Monday, 30 May 2011

Cool Game Pack (Trouble Brewing... 0one's Black & White Games)

Looks lovely doesn't it?  Me wants! Me wants! 
Looks like it only uses black ink as well - "old school" and cheap ink cartridge = double-plus win!

Trouble Brewing at Witchcliff at DriveThruRPG $6.98 / €4,88 / £4.23
(Featured as Sean's Pick of the Day on DriveThru/Fb page)

Edit: Just bought it and am printing bits out - lots of fun putting it together.  The only downside is that the margins might be too narrow for some printers - but since all the pages fill the same width page "scaling" will be uniform across the pack, i.e. the grid will still match up.  Naturally there's a lot of black ink involved, but the final effect is worth it, also you get to save on colour cartridges!  The scenario is larger than expected: 20 pages of Pathfinder compatible adventure (will also work with D&D 3.5). The counters are a nice optional touch - some with art, many blank - with a 2D counters bag as well.

Just add some 6th-7th level characters and Pathfinder (or d20/D&D 3-3.5) rules and you have a complete immersive tabletop gaming experience, similar to any "out of the box" game currently on sale.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Free RPG Day Saturday 18th June 2011- locate a store near you!
Very quick post.  I'm living in a bit of a mail-order and PDF-only bubble at the moment.   Free RPG Day will creep upon me (haven't we just had one? no wait, that was comics, right?) and I'll probably do my bit by posting links to all the lovely free stuff on RPGDriveThru.  But I've decided to spare a thought for the high streets of bricks-and-mortar where the solid article is still king.

Somewhere near you is a real shop with friendly folk who take actual cash and give you a chance to see inside the boxes before you buy.  You may remember these places from childhood, a bit like modern supermarkets, but tiny -and the produce is inedible.

Locate a shop (or store) near you:

Too far away?  Thought so. ;)

Anyhow, there might be free stuff in those shops on Saturday 18th June - tasters, introductory games, collectables.  Oh yes, it's "free! but at what cost to you?
I'm the guy just outside that same shop with the "free" cocaine ... No, really, just a sample?  Believe me it'll more straightforward than getting into some sort of CCG-Minis-RPG-cross-over range. Heh heh.

- I was randomly alerted (reminded) to Free RPG Day by lurking around at Leisure Games

Saturday, 28 May 2011

D-Jumpers Vol 1 The Gate To Adventure (DVOID Systems)

My first contact with D-Void Systems was through downloading the Legend of Zelda sourcebook / table top RPG, the rights to which have now been been withdrawn and that document is no more.  I mention this because it's worth remembering that D-Void Systems see "the big picture" when it comes to game design, well they certainly plan "big".  They may be worth watching for future releases - or at least tagging just in case they do something really dangerous.

   D-Jumpers Volume #1:
The Gate to Adventure
Some people buy products after being lured by glossy images, others buy for stat blocks.  The D-Jumpers series currently has neither, but this shouldn't held against it. This is a system-less affair, and quite rightly so, because the campaign background would be adaptable to any starting-genre of game.  By "starting genre" I mean the world (and game) in which the player-characters are native and most familiar with.  Basically, if you liked the series Sliders, Star Gate SG-1,Doctor Who or stories with any inter-dimensional themes, you'll love D-Jumpers.  Portals and alien worlds galore, varying tech levels, different laws of nature, magic even, political struggles and moral dilemmas.  I'm mainly reviewing D-Jumpers Volume 1 The Gate to Adventure which is a compilation of individual issues in the range.  It makes more sense to read as whole campaign with different worlds acting as episodes.

A lot of attention is given to what motivates NPCs and how to usher the players into some fairly bizarre situations.  What is nice about this first volume is that the mysterious character of "The Gatekeeper" can be played as either a mere linking device, a patron, a symbiotic arrangement with the players or even as a pan-universe megalomaniacal villain.  Naturally, for experienced players these options can be genuinely refreshing.  The scope of the campaign is potentially huge, the amount of work a DM /referee /storyteller will bring to the table may vary from system to system, for example there are plenty of encounter settings, but no maps in D-Jumpers, which for figure based gaming can be a short fall.  For old fashioned radio-play style gaming exact layouts will not be an issue.  At 31 pages with illustrations and small text, this is a dense document, which reads like a set of well written scenario articles, logically divided into subsections with the bullet point storyline and goal checklists. 

