Battle Star: Trek Wars (OSR)
This massive Alpha Blue-book clocks in at 76 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page reserved for notes, 1 page kort’thalis glyph, 1 page back cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of ToC, leaving us with 70 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
This book is an expansion for Venger As’Nas Satanis’ sleazy scifi-RPG Alpha Blue, which is inspired by 70s and early 80s porn-parodies. If exposed boobs and nudity offend you, if you can’t chuckle over what may be deemed to be puerile humor, then this may not be for you. To give you an example: One b/w-artwork has a guy standing in line at the space unemployment agency, asking the clerk to tell him more about “those outer rim jobs.” That being said, at the same time, there are not artworks depicting intercourse or the like – pin-up-style nudity is as raunchy as this one gets.
Then again, at this point I’ve reviewed so many Alpha Blue supplements you probably already know whether the tone is to your liking, so since we have the disclaimer out of the way, let’s take a look at the material herein!
We begin this supplement with a massive piece of well-written prose to set the stage thematically, “Cold as Ice,” before the pdf begins with a nomenclature-change that was overdue – The official term for the GM in Alpha Blue now is the BDSM – Bold Dungeon Space Master. The abbreviation was so obvious, I kinda hoped it would catch on. The pdf then provides a seven words/phrases means of character generation that works well with the very rules-lite approach Alpha Blue takes – what does the character do professionally, how does the character look like, who is the character as a person,, what is the character good at, likes/dislikes, special equipment/vessels and stand out traits – there, character generation in a few quick steps. If you honestly dislike rolling dice and want an even bigger step of being almost-0-rules, there is an alternative that gets rid of rolling for damage; the brief table makes you pool up attack dice pool and that’s it. Nice: The BDSM gets default stats for stock character NPCs next to some further DMing advice, which champions sticking to briefer scenes. Shutting lengthy combats down and rough guidelines for the number of rounds acceptable, can be helpful – as the header notes “remember the cantina” – it’s brevity is what makes the scene work. A d12 table to end combats that have stretched on for too long The sleaze once more enters the frame via the rather funny table that provides mechanically-relevant effects that accompany an alien’s orgasm. The pdf also provides a d12 table to determine random underwear worn, a d4 table to determine the condition, and a d6 table for the couture of the vaginal area. If you happen to be a fan of Alpha Blue who prefers males, you won’t get any tables for male underpants or genital area.
The section also introduces the dread Cheetosian slut-bots, a sex robot so potent it has a 1 in 3 chance of killing you. Losers of high-stakes games sometimes have to take the bet and introduce fingers etc. in the bot – those that survive end up with permanent cheeto fingers/genitalia, coated in orange dust. A fate that’s rather…disgusting. 12 quick hooks to begin an Alpha Blue adventure, 20 things that folks may want in return for assistance and 30 weapons are next. The latter include assassin blades hidden in clown shoes, crotch cannons, bowel disruptors, etc. 6 weapons, hilariously, were left over and get their own brief table.
The next idea is pretty funny: Snadq’ua is a game, where you have to trick someone to look at your dick/balls. Depending on the move, the loser may have to pay MeowMeowBeenz, and the pdf mentions how this could be used in metagame – the victor can take the loser’s “Steal the Spotlight” for the session. It should be obvious that the latter metagame requires sane and mature adults, but, as a suggestion, it’s very much possible to make this based on boobs as well. Gamifying NOT staring at cleavage may actually do some socially slightly challenged folks some good…
30 detailed random transmissions to pick up (assassin guilds celebrating their 110th kill, Purple Prizm, now with aphrodisiac, etc.) and a brief d6-die drop table to determine stability in a region are next, and then we get a MASSIVE, 100-entry strong table of odd NPCs to add to the game – from space dwarves to armed slugs to really weird folks, this table is really useful and breathes Venger’s creativity in the best of ways. While we’re on the subject of the die-drop component: The pdf comes with a MASSIVE, high-res –jpg hex-map of the Ta’andor galaxy, noting the spheres of influence of factions from “Abhorrent Entities of Eldritch Alignment” to the “Church of Arthos” or “Ta’andorian Pleasure Seekers.”
There is also a 100-entry strong loot table, which includes a detachable penis, parking tickets, a handheld sonic douching machine, vials LS3-D…pretty fun and diverse table. 10 reasons why you don’t get to pick someone up are also provided, which had me think of a weird combination: Space Quest meets Leisure Suit Larry. I can kinda see that work as a campaign idea! This also ties in with a table that determines the degree of being pussy-whipped (extra points for running Steel Panther’s song when rolling on it…) and one that randomly lets you determine how long it takes for a male to be able to go again.
MeowMeowBeenz are concisely defined, btw. – it’s crypto currency that has become popular after the finance markets crashed. Its value is partially contingent on how ostensibly awesome you manage to sell yourself. Here’s the kicker: The system also rates the users on a scale of 1 to 5, not akin to the social rating dystopia shown in the third season of Black Mirror. MeowMeowBeenz thus feel pretty…sinister to me. The fluctuating value and fluid economy is, of course, pretty much carte blanche for the BDSM, so some further explanations give you some guidelines. I really enjoyed this section – the easy come, easy go randomness is appealing and fits the themes of Alpha Blue.
All right, as before in the Alpha Blue supplements released so far, we move on towards the adventure/scenario section next. As before, read aloud text is usually reduced to a bare minimum, namely setting the stage for the adventure; there is no plot-synopsis given, and you definitely should read the entire respective scenario prior to running it. Big plus: We actually get stats where relevant.
All right, since we’re now taking a look at the adventures themselves, consider this to be the SPOILER-warning for players. If you want to play these yourself, you should skip ahead to the conclusion.
