Showing posts with label sci-fi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sci-fi. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Star Trek: Horror and the Old Ones

Somewhere in the Galaxy, the stars are right!

I got the new Modiphius Star Trek game the other day. I am not ready for a review, yet, but there is a lot of great stuff in the game.

It got me thinking about my terrible, horrible idea to mix Trek with the Lovecraftian Mythos and do a horror based Star Trek game.  I talked about this last year with my ship idea, the USS Protector, NCC-3120 and my idea for a Black Star game.



One of my favorite episodes of the TOS was "Catspaw" which naturally had some serious horror themes to it.  It is also notable for two other reasons.  First, it was written by Robert Bloch. Bloch not only wrote "Psycho" he wrote one of my other favorite TOS episodes "Wolf in the Fold".  He was associated with the Mythos circle through writers like  August Derleth and Clark Ashton Smith.  Lovecraft's own character of "Robert Blake" was dedicated to Robert Bloch.  So his connection is as solid as they get.

Catspaw is interesting for another reason.  The main antagonists, Korob and Sylvia, are referred to as "Servants of the Old Ones".  There is no reason to doubt that these Old Ones are not the same as Lovecraft's. The idea of having the Mythos in Star Trek has appeal.  It also is not entirely foreign to Star Trek cannon.

Trek has dipped into horror many times over the last 50 years.  Here are some of the episodes I am using for inspiration.

"Wolf in the Fold" also has strong horror elements and postulates that Jack the Ripper was actually "possessed" by a malign alien intelligence known as "Redjac".  While Jack the Ripper is not Mythos, an alien intelligence is.  It is also one of my favorites too.



"Conspiracy" was one of the few stand-out episodes of the first season of TNG.  It dealt with an alien brain parasite invading the Federation.  It is too bad they never followed up on it more.  Given the time frame I am wanting to play in it is likely I won't be either, but still a great resource.

"The Man Trap" (TOS) scared the crap out of me when I first saw it. Ok, I was 6 or 7, but still.  I love the idea of an enemy that looks like everyone else.

"Schisms". This sixth season TNG episode put the alien abduction scenario to the test with aliens from a "tertiary subspace manifold" or for all intents and purposes, another dimension or universe.

"Night Terrors" from TNG's fourth season shows us what will happen if the crew can't dream.  Personally I wanted to Crusher to be a little more immune to this situation. I am sure she once had to do a 48 hour shift at Starfleet Medical back when she was an intern!

"The Magicks of Megas-tu" from the Animated Series deals with magic and witches. While not the horror implied by the Mythos, there is something to this that helps bring magic and science together.

And really, couldn't the monster from "The Thing" been a wounded Founder?

Dark Elf or Romulan cultist?
Over the years I have developed a few Trek adventures for different versions of the game. But mostly for the FASA version.

"Ghost Ship" was my pastiche of the Flying Dutchman featuring the Enterprise-B (long before I knew it was going to be an Excelsior class ship).
"Citadel of Never" was a similar adventure to a dead ship in a dead star system.
After "Event Horizon" came out I wanted to run a Trek adventure just like it, only replacing the ship with a Romulan one.

I love the idea of a fresh group of new Federation explorers running head first into the horrors of the Mythos.  Maybe they find Azatoth in the center of the galaxy or get a distress call from a planet near Yamil Zacara.

Sounds like a fun Halloween themed session.

Monday, January 2, 2017

2017 A Look Ahead

I like to be optimistic. I like to look forward to things.  So here is my look forward to 2017 and what it might hold for me and the Other Side.

First things first I know my posting frequency is going to take a hit.  I have a lot of projects I need to wrap-up and the only time to do that is blogging time.

Strange Brew is hitting the shelves, both virtual and physical. There is a Pathfinder version, a Castles & Crusades version (that I am really pleased with) and there is talk of a D&D 5 version.  So expect to see more of that here.

Additionally, I am working on the Swords & Wizardry Witch.  There is already a "Lite" version now, I will release "White Box" and "Complete" versions too.  One thing I have not decided on yet is whether or not to include monsters.

Gaming I see Sci-fi games being big in the Brannan House.  We played some Star Trek over New Year's eve and that was a blast.   I got a bunch (all but the 11th Doctor) of the Doctor Who "Doctor" supplements for Christmas, so doing something with that would be great.


