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

 

The Anderson and Felix Guide to Naval Architecture (2nd Edition)

From: Gypsy Knights Games

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

The Anderson and Felix Guide to Naval Architecture (2nd Edition) is a new RPG Supplement from Gypsy Knights Games.

Up front, starship building is not my favorite thing to do in a sci-fi game.  It’s one of my least favorite things to do.  A ship is a means to an end, something that gets you from adventure point A to adventure point B.  I like to focus on the characters and the story and not the means of transportation.  There were times where I made the ship basically another character the players had to deal with, but the overall design of the ship really did not matter.

That said, I went into this review with a little trepidation.  Traveller and games of its line tend to be a little too hard science for my tastes, especially when it comes to starships.  I never really saw the reason for this. In my view, when you go into space combat, you are basically turning a story-based RPG to a turn-based miniature game.  Why would you do that?  But apparently some people don’t feel like it is true sci-fi without some kind of ship builders guide and a means to build their own ship.

On the flipside of this, admittedly sci-fi would not be sci-fi without cool spaceships and all the trappings that go along with them.  So I don’t fault people that wants some level of detail in that area in their game.  I can see the appeal of designing a detailed ship that is prepared for anything the GM throws at them, as much as I can see the appeal of building a character that is prepared for anything the GM throws at them.  If I treat it much like another character in the game, I can understand the attraction.

From page #3: Ranging from tiny ten tonne work pods to massive armored system defense monitors, the space ships of Clement Sector are as varied as the crews that operate them.

This is the 2nd Edition of The Anderson and Felix Guide to Naval Architecture, meaning it is a part of the conversation away from the Mongoose Traveller system and into the Samardan Press Cepheus Engine. The Clement Sector is essentially a Tech Level (TL) 12 small ship setting. The major difference between this setting and base Cepheus Engine/classic Traveller is the Zimm Drive.  This drive is a quantum entanglement device allowing FTL travel.  It limits starships to an absolute maximum of 5000 tonnes.  It is extremely rare to find in-system vessels displacing more than 20,000 tonnes.  However, computer technology has advanced slightly higher and some ships systems allow for TL 13 technology.

At the foundation of spacecraft construction is a hull.  Into the hull are fitted various things like Zimm and maneuver drives, the power plant, the fuel tanks, accommodation for the crew, as well as various electronic systems (computers, sensors and control).  Other components can also be optionally fitted including armaments, defensive systems, and others based on the intended function of the ship.  Building a ship is all about the Displacement Tonnage or Tonnage for short (dT).  The total tonnage of the installed fittings cannot exceed the tonnage of the hull.

From page #3: Both adventure class ship and capital ships can be designed using this publication.

Starting with a Hull, I decided to make a simple freighter like the Firefly or the Millennium Falcon.  Once I had a hull chosen, I moved on to the drive systems.  After the drive systems, the Zimm drive is installed.  With the Zimm drives limitation, to be a useful multi-system freighter I had to keep it simple.  The hard part is really translating the visual to the numbers.  The examples in the back gave you an idea of some 4 crew ships in the range of 100 and 300, so it is simple enough to stay small and still have an interstellar drive.   You can customize the hull between 3 types – standard, streamlined, or distributed – and a few sub-types within those types.  Drive and power systems are next, influenced by concept as well as hull size.

Following the basic hull and structure of the ship as well as the engineering options, there are several steps to follow that including armor, various reinforcement options, and the like.  Once all that is chosen, the Main Compartment is designed.  This include the bridge, computer systems, staterooms, and other internal as well as external components.  Do you include a secondary bridge?  Do you harden the bridge?  What kind of sensors and communication arrays do you need? Basic Civilian, Military or other specialized types?  What I like about this part of it is the variety.  This is where you get a good feel for the guts of your ship.  The barracks, the sleep-pods like in Aliens (called Low Passage Berths), the briefing room, and the galley are all options to throw in your ship.   It really feels like they considered everything.  Equipping your ship with these options in like equipping a character.

Of course, what is a ship without weapons.  Space is big but it is also dangerous and you can always count on some factions within humanity prey on the weaker targets.  So you can go without weapons, but it would be very dangerous.  You have choices for point defense systems, turret/barbette weapons, bay weapons and spinal mounts.  The Falcon had your basic point defense weapons, while I am not even sure if the Firefly had any.  Ships in the Rocinante from The Expanse had torpedos as well as point defense.

