21 Plots: Samaritan

From: Gypsy Knights Games
Reviewed by: Ron McClung

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

I have used Plot seeds from Traveller before, either as inspiration for a one-shot or for a launching of a campaign.  I have not only used them in Traveller, but also Star Frontiers, Shatterzone and Star Wars.  These books are always handy for inspiration and idea farming.  As an obvious follow up to their 21 Plots: Misbehave, this PDF takes you down a more positive path.

I have said before, the best kind of RPG plot is born of some kind of conflict.  But doing good is not always fun but being a Samaritan is a little more than just doing good.  It is doing good after someone or something has done bad, and in that way, the plot can flourish.

From page 4: “ Using a familiar format for Traveller players, this book presents 21 possible plots for the Referee to use with a gaming group.”

21 Plots: Samaritan presents to the game master a wide variety of seeds for an RPG plot.  From helping a young child running from something, to helping the single passenger of a stranded ship with his cargo; from helping a man with his dying son’s last wish to helping find a group of misguided fanatics.  All are well written and inspiring in some way or another, as I have come to expect from Gypsy Knight products.  Each also have six ways to end as presented in a table.  So in truth, you can have well over 120 plotlines.

From page 4:  “ These can be useful not only when planning a short diversion from the main campaign, but also on those occasions where the players go off the anticipated path.”

When I am trying hard to think up a plotline for an adventure or a way to kick off a campaign, if all else fails, I turn to a Plots book.  Gypsy Knights seem to never run out of ideas, despite putting out quality product after quality product.  There are really good plots like True Identity where the players help a guy find the dirt on a corrupt business man and his relations with the local pirates (or do they?).  Or The Messiah of Megara where they players help with a pregnant woman who believes she carries the child of some “prophecy” and it must be born on Megara.  Just with those two, I can see long sessions of adventuring potential.

In conclusion, I always have liked the Gypsy Knights 21 Plot series and this is no different.  There is some greats ideas in this PDF.

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

Codex Rating: 16

Product Summary

21 Plots: Samaritan
From: Gypsy Knights Games
Type of Game: RPG Supplement
Authors: Randy Sutton, John Watts, Curtis Rickman, Vaughn Wright, “Big” Dan Callahan
Artists: Bradley Warnes
Editor: Curtis Rickman
Number of Pages: 46
Website: Www.gypsyknightsgames.com

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Clement Sector Player’s Guide

From: Gypsy Knights Games

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Clement Sector Player’s Guide is a RPG Supplement from Gypsy Knights Games.

The Clement sector setting continues to be supported by the fine group of people at Gypsy Knights and I have been really impressed with this settings resilience as well as the writers’ dedication to the setting.  This supplement is a great example as it expands the Clement Sector for the players, linking the setting book, the core Traveller rulebook and the Career book (also reviewed here).

From page # 9: Jacob McMasters sat in his cargo hauler and waited. It was the nature of his job really. “Hurry up and wait” his grandfather always said harkening back to his time in the Southern Alliance military. It was true, thought Jacob, not only of the military but for those who made deliveries.

This supplement is primarily made up of 4 sections: Character Background Tables, Careers, Character Packages, and New Skill Specialties.  I will cover each section generally.

Character Background Tables is an expansion and consolidation of existing tables from other books to one comprehensive background generator. It includes various tables a player can roll on to generate Origins, Background Skills, and Primary Languages.  It also has tables for events that occur in the character’s Youth, Teen and College Years.

I am big fan of random background generators.  I prefer them primarily because the players I have known tend to be not as invested in the setting as you are, and only become more invested when they feel like their character is a part of it.  Leave it to the players and a lot of times, they come up with something that doesn’t not necessarily mesh with the setting.  Or the background is too short and not enough detail for the GM to explore in a campaign.  However, if you are not a big fan of random generators, there is another option presented in this book (see Character Packages later).

In the Careers sections are a short list of additional careers expanding on those in the Career Companion.  If the Companion wasn’t enough, here is a few more.  These include Celebrity, Free Trader, Sports, and Vagabond.  It also includes an expansion on the System Defense Forces careers – Ground and Wet Navy.  Of course these careers come with all the needed tables and information to use in your Traveller game.

