#RPGThursday – A Dicey Situation: A #TravellerRPG adventure using Cepheus Light (@StellagamaPub) and @TravellerNews dice

THE ROCKYMOUNTAINNAVY BOYS ARE ALL IN on the Traveller role playing game. This past weekend, we played another adventure. Unlike the previous session where I relied upon Gypsy Knights Games 21 Plots for inspiration, this time we riffed off our character and world generation time. We used Cepheus Light (Stellagama Publishing, 2018) as our rules set.

The adventure party, in a Scout ship, was engaged by their enigmatic contact to smuggle high-end luxury goods (handbags in a nod to RMN Mom) to a rich, but vastly overcrowded, planet ruled with an iron fist by a religious dictatorship. Along the way they were approached by the Space Patrol and surreptitiously engaged in espionage, they were double-crossed by a smuggler, they double-crossed the smuggler back, were harassed by the police, had to disarm an improvised explosive device on their ship, knocked heads with smugglers, ran from system defense boats, and dodged fighters.

After the session, both RMN Boys expressed relief that the adventure was over as it was stressful (in a good way). When I asked what part they liked most the answer was the dice. Several times during the game, I took one of my chunky Traveller dice and used it as a countdown timer. For instance, as they went to disarm the bomb, I placed the die heavily on the table.

CLICK!

As they discussed their plan – at some length – I picked up the die, rotated it to the next lower number, and placed it down hard on the table.

CLICK!

The Boys looked up in horror as they realized they really were working against a clock. They tried to disarm the bomb, but failed.

CLICK! The die rotated again.

They eventually disarmed the bomb, but the countdown die would come back again during space combat. They were jumped by a system defense boat during their escape. To show how long they needed before they could safely jump away the countdown die came back out.

CLICK!

“Let’s duke it out! Oh…my little beam laser ain’t so hot….”

CLICK!

“Let’s run away!”

CLICK!

“Uh, we need to do something more. Let’s get the Engineer to goose the engines and try some fancy flying and use Tactics.”

CLICK!

“OK, we got away. That was easy!”

CLICK!

“Where did those fighters come from? Hey, that hurts!”

CLICK!

“JUMP NOW!”

We are having lots of fun and I am sure there are many more adventures ahead. I just hope I can keep up with the RMN Boys and deliver good games.

#InternationalTabletopDay 2019

JUNE 1, 2019 WAS INTERNATIONAL TABLETOP DAY, a day dedicated to tabletop gaming. For the RockyMountainNavy family we didn’t get to do much, but what we did was very enjoyable.

Attack! (Eagle-Griffon Games, 2003) – In one of the best developments this year, a group of neighborhood kids (middle thru high school) has started boardgaming. Today, the Boys took Attack! to play. It’s great to see the RMN Boys and friends getting into boardgaming. Another of our neighbors recently picked up Pandemic (Z-Man Games, 2008) and want to play. We likely will have to host a Game Night sometime this summer.

Operations Shoestring: The Guadalcanal Campaign 1942 (GMT Games, 1990) – While the RMN Boys played Attack! I worked off one of my CSR Challenge games for 2019. More details later.

The feature game of the weekend was another Traveller RPG session using the Cepheus Light rules. The adventurers had to smuggle high-end luxury goods (“Brada handbags”) into a rich, over-populated, religious dictatorship world. Lots of fun was had!

Plotting my #TravellerRPG renaissance (with shout outs to @GKGames, @moontoadpub, @StellagamaPub, & @TravellerNews)

ONCE AGAIN, WE PLAYED THE TRAVELLER RPG for our weekly Family Game Night. Actually, that’s not strictly true. Well, it is and isn’t:

For the adventure I literally opened 21 Plots to a random page. In this case it was 19 – Ghost Station. I had the RMN Boys make each make series of random rolls which directed me to the second plot line. Then we were off.

Like before we played with very lite rules. Once again, the entire adventure took place “in the theater of the mind” with minimal mapping and no tokens or character minis. It helped that there was a thunderstorm in the area during the session and I was able to take advantage of a few “jump scares” caused by close thunder to use in the game.