Lasers are the most common weapons but there are also missiles, torpedoes and railguns as well.   The Spinal weapons are the biggies – Meson and Particle cannons are the big dogs of the neighborhood.  Shields or Screens – defenses – are also a big part of the section.  Does your ship include smaller craft, hangar bays, or cargo space?  That’s the next step.  Following this, is the crew requirements are determined. This is where the personality of your ship comes in.

In conclusion,  this is a very comprehensive sourcebook for those that like to focus on the details of the party’s starship.  While it traditionally is not something I entirely focus on, I can appreciate the level of detail this book presents.  It makes it fun and detailed.  And it is very easy to follow.  I highly recommend this book for those that are looking to start a ship-oriented campaign.  The art also adds a lot to the feel of the sourcebook.  Of course the ships are cool but I love the internal shots as well. 

For more details on Gypsy Knights Games and their The Anderson and Felix Guide to Naval Architecture (2nd Edition) check them out at their website http://www.gypsyknightsgames.com/, and at all of your local game stores.

Codex Rating: 19 out of 20

Product Summary

The Anderson and Felix Guide to Naval Architecture (2nd Edition)

From: Gypsy Knights Games

Type of Game: RPG Supplement

Written by:  Michael Johnson

Artists: Ian Stea, Bradley Warnes, Sam Harvey, Fotolia: Crom

Cover Layout and A&F Logo: Stephanie McAlea

Book Layout: Ian Stead

Editor: Curtis Rickman

Number of Pages: 150

Game Components Included: One PDF

Game Components Not Included: Core Rulebooks

Website: http://www.gypsyknightsgames.com/

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Ships of Clement Sector 12: Broken Hill-class Prospector

From: Gypsy Knights Games

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Ships of Clement Sector 12: Broken Hill-class Prospector is a RPG Supplement from Gypsy Knights Games.

NOTE:  This is the Traveller edition of the PDF.  Since receiving this, Gypsy Knights has disassociated from the 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.

The Broken Hill class ship is a medium sized exploratory ship. This ship reminds me of a stripped down version of the Boyne-class replenishment ship (previously reviewed).  The Broken Hill design was born out a recognized need for more than the tradition of merchant ships converted ad-hoc for mining purposes.  It was built to transport raw ore transferred by two cutters and never was designed to land on the surface itself.  It can receive ore from up to four cutters but can carry only two.

From page 3: “There was a deafening din. Echoing through the hull the moment he stepped off the transfer launch, he knew he was on a hardworking ship. There was no mistaking the rumbling of equipment, nor the overwhelming stench of stale sweat, harsh body odor or bitter chemicals from overworked air scrubbers. There was only so much you could do to hide from the smell on a ship like this, but he knew that after an hour he wouldn’t notice anything different from the hundreds of other ships he’d been aboard in his life.”

Out of the dock, the ship is moderately armed with eight points for turrets.  However these are a strong point of customization and older ships armaments may vary.  It also traditionally is equipped with a cutting laser which is not very effective as a weapon.  It is also equipped with an externally docked transfer launch or shuttle.  As the name implies, the Broken Hill prospects for ore in either asteroid belts or other convenient locations where the cutters do most of the work and the main ship positions itself conveniently, prepared to receive ore as its minions find it.

A variation of the Broken Hill class prospector is called the Venture-class troop transport.  As the name implies,  it is marketed as an affordable transport vessel for small system defense forces and private security contractors. Refitted with different weapons and troop transport pods for cargo bays, the Venture class ships utilize the cutters as troop drop ships.

From page 7: “See that point of light, brighter than the rest? That is home for us out here amongst the rocks spinning through the black. Sure we have the cutters, but over there on the Courtland is more room to move, more people to talk to and better meals than old  Crace ever cooked on this tub of a cutter.” Elias Thomas, belter on mining cutter 2 “Annie Joy” Sequoyah Mining Co. Sequoyah c2338 CE

The MRV Paddy Hannan – a Broken Hill class prospector  – is owned and operated by Westralian Metals Company Pty Ltd out of New Perth.  It  is commanded by Senior Ship Captain Moulina Laydaiand travels searching for the new mining potential in the AXO206 system.  Full background are given for two members of that crew as well as encounter tables for both the Broken Hill class as well as the Venture class.

