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

The Hub Federation

The Hub Federation
From: Gypsy Knights Games
Reviewed by: Ron McClung

The Hub Federation is a new RPG Supplement from Gypsy Knights Games .

The Hub Federation is the closest thing that the Clement Sector comes to a “federation” or “stellar nation.”  It has limited authority and influence but has the potential (and probably desire) to grow.  It is made up of six primary worlds, centered around the capital Hub.  The other systems are Wilhelmveldt, Donar, Reuschle, Sigewife, and Wellington.  This is the companion sourcebook to the Subsector Surcebook 3: Hub, also reviewed here.

Just after the collapse of the wormhole, the president of Hub quickly allied the 5 other worlds after some negotiation and consolidated several available cruiser squadrons to form a space  navy.  Eleven years since the collapse, the Hub Federation remains a powerful entity in Clement Sector.  Facing the Federation now are expansionist factions within its ranks as well as pirate threats throughout the sector.  Some turn to the Federation with the expectation of protection while others shun their help.  In a campaign, they could easily be the bad guy or the good guy, depending on the GM’s approach.

From the DriveThruRPG.com Product page:
“The Hub Federation provides an interstellar nation full of adventure opportunities.”

The Hub was where mankind arrived in the Clement Sector.  It is the center of political power in the Federation.  The Federation Senate and President convene on Hub to govern the Hub Federation.  The Federation Navy and Marines operate out of Hub as well.  The world of Hub is a very populous one.  Being the oldest colony in the sector, its politics and culture date back further than any of the other colonies.

Another notable aspect of the Hub system is the existence of the Terminal Station – the entry point for any ships that came through the wormhole before it collapsed.  Now it houses a team of scientists who believe they can reopen the wormhole.  Most believe them to be crackpots but that does not seem to deter them.

From the DriveThruRPG.com Product page:
“The six worlds of The Hub Federation are detailed, as is the government which holds them together.”

The Hub Federation is a diverse region of space rife with adventure opportunity and story.  Wilhelmveldt is a pro-imperialistic world within the Hub, ruled by a hereditary monarch.  A temperate world, it is moderately populated by German-descended colonists.  With 4 major asteroid belts, Wilhelmveldt has a number of mining operations important to the Federation.  Hedonistic Donar is ruled by a dictator that overthrew the ruling council some time ago.  It too has several asteroid belts which are mined and also is the location of a Federation Navy training facility.  Reuschle is ruled through a full-participatory democracy where the people stayed linked up and vote through a cybernetic implant.  It is a harsh world leading to a strong bond among its ten million people.  Sigewife is a colony of Hub and is a gateway world to Cascadia.  The world itself is a dust ball and is administered by the Hub government.  The iceball world of Wellington has a small population of what most see as uneducated and lawless barbarians because of the lax laws and poor education system. Wellies however hold their freedom and lifestyle as a badge of honor.

In conclusion, in the review of the Subsector Sourcebook 3; Hub, I stated that the Hub Subsector was a powder keg waiting to explode.  The Hub Federation is either going to be the catalyst for that explosion or the savior from that explosion, depending on how a GM wishes to approach it.  The Hub is very aptly named but as the Sector grows, it will struggle to remain relevant.  Expansion is inevitable if they want to remain a power.  How that happens is in the hands of the GM.

For more details on Gypsy Knights Games  and their new RPG SupplementThe Hub Federation” check them out at their website http:// www.gypsyknightsgames.com, and at all of your local game stores.

Codex Rating: 18

Product Summary

The Hub Federation
From: Gypsy Knights Games
Type of Game: RPG Supplement
Written by: John Watts
Contributing Authors: Curtis Rickman
Cover Art by: Luca Oleastri
Additional Art by: Ian Stead, Matt Kerns, Luca Oleastri, Mike Haywood, Angela Harburn
Number of Pages: 62
Game Components Included: One soft back book or PDF
Game Components Not Included: Core Traveller RPG books, Clement Sector setting book or PDF
Retail Price: $20 (US)
Website: www.gypsyknightsgames.com

 

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Subsector Sourcebook 3: Hub

Subsector Sourcebook 3: Hub
From: Gypsy Knights Games
Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Subsector Sourcebook 3: Hub is a new RPG Supplement from Gypsy Knights Games.

