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

 

Interview with John Watts of Gypsy Knight Games

I met John Watts virtually a few years ago when he expressed interest in attending a con I was involved with and running some games there.  He introduced me to his new company, Gypsy Knight Games, and since then he has produced a ton of stuff for the Mongoose Traveller RPG line that has really impressed me.   I thought our readers would be interested in learning about this new company and the brains behind it.

pzopdfgkgcs1e

Hello John.  Welcome to The Gamer’s Codex.  Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions.

Thanks for asking me.

Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.

Well, my name is John Watts and I’m the president of Gypsy Knights Games.  I started Gypsy Knights Games in 2011 and we currently create supplements in support of Mongoose’s version of Traveller.  I’m married to my wonderful wife Wendy and we live with two cats (Felix and Moneypenny). 

How did Gypsy Knights Games form?

It really formed out of the idea that, over the years, we had created a wealth of material that was sitting in our respective homes gathering dust.  Tons of notebooks filled with ideas for worlds, ships, adventures and characters.  We had always talked about trying to get some of it published and we finally decided to take the plunge.

In one of your “About Us” sections, I read that you guys were a gaming club first.  Tell us a little more about that.

Yes, that’s right.  The group first formed over a Traveller game I ran at a hobby store in Chattanooga, TN called “The Royal Tiger” in the early 90s.  It was built around the crew of the merchant ship “Gypsy Rose.”  Over the next few years, as the campaign continued, those characters became the founders of an interstellar polity called “The Gypsy Refuge.”

Those characters were then retired and the campaign became about a group called “The Gypsy Knights.”  These characters were tasked by the older characters (who were now NPCs) to go around the worlds in and around The Refuge righting wrongs and so forth.

Over time, the players themselves began to use the name for the group at large.  By the mid to late 90s, we were going to SF conventions and calling ourselves “The Gypsy Knights.”  So, when it came time to create the company, it seemed only natural to use that name.

What are you most proud of since you started Gypsy Knight Games?

I’m proud of all of our products.  I think each product has gotten better than the last as we’ve gotten more and more experience under our belt.  Our most recent offering, Clement Sector, is our core setting book and we’re very proud of it.

When did you start playing Traveller?

1986.  I had been running Star Frontiers and James Bond 007 (which I still love!) before that. 

What first attracted you to Traveller over other similar games?

It seems funny to say it but the truth is that Traveller had a lot of books out there.  I was 16 years old and it seemed to me that people I knew who were playing Dungeons and Dragons always had a new book to read.  Star Frontiers hadn’t had that kind of support and, when we wanted to get back into space opera from James Bond 007, it seemed important at the time.

Once we began to play, we had the “Official Traveller Universe” in which to play, but we could also create our own worlds and our own setting.  In the early days, we mixed a lot of Star Wars, Star Trek, Heinlein and Niven into our Traveller universe.  As time went on, we left the official background behind and began to work on our own setting.  It was that kind of versatility that kept us using Traveller.

And the rules are quite simple to learn and to teach new players.  Whereas some of the other games out there can be a bit daunting for new players to learn, Traveller is fairly easy to pick up.  That fact allowed us to gain more and more players over the years.

What is in store for Gypsy Knights in the near future?

As I said earlier, we’ve just rolled out our core setting book.  It ties together all of our subsector sourcebooks, colony books, and adventures into one unified setting.  We intend to continue to support that setting with supplements to flesh out the worlds with more detail and with more adventures and campaigns.  While we will be targeting these books to be used with our Clement Sector setting, we feel that a referee will be able to use them with any setting or version of Traveller.

We are partnered with Chronicle City and that partnership will have one of our books, 42 Plots, in game stores near you soon.  We’re hoping to do the same with Clement Sector later in the year. 

In addition, we’ve expanded into two other online shops:  d20pfsrd.com and Paizo’s webstore.  Between those two shops, Chronicle City and Drive-Thru RPG, we hope to give folks lots of options as to where to found our products.

What are your thoughts on Traveller5?  Are you supporting it?

My personal copy hasn’t arrived yet, but I’m told it’s going to be an interesting read.  It looks to be a return to the T4 system which, while it had some flaws, I liked. 

As of right now, we’re sticking with the Mongoose version for our books. 

After going through several of your products and seeing the plethora of products you have, I have to ask … how do you keep it fresh?  Where are all these new ideas coming from?  Years and years of gaming?

That is the answer.  Just speaking for myself, I have notebooks filled with gaming material in my office and in my basement.  My wife has told people that she has manipulated me into starting the company for no other reason than to get my notebooks organized.  There may be an element of truth in that.

Are there other games that Gypsy Knights wants to write for?

We are exploring ideas for Pathfinder and that may be something you see by next year.  We have a basic outline of where we want to go with those products, but so far it is only an outline.