It seems to be early days for DVOID systems, so their promises of extra access to "free gaming content, crowdsourced from the gaming community" and "Lifetime Updates Policy" is hard to gauge at this stage, but there's definitely a sheer force of will and vision behind these products which may propel them forward to write more products.  Are you buying a product or investing in a cult?  Hey, this is role-playing - nearly all product ranges have a ferverous following!

I sent a query to the publisher regarding prices.  Volume 1 is $12.50.   Da Vane of DVOID made many points in defence of not going down the budget games route.  My personal experience is that I will readily fill a basket with many $1-$2 PDFs and yet I am hesitant when it comes to shelling out for $15-$20 products - unless it's a very glossy over-produced ruleset, print on demand, or something I'm so nostalgic for, because the advertising got to me 25 years ago.  I like to keep my own Inked Adventures products below $5 - it's a sort of psychological barrier, also I prefer to think in terms of dollars, instead of the slightly chunkier British pound (I feel richer in dollars ;) the Yen is fun to total up with too).  A little while ago Onebookshelf sent out an email advising publishers not to go down the $1-"app" route, because the processing costs, such as Paypal's charges per transaction, mean that even the minimal overheads for online publishing would become not cost-effective.  Some publishers have to make a stand, perhaps in solidarity with a beleaguered cottage industry, propped up with a tiny pile of cents. I've heard the same from computer games writers, either give it away or charge for a service.  I have no idea what works, and frankly I haven't met enough successful people willing to share their secrets with me. ;) 

With The Gate to Adventure you're getting quality writing, lots of ideas-content, but no gloss.  It prints well in black and white (once the background image has flattened).  If you like system-less campaigns with lots of detail about story line and PC hooks, and like your settings with infinite variety and possibilities then D-Jumpers is definitely for you.

In summary: Well written and just a little "mental".

D-Jumpers Volume #1: The Gate to Adventure (DriveThruRPG) 

EDIT 30 May 2011 ______
 Author Da Vane of DVOID Systems tells me this product is due for an upgrade, a massive boost of text - remember that purchasing any of these products guarantees you updated editions.
Also check out the DVOID Systems home site for news of the upcoming D-Jumpers RPG and other articles of a multi-dimensional nature.
*makes crackling portal noise*

Tonight I'm also browsing...

Type-S Scout Courier "IISS Dreamcatcher" - Scrying Eye Shipyard

Good value for money ($3 USD).  Absolutely essential floor plan for any Traveller game (old and new).  The inside of an S-Scout never looked so good.  Definitely for fans of the Millennium Falcon and Firefly-class Serenity, who like their starships dingy and cluttered!

Summary: Useful eye-candy for space navy heads with minis.

I shall be posting a mini review of the fantastic
Mutant Epoch RPG very shortly...

Watch this space for
mutations and androids!

Friday, 27 May 2011

How do they get those mugs through the printer?

 I seriously need a manager! It's the middle of the night (UK its-dark GMT time).  I've promised several people reviews.  I've promised myself and others the completion of two floor plan products.  And what am I doing?  I'm trying to fill the world with more junk, through CafePress!

Not quite satisfied with my dice mugs on Deviant Art, I have turned to CafePress (Cafepress, Cafe Press ?) , who at least mock up an actual graphic of the product (which is more than DA seem to be able to do).

My Dice Mug -Billiam Babble Inked Adventures
My Dice Mug - Flagon - Billiam Babble Inked Adventures

My art lends itself well
to baby bibs. Is this
a good thing?
The expression "sell-out" doesn't even begin to cover it... but I refuse to feel guilty unless I actually start selling. ;)  Anyhow, it's a sort of 3-D home publishing.   You have to try it at least once.  I just didn't think I'd be so taken by putting a design on a baby's bib:

Orange Dinosaur Bib - art by Billiam Babble - >>

On a more RPG related note, I've been really taken in by all of the different demonstrations of iPads and tablet computers at the gaming table, so maybe I can make the iPad look more at home amongst the dice and scenarios:

(Buy the case now,
the iPad will surely follow.)