Starfinder in on the way and that looks like a lot of fun.  Depending on how it is I *might* update the Sisters of the Aquarian Order for it.  But that is not till later in the year.

I have my fingers in a couple of other projects that are not mine specifically, but I am helping out on.

Having fun with Star Trek.
I also have three books I'd love to get out this year for White Star.  One has been on my "to do" list for 7 years (many different systems).

I am also really looking forward to the new Blue Rose.

So far 2017 is shaping up to be BUSY.

What are YOU most looking forward too?

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

These are the Voyages...

I got my Trek play test materials from +Modiphius Entertainment for the new RPG coming out.
Was going to spend some time with them yesterday but other things like the day job came up.  Though I have managed to print out the rules and will be going over them soon.

Over the summer I mentioned a desire to play some Trek using what ever rules seemed right. Likely White Star, but now I might try a simple training mission using these rules in addition to the official playtest.

Of course I want to use the USS Mystic, NX 3000 that I found here:
http://www.mcfergeson.com/hobbycorner/2015/04/23/the-uss-mystic-a-kitbashed-starship-from-star-trek/



Of course I'd make mine the NCC-3120 USS Protector; an homage to all the ships that inspired it.
I love the idea of those experimental nacelles.

Not to steal too much from Voyager or even Event Horizon, but my basic outline would be that while testing their new Warp-13 capable engines (shout out to the Omega-13 from Galaxy Quest) the USS Protector is transported ...somewhere... and in this section of space the stars are right and there are horrors.

The game would have other technobable details like the curvature of the warp nacelles and how this ship uses triberyllium instead of trilithium in it's warp core.  Maybe it is a design upgrade the Federation got from the Thermians (all from Galaxy Quest). This produces an "asymmetric warp field".  So start off as a regular Trek-like game, and then BAM hit them with the horrors.   Hey, maybe the Theramins are evil. Who knows really.

Since it is based on the Ambassador Class space frame I could put it in the Enterprise C era.
Though if it is an experiment and the prototype in NX 3000 how do I explain the jump to NCC 3120?

No idea.  Maybe the old classic it was a clerical error in the system registry databases.



I have a small Ambassador class Enterprise C at home and I think it is a great looking ship. I just want to do something with it.

In any case I am going to enjoy this. I am ready with the beats and the shouting.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

October Horror Movie Challenge: Splice (2009)

Splice is a movie I have wanted to see for a few years.  It is a basic mad-scientist makes a monster movie with some twists.

There are some interesting twists in this modern Frankenstein tale. Instead of body parts it's DNA. Instead of a horrible, disfigured monster we get Dren which could be considered cute at first.  Also the issue of burgeoning sexuality.  Side note: Why is it that female sexual awareness scares so many people? It is something so deeply ingrained that we are still seeing horror movies about it today.  Hell, that sounds more like a dissertation than a blog post. Maybe I should do that for my next October Challenge; see where this takes me.

Anyway there is/was room for a sequel ala the new Fly movie, but no idea if it ever happened.

The actors in this were quite good.  That sets this a notch above most horror flicks.




2016 Movie tally
Watched: 33
New: 26



Friday, October 28, 2016

October Horror Movie Challenge: Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)

Oh, what to say about this movie. I figured it was timely with all the clown "attacks" being reported.
Of course, I saw this when it came out, but wanted to watch it again with Connor.  He honestly didn't know what to think. But we were both laughing a lot.

Things I noticed/remembered.

Royal Dano as the farmer.  That was either inspired casting or lazy casting.
Suzanne Snyder as Debbie. She also played a "Debbie" in "Weird Science" and was from nearby Park Ridge Illinois.
Christopher Titus is in this movie too.  Wearing glasses I didn't even recognize them.

Though I swear there was a scene where the Dickies were playing in a concert.

A lot of the lines are really on the nose, no pun intended. It's not a great script. The movie is still a silly one.  The Klowns are scary though, but all clowns are scary.