What I like about the Clement Sector a lot is the carried amount of independent worlds throughout it.  However, I also like the possibility of an all-powerful authority somewhere.  The Hub Subsector, the first sector to be populated by humans in Clements, presents an interesting dynamic between a burgeoning “federation” and several independent worlds.

From the DriveThruRPG.com product page:
“The Hub subsector is a group of independent worlds which surround The Hub Federation.”

The key to each of these subsector books is to read into them and really appreciate the differences between each.  The differences may be in the printed word in the book or the unwritten potential that a GM sees as he reads, but there is a difference.  What I see in this particular sector are signs of things to come for the rest of the sector.  If you realistically apply human nature and explode what you see happening on this world into the imaginative Clement Sector setting, you can easily see these signs.  This, of course, assumes you use the default setting – a sector colonized by Earth factions through a mysterious wormhole that collapsed 11 years ago.

The Hub Sector sourcebook covers the 13 other worlds outside the Hub Federation.  The Hub Federation is covered in a separate sourcebook (also reviewed here).  The Hub is made up of two major regions or clusters of planets and several “bridge” worlds or worlds otherwise isolated that act as bridges to deeper points into the subsector.  The Hub Federation is one of those major regions and the Sophronius region is the other.

Sophronius region is made up of five independent worlds.   They, like many in this region, have resisted the pull to join the Hub Federation.  This is one area that I think is a sign of things to come.  Independence can be a good thing, like in many cases throughout the sector, but it also can be a bad thing.  On Sophronius, for instance, factionalism can settle in and infighting has torn the world apart.  In the modern world on Earth, violence like that tends to spread, limited only by natural boundaries.  In this setting, the natural boundaries are the Z-Drive limitations.  However, that could be only a temporary limitation.

The other worlds in the Sophronius region vary from small cold worlds with small populations to moderately populated temperate worlds.  They are unaffected by the wars waging on Sophronius but in time, that could change.

From the DriveThruRPG.com product page:
“Each world comes complete with detailed information concerning the system and the planet itself, yet leaves the Referee plenty of room to use these worlds as he/she sees fit.”

One particular bridge world of note is Kingston.  Diametrically opposed to the Hub Federation, the population of Kingston (700 million) is ruled by a theocracy based on a fringe cult called Caxtonism.  Stemming from a “prophet” who re-interpreted Biblical teachings, he wrote his own version and many flocked to his cause.  This world is set up as the anti-thesis to the Hub Federation, with rumors of military buildup and sabre rattling.

Interestingly, there also are a few worlds that are prime for take over and could be the trigger to violence in the subsector.  Two low population worlds come to mind for me.  Sheba and Viteges are two prime worlds that factions within the subsector could end up fighting over.  This is only an idea and only vaguely hinted at in the text, but if you read into the subtext of the politics within this sector, this subsector could be a powder keg.

In conclusion, in many ways, this book is very similar to other subsector books.  It gives you just enough to get the picture and enough room to expand however you want.  If you plan on running the Celemt sector setting, I would not get this without also getting The Hub Federation sourcebook.  This book is different in that it gives you a picture of what could happen in the Clement sector as a whole.  With it being the oldest subsector, the politics have had more time to develop and the impact of the Collapse was felt the most.  It has a developing galactic authority and it also has the embers of a sector-wide war smoldering.  So which way will the sector go?  You get to decide.

After reviewing several of these sourcebooks, if I had to honestly criticize, it would be the organization of the books.  I would recommend placing tabs of each system’s name along the top so I could flip through and find them easily.  I also would format the table of contents a little better.  I have always liked the art used in the books, however.  It is very inspiring and appropriate for the setting.

For more details on Gypsy Knights Games and their new RPG SupplementSubsector Sourcebook 3: Hub” check them out at their website http:// www.gypsyknightsgames.com.

