"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

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Aliens:Colonial Marines Technical Manual, Mirror Walk

Way back in 1975 I think I got an allowance of $2 a week. We were living in Virgina at the time and there was an Italian restaurant we went to once a month or so. In  the shopping center where the restaurant was there was also a small book store.  I can't remember the name of either but I recall two books in there. One was the  Star Fleet Technical Manual and the Star Trek Concordance. Combined I think they  were $14 and change. This is the first time I can ever remember saving money to  buy something. I mention this for reference to the Technical Manual and the fact that it took me back there for just a minute.

Now onto the item at hand. This review is not of actual gaming material but is so close I thought it OK. The Aliens technical manual is very much in line with  the Star Fleet as far as what it is. The book is not connected with any role  playing game but I could not imagine playing the Leading Edge Aliens game  without a copy of this nearby. It is written as if it were a real world book  with no gaming content what so ever.

Unlike most if not all of the newer books of this sort and like the Star Fleet  manual this is a book filled with substance over style. The book features many  line drawings and a fair number of illustration and a smattering of photos from  the movie but in the end it is most likely 50% to 60% text. That may not sound  like much but if you look at books of s similar nature for more recent movies  the ratio is painfully lower and there are mostly color images to add flash  making up for a lack of substance.

Though it contains material specific to the Aliens universe much of the material  would also work in a "low tech" space opera type of game. This is not the stuff  of ST:TOS but in a grittier space type of game it would work well. It is perhaps  too gritty for most of the games but there is information that is less gritty  than others. I think much of the information presented here would be in line with the technology level presented in Avatar or close to it.

In th e end I think the book is worth buying for some people. If you don't mind  reading what is close to an entry level or slightly above text book or perhaps  an actual military manual then this is for you. If you want something with  actual game type statistics or a book you can simply flip through and get visual  inspiration then it is not for you. For me it is worth it just for the  similarity to the old Star Trek Technical Manual.

Published: 1996
Pages: 160

From the back cover:

The ALIENS COLONIAL MARINES TECHNICAL MANUAL is your official guide to the  equipment and organisation (their spelling not mine) of the United States Colonial Marine Corps. Packed  with never-before-published diagrams, technical schematics and plans, the manual  takes a detailed look at the guns, vehicles and ships of the USCMC, and the men  and women who use them.

Description from Wayne's Books:

"An official guide to the technology of the United States Colonial Marines  shares detailed diagrams and technical schematics; a close-up look at the guns,  vehicles, and ships of the USCMC; and a hypothesis of what could have gone wrong  on the colony planet known as LV-426."


Mirror Walk

Level: Fourth
Range: 9"
Duration: 2 Turns/Level
Area of Effect: One Mirror
Components: V,S
Casting Time: 6 Segments
Saving Throw: None

With the casting of this spell the magic user is able to use a pair of normal  mirrors as travel devices. Both mirrors must be in known locations with the  caster being at one of them.

In order to use a mirror on the receiving side the caster must have spent an  extended period of game time using the mirror. The minimum period of time for  safety purposes is 10 rounds. The caster must have spent that entire time simply  looking at their own reflection. If less time is spent than this there is a 10%  cumulative chance that the caster will be lost on the astral plane when they try  to use the spell.

If the spell is successful then the caster will emerge from the specified mirror  and along with any inanimate objects they were carrying. Only the caster will be  able to use the mirror for movement purposes. Once on the receiving side the  caster will have until the spell expires to use the mirror on that side to  return through the mirror on the departure side. The return trip does not have  the same viewing requirement as the original.

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.

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