In conclusion, the Broken Hill (as well as it variant) have a lot of potential for adventure.  The players could be a crew of one of the cutters and discover strange new things on the edges of Clement Sector (or whatever areas of space your sci-fi game explores.  This ship is very diverse, allowing for exploratory uses as well as military uses.  

For more details on Gypsy Knights Games and their RPG Supplement Ships of Clement Sector 12: Broken Hill-class Prospector” check them out at their website Gypsy Knights Games, and at all of your local game stores.

Codex Rating: 17

Product Summary

Ships of Clement Sector 12: Broken Hill-class Prospector

From: Gypsy Knights Games

Type of Game: RPG Supplement 

Author: Michael Johnson

Additional Material: Bradley Warnes

Artists: Ian Stead, Bradley Warnes, Michael Johnson

Cover Layout: Stephanie McAlea

Editor: Curtis Rickman

Website: Gypsy Knights Games

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Ships of Clement Sector 14: Boyne class Replenishment Ship

From: Gypsy Knights Games

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Ships of Clement Sector 14: Boyne-class Replenishment Ship is a new RPG Supplement from Gypsy Knights Games.

NOTE:  This is the Traveller edition of the PDF.  Since receiving this, Gypsy Knights has disassociated from the 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.

The Boyne class starship is a mid-size replenishment ship for military use.  A cross between a freighter and light gun boat, this ship is very versatile.  Although surpassed in size by newer and larger models, it still can service a small squadron or a single patrol vessel.  In particular, the Hub Federation utilizes them for their  attack boat and strike squadrons formed around the Vulkan class attack boat tenders and Shadowstrike class strike carriers.

From page 3: “There we were, dropping gees like we had energy to burn and they still came after us. In our  wake we left a trail full of ‘sand’ and missiles, trying to keep them at bay. I’ll let you in on a secret… flying one of these big mothers is like doing atmospheric maneuvers with a brick, but then again, it was the same for them. To make it worse, we’d only just arrived in the system and couldn’t jump again for another eight hours… so we had to run.”

The Boyne class ships in the Clement Sector are a holdover from before the Collapse, and over the years, the many that remain have been  modified customized.  Now, Anderson and Felix Shipyards are the only company that constructs new Boyne class ships as well as services and refits them.  They have 3 decks – Command, Hangar/Boat, and Lower.  They have space for one small shuttle-like transfer launch as well as two cutters that are docked internally.

 

The ship has a crew of just under 50, which makes for a large ship in an RPG situation. But in general, the players can easily be members of a crew on board.  Or this can be used as transit from one military location to another.  Cross pirate infested regions aboard a ship loaded with volatile fuel and munitions sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

From page # 6: “I think we have an important role, someone has to keep providing stuff to throw at the bad guys.” Leutnant Hannah Schmidt, Senior
supply officer, HFS James Joyce, Wellington c2339 CE

The PDF includes all you need to know about the Boyne class including deck plans for it, the transfer shuttle, and the two cutters.  Both sets of deck plans for each ship are top notch, as usual for Gypsy Knights as is the computer-generated art. It’s an extensive and heavily armed ship with lots of potential for fun and adventure.  What one GM could do is assign multiple levels of a crew as players to create a massive campaign (similar to the famed Darkstryder campaign for Star Wars d6).  Each player could play command level characters, crew members as well as away-team members.  This could make for a very complex but very fun campaign.  The PDF provides background to the executive officer, Elliot Lee Smith of the CSDFS Wilson Fields as a possible starting point, as well as adventure seed ideas for a ship based campaign.

The Boyne class is also used on the civilian side and is called the Aranui-class merchant vessel.  The PDF also includes example Aranui-class ship and command crew.  The Eveline is a merchant ship for the Yellow Rose Freight Transport Company and travels along routes to worlds in the Hub and Sequoyah sub-sector. Commanded by Roxanna Trace, the Eveline’s crew is all female and has a reputation for efficiency and reliability.  The PDF provides stats and background to four of the crew as well as adventure seeds for civilian adventures on a Aranui-class merchant ship.

In conclusion, although a little larger than I would prefer in an RPG campaign, I can see many uses for this ship in a game.  It’s a great looking ship and I love the cutters and the shuttle.  Supplying various fleets on patrol while travelling through various regions of space doesn’t sound adventurous on the surface but when you delve into the politics and dangers of Clement, you can see where the adventure can be found.