On a more practical and affordable note, these journals come with a choice of plain, lined, "task sheet" or dotted paper.  The latter would be perfect for mapping during a gaming session.  I'm definitely ordering a few for myself.

Dice and Dungeon Map Journal -->

Okay, the prices are pretty high.  I've added mere pennies to the Cafepress base price.  The good news is that sometimes Cafepress run promotions - For example: this week the code is "SPRING2011" for a 15% reduction on prices for the next 7 days.  (Untested - might only work in one continent region)

 (Temporary working title!)

CafePress 120x60 banner
Save 15% at CafePress, coupon code: SPRING2011 
(for the next 7 days)
In June try  this:. is offering 15% Off your entire order. Plus shop early for Father's Day, it will be here soon (June 19th). This offer is valid from June 1 to June 15th. Use Coupon Code: CPJUNE

Cafepress!  - Loads of gimmicky stuff, which you can add your own designs to.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Tell us about your character - Competition on DriveThruRPG

Prizes, goodies, shiny things from DriveThruRPG:
  • The Grand Prize Winner will receive a ViewSonic gTablet with 10" Multi-Touch LCD Screen, Android OS 2.2, perfect for carrying and reading our products on. As well, their character will be custom illustrated by Bradley McDevitt, top-notch artist for Postmortem Studios!
  • Our First Runner Up will receive a $100 Gift Certificate for products! Second Runner Up will receive a $50 Gift Certificate, while the remaining finalists will each receive $25 Gift Certificates.
  • On top of all this, each character will be featured in the "Bring It to the Table" feature in the weekly Newsletter.

Go on, it's more fun than those competitions on cereal boxes!

UK Games Expo June 2011

I think I've dropped the ball on this one. I must have read about this Games Expo (which is relatively local to me) and gone into a type of denial.    Because I'm not playing regularly at the moment and I'm not up on the absolutely latest products I feel that attending expos might be a relatively alienating experience, when presented with rows of wargames tables and especially if cash is short as well, but I my cynicism has been proved wrong before.  I just need to work up to these things.  Oh-God-don't-make-me-leave-the-bunker.  Maybe 2012.  Perhaps in 2015 I'll have a stand there with Inked Adventures products!  :)   Yes, it's all about ME really, mwhahahaha.

A weekend of freebies, game demonstrations, company stands, special events, some family fun as well.  There's something in the literature to do with things happening in different zones so you might need a special pass.  Yadda-yadda.  You'll probably get tasered if you stray into the wrong areas, tasered by corporate security men in "Here to Help" T-shirts. There's some Star Wars and Zombie dressing-up in this one too (should I blame the US or Japan first when it comes to Cosplay? ;) )

Prebookings appear closed but tunring up on the door for tickets seems acceptable too. If you're turned away you can always go shopping in Birmingham :) - there just has to be a few games shops there (there used to be) ... I'll resist posting tourist information on behalf of the West Midlands.  Birmingham centre is nice now.  The post-apocalyptic rumours have been quashed, new life and sculptures reside there now.

UK Games Expo 2011 Site

Entrance Fees

I'll be the one in the clone-trooper gear carrying WarMachine and Muchkin boxed sets (no, really ...) ;)  Okay, okay, I'll be the lost jawa, looking for the Tunnels & Trolls table... ... wha-?  No T&T?

