Category Archives: Other Systems

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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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I’m Back–Let’s talk about gaming!

The last two weeks were pretty relaxing. I managed to recharge my batteries, spend some quality time with my girlfriend, and played a  couple of exciting new games. So without further ado, let’s talk about gaming…

For some reason exciting computer and video games always seem to be released in batches. There are months without anything cool coming out and then suddenly dozens of exciting titles hit the store. In the last weeks I picked up the following video games: Ryse – Son of Rome, Shadow of Mordor, Civilization: Beyond Earth, and last but not least Destiny. I usually don’t talk that much about video games here, but from time to time I make exceptions. Either the games I talk about can be used as inspiration for pen & paper RPGs or they are of a special importance to me. Such is the case with all the games listed above.

imagesLet’s start with Destiny. The multiplayer shooter/action RPG by Bungie has a great art direction and a wonderful setting – even though a lot of the background is just hinted at. For some reason it has a certain Numenera-ish vibe to it, but perhaps that’s just me. If you haven’t done so, you should definitely check out the concept art Bungie has shown off before release – it’s just beautiful! And I am sure there’s more than enough RPG inspiration to be found in the game.

DownloadRyse: Son of Rome is a graphically impressive game, and a pretty impressive combat system which reminds me of the Batman series (Arkham Asylum, Arkham City, etc.). The main reason I’ve picked up the game is the setting. There are not that many third-person action games set in ancient Rome and it’s a lot of fun running around as a Roman soldier slaughtering barbarians. Smiley mit geöffnetem Mund
I am still pretty early in the story, but I like it very much so far. Hmm, perhaps I should eventually run a pen & paper RPG set in Rome one day.

civbeCivilization: Beyond Earth is something I’ve been waiting for a very long time. It’s pretty much a spiritual successor of Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri built on top of the Civilization V engine. A lot of gamers seem not to be particularly happy with the latest installment of the series, but I totally love it. And if you are a science fiction fan like I am, you’ll surely enjoy the vision of the future Firaxis has come up with. And if you are looking for inspiration for a SF campaign, look no further.

Alas I haven’t been able to play Shadow of Mordor for more than a couple of minutes, so I won’t go into much detail here. From what I’ve seen so far, the game is fast-paced and fun, the so-called Nemesis system is a nice touch, and the graphics are not bad on the eyes either.

pic1687157_tAside from computer games I’ve played a couple of boardgames notably 1969 and Battletech. I’ve played Battletech irregularily for the last twenty-two years or so. Recently I picked up the new Introductory Box, which contains a set of high quality plastic miniatures. Even though we haven’t played the game for quite some while, we got back into it pretty quickly and had a blast. One of the scenarios we played was three Inner Sphere ‘mechs (3025 era technology) against one Mad Cat aka Timberwolf. Even though the Inner Sphere ‘mechs had two times the tonnage of the Clan ‘mech, the Inner Sphere guys had no chance. It was still a lot of fun for everyone involved.

pic1364640_tLast but not least let me talk about 1969. According to Boardgamegeek it’s a “push-your-luck style game” in which players are in charge of their nations’ space program. Even though there was some skepticism first, at the end everyone enjoyed the game very much. The rules are pretty easy and a game lasts about an hour. It’s definitely something we could play again on one of our regular pub meetings.

What have you been up to while I was away? Please share your comments below!

M42 Orion Nebula, M43, and NGC 1977 complex

Freebie: Secrets of the Ancients for Traveller

While reading up on the Ancients on various Traveller forums and wikis I discovered that Mongoose Publishing is giving away the whole “Secrets of the Ancients” campaign for free.

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The 202-paged PDF contains an epic campaign that reveals one of the major secrets at the heart of the Third Imperium setting. If you are planning to run a game set into the OTU, you definitely should get a copy of this from the official Mongoose Publishing store. The download is free, you just need to be registered.