I’ve been posting a lot about a “New OSR”, an attempt to encourage others to build a community and produce gaming material for the Cepheus Engine (open source Traveller). The idea being that the Cepheus Engine is a solid base for creating your own adventures, zines, supplements, and full games.
My previous Cepheus as a New OSR posts:
- First, I explained a bit about the Cepheus Engine, and why it’d work as a new OSR community.
- Second, I explored the various versions of Cepheus, and how they might be used as the base for new games.
- Third, I listed a collection of resources for designing Cepheus settings.
- Fourth, I used the resources to design the basics of a custom Cepheus game – Blades of Barsoom
In that third post, about books and other resources that would be useful for designing Cepheus settings and games, I put out a call for some suggestions to add to that list. I got a few across social media, and came across a few on my own. Here’s the new additions:
Independence Games has put out a lot of books for their Clement Sector setting. Many of them contain rules and subsystems that could easily be ported to other Cepheus Settings. Here’s a few of the highlights:
Tree of Life: Altrants has rules for creating genetically engineered humans. It would work well in cyberpunk, and any posthuman sci-fi Cepheus settings:
Artificial: Robots in Clement Sector has fairly detailed robot design rules, including rules for running a robot as a PC.
Wondrous Menagerie has rules for Uplifts, which are genetically engineered animals given special abilities, including sentience.
If you wanted a more realistic method for generating star systems, something a little more faithful to recent scientific discoveries about solar systems, you might try Unmerciful Frontier. It has detailed rules for creating solar systems that replace the standard Cepheus rules.
Ordo Arcanorum has been putting out some interesting things in their modern day Cepheus urban fantasy setting – Opus Magi.
The setting corebook, Opus Magi, has 12 esoteric careers – Internet Mage, Chaos Mage, Kuji-in, Neo-Pagan, Vampire, Mystic Yogi, Psion. The magic system uses a system based on Zozer Games’ Fast Magic system. There’s a Magic skill, with 13 Domains (basically cascade skills) – Air, Earth, Fire, Water, Wood, Metal, Healing, Spirit, Darkness, Light, Mind, Chi, Gates. In addition there are separate magic related skills – Magic: Alchemy, Magic: Artifice, Magic: Calligraphy, Magic: Ritual. There are also separate Psionics skills as well.
Casting spells requires a Magic roll, and also requires spending Endurance points. There are rules for creating spells, magic scrolls and artifacts, and a list of sample spells.
The implied setting of Opus Magi is a modern, urban fantasy, secret society sort of game. But the magic rules themselves could work in any fantasy setting.
The supplement Anima Machinae provides rules for creating all kinds of magical constructs: Golems, Clockwork Automata, & Homunculi. There are also rules for building Magical Workshops, where these creatures can be created.
Quick Cepheus setting idea using this: A magical version of the Terminator setting. Skynet is a powerful Djinn, released from human control, sending Golems back in time to kill its enemies. A few mages travel back as well to try and stop them.
Piracy & Privateering from Stellagama Games has some rules and tables for running space pirate encounters. Should work with any space opera-style setting.
I’m hesitant to recommend these next two books, as they’re both currently out of print. I don’t have a link, but you might find them on the secondhand market. Mongoose (the company that currently publishes Traveller) briefly had the license for two British sci-fi comics: Judge Dredd and Strontium Dog. They created Traveller books for each setting.
They both have some interesting weapons and equipment that could be ported into Cepheus games, along with what they call “Special Techniques” – basically Traits.
Strontium Dog has a lot of extra psionic powers that could be brought into Cepheus – Dimensional Communication, Aura Perception, Energy Kinesis, Machine Symbiosis etc.