Category Archives: News, Rants & Reviews

Cepheus Light: Upgraded Thoughts

Who doesn’t love free stuff? Stellagama Publishing is offering up Cepheus Light: Upgraded as a free PDF on DrivethruRPG.

So where does this take my little mind? Well, Cepheus Light is a lighter version of the full Cepheus Engine rules but not any where near as light as Cepheus Quantum games like Barbaric! So why not start with something like Barbaric! and tack on more of the details skills and some other the other mechanics from Cepheus Light plus more tidbits from Sword of Cepheus. I will say this the Quantum games offer much less complex monster stat blocks and thus makes the referee’s life much easier.

And yes. I know Cepheus at its heart is a SciFi RPG and I keep ranting about Barbaric! and Sword of Cepheus. SciFi is sort of my GM blind spot. For some odd reason, I’m just not good at it.

I’m still gaming via VTT’s so anything that is more rules light with quick character generation is the sort of thing that I’m looking for right now. I’m still brainstorming this whole idea which is why I’m posting. I’m sure folks have an opinion out there.

First, Quantum games don’t really have Attribute scores for the characters. This is handled via Skills and Traits. So add Attribute score. Now, working via a VTT (and with gamers who have never played a Cepheus (or it’s progenitors) normal character generation would (IHMO) really bog down. Quantum games just give a pool of Skill points to distribute. Much quicker but there’s a very limited number of skills. So my initial thought is to run with a template approach for skills. Pick this career and boom there you go then use discretionary Skill points for additional terms in a career. I’d limit to only three terms and have something for changing career paths. And just do one big Events Table for anything interesting that could happen.

This is just the kernel of an idea that’s bouncing around inside my head. I don’t how far I’d run with it or maybe change up the whole thing. Just throwing it out there.

The Cthulhu GM’s Nefarious Tentacle

I have no qualms about reviewing an “old” product from DrivethruRPG. Sometimes you can little known gems that never got that much coverage and so here we are with The Cthulhu GM’s Nefarious Tentacle. It’s from 2015 but, heck, it’s also only $2.

So what’s The Cthulhu GM’s Nefarious Tentacle? It’s a short, 17 page, PDF with 25 Random Tables. Sure there’s a few pages taken up licensing, legal stuff, and the good old “also available” ad. First, the whole thing is system neutral. There aren’t any game mechanics here at all. So I’ve no idea why they added the OGL. It’s a plain and pretty simple PDF. Nothing flashy but to the point. I mean the actual words are what you would be using any way.

This is mostly geared to folks who are running a Call of Cthulhu game set anywhere from the the late 19th Century to Modern Day. Sure I have been thinking a lot about CofC recently but that’s not why I picked it up. I’ve also been thinking about weird fantasy too. And in that case, The Cthulhu GM’s Nefarious Tentacle is still useful because many to the tables or the results are also pretty genre neutral as well. And those that do have some sort of modern touch can be easily changed on the fly. Table says “Businessman” change to merchant. Now there are few that just won’t work but that’s still workable depending on the details of your setting.

The random tables use either a d20 or a d12. I’d say for my primary goal to use this for inspirational (or I just need to make up something really quick because the PC’s went off in a weird direction) material for a weird fantasy game and with a little creativity I can do that.

So yeah. I think it was $2 well spent for yet another little tool to add to my DM toolbox.

And you can pick it up over at DrivethruRPG.

Time Again to Start Navel Gazing

It’s that time of year when I begin to think about the whole status of the blog and all the other little online RPG things that I do. I know most people wait until the end of the year to do this but, for me, it’s when I get the notification that it’s time renew the domain and web hosting. I go through this debate every year. I just need to think and justify it to myself to shell out the dollars to pay for a better blogging plan.

There’s a lot of things that did happen this year. Some successes. Some new insights. Some are kind of what do I do know? The most interesting insight so far this year is the uselessness of posting to Facebook. I used to cross post from the blog to a few RPG groups there. I haven’t done that in over a month and a half. You know what? It hasn’t hurt the traffic on the blog at all. Looking further back on the good old stats, the only posts that did garner any traffic from Facebook posts where one’s that were a bit controversial. I know I’m sounding really biased with this but even outside of RPG Circles, Facebook is more about ads and controversy.