The funniest moment of the game had to be when the adventurers made entry into the darkened command center. As the doors slide aside, the first character charged in – and tripped over a body he didn’t see on the floor. Going down hard, the second through the door reacted by blindly firing into the room. Several rounds (and dangerous ricochets) later the team calmed down and discovered a very-dead mechanic on the floor of the still-darkened, and now slightly damaged, command center. Most frightening, the body was purple! Fearing an alien infestation (the station was deserted, what else could it be?), they “ensured” the body was really dead. Later, they would be asked by the Space Patrol if they had any idea how the purple-blooded Igellian (a race known for weak hearts from a low gravity planet in the next sector…info discoverable if they had bothered to use their medical skill) was shot. Shrugged shoulders was all they could offer.

We aren’t really using a true Classic Traveller Third Imperium setting but I draw upon parts of it as needed. That setting helps frame many of the in-universe limitations and norms which the RMN Boys are discovering (or we are incorporating) as we go. This was especially true as our session wrapped up and we found we still had some time. We took advantage of this extra opportunity to expand the sector map that we started before. I let each RMN Boy do the die rolling as I used the tables and recorded. We made several planets and some are very interesting:

  • An over-populated, high-tech, rich religious dictatorship in an Amber Zone (the RMN Boys immediately nicknamed this planet ‘Kool-Aid’)
  • An uninhabited planet with a deadly atmosphere and a gas giant in the system (perfect for a pirate base or a secret government research facility…maybe?)
  • A low-tech agricultural planet with a small technocracy (scientific research but why low tech?)
  • An agricultural water world (aquaculture?) with low population but sitting just next to that overcrowded, and very hungry, Amber Zone religious dictatorship.

At first the RMN Boys were not too impressed with a few planets (like the uninhabited one) but when I started musing out loud about the possibilities they got very interested, if not a bit worried.

I am really enjoying – and appreciating – the ability for so many different products to come together and be used to help create our setting. I don’t really know what to call our game except Traveller. The events of the past few weeks have taught me that Traveller is not so much a set of rules or a setting, but more an approach to the way we play an RPG. This is very much how I played Traveller back in the days of Marc Miller’s (@TravellerNews) then-GDW (and now Far Future Enterprises‘) Little Black Books. In many ways that is what I think is my Traveller Renaissance – playing a sci-fi RPG in a wide-open setting defined by us.

The original Traveller Little Black Books – mine are much more worn but no-less treasured

Feature image Gypsy Knights Games

#RPG #Gamenight with Cepheus Engine: Faster than Light (Stellagama Publishing) #CepheusEngine #TravellerRPG

THE ROCKYMOUNTAINNAVY BOYS know that I am a long-time Traveller RPG player. Even so, we had never played a real game of Traveller or its newer incarnation, Cepheus Engine. Instead we tried Fantasy Flight Games Star Wars: Edge of the Empire. We had a few good games but over the past two years we kinda dropped RPGs in favor of boardgames and wargames. That changed this weekend.

Like I said, the RMN Boys (Youngest RMN in particular) had been hounding me for a Traveller RPG session so this week I printed out the latest free version of Cepheus Engine: Faster than Light. This is a free, uber-lightweight set of rules that has the bare essentials to play.

Quick to learn – quick to play. And oh-boy was it fun!

While dinner was on the BBQ we started rolling up characters. I stepped the Boys through the tables and each quickly had three characters (of course, each one had one that died – welcome to Traveller). After dinner we rolled up three planets and we started adventuring.

Middle RMN Boy had an ex-Marine with Heavy Weapons and Demolitions skills. During chargen I joked that the guy was probably near-deaf. Middle RMN adopted this thought and ran with it. Youngest RMN Boy was an ex-Navy type that was socially inept, low Strength, but with high Dexterity and skilled with Tactics-3. We started the session in media res with the adventurers on a mission to covertly plant explosives in a mining colony ripe for revolution.