I love superheroes.  So it is probably a safe bet that you’ll see something for one of the superhero lines at some point as well.

I also have a boardgame that is in my brain and really wants to see the light of day.  So that’s a possibility as well.

What other games do you play, if any?

I don’t get to play nearly as much as I would like.  Currently, I have a friend, Alan Mullican, who runs a second edition D&D game at my house on Saturday nights twice a month.  It’s been a lot of fun revisiting some of the old modules.  Oddly enough, after all these years of gaming, I never really played a lot of D&D.  I was either running Traveller or James Bond 007 or playing in someone’s Shadowrun, Cyberpunk, Champions, or Deadlands campaign.  So while most gamers played the classic D&D modules years ago, I’m currently on a trip of discovery with them.

I’ve had a real itch to run a superhero game as well.  If I ever get time for it, I’m going to try to do a Mutants and Masterminds game.  I’ve also been known to dust off the James Bond 007 game and run a one-shot adventure of that on occasion. 

If there is a TV show that most influences you in your gaming, what is it?  Why?

A current TV show?  Not so much.  When Firefly came out, though, we always felt like it had a very similar feel to our Traveller game. 

Over the years, I’ve been inspired by a number of shows.  In particular, Blake’s 7 always had a strong influence on our Traveller game.  I still love that show despite the horrible special effects.

Thanks again for taking the time out to talk with us.  Good luck and good gaming!

Thanks for asking me.  Hopefully, I’ll see you at a convention again soon!

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

Mongoose Traveller

From Mongoose Publishing
By Ron McClung

Mongoose Publishing, through a license with Far Future Enterprises, has released a new version of Traveller with the intent on making it the basis of their new house system for future sci-fi lines. Based on the Classic Traveller (CT) system, the designer Gareth Hanrahan has updated the game for the 21st century RPG market.

The 190-page, hardback book is done in the traditional minimalist black cover. It contains all the basics to create a character complete with characteristics and skills as well as the core system, psionics, equipment, basic vehicles, spacecraft and space combat. At the end are sections on encounters and world creation.

The task resolution system is drawn from the original system, using 2 six-sided dice to roll for everything. The base task difficulty is 8 and the complexity of the task determines the modifiers. Tasks are defined in terms of their modifiers, i.e. very difficult is -4. If the total of skills, dice and modifiers are greater than or equal to 8, the task check is successful. This is the core mechanic the entire system is based on.

For fans of CT, the system is more streamlined and consistent. The designer restructured the subsystems in CT together to create a much easier and intuitive system. To those new to Traveller, it is a system without a lot of flare and complexities. The elegance in the game is its simplicity.

Character generation is very engaging. A character has six statistics called characteristics – Strength, Dexterity, Endurance, Intelligence, Education, and Social Standing – that are rolled with 2 six-sided dice. There are also skills a character gains from his career. The one aspect that is probably one of the more attractive parts of the game is the career system. Based on the CT concept of careers and terms, it creates an encapsulated history of the character as well as gives the character its starting characteristic bonuses, skills, and equipment.

Also included are Psionic Powers and the seventh characteristic, Psionic Strength. Psionic characters have access to talents, which are like skills. To learn talents, one must be trained and make a successful Psionic Strength test. My one complaint related to this is that the character sheet provided does not have a place in which to write psionic powers.

Many of the classic races of Traveller are included. Aside from standard humans, there are the lion-like Aslan, the winged Droyne, the truly alien Hivers, the four-legged K’kree, the canine Vargr, and the noble Zhodani. Another one of the more attractive aspects of Traveller in general is the variety and depth of their races.

What are missing, as any Traveller fans are familiar with, are the details of the game universe. Traveller was originally meant to be a generic sci-fi RPG, so game masters (GMs) can insert their players into any sci-fi subgenre. For Mongoose, the system is intended to be the basis of their new sci-fi RPG line. This will include Traveller-powered versions of Starship Troopers, Strontium Dog, Hammer’s Slammers, and Judge Dredd.

Pro: Simplicity and elegance of the system as well as adaptability to any sci-fi universe.
Con: Cost. The book is $40, and under 200 pages.

Mongoose Traveller
From: Mongoose Publishing
Type of Game: RPG
Written by: Gareth Hanrahan
Contributing Authors: Chris Longhurst, Marc Miller, Loren Wiseman, John Harshman, Frank Chadwick, Darryl Hany.
Game Design by: Marc Miller
Additional Art by: Leonardo Barzio, McLean Kendree, Rich Longmore, Carlos Nunez de Castro Torres, Robin Everett-McGuirl, Travis Liechssenrig
Number of Pages: 188
Game Components Included: One hard back book
Retail Price: $39.95 (US)
Item Number: MGP3800
Number ISBN: 1906103330
Website: www.mongoosepublishing.com
Reviewed by: Ron McClung