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    Colonial Times #3
    Publisher: Stygian Fox
    by Richard H. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 01/17/2014 08:45:07

    This fanzine continues to amaze. GREAT adventure and article about the Y'Lii.

    A very interesting look at the city of Portland Oregon in 2300. I grew up in that area and I thought this was a great look as what a Core city would look like.

    My only nit, and the reason this issue didn't get 5-stars, was that Portland article. As much as I loved it, I felt the author missed out on some great adventuring ideas by ignoring the development north of the Columbia River. Today the city of Vancouver, USA has a population of over 100,000. Also, Mount St. Helens which blew up in 1980 and is still active today, was also ignored in favor of a section on Mt. Hood, which is dormant and farther from the city. I realize I am probably being petty here, but I would have liked to see how a suburb in another state, so perhaps not as tied into Trilon would be described.

    But, that one section should not prevent you from thoroughly enjoying this amazing Fanzine.



    Rating:
    [4 of 5 Stars!]
    Colonial Times #3
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    Colonial Times #2
    Publisher: Stygian Fox
    by Richard H. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 01/17/2014 08:37:55

    I have to respectfully disagree with the other reviewer, I liked this edition even better than the first one!

    This issue had much more "meat" with some new equipment and the beginnings of a very good adventure that should have been published by GDW back in the day, but somehow wasn't.

    I continue to be impressed with the quality of the artwork and articles, especially for free.

    Keep up the good work,



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Colonial Times #2
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    Colonial Times #1
    Publisher: Stygian Fox
    by Richard H. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 01/17/2014 08:34:02

    I came late to this Fanzine, but I was very impressed with its quality. The artwork is spectacular and the "in setting" commercials etc. are great and provide a really good background for the setting.

    The article on Liquidity (the cover article) was very interesting.

    I am really looking forward to future editions.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Colonial Times #1
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    Techbook: Chrome
    Publisher: Terra-Sol Games LLC
    by Richard H. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 11/01/2012 13:40:43

    Techbook: Chrome is an OGL supplement for the Mongoose version of the Traveller RPG published by Terra/Sol Games, the producers of the Twilight Sector setting book. The book is written by John D. Lees with interior art by Emel Akiah, John Lees and Jeff Uryasz; and the cover art by Phillip Simpson. As the book states, it is “An alternative take on cybernetics, with rules for bionics and other bio-replacements, cyborgs and cyrgeware thrown in for good measure.” Interestingly enough, on the back cover, in one place, the book is referred to as “Techbook: Implants”. The artwork is primarily black and white pencil drawings with some simple computer-generated color artwork by John Lees. The color artwork is a bit jarring, both in its simplicity and that fact that these six pictures are the only color art in the entire book, but overall, the art does a good job of illustrating the text it is tied to and continues the semi-Space Opera feel of the Twilight Sector setting. Texbook: Chrome is in many ways similar to Mongoose Publishing’s Supplement 8: Cybernetics. However, I feel that the options provided in Chrome are better organized and better thought out than the information provided in Cybernetics. Both books cover a wide range of cybernetic implants, but where Cybernetics handled biological/bionics with a few sentences, Chrome spends thirteen pages discussing biological replacements and bionic upgrades. Chrome spends quite a bit of time discussing the advantages and disadvantages of cyber vs. biological implants. This reasoning makes sense and provides both players and referees with in-game reasons for selecting either cyber or biological replacements or upgrades. Additionally, Chrome provides several “packages”, that are groups of upgrades that work together to provide a certain desired result. Sample packages are the “sportsman” and the “allure” packages. The drawback to this excellent chapter is that there were no rules or guidelines for Referees to develop their own packages. One of the complaints of Cybernetics when it came out was that the costs were out of alignment with the costs listed in the core rulebook. In a side-by-side comparison of the three books, I found that the costs between Chrome and the Traveller Rulebook were close on some things (skills and vision) but very different on others (characteristic upgrades and subdermal armor). Chrome was much cheaper on limb replacement than was Cybernetics and I personally agreed with the Chrome values. The last area where Chrome is different from Cybernetics is the discussion of ‘cyrgeware’. Cyrgeware is a high tech way for characters to slowly alter their physical forms. In game terms, a character can vary the physical characteristics, and appearance, of their character on an ‘as needed’ basis. It isn’t cheap and it isn’t perfect, but it is a way for a character to grow an extra limb when needed, or add a tail for a while. Overall, I felt that Textbook: Chrome presented the material of cybernetic and biological augmentation in a much easier to read format and covered each topic a bit more in-depth that the material covered in Mongoose’s Book 8: Cybernetics. I also felt that the ideas within Textbook: Chrome were better integrated with each other than those of Book 8: Cybernetics. Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars



    Rating:
    [4 of 5 Stars!]
    Techbook: Chrome
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    Skyward Steel: Naval Campaigns for Stars Without Number
    Publisher: Sine Nomine Publishing
    by Richard H. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 02/09/2011 16:52:43

    Another great product for a great game. Stars Without Number is quickly becoming my game system and setting of choice and this supplement, Skyward Steel, makes a great addition to my collection.