Unlike other RPGs I played with the RMN Boys, we did this game almost entirely in The Theater of the Mind; no maps or minis or tokens or the like. The Boys had their character sheets, I had some notes on the planets, the rule book, and some scratch paper. Oh yeah, and some dice.

I randomly determined it would take two beats to get to the area to plant the charges. The Boys had to get past a Goon Squad, which they did, but also drew a bit of suspicion to themselves. As they were planting the explosives the Goon Squad showed up and interrupted them.

I ruled that the demolitions were not set so they would have to hold off the goons and finish the task. As the goons tried to pile through the door Youngest RMN held them off. Although there were four goons, three had Stun Batons and one a shotgun (and he was last in line – again randomly determined). First round saw one goon go down and the others hesitate…but Middle RMN fumbled his roll for the final setting of the explosives and needed more time! Youngest RMN was able to roll well and take down another goon who just happened to fall backwards into the shotgun goon messing up his entry. By now the demo charges were set and Middle RMN was able to assist in dispatching the last of the goons. Getting out past alerted security was a bit of a challenge but the Boys were innovative. When running into a crowd that they were not sure was friendly, Youngest RMN used his Leadership skill to shout at them in his best parade ground manner to “make way!” It worked and the crowd parted to let the adventurers march through untouched.

The entire adventure took about 90 minutes to play and I have to admit it has been a long time since we laughed so hard together. Even RockyMountainNavy Mom showed up to see what all the commotion was about. Youngest RMN declared it his best RPG session-ever and Middle RMN heartily agreed.

After we finished, I found one of my favorite scenes from the original Italian Job movie that I thought captured the characters of the two Boys.

I gave the Boys the Faster than Light rule book and they are going to work up a wider selection of characters. For myself, I think I am going to step up to Cepheus Light for the ruleset. It certainly looks like an RPG session will have to enter into the weekly Game Night rotation for the summer.

It’s going to be so-worth it!

The costs of the #wargame #boardgame hobby

Looks like the hobby boardgame and wargame industry could be hit by tariffs on games and parts made in China. Dependably, hobby gamers on BoardGameGeek and Twitter are all abuzz.

“A 25% tariff is going to make games unaffordable!” Maybe. Roger Miller, President of Revolution Games points out:

Its a tariff on the production cost of games, not the list price. Production as a percentage of list price is usually between 12%-20%. So an increase in total price of 5% would cover the entire tariff.

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2204314/lot-games-are-going-get-more-expensive

A 5% increase in game prices is not great, but it’s not the end of the world either.

Other BGG users are lamenting the “inevitable” decrease in quality by not printing in China:

I have had several publishers tell me that they can’t get the quality as good printing in the US as they get printing in China. I don’t know whether that’s true of all types of games or just the games those designers publish. But it’s a mistake to assume the only reason to print in China is price. It’s possible that tariffs could lead to quality dropping as more games are printed in the US.

BGG User Eric Brocius

I think Uwe Eickert of @AcademyGames might have a different opinion:

“…and today we are going to talk about quality issues we are seeing from China.”

Fortunately, I have options. The US-based print-on-demand publishing model of Hollandspiele (@Hollandspiele) is looking mighty appealing right now. Games like Brave Little Belgium (in the header image) are quite likely going to bubble to the top of the purchase queue….

All this drama is going to have to play out. To me, the bottom line is that I will likely have to pay more for games. The question is, “how much?” I believe the increase “should” be less than 25% but I am not sure many companies in the very cottage-like boardgame industry are prepared. So I expect prices to go up by at least 25% and maybe more.

Yes, this means I will have to get pickier on what I buy. But…if companies want to keep chasing my wallet they need to be diligent about controlling their costs and only passing on to me what is fair and proper. To be clear – I am perfectly willing to pay a premium price for a good game; I am not willing to pay premium dollars to a company unable to control their cost AND quality. Just because you can’t control YOUR costs doesn’t mean I automatically accept you passing that problem to ME (close to what I used to hear in the military, “Your stupidity is NOT my emergency!”).

