Friday, December 18, 2015

Review of Alpha Blue By Venger Satanis For Your Old School Space Opera & Science Fantasy Campaigns

Feminine cyber-companions on hover-skates pass out drinks that bubble and smoke like a laboratory experiment gone
horribly wrong. "Try some Flash, sugar. It'll blow you away." One says, her tiny chassis strobing pink and blue.
DJ Asimov adjusts the pulsing music by fondling an intricate hypercube that floats at his station with long, boneless fibers.
You eye a girl dressed only in holographic triangles. She looks back. Smiles. She wants to dance.
You move in for the "kill". Oh yeah! You've got all the right moves. The dance floor vibrates with luminous squares of
amphetamine color like a space-rainbow checkerboard.
Suddenly she tenses up. She's looking at someone. Before you can see who it is, she plants a wet kiss on your lips. You
can't tell if it's the narcotic mist being pumped out into the club or maybe she's just that sexy.
She breaks away while a couple of lowlifes question the bartender-bot. Bounty hunters, undoubtedly.
Your new friend is a bad girl.
Alpha Blue is Venger Satanis's retro gonzo interstellar space brothel adventure source book but actually its Venger's science fantasy rpg system too! That's right not only is there the space brothel but you can play interstellar bounty hunters, outlaws, scum, alien johns and more. THIS IS AN ADULT OSR TITLE NOT FOR THE KIDS

So it seems that Venger Satanis's  Alpha Blue has hit the interwebs as a pdf, and I got my review copy early this afternoon. Which is interesting because I started to take peek through some science fantasy campaign notes. But I digress, Alpha Blue is more then simply space brothels its an rpg source book as well with a complete version of the Crimson Dragon Slayer system built into it as well. But this version is a complete gonzo sci fi and science fantasy system packed to the brim with a ton of random table options to generate a complete set of spacer adventurers in search of a good time or to seriously kick some ass.  There is more then enough character and PC options to choke a space cow. Table after table of high quality & some low brow humor here but actually its pretty damn nice. Alpha Blue clocks in at about a hundred and fourteen pages of science fantasy raunchy fun. But don't let the slick sleazy gonzo space brothel rpg cover plate fool you at its heart and soul Alpha Blue is actually a complete D6 old school style rpg system. As Venger says in the introduction;"What happens in the adventure is mostly up to the players and their characters. The framework is determined by the Game Master or "Space Dungeon Master", in this case. That means using the Alpha Blue space station in conjunction with another sci-fi RPG will have different results than using what's provided here.
Specifically, this system is a cross between Crimson Dragon Slayer and The Outer Presence. The former is a
humorous, gonzo take on OSR science-fantasy. It's ruleslight while still having a bit of crunch. The latter has
light-as-a-feather rules and is more serious, dealing with occult and horror investigations. I wanted something between the two that would put the focus on pulpy, cinematic, action-adventure in deep space along with the vintage space operas I loved watching as a kid. This book is a campaign setting with infrastructure,
not only giving the Space Dungeon Master ideas but procedures for utilizing them" Venger is a very smart son of a gun and Alpha Blue has at its heart a slick and dangerous sleazy little science fantasy and fiction system built right into that will work with most of the major OSR science fantasy or fiction games currently on the market with a bit of third grade mathematics. I was incredibly surprised to find table after table for creating your own customized space scum adventurer. The man has done bang up job of an adult themed science fantasy game in the old school tradition everything from motives to cybernetics is covered here including spur of the moment equipment and weaponry. Combat, random encounters everything is covered in between the pages.

Alpha Blue includes its own universe and setting within a weird Federation, Ice Pirate's inspired universe & the author has back plugged his own adventures such as the Island of Purples Haunted Putrescence with references sprinkled though out Alpha Blue. This means that many other OSR sci fi games such as White Star, X plorers, Stars Without Number and Hulks and Horrors can all be ported over or converted over with little issue. There are table after table to create PC's and augment your own OSR adventurers and space scum.

See this jerk? This is a brain bug and its one of the factions that looks upon the humanoids of the planes as nothing more then colony fodder and slaves. They are nasty pieces of work. A version of this artwork appears in Alpha Blue by Mr. Zarono.

Monkey Blood Designs does some incredible work and there is a pretty nifty map as well as few other pieces but I think that we're going to be seeing these gorgeous maps as a separate map pack or two down the road. Below is the actual play testing of Alpha Blue.

There's even random tables for space dungeons, derelicts, and salvage in Alpha Blue as I said this is a complete OSR science fiction and fantasy system unto itself. The author has created a complete universe and setting unto itself that you can insert into your own OSR interstellar campaign especially if you want to add a bit of sleazy and naughty bit of fun. After looking at the actual book and system I'm firmly convinced of an observation I made earlier on my blog;"Alpha Blue could be used as a recovery place for those adventurers who venture into Carcosa via Lamentations of the Flame Princess.There might be a  few facilities of Alpha Blue that could easy the insanity that runs through your PC's minds and what's left of their souls after they get scrapped off of the landscape of Carcosa." Because deep in the background of the Alpha Blue station there actually are but your PC's are going to paying through the nose to use them.

And what about Alpha Blue itself? Well, this space brothel is the the size of a giant free wheeling station and comparable to many of the adventure locations seen in Star Frontiers or Classic Traveler. The place is huge and sports tons of encounters with NPC's, adventure locations, situations waiting to happen and off set material that can hook PC's into the deep end of the space action. But is it worth the price of admission? Yes it is because it can provide an entire campaign for your old school games under one sin filled roof! This place is part floating Vegas in space and two parts high end Eighties Saturday afternoon HBO movie with boobs, adventure, laughs and high test nastiness. There's lots of weirdness thrown in there with plenty of action waiting to snare your adventurers. There are tons and tons of random charts to challenge your adventurers and the jokes are raunchy but there's a ton of potential here for high test gonzo space action. Alpha Blue has its own mall, gambling houses, arenas, women's prisons and more. As a dungeon master this OSR space adventure resource has a ton of material that kicks ass hard and will keep a group of players busy for a very long time to come. Highly recommended with a five out of five.

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