Justus Productions

Diverse Roles: A Clement Sector Career Catalog

From: Gypsy Knights Games
Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Diverse Roles: A Clement Sector Career is a new RPG Supplement from Gypsy Knights Games.

One of the things I first ask about a sci-fi game is what races and/or “classes” (for lack of a better term) can I play.  Sometimes these are the things that set a game apart from the others.  Most of the time, I am asking more for inspiration than to pick something specific.  Traveller is one of those games, depending on the setting, can be inspiring.  Clement Sector setting, while inspiring in a lot of ways, always left me wanting more.  Diverse Roles  is definitely a step in the right direction.

From page # 4: “Within this book are 19 careers created for use with the Clement Sector roleplaying game”

Traveller in general is notorious for its’ character generation system – the only system you can die in character generation.  Over time, it has evolved into a system that gives you a three dimensional character in a very simply table-based process.  However, as you can see in this quote from the Cepheus Engine SRD PDF, the ruleset that the Clement sector is based on, you can see that the essence of what Traveller was known for is still preserved.

If you did not succeed, you have died. Alternately, events have forced you from this career. Roll on the mishap table and go to step 10 (you do not receive a benefit roll for this term.)

The Clement Sector Core Setting Book book as well as the Player’s Guide provide significant careers for any player.  This book adds nearly 20 more.  The careers use the same system found in the Clement Sector: The Rules and at times, refer back to other careers found in Clement Sector Core Setting Book.

With the focus on character generation and careers, it should be noted that character generation system for Clement Sector is deeply seated in the setting.  Before one gets to the Careers, your character will already have a subsector of origin, system and homeworld of origin, as well as youth and teenage experience and pre-career collegiate (if any) career.  This automatically draw the character into the setting , involving whatever politics, factions and story associated to those things.

Each career starts out with the Enlistment prerequisite, which the character must meet to choose a term in the particular career.  Then a series of tables in the standard format of any Traveller/Cepheus based system.  Some careers on this book have special results such as Ally, Armor, Contact and Rare Item.  These really set the careers apart and making them more interesting. Once one gets past the Enlistment prerequisite roll, you choose an Assignment, roll Survival and then progress through  the advancements.

The tables in each career include Career Progress, Mustering Out Benefits, Skills and Training, Ranks and Benefits, and the dreaded Mishaps.  In classic Traveller,  aging plays a big part in this process.  Because of the trans-human aspect of the Clement Sector, it is handled slightly differently. Technology with the setting have allowed human to age slower – up to 200 years, and some even longer.  So there is a apparent age and a real age table that tells you when you need to start taking in consideration age in rolling a career.  This is not something unique to Diverse Roles, but it’s something worth mentioning as part of the Clement Sector career system.

From page # 4:  “While these careers were created with the Clement Sector setting in mind, they may also be used with any other 2d6 science fiction game such as any using the Cepheus Engine rules created by Samardan Press.”

The careers added here include Adventurer, Arts, Bounty Hunter , Craftsperson, Prostitute, Scavenger, and Thief.  Compared to the Clement Sector Core Setting Book, this has more underground or street level careers.  The events tables take up the bulk of each career and most follow the same format with a lot of interesting options.  From severe injury to various very creative and interesting events, the events table really makes the system and your character three-dimensional for me.  Whole adventure seeds can be gotten out of these tables.

In my little experiment with it, I created a Scavenger.  Assuming I had to stats to qualify (as I did not do a full character) and I survive the Career term, I would have to choose an enlistment – Junker.  I would get my level 0 benefits picking between Personal Development, Service, or Advanced Education.  Then I head down to Events.  I gained a Rival who pushed me out of the Career.  Not the worst thing that could have happened but not great if I have a specific character concept in mind.  I would possibly pursue it again after a term in another but I would have qualify and survive.

Diverse Roles also provides an Engineer career path, something it calls the unsung heroes of any modern civilization.  It details out a unique and concise way to roll up a true engineer in the Clement Sector.  Additionally, it provides guidelines for non-random character generation. For some, the randomness of the classic Traveller system can derail a character concept.  This provides a good way to do it differently.

