This pdf clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, leaving us with 9 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
This creator is pretty simple and so are the instructions: You take 1d4, 4d6, 1 d8, 2d10, 1d12 and 1d20. That’s the baseline for big ships, though you can use the system to create smaller or more massive derelicts by adding or subtracting dice.
Okay, now that you have the dice ready, you drop them on a standard sheet of paper – US letterpack or Din A4 both work. Notate where each die lands. Remove the die from the paper and note, in its place, the die size and what it did show -a d8 showing a 7 would be noted as d8-7, for example. This is called a “node”.
Now draw a line from the node to another node – this is called a “connection.” Each node must be connected to at least another node. This establishes the basic shape of the derelict and can really kick off your imagination – then, you look up the results of the nodes on the dice tables, changing results that do not fit your vision accordingly.
The respective tables are as follows: d4 denotes the ship’s reactor, with a 1 meaning imminent meltdown, 4 denoting full power. d6s represent common modules like cargo bays, habitation, contraband, etc. d8s cover weaponry and defense, d10s unique places (like cryochambers, illegal labs, etc.), d12s depict the command area (with entries like corporate interest or AI)…and d20 represents plot-twist-y components: Like rooms filled with desperate survivors, occult chambers, scrappers, etc.
And that’s about it.
Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no glaring issues. Layout adheres to an easy-to-read and printer-friendly one-column b/w-standard and the pdf has no artwork apart from the cover. The pdf comes fully bookmarked, in spite of its brevity – kudos!!
Karl Scheer’s derelict generator is a nice, unpretentious little pdf. It does what it says on the tin and dice-dropping does a pretty good job at creating derelicts…at least for the most part. On the downside, the respective dressing entries from the tables, while not bad by any stretch, left me underwhelmed when compared to e.g. Rafael Chandler’s “Starship from Hell“. Let me reiterate this: This is by no means bad and it may be worth the very fair asking price, but I’m not sure I’d get it again. With the dressing being decent, but not inspired, I probably won’t be using this again – either I design my material by hand, or I am time-starved and need a more comprehensive tool, and the pdf does not deliver the latter. As such, I consider this a bit of a mixed bag. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3 stars.
You can get this generator here on OBS!