From page # 9: Jacob worked for the Torgent Shipping Company. His job was to take his cargo hauler from Terminal to any ship that was too large to actually dock with Terminal. The ship would come through The Conduit, he would hail them and then, once everything was properly arranged, Jacob would approach the ship. He would attach the cargo onto the back of his boat and haul it back to Terminal. Sure, it wasn’t the most exciting job in Clement Sector but it paid his bills.

Perhaps the largest section in this book is the Character Packages.  This is an alternative to the random background generator.  Instead of rolling up a background, the player may choose from one of the packages. Each package contains a set of specific rules concerning that particular package and the player may choose to enter one career package or a succession of packages.

Contained in these packages are a variety of things that help build a characters background.  It starts with Prerequisites, which the character must fulfill before entering the package.  These Prerequisites may include Age and the character must choose an age at which he enters this package. Following this are the skills obtained from this Package – Base, Primary and Secondary.  And then each Package has money earned.  Done in a similar fashion as the Careers, there are a ton of Packages to choose from.  I am less of a fan of this method because it is less story and more min-maxing.  Given the choice between the two, I would pick story.

The final chapter contains new skill specialties that help customize existing skills to be more fitting to the Clement Sector setting.  Where they thought some skills were too broad, the writers chose to specialize some of them.  For example, Survival has been expanded out to nine different specialties.  Deception has three new specialties – Disguise, Forgery and Intrusion.  Of course, these follow the standard core rules of specialization.

In conclusion, what I like about this is that it helps add story to the character and gives the GM options for more story in his campaign.  It also helps the players get a stronger grasp on the Clement Sector and feel like a part of it.  It does gives more opportunity for min-maxing for those players that tend to do that but with proper oversight by the GM, it can be used properly.

For more details on Gypsy Knights Games and their RPG Supplement “Clement Sector Player’s Guide” check them out at their website http://www.gypsyknightsgames.com/, and at all of your local game stores.

Codex Rating: 17

Product Summary

Clement Sector Player’s Guide
From: Gypsy Knights Games
Type of Game: RPG Supplement
Written by: John Watts
Artists: Bradley Warnes, Ian Stead, Stephanie McAlea
Editor: Curtis Rickman
Number of Pages: 115
Game Components Included: Single PDF book
Game Components Not Included: Core Traveller book, Clement Sector setting book PDF
Website: http://www.gypsyknightsgames.com/

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Dawn Adventures 1: The Subterranean Oceans of Argos Prime

Dawn Adventures 1: The Subterranean Oceans of Argos Prime
From: Gypsy Knights Games
Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Dawn Adventures 1: The Subterranean Oceans of Argos Prime is a new RPG Adventure from Gypsy Knights Games .

The Dawn Subsector is the frontier of the frontier; the fringe of the Clement Sector which has had only a few hundred years to develop.  There is a lot of mystery that surrounds what lies in the Tranquility Sector and any adventure based in it needs to have that feel.  Dawn Adventures 1, as the name implies, is the first adventure based in the new subsector from Gypsy Knights Games.  If adventuring in the politically charged worlds of the Clement Sector is not enough, this is where players go to escape all that and find new ways to adventure.

The adventure starts out with a general overview of the Dawn Subsector and the planet Argos Prime.  Much of this is reprinted from the Dawn Subsector book, containing a lot of scientific data as well as general notes on the culture and politics of the planet.  The more I read into these types of books, the more I wonder how much of it is meaningful to a GM and a role-playing group.  I would imagine that one of the things that turns people off from Traveller in general is the level of detail put into the science of a planet.  Gypsy Knights Games is no different in this.  I can understand why it’s done, but I can also see ways to improve on it.  I would prefer a little about what this data means to me as a GM and how it affects they way I portray the world to the characters.  With a little research, a GM can find out the values of Earth to compare and I highly recommend that.  Comparing those numbers does help, but I think it would also help if more meaning was put into those numbers in the given material.

