An Endzeitgeist.com review
This pdf clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
We begin this supplement with a 1-page explanation of why you may want to include these smallest of size categories within the context of your SFRPG-game; we begin with an expansion of the starship scale, which makes Diminutive ships clock in at 5 – 20 ft, Fine ones at 1 – 5 ft. The table of scales is expanded to include weights for them, and the AC and TL modifiers (at +4 and +8, respectively for the sizes), reflect in a sensible manner the penalties incurred by ginormous space ships.
The ships may be created by taking Tiny size frames and halving HP and cost for each size category below Tiny, rounding down. CT must thus be recalculated, and a pilot must be size Medium or smaller t o pilot the ship at Diminutive ship size. Complaint here: Something seems to have gone haywire with the rules language here when it comes to accounting for pilot sizes in relation to ships, as it refers to numbers, when it should refer to sizes; otherwise, that should refer to the aforementioned values, but then, listing that caveat after pilot sizes just creates unnecessary confusion. That being said, I consider this to be the proper interpretation here, as the follow-up information makes sense in that context. Piloting bonus is increased for each size category smaller than the listed base frame. Basic and XL escape pods and how they interact with these ships are covered, and calculations based on frame size employ the Tiny size, preventing abuse of e.g. armor or similar cost calculations.
6 base frames for Fine and Diminutive ships are provided: Sneakaboard, Stealther and Escape Pod for Fine; Ground Support, XL Escape Pod and Mini Bomber for Diminutive ships, so yeah – this provides a slightly different angle on the escape pod default. The pdf presents a helpful size category to creature equivalency for the new star ships, and it presents easy to implement guidelines for making starships for creatures smaller than Small. Size-wise, as you could glean, this puts the starships at the intersection with regular vehicles and really big critters. The pdf provides easy to implement rules here, and collision damage and its scaling is also covered. Since star ship and regular combat is rather different from another, the pdf provides quick and dirty guidelines for using starships in regular combat – a more differentiated approach would have been nice to see there.
The Ramming rules from the Cosmic Odyssee-installment are reprinted here, with ramming speed table provided, and ramming size modifier table modified to account for the new size categories. Movement by thrusters, with speed in hexes (for starship combat) and as vehicle speeds are provided. Things become more interesting with low-range remote control, and rules that make them more viable – they are harder to detect due to their size, and from Stealth to acting as shielding, there are quite a few nice details included.
The pdf closes with 5 sample starships –all tier 1. Escape pod and boarder would be Fine, while Lifeboat, gunship ad troopcutter are Diminutive.
Editing and formatting are generally very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to a nice two-column full-color standard, and the pdf has no interior artwork. The pdf comes fully bookmarked, in spite of its humble size, which is neat.
Kiel Howell’s small expansion to the starship rules is nice – while the use of escape pods as vessels is probably something that won’t be too useful beyond some narrative scenes, the supplement does a solid job providing the necessary tools for the integration of these ships. I couldn’t help but feel that presenting tables that did the calculations required would have made the pdf much more user-friendly, but if the math isn’t daunting for you, this delivers – and it does so for a more than fair price-point. At currently a single buck, this is definitely worth checking out. My final verdict will clock in at 4 stars.