For more details on Gypsy Knights Games and their new RPG SupplementShips of Clement Sector 14: Boyne class Replenishment Ship” check them out at their website Gypsy Knights Games, and at all of your local game stores.

Codex Rating: 15

Product Summary

Ships of Clement Sector 14: Boyne class Replenishment Ship

From: Gypsy Knights Games

Type of Game: RPG Supplement

Author: Michael Johnson

Additional Material: Bradley Warnes

Artists: Ian Stead, Bradley Warnes, Michael Johnson

Cover Layout: Stephanie McAlea

Editor: Curtis Rickman

Website: Gypsy Knights Games

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 Go Forth

From: Gypsy Knights Games

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

21 Plots Go Forth is a RPG Supplement from Gypsy Knights Games.

I am always amazed by the level of inspiration and creativeness by the writers at Gypsy Knights Games.  The 21 plot series has many cool ideas to jump off from that really give you a new perspective on a hard science fiction setting like Clement Sector.  21 Plots Go Forth does not disappoint.  This is the fourth book in the series, starting with 21 Plots, 21 Plots Too and 21 Plots 3.  There is also a series of “situational” 21 Plots series – 21 Plots: Planetside, 21 Plots: Misbehave and 21 Plots: Samaritan.

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 the open license with Samardan Press and their Cepheus Engine.  If they haven’t yet already, they will be converting this supplement to the game system.

From page 3: ” … this book presents 21 possible plots for the Referee to use with a gaming group.”

Delving back into a familiar layout, 21 Plots Go Forth starts out where the previous books left off.  A series of adventure seeds with tables for options on the end result.  Each plot has six possible variations, and the GM can either choose or roll a dice to determine what happens.  Either way you do it, I recommend you read them all, because they inspire you to combine two or more.  As the title implies, there 21 total plot inspirations.

From page 3: We at Gypsy Knights Games hope this product is used and reused by you many times and that it is an aide to you in coming … campaigns.

From strange hypnotists to con artists, corporate explorers in need of escort to royal agents in need of a prison break, these plots have it all (again).  Many of them are Clement specific, integrating some of the cultures of the various worlds in the setting (and where they might conflict) but with a little work, they can easily be worked into another sci-fi setting.   Included in the back of the PDF is a complete Index of the 21 plots series.  This is extremely handy if you have all the books.

In conclusion,  I found this addition to the series a little more eccentric than the others.  There are some very detailed and interesting adventure ideas in this book.  I guess the more a writer puts out, the more eclectic the ideas become.  I found many of them very inspiring.

For more details on Gypsy Knights Games and their new RPG Supplement 21 Plots Go Forth” check them out at their website Gypsy Knights Games, and at all of your local game stores.

Codex Rating: 16

Product Summary

21 Plots Go Forth

From: Gypsy Knights Games

Type of Game: RPG Supplement

Authors: John Watts, Bradley Warnes, “Big” Dan Callahan, Vaughn Wright, Curtis Rickman, Paul Santiago

Artist: Bradley Warnes

Cover Layout: Stephanie McAlea

Editor: Curtis Rickman

Number of Pages: 47

Game Components Included: One PDF

Game Components Not Included: Core Rulebooks

Website: Gypsy Knights Games

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Ships of Clement Sector 10: Lee class Merchant Vessel

From: Gypsy Knights Games

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Ships of Clement Sector 10: Lee class Merchant Vessel is a RPG supplement from Gypsy Knights Game (now part of Ships of Clement Sector 10-12: Workhorses 2nd Edition).

NOTE:  This is the Traveller edition of the PDF.  Since receiving this, Gypsy Knights has disassociated from the Traveller game system and developed their own called The Clement Sector, the Rules.  It is now part of Ships of Clement Sector 10-12: Workhorses 2nd Edition

The Millennium Falcon.   The Serenity.  Sci-fi is full of merchant vessels that travel the space lanes delivering payloads – legal or illegal – to paying customers.  John Watt’s Clement Sector is no different.

From page #3: People say owning your own ship must be the most wonderful thing in the universe. There is no one to answer to, and nothing but the stars to gaze at everyday with freedom to go wherever you want, whenever you want. The thing is, they don’t have a creditor hanging over their head waiting to repossess the ship if you miss a payment one too many times.

