Saturday, September 17, 2016

Review of Ships of the Galaxy: Vegas-class Light Freighter

I was kindly given a complimentary copy of Ships of the Galaxy: Vegas-class Light Freighter by Blue Max Studios. Here is my review of this product.

There are literally dozens of sci-fi and space-opera trader-ship designs floating around the Internet, both commercial and fan-made. The Vegas-class Light Freighter does stand out among them. Why? Because unlike the large number of "aircraft-type" trader-ship designs with the engines at their "back wall", the Vegas is a "tail-sitter" - it's engines are under the "floor". The entire ship layout is thus unique among its many competitors, as its deck plans and overall structure are very interesting and a refreshing change.

This book describes a 300-ton trader-ship for the 2d6 Sci-Fi OGL/Cepheus Engine/Mongoose Traveller sci-fi rules. It includes all the regular material - ship stats and deck descriptions. However, it also features an economic analysis of the design showing how it will be profitable when ferrying cargo and passengers even without speculative trade. It also has some very nice "fluff" allegedly written by the "Skipper" - a "professional" stowaway of sorts.

The book features 3D renders of the ship and its nine decks from an isometric POV. It also comes with a booklet providing more traditional top-down 2D deck-plans. The author has obviously made the art and deck-plans with a relatively simple 3D modelling program, and they are not as "slick" as those in other ship-books, but the design itself is, as I have said above, very interesting and would be enjoyable for players to explore.

I have several minor criticisms of this product:

1) The page background sometimes makes the text slightly difficult to read. It is still readable, but a paler background would probably make it better.

2) The table on p.2 - which is repeated in the deckplan booklet - has some irregular alignment of its text.

3) The Asimov quote on p.5 and decks 02 and 00 of the deckplan booklet are slightly pixelated and blurred.

The Bottom Line:
If this was a "regular" trader-ship book with an "aircraft-type" layout, I would have given it a score of 3/5. However, the design's uniqueness and coolness factor warrants a 5/5. Highly recommended for adding some variety to the star-traders of your sci-fi campaign.


Friday, September 16, 2016

Lurian Trailing Cluster - Book 1

Stellagama Publishing is THRILLED to present:

Lurian Trailing Cluster - Book 1

A brand-new setting for Stars Without Number!

The waters of the Deluge have receded.
We have survived.
Now, we must reclaim our birthright: the stars.

The Lurian Trailing Cluster was once a remote frontier, settled by misfits, renegades, and anyone desperate enough for a second chance on a distant world. Now, six centuries after the cataclysmic Deluge wrought untold destruction on civilization, the worlds of the Cluster are clawing their way back into space. But among the untold riches to be found in the heavens lie dangers too terrible to contemplate. Only the bravest and boldest adventurers can possibly survive the trials that await humanity in the stars.

The Lurian Trailing Cluster Book 1 is a science fiction setting designed for Stars Without Number, by Sine Nomine Publishing. In this product, you will find a brief history of the Cluster, as well as summaries for all fourteen of its worlds, faction data, and star maps. Three worlds are given fully detailed write-ups, including system and planetary data, trade tables, maps, and societal histories.

Get it HERE!

Two more books in the works! Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Cepheus Engine - my go-to sci-fi ruleset

I have decided to completely move to the Cepheus Engine as my go-to sci-fi ruleset, replacing Mongoose/Classic Traveller. Stellagama Publishing will, of course, also publish material for Stars Without Number - and we are now working on some seriously cool stuff for it -  but personally I now use the Cepheus rules. I will move Hard Space from Classic Traveller to the Cepheus Engine; we are writing (the commercial) Visions of Empire setting for the Cepheus Engine as well.

Why the change? The main reason is that of copyright and licensing. The current (second) edition of Mongoose Traveller has a closed "Community Content" license onDriveThruRPG. This license is quite nice for fans who wish to write material for the Official Traveller Universe (OTU) and even earn some money from them. However, it is very problematic for third-party publishers, such as Stellagama Publishing, to market materials through for various legal and technical reasons. Classic Traveller - an excellent ruleset - requires an individual license to publish for if you want to write anything commercial. There are the open (OGL) 2d6 sci-fi SRD rules, related to the first edition of Mongoose Traveller, but they are incomplete as a ruleset.

The Cepheus Engine is thus a good compromise. It is quite similar to Traveller in terms of flavor and rules, yet it is completely open-content. This means that we can publish sci-fi material in the flavor we all know and love without stepping on anyone's Intellectual Property toes and without requiring any individual license as Cepheus is under the Open Game License (OGL). The rules are complete and very good - perfect for sci-fi gaming and better still for sci-fi publishing. Check them out!

On a side note, I now have the perfect mapping data and the perfect map for Hard Space... Sold by Stellagama Publishing! This is one of the products I am very proud of, by the way.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Near Space Poster Maps - now in Print!

The Near Space hexagon-based poster star-maps are now available for order from Zazzle! High-res, high-quality 2D maps of the space and stars around Sol ready for your near-Terra sci-fi RPG needs! Based on actual, up-to-date stellar data which was abstracted and "flattened" for gaming ease.

There are two versions available - one in full color, the other with a white background for easy Referee's scribbling and notation.

Get them from OUR ZAZZLE STORE.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Near Space

Stellagama Publishing proudly presents: Near Space!

The area of space surrounding Sol warrants a proper sci-fi role-playing game adaptation. Indeed, many games adopted the region, either as a two-dimensional abstraction or as some representation of the real three-dimensional space. However, currently, there is little in the way of an up-to-date, concrete star-maps of Sol's immediate neighborhood for the various OSR sci-fi RPGs, such as the Cepheus Engine, 2d6 sci-fi games, and several other games utilizing a two-dimensional hexagon star-map. This product comes to remedy this issue.

This product provides a full Sol-centered, hexagon-based star-map, 20 parsecs by 16 parsecs in size - a "Quadrant" if you will. Additionally, it provides full Cepheus Engine (and 2d6 sci-fi SRD) data for the "main world" planets of each and every star involved, ready for you, the Referee, to colonize.

For your convenience, we also provide expanded Temperature rules for the included worlds, fully compatible with the Cepheus Engine rules, as well as a short overview of star spectral types.

We based these maps on real, up-to-date astronomical data, which we have abstracted into a two-dimensional hexagon grid where each hexagon is one parsec in width. We tried to make sure that the system data suits the data we have now – as of the summer of 2016 – about our stellar neighborhood, though abstracted, as noted above, for gaming use.

All maps, UWPs, and rule data in this product are fully open-content, as per the OGL. This means that you may take this data, and even the maps, and directly base your own sci-fi RPG product on them, even include the map or a modified version of it in your product. And yes, this includes commercial products as well!

Get it HERE!