Codex Rating: 18

Product Summary

Subsector Sourcebook 3: Hub
From: Gypsy Knights Games
Type of Game: RPG Supplement
Written by: John Watts
Contributing Authors: Curtis Rickman
Cover Art by: Luca Oleastri
Additional Art by: Ian Stead, Matt Kerns, Luca Oleastri, Angela Harburn, Jankaliciak, 3Quarks, Algol
Number of Pages: 107
Game Components Included: One soft back book or PDF
Game Components Not Included: Core Traveller RPG books, Clement Sector setting book or PDF
Retail Price: $25 (US)
Website: www.gypsyknightsgames.com

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

 

Cascadia Adventures 2: The Lost Girl

Cascadia Adventures 2: The Lost Girl
From: Gypsy Knights Games
Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Cascadia Adventures 2: The Lost Girl is a new RPG Adventure from Gypsy Knights Games.

The second in a series of adventures set in the Clement Sector and more specifically the Cascadia subsector, this adventure is only loosely linked to the first.  The same person that hired the characters in the first adventure calls upon them again to help (as the name implies) a lost girl.

This adventure takes place primarily on the planet Gagnon, with a little stopover on Slaren.  The first step I took when I was prepping for this was to read up on the two worlds and their politics.  Assuming that you plan to use this in the default setting, this information is in the Subsector Sourcebook 1 – Cascadia.  As stated when reviewing the Subsector books, there is a lot left to interpretation and any enhancement from the source material is always helpful to a game master.

From page # 17:
MV Dust Runner has returned to Chance after a reasonably profitable cargo run to Kyiv.”

There are basically four major episodes – Introduction, Stopover/Refuel, Investigation and Finale. Those are my designations for them and not official.  The intro to the adventure goes much like the first one – hired by the same contact as a troubleshooting group.  The adventure will take the crew further out into the subsector, so a stopover for refueling will be necessary and that takes place on a world called Slaren.

The stopover is a fairly open-ended portion of the adventure.  Other than an informative encounter with the local defense force, nothing really needs to happen if the GM so wishes.  The pre-generated characters have no real contacts here, so it is unlikely to be any use to them, unless the GM inserts new contacts, or existing contacts could give them new contacts on this world.  This particular portion really gives the GM a chance to explore the potential of this setting and allow him to add whatever he wants into it.  This is not a stringent setting where one little change in the story could unbalance everything.  It is a very flexible setting that you make your own.  Gypsy Knights have simply provided you with the framework.  So I highly recommend going through the Clement Sector sourcebook as well as the Cascadia sourcebook to get ideas on how to make their stopover even more interesting.

From the website:
“A daughter lost.  It tugs at the heart of any parent.”

Moving on to Gagnon, they find themselves in a strange world ruled by a dictator that everyone seems to actually like, at least on the surface.  This is where the Cascadia sourcebook comes in handy again.  Going through the details of Gagnon really reveals an interesting and potentially dark world of intrigue and corruption.  This strange dictator, Major Keith Calderon, seems to be a rare breed.  As the Cascadia sourcebook says, he took power after a revolution against an overly bureaucratic government.  Where there is a revolution, there are those that lost and therein lies all kinds of adventure, intrigue and story potential.

In this adventure, a darker side of the Major is revealed.  Delving deep into the dark world of piracy, criminal underground, inter-planetary politics and human trafficking, this is not for the light at heart.  Of course, like the last adventure, some of the investigation is driven by contacts the characters have.  This facilitates great opportunities for role play and storytelling.

I won’t give much more away but it’s safe to say that this adventure has a great ending that could have a much larger impact than just saving a young girl.  It could end very violently, and within the system like Mongoose’s Traveller, that could be a very bad thing.  They better arm up or figure out a way that doesn’t involve a fire fight.

In conclusion, this gradually takes the characters into the interplanetary politics of the region once again.  It definitely increases the danger and the intensity a little and takes them to a new location totally different than the first one.  It is very well written and adequately illustrated (nice map of the final location).  I definitely have the same drive to run this adventure as I did the first.

For more details on Gypsy Knights Games and their new RPG AdventureCascadia Adventures 2: The Lost Girl” check them out at their website http://www.gypsyknightsgames.com.