In conclusion,  I love expansions to give characters more depth and more options. The problems with many past systems, things like this added new and special rules that complicated things (d20 prestige classes, for example.)  This adds a lot for a player as well as the GM without complication.   This is primarily because of the elegant system it’s based on but also because the writer understands the system and what makes it elegant.  He also has a strong passion for his setting and it shows in his products.

For more details on Gypsy Knights Games and their new RPG SupplementDiverse Roles: A Clement Sector Career” check them out at their website https://www.gypsyknightsgames.com/.

Codex Rating: 18

Product Summary

Diverse Roles: A Clement Sector Career
From: Gypsy Knights Games
Type of Game: RPG Supplement
Written by: John Watts
Contributing Authors: Michael Johnson, Curtis Rickman
Cover Art by: Stephanie McAlea
Website: https://www.gypsyknightsgames.com/

Reviewed by: Ron McClung


Quick Worlds 27: Shingal

From: Gypsy Knights Games

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Quick Worlds 27: Shingal is a new RPG Supplement from Gypsy Knights Games.

NOTE:  This is the Mongoose Traveller edition of the PDF.  Since receiving this, Gypsy Knights has disassociated from the Mongoose Traveller game system and developed their own called The Clement Sector, the Rules, using an alternate version of the Cepheus Engine Universe.  If they haven’t yet already, they will be converting this supplement to the game system.

Sometimes a planet needs a spotlight.  Perhaps it deserves more than a simple summary.  This is what a Quick World supplement is for  and this one is about a planet call Shingal in the Solon subsector, neighboring the Winston subsector.

From page # 5: Shingal is located in the second orbit of its star, Atalan, a G4 V, yellow main sequence star.

Shingal is part of a simple five planet system – one gas giant and 4 rocky worlds including Shingal.  It has one moon – Kec- which has no atmosphere and uninhabitable without contained environments.   Shingal however, it an Earth-like world with cold polar zones and warm temperate zones.  It has one settlement called Bendergeh, with a population of nearly 36,000.  Settled by followers of the Yazidi religion, the culture and belief system is still heavily influenced by it.  Based on a real world culture, this takes the Yazidi people into a future of uncertainty and adventure.

The colony is ruled by two positions, traditionally held by men.  The Emir is a hereditary king-like position that rules over the state, military and all matters of governmental functions.  Meanwhile the religious leader is the Baba Sheik.  He oversees all issues relating to religious adherence including morality based laws, keeping of certain practices, and the overall leadership of the Yazidi religion.  If there is any dispute between the two men, the Baba Sheik wins over.  The police force answer to both leaders, enforcing both civil and religious laws.

From page # 9: The Yazidi are an insular people. They have always been a culture separated from their surrounding neighbors.

The people of Shingal descended from the Yazidi people who left Earth after generations of oppression and persecution. Emir Hazim lead them from Earth to Shingal.  Culturally, they are not welcoming to outsiders and are extremely xenophobic.  All men in their society above the age of 15 years are armed to protect their society.  Women are not restricted from doing so and many do as well.

Their religion – a slightly modified mythos based on Judeo-Christian beliefs – positions the Yazidi people as specifically descended from Adam, while everyone else were descended from the union of Adam and Eve.  This tends to isolate them as they believe no one can convert to their religion (as they do not have the proper lineage).   Purification through reincarnation is at the center of their afterlife mythos, with those that do evil reincarnating to animals and those that do good return as humans.

Khude – the Yazidi deity – is the creator of all.  However, he has no real interest in the affairs of humanity, so they do not worship him.  Instead,  they worship a proxy-deity created by Khude – Malek-Tauz, also known as Shaytan.  Unfortunately, because of the similarities between the mythology of Shaytan and the Judeo-Christian Satan, many believed they were “devil worshipers.”  Meanwhile, the people of Shingal believe that they have actually found the home of Malek-Tauz and it is their holy ground or promised land.

The PDF ends with some interesting Referee notes that gives the Referee a little insight into the intrigue and politics of the people of Shingal.  I won’t give away any spoilers but there is some very interesting adventure potential on this planet.