Saturday, 21 May 2011

The Four Ducks of the Apocalypse

Customers of Purple Duck Games have been sent this topical email:
Oh my god! I have been told that the world could be ending this weekend. That is terrible for me because I have lots of things I haven't finshed collecting (and I'm a little compulsive about collections).
If you are looking to finish your Purple Duck Games coleection before the world ends this weekend* please check out our Apocalypse Bundle which collects everything we have produced for the low, low, end of the world price of $11.62. This sale will only be available for Saturday, Sunday and Monday (or less if the world ends).
* PDG does not believe the world will end, but my mistake could result in massive savings for you.
I'd like to add that I think in the UK we didn't really hear about this Rapture thing until the very last minute, but then this place is literally sinking with squirming heathens, pagans, atheists, Goth-nihilists and all sort of confused denominations ... WHO WILL BE EATEN FIRST. I'm just glad it wasn't those pesky Mayans again. Don't you just love apocalyptic maths? ;) Anyhow, check out that bundle, it looks sweet.  Hurrah for reductions!

Edit 25.05.11
PurpleDuck Games on Facebook:
"I have retired the apocalypse bundle until the next apocalypse is nigh."
Well, it was fun while it lasted (much like the run up to an apocalypse)

Friday, 20 May 2011

Lego compatible Doctor Who

At last, a version of Amy
that doesn't make you blush
and feel a little uncomfortable,
oh ... and the Doctor as well
with that time travelling
spaceship thing
The Character Builder Dr Who Micro Figures site claims that the Character Building system is "Collectable", "Constructable" and "Compatible".  What could they possibly mean?  Compatible with other building systems ... like Lego?!

I was about to say that I was only interested in procuring Daleks, but it's just occurred to my little mind that role-players who use Lego for their dungeons may find a batch of Screaming Angels indispensable as gargoyles and statues! :)
Oh dear. You blinked
and this picture took
you to Amazon

DALEKs They've been flying for a while now.
So traversing Lego-style steps should not be a problem

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Bean! Cellars of Castle Cassoulet Solo Adventure (Fabled Worlds)

The Cellars of Castle Cassoulet
(purchased copy)

Solo gamebook writer Sid Orpin teams up with game designer and illustrator Jeff Freels to create...

A solo adventure text which using the D2 based BEAN! system ...  employing 75 sections (plus a page of wandering monsters)



A mere $2! Cheap, silly, witty, love it.

That is all.

Call of Cthulhu The Wasted Land (Chaosium/Red Wasp)

... ‘Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land’ is set in the midst of World War One and pits a team of investigators and soldiers against an ancient enemy, older than humanity itself. This eldritch enemy is using the carnage of the great war to build an undead army amidst the battlefields of Europe.
I think a friend of mine was planning something very similar to this as a Cthulhu campaign, some sort of zombie-WWI-trench-death, I think that what he was saying, maybe it was going to be classier than that but he wouldn't tell me much more -in case of "spoilers". One day we'll play it, I'm sure, if he doesn't sacrifice me.  It would be pen and paper of course, none of this hi-tech business with video games on mobile cell telephonic handsets. ;)

Edit: I talked to my friend this evening and apparently I dreamt the whole thing ...!

Chaosium and Red Wasp Design have made a pact to suck the Tentacled One through your pentagramed mobile device.  Downloading ... 3% ...

(Wilfred Owen pictured in the middle)
Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori
- ayeeeeii! blam, blam, blam click, click
- The War Poets are back -
They've come for their royalties.

Chaosium Press Release
Red Wasp

Can't wait until then?

Don't own a phone? (because that's how the screaming astral abominations get into our world...)

The day of the Earth's demise not coming soon enough for you?

Well, you're in luck!

Have a fearful browse of Cthulhu tagged (tainted) products on DriveThruRPG

It's okay.
The devoted will be eaten first.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Adventure Coach

This man is my new overlord. 
(Nabbed from multiple friends on Facebook).
I am resisting with all my might not to list my favourite quotes.

For Adventure Coaching and winning advice track him down at:

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Boxed Pathfinder for Noobs - Oct 2011

It comes in boxes. 
We likes boxies, filled with yummy goodies.
  We wants more photies... 

Snagged via Paizo's Fb feed
Review - summary on MTV Geek
(MTV "Geek" Wha-? I'm so out of contact with the modern Zeitgeist vibe)
Buy / Pre-order at Paizo - to be released: October 2011.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Lord Zsezse Works FREE Hall of the Well

I feel as though I should be jealous of this guy, Lord Zsezse.  But I'm in awe of him too much.  This gem is free.  You have to use it in your games!  Behold the wonder!