The Lee-class merchant ship, designed by Boone Starship Industries, is a freighter vessel with a double height cargo hold and three large cargo access areas as it selling points.  Two-thirds of the length of the ship is dedicated to cargo, making it a sort of “18-wheeler” of merchant vessels (Space Truckers, anyone?).  Unfortunately, this rings true for its’ maneuverability as well.  The ship however, has some teeth, with the potential of four turrets mounted on the outside.  The ship’s crew capacity is five but can take up to 10 passengers.  It has two distinct decks which are both compartmentalized for security and for damage control.

The ship itself has a sleek elongated appearance that makes me think of a train car or 18-wheeler in space.  The PDF details out a considerable amount of information about the ship including contents of ship’s lockers and overall system capabilities.  The decks plans are exceptional as usual and usable in just about any sci-fi RPG system.  To make it to scale will take a little work but the deck plans are detailed enough for table use.

 

From page #3: Peering over a handful of square cards, he fought hard to keep the grin from his face. Luck was changing, and for the better if this hand of ‘Clement21’ played out like he thought it would. “I see your high spread and raise you five… betcha two to one this hand is gonna make you
weep when you see it, mate.”

The PDF then details a sample ship and crew called the Nebular’s Ghost.  The Ghost, captained by Gaibrielle O’Rourke, navigates a regular route originating from Boone and connecting to many nearby systems. Each crew member is detailed out in RPG stats and background notes.  The PDF ends with 6 different adventure seeds that are generic enough they can be worked into any Merchant ship adventure.

In conclusion,  I can’t get enough of these types of PDFs because I love having any kind of ship at my disposal for my players.  Like I say a lot with these supplements, they can be used in any sci-fi system.  The detail the writers put into it make these ships seem to jump out pages.  The detailed art is also inspiration as usual. It’s a perfect ship for a RPG party to crew.

For more details on Gypsy Knights Game and their RPG supplement  “Ships of Clement Sector 10: Lee class Merchant Vessel” check them out at their website http://www.gypsyknightsgames.com/, and at all of your local game stores.

Codex Rating: 16

Product Summary

Ships of Clement Sector 10: Leeclass Merchant Vessel

From: Gypsy Knights Games

Type of Game: RPG supplement 

Author: Michael Johnson

Additional Material by Bradley Warnes

Artists: Ian Stead, Michael Johnson , Bradley Warnes

Cover Layout: Stephanie McAlea

Editor: Curtis Rickman

Number of Pages: 27

Game Components Included: One PDF

Game Components Not Included: Core Rules for Clement Sector

Website: Gypsy Knights Game

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Clement Sector: The Rules

From: Gypsy Knights Games

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Clement Sector: The Rules is a new RPG Core Rulebook from Gypsy Knights Games.  It use the open game license for the Cepheus Engine.

Open game licenses are tricky and the revival of many old school game engines have tried their best to take advantage of them.  In the case of Gypsy Knights Games, their license with Mongoose Traveller had run its course and they were left to find a new alternative for the core rule system.  Enter Samardan Press and their Cepheus Engine, which is based on the classic 2d6 system of Classic Era Science Fiction 2D6-Based Open Gaming System (aka old Traveller).  For the past year or so, Gypsy Knights has been busy working to convert their products to the Cepheus Engine.  Starting with this book, it is a new era for the Clement Sector.

From page 16: Clement Sector began its published life in 2011 as an alternate setting for a popular science fiction roleplaying system.

You can obtain the Cepheus Engine SRD by donating any amount of money in DriveThruRPG.  However, it is not needed as the Clement Sector: The Rules PDF contains all you need.  There are some slight adjustments to the rules, skills, careers, etc to fit the setting but the basics are more or less the same.  While this PDF gives you some of the basic stuff like core rule system and the like, the Clement Sector Core Setting Book (2nd edition) also provides more, including tables for Character Generation.

SETTING

As the name implies, this is a rule book and has very little setting information.  However, the setting itself has not changed and much of this information is contained in the Clement Sector Core Setting Book.  At its heart, the Clement Sector is a setting of human exploration, expansion, and exploitation.  Humans are the dominant species and very few aliens (if any) have been encountered.  For informational and contextual purposes, I will include a short summary of the setting.