2016 Movie tally
Watched: 28
New: 22


Sunday, October 16, 2016

October Horror Movie Challenge: Under the Skin (2013)

Under the Skin is a 2013 art film with sci-fi and horror overtones.  The film is notable for starring Scarlett Johansson. She spends the first few scenes completely nude and most of the movie with little to no lines.

The movie deals with an alien (ScarJo) who seduces men and lures them to her home in Scotland. Here she strips while walking, having them do same where they slowing disappear into the floor.  Later we see what happens to them.  Their organs are sucked out of their skin leaving only their still living skin.

As the movie (slowly) progresses ScarJo (none of the characters have names) begins to act more and more human.

The movie is very arty and there are some very obvious nods to 2001: A Space Oddeysey.  Of course, there is another movie people have been comparing it too; Lifeforce.  Like Lifeforce this movie features an alien woman walking around, mostly nude, and killing men.  Though the aliens of Lifeforce are mostly vampires (based on Colin Wilson's "The Space Vampires") this alien, as far as I can tell is something different.

There are some genuinely scary moments but not as many as I thought there should be.  


2016 Movie tally
Watched: 17
New: 12


Friday, October 14, 2016

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Black Hole (1979)

The Black Hole is a movie that scared the crap out of me when I first saw it.  Granted I was 10 and it was at a drive-in theater.

I saw it again on VHS about 20 years ago and then again this past weekend with my wife and son.

Connor: "This is boring and not scary at all. I knew the 'robots' were people from the start. He didn't have an materials to make robots."

I have to concur. There are some frightening elements and the story really is a mad scientist in an old, maybe haunted castle.  Even the images of hell make this more horror in space than sci-fi.

The version I watched looked fantastic, but that doesn't make up for some glaring errors in this movie.  I remember back when I was 9 thinking the robots should not have psychic powers and I still think that.


2016 Movie tally
Watched: 15
New: 10


Monday, October 10, 2016

October Horror Movie Challenge: Honeymoon (2014)

I will admit it, I am huge fan of Rose Leslie.  Honeymoon is a creepy little flick about what happens if something replaces someone you know.  It starts out and builds tension with each moment.

Rose is great as Bea, the new bride that may or may not be what she says she is.

The movie supremely creepy and the ending, while not a surprise, was still satisfying in a horror way.

The only thing that would have made this scarier is if it had been a couple celebrating their 10 year wedding anniversary.  Made the "otherness" of one of them seem even more out of whack.

There are moments in the film where Rose's Scottish accent comes out a bit.  But you could almost excuse it since she is supposed to be Canadian (I think) in this.


2016 Movie tally
Watched: 10
New: 9



Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Reviews: Back into the Blue

Today I want to look at two products for the Alpha Blue line by Kort'thalis Publishing and +Venger Satanis; Girls Gone Rogue and Universal Exploits.

Full Disclosure: I received both of these PDFs in trade for a fair review.
Fuller Disclosure: I had already bought Girls Gone Rogue and had it in my review queue anyway.

Full Frontal Disclaimer: These products sit behind an Adult verification wall on OneBookShelf. By clicking, you are giving tacit, if not implicit, consent to see such things.  Don't whine if you see something you don't like.  These are not for the easily offended. 

Ok. So Alpha Blue is Venger's infamous "brothel in Space" source book that also includes a brief system for play.  I reviewed Alpha Blue a while back and I really enjoyed it.  I opted at the time to use this book along with some other Old-School inspired Sci-Fi books including White Star. Keep in mind that Alpha Blue nor these books are overtly compatible with any of those other games, but Venger's system is simple enough and these books are written in such a way that they are easily adapted for use.

Girls Gone Rogue 
Girls Gone Rogue (GGR hereafter) is an 80-page supplement for Alpha Blue.  The book expands on the options and tables found in Alpha Blue. There are additional character options and lots of tables but really sets this book apart, and makes it a must have for AB fans, are the adventures.
If you are a fan of Venger's style of mixing and matching various pop cultural references then these adventures are a real treat. In particular, the mixing of Galaxina and Ilsa She Devil of the S.S. is quite fun really.  Venger obviously grew up on a steady late night Cinemax. Actually, that explains a lot of GGR to be honest.
This one is a bit harder to judge in terms of a game book.  I will say that if you enjoy Alpha Blue, then this is a good buy and will be very useful.  If you don't like Alpha Blue then GGR will be more of the same really.  Though there are a some that would enjoy the adventure seeds for use with other games.