Battlemap -The Hall of the Well - FREE (on DriveThruRPG)

Right, I'm off to bed.  The quality of this product has exhausted me. 

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Free Comic Book Day, no wait, I mean 'graphic novel' right? FREE STUFF
This link graphic has been modified
to take you straight to the
Very quick post.  I don't want to clog up those RSS feeds, burning a hole in the Matrix whilst we sleep in our pods of goo... Wake up Neo!  ... Oh dear God, Keanu is our only hope ... please plug me back in.

A few people said today was Free Comic Book Day.  So why not peruse the free morsels on DriveThruComics

But there's no such thing as "free" (*sinister*), especially with comics (by which I mean "very serious pictorial graphic narratives", sometimes with manga boobies, if you're lucky...) - because a handful of free editions may trigger the thirst -the need to have closure, collecting for the through-narrative.

By the way, never try to print comics from an inkjet printer - man, that was a tough lesson to learn.

If you have penchant for new wave sci-fi from of the 70's Heavy Metal Magazine variety (and I know you do) you might like some scans I snaffled into an old Live Journal account, of Philippe Druillet's Lone Sloane.  - It's just a little bit "mental". ;)

Lone Sloane -just a little bit  mental
(and very METAL)

Shopping and weekend reading

Just a quick post. I really really must get on with drawing those tomb's pack dungeon sections. Lord knows what it's like for people actually planning whole campaigns. ;)

Dynamic Dungeons
Rathbone Games
Dungeon Doors
(photo from site)
...on Ebay, as a matter of fact, but not for old collectables, but for cheap scenery solutions.

For 99p ($1.60 USDappx) plus postage one can purchase 5 respectable laser etched MDF dungeon doors with bases suitable for use with 25-30mm miniatures.  I'm thinking about painting mine with a very light colour wash - I bought 10.  They're probably ideal for use with a battle-mat or printed plans to provide that extra 3D element.  A random bargain.  They also sell a selection on MDF bases for figures - hexagons, squares etc and a massive dice rolling tower.  Most curious.  :) 
Rathbone Games Dynamic Dungeons
Ebay Store:

Adventures ...
This weekend I plan to be dipping in and out of :
D-Jumpers #1

Well written, system-less
story lines, from
D-VOID Systems.
Immersive, engrossing.

The Mutant Epoch

Only the game
Gamma World
should have become!
I might have a go
at rolling up some


A special comp copy
of gorgeous looking
Lovecraftian style
Traveller setting
Cthonian Stars
by Wildfire
- spotted recently
in the dark sky
by Armchair Gamer
So if I disappear into an Astral Gate, with nothing but panicked mumblings left on a datapad and a map of the subway etched onto a coke can, don't come looking for me.  It's already too late.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Weird West (Robertson Games)

I'm such a sucker for these simple game mechanics, bargain games.
Rated number 2 in the top 100 Hottest Small Press on DriveThruRPG for a dollar, I just had to check out the Weird West Roleplaying Game Basic Rulebook.

A tiny rulebook. Wonderfully simple and succinct. Uses poly dice (hurrah for polys!).

The setting implies Wild West meets Lord-knows-what (Plate mail is listed?!). It could easily be used for all sorts of pulp settings. I'm suddenly thinking of Space 1889, steampunk, Rifts, Cthulhu. With rules this simple, the gates of the imagination are bust wide open for some serious role-playing, or alternatively a string of fast play encounters?

I suspect the author may have something more planned, this feels like a "taster". Well worth the dollar - a shiny silver dollar. The potential is huge. (Ignore this comment if the Robertson Games range is well stocked when you read this)

Nice touch: printable micro-book with instructions. Reminds me of novelty small boxed games from Steve Jackson Games in the late 80s.

Check out the author's blog, - the most recent post, as I type, includes conversion notes from Swords & Wizardry to Weird West - are you thinking what I'm thinking? Basic D&D monsters in Wild West! Blam, blam... ROAR! etc.

