Category Archives: Rules

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From the Ashes

From The Ashes is a short supplement for the Cepheus Engine (‘CE’) and the Traveller SRD (‘SRD’) published by Stellagama Publishing written by Omer Golan-Joel. It covers five expansions characters united by the theme of character death and recovering from fatal injuries.

From the Ashes

It firstly adjusts the usual meaning of ‘character death’ within normal play.  If all three physical characteristics are reduced to zero, instead of rolling up a new character, From The Ashes provides straightforward rules for rushing a character to trauma surgery and recovering. But the devil is in the detail: there may be some permanent new  injuries. This can add history to characters – the loss of a limb or eye makes them more interesting.

Secondly there is an adjustment to character generation, replacing the standard injury table which draws upon the definitions carefully established in the first expansion. It makes character injury during generation harsher but with more detail.

The supplement then provides for simple optional rules in combat for critical hit bonuses for Effect 6 hits, aligning hits against personnel with hits against vehicles. This does make the game generally more lethal.

Finally, two higher technology solutions to near-death injuries are presented: Cybernetic replacements at TL12, and complete body renewal at TL16. However, both come with possible serious side-effects in the spirit of the trauma rules.

At 15 pages total with 10 pages content, this is a very readable supplement that offers a variety of interesting expansions for characters who suffer from fatal injuries and have one last roll of the dice depending on the TL of their surroundings and the skill of the doctor operating. At the same time, character generation and combat get a bit more fatal. The result can be used by Referees to rescue NPCs from death but now they have one leg, or are blind, bitter and have history with the PCs.

But, of course, the primary aim is for PCs to have options to trade death for the possibility of an interesting set of scars.

The updated Traveller5

Traveller5 has been updated. Almost two years after I got it. Now it is Traveller v5.09. It is almost a 100 pages longer. Lots of mistakes have been corrected. Examples and an index has been added. This makes it a lot better than before.

I know there has been lots of criticism about Traveller5. It looks like Far Future Enterprises has listen to a lot of that criticism. (Except that the book is too big and need to be divided into smaller sections.)

From what I understand, there will be a version 5.1. That is good since there are still a few problems in this (5.09) version. Hydrographics in world-building is one (that I think is very important) and problems with the index is another.

All backers of the Kickstarter project and everyone who has bought it will get a coupon so they can pick it up for free at DriveThruRPG.

Traveller 5
My Traveller 5

Six Guns Lasers – Finally

Look what I got in my mail today. Six Guns Lasers from Terra/Sol Games. A really good book by MJD that is useful for any Traveller Universe.

Six Guns Lasers

I have been waiting for this for a long time. Almost two years since this Kickstarter Project closed. Now it is finally here, and I am very happy.

In this book you find rules for Lasers, accessories for Laser Guns, six Laser Guns described, a short adventure and some other interesting stuff. It is 58 pages. The only problem I have seen so far is that the table of contents is offset by two pages. Not a big problem for an otherwise excellent book.

Update: You can now get it from DriveThruRPG.

Traveller LIFTOFF RPG Crowdfunding

I really want a simple Traveller rule set with lots of pictures so that it would be easier to play Traveller with my son when he gets old enough. Traveller Liftoff may be exactly what I am looking for.

However it looks like this crowdfunding isn’t going to liftoff. 5 days to go and only €2,599 raised of the €100,000 goal. Was the goal too high? Are gamers tired of new Traveller rule sets or just of Traveller crowdfunding projects? Maybe gamers would have prefered if it was on Kickstarter instead of Indiegogo?

Just the rules (Beta-version) can be downloaded for free from 13Mann. I hope they give this another try. Maybe they could skip the box and only make a glossy book and find alternative ways to pay the artists (maybe based on sales). In a few years I will need this.

Patent Trolls in the RPG industry

There is a patent application (by Universal Horizons) on how to move one RPG entity (Character) from one setting or game to another. The claims are quite general and can be applied to almost any existing conversion of RPG entities. This needs to be stopped, or we cannot use cross-genres or make RPGs from/to computer games (without paying fees) anymore.

More information and a link to the patent on the Bedroom Wall Press blog.

Since we have all moved characters, ships and weapons between different rules and settings we know of lots of examples of prior art (that may be used to stop such a patent).

Some examples of prior art include cross-genre games like GURPS or Lords of Creation. Another example is a conversion between Marvel Superheroes RPG and Marvel SAGA.  Another example is conversion from AD&D to D20 3.0. Another is the new Elite RPG based on the Elite computer game.

Examples for Traveller is rules for converting characters, ships, weapons, planets etc. for different rules. A simple example is that a type-A Starport in CT is called a type-V starport in GT. In GURPS Traveller, Chapter-6 is about converting Characters from other Traveller versions (have a look in the preview-PDF if you don’t have that book). Another Traveller example is the CounterStrike rules that converts Traveller Ships to another format usable for large-scale operations.

So this is important for Traveller and other RPGs and there are prior art examples for both Traveller and other RPGs.

When people started complaining and discussing the subject on Universal Horizons facebook page they started removing critical comments. Just like any other evil or malicious company would have.

Trying to patent something like this isn’t a good idea. The RPG community gets quite upset since we have been converting between different systems for ages. We will not let Universal Horizons stop us. Universal Horizons still have a lot of explaining to do… Then they must remove their claims!

Universal Horizons