Universal Exploits
Universal Exploits is a 110 page book for Alpha Blue. UE tackles the universe beyond the space station Alpha Blue.  Like Girls Gone Rogue it is an expansion, but it also setting material.  The universe is a big and dangerous place.  Well, dangerous in the same universe that has a space brothel/space station orgy happening.  Or maybe that is just a result of some the horrors going on around them.  There are also some short adventures/scenarios you can use. Again, these are presented system-neutral/system-lite so they can be used for just about anything.
In truth this reads a bit like a collection of Traveller articles, that is if Traveller went really gonzo.  Or, chances are, like many used to run Traveller anyway.
The real treat comes in the form of the special Alpha Blue Character sheets.  Honestly every game should have great looking Character sheets and these are among my favorites.

So. Who should buy these books?
Well it's pretty simple. If you have Alpha Blue or like playing it then these are "must buys".
If you play some other Sci-Fi game and want to add a little "Sleaze" to your "Scum and Villainy" then these are must buys only behind Alpha Blue itself.
If you like lots of pop-culture references, especially ones that are more R or even NC rated, then this is also for you.  But if that is the case you already know this.

Who should avoid this?
Well normally when reviewing a product I stay away from these sorts of discussions.  But in this case, I will say those who are easily offended should not bother.
More to the point with me though is don't go into these books expecting to find a lot of material you can use for other, non-sci-fi, games.  Can I use it with say a Modern game? Sure, but there are a lot of conversions I'd have to do.  Not game mechanics, but style.

Both books are a lot of fun and I am certain I can still find a lot to use here even in my PG and PG-13 rated games.

I do want to mention the cover art.  Both are fantastic and really, really shows what you can do when you put your heart and soul into your games.



Now. If you are like me reading through all of this and referencing back to Alpha Blue and some of Venger's other products you might be wondering "when is Venger going to focus his eldritch eye on 'Heavy Metal'?".

Well while reviewing this Venger sent me a link to his newest Kickstarter.

Trinity of Awesome!


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1575519826/trinity-of-awesome

Looks like a lot of fun.  If it goes the way that Universal Exploits did it will grow into 5-6 adventures.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Star Trek RPGs

Every so often I get the desire to run a short Star Trek-like game.  Assemble a new crew on a new ship and have some adventures.  This goes all the way back to days of playing Star Frontiers.

I might do a couple of one-offs this summer. Not sure yet really. A natural choice, of course, would be Starships & Spacemen but I am still partial to White Star.  I also like the idea of maybe doing my Black Star game.  Maybe mixing in some Realms of Crawling Chaos and Mutant Future for that Cthulhu in Space feel.

But what has really gotten me in the mood is Pintrest.
Weird I know, but I am totally addicted to "pinning" pictures of Starships.

This one grabbed my attention so much that I just HAVE to use it somehow.






It is a "kit-bash" of the Ambassador-class Enterprise C and NSEA Protector.



I rather like it.
Credit to the ship goes here, http://www.mcfergeson.com/hobbycorner/2015/04/23/the-uss-mystic-a-kitbashed-starship-from-star-trek/

Since his ship is the NX-3000 Mystic, I could make mine the NCC-3120 USS Protector.

Hell. I even considered picking up the models on eBay to make my own, but my painting skills are terrible. I could never do it the justice it deserves.

Not to steal too much from Voyager or even Event Horizon, but my basic outline would be that while testing their new Warp-13 capable engines (shout out to the Omega-13 from Galaxy Quest) the USS Protector is transported ...somewhere... and in this section of space the stars are right and there are horrors.

I would add other technobable details like the curvature of the warp nacelles and how this ship uses triberyllium instead of trilithium in it's warp core.  Maybe it is a design upgrade the Federation got from the Thermians.  (All from Galaxy Quest).  So start off as a regular Trek-like game, and then BAM hit them with the horrors.   Hey, maybe the Theramins are evil. Who knows really.