In the 23rd century, Earth humans discovered a Einstein-Rosen bridge or wormhole (The Conduit) near the Epsilon Eridani system and used it to discover the Clement sector on the other side of the galaxy.  Even with the “Zimm Drive” (this setting’s version of FTL), it would take a long time to reach the other end of the wormhole.

For a time, that wormhole remained stable enough that humans could colonize the plethora of worlds found on the other side.  Before long, the humanity had established 16 sub-sectors including Franklin, Winston, Dade, Sequoyah, Cascadia, and Hub (previously reviewed first edition books).  Then the wormhole collapsed after about 130 years of colonization and expansion.  Clement was left on its own.  The setting starts a little over a decade after the collapse.

The setting is rich in culture – some familiar and some imaginatively warped or mashed together.  Instead of aliens, the setting has Uplifted animals – apes, dolphins, bears and other animals have been genetically upgraded to be intelligent.  They also have transhuman Altrants – humans that have been genetically altered for a specific purpose.

CORE SYSTEM

The core system is very familiar to anyone that played classic Traveller.  Even though they can not make any reference to the copyrighted name, it is basically classic Traveller.  It is a basic 2d6 roll versus a target number of 8.  Eight is always the target number.  What makes it vary are modifiers to the roll.  It is a rather simplistically elegant system that is easy to remember.  Old school.  It does not have a lot of game play flair but it get the job done when and where it needs to.  At times, the system requires an Effect, which is how much the total either exceeded or missed the target number of 8.  This can determine a degree of success or add to damage of an attack.

The book itself is broken down into 16 sections.  The first five cover the core of what roleplaying games are about – the Basics (rules), Characters, Skills, Equipment and Personal Combat.  The Basics generally go over foundational concepts of role playing, core system concepts and mechanics as well as common themes of Clement Sector adventuring.  As described above, the system is elegant with an old-school feel.

Character creation for a character in the Clement sector is more than just a few numbers and skills.  The player generates stats and skills along with a full background starting from Childhood through Collegiate events. This section references tables that are not included in this PDF but are found in Clement Sector Core Setting Book.  This system completely fleshes out a three-dimensional Clement Sector character.

Skills are straightforward.  Listed are basic skills and their specializations.  There are a few more than in the basic Cepheus Engine system as well as a few more specializations.  Equipment includes a considerable list of general gear, armor and weapons.  Tech levels are adjusted for the setting.  As for weapons, standard slugthrower type weapons are standard but there are also lasers and gauss.

Like most any sci-fi setting, the Clement Sector can get violent.  The Personal Combat section covers all that you need to deal with that kind of violence.  The Clement Sector Rules system changes the Cepheus Engine slight by asking the players to roll initiative each round.  I prefer a system that does this, giving everyone a chance to affect each round in their own way.  Actions are either free, minor or major (similar to d20), and there are various  battlefield effects that might change the effectiveness of those actions.

I have always found it interesting how this system has no hitpoint but instead damage is taken directly from stats.  First Endurance, then Strength or Dexterity.  Once either of the latter are reduced to zero, they are unconscious.  Once all three are reduced to zero, they are dead.  This makes for a pretty gritty and deadly system, with pistols capable of 2d6 damage and large weapons cause up to 4d6 and 5d6.  Armor is important.

From page 17:  This simple system is used for nearly everything in the game, with variations based on the modifiers added to a roll and the effects of success and failure.

The last four covers the sci-fi fundamentals of Space Travel, Trade and Commerce,  and Space Combat.  Included in the space combat and travel section is a special appendix on the largest ship builder in Clement – Anderson and Felix and their additions to starships.  This is further expanded on in the The Anderson and Felix Guide to Naval Architecture.  

In this kind of sci-fi RPG, the players find adventure because they are involved in some kind of space travel or trade.  In many cases, they own or lease a ship. These sections cover the day to day operations they may do as a crew.  The biggest change between this and standard Cepheus Engine is the Zimm Drive, which is a setting specific technology.  There are a lot of tables and math in this section to calculate time of travel, etc and if you really want to get down to the nitty gritty of space travel, this is the section for you.  Have your spreadsheets ready.

If things get real nasty, and the party is involved in space combat, the rules are contained in the Space Combat section.  My problem with any science fiction game that includes this is that it boils the game down to a miniature game and draws the attention from the players.  I am not a fan of that kind of thing, so it would be up to the Referee/GM to keep the focus on the players while dealing with ship to ship combat.  If this is what you are into, this book supplies all you need to do it, utilizing the Cepheus Engine to its fullest extent.