Sales over on DrivethruRPG have been good this year. Well, I should say good by my previous sales numbers. A few sales came in from Lulu but nothing spectacular. And traffic here on the blog has been much better than last year. Those are all good things.

So what about the bad and not so great things? I think it’s safe to say that idea of a podcast is totally dead. When I compared time versus listenership, it just isn’t worth the time. What about Youtube? Well, there’s plenty of things that annoy me there. Ads and god only knows what the community standards are gong to be this week. Sure it’s popular but… Then there’s Patreon. It’s handy for a reoccurring tip jar and I’ll probably make a few more adjustments for that. And Buy Me Coffee has made an even smaller impact. Like I said, I’m not trying to make a bunch of money but I would at least like to break even and have a little extra RPG fun money on the side.

So these are things that bouncing around inside my head right now. I’ve got a couple more ideas that lingering in the back of my skull but I’ll see where things go from there. I dunno.

Cepheus Deluxe!

I’ve been excited about this one since I heard it was coming out. For me, the whole Cepheus sphere of games has been a breath of fresh air. I’ve spent plenty of time with d20 based games and lots of others but coming back to the simple 2d6 mechanics of yore has been fun. Plus I just haven’t taken the time to dig through some boxes and find my original Little Black Books.

Let me get this part out the way. What’s this whole Cepheus thing? To put it simply, a bunch of folks who are way smarter than me created the Cepheus Engine SRD based on open gaming content and created a game inspired and basically compatible with good old Traveler. (Google it.) To put it in more generic terms, it’s a skill-based, roll-2d6-high game system.

What does Cepheus Deluxe bring to this party? It streamlines the key elements of the game (like character generation) without making a “rules light” game. (If you want that may I suggest Cepheus Faster Than Light or Cepheus Quantum.) And it does this while still maintaining basic compatibility with other adventures and supplements made for Cepheus. You may have to do a little converting depending.

My initial thought is to marry up Cepheus Deluxe and Quantum. At first this may sound silly but hear me out. Deluxe for player characters and important NPC’s then use the Quantum rules for minor NPC’s or other nasties. It would just make the referee’s job a whole lot easier.

Like most games, there’s an implied setting. It’s what I would call hard-ish Sci-Fi. It ain’t Star Wars or Guardians of the Galaxy. Think more Aliens, Starship Troopers, Bayblon-5 and the like. It doesn’t mean that you’re stuck in Sci-Fi if that isn’t your thing. There’s plenty of supplements and complete games that cover other genres.

I’m really pleased with Cepheus Deluxe and it’s a welcome addition to my gaming collection. I just may have to come up with sort of Sci-Fi campaign to suggest for my gaming group. And in case any one was wondering, there’s the optional rule that your character can get killed during character generation.

You can grab the PDF up over on DrivethruRPG and POD should be coming soon.

You’re Responsible for Your Own Fun

Ever hear that old saying, “You’re responsible for your own orgasm?” Well, this is sort of like that but without the awkwardness and clean up afterward.

This isn’t about just you having fun at the game table and ignoring everybody else. Everybody should be having fun. You see, I keep seeing posts (usually on FB), “Is there an adventure that has….?” “Why isn’t my favorite class part of this game?” and so on. And, of course, I got thinking. Just make the damned stuff yourself.

I may be just plain crazy or an RPG conspiracy theorist but I’m getting the feeling that it’s becoming all too common for folks to look for “officially sanctioned” adventures and other gaming material. Those things do make life easier but they aren’t necessary. If somebody hasn’t made what you want then DIY it.

I don’t have the time to write adventures. Work with what you have. Do your best. What if the adventure or custom class for my friend is totally screwed up. Then fix it. What if I post online and people don’t like it. Screw ’em. Everybody makes mistakes. Not every adventure, class, or whatever is perfect. Some times things go well and sometimes they suck. Deal with it and do better next time.

But here’s not what to do. Whine that somebody else hasn’t made that exact something that you want. Like I said at the beginning. You’re responsible for your own fun.