In conclusion,  this supplement mixes some fiction with real world fact to create a interesting world and culture.  It takes one of the oldest cultures on our planet and places it in the far reaches of space, speculating on some of the effects of such a journey would have on it.  While at first, many would not see a lot of adventure on a world full of xenophobic isolationist religious fanatics, as you delve deep into the PDF, the potential leaps out at you.

For more details on Gypsy Knights Games and their new RPG Supplement “Quick Worlds 27: Shingal” check them out at their website http://www.gypsyknightsgames.com, and at all of your local game stores.

Codex Rating: 16

Product Summary

Quick Worlds 27: Shingal

From: Gypsy Knights Games

Type of Game: RPG Supplement

Author: John Watts

Artists: Bradley Warnes (Cover), Ian Stead (p.2)

Editor: Curtis Rickman

Cover Layout: Stephanie McAlea

Number of Pages: 13


Website: www.gypsyknightsgames.com

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

21 Plots: Misbehave

21 Plots: Misbehave
From: Gypsy Knights Games
Reviewed by: Ron McClung

21 Plots: Misbehave is a new RPG Adventure/Supplement from Gypsy Knights Games.

Forever instantiated in geek culture are the immortal words of the captain of the Firefly, “I aim to misbehave.”  These simple words can inspire a variety of ideas for adventures as well as adventurers.  They are quite commonly used in game sessions to announce when a party is ready to take on their mission or bad guy.  21 Plots: Misbehave makes me think of this quote every time I look at the PDF.

I have used the Traveller plot books often in my many years of running sci-fi RPGs.  They have worked in many settings, with very little adjustment.  They are simply inspirations that help the GM when he needs an idea for a new adventure, an idea if the players divert from the planned course, or an easy side distraction between core plot adventures.

From the website:
“Let’s be bad guys!”

21 Plots: Misbehave are plot ideas where the patron wishes the players to do something illegal or otherwise shady.  Like other Plot books in the Gypsy Knights line, it is inspired by the classic Traveller plot books format.  They include a short introduction telling the basics of the plot, and then a table with 6 possible outcomes.  One can simply pick one of the outcomes or roll a 6-sided dice.

The jobs range from standard robbery, revenge, and property repossession, all the way to investigations into questionable business practices and risky attacks on crime bosses.  The tables present options that range from “the scenario is presented as is” to extreme and dangerous plot twists.

From the website:
“The newest in our popular 21 Plots series, 21 Plots: Misbehave is the second of a series of scenarios targeted to a theme.  21 Plots: Misbehave presents 21 situations of questionable legal status with 6 possible outcomes for the Referee to use with a gaming group.”

Plots that I found notable include, for example, an attack on an illegal high stakes poker game run by a power crime boss; a friend of the party who usually works as a fence for them actually wants the players to look into his cheating spouse; and an inter-corporate terrorism between two rival entertainment companies over a high seas resort.  What make the plots more interesting is the varied possibilities in twists that the results table presents.

In conclusion, this is a very interesting and inspiration supplement, full of innovative ideas that really get into the underbelly of the Clement sector.  It is not only useable in the Clement Sector and for Traveller, but also useable in any other sci-fi setting with a few tweaks.  This is good quality work.

For more details on Gypsy Knights Games and their new RPG Adventure/Supplement21 Plots: Misbehave” check them out at their website http://www.gypsyknightsgames.com.

Codex Rating: 17

Product Summary

21 Plots: Misbehave
: Gypsy Knights Games
Type of Game: RPG Adventure/Supplement
Authors: John Watts, George Ebersole, Tony Hicks, ”Big” Dan Callahan, Paul Santiago
Artist: Bradley Warnes
Editor: Curtis Rickman
Number of Pages: 39
Game Components Included: One PDF or soft back book
Game Components Not Included: Core Traveller rulebooks
Retail Price: $4.99 (US) PDF, $10.99 (US) softback book
Website: www.gypsyknightsgames.com

Reviewed by: Ron McClung


21 Starport Places

21 Starport Places
From: Gypsy Knights Games
Reviewed by: Ron McClung

21 Starport Places is a new RPG Supplement from Gypsy Knights Games.

One way to get a real good feel for a science fiction setting is getting to know places of business in the setting.  It not only gives you a small window into the world, but it also gives you ideas on what is important to the creators, what kind of people a player would meet, and what kind of routine encounters they may have.  This is the attraction to a supplement like 21 Starport Places.

