Category Archives: News & Reviews

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Loot: More Traveller Stuff

This morning I had three books that I ordered from DriveThruRPG a while ago in the mail. Initially  I tried to order these books from a local shop, but it seems most German and UK distributors don’t have access to most of the Mongoose stuff anymore. I have absolutely no idea, why that’s the case, but that meant I had to rely on DriveThruRPG’s POD service.

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The first book I ordered was the Traveller Core Rulebook. I already own a hardcover version of said book, but I was hoping to get the 2nd printing. But alas for some reason the POD edition is based on the 1st printing. I haven’t checked if the errata has been edited in, but the artwork is definitely from the 1st printing. This means that the PDF you get looks different than the printed book. This is no big deal, but it definitely feels wrong somehow. But overall I am still happy with the book. I like the softcover format more than the hardcover one and the price was reasonable.

The next book was Supplement 2: Traders and Gunboats. It contains a plethora of spaceship designs from small civilian ships to large military vessels. Each ship comes with a deckplan and an illustration. Alas some of the illustrations don’t seem to match the deckplans and look pretty nonsensical to me. Luckily this can be easily ignored. For me it’s definitely a must-have book if you plan to run a game in the Original Traveller Universe (OTU).

Last but not least I got a copy of Spinward Encounters, a book containing a large number of adventure hooks and several adventures set into the Spinward Marches. Instead of the other two books it hasn’t been written by Mongoose, but is from Comstar Media. The book is published by Mongoose and uses the Third Imperium cover and backcover design, but the interior doesn’t use the regular Traveller look. To be honest it reminded me more of my Traveller rulebook from the 80s. While the adventure hooks and adventures look interesting enough and will probably fit into everyone’s game easily, I would have preferred a slightly more professional layout. But aside from that minor quibble the book is definitely fine.

Overall the quality of the printing and binding is ok. The only thing that bothers me a bit is that the black text and large black areas in the artwork are pretty shiny. This is something I haven’t noticed in other POD books before.

I am still waiting for my copy of the Spinward Marches book to arrive and I recently got the Spinward Marches map by 13 Mann, which is as awesome as I hoped. So I might post short reviews of these products in the future. So stay tuned.

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My Two Cents on #Gamergate

I actually didn’t want to write about this subject on the blog. But there’s a saying that the evil ones can only prevail if the good guys do nothing. And since I consider myself one of the good guys let me share my thoughts on what currently happens in the larger gaming community.

For the longest time I have tried to avoid the whole affair. I’ve spoken out against ferocious attacks against members of the gaming community before and got a lot of flak for it. It’s also a very complicated issue and even if you have the best intentions not to step on other people’s toes, it’s hard to avoid when things get heated. Oh boy, things are heated, right now.

Let me make one thing perfectly clear: the personal attacks against people like Anita Sarkeesian, Zoe Quinn, Brianna Wu, Felicia Day, and others are NOT OK. Constant harassment, rape threats, death threats, false accusations, releasing other people’s personal info on the internet without their consent, etc. is NOT OK. Under NO circumstance these methods are a valid form of discussion. These are things you just don’t do. The people employing these tactics to silence their opposition are the worst of the worst of the gamer community and still way too numerous.

And don’t try to sell me this bullshit about journalistic ethics. This whole #gamergate thing is about harrassing women. Why there is so much hate in the gaming community against women is beyond me. I have the impression that things are a little better in the roleplaying games community than in the video games community, but I might be wrong. Personally I was always glad to have female players at the game table, and I always tried to make them as comfortable as the male gamers. If you want to live out your immature male sexual power fantasies, please do it elsewhere, there’s no place for such rubbish at my game table.

Is there sexism and misogyny in games? Yes. Is it as bad as some people claim? I don’t think so. But I am open for discussion. Are some – mostly male – members of the gamer community downplaying the actual issue? Yes. There is a real issue here. An issue we should openly discuss. Alas at this moment we’re probably beyond that. The lines are drawn, the trenches are dug, and the term gamer is probably forever tainted with a whiff of misogyny. And we are not really closer to tackling the real issue here.
My sympathies go out to everyone who had to suffer from massive attacks from the #gamergate mob.

One last thing: some people will probably try to attack me because someone I defended in the past has thrown in his lot with the #gamergate movement. I still stand to what I’ve said back then. The accusations against this person have been totally unfounded and he has been subject to very much the same attacks women like Anita Sarkeesian are suffering from right now. I think he’s in the wrong now if he sides with #gamergate, but that doesn’t invalidate anything I’ve said in this post or before.

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First Look: Corporia

imageToday I was contacted by Mark Plemmons, designer of the urban fantasy RPG Corporia. He’s a fan of my blog and wanted me to have a complimentary copy of his game. As an avid collector of RPGs I was more than glad to accept his offer. So I downloaded my copy from DriveThruRPG and checked it out.

My first impression: wow, what a great-looking game! Corporia uses mostly photos for its artwork, which I usually don’t like, but in this case it’s done well – very well. But before I get into details, let me tell you what Corporia is about. It’s an urban fantasy roleplaying game set in “The City”, a metropolis rules by an alliance of mega-corps. One of the leaders of these corporations is CEO Lance Martin, who is actually an reincarnation of Sir Lancelot du Lac. The players are members of an elite supernaturally-powered special ops unit which is owned by the aforementioned Mr. Martin. The players got their powers through a phenomenon known as the Flux, which is also the cause for mutated humans, monsters and other things that go bump in the night.

imageI haven’t dug too deeply into rules or background yet, but what I glanced so far looks very promising. The rules system used doesn’t look to complicated – which is always a plus to me – and the premise of a near-future corporate setting combined with Arthurian legend is pretty brilliant. The game makes use of character archetypes which should make character creation a pretty quick process. The archetypes in the core rules are Badge (employees of private security companies), Hacker (exactly that), Headhunter (employment recruiters and assassins), Journo (reporters, journalists), Knight-Errant (reincarnated medieval knights), Lister (celebrities), Radical (everthing from punks to idealistic college professors), Runner (professional couriers, traceurs), Sorcerer (your regular 21st century spellcaster), Suit (corporate execs), Thinker (basically all kinds of researchers), Witcher (more traditional spellcasters), and Zero (blue-collar workers who are keeping The City running).

The 211-paged PDF contains everything you need to run a game of Corporia including all the rules, a detailed description of “The City”, a GM section containing Adventures, NPCs you can use as allies or enemies, and an extensive index. Overall Corporia looks pretty exciting. At the moment I am focused on other games, but I am tempted to give it a thorough read so that I can run it at one of our next RPG pub meetings. If you want to learn more about Corporia, you can check out the publisher’s website. The PDF version is available at DriveThruRPG and sets you back mere $9.99 which is a more than fair price.