Hey, here’s and idea! Let’s play the games we already got! Maybe tariffs will slow down the spread of the Cult of the New or be the antidote to the viral Fear of Missing Out. For myself I am behind on my 2019 challenges to play all the Charles S. Roberts and Golden Geek and Origins Award winners I have in my collection. That’s over 50 games to play this year! Or maybe I go ahead and pull the trigger on Scythe: The Rise of Fenris and start a campaign. Or I get the latest FREE Cepheus Engine: Faster than Light rules and start that RPG campaign the RockyMountainNavy Boys have been hounding me about.

If anything, I probably need to invest in those expansions or published-but-unpurchased games NOW before people slow down buying “new” games and turn their dollars towards that segment of the market and drive prices up. That’s what I’m going to tell Mrs. RockyMountainNavy to explain the bills. It’s sure to work….


Feature image Brave Little Belgium from Hollandspiele. A “towering” figure in the hobby boardgame industry tried to besmirch this game; don’t “vasel-ate”, just buy it and enjoy a great game!

#RPG Thursday – Kickstarting my thinking about #CORTEX (@sethMVDS, 2019?)

Long ago, that is, in May 2017, I pledged on Kickstarter my support to Cortex Prime: A Multi-Genre Modular Roleplaying Game. The estimated delivery date was April…2018. In the past year I have mostly forgotten about my pledge. In fact, I have mostly forgotten about RPGs in general as my hobby gaming has focused mostly on wargames and then family boardgames. However, the most recent update (March 2019) has stirred my imagination.

I readily admit I am not the usual RPG player. I tend to focus almost exclusively on science-fiction roleplaying and avoid fantasy like plague. I have dabbled a bit in modern RPGs and steampunk or similar settings but true sci-fi is where my heart is.

Over the years, I have also come to pay much more attention to game mechanics; in some ways mechanics wins out over settings for me. Thus, as I skimmed through the draft CORTEX PRIME GAME HANDBOOK I was reminded why I like the core mechanic used in CORTEX PRIME. For every test or contest, you assemble your dice pool and roll against the opposition pool. You choose which two dice will be your total while a third die is the effect die. Rolling a 1 is a spoiler; too many spoilers become a botch!

Like Genesys or Star Wars Roleplaying Game, winning a test or contest allows you to narrate the outcome. This narrative control is very important to me; I don’t want the GM to be the only one talking.

pic1978226_t
Courtesy RPGGeek

I have several played and studied several implementations of the Cortex System. I have seen it evolve from Cortex Classic in Serenity (2005) to Battlestar Galactica (2007) to Cortex Plus used by Smallville (2010) to Marvel Heroic Roleplaying (2012) to Firefly (2014). I have a love for each version (yes, even the soap operatic Smallville can teach aspiring GMs something). But I am ready for the next generation of CORTEX PRIME.

Deep inside, I am asking myself why I am anxious. After all, I have the very similar (and heavily narrative) Genesys, right? It was a bit of a disappointment, yes? At heart, I really enjoy the (somewhat unnarrative) Cepheus Engine RPG and especially The Clement Sector setting. Do I really expect CORTEX PRIME to be different?

Maybe. Hopefully I will find out for sure. This year.


Feature image CORTEX logo courtesy RPGGeek.com

#RPG #Wargaming – #TravellerRPG Tech in #Mayday (GDW, 1978)

pic4387901Mayday (GDW, 1978) won the Charles S. Roberts Award in 1978 for the Best Science-Fiction Board Game. On this snowy weekend in January I played the game as part of my 2019 CSR Wargame Challenge. As a longtime Classic Traveller RPG player and more recent fan of the Cepheus Light: Old-School Rules-Light 2D6-Based Sci-Fi Role-Playing Game it was interesting to see just how Mayday’s take on the Traveller RPG universe was different even back then. The differences in the setting means Mayday is not true to the Traveller RPG universe but makes the game challenging and fun in its own way.