    The book is extremely well written and contains a large amount of material for the price.

    It can also provide inspiration for a variety of other SF games, such as Traveller, Thousand Suns, Star Wars, just about anything.

    The sections on how to create a planetary space navy are very clear and the author provides three detailed examples.

    I highly recommend this product.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Skyward Steel: Naval Campaigns for Stars Without Number
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    Twilight Sector Campaign Setting Sourcebook Revised Edition
    Publisher: Terra-Sol Games LLC
    by Richard H. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 11/12/2009 16:35:01

    In a word: Incomplete. What is there is very good, interesting and detailed. Unfortunately, there is a lot more information that, in my opinion, should have been included but was not.

    This setting has a very Transhuman feel. Characters can be Mainline Humans, Scientifically Induced Mutants (SIMS), Natural Mutants (NM), Uplifted Animals or possibly Artificial Intelligences (AI). The writers use the Alien Traits presented in the TMB as a baseline for developing their mutations, which I feel works very well and is quite inspired. However, in the discussion it states that baseline humans have a lifespan of about 200 years; however there is no discussion about how this very long lifespan affects Character Creation or Aging. Without further guidance, it should be possible to create a 100 year-old character that has completed 25 terms of service and has an incredible number of skills. Alternately, characters would be only in their early thirties (per the basic assumptions of the TMB) with no explanation of why they didn’t stay in longer. No discussions are made about how these longer life spans have affected society or the rules for military service. After 25 terms, everyone should be Rank 6+; the rules are silent on this issue. There are no careers presented, nor any descriptions of how to alter existing careers for this setting.

    The history is interesting and seems to logically lead to the setting as presented; the current year is 2991. There is a nice map of the entire setting showing all the major polities out to the edge of known space. There doesn’t seem to be any regions on the map that are not controlled by one of the great powers. Even the OTU had regions with a lot of independent worlds. This setting doesn’t seem to have such an area.

    There are no aliens in the setting, although alien ruins have been found. This leaves things open to the Referee or to future development by Terra/Sol Games. From the hints given in the book it looks like the writers have something in mind.

    The Twilight Sector itself is actually a subsector. Only six of the worlds are mapped and detailed. The rest of the map is blank; not even stars are shown. This was another mixed bag for me. The detail of the worlds was very good, several plot hooks are available in every system and there are nice world maps and system maps. But again, while this is the edge of the explored, none of the unexplored is even shown. A lot of work would have to be done by a Referee to develop the unexplored portion of the sector. It would have been nice if one or two unexplored worlds would have been detailed.

    The setting also uses the Warp Drive variation from the TMB and FTL radio that travels at the same speed as the ships. This is different and interesting, but no other explanation is given about ship design and no sample ships are included. There is some discussion about how Warp 8 is possible, but since nothing in the TMB rules allow more than a rating of 6, it leaves a big hole in designing ships for the setting. Also, throughout the text there is mention of city-sized ships called Dreadnaughts. No information is actually provided about them, such as where they go (or don’t go), how many other ships they can carry, how big they actually are in tons… nothing.

    One of the worlds in the Twilight Sector is Terra/Sol, an exact duplicate of Earth, down to the shape of the continents. Obviously this is one of the big mysteries of the setting. Terra/Sol represents a nice alternate to Earth: alternate countries (Aztec Empire, Republic of the Plains etc), but again, details are lacking. No geopolitical map of Terra/Sol is provided, so even though countries are discussed, the reader doesn’t really know where they are or how much territory they cover.

    The artwork is very good overall. There some color pictures, shaded pictures and line drawings; a nice variety of artwork. There are only a few obvious typos, and none that really confused you. Several of the tables could use a bit of formatting (the mutant ability tables specifically), but again nothing that caused significant confusion for me.

    This is a mixed review because it is a mixed product. What is there is very good, but there seems to be a lot missing. Future products will no doubt fill in these details, but I was hoping they would actually be in this book. In my opinion, the mutant generation system alone makes it worth the $12. The Transhuman feel of the setting is also very nice and shows how such a setting assumption can be fit into the Traveller rules by Mongoose.

    One final note, the book is obviously published under the Open Gaming License that Mongoose has provided for Traveller, but the book itself does not contain a copy of the OGL, nor does it tell you what parts of the book are OGL and what parts are Intellectual Property. This is a BIG miss and needs to be fixed right away.



    Rating:
    [3 of 5 Stars!]
    Twilight Sector Campaign Setting Sourcebook Revised Edition
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