provided a supplementary adventure that would have been more practical. But even the deck plans for the ship are a disappointment, tiny diagrams on a single page. As the focus of the adventure full miniature ready deck plans should and could have been included.

I suspect the author, Robert Weaver, was hoping to publish this work as a magazine article before being prompted to try and sell it as a full on adventure.

Stick with the classic Shadows/Annic Nova for a better laid out adventure and “dungeon” crawl.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
I am sorry to hear that you were disappointed with the adventure. We will take your criticism to heart and we hope that you will like our further products better.
Near Space
by Tim K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/30/2017 08:39:17

A great deal of thought and effort went into what is a uniformly high quality production. They've done an excellent job of reducing the space near Sol into a functional 2d map suitable for any space opera, but clearly done in a Traveller style. Due to the excellence reflected in all aspects of Near Space, this fairly small product put Stellagama on my list of publishers to watch.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Near Space
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Creator Reply:
Thank you for your great review!
High Resolution Blank Star Maps
by Eric B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/14/2017 23:22:38

These are a set of blank hexes on a map. Straight forward, but so much more handy than you could ever imagine. If you have ever wanted to make your own maps for a game, and tried to make a page of hexes, you know how valuable a resource these are. I love them!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
High Resolution Blank Star Maps
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Creator Reply:
Thank you for your wonderful review.
TSAO: 50 Wonders of the Reticulan Empire
by Jeffrey N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/02/2017 18:42:41

Well laid out book. Very good ideas for the pending campaign (maybe even SOLO....).

Good rationale is given for the tech. It all makes sense to the 'little green men', their love for high technology to overcome their limitations, and presentation to implement it.

The Cyber and Robotic sections are highly welcome, along with the other sections.

Once I downloaded the PDF, I read it, and was pleased with the purchase. It feels like a steal, but its priced very reasonable.

It will blend into any Traveller\2d6 campaign with minimal effort.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
TSAO: 50 Wonders of the Reticulan Empire
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Creator Reply:
Thanks for the wonderful review!
The Space Patrol
by Jeffrey N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/20/2017 20:30:38

Getting into the product, and it has some nice additions to my possible campaigns



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Space Patrol
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Creator Reply:
Thanks for the wonderful review!
TSAO: These Stars Are Ours!
by P-O B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/05/2017 13:34:35

“The more deeply we are cast under a story’s spell, the more potent its influence.” Underlying all passionate Traveller fans is a desire to tell and participate in grand science fiction narratives. We can worry about Canon and setting and what game Traveller is supposed to be. Or we can write sweeping histories such as “These Stars Are Ours!“. Published by Stellagama Publishing, its goal is to provide an immersive Traveller universe that explores a variety of themes and stories, drawing upon well known science fiction tropes. A consequence of separating the “engine” of Traveller from the “setting” is that it liberates writers and publishers to create their own settings for adventures. Echoing the great product the Twilight Sector, “These Stars Are Ours!” is a successful and comprehensive setting that includes new and modified rules relevant to the setting and takes advantage of Stellagama Publishing’s existing work in extending the Cepheus Engine. It entrances the reader immediately and provides a powerful basis for Traveller adventures.

Alegis Downport has already written an informative review. The comment thread below the review already contains positive responses from the publisher promising further material for the setting – great news for fans. This review will comment more on the history and nature of setting itself.

The star charts draw upon Stellagama’s earlier work “Near Space“. It makes Earth (“Terra”) the centre of the setting – and so players have an immediate stake in the game, connecting to the future of our own planet. The setting approximately 400 years into the future, not thousands, also making it more immediate to us as readers and players. The period is clearly parallel to Traveller 2300 but this setting has a very different flavour. The Reticulans are the almond-shaped-eyed aliens of Area 51 fame who conquer Terra and rule it with an iron fist until thrown off by the free-spirited, fighting and proud Terrans. Play begins in the aftermath of this revolutionary war.

The history of the war itself is a great read. This reviewer saw clear parallels to the Russian Civil War of the 1920’s and to World War II – there was even a ‘Stalingrad’ moment in this setting’s history. While the ‘fighting Terran’ spirit is reminiscent of fiction such as Starship Troopers, the setting is also clearly influenced by the gritty realism of Firefly and its themes of the real social consequences of war and oppression. This theme carries through in describing the history and culture of the various non-human sophonts of the setting. None are cardboard cut-out “bad guys” and all have redeeming qualities as well as flaws. How these various aliens react to the Reticulan Imperium and the United Terran Republic causes us to reflect upon the reasons for our actions – the best part of role play games (although I also enjoy blowing things up).

The patrons provided are all great hooks firmly grounded in this detailed and nuanced setting. There are familiar industrial espionage, smuggling and exploration themes, but all layered with the particular history of the setting, including a mysterious race of Precursors who have left artefacts. But on top of this there are very specific adventures interacting with the various alien races in ways other than at the other end of a weapon. The Reticulans are divided into competing feudal houses. The Zhuzzh are untrustworthy and nomadic – but as a wise man once said, you can always trust an untrustworthy man to be untrustworthy. The Cicek are fierce fighters and dashing pirates, but also divided along gender lines Aslan-style. The Ssesslessians are mysterious respecters of ancient traditions. Once more familiar with the setting, all of these species would make interesting player characters.

This setting book also offers careers and advanced career rules including setting-based events that affect characters, drawing players into the history and engaging them with the background. All of the new rules and alternate career paths are clearly based on the story needs of the setting. This is an excellent use of a rules engine: it obeys the story needs, not the other way around.

While the deck plans and starship designs are few, the generic ship designs from the Cepheus Engine will fit this setting well. The publishers have promised further ships for the setting in the future. The ‘flying saucer’ designs were a real treat, and the text justifies ‘mysterious UFOs’ at TL13 by showing how mysterious true gravitics would be to 20th Century earth – but always by example, never by telling the reader. This kind of excellent descriptive writing strengthens the setting and is an excellent example of ‘show don’t tell’ in RPG writing.

The star maps provided give plenty of contrasting settings for adventure, right on the border of four different political entities. “The Frontier” is always a good source of adventures and conflict. What These Stars Are Ours! shows is that you can pack a lot of adventure and campaign ideas into just two subsectors. This is plenty for a typical Traveller sandbox campaign.

Priced at a very reasonable $20, any Referee can pick this up and plan adventures for hungry players quickly. You will not regret the purchase.

Original review here: http://zho.berka.com/2017/04/05/these-stars-are-ours/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
TSAO: These Stars Are Ours!
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