Lots of ideas here.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Starfinder

Paizo has announced "Starfinder", a new Sci-Fi game that is compatible with their Pathfinder game.



http://paizo.com/paizo/blog/v5748dyo5litw?Announcing-the-Starfinder-Roleplaying-Game

http://paizo.com/starfinder/

I am cautiously optimistic.  This could be a lot of fun and I have a ton of d20 compatible Sci-Fi games to play with.  But of course, I have to ask what will this give me that White Star doesn't already do?

Well it looks like I'll have to wait till 2017 to find out.



Friday, May 20, 2016

White Star Traveller

Free Trader Beowulf, this is "The Lady Lilith". We acknowledge your Mayday and have you on long range scan. Our ETA is 2 mins, 37 seconds.  Hold tight Beowulf, help is on the way.

I love White Star.  It's not groundbreaking, or 100% original (Star Wars + D&D), but it is a great representation and it is a ton of fun. +James Spahn did a kick ass job and managed to get me back into Sci-Fi RPGs.

But back in the day our Sci-Fi games were not this:



But this:



There are some things in Traveller that I think of as a "must have" in a sci-fi game. Things like skills, some more psionics, and dying in character creation...wait, maybe not that.

White Star's class system covers broad skills well, but I have not tried to do very granular or specific skills yet.

Plus there are just a lot things in Traveller I just liked that I would love to see added to the White Star.  Maybe this is something I can do for my Black Star game.

There are also some things in Star Frontiers I like too, but that is something more for blog posting I think.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Sisterhood of the Aquarian Order

The Sisterhood of the Aquarian Order



“Our only limits are imagination.”

    - From the Records of the Sisterhood of the Aquarian Order

A new class for the White Star RPG.

The Sisterhood of the Aquarian Order is a class human mystics that have guided humanity towards the stars for centuries untold.

In ancient times when mankind was still battling over feudal lands, the Order was plotting the motions of the planets. When humanity was first using solid fuel rockets the Order was projecting their consciousness beyond our solar system into the stars.  When humans first set foot on alien words, the Order already knew the songs of these Aliens. Now that humans have taken their rightful place among the stars the Order does what it can to keep humanity moving forward.  To what future, only they know.  They believe that humanity is on the cusp of a new consciousness and a new age.

This book includes:
  • The Sisters of the Aquarian Order Class for White Star
  • Psychic Powers and Rituals of the Order
  • New Equipment and space ships
  • Advice for using the Sisters in your games
Details on the Capricorn Heresies and the future of the Order.

Now available in both PDF and Print!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Planetary Profile: Gaia

>Galatic Data Network...Accessing.
>Begin Database transmission.
>Planetary database connection enabled.
>
>Ready...
>$ Information request: Gaia
>Accessing...
>
Planetary Data File: Gaia
Name: Gaia  (Ouranos 2)
Class: M. Rocky with nickel-iron core
Satellite: Phoebe (natural)
Semi-major axis: 85,114,187 mi
Orbital Period: 258 planetary days (300 galactic standard days)
Rotational Period: 20.95 hours (20 galactic standard hours)
Mean radius: 3,645 mi
Gravity: 1.176 g
Geography: 75% land, 24% water, 1% polar ice
Mean Surface Temperature: 65 degrees F
Atmosphere: 75% nitrogen (N2), 23% oxygen (O2), 0.9% argon, 0.5% helium, (He), 0.04% carbon dioxide (CO2), 0.02% water vapor (H20) 1.3% other gases.
Government: Planetary Hierarchal Theocracy
Leader: “Her Gracious and Wise Eternal Mother, Cassiopeia CXIV, the 1,153rd Mother Eternal”


The Sisterhood of the Aquarian Order make their home on the small, but lush green planet of Gaia.  No one but members of the Sisterhood are allowed on the planet surface.  This is one of their most inviolate laws.  Scattered across the surface of the Planet are their 40,000 temples, also known as a Priory. Each is controlled by an Prioress, an 8th level or higher Sister.  Forty temples  are controlled by an Abbess. Ten Abbesses report one of 100 High Priestesses who in turn report to four Hierophants and finally to the Mother Eternal.  The current Mother Eternal is Cassiopeia CXIV, the 1,153rd Mother Eternal.

Each temple can house up to 25 individuals of various degrees.   All are connected by the Gestalt.
Nothing happens on the surface of Gaia that all the Order does not know about.