Argos Prime is an interesting world.  It’s very cold on the surface but has an interesting lower surface beneath the ice in places that humans have exploited and colonized.  These ice “windows” have a very epic feel and gives you an alien sense. There is one city and various small settlements, and a handful of mining corporations that are competing for the resources of Argos Prime.  The players are sent by the Cascadia Colonization Authority (CCA) to help with a new colony survey.  There is a saucer-shaped ship supplied in the material, nicely mapped and stat’ed out.  There are also a good number of pregenerated characters with connections and background at the end of the adventure, perfect for a convention game.

From the website:
“On the fringes of colonized space, settlers struggle on recently discovered worlds for land to call their own.  One such planet is Argos Prime, where the dangers of a new world are in contrast to the world’s unique natural beauty.”

The players set out on behalf of CCA’s ally, L-Limited, to survey several sites on the planet.  A variety of random encounters can happen and these are laid out nicely in encounters tables.  However, these encounters are nothing compared to the epic one that is at the heart of the adventure.  How it is presented is very interesting, making this adventure very re-playable.

The GM has to decide a couple of things before running this adventure.  First off, the epic event is a disaster and without giving too much away, the GM basically has to decide how bad of a disaster is going to happen. A calamity of events occur that causes serious problems on the surface and it is up to the GM to decide how bad things are.  However, many believe this was no accident and the players are hired to investigate.

From the website:
“The crew of CCA-336 have been asked by their superiors in the Cascadia Colonization Authority to go to Argos Prime to survey the world for a possible expansion of the colony.  Can they survive the natural dangers, angry locals, and maneuver through local politics as well?”

Many suspects are available for the players to choose from and there is no single path that the GM has to railroad the players down.  Motivations and alibis are given, but it is up to the GM to formulate what exactly happened.  The GM has a lot of creative motives to choose from and it can make for a very interesting adventure in so many different ways.

In conclusion, this is one of the more well-written adventures Gypsy Knights Games has put out and I admire the innovativeness.  It does have that frontier feel to it that I was hoping for and it also has a certain level of epic-ness that is sometimes lacking in Traveller adventures.

For more details on Gypsy Knights Games and their new RPG AdventureDawn Adventures 1: The Subterranean Oceans of Argos Prime” check them out at their website http://www.gypsyknightsgames.com/.

Codex Rating: 16

Product Summary

Dawn Adventures 1: The Subterranean Oceans of Argos Prime
From: Gypsy Knights Games
Type of Game: RPG Adventure
Written by: George Ebersole
Editted by: Curtis Rickman
Art by: Ian Stead, John Watts
Number of Pages: 53
Game Components Included: One PDF
Game Components Not Included: Core Traveller book, Core Clement Sector setting books
Retail Price: $5.99 (US)
Website: http://www.gypsyknightsgames.com/

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

 

Career Companion, A Clement Sector Sourcebook

Career Companion, A Clement Sector Sourcebook
From: Gypsy Knights Games
Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Career Companion, A Clement Sector Sourcebook is a new RPG Supplement from Gypsy Knights Games.

Even with the new incarnation of Traveller published by Mongoose in 2008, players of the game never really had options to truly flesh out their characters.  There was no real character advancement system in Mongoose Traveller and the careers seemed cookie cutter, in many ways.  It gets even more difficult if you design your own setting, like the Clement sector as many of the careers have to be re-tooled to apply.

Career Companion supplements many of the core rules of Traveller and enhances others.  There are three main sections to the book – one primarily focusing on various options and rules including Uplifts, Altrants, Aging and Wealth, a second that focuses on Career tracks and a third that introduces a character advancement system.

From the website:
“The Career Companion expands the already rich Clement Sector setting with addition of several new elements such as uplifts and altrants.”

For those that unaware, in Traveller there is a concept called Uplifts.  These are genetically and/or cybernetically enhanced animals brought up to a higher than normal intelligence level.  Commonly, dolphins and apes are uplifted, and these both are described in these pages.  Additionally, bear uplifts are described.  Interestingly, they also add in uplifted alien creatures from various other worlds in the Clement sector – Yeti and Kraken.  Game stats are given for those that wish to play these as characters although they should be played by experienced players, as most are not at the level of human intelligence.