Movement

pic514041Mayday uses a simple vector movement system adapted from Classic Traveller Book 2: Starships. The major setting difference in this case is in the technology used to express Small Craft. In Traveller, small craft are usually propelled by the M-Drive. As described in Traveller 5:

M-Drive: Maneuver is the standard in-system ship drive. It interacts with gravity sources to produce vector movement. It requires a separate power plant. (T5 p. 323)

Power plants in turn are usually fueled for for two weeks. For the purposes of a Mayday scenario this means a ship has unlimited maneuverability. However, in Mayday the Small Craft found on p. 13 are rated in terms of G Level; the maximum acceleration in a movement phase and the total acceleration allowed. For example, the classic Fighter is rated “4G12” which means it can burn up to a maximum 4G in a movement phase but can only make a total of 12G of vector changes before it is out of fuel. In Traveller 5 terms this looks like the Fighter is equipped with Rockets (“Chemical fuels combine in an exothermic reaction in a combustion chamber to produce thrust. Rockets are high volume fuel users”). Rockets are the lowest-Tech Level drives represented in the Traveller/Cepheus Engine rules – and even then in certain setting-specific versions (like Orbital 2100).

The implication of this technology limit for Small Craft means maneuver must be a carefully considered choice. This makes Mayday a much more interesting game with a bit of resource management.

Laser Fire

In Mayday there is only one energy weapon, the Laser. This single Mayday weapon covers all the energy weapons found in Traveller/Cepheus Engine; Pulse Laser, Beam Laser, Particle Beam, Plasma Beam, Fusion Beam. This simplification may be in part because Mayday does not use any armor on ships. In this game, ships are small and fragile.

Ordnance Launch

Surprisingly, Mayday has a complete section on building customized missiles. Players can design missiles with different guidance packages, propulsion options, warheads, and fuel. This is far more in depth than what is found in Traveller/Cepheus Engine where there are three classes of missiles; Regular Missiles, Smart Missiles, and Nuclear Missiles.

Computer Programming

beowulfii
biomassart.wordpress.com

Many people criticize the computer rules in the Traveller universe as “wrong.” After all, in this day of iPads and miniaturized computing, how come shipboard computers are rated in terms of displacement tons (13.5 to 14 cubic meters depending on the rules version used). In Mayday, like Classic Traveller, computers are rated in terms of CPU and Storage. The CPU rating is how many programs the computer can run simultaneously while Storage is the number of programs that are “loaded” in the computer. This leads to challenging game decisions. When flying my little Free Trader running a Model/1 computer (CPU 2 / Storage 4) I need make sure the right programs are in memory to be used during the turn. I may have the right program on hand, but my computer is too small to keep everything loaded and ready. Larger military ships like the Destroyer with a Model/2 bis (CPU 6 / Storage 6) don’t have as many constraints (and access to many more advanced programs too).

Although Mayday is not “true” to the commonly accepted Classic Traveller/Cepheus Engine rules the differences make for a more interesting game. Incredibly, it’s all because of the technology chosen.

#RPGThursday – SOLO (Zozer Games, 2017) & Cepheus Light (Stellagama Publishing, 2018)

“Jerks.”

Vase had said it under his breathe, but it came through Rand’s earpiece clearly. “Yes, jerks,” he thought. This was supposed to be a friendly meeting. Now he and Tercel were trying to ease their way out of the dive bar before anyone noticed that their “friend” was bleeding from a small dart wound in the forehead. Rand had heard the sharp whistle of the dart pass his ear at the same time the small hole opened. Fortunately, the contact had already passed the small package over to Tercel. Now they just had to get back to the ship. And off planet. And past the space patrol.

And it was only Tooday.

pic3458792_mdTaking my intrepid Cepheus Light adventures, I opened up SOLO: Solo RPG Campaigns for the Cepheus Engine (Zozer Games, 2017) to try to get my adventure going. SOLO starts in Media Res and the random roll set up the situation as above. It was a good, if somewhat predictable, “trope-ish” start to the campaign.