Codex Rating: 16

Product Summary

Cascadia Adventures 2: The Lost Girl
From: Gypsy Knights Games
Type of Game: RPG Adventure
Written by: John Watts
Contributing Authors/Editor: Curtis Rickman
Cover Art by: Steve Attwood
Additional Art by: Steve Attwood
Number of Pages: 41 page PDF
Game Components Included: 1 PDF Adventure
Game Components Not Included: Core Traveller rulebook, Clement Sector setting book
Retail Price: $4.99 (US)
Website: www.gypsyknightsgames.com

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Subsector Sourcebook 4: Sequoyah

Subsector Sourcebook 4: Sequoyah
From: Gypsy Knights Games
Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Subsector Sourcebook 4: Sequoyah is a new RPG Supplement from Gypsy Knights Games.

Over the past year, I have been given the pleasure to review many of the Gypsy Knight products connected to the Clement Sector series of books.  The Subsector Sourcebook 4: Sequoyah is another book that describes in detail one of the many subsectors in Clement.  I got the soft back book but this book is also available in PDF.

From page # 8:
“The Sequoyah subsector is an area of space 8 parsecs wide and ten parsecs long.”

Where the Cascadia sector is a region of tense political conflict between three major worlds within the subsector, a majority of the political (and potentially military) tension comes from external pressure from the neighboring subsector of Hub.   In particular, the world of Harrison feels the threat of a religiously fanatical world in the Hub sector and is arming up to defend itself.  Meanwhile, the remaining worlds of the sector have their own various things to worry about.

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves with the finite details of the setting, it might be good to review the overall details of the sector.  Assuming you use this subsector within the default Gypsy Knights setting, Sequoyah was officially prevented from Earth colonization by treaty before the Collapse. (Refer to the Clement Sector review for details on the sector history.)  However, that was quickly violated and of course who was the major violator – the United States.  The US was not the only violator but apparently it was one of the big ones.

There are 19 inhabited worlds in Sequoyah, all considered independent.  There are four major clusters of worlds or regions that trade and work together and the remaining outlying worlds are considered “bridge” worlds.  These regions range from two worlds to a formidable five worlds.  The power and influence of the sector begins at the namesake, Sequoyah.  Settled by the United States citizens that were primarily of Cherokee decent, this world’s culture is heavily influenced by Native American culture. The vast majority of the Clement Sector Space Navy ended up in the hands of the Sequoyahn Government and continues to influence the region here.

Another interesting world of note is Bowemiwak.  This world, an Earth-like world, was primarily settled by disenfranchised citizens of Austin, Texas, after Texas seceded from the United States.  Leaving a Texas that did not reflect their beliefs, these colonists were one of a few worlds not settled by a major Earth power in the regions. 

From  page # 8:
“Within this space is located nineteen inhabited solar systems. ”

Harrison is the world mentioned earlier, fearing threats from the Hub.  It was settled by people of the Southeast United States and has many familiar aspects of that region.  For example, the people are Christian, and the government is run very similarly to the United States government (with a few tweaks).  But the world lives in fear of the neighboring Kingston in the hub sector, as rumors of an attack have filtered through the population.

Boone was the first colony in the Sequoyah subsector to be settled by the United States.  It remains the center of the Boone region, surrounded by four other worlds within one jump from Boone.  Boone was also a beneficiary of the US Space Navy trapped on the Clement sector, and they remain part of their military force today.  Boone has many similarities to the United States in structure, culture and government and it’s safe to assume that it is probably the second most powerful world in the subsector.  It is also home to something called the Brinton Deeps, a huge bowl-shaped indention in the submarine floor that is said to be perfectly smooth.  Many believe that this is not natural forming and evidence of alien manipulation of the planet’s surface.

There are fifteen other worlds on the subsector, all with varying cultures, governments, and environments.  Each inhabited world is described in just enough detail to tease your imagination.  Of course, I reviewed this from the perspective of the Gypsy Knights’ Clement Sector setting.  However, this sector, with some adjustments, can be integrated into any Traveller setting and even any sci-fi RPG setting.

Like past products by Gypsy Knights, this is the same good quality and value for any Traveller gamer.  However, since I have started reviewing these products, I have actually started play testing and running the setting with some of the adventures he has provided (and soon will be reviewed).  I think it would help layout-wise if the book had reference tabs along the top so you know what planet you were on and not just the title of the book.  There are many times while gaming that I wished I could look up something real quick and that would have been handy.

