Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Spinward Main

I've made a full-color, 300dpi map of the Spinward Main as it appears in Classic Traveller's A3: Twilight's Peak at the request of Paul Elliott from the Citizens of the Imperium boards. Enjoy!

For a full-res image, look here:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

New Camera!

I've just received a new camera - an HP Photosmart M425 - from eBay. Now I've tested it out on my old Grey Alien figures from

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Outer Veil Released!

Spica Publishing is pleased to announce that Outer Veil has been released!


Outer Veil is now available to buy and download from Spica Publishing’s publisher page at, price $14.99.

Click here to grab your copy of Outer Veil!

Product code: SP 0200
ISBN: 978-0-9560893-9-7
Format: PDF format, 156 pages.

Outer Veil is © Spica Publishing 2011. All rights reserved.

Oh, and I'm the primary author!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Space Cockroach is Getting Published!

Yep, I'm getting my own first book published by Publishing! And its going to be available in PDF format NEXT WEEK! Woohoo!

Spica Publishing
is pleased to announce that Outer Veil will be released on 30 October 2011!


Written by Omer Golan-Joel with Richard Hazlewood, with art by David Redington and Michael Thomas, Outer Veil is a completely new game universe for Traveller, set in 2159 AD in the space around Sol.

As mighty as they are in the Core Worlds, the Federated Nations of Humanity government and the Megacorporations cannot act directly on the Frontier, which is a month or more away even for the brand-new Jump 2 couriers. To exert their power to these distant stars, they need you to go there on their behalf and act as their eyes, ears, and hands away from home. The FNH government needs reliable administrators who can think on their feet, loyal military officers to project its force, and determined Justice Commission agents to uphold the law where the colonial authorities cannot.

The Megacorporations want results and want them now and demand people who can get results fast, by any means necessary. They also need researchers, explorers, and workers for their projects on the frontier and spies and mercenaries for the darker side of inter-corporate competition. The locals need you, too: as a professional, a hired gun, an explorer or as a fellow colonist. You need the Frontier, too: opportunities and adventures abound there for both the hireling and the freelancer.

The Frontier is large, deep, and wide open. Humanity's young sphere of interstellar space is surrounded on all sides by unexplored space. At the edge of this tiny sphere lies the Outer Veil, a partly-explored, sparsely-settled region of space separating the known and the unknown. Despite its best efforts, the Core has little influence in these dark reaches, and nearly anything can be found there: unsanctioned colonies, pirate enclaves, secret laboratories, alien ruins, isolationist groups, strange worlds and colonies scraping out a living on the edge of the Great Unknown.

The space beyond the Outer Veil is unexplored, unknown and undisturbed by human exploration, habitation or influence. The future of Humanity lies beyond the Outer Veil, where untold opportunities, riches and dangers await the trail-blazing explorer. The present human institutions hold little or no power amongst these far stars; whatever lies beyond the slowly expanding Outer Veil is an enigma waiting to be explored and colonised: a new opportunity for Humanity to begin anew and build new civilisations.

Authority is scarce and your bosses, if any, are weeks of Jump travel away from you. The Core can only give you general guidance and standing orders; when trouble strikes, you have to make your own decisions. If you are the captain of a patrol frigate, the commanding officer of a Marine detachment, a colonial governor or a Justice Commission agent, you are the government. If you are a trouble-shooter or a local exec for a Megacorporation, you are the company. And if you are a freelancer, you truly are independent.

In the Outer Veil you are on your own.

Outer Veil includes background and historical information on the Outer Veil universe, eight new, setting-specific careers, statistics for 20 new starships and smallcraft, rules for asteroid mining and belting, a complete sector of space with UWPs and subsector maps, Referee's information on the Outer Veil setting, patrons and 'Brotherhood & Justice', a complete introductory adventure ste in the Outer Veil universe.

Outer Veil will be released on Sunday 30 October 2011 as a PDF download from Spica Publishing’s publisher page at, price $14.99.

Product code: SP 0200
ISBN: 978-0-9560893-9-7
Format: PDF format, 156 pages.

A selection of preview pages from Outer Veil from Spica Publishing are presented below.

Outer Veil is © Spica Publishing 2011. All rights reserved.