Similarly, Altrants are genetically enhanced humans, what other settings might call transhumans.  This setting takes a simple and realistic approach to the concept, presenting four types of altrants that are common to the Clement Sector – Gaishan (low gravity adapted), Oskars (high gravity adapted), Aquans (aquatically adapted), and Sniffers (harsh atmosphere adapted).  It leaves a lot of room for the players or GM to create others, giving you a good baseline in the examples presented.  This opens up a wide variety of possibilities.

From the website:
“Need an uplifted dolphin to interact with your characters?  Perhaps a human altered to handle toxic environments?  Now you have the tools to include them in your Clement Sector adventures or even allow one of your players to create an altrant or uplift character.”

Aging is usually used in an RPG setting for characters that choose to be old or young.  Rarely is it used in a span of a campaign because most don’t last long enough for a character to significantly age.  I can only imagine that happening in a case where the GM advances the timeline of the campaign between chapters, intentionally, and even in that case, players may choose to simply make new characters.

However, due to technologies available in the Clement Sector setting, aging is significantly different.  Life extending drugs and tech have changed not only the physical lifespan of humanity but also many cultural norms.  Humanity in the Clement Sector is living as long as 250 years , and this section briefly covers the various effects that this has on society.  People have their real age and apparent age now.  A character might appear in his 40s but his actual age might be 190 or more.  There is a lot of thought provoking aspects in this section and it is a good read.

One of the major areas that Clement sector differs from the default Traveller setting is that it’s not a huge expansive stellar empire and does not have an established nobility structure built in.  The Social stat was used in Traveller to represent’s one role in that structure.  The social environment in Clement is a lot simpler and fragmented.  However, the Social stat still has some value in this type of setting and this book explains in what ways the players and GM can use it.

Careers help you inject your character deeper into the setting and its many facets, thorugh building up a background of skills and events.  It also helps the reader to get to know the setting through the various events that could happen.  GMs and players alike should read these for inspiration.  There are seven new careers presented here, including National Navy, Spy and Pirate.

The book ends with the character advancement system, which is a very controversial notion in the world of Traveller fandom.  Originally, there was no mechanic to advance a character’s skills or attributes.  Many would say that Traveller characters did not need it and were already experienced at character generation.  However, others would argue that the individual players need a motivation to do the things players do – a means to get better, and a feeling of tangible accomplishment.  A character advancement system is certainly a way to do that.

The system reminds me of the classic d6 System character points method, for those that remember that system.  It is important to note that these rules are optional.  It is a simple system and works well within the existing Traveller mechanics.  It’s not overly complex.  You spend character points gained at the end of adventures to advance skills, buy new ones and advance ability scores.  You also can gain Success Points when you accomplish amazing feats with specifics skills.  Advancement is slow but that is intentional, I think.  It is definitely a workable system for the given core rules.

In conclusion, this is kind of thing that I really enjoy in a sci-fi game setting – options that allow a character to be something more than boring old humans.  I love alien races and monsters in other settings.  And I felt that the Clement Sector setting was one that was lacking in that area.  This really fixes that for me.  They also fix a major hole I felt was lacking in Traveller in general.  This is an essential book for anyone wanting to play in the Clement Sector using Mongoose Traveller rules.

For more details on Gypsy Knights Games and their new RPG SupplementCareer Companion, A Clement Sector Sourcebook” check them out at their website http://www.gypsyknightsgames.com.

Codex Rating: 16

Product Summary

Career Companion, A Clement Sector Sourcebook
From: Gypsy Knights Games
Type of Game: RPG Supplement
Author: John Watts
Artists: Bradley Warnes, Ian Stead
Editor: Curtis Rickman
Number of Pages: 61
Game Components Included: One PDF
Game Components Not Included: Core Traveller books, Clement Sector core books
Retail Price: $6.99 (PDF), $15.99 softback(US)
Website: http://www.gypsyknightsgames.com/

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

The Dawn Colonies

115844The Dawn Colonies
From: Gypsy Knights Games
Reviewed by: Ron McClung

The Dawn Colonies is a new RPG Supplement from Gypsy Knights Games.

