Friday, September 25, 2015

Classic Free Sci Fi Reference - Starlog Photo Guidebook:Weapons For Your Old School Campaigns

There is a long tradition of the sci fi weapon in the entertainment venues of science fiction television shows and films. Ray guns, laser swords, and a variable rainbow of ray weapons and blasters has been one of the staples and traditions of sci fi fandom. When it comes to Starlog magazine the Photoguide book series of magazines were the references to have. Now the internet archive has had one of my favorites for a free download. The Starlog Photo Guidebook:Weapons is a relic from 1979 that's always been one of those books that somehow were out of reach to comic book and film fanatic in the middle of the North Western Hills of Connecticut. This isn't really so much a technical manual, the Starlog Photo Guidebook:Weapons is a reference book from 1979.


What it contains is weaponry from film and sci fi television shows starting with Planet Algol from 1920 all the way through an overview of the weaponry of Space 1999 and Battle Star Galactica. There is a brief overview of the show and film that their covering followed by a note about weapon prop. Don't let this fool you sci fi dungeon masters there's plenty here to use, Science Fiction Weapons covers a ton of off the radar or half forgotten film or television shows. The middle section also has some very nice color inserts of Luke's light saber, the Martian War of the Worlds manta ship,a Logan's Run pistol and more. While much of this material might seem like its easily within reach of a dungeon master with an internet connection. All of this material is in one book that happens to be a free download. But there's actually more to this book.

From Dr. Who to Fire Ball XL5 these all get their own sections including Battle Star Galactica 1979 and Space 1999. There's lots of bits and pieces on the weaponry of these shows and their application into an OSR retrofuture campaign. For me the Battle Star Galactica Colonial laser blaster was worth the price of admission because of the details of this weapon. This isn't an elegant weapon, its one that was designed to take out armored non CGI Cylons in battle gear. Players wanted details on this weapon and this book has a pretty solid break down of the original props.

The  Starlog Photo Guidebook:Weapons also has a whole section on the original Flash Gordon serials and series along with the weapons for reference.Given the fact that pulp magazines and retro science fantasy campaigns are white hot right now this is another section that has some top shelf potential for the right Dungeon master. The Star Trek sections follows from the original series up through the Star Trek The Motion Picture weapon systems. And proves a nice overview.

So how can this material be used by a DM for a fast adventure turn around using this Starlog resource? Easily this material can provide a DM who needs to pepper a retro future adventure with sci fi relics and artifacts along with back fitted Easter Eggs for their favorite retro post apocalyptic or sci fi adventures. The Starlog Photo Guidebook:Weapons has you covered.

Once upon a time Starlog and Starlog Photo Guidebooks were the only game in town for a sci fi fan long before the internet was even a twinkle in the eye of a defense contractor and the Army. The magazine always sat next to my copy of Traveler and Gamma World first edition. So this book is an echo from another time but its got plenty to offer the enterprising DM who wants to cash in on that retro future and sci fi vibe of yesteryear.

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