Rocketship Empires 36 Reviews

One of the newer RPG settings I have been using is Rocketship Empires 1936 (RsE).  RsE is a “systemless” setting meaning the author intended the supplements to not be tied to particular rules set.

I have four of the products and have different responses to each:

Rocketship Empires 1936 Core Rulebook is the basics of the setting.  A more-than-decent frst effort, it does have some “amateur” issues but is still well worth the price.  The setting is in the late 1930’s in a “tubepunk” era – one that saw the Martians arrive in 1919 and man in space in 1920’s.  In some ways I feel RsE is too ambitious; it tries to be hard scif-fi, pulp fiction, horror, fantasy, steampunk, etc. all in one.

The second product is Gunslinger Betty (GsB).  GsB is a great example of what the RsE setting can be.  It shows how you can take a Mitchell B-25 bomber and make it into a pulp sci-fi rocketship!  Overall, this is the best supplement of the three available.

The third supplement is In Fury Triumphant (IFT).  IFT takes the Spanish Civil War and puts it into space.  Fortunately, the author does more than take a straight renaming of our history but throws in several very realistic/plausible alternates or branches in history.  A worthy supplement for showing the setting, in the end I feel it falls short because it all-but-ignores the Martians.

The fourth supplement is the Rocketship Empires Ship Compendium Vol. 1 (SC1).  SC1 has three parts; “rubber science” descriptions, ship descriptions, and a short story.  The “rubber science” is only mildly interesting to me (hey, its a sci-fi game so I have already bought that handwave of fiction).  The short story is not puply enough for my taste, almost un-RsE in flavor.  The ship descriptions is, like GsB, where the real gems are.  Just how does a Bf-109 look like tricked out with rockets?  Here you can find out!

Overall I have had mixed felling about RsE.  At first, I found it mildly interesting, if for nothing else then the rocketships of pre-WWII.  Lately, I have come to like the setting more since the author has purposely done a systemless setting (i.e. not tied to a particular rules) and I like thinking through new (old?) ship designs and the politics of the (older) day.  In the end, I see much more RsE in the future of my RPG worlds.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s