I asked John Watts once what TV show he would relate his setting to, I predicted correctly that he feels it was most like Firefly.  In many ways, it really has that feel – the grittiness, and the feeling of being a western in space.  However, at the same time, it addresses a lot of the things that Firefly and the subsequent RPGs ignored – the realism, the vastness of space and the isolation one planet can feel.  It keeps a lot of the adventure local, instead of planet hopping across the universe.  It is that sense that makes it attractive to me.

Expanding out past the Clement Sector, the fine people at Gypsy Knights take you to a new sector of space called the Tranquility Sector, which is located near the Clement Sector and connects to the Cascadia subsector of Clement.  As opposed to Clement, Tranquility is a frontier, where the factions of the Clement sector have moved past their disconnection from Earth and followed their continued desire to human colonize the region.

From the website:
“Four colonies on the edge of the frontier!”

There are four colonies presented in this sourcebook, each less than 50 years old.   They are fairly young as compared to the Clement sector, still struggling and developing to live on their own.  There are also several unexplored systems with simple letter-number designations left for GMs and players to adventure to.

The Cascadia Colonization Authority (an organization from the Clement Sector) was primarily involved in the settling of two of the worlds, Dawn and Tranquility.  Although considered independent worlds, they have considerable ties back to the Cascadian government.  Dawn, the more populous world, is quite literally a frontier farm world, with two major cities and controlled by the Lawson family.  Tranquility is a mining world in the neighboring hex to Dawn and supports a small mining facility.

Argos Prime is an independent world primarily colonized by ethic Slavs and Greeks from Clement.  It is a cold world, with much of surface covered in snow and sea-sized sheets of ice.  The population primarily lives under these sheets of ice and these “ice windows” are also a tourist attraction.

Bicocca is the final and youngest of the new worlds, settled by colonists of Italian descent.  It is seeking out any and all colonists willing to come and is slowly growing as a settled world. Bicocca is an earth-twin that has one small city that houses almost 1300 colonists.  It is a world with a lot of potential for growth and colonization, and that potential is waiting to be tapped by the players.  It is a simple and very welcoming world and a great colony to originate a character from.

In each system entry, a little more detail is given about other worlds in the system.  Sometimes these worlds are uninhabited and are waiting to be explored while others have outposts on them.  But most of the solid bodies in each system are at least mapped out with very attractive full color rendering.

From the website:
“The Dawn Colonies are the only settled worlds in Tranquility Sector.  Located to trailing of Clement Sector, Dawn Subsector is the spearhead of colonization into this new sector.  The last stops before heading into the unknown!”

Following the system descriptions, a short section on making characters from this subsector is presented.  It contains a simple table of backgrounds skills for character from each of the colony worlds.

Key to a “frontier” region of space is the adventuring and encounters.  It is totally different from adventuring within civilized space.  The final pages of the book are dedicated to just that.  It mentions the published adventure series that is also available in PDF but also describes ways that a GM can design adventures and the various ways characters can find it in the Dawn subsector.  Dawn subsector is significantly different from the other subsectors of this line and I am glad they put this in the book to get that point across.  One very good idea is a way that a GM can make the Dawn subsector his or her own: base an entire campaign on the settlement of one single system.  The text gives enough ideas and inspiration for conflicting interests from the Cascadia subsector and the growing criminal elements within Dawn.  A GM could have years of adventuring with just that, with a little work.

The book closes with random encounter tables and stats for various creatures found in this region, enhancing the “frontier” feel just a little further.  Call me petty, but I like to have a picture of the creature along with those stats but I understand that art for that can be expensive.

In conclusion, I wasn’t overly thrilled with the first half of the book when I first got into it, but as I read through it, it got better.  It is not one of Gypsy Knights best works but it does create a new level of potential in the Clement sector setting.  It also can be used in other Traveller settings if a GM so chooses.

For more details on Gypsy Knights Games and their new RPG SupplementThe Dawn Colonies” check them out at their website http://www.gypsyknightsgames.com .