From page #4:
“This book presents 21 locations found in starports, both orbital ports and downports.”

The 21 locations listed in 21 Starport Places are quite varied.  They range from official locations like the Visa Office or the Captain’s Guildhouse found on various worlds to specialty locations like Big Al’s Biscuits or Clarkson Repair Services.  These could be single locations like The Chrome Shop of Selu Station (Sequoyah), the Lucky Horeshoe Casino on Bastiat Orbital in the Bastiat system (Franklin), or the Plasma Nightclub in the Hottinger system (Hub).  They also can be franchised locations like Loyal Order of the Mystic Platypus System Outreach Office, which you can find in a variety of starports.

I especially liked Big Al’s Biscuits as it really grounds the setting into something we can relate to.  I like that he placed something traditionally Southern in a sci-fi setting.  So many sci-fi settings want to inject foreign and exotic influences into their setting, completely ignoring American subculture influences.

Like many supplements of this nature, this one has locations that players can find almost anywhere as well as locations they have to find to experience.  Sometimes it is frustrating to always resort to the standard bar location for characters to meet up or rendezvous with NPCs.  It’s great to have somewhere else to go.  Also, a GM can use these locations specifically for kicking off points or random encounters as well.

Not only do these locations give somewhere to be but it also gives you a window into the culture, factions and people the players will be dealing with on these various planets or stations.  The GM can combine the information from the various Sector supplements in the Gypsy Knight’s line to create interesting encounters at these locations.

From page # 4:
“Each location is detailed with a description, a layout of the location, sample NPCs which can be found there and possible adventure hooks concerning the location.”

Each entry has several things included with it.  First and foremost is an extensive description of what the location is.  Origins, functions and general ideas on how to use the location in your game are contained in these paragraphs.  Most are no more than a page and a half, giving you just enough to work with but not too much to restrict a GM in any fashion (much in the same manner as any other Gypsy Knight product). After the description is a very detailed map of the location, with descriptions to each room, etc.  I like the quality of the room maps but I think perhaps a PDF should be included with the maps set to 1” scale, making them usable with standard RPG miniatures.

Also included in each entry is at least one NPC fully stat’ed out.  Usually these NPCs are the owner or proprietor of the location but sometimes they are something else.  The NPC is fully fleshed out with an engaging background that gives you a solid grasp of where the NPC comes from and what motivates him or her.

In conclusion, this is a handy and imaginative expansion to the Gypsy Knight line.  Clement sector has a lot of potential and great ideas and this expands on that, but this also can be used in any Traveller or sci-fi setting, if the Clement sector is not your cup of tea.  With a little adjustment, these locations could be very useful elsewhere.

For more details on Gypsy Knights Games and their new RPG Supplement“21 Starport Places” check them out at their website http://www.gypsyknightsgames.com.

Codex Rating: 16

Product Summary

21 Starport Places
From: Gypsy Knights Games
Type of Game: RPG Supplement
Authors: John Watts and Tony Hicks
Artists: Steve Attwood, Stephen Johnson, Bradley Warnes, John Watts, Fotolia: Luca Oleastri,  James Steidl
Editor: Curtis Rickman
Playtesters: Wendy Watts, Alan Mullican, Steve Johnson, Vaughn Wright, Dave Bell, Tony Hicks, Randy Sutton, Greg Seaborn, and Mike Nixon
Number of Pages: 79
Game Components Included: One PDF
Game Components Not Included: Core Traveller Rules, Clement Sector supplement
Retail Price: $8.99 US for PDF; $19.99 for Softback.
Website: www.gypsyknightsgames.com

Reviewed by: Ron McClung