There are a few “lay-members” on the planet, the so called “little Sisters” that did not pass the trials of the Order.  They provide a number of the support services to the temples.

The one thing the lay-members are not expected to do is physical labor.  Gaia is a fully technologically advanced planet, but their use of much of the technology is limited.  The food is grown on the planet by the members of the Order themselves.  They are a fully self-sustaining agrarian society.  Space ports and meeting areas for off world visitors are all dealt with in their state of the art space station on their moon, Phoebe.  Here Sisters may meet with other species who wish to visit their planet.  Transport to and from the planet is done by space ferry and transmat beams.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Expanding the White Star Universe

It is no secret that I am very fond of +James Spahn's White Star RPG.  So with my proof copies in I just had to take a "family" picture.


Of course I am also a fan of +Matthew Skail's Between Star and Void.



I love how these copies turned out and I'll be making it live soon.



I love all the great DIY products coming out for this.
I don't know or have them all, but there is the White Star Catalog that has most of them released as of November.

I have not tried to be 100% compatible with anything other than White Star, but I have also kept it open enough that you can drop the Aquarian Sisters into most games.  The galaxy should be big, and weird.
For example I have no idea if my Aquarian Sisters work well with the Star Sailors of Star Sailors: The Magical Girl Supplement for White Star RPG.

On that note though, Sisters of the Aquarian Order is 100% Open OGC.  So if you want to use the Aquarian or Capricorn Sisters in your product? By all means go right ahead. You don't even need to ask me.  But if you do let me know! I'd like to see what they do in the hands of other gamers.

So what are your favorite White Star products? Sell me on your favorite!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Dawning of the Age of Aquarius

By some calculations today, January 19th is the day that the Sun enters the constellation of Aquarius.  So it seems like an astronomically good time to make this announcement.

I am proud to announce my next book.  I give to you, The Sisters of the Aquarian Order for the White Star RPG.

(maybe not the final cover, but close)

Coming in February 2016.

This book will detail the Sisterhood of the Aquarian Order from their early, pre-historical roots to the present day and their uncertain future.  It will cover their roles in the White Star game, their goals and motivations, The Capricorn Heresies, and of course, their near-mystical Rituals and the mystery of the Gestalt.  

I hope you all enjoy this as much as I have had working on it.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Mail Call!

Look what came in the mail yesterday!


Hardcovers of White Star from +James Spahn, Between Star & Void by +Matthew Skail and a softcover of the B/X Rogue from +Gavin Norman.

They all look great and since they came in at the same time I am thinking a Plays Well With Others is in order.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Satisfied with Alpha Blue

Alpha Blue is the latest release from Kort'thalis Publishing and +Venger Satanis.

Alpha Blue is a Space Station where the party never ends.  The book is 111 pages (114 if you count covers and extra page). The art is what you would expect from Venger; good and on the creepy side.  Some I *think* I have seen before, but I can't be sure really.  But all of it really comes with a nice vibe of late 70s/early 80s sci-fi cheese.  Basically if you grew up in the 70s and 80s watching any sci-fi you will recognize something here. If you are like me then something you will like.  They layout is clean and easy to read. I also appreciate the color and b/w versions of the character sheet.

The book has a basic system attached to it, mostly, as the author describes to set the tone for a game.  The character generation system actually would well as an additional bit of character information for your standard OSR game.  There is some good material here that can be used for something like White Star or Starships & Spacemen.  Print out your game's regular sheet and an Alpha Blue sheet back to back.

The rest of the book is the reall meat of the book and might not really be most people's cup of tea.  Alpha Blue is a Space Brothel.  The obvious nod here is to the old adult movie The Satisfiers of Alpha Blue.  I will happily admit I have seen and enjoyed the movie.  Actually the movie is an interesting social commentary that all the best sci-fi movies have. But that is for another discussion.

Alpha Blue, the book, is thankfully devoid of social commentary.  I am not trying to say the book is nothing but sleazy encounters, but there is a lot here that can be great setting material...and some sleaze.

I think that Venger missed a good opportunity here to call the game master a "Blue Dungeon Space Master" or a BDSM.  A little awkward? Yeah.  No worse than Dungeon Master I guess.