What I found that really engaged the players about the setting is the internal politics of each planet as well as each subsector.  The writer gave you just enough to get an idea of what the potential politics would be (between the subsector book and the Clement sector book) and left the rest to you.  There is a lot of room to play with that kind of stuff.

In conclusion, Gypsy Knights continues to put out imaginative, believable and flexible setting books.  This one is no different and really expands my vision of the Clement sector.

For more details on Gypsy Knights Games and their new RPG Supplement “Subsector Sourcebook 4: Sequoyah” check them out at their website http://www.gypsyknightsgames.com.

Codex Rating: 18

Product Summary

Subsector Sourcebook 4: Sequoyah
From: Gypsy Knights Games
Type of Game: RPG Supplement
Written by: John Watts
Contributing Authors: Curtis Rickman
Cover Art by: Dreamstime.com, Luca Oleastri
Additional Art by: Ian Stead, Dreamstime.com: Ssuaphoto, Psynovev, Algol, Yvonne Less, Rik Scott, Patrik Winbjork
Number of Pages: 148
Game Components Included: Sector Supplement book or PDF
Game Components Not Included: Core Mongoose Traveller RPG books
Retail Price: $30.00(US)
Website: www.gypsyknightsgames.com

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Cascadia Adventures 1: Save Our Ship

Cascadia Adventures 1: Save Our Ship
From: Gypsy Knights Games
Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Cascadia Adventures 1: Save Our Ship is a new RPG Adventure from Gypsy Knights Games.

After reviewing the setting book for the Clement Sector, I was very interested in running some games in the setting.  Being familiar enough with the Mongoose Traveller rules, I felt I could run a few adventures in the setting rather competently.  The first set of adventures is set in the Cascadia Sector, a subsector book I also reviewed.

From the website:
“A “whale ship.”  That’s what the casinos on Chance call a starship sent to ferry back a wealthy gambler.  The Razz Casino dispatched their “whale ship,” Royal Flush, to pick up an influential politician on Roskilde.  However, something has gone wrong.  Now the casino has hired you to find out what has happened.”

The adventure is structured just the way I like it.  The entire plot is explained up front first and foremost and not left for the GM to figure out by reading it cover to cover.  Because I tend to modify adventures as I go along, I like to have the plot explained to me first so I know what I need to preserve.  Although it would seem natural to do this, not all adventures do.

It also has a handful of fleshed out pre-generated characters (pre-gens) in the beginning.  This is very helpful as I run games at a lot of conventions.  This saves me a lot of work.  I wish more writers did this for their adventures.  It also supplies a ship for the players, which is very convenient.

The heart of the adventure is the investigation into a missing ship and its important passenger.  The intrigue around this can be played up after a little research on each faction involved (through reading the relevant information in Cascadia Sourcebook).  The adventure involves two diametrically different planetary cultures.  One world is a religious oligarchy, guided by a fringe religion and ruled by a single Enlightened One.  The other is a world of vice and entertainment – a Las Vegas in space.  One culture pretends to be pure and progressive while many suspect it is corrupt to the core.  The other is practically openly corrupt, run by a shell corporation that covers up the conglomerate of crime families that actually run the planet.

At least that’s my interpretation.  As mentioned before, there is just enough given in the source books as well as this adventure that the GM can interpret things to fit his vision.  With a little thought and imagination, you can envision it in many ways.  The above was just one example.  From there, you can create a deeper intrigue that takes the character on an intense adventure.  The key to it all is understanding the cultures and the motivations of each side of this adventure, expanding it to fit the situation and understanding the conflict that the players are getting involved in.

From the website:
“Another casino horning in on the business?  Political enemies?  An accident?  It is up to you to find out.”

The investigation itself is a series of encounters with contacts.  If you are using the pre-gens, it makes it fairly easy. However, if you are not, then it is recommended that whatever characters you use  have some ties into the contacts mentioned in the adventure.  Use the pre-gens as examples.  In the beginning, that interaction can take place over a poker or baccarat table.  The adventure supplies a few optional encounters and rules for those possibilities.

Later, the interaction occurs on a large torus-shaped space station where anything can happen.   This world, Roskilde, is getting ready to vote in a new Enlightened One and there is a lot of intrigue potential surrounding that.  Because the candidates are not allowed to openly campaign (because the Spirits of the Universe will guide their people to choose the right leader, of course), everything is done behind the scenes.  This can lead to some very interesting action and roleplay.

