This Alpha Blue-module clocks in at 21 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, leaving us with 19 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
As always, this is an Alpha Blue adventure. Alpha Blue is a sleazy scifi-game in the vein of 70s/early 80s scifi porn parodies that uses the dice-pool based VSd6-engine, and as such, the pdf contains a couple of suggestive images and sexual themes. As far as Alpha Blue is concerned, these are pretty tame, though – there is not a single exposed beast to be seen inside. Impressive, btw. – we get an array of cosplay-ish photography to serve as interior art, with one of the pieces being somewhat suggestive. These pictures are all high-quality, and in case you’ve got something against the depiction of drawn nipples, rest assured that not a single nipple or form of nudity is included within. I know several pop videos that are more lewd than the pictures. That being said, if sexuality is a hot button topic for you, then you probably won’t want to play Alpha Blue in the first place.
All right, so, as always: This is an adventure-review. As such, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players will want to jump ahead to the conclusion.
All right, only BDSMs (Bold Dungeon Space Masters) around? Great!
So, if you did expect a straight sequel to THOT Audit, you won’t get that here. The pdf starts with the premise that the PCs, as opportunists, have joined the THOT police as bounty hunters – but there are 6 different reasons for why they may be late to the party regarding assignments. The adventure takes place during Space Christmas, and police captain Harass and the others seem to be congratulating one Zammy Zathwell on his draw – he got an assignment to a very well-paying job on a New Martian citadel. The citadel is btw. called Nakatomi. Hence the Christmas-theme. Thing is, the PCs probably want in on that job, but their ship will end up being stolen – and it’ll be parked in an area studded with laser mines – and botching here may well wipe out the whole party, so better be careful!
The ship will be found at a refueling station, which’ll allow for a confrontation of the fully statted thief. After that, the PCs will have to get past the Mars blockade, of the Federation, and doing so will be risky. The checkpoint will be risky (one of the officers can telekinetically squeeze the balls of males…), and Karlsbad, the guy in charge, thankfully, can be bribed…or, well, the PCs may use an attempt of a space corvette to sneak past to their advantage… (And yes, we do get stats for the officers and Karlsbad.) Said corvette-driver, by the way? He’s more important than it looks – he is a relic smuggler (fully statted) names Souda, who, as a being of pure energy, can help allies…and is totally invulnerable to lasers! He’s also carrying The Bad Luck Eye Of The Little Crimson God, stolen from the Crimson Da’awn syndicate! It is worth a fortune and may be used to create a doomsday weapon – and yep, he’ll conveniently crash near Nakatomi Citadel if left to the federation…
Speaking of the Crimson Da’awn: The syndicate is planning a hostile take-over of Nakatomi Citadel in order to steal the bare-naked bonds stored there, with the grand plan of opening Alpha Blue-themed restaurants. Think of that as space-hooters, just more lewd. The hostile takeover announcement is btw. represented by a bit of read-aloud text. The leader of this strike-force, Maddek Skwa, has a pretty powerful ability that’ll make others bow and comply, and he and his cutthroats are properly statted. He also carries a magical portable gloryhole, with random effects.
But I’m getting ahead of myself – the takeover attempt is a floating encounter that will probably take place after the PCs have entered the place – provided they figure out a way to get past the leech-covered concierge…who, once more, has unique abilities! This is something that really deserves mentioning: Even regular guardsmen tend to get unique descriptions AND abilities – the guard Thwib (who looks like a turtle except for a Nietzsche moustache and a giraffe’s neck), for example, has a chance of incapacitating targets on double sixes due to a summer spent in ninja bootcamp. The gift shop contains snowglobes (12 provided; including an easter egg for Kort’thalis fans) – I liked those, but the lamprey-faced ballerina that may be hostile or nice? It’d have been neat to get stats for her.
In the bar, the PCs can meet the powerful Federation office Ja’an Maclem, who always has a hidden weapon somewhere. (In case the Die Hard references so far were to subtle…) The museum would allow the PCs to get the Shroud of Tu’uran, which makes for a very potent, if sacrilegious defensive item. The different ladies that would qualify as to-be-taxed THOTs btw. also get their proper stats; my favorite there would be one whose eyes show you a destiny you may have. The lady working at the lingerie shop can daze hostile males and is particularly dangerous in combat when near poles, and makes for a cool potential ally. Less cool: There is a guy who has a rape whistle. Blowing it has a chance of tentacles spontaneously manifesting and…you get the idea. Not a fan of that inclusion. Two reasons: 1) I really don’t like random things and abilities humiliating PCs, unless they earned it. 2) It may be me, but I really don’t think that references to rape, even tentacle rape, should feature in a happy-go-lucky beer-and-pretzels-style game about fun and casual sex. Still, this is a personal opinion and as such will not feature in my final rating; it’s just as easy to picture folks that don’t mind its inclusion – heck, and ex-girlfriend of mine was really into those types of hentai…and it’s not my place to judge anyone’s kinks. Still, figured I’d mention it, and before you ask – it’s literally a throwaway line in one item. Redacting it is a 0-effort job for the BDSM.
A fully-statted parody of Jean-Paul Sartre can also be found (in Space Starbucks); there is a tanning salon in which a female is masturbating, a lawyer’s office (fully statted lawyer); there is a security guard (whose name’s missing an “a” in one instance); the PCs can engage in a slave auction ( 4 different statted slaves provided), and in the art-gallery, there is a hint to Cha’alt. Beyond an insectoid drug-dealer in a Subways (Where’s the BDSM sub-pun there? Missed chance…), we also have a really depraved massage parlor that includes a nice alien…and there is a pretty unfair, sucky room, wherein the PCs have a 2-in-4-chance of dying; 1-in-4-chance of backstabbing the PCs. That is…not fun. It’s just random, and not in a good way. I highly suggest at least providing some way for PCs to evade this random insta-gib.
Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to the impressive two-column full-color standard of the latest Alpha Blue-modules, and text is white, to set it apart from the background. I’m prone to migraines, but this one didn’t trigger that, so yeah. Artworks inside constitute of nice full-color photography, as noted before, and is pretty cool. The citadel comes with a properly keyed, full-color map that may not have a scale, but needs none, considering how Alpha Blue operates. Big plus: We get a VTT-friendly, unlabeled version of the map that can bused as a handout, and all versions of the map are provided as .jpgs as well. The pdf does not have any bookmarks, which constitutes an unnecessary comfort detriment.
Zoltar Khan Delgado’s/Venger As’Nas Satanis’ new direction for Alpha Blue is great to see. The direction taken in THOT Audit, to provide proper adventures instead of vignettes, is a boon for folks that actually play Alpha Blue, particularly since they feature his trademark weirdness without compromising the overall usability. This module depicts a nice sandbox with a floating “oh damn, shit got real”-moment, leaving how everything plays out to the PCs and the interactions with NPCs – which is a big plus as far as I’m concerned. That being said, the Trap Room mentioned is just dumb, frustrating and random, and not in a good way. Similarly, the lack of bookmarks is a comfort detriment in an otherwise nice adventure. On the plus-side, the creativity that went into the NPCs does salvage a high score for this – the author went above and beyond regarding unique effects, tricks, gear, etc. – the stats provided are creative, and we get quite a lot of them. Considering that and the low price point, my final verdict will round up from 4.5 stars.
You can get this module here on OBS!