The SOLO rules also give some focus to character relationships. I had already started to explore these aspects, with the differences in “opinion” between Rand and Tercel. Now I have a few more relationships and motivations to play off of. Like, why does Rand owe that Crime Lord so much? Hmm….

To support the campaign, I need a subsector map. Using the rules in Cepheus Light, I rolled up a random subsector with 36 worlds. I am now in the process of fleshing out the Universal World Profile (UWP) for all those planets. There is at least one computer app out there that could do this for me automatically but there is something special about rolling the dice, watching the profile fill out, and starting to imagine what it means. One of the first planets I rolled up was a Captive Government, which immediately got me wondering, “captive to who?” Another planet? A corporation?  I don’t know, and probably won’t have a better idea until I get the planets within a Jump-2 radius determined. Already the ideas have started to grow….

This is the magic of the Traveller RPG universe; magic that Cepheus Light makes easy and simple to use.

Feature image courtesy spreadshirt.com

#RPG Bright – Character Generation in Cepheus Light (Stellagama Publishing, 2018)

One aspect of “old-school, rules-light, 2D6-based” sci-fi tabletop roleplaying games I really like is character generation. Using a life path system, characters are taken from age 18 to the end of a career. Some may even die is the process (after all, chargen is a game). Last evening I took the new Cepheus Light (Stellagama Publishing, 2018) out for a spin.

Cepheus Light (hereafter CL) uses a very streamlined, basic version of chargen. Unlike some other Cepheus Engine versions there are no stages of youth or schools or single-year resolution. Instead, characters roll for their six characteristics (Strength, Dexterity, Endurance, Intelligence, Education, and Social Standing), determine their Homeworld Skills, and then enter their career. Career development is resolved in 4-year increments (one Term) with Survival, Skills, Advancement, Rank Skills, Aging, and Reenlistment determined. If the character successfully reenlists then they can do another Term or Muster Out to start adventuring.

A few notes on character blocks. Skill levels assume that “Zero-level” are not skilled enough to hold down a job but neither is the character unskilled and penalized in a task related to that skill (CL, p. 11). Recommended Zero-level skills are Athletics, Driving, Grav Vehicle, Gun Combat, Melee Combat, and Zero-G. Skill Level 1 is employable, Skill Level 3 a professional, and Skill Level 5 an expert (CL, p. 30).

In a short evening I randomly rolled up three characters. Let me tell you a bit about them:

Rand Ider Age 38 (5 terms), STR 6, DEX 6, END 11, INT 11, EDU 8, SOC 6. Athletics-0, Computer-1, Driving-0, Gun Combat-3, Gunnery-2, Jack of All Trades-1, Leadership-2, Medicine-1, Melee Combat-0, Piloting-1, Repair-1, Survival-1, Tactics-1, Zero-G-1.

Rand hails from a Frontier World where he learned survival (Survival-1). He enlisted in the Navy where he served five terms and rose to the rank of Commander (Rank 4) with a specialization in Gunnery (vehicle or ship-mounted weapons). In his fifth term, he barely passed his Survival roll and the Aging roll cost him -1 Strength and -1 Endurance. This sounds like he was injured in combat (that same term he got promoted and, in a twist of fate, gained Gun Combat-2 using both the term skill roll and promotion skill roll). Upon mustering out, he also gained +1 Social Standing; more evidence of some sort of combat action award. After mustering out Rand has a bank account of 52,000 credits and a Snub Pistol. He also earns retirement pay (10,000 credits annually).

Tecel Edic Age 30 (3 terms), STR 9, DEX 11, END 10, INT 8, EDU 7, SOC 7. Athletics-0, Driving-0, Engineering-1, Gun Combat-0, Leadership-2, Melee Combat-1, Repair-1, Survival-1, Zero-G-2.

Tecel grew up on an Inhospitable Outpost where he picked up the Zero-G skill. He attempted to enlist in the Marines but was rejected, although the Navy drafted him. He served three terms advancing to the rank of Lieutenant (Rank 2). He is well versed in Zero-G combat and knows his way with melee weapons. Upon mustering out he has 25,000 credits to his name and hold a Middle Passage voucher.