Requires the use of the Traveller Core Rulebook, available from Mongoose Publishing.
'Traveller' and the Traveller logo are Trademarks owned by Far Future Enterprises, Inc. and are used with permission.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

In Defense of Dying in Traveller Character Generation

A common complaint about Classic Traveller is that characters can die during character generation. At the surface of it, it looks like a very strong and robust complaint - why should character generation be based on chance rather than the player's choice, and why should a character die even before starting the game?

However, there are actually good reasons to follow this controversial, and lethal, rule.

First of all, Classic Traveller game starts not after character generation, but rather at the beginning of character generation. It is a mini-game all by itself - a game of chance, if you will. And like all gambles, it has its own thrill in it. Will your character survive multiple terms of combat as a Marine? Will you muster out a General, or, alternatively, finish your career at a state funeral reserved to military heroes? Go on, gamble!

Another thing to keep in mind is that, as long as you stick to Book 1 and Supplement 4, Classic Traveller character generation is FAST. VERY FAST. Once you know the system well, generating a character takes a mere five minutes. So even if your character dies, you don't lose much time - in fact, you've only played a little game of dice for several moments, no harm done.

But the real reasons for the chances for character death in Classic Traveller character generation are twofold: from a setting perspective and from a game-mechanics perspective.

From a setting perspective, a military career, especially in actual combat service (when you can learn all these nifty combat skills), is a risky thing. Combat is no picnic, after all. You don't earn combat experience by sitting behind a desk, but rather by shooting and being shot at. Soldiers die in many cases; that is the nature of war. And the game reflects that.

From a game-mechanics perspective, keep in mind that Classic Traveller - like most versions of Traveller - uses the 2d6 curve for task resolution. This curve is highly sensitive to modifiers, so even a mere +1 is significant; high skill levels will skew the curve much towards the character's favor, and thus are highly valuable. The chance of death during character generation, therefore, exists in order to make higher skills rarer and more valuable. Otherwise, why not just stick in, say, the Scouts for terms and terms on no end and have a character with Pilot-5? This presents the player with a choice: do you muster out now alive but with a smaller amount of skills, or risk a certain chance of death in the line of duty to earn better combat experience? Are you determined enough to become an officer to risk your life in the line of duty, or do you muster out as a Private and stay alive for the time being? Choices. Choices. And risks. This is the essence of Classic Traveller character generation.

I hope that these few arguments would make you think again about the reasoning behind these seemingly arbitrary mechanics.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Of Rank and Fighting Ability - a rant

I'm thinking about the major NPCs of my City on the Ice-Choked Sea setting for D&Dish weird fantasy. Part of it includes deciding what to do with the high-level NPCs I've detailed earlier for that setting. And here I come face to face with a very common trope: many video games and face-to-face RPGs equate social (or military) rank with fighting prowess. and i don't think that this should be the case.

Assuming that fighting prowess equals social or military rank is assuming that the society or military force in question is a perfect meritocracy centered on fighting ability - where the more competent people are promoted to positions of power. While this might be true for groups such as pirates or viking raiders, where people literally fight their way up the rank ladder to the top (and have to keep themselves in good shape to stand against challengers), many more civilized organizations and societies do not work this way.

Examples of this abound. In the typical western state, the military is, ultimately, under the command of a civilian politician, who may or may not have any military experience; this is quite extreme in the USA where the President - an elected civilian - is actually the direct commander in chief of the military. But this is not only a case for democracies - not all medieval monarchs were warrior kings; many were even invalids, yet had armies at their command.

Furthermore, even inside the military hierarchy, ranking officers need not be high-level Fighters. After all, climbing the ranks and administrating armies require quite different skills than fighting in the battlefield. And this is not to mention the even less meritocratic forces where a noble (or other dignitary) could earn a military rank by the virtue of his social status... In many cases, indeed, a Sergeant might be more experienced as a soldier than the Lieutenant he answers to, especially is the Sergeant has plenty of real combat experience and the Lieutenant is fresh out of officers' college...

So the game stats of people in power will vary in my settings. Some would have powerful stats, other will be (in LotFP terms) be level 0. But in many cases, a low-level (in game terms) person in a position of power will have mighty warriors at his or her disposal - bodyguards, elite units and the like.

Friday, June 10, 2011

15mm BTR-70s by QRF

I'm pleased with the 15mm BTR-70s made by QRF; not only are they perfect for historical, ultra-modern and near-future games, but BTRs also fit perfectly, IMHO, as sci-fi wheeled AFVs with the right camo scheme.