Cool cover as well. ;) Go, on. You know you're curious. ;)

Thursday, 5 May 2011

20 percent off selected titles in May on RPG DriveThru

Reduction code transmission intercepted:-
20% off the following products on RPGDriveThru if you use this code:
(before June 3rd 2011)

Naturally they're not absolutely the most very cheapest bargain games to start with, but if anything tickles your fancy then a fifth-off can't be so bad. Yarr! Two pieces-of-eight (nearly, I think, yarr! Where's me buried Visa ...?)

The list of products is:

Many Bothans died ...

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Chronicles of Arax range update

A very quick look again at the Chronicles of Arax modular solo adventuring range (on DriveThru) which is expanding faster than the kid at the end of Akira, whilst still costing less than a bus trip to your nearest centre of civilisation (only one shiny dollar each -if not free).
I've broken them down into groups.

Basic Rules + character + adventure (Free!)

All you need to get started.
Character Sheet is separate download.
See my worshipful review "Drunk Goblins" here.


- A selection of foolhardy adventurers for you to guide
(all with level development rules ... if they survive...)


- well structured random encounter based adventures

Expanded Rules and Background

No doubt Crystal Star Games will be adding more adventure quests and characters as the minutes tick by, so keep watching them and keep your weapon dice handy.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Time Master materialises at Goblinoid Games

Time Master RPG on DriveThru
>> 7192.05.02 Time Corps Transmission Intercept: >> Disturbance Source Uhluht'c Awakens (Time Wars Renegade?):: Verification: Goblinoid Games :: Continuum Parallel T-0 Earth - Item displacement 27 years. 2011-1984AD >> Loop Trap Danger 90.5% Demorean Contamination: Unknown. Time Wars Ripple Cascade Effect: Unknown. Significance Rating: 500 to Infinite. Caution: All Time-lines and Parallels Under Threat - Immediate Acquisition and Containment Recommended. <<

... It hasn't been this bad since I actually lost the Chronoscooter in Ancient Athens. It took weeks to clear that one up. Almost as bad as when the Incas had those stolen atomic grenades, what a mess, but somehow it worked out, the legend of El Dorado held firm, the Spanish still arrived. Shame about Atlantis though, nice place, lots of culture - erased. Oops. ...

Goblinoid Games are publishing facsimile copies of Pacesetter's Time Master series.

Time for another gaming flashback...!

In my own playing circle, back in the day, nineteen-eighty-(vague mumbling), I seem to have been the only one out my friends to own a Pacesetter game. Like Palladium and Chaosium, Pacesetter used a similar percentage based games mechanic in their products. I never bought Chill. My Call of Cthulhu friends were happy a 1930's SAN-check for pretty much anything encountered -even if werewolves and vampires weren't officially part of the Mythos (*crosses self and thumbs the broken talisman*). It's remembering that when these games came out that there was a bit of a jostle for the different genres - unless the game came with a very specific setting. Near Time Master on the shelves in my local shop was the FASA Doctor Who RPG. To myself, at the time, that game would've been very restrictive with the characters you get to play and how much you had to know and the Doctor Who universe -and so I never bought it. That was it for time-travel themed games for me at the time. This however didn't stop White Dwarf and Imagine (UK's version of Dragon magazine) fill it's pages with articles about time travel in D&D, Judge Dredd, CoC and, naturally, Star Trek. Grandfather paradoxes aplenty, time travel looked fun but pretty unplayable.