I mentioned in the past that this premise reminds me of the +Shon Richards' story Pleasure Station Sigma.   The comparison still holds, but there is more to Alpha Blue than just that.

Honestly there are so many hidden gems and easter eggs here that I am still finding them weeks in to reading this game.  Which brings up a point.
The one thing this book lacks, and really could use, is it's own "Appendix N". A collection of late 70s early 80s B and C grade Sci-Fi movies and TV shows.  Off the top of my head I saw influences of Logan's Run, Barbarella (ok 60s), Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek (TOS), Star Wars (the first trilogy only), Doctor Who (explictly mentioned), Galaxina, Cherry 2000, Westworld, Heavy Metal, Weird Science, the Buck Rodgers RV series, the Flash Gordon movie and of course, Satisfyers of Alpha Blue.


There are a lot of random tables in this book too.  Personally I am not a fan of a bunch of random tables, but here it works.  After all this is a space station with a lot going on. Plus it fits not only the Gonzo-Sci-Fi style VS has going here, but also the Gonzo-OSR style all his books have.

Alpha Blue is not for the easily offended.  It is also not really for anyone that did not grow up in the 70s or 80s; too much of the content will be lost on anyone that hears "Starbuck" and thinks coffee or Katee Sackhoff.   There is the right group out there for this book, and for that group it will be a lot of fun.  Some reviews have called this an "adult" title.  Maybe.  Personally I would say it is R-rated at the worst.  Though now I do know how much damage a jelly-double headed dildo will do if used in combat.

ETA: Just learned of the death of David Bowie.  I think some stats for Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane or The Thin White Duke are in order.




The stars look very different today.


Thursday, January 7, 2016

Game of the Year 2015: White Star

For me it really is no contest what last year's biggest and best game was.

It was +James Spahn's White Star.


Not that it is faux-Star Wars in a year of Star Wars (but that helps).
Not that it is a Swords & Wizardry reskinned (but that also helps).

No, it is because it is just so damn fun.  You can tell that James must have been having a great time writing this. It shows in his work.  Plus it is such a good seller on RPGNow and DriveThruRPG others must find it fun as well.

I also give it this nod for all the great supplements that have been coming out for it. You can find some of them in this nifty little guide, The White Star Catalog.

White Star isn't just a cool set of rules, it is also a nice sandbox with some minor assumptions on a game universe.   The best elements are left open for others to play with and develop further.

Between Star & Void is a great example.
This book covers the Star Knights and their enemies, the Void Knights, in greater detail.  +Matthew Skail has done a great job of showing us what both groups of Knights can do.  I came away not so much wanting to run "Jedi" or "Sith" but something more akin to the Green Lantern Corps.  At 109 pages it is a pretty full (101 pages of content) of material for Star Knights and Void Knights.  This book also includes Mystics, Star Pilot, Way Adapt and Alien Star Knight, and of course, Void Knights and an extra special group, the Eclipse Knights.
There are plenty of new Meditations for the Knights and Mystics and new Empowerments for Void Knights.  The Void Knights really kind of steal the show here a bit.  I think everyone loves a  good bad guy.  Though the Star Pilot will get a lot of love in some game groups I am sure.
We also have a chapter on Star Knight Martial Styles and a chapter on Star Sword construction.  They really put the "Tao" in "Way" here.  I have to admit reading this feels just like playing games in the late 70s early 80s when sci-fi was king and everywhere. I had toys from various franchises and freely mixed them all together is a crazy, and mostly incoherent, whole.  But I didn't care, it was fun.
This book is like that.  Not crazy and incoherent, but certainly a lot of fun.
There are some great Appendices here too. There is an alternate Meditation system in Appendix A.
Appendix B includes some "Fantasy Conversions" for Swords & Wizardry, Labyrinth Lord, Adventurer Conqueror King, or higher level White Star games.  This includes higher level Meditations

The art is a mixed lot, but I love the cover.
There are some obvious typos and the text needs some cleaning up here and there, but nothing that impacts readability or use.  There is a lot of fun in this book and I can't wait to try it out.

Even given my long complicated relationship with Sci-Fi RPGs, I think I may have found my game.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...