So here they are:
And a closer look at one of them:

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Space Cockroach's Vehicle Works part 3

I've primed my vehicles today, applying two thin layers of thinned white Gesso primer to each model. Tomorrow, hopefully, I'll paint the BTRs.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

March of the Machines

I've started basing a reinforced platoons of Automatons, who could be, IMHO, excellent stand-ins for Terminators if you'd like. They'll see some serious sci-fi use in my service, as well as PA combat.

I love these minis, like all newer stuff: solid, very little flash and quite detailed. Just perfect!

So here they are:

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Space Cockroach's Vehicle Works part 2

More 15mm vehicles have been built, and now await priming and paint!

First are four Robotanks ( Tracked Heavy Automata) for a sci-fi project, but these could have post-apocalyptic uses as well:

Second are three BTR-70s (from QRF) to serve in STALKER games, as well as in my Valieskan Civil War ultramodern setting:

Third is a Rebel Minis Merka5 MBT, to serve as a Merkava VIII for my Unholy Land (post-apocalyptic Israel) setting:

Fourth is a Khurasan Miniatures Red Banner tank, in Red Lightning configuration, with some updates, for sci-fi gaming:

And, finally, a comparison shot of all of my current vehicles:

And yes, that Khurasan Red Lightning is H-U-G-E!

The Space Cockroach's Vehicle Works part 1

I've started working on the vehicle part of my 15mm 'lead pile'.

First is an armoured car with a minigun, using a Light Tank, for my sci-fi Mars Project:

Second is an MBT, using a Khurasan Miniatures Red Banner tank, for another sci-fi use:

I'll prime them sooner or later; I think I'll paint both with a "dirt planet" (Mars) rust-red/black/brown camouflage scheme.

A problem I have with that tank is that the barrel is a very heavy metal part, and thus has sunk down toward the chassis despite good amounts of contact glue.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Fantasy Brainstorming: A Seaside Town with Sea-Blooded Nobility

I have some vague ideas crawling around my head about a potential setting for a Lamentations of the Flame Princess (Grindhouse Edition) game. Unlike my previous, wilderness-centric D&D settings, this setting will be urban, and with a somewhat more advanced technology than usual D&D, to follow LotFP's Renaissance atmosphere. Inspiration would be Lovecraft's works, Michael Scott Rohan's Winter of the World saga (to a small degree) and my second favorite computer game ever*, Thief: Dark Project.

I'm undecided yet between a small-town setting and a big city setting, though I'm leaning towards the former for a more flavorful setting with strong NPC personalities, as well as a fully-detailed dungeon under the town. But I'm open to suggestions nonetheless.

The town would be situated on the shores of an ocean, with the old town originally built on a cliff, and the newer quarters growing around the docks below it. The town is past its prime, with many crumbling buildings in the Old Quarter and with rife crime in the Docks and a lot of filth spewed into the air by the new Manufacturing Quarter. The kingdom to which the town belongs is in bade shape (my initial thought was something along the lines of a shaky, corrupt restoration of monarchy after a revolution and a bloody civil war), and the roads inland are not very safe.

There is intense rivalry between the town's old nobility, the descendants of seafarers of old, and the newer and wealthier merchant and manufacturing barons. There are rumors about the old nobility being involved in unwholesome sorcery, while the old nobility views the rising merchant class as a group of rootless upstart with no real legacy.

The big secret is that the old nobility in the town are Sea Blood (as in Realms of Crawling Chaos) - they have been inter-breeding with Deep Ones from time immemorial. This is only fully known to the elders of the old noble families, with the truth kept in the shadows from the younger nobles. Those of noble blood have some sorcerous abilities, are long-lived and become deformed as their age; but the sorcery is attributed to a long tradition of magecraft, and the deformities to inbreeding, and many lesser members of the noble families don't know much about their heritage until they reach an advanced age (if at all).