Codex Rating: 12

Product Summary

The Dawn Colonies
From: Gypsy Knights Games
Type of Game: RPG Supplement
Author: John Watts
Cover Art: Fotoila: Algol
Artists: George Ebersole, Ian Stead, kraifreedom, Angela Harburn
Editor: Curtis Rickman
Number of Pages: 50
Game Components Included: One PDF sourcebook
Game Components Not Included: Core Traveller rule books
Retail Price: $6.99 (US)
Website: www.gypsyknightsgames.com  

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

 

Cascadia Adventures 3: Fled

Cascadia Adventures 3: Fled
From
: Gypsy Knights Games
Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Cascadia Adventures 3: Fled is a new RPG Adventure from Gypsy Knights Games.

Cascadia has proven to be a fairly descent hotbed of adventuring with the previous two adventures in this series and this closes it out in similar fashion.  In this adventure, the players have a great opportunity to do something big for the patron throughout the series and be greatly rewarded.  Or if things don’t go well, they could end up with a considerable number of enemies and perhaps be blamed for a terrible crime.

From the website:
“Thousands of credits stolen from the Razz Casino on Chance is just the beginning!”

The adventure starts put very similarly to the others – with their patron, Carrie O’Malley hiring them in her office on Chance.  Much of the text is the same text from the previous adventures.  However, the big change is the stakes.  Ms. O’Malley is hiring the group to chase down someone that robbed her. Unlike the last adventures, this one is personal to O’Malley.

Milton Hawthorne, a member of O’Malley’s security, has stolen a significant amount of money from her and she is angrily seeking him out.  It becomes quite apparent to the characters that O’Malley is not overly concerned for the livelihood of Mr. Hawthorne and this right away may cause some moral dilemmas to the characters.  Are they comfortable with being hired as hired gunmen?  Is that what they got into this business to do?

The party is sent to contact the ex-wife of the culprit and interview her.  This seems like a dead end part of the investigation but as the party finds out, it is definitely not.  She is now married to a prominent political figure on Cascadia, so the party is asked to be discrete and careful.  The last thing O’Malley wants is attention from a powerful political figure.

Clues can be found from contacts on Chance, especially if the pregenerated characters are used.  However, by the third adventure, a party of original characters should have made these contacts on their own.  In the adventure, the party is encouraged to leave as soon as possible, so there is little opportunity for information gathering.

From the website:
“Milton ‘The Monk’ Hawthorne, security officer, has robbed the Razz Casino and fled the system.  Carrie O’Malley, owner of the casino, has hired the crew of MV Dust Runner to locate Hawthorne and recover the stolen money.”

The journey in this adventure takes the party from Chance, to Dimme and then to Cascadia – plenty of opportunity for other side adventures like the ones presented in the 21 Plot series from Gypsy Knights.  Once they reach Cascadia, the investigation delves deep into a political intrigue plot that could end badly.  The GM is encouraged to read up on Cascadia in the Subsector Sourcebook 1: Cascadia to get the full feel of what the world is like.  And then expand on it with your own ideas as the writer always leaves plenty of room for game master customization.

Without giving away the core plotline, the robbery investigation takes an interesting turn and thrusts the party deep in the political culture of the world of Cascadia, capital of the Cascadia sector.  Stringing all three of these adventures together, throwing in a few 21 Plots for side adventures, a GM could give a game group months of gaming.

In conclusion, this is a great ending to the Cascadia adventure series.  There is nothing I like more than political intrigue.  I highly recommend a GM taking all three of these adventures and making them their own.  There may be a ways to even tie them loosely together to create a greater story arch of deeper political meaning to the Cascadia setting.

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

Codex Rating: 17

Product Summary

Cascadia Adventures 3: Fled
From: Gypsy Knights Games
Type of Game: RPG Adventure
Author: John Watts
Cover Art: © BBB3 – Fotolia.com
Interior Art: Steve Attwood / www.digitalwaterfalls.co.uk
Editor: Curtis Rickman
Number of Pages: 47
Game Components Included: One PDF
Game Components Not Included: Core Traveller rulebooks
Retail Price: $4.99 (US)
Website: www.gypsyknightsgames.com

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

 

21 Plots: Misbehave

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Codex Rating: 17

Product Summary

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

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

 

21 Starport Places

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Codex Rating: 16

Product Summary

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

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

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