"Go to the sign of Harvel's Axe, a dubious inn on the edge of the Thieves Quarter, in the City of Greyhawk, and look to your own wrist. If you perceive a bracelet and dangling dice, watch for the next throw in the war between Law and Chaos and be prepared to follow the compelling geas." -Signal

Friday, November 4, 2011

Expendables - Stellar Games, Dim Perception

Expendables was released in 1987 bu Stellar Games who also gave us the Nightlife line of games as well as a few others. I am more of a fan of the Nightlife game than I am of Expendables. As an early player of Space Opera and Traveller I never found that Expendables offered me anything new that I just couldn't live without.

The game itself has a bit of an identity crisis. It flips back and forth between what seems to be a game based exploration for resources and then it wants to be more of a full blown space opera game and then it is back. I for one have an idea on why this is the case though this is just my opinion so please take it as that.

I very much think the game started out as an "homage" to the original Alien movie. The game puts forth a game where the players work for a huge organization refereed to as "the company". They players do the exploration and work for a percentage of the profit. The company even provides them with a store so they can buy anything they need from them. Later in the book it introduces another aspect of the company that does clandestine things. I know that the other items in the game are not part of the movie exactly but there is just a feeling.

The game as I said does not really offer anything new in the way of game design or flavor that made me want to give up my other space based games. That does not mean that this game is not without some parts that are worth reviewing. The sections on land based and space vehicles is not bad and might give the GM some ideas. The section on the company catalog is the gem of the book and this should be mined for anyone looking for a standard shopping list for a space based game. The section of the book on creature generation could also be used as a basis for similar tables in another game.

In the end the game is more about "The Company" without any real idea as to why. It paints a picture of an organization that is not a good one but without offering any real agenda on what to do in the game rather than be a wage slave for them. Perhaps the idea was to offer a gritter Warhammer type of space setting and if that was the idea then I guess it worked on a basic level. Expendables is a good game to have as reference material to incorporate into another game and might not be bad as short run type of campaign but there is not enough there to make it my game of choice.

From the back of the game:

Expendables: A Complete Role Playing System

"Extensive background information. A rich history and background of the Expendables universe has been created for your use, including information on the First and Second Galactic Empires, The Company, human colonies, Free Traders, pirates, and much, much more.

• A wide range of skill choices. Over ninety skills and five major job classifications are described in the Expendables manual.
• Planetary and Creature Generators. Instructions and Data Sheets are provided to aid you in the creation of new and wondrous planets.
• A personal combat system whose flexibility is unique in the gaming world.
• Rules and information included for vehicular and space combat.
• The Whole Company Catalog. Over 300 items are listed and explained in the catalog sections of the Expendables manual.
• Some help in getting started. Included in the Expendables manual are selections showing an example of play, sections delineating how scenarios are designed, and a complete starter scenario with hints that will help you in writing your own.
• More fun. Expendables is designed to give the GM and players the maximum flexibility in character and scenario concept. Expendables is designed to let you experience the worlds of your own imagination."


Dim Perception

Level: Third
Range: 9"
Duration: 1 Round/Level
Area of Effect: 6" Sphere
Components: V,S
Casting Time: 4 Segments
Saving Throw: None

When this spell is cast the magic user causes the perception of  the creatures in the area of the effect of the spell to be  dimmed. The effect will be to negatively impact the perception  rolls for any that are affected. The effect of the spell is not  such that the victims will know they are affected.

The spell will not change the range of the senses so the victims  will see just as far and hear just as well. It will be the  perception of the sensory input that will be impacted. For game  purposes this will mean that the range where anything could be  perceived in will be halved. This will include any sort of innate  racial abilities as well as standard checks based on all of the  five senses. Taste will not be impacted by linear range but the  spectrum of the palate will be reduced.

Disclaimer: The spells that you will see, for how ever long the  write ups last, were all written up or conceived of back in the  80's so the terminology may not appropriate for anything other  than 1e and depending on how well I did back then it may be  slightly off for that as well. If there is any duplication of  spells that exist now it is most likely I wrote mine first :)  Please feel free to comment on them but try not to be too hard on  me. If anyone wishes to use these in anything they print please  let me know in advance and all I ask is proper credit.


karnak said...

Is this the game that has a listing of the "Proctology" skill in the skill section? lol

Nemo235 said...

I haven't read the book in awhile.
I always compared it to Star Frontiers.
It seems to me the characters were meant to be settlers or pioneers.
The game is open enough for other adventure types of course.

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