Vase Fre Age 34 (4 terms), STR 12, DEX 6, END 8, INT 8, EDU 7, SOC 4. Athletics-0, Animals-0 (substitute for Driving/Grav Vehicle), Gun Combat-1, Melee Combat-1, Recon-2, Repair-1, Science-1, Survival-3, Watercraft-1.

Vase left a Primitive Backwater planet and became a colonist. After four terms he had risen to the rank of a District Delegate (Rank 2) but sensed he was going nowhere. He was a bit of an outdoor survival nut (Recon-2, Survival-3) and when he mustered out he pocketed 10,000 credits, a Low Passage voucher, and kept a Tech Level 5 Rifle.

So what can I do with these three characters?

I envision that Rand, Tecel, and Vase have joined together into a small, freelance security team that can add muscle to traders operating along the frontier. Rand is the leader and gunslinger, while Tecel is the ship security specialist and Vase provides planetary support. Not all is great amongst the team; Rand is the “war hero” but actually lower than Tecel in social standing. Both have Leadership-2 and Tecel believes he would make the better team lead. Vase, the “simple” backwater planet guy, is definitely the “muscle” but he ain’t stupid either….

Using the CL rule book, I imagine these guys have been hired by a company that has several TL9 400-ton Subsidized Merchants (p. 120) that worry about piracy or planetside shenanigans and needs small “security” force. Next step will be to generate a subsector for adventuring….

Feature image courtesy ianotoole.com.

RockyMountainNavy #RPG Item of the Year for 2018

This is a bonus posting in my series of 2018 “of the Year” posts. This one covers role-playing game (RPG) items. The regular posts cover boardgames, wargames, game expansions, and the last is my Game of the Year. Candidate RPG items are taken from those published and which I acquired in 2018.

My candidates for the RockyMountainNavy RPG Item of the Year in 2018 are:

…and the winner is…

pic4387901
Courtesy RPGGeek

First, a little backstory. In 2018 I lost my RPG-mojo. I used to play around with my Classic Traveller, Cepheus Engine, Traveller 5, The Clement Sector setting, and other Alternate Traveller Universes (Orbital: 2100, HOSTILE, These Stars Are Ours!) all the time. This year I hardly touched them. Even the RockyMountainNavy Boys, lovers of Fantasy Flight Games Star Wars (especially Edge of the Empire) had all-but-stopped messing around with the books. The last major RPG System book I bought was Genesys. My Kickstarter for Cortex Prime: A Multi-Genre Modular Roleplaying Game is “only” about a year overdue.

At one point this year I backed a Kickstarter for a RPG setting that seemed right up my alley. It featured “tense space fighter combat, swaggering pilots, and interplanetary adventure!” However, after reading the preview version I dropped my pledge in disgust because I wanted a GAME, not a political statement. It was part of a trend I see in many parts of the RPG industry and it turns me off. Now, I’m not naive, nor do I desire to avoid the “issues” but I deal with them enough elsewhere and I just don’t want them in my RPG. I want to play RPGs for a bit of escapism, not political activism. It was yet another nail in the coffin of my RPG enthusiasm.

Then I read Alegis Downport’s Cepheus Light Three-Format Review. I liked what I read. I bought a copy for myself. I read though it in one sitting.

Now my RPG-mojo is back!

Omer Golan-Joel and Josh Peters have reignited my interest in RPGs. To use some Traveller 5 definitions, I tend to be a Casual Player (travel, explore, interact, negotiate, combat, etc.) with a heavy dose of world building and System Engineer (explore the universe in detail) thrown in. With Cepheus Light I can get back to making adventures for myself and the RockyMountainNavy Boys. Indeed, using Cepheus Light I may just try to make my own RPG setting based on the wargame Talon from GMT Games.

Feature image from tedlindsey.com. Go look at their work; it’s excellent!