Once the right pieces of the puzzle are put together, the adventure switches over to action mode.  As they draw closer to solving it, competing interests can challenge them in violent ways.  Whether that happens or not, the game turns into a race to find the missing ship that is stranded somewhere in deep space.  The ending culminates onboard the missing ship where bad things could happen if the characters are not careful.

In conclusion, I found this adventure to be very enjoyable and full of opportunity for role play and action.  It has a good balance for both.  If the GM plays up the contacts really well, this adventure could be a lot of role play.  For a convention game, this is a great starting adventure that can easily fit in a 4-hour slot.  He supplies you with all you need to run it.  Just read through it thoroughly and read the supplemental information from the Cascadia Subsector sourcebook and you will have a great con game.

For more details on Gypsy Knights Games and their new RPG AdventureCascadia Adventures 1: Save Our Ship” check them out at their website http://www.gypsyknightsgames.com, and at all of your local game stores.

Codex Rating: 16

Product Summary

Cascadia Adventures 1: Save Our Ship
From: Gypsy Knights Games
Type of Game: RPG Adventure
Written by: John Watts
Contributing Authors: Curtis Rickman
Cover Art by: Steve Attwood
Number of Pages: 38
Game Components Included: One PDF, single adventure with pre-generated characters
Game Components Not Included: Core Traveller rulebooks
Retail Price: $ 4.99 (US)
Website: www.gypsyknightsgames.com

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

 

Subsector Sourcebook 1: Cascadia

From: Gypsy Knights Games
Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Subsector Sourcebook 1: Cascadia is a new RPG Supplement from Gypsy Knights Games.

Subsector Sourcebook 1: Cascadia is a conglomeration of work, merging previously released work done in a PDF series called Quick Worlds with a lot of original material.  Gypsy Knights continues to impress me with their quality work.  This handsome book presents a series of believable systems in a 8×10 hex subsector map (a Traveller standard).  These systems can be inserted into an existing Traveller campaign, used as the center of a new campaign, and even used in another system or setting with a few twists.

From the page # 2:
“This book is intended to provide a Traveller Referee with a subsector full of adventure for his or her players. ”

Cascadia is a region of space with vast opportunity and adventure.  I found it interesting that before the Gypsy Knights released their encompassing setting book, they released a few subsector books first.  I did occasionally find myself needing a little context while reading through the book but not much. Since I started reading before the setting book was released, I just had to roll with it at first.  Enough of the material is presented generically and free of setting that setting context is virtually not needed.

Like most Traveller subsectors, Cascadia is a grouping of settled worlds with their own history and cultures.  Many of the governmental structures and cultures are heavily influenced by American structure and cultures, but there are many other influences like Germanic and other nations. There are 20 settled systems, all with variations in culture, forms of government, social origin and quirks.  The material for each system is not exhaustive.  It gives just enough to give you an idea of the worlds and what they contain yet leaves a lot of information for the GM to fill in.  It might mention a common livestock or predator creature on the world but it does not have a complete zoological listing of native species for each work, for example.  That is done on purpose, of course.  The authors have a good grasp on just how much information to give the reader to inspire while giving room for more.

From page #33:
“As far as the setting we are currently building, we intend for these skeletons and stone tools to be signs of alien, bipedal species which simply died out before it gained the same sort of foothold as humanity did on Earth.”

One thing is for sure about the author – he appreciates the mystery of the galaxy and it is nothing humanity can not handle.  In this setting, human kind flourishes through the sector in a variety of environments, even despite signs that others have been there before and failed.  On the planet Fairfax, a planet of high pressure and high oxygen content, humans flourish on a world that had a civilization once before.  Signs of the ancient alien civilization can be found in various places on the world but what exactly killed them off is a mystery. The planet Monroe, a rather harsh world with a thin atmosphere and low atmospheric pressure, is heavily populated with humans.  Large cities span many areas of the planet.