The last chapters cover various miscellaneous subjects like Environments and Hazards (which can be quite a lot in sci-fi), Worlds and the Universal World Profile, and a series of Encounter tables.  One of the things I found useful from Traveller and used in many of my other sci-fi games was their encounter tables and the adventure seeds that grew out of them.  Patron Encounters were my favorite.  These can be directly related to the various 21 Plots supplements by Gypsy Knights.  The book finally ends with notes on how to run as a Referee (Game Master) and how to write an adventure.

In conclusion, at its core, Clement Sector is a throwback to old school Traveller with a fresh look at how it can be played.  The Cepheus Engine is a perfect marriage for it, as it takes very little conversation from the 1st edition stuff.  From a rule system standpoint, this book sets you on the right path for a solid RPG system that is strongly rooted in old school gaming.  There is a reason why the classics are coming back with this old school revival movement – because they were good and simple.  This is definitely one of those systems.

From a setting standpoint, it is not your typical space opera or science fantasy type game as it has its roots in realistic sci-fi.  It takes human social structures, groups and norms and advances into the future, without the standard tropes of pointy-eared aliens and tentacled ancients.  My advice to any Referee that wants to play this setting – engage your players into the setting, link them directly to it and give them a reason to care about it.  Characters can not be just randomly placed into this setting.  They need to be part of it.

For more details on Gypsy Knights Games and their new RPG Core Rulebook Clement Sector: The Rules” check them out at their website Gypsy Knights Games, and at all of your local game stores.

Codex Rating: 17

Product Summary

Clement Sector: The Rules

From: Gypsy Knights Games

Type of Game: RPG Core Rulebook

Authors: John Watts, Michael Johnson, and Jason Kemp

Additional Material: Ian Stead

Artists: Bradley Warnes, Ian Stead , Stephanie McAlea, Algol,  Oleg Gapeenko,  GrandFailure, DesignWest

Editor: Curtis Rickman

Cover Layout: Stephanie McAlea

Number of Pages: 217

Website: Gypsy Knights Games

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Ships of Clement Sector 3: Moltke-class Cruiser

From: Gypsy Knights Games
Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Ships of Clement Sector 3: Moltke-class Cruiser is a new RPG Supplement from Gypsy Knights Games.

Following along the same lines as the previous entry in this series,  Ships of Clement Sector 3 introduces another military class ship into the Clement Sector.  With a sleek look and intimidating array of weapons, the Moltke-class Cruiser is a new force to be rekonned with in the sector.

From page # 3: “Umm… contact!

Once again, Gypsy Knights not only introduces an interesting ship, but includes an interesting background.  The background gives you a little taste of the political tensions between the various Earth-originated nationalities in the Clement Sector, prior to the Collapse (and may still remian in certain areas).  This particular ship was started pre-Collapse in a arms build up between Germany and the Royal Navy.  Eventually, the new class of cruiser was built based on the plans for an older pre-Collapse and the Hub was the proud owners of multiple Moltke-class Cruisers.  

These ships pack a punch and are bristling with weapons. 2500 dT Needle/Wedge design, it is an impressive ship.  It can hold up to 70 crew and 12 marines, and is an “armoured behemoth primarily designed to destroy opposing warships…”   They are built to act as a fleet flagship.  It also carries a Captain’s Gig, small Boat and a Cutter (all of which at detailed out and mapped).  You want to judge a power by its most powerful weapon, judge the Hub on the Moltke-class Cruiser.

From page # 3: “ The single word broke the fragile silence on the bridge, drawing attention to his station from every officer and crewman present. With all eyes swivelling toward the young, first termer officer, he clamped his lips closed and let out an audible gulp. ”

Additionally, as I suppose a bonus, a new type of fast attack ship is detailed.  Called the Mercury-class Fast Packet Boat, it is now the official courier ship for the Hub Federation.  The ship resembles some of the fast attack ships of  Vulkan-class Attack Boat Tender (Ships of Clement Sector 2), it has the primary function of carrying communiques between fleets.  Included with this is a series of adventure hooks for a crew of a ship like this.

In conclusion, Gypsy Knights continues to impress with sleek looking designs and great story attached to these ships.  Although not a ship that would be owned by a party of characters, it for sure is something a group of characters might serve on.  I think the additional ship – Mercury-class Fast Packet Boat – was added more for this purpose, and serves very well for that.

