Ætherjack’s Almanac #2: Cabbits & Combat (Troika!)
The second installment of the Ætherjack’s Almanac-zinis clocks in at 2 pages – 1/2 of the first page is devoted to the front cover of sorts, which leaves us with 1.5 pages of content. If you fold this in the middle, you’ll have a nice pamphlet-style supplement, so you should rather consider this to be a 3-page pdf.
The pdf begins by presenting us with the æthernautical ship and combat rule breakdown: The days of air available are divided by the crew; the Crew value lists a minimum number to operate, and a maximum number for optimal operation. Cargo values are given in tons, regardless of mass or volume. The Maneuver value determines the number of hex-sides a ship can change facing sans piloting checks. Ship Ratings (SRs), hinted before in #1, are not always listed, as they are a factor of the engine and pilot. Armor has the same categories as personal, with the important caveat that personal weapons deal no damage to ships with armor unless specified. Hull is the HP_equivalent, and weapons will instakill regularly-scaled characters. Alternatively, they get to test Luck vs. Skill test to hit to remain standing with 1 Stamina.
Movement and combat takes place on a hex grid, and exceeding the Maneuver rating requires Piloting checks minus 1 per facing change. Minor nitpick – it should be “on the pilot’s initiative”, not “one the pilot’s initiative”, but this is a nitpick. Ship combat is resolved as ranged combat, and the ROF (Rate of Fire)-rating determines how often the weapon may be fired: ¼ would e.g. be one shot every 4 rounds. Considering Troika!’s swingy initiative system, this can be rather volatile.
the cuddly synthetic meta-lagomorph background, and come with fluffy ears (which does net you a +1 bonus to the Cute skill, and a singular appetite for a particular vegetable – you get +1 to Chomping on those. You also start with 3d6 outstanding warrants. Why? Well, the strange skill list notes plasmic cannons, so guess what? You can transform into a warship, and are thus illegal on a LOT of levels. Full warship stats are provided and include notes on how much cargo you can hold, minimum and maximum crew (and yes, the background makes you the minimum crew, so you none nobody to pilot you), Maneuver, Armor and Hull ratings, as well as weapons listed.
Beyond those, we have stats for naval vessels (static) and pirate vessel stats (which are much more prone to fluctuation, noting Skill, Maneuver, Hull, etc. Brief stats for crew members of these additional vessels are provided, in case you were wondering.
Okay, cool so far, right? Well, the pdf provides more: We get a pretty massive table that allows you to convert Stars Without Number, BECMI, and D20-based ships to Troika! regarding maneuverability; Armor conversion is provided for descending and ascending armor class, and we get proper Troika stats for 3 types of plasmic cannons, 2 ballistae, and 2 catapults. Some weapons can ignore up to 3 armor; plasmic cannons require electricity, ballistae etc. ammunition.
Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level – I have nothing to complain about here. Layout adheres to a delightfully-jarring purple-green 2-column standard that some people are bound to love – weirdoes like me, for example. (A “negative” version is included, flipping colors.) If you consider it rather jarring, fret not, for the supplement comes with a more eye-and printer-friendly b/w-iteration. Artworks seem to be adaptations of weird public domain images. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.
Ian Woolley delivers big time here – on just two pages, you get a great, mechanically precise engine that lets you seamlessly convert space ships/spacefaring ships/vehicles to Troika!, and we get some default stats as orientation, and a neat high-risk background. What more could you want? This is a resounding success of a mini-zine. Final verdict: 5 stars.
You can get this amazing little pdf here on OBS!
You can directly support the author here on patreon!
If you enjoy reading my reviews, please consider leaving a donation, or joining my patreon here!