Each world has subtle differences that a GM can use for adventure inspiration.  I fully recommend reading through each one as they are each very unique and full of story potential.  For instance, in the world of Nyahururu, a world with a politically tumultuous past, a well-meaning dictator of the world rules rather strictly.  This world has the potential for revolt and coup written all over it.  Roskilde is a world ruled by religious sect – worshippers of the Spirit of the Universe.  Religious zealotry and jihad come to mind when I read this one.

There is also the world Talca, populated primarily by scientists and scholars.  Their over-reliance on robots can lead to a Terminator situation.  Or the world of Tlix which is described as a representative technocracy that tries to “preserve order and efficiency of the workers”  and “[allow] the citizens of Tlix as much freedom to enjoy his or her downtime as possible” while at the same time “keep[ing] violence and disturbances to a minimum.”  Just reading that disturbed me, seeing the world a powder keg waiting to explode.  There is only so much you can “control” in human behavior before things go nuts.

This being my first exposure to the Gypsy Knights settings, I realize at first glance that it appears there are no aliens in the setting. 100% humans.  That could be intentional or perhaps they left it to the GM to introduce aliens to the setting on his own.  With a little work – perhaps another wormhole brought other aliens here, for example – a GM can introduce whatever aliens he feels are appropriate for the setting.

This book is available in print as well as PDF.  The print book I have is soft back and the printing is good quality.  The art is appropriately sparse but generic and the print I have is a little dark.  There is a basic table of contents but no index.  This is pretty much a no-frills book.

In conclusion, Cascadia is the first of many sector books by Gypsy Knights.  I found this particular book full of adventure potential and I like the simple, clear and concise way they are presented.  I like the nuggets of inspiration throughout, as well as there being just enough detail to get you started.  I highly recommend this book for any Traveller fan as well as any sci-fi RPG fan.

For more details on Gypsy Knights Games and their new RPG Supplement “Subsector Sourcebook 1: Cascadia” check them out at their website http://www.gypsyknightsgames.com, and at all of your local game stores.

Codex Rating: 18

Subsector Sourcebook 1: Cascadia
From: Gypsy Knights Games
Type of Game: RPG Supplement
Written by: John Watts
Contributing Authors: Greg Seaborn, Kevin Smith
Cover Art by: AlgolOnline
Additional Art by: John Watts, Ian Stead, LindaB, Balefire9
Number of Pages: 171
Game Components Included: Softback Sourcebook
Game Components Not Included: Traveller core rulebook
Retail Price: $19.99 PDF, $31.99 (softback w/ PDF), $38.99 (hardback w/ PDF) (US)
Website: www.gypsyknightsgames.com

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

 

21 Plots Too

From: Gypsy Knights Games
Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Gypsy Knights Games has released a new RPG Supplement, 21 Plots Too.

21 Plots Too is a sequel to Gypsy Knights Games’  very creative and inspiring 21 Plots.  In much the same way as 21 Plots presented you with plot ideas, 21 Plots Too does as well. The supplement presents several plots around patrons encountering a party with a starship. While 21 Plots had a few fairly eccentric and unconventional plot ideas, 21 Plots Too seems to have a few more.

From  page # 2: “Much as our previous book, 21 Plots, did, this book will concentrate on those groups who have a starship and are plying the stars as is most common for Traveller groups.”

As before, each plot takes up a full page with a summary of the initial pull. This is followed by a table with six options that a GM can roll on or pick from. These options provide the gimmick or the core motivation of the plot and the parts the player find out throughout the adventure. These range from pretty straight forward and mundane to menacing and challenging.

As I said, 21 Plots Too has quite a few more interesting and unique plots than the first supplement. From escorting a gambler possibly over his head or delivering bananas to a religious ceremony to escorting a rock star that could have a secret life or filling in for local system defense while the main defense system of the planet is under repair, this sequel does it again and more.

From page # 2:“Some of these plots, as presented, are intended to take place on worlds in the Cascadia subsector… “

The Cascadia subsector will be reviewed in the near future by The Gamer’s Codex, but as the book says, it’s not needed to enjoy these plots. Coupled with that supplement, however, the GM can have several nights of good sci-fi gaming regardless of the system or setting.

In conclusion, at the risk of sounding like I did before when I reviewed the first one, this book has a lot to offer for a GM in search of plots. Whether in Traveller or any other sci-fi setting, this book can provide a lot of adventures for a game group seeking it.

