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.
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."
Duration: 2 Turns/Level
Area of Effect: One Mirror
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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