For more details on Gypsy Knights Games and their new RPG SupplementShips of Clement Sector 3: Moltke-class Cruiser” check them out at their website http://Www.gypsyknightsgames.com, and at all of your local game stores.

Codex Rating: 16

Product Summary

Ships of Clement Sector 3: Moltke-class Cruiser
From: Gypsy Knights Games
Type of Game: RPG Supplement
Author: Michael Johnson
Artists: Ian Stead, Bradley Warnes, Michael Johnson
Editor: Curtis Rickman
Number of Pages: 38
Game Components Included: One PDF Supplement
Game Components Not Included: Core Traveller and Clement Sector books
Retail Price: $4.99(US)
Website: Www.gypsyknightsgames.com

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

21 More Organizations

From: Gypsy Knights Games
Reviewed by: Ron McClung

21 More Organizations is a new RPG Supplement from Gypsy Knights Games.

 I am of the philosophy that a majority of the stories we collectively make in RPGs are born of conflict, may it be physical, spiritual, moral, mental or social.  History buffs like myself can attest that humanity has a long history of conflict.  A conflict does not have to be war or combat.  It can be the type that is in the shadows and behind the scenes;  the intrigue and deceit of conflicting factions.

 In science fiction RPGs, if you don’t have the natural conflict that would come from competing with alien species, then you are left with humanity’s natural propensity to conflict with itself.  This is where factions and organizations come in.  Humanity has a strong need to feel belonged to something; be a member of something.  We are very tribal.  Forming organizations and factions is our nature.

This is what 21 More Organizations is about.  As a follow up to 21 Organizations, it presents the same number of organizations, along with origins, agendas and motivations.  Where humanity goes, so does all its politics and when given the freedom to spread out into something like Clement Sector, the more factions seem to flourish.  Clement Sector is a fertile ground for human factionalization.

From RPGNow website: “ 21 More Organizations provides 21 new and varied groups from Gypsy Knights Games’ Clement Sector setting for use in your Traveller game, each with their own unique history, motives, and goals. ”

 The organizations described in this sourcebook range from obscure paramilitary groups to charity groups;  starship pilot “biker” gangs to holovid production companies; obscure political pseudo-religious groups to scientific scholar societies; crime families to inteligence agencies.  What I like about these is that they are realistic in that they are not “sector spanning,” for the most part.  It recognizes that space is big and it is very difficult to maintain something like a sector-wide organization.  This makes the organizations not only practical but also tangible and localized.

From RPGNow website:  “Read about groups as varied as The Reliable Starship Escort Service, The Royal Astrographical Society and Harbringer Productions.”

Every organization has their own motivations, and as the GM reads them, conflicts and alliances will begin to form.  Connections and opposing interests will form stories and eventually adventures are born.

Organizations that stand out to me are ones like Intelligence Now!, based out of Fairfax in the Cascadia subsector.  It is an organization dedicated to the uplift of all animals by either genetic or cybernetic means – an animal rights organization gone even more wacky.  Or you could check out Ministry 7, the intelligence agency of Fairfax.  I love a good spy agency.  There is certainly a wide range of organizations in this PDF. 

In conclusion, I love anything that brings depth and variety to a setting.  There is so much potential for variety in Clement that I can see many more of these sourcebooks being produced.  This one has a lot of what you would want – it’s creative, inspiring, quirky and weird.

For more details on Gypsy Knights Games and their new RPG Supplement21 More Organizations” check them out at their website http://Www.gypsyknightsgames.com, and at all of your local game stores.

Codex Rating: 16

Product Summary

21 More Organizations
From: Gypsy Knights Games
Type of Game: RPG Supplement
Authors: John Watts, Curtis Rickman, Tony Hicks, Kayla Lee, Michael Johnson and Wendy Watts
Artists: Bradley Warnes , Fotolia: Valebisba, Serkorkin, Ninjanakon, pachanga, madpixblue, veroji, natalipova2011
Editor:  Curtis Rickman
Number of Pages: 41
Game Components Included: One PDF
Game Components Not Included: Core Traveller and Core Clement Sector books
Retail Price: $5.99 (US)
Website: www.gypsyknightsgames.com

Reviewed by: Ron McClung