For more details on Gypsy Knights Games and their new RPG Supplement “21 Plots Too” check them out at their website http://www.gypsyknightsgames.com/, and at all of your local game stores.

Codex Rating: 15

21 Plots Too
From: Gypsy Knights Games
Type of Game: RPG Supplement
Written by: John Watts, Wendy Watts, Larry Guffey, Tony Hicks
Cover Art by: Dave Ross
Number of Pages: 26
Game Components Included: One soft back book
Game Components Not Included: Traveller core rulebook, Mongoose Publishing
Retail Price: $10.99 softback, $4.99 PDF (US)
Website: www.gypsyknightsgames.com
Reviewed by: Ron McClung

21 Plots

From: Gypsy Knights Games
Reviewed by: Ron McClung

21 Plots is a new RPG Supplement from Gypsy Knights Games.

Traveller is one of the oldest scif-fi RPGs in the business and I have played it off and on in different incarnations.  I own several of the original smaller books from the 70s, bought at a con auction, and also own the d20 version.  I primarily run science fiction games, and Traveller has always been a good source of inspiration for one shot as well as campaign adventures.  They set the standard for hard science sci-fi RPGs.  Anyone that tries to create a sci-fi RPG usually ends up modeling something after how Traveller did it.

John Watts and his group of friends are diehard Traveller fans and when Mongoose Publishing put out their edition of the classic version, Gypsy Knights Games arose from that group with a whole slew of material for the Traveller fan.  21 Plots is just one small part of the extensive product library.

From page # 2:
“Using the familiar format for Traveller players, this book presents 21 possible plots for the Referee to use with a gaming group.”

Can’t get much more simple than that.  That is exactly what this book is.  Each plot is one pget and has a simple summary of the intro or pull and then a table for possible gimmicks to the plot.  The tables have 6 total possibilities and range from fairly benign to downright sinister and dangerous. A GM should not feel compelled to roll, of course, if he likes a particular choice in the table.

What I like most about these plot lines is the potential for adventure in them.  Many of them are very inspiring.  They can be used as campaign adventures, one-shots or even background events for specific characters that need fleshing out.

One of the plots I liked was in the very beginning.  The party arrives on a planet and it just so happens that one of them bears an uncanny resemblance to a former dictator.  Running with that would last me a good 3 or 4 sessions, bringing in faction after faction that either hates or loves the dictator. Something I really liked is one of the choices in the tables that says that the dictator is in hiding.  This could be rather inconvenient for the dictator who is looking for a chance to rise to power or it could be a way to fake his death.  This speaks to me because I love political intrigue in a game.

Another good plot describes that characters are hired to deliver some supplies to a remote station only to find it deserted.  A very Alien-esque set up that I realize is not very original but I love a good mystery and a good opportunity to freak the players out with something alien.

From the page # 2:
“Like all our products, the main intention of this book is to provide an extra spark to the Referee’s imagination.”

Of course, these plots can be used anywhere, just about.  Although their passion is Traveller, these are written in a way that I can use them in any of the game settings I run.  Traveller is also not known for its over-reliance on supernatural elements so a creative GM can add more gimmicks relating to supernatural elements in their setting, if they so choose.

In conclusion, I am very tempted to take this book and run an entire campaign with just these as the seeds and then make up the rest as I go.  No story arch, just general real life circumstances that occur in a sci-fi setting.  Of course, story arches can easily grow out of these as time goes on.  These kinds of books are always so useful for a GM like me.

For more details on Gypsy Knights Games and their new RPG Supplement “21 Plots” check them out at their website http://www.gypsyknightsgames.com/ and at all of your local game stores.

Codex Rating: 16

21 Plots
From: Gypsy Knights Games
Type of Game: RPG Supplement
Written by: John Watts, Wendy Watts, Larry Guffey, Tony Hicks
Cover Art by: Dave Ross
Number of Pages: 26
Game Components Included: One soft back book
Game Components Not Included: Traveller core rulebook, Mongoose Publishing
Retail Price: $10.99 softback, $4.99 PDF (US)
Website: www.gypsyknightsgames.com

Reviewed by: Ron McClung