Time Master, however, did a good job of setting clear guidelines as to how to make time travel work. You're Time Agents - fix the problems, apprehend the criminals, preserve the order. Time is a very mutable thing. Success and failure would be measured in terms of the "significance" of adventure goals on the rest of history (based on a points system). History had a way of healing itself, the trick was minimising the damage. For example, no matter what you did, the earth would be engulfed in a nuclear apocalypse at some point in late 20th to mid 21st Century, but the superpowers-combatants may have actually changed in nationality. Maybe Hitler wins WWII and the Cold War is between just Europe and Russia, but eventually America is dragged into WWIII. The guidelines for this is pretty good. Even dropping a gun in the wrong time-period has a "Significance Rating". Any mistakes or failures are counted up against more general goals, making sure that a historical event actual takes place can outweigh the smaller problems. On top of that, the rules include a comprehensive mass combat system with counters, which actually allow you to fight battles in history. Again, losing a battle, when in history it's actually won, may still not disrupt the time-line much - a war may drag on for a few more months with the same overall result, alternatively a catastrophe may occur with the time-line not getting back on track for 500 years. Then you have to think "Well, the whole 16th-21st Century were ruined, as long as Earth still joins the Interstellar Community in the 24th Century, the Time Corp HQ in the 72nd century won't actually get erased". Dominoes.

There is an open feel and yet a totality about the rules in Time Master. It's limitations seem to depend upon how your own perceptions of sci-fi and science. For example, PCs are enlisted from any point in history, but are discouraged from entering their own time - which closes quite a few interesting doors. Also the rules for futuristic weapons seem to be limited to Space-fighters, a laser gun and laser rifle. Hmm. There's a lot of time between here and the 72nd century. Creativity is required on behalf of the Referee in terms of small details. The emphasis is often on famous people or royals from history plus an wanted element - a "Demorean" (multiple armed xenophobic perfectist interdimensional aliens) or just some time-travel-renegade, a mercenary from the "Time-Wars".

From the handful of scenarios I've seen, the basic plot is:

Historically important NPCs approaching a
Major Historical Event
influence/help/anachronistic weapon *
bad guy(s)...

... the PCs must
confiscate the item
destroy or arrest the bad guys,
preserving life and time-line event order.

*(the Spanish Armada have a Polaris missile in Sea Dogs of England)

The problem is that it can all read like a pantomime comedy in period costume. Did I mention that despite the extra limbs, that bad-guy-evil Demoreans can shape-shift? Masquerading as our leaders!? The Horror!

When I was younger I struggled a lot with the sweeping generalisations about history in Time Master which seemed at odds with fairly detailed battlefield simulations. I was utterly tied in knots about actually getting down to play Time Master.

Doctor Who... spitfires in space?
The Time Corps
would disapprove.
However, since the TV series Doctor Who went utterly crazy, I'm feeling less worried about Churchill punching out aliens and lasers at the Somme. And yes, you could probably do the "spitfires in space" thing but the debriefing back at the Time Corps would be really tough. Oh, and another thing - the Chronoscooters can only jump in and then jump back from one time - no time-hopping. In one of the modules they throw that out of the window on the second page. What's the point of time-travel if one mission doesn't involve several different time periods in rapid succession? Maybe I'd have been better off meddling in the "Time Wars".

In summary, the main rules are an excellent stepping off point into to time travel gaming, but it needs just a little more "tech" (it was lacking in the 80s), and a confident, flexible DM would probably have the most fun playing everything as the "exception to rule". The art in the main rules is less than inspiring - mainly Victorian wood-cuts - with a little more cut and paste Terry Gilliam would have had a run for his money. But it's still adorable as a complete old-style numbers and bonuses role-playing system.

The prices of Goblinoid's Time Master products (at the moment) are very affordable. I also recommend the Clash of Kings -currently a mere $2- If only for the fact that you might you like reading about the possible origins of King Arthur in the suggested-real history of England. Throw in a trapped time traveller (Merlin, of course), some aliens in a cave, the Grail, the odd duel and battle, and you've got something just slightly more sophisticated than A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (and all of those comedy films that followed, ye gods). But it could still be a lot of fun. The illustrations in Clash of Kings is from Beardsley's famous art for Le Morte Darthur, -a useful reminder of the influence the legends had on Romantic culture, which, according to the module are essential for the future development of England, Europe and the world. But don't worry, if everything fails .. "Communist North America and United Europe destroy the world in the Holocaust of 2054" (p32) Remember, kids, it was the 80's, with Reagan and Thatcher in charge you knew where you stood when it came to the future, my only question was, why wait that long?

Okay enough chatter for now. I must return to scanning the time-lines for Demorean incursions. :)