All right, only BDSMs around? Great! So, the first scenario “I Wear My Heart On My Sleaze” begins with at the favorite dive bar, where a Dallas Space Cowboy Cheerleader is waiting for the bathroom to become free, proceeding then to peeing herself when she can’t hold it any more. This being Alpha Blue, the aftermath can result is sex. As the PCs happen upon a flyer noting a libertarian party going on, they also get a note that none Ta’andorian citizens will have to have intercourse in the next 3 hours or die horribly. The consequence is simple: Get laid at the party or die trying is the name of the game, and when a humanoid carrot advertizes the symbiotic jellyfish condoms that can actually form ridges etc., we’re definitely in full-blown Alpha Blue territory. While playing strip-sabacc, the PCs may run afoul of a pick-pocket, and there are 12 reasons for some dude wanting the PCs dead. A super smart inventor is thinking about selling a short-range teleportation device to score; a lady may be saved from a scintillating bastard of an alien from a Zonga-line…and then fungoid spacers (alas, sans stats) kidnap a princess…which may make for another interesting adventure. All in all, a delightfully goofy extended encounter/downtime scenario.
The second adventure would be “Emergency Escape Sequence Delta Green,” which begins with a table of 6 different flashbacks as the PCs emerge on the moon A’atu, only to pick up a Romulyn battle cruiser on their scanners, Shasta, which hails the PCs and provides an ultimatum – scram or be pulverized. The moon seems to be suffering from a blockade, courtesy of a change in Federation tax codes. The remainder of the module deals with a free-form approach towards the situation: Do the PCs attempt to save the moon? Will they join the Federation or attempt to brave all odds and eliminate the superior forces of the Federation? In order to defeat a battle cruiser, the PCs will probably have to infiltrate it, and stats for standard troopers and an Admiral are provided alongside a brief d6 table of different welcoming committees. And that’s about it. A solid digression/diversion.
Thirdly, we get the “Outer Rim Jobs of Ta’andor” begins with 6 easy-come-easy-go reasons for the PCs to be broke. Facing their dwindling resources, they are likely to say yes to the job awaiting on Avon 7, where a scouring winds ravage the land and a bald, Tibetan-looking monk awaits. A group of fully statted rival spacers will attempt to take out the PCs as they take the job, taking turquoise teleportation bracelets…only to me dread Xa’ax, the mind-raping orange (nice callback to Kort’thalis early works! And yes, it’s fully statted!). The potent fruit asks the PCs to represent it at a singing contest. And yes, the orange can be killed – wearing its peel can net you the potent powers of the entity for a brief time. The contest itself features glory holes in the rest rooms and the rules to resolve the contest are painless and nice. The judges (fluff-only) include a hip-hop-apotamus…and David Hasselhoff. Thing is, the orange is a bastard – it actually wants to kill everyone associated with the contest. How they get rid of the nuke they were duped into carrying before the 5 minutes elapse, is all up to the players. Some suggestions would have been nice. Killing Xa’ax will be tough – he has caught the famous space cops Tango and Cash, and beyond the orange, a deadly Zith lord, the Crimson Chaos, will need to be defeated. The aforementioned Tibetan monk can make for a NPC-aid or replacement PC and as such, comes with stats. All in all, a hilarious, amazing and outré little module – easily one of my favorites in all of Alpha Blue’s canon.
The final scenario would be “Panty Raid on Papyrus 5” – you see, Papyrus is a cluster of 5 university planets, with #5 being the one focused on culture, language and the liberal arts. As such, there are a lot of ladies there. The module itself is basically a free-form scenario: The motivation of the PCs can oscillate, and the module accounts for that, by providing the tools to generate such a scenario: There is a brief table of reactions to stealing panties, and patrol ships are noted. Campus security gets stats, as do rival raiders. If you desire a straight narrative, there is a specific lady whose panties are particularly treasured by a gross insect thing…good money in it. There is a planet with economy based on worn panties, and it is here that PCs may end up recalling past lives after being exposed to a strange crystal. 8 Sample previous identities and 6 reasons for memory implants quote the total recall angle, but how that develops is ultimately up to players and BDSM.
Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to a nice two-column full-color standard, with original artworks that range from amazing to solid, and the map noted before is a nice bonus. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with very detailed, nested bookmarks for your convenience, and the pdf comes with a second, more printer-friendly version. On a layout-perspective, I loved how e.g. “Purple Prizm” is always printed in purple, with its own custom font – it’s a small thing, but I liked that decision. On another note, the per se great layout and artwork clash slightly in a few instances, but that remains an aesthetic nitpick.
Venger As’Nas Satanis “Battle Star – Trek Wars” is a great expansion for the Alpha Blue game; from the serious to the utterly ridiculous, the adventures should offer something for all folks that enjoy his take on the raunchy scifi-parody genre. Particularly the 3rd adventure is absolutely hilarious in its outrageous concepts. The random tables also easily count among the best in Alpha Blue’s history so far – much like “Universal Exploits”, this book provides quite a few very helpful components that flesh out the implicit setting without feeling overly restrictive, with particularly the MeowMeowBeenz-economy being a great way to explain fluctuating fortunes. Now, while the adventure components don’t engage in much handholding, they do show that the author has learned from past adventures: The environments are more relevant, stats are provided where they make sense, and as a whole, this elevates the encounters and modules from sketches to material you can run without requiring much preparation beyond reading the respective components.
In short: If you enjoyed Alpha Blue or just like gonzo space opera with a dash of sleaze strewn in, then this book is a no-brainer. It is one of the best books in the product line, on par with the quality of Universal Exploits. As always for Alpha Blue-expansions, this will not change your mind if unapologetically puerile, self-referential humor that very much recognizes what it does, if the parody angle, does not work for you. If it does, then this is a gem and well worth 5 stars + seal of approval.
You can get this cool supplement here on OBS!
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