PCs could play characters of Noble Blood. This will be a custom class which would replace the Elf, and have Magic-User spells instead of the RoCC Sea Blood's Clerical spells. Their XP progression would probably be faster than the elves', with the catch that they'll become deformed over time. Of course, Noble Blooded PCs won't know about their true nature until they reach a high level... And then, they'll be in for a nasty surprise! :twisted:

There would be no Elves in this setting. Dwarves, however, will exist as Duergar, or the Elders, a dying race which has predated Man and is now being usurped by Humanity (actually they're an evolutionary offshoot of the Neanderthals who took refuge underground when most of their race died), and use the LotFP Dwarf stat.

Comments would be welcome.

* My all-time favorite computer game is the original System Shock. My 3rd favorite is S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Spring Cleaning - 15mm Miniatures for Sale

As part of my spring-cleaning campaign, I've decided to sell any surplus 15mm miniatures which are getting no use and are taking up considerable space in my two storage boxes.

All prices below include shipping. I live in Israel, but shipping worldwide takes bout 2-3 weeks and is inexpensive for such small packages. payment is through PayPal.

PM me and we'll finalize a deal. :D

Rebel Minis SAS Assault Group + SAS Elite Team (unpainted, partially based)

20 miniatures in total, $10 in total.

Rebel Minis Armed Gunmen (Painted)
12 miniatures in total, $6 in total.

Spriggan Miniatures SPUG (painted)
4x Drone Squad (6 figures each)
2x Omega Drones
1x Spug Heavy Support Weapon
4x Spug Scout Bike

Total 27 miniatures and 4 vehicles, $14 in total.

Stan Johansen Miniatures Draco Infantry (Painted)10 miniatures in total, $7 in total. Megopolis Police Patrol8 miniatures in total, $5 in total.

Spring Cleaning - RPG Books for Sale

As part of my yearly spring-cleaning, I've decided to sell some of the RPG books I no longer use, both in Hebrew and in English.

I live in Rehovot, Israel, but thanks to the modern shipping services, I can send the books to anywhere you live in the world.

The following prices include shipping; shipping to Europe, the UK and the US costs a similar amount.

You can pay by PayPal.

Please send me an e-mail through my Blogger profile if you are interested and we'll talk the details.

I have the following books for sale:

AD&D 2E in English
The Complete Wizard's Handbook - $15
The Complete Priest's Handbook - $15
The Complete Thief's Handbook - $15
The Complete Fighter's Handbook - $15
Traveller in English
Classic Traveller Books 0-8 in one volume reprint
- $25
Mongoose Traveller Book 1: Mercenary - $15
Shadowrun 2E in Hebrew
Shadowrun 2E Core Book - $20
Mercurial (Adventure) - $15
Shadowrun 2E in English
Rigger 2 - $15
Shadowrun 3E in English
Shadowrun 3rd Edition Core Rules - $25
Shadowrun Companion 3rd Edition - $15
Cannon Companion - $15
Magic in the Shadows - $15
Matrix 2 - $15
Man and Machine: Cyberware - $15

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Zagadur Isles

I've been working on a D&D-type fantasy setting called Wounded Gaia, with the default 'sandbox' sub-setting in it being the Zagadur Islands.

So here is the initial draft map of the Isles, done in Hexographer:

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Imperials Have Landed!

I've just received a package from, containing a whole pack of Imperial Troopers from their Laserburn range, two Laserburn motorcycles with Imperial riders, and a HOF Light Tank, all at the 15mm scale. They are going to serve as my Earth Federation Marine Corps platoon fighting the Greys on Mars.

Friday, January 28, 2011

A Dream about Cthulhu and R'Lyeh!

This morning, just before awakening, I had a proper Lovecraftian dream.

I dreamed that I am standing in an improvised bus depot in a remote place, waiting for a bus to come to take me home, when it happened. The ground cracked, long shadows were cast on it, fishlike abominations appeared, and a huge, lumbering figure - which my dream tagged as Cthulhu - appeared. In the background, out of a dormant lake, the blackish city of R'Lyeh arose. And I was running, running...

Then I remember exploring R'Lyeh, which felt like one of the weirder levels of the Thief: Dark Project computer game, with very strange artifacts, writings in a squarish alien script, and strange, spectral guards... There were other humans around, exploring, becoming mad...

And it all felt so real!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Anarchist Gangers WIP

I've started converting a bunch of Rebel Minis 15mm Post-Apocalyptic Survivors and Biker Gangers into anarchist gangers for post-apocalyptic gaming (they could also be used as gangers for Traveller). So here is the initial work-in-progress: