Friday, August 6, 2021

So, what's new in the upcoming Cepheus Light 2nd Edition?

Art by Jeff Kazmierski

The Second Edition of Cepheus Light is now in its final playtest and editing stages. It is designated for PDF release in September 8th, 2021, and a print release release in September or October 2021 (depending on COVID-19 delays). Both initial releases will be from DriveThruRPG, with a Lulu, and, potentially, an Amazon release later in 2021 or early 2022.

So, what's new in this Second Edition?
  • Skill throws are now modified by Characteristic DMs (modifiers), as in the Cepheus Engine SRD/Core. This also means that target numbers are somewhat higher. This also means better compatibility with the Cepheus Engine SRD/Core.
  • UPP and UWP pseudo-hexadecimal digit strings are now completely optional.
  • Character generation is now less random and more controlled by the players. This is similar to how this is handled in Stellagama Publishing's Non-Random Character Generation booklet, published in January 2021. The random element is retained by Event and Benefit tables, but most of the other elements of character generation permit greater player control.
  • There is no more death in character generation, but serious injury (requiring cybernetic replacement) is very possible. As is spending some time in prison!
  • Damage is now separate from the Characteristics, using Stamina and Lifeblood scores, based on the character's Endurance and Athletics skill, but not modifying the actual Characteristics upon injury.
  • Traits are now included in the core-book, rather than a separate booklet.
  • Cybernetics have been expanded, clarified, and systemized - and mostly moved to TL9 for the benefit of low-tech cyberpunk games! They are also cheaper.
  • There are now rules for building and modifying robots!
  • Vehicle data is presented in a much more readable format.
  • Vehicle-scale weapons are now detailed, for more complex vehicle customization and combat.
  • There are optional rules for simultaneous combat and for armor serving as a to-hit modifier rather than a damage absorber.
  • Characters can now suffer a Mortal Wound in lieu of dying in some cases, and prompt Trauma Surgery can save them.
  • If you die at TL9+, this is not necessarily the end! You can cheat death by (expensive and risky) Cyborg Conversion or "safer" but monstrously expensive TL16 Bio-Reconstruction.
  • Vehicle and starship armor uses a simpler system of a simple weapon class vs. armor type table rather than the old Penetration dice, which were notoriously difficult to balance.
  • "Advantage" in vehicle and starship combat was renamed "Position" to avoid confusion with the Trait-related Advantage mechanic.
  • Psionics are now an integral chapter rather than an appendix, and are expanded.
  • Trade now takes into consideration the world's traffic and travel risk, making goods cheaper on safe, high-traffic core worlds, and expensive on dangerous, low-traffic backwaters. So, if you want to make a profit as a small trader, you should probably try your luck selling goods to the dangerous Frontier!
  • Starship hulls can now reach 10,000 tons rather than 5,000 tons.
  • Starship drives were completely revamped, and are now calculated as a percentage of the ship's tonnage. Jump potential, rather than ship size, is also limited by tech level.
  • Power plants no longer use external fuel (an annual refueling during maintenance keeps your fusion plant running for at least a year). Fuel is used for jumps only.
  • There are now more varied starship weapons, including Main Guns (such as spinal weapons) to crack that 10,000 Massively Armored behemoth!
  • TL16 now permits force shields, both for personnel and starships!
  • The starship encounter chapter was redesigned, now considering system traffic and danger.
  • Animal generation rules were added.
  • There is now a Referee's Advice chapter at the back of the book.