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Saturday 16 March 2019

RPGPundit Reviews: The Last Alpha Blue Supplement

This is a review of the almost-certainly erroneously-named "The Last Alpha Blue Supplement", written by Venger Satanis, published by Korthalis publishing. It's as always a review of the print edition, which is a softcover book, about 78 pages long, with full color cover and full color interior. In terms of build, it looks pretty fancy.  The cover features a joking-style image of what is very obviously a Predator (from the movies), with the background featuring an Alien, the Terminator (I think) and if I'm not mistaken the waitress from Office Space.

Before proceeding with the review, I should note that Venger is a co-host on the Inappropriate Characters Youtube show, which I do with him and Grimjim. Aside from this we have no financial ties or relationship, I had no part in making the product I'm reviewing here, and make no income from it. I'm mentioning the fact that he's my co-host for complete transparency, and I don't honestly think that it will affect my review in any way (as proof, I've savaged some of his books to varying degrees since the start of our show, just like I sometimes did before we had the show together).  But there you go, you've been warned.

For those of you who don't know, Alpha Blue is a sci-fi RPG (using a dice-pool system that is obviously NOT OSR, even though Venger has sometimes tried to claim that it is) with a humorous and salacious bent. The default setting is a huge space station that's been converted into a massive brothel. The humor is often very referential to present-day pop culture (including many cases of blatantly ripping-off/parodies of pop culture characters), is highly politically incorrect, and is 'sexualized' in the very sophomoric sense that I would think would be mainly appealing to 12-14 year old boys.  There's also sometimes some good gonzo material in the products, in spite of having the wrong system and requiring that you take out the excessive pervyness.

The book is divided into two sections: "Sexual Predators" and "Kobayashi Maroon". In the introduction, we're told that the Federation has decided to start clamping down on sexual promiscuity, creating a natural result of heightened resistance to federation rule, and a conflict in the setting that probably would have made sense to have there right from the beginning.  The intro includes a random (only 4-entry) table to determine how anti-sex a given space sector has become.

After the introduction you get a page-long essay on how it's not necessary to feel shy about roleplaying sex in the game. I'm pretty sure anyone actually playing this game is likely to be both shameless and yet possessing of a great deal to be ashamed about, but that's just me.

The next page features a new "profession" for Alpha Blue, which is "porn salvage". This is the job of finding and salvaging ancient porn. There's no special rules, just a table of the approximate value of old porn media.

Then there's a random table for determining how long a period of time is in different planets, where the definition of an hour, week, month etc may be different than Earth standard.

Then we get into the ostensible premise for an adventure, the first of several each of which consists of a few pages each.  This first one is called "Earth Girls are not Easy", which has to do with the Predator on the cover, only he's a "Sexual Predator"; a renowned space-pimp. Now the Sexual Predator has gone back in time to Earth in 2018. The time hole created by this causes strange effects on the planet, and there's also some dangerous Space Albanians involved. And some sexy space vampires.

There's a bunch of weird characters, in fact, including Cheech Marin and Will Ferrell. None of the adventure really makes much sense.

After this we get "Kaiser So-You-Say", which is about a psychotically unstable member of the Terra Nostra by that name, who has invited the PCs as well as other villainous scum to his personal moon (surrounded by laser-sharks) to attend a "private martial arts competition and festivities". It turns out that it's a trick, but Kaiser's enemies are planning a trap for him too, and the PCs are in the middle of it. This short adventure is goofy but at least more coherent than the previous one.

After this, there's "Crimson Dwarf", involving the crew of a mining ship called Red.. sorry, Crimson Dwarf, who died mysteriously while the PCs were in stasis. There's a random table of 8 entries to determine why the PCs were in stasis on the ship to begin with. When the PCs are released from the Stasis, they are informed that the ship is now "3 million years from Earth" and that the crew are all dead. There's a floorplan of the ship keyed by room, with a wide variety of strange encounters and dangerous creatures. There's 16 rooms in all, none of which have any kind of 'dungeon coherency' but at least some of them are amusing.
This is a decent enough crawl if you don't care about it making much sense, but there's also not really any kind of significant resolution to it. It feels incomplete.

"Dude, Where's My Starship" is the next adventure scenario. It starts with the PCs (or the one PC who owns the party's starship) waking up and realizing that his starship is missing. Apparently there was a big party last night, and something happened to the ship. The characters have a chance to get a new ship from a sleazy salesman named Leisure Larry, but it comes with a cost: the PCs have to get Larry sex with a famous "Alpha Blue Satisfier" within 24 hours or the ship will self-destruct. Except, when they get to Alpha Blue, they find that the entire station has been taken over by mind-dominating aliens.
The adventure is at least fairly coherent, though also obviously fairly sex-focused. And, as usual in a very adolescent sort of way; as in, an important macguffin object in the adventure is found in the aforementioned "Satisfier's" vagina.
The adventure continues with the PCs finding out what happened to their original ship, involving some 8th-dimensional repo-men, and the notorious "Grabba the Butt". Yeah...

"Ra'aj Blake" is the next scenario, and it's the name of a great revolutionary fighter against the Federation. Blake had vanished, but he's now coming out of hiding from the Mauve Zone, to continue the struggle. The Mauve Zone is a place of weird inter-dimensional anomalies, full of 'freaky happenings' (there's a table of 'potentially freaky happenings' but it's only 4 entries long, continuing the tradition in Venger's books of interesting concepts that have way too few random entries). When they meet Blake, he claims to have a plan with a program that will disrupt all the Federation's vital Artificial Intelligences, and wants the PCs help to make it happen... but all may not be as it seems. Also, there's a "Zith Lord" in this scenario named "Darth Cray-Cray".

Then there's an adventure named "Order 66". It starts with the PCs suddenly encountering a mysterious "voluptuous redhead" who begs them for help. She's being hunted because she knows about "order 66". The adventure is only two and a half pages long, and it is a basic sort of chase adventure which is mostly set up to have an amusing punch line as to what "order 66" actually is.

"Messiahs of P'oon" involves a prophet of "Ilsham Muy-Deep" who has engaged in a religious war with his rival "Jorda'an".  The PCs have to "pretend to be jihad-affiliated nomads" to try to assassinate Muy-Deep and replace him.  The adventure involves a description of an extremely disturbing urination-related ritual.

After this, we get to the "Last Alpha Blue Appendix". This has a variety of tables that will be pretty much useless for any non-pornographic campaign. It includes the "Lady bits standard" table, to determine whether a random female alien has normal "lady bits" or something unusual, then a "vagina and clit location table", a "how to pleasure them" table, a "vaginal and clit surprises" table, a "scent of a woman" table to determine how a female character (or specific parts of her anatomy) smell like. I mean, this is FATAL-level nonsense.

There's also a "relationship agreements" table, for random conditions of "lovers contracts" that are sometimes used as legal contracts in Alpha Blue, to determine what kind of strange demands "controlling females" might make.

This concludes the first section of the book, and then we get to the second section, Kobayashi Maroon.  It doesn't start out very promisingly, commencing with a full-page essay on the importance and some guidelines for how to get your players (presumably imbued with a healthy sense of distaste at the notion of playing out graphic material in a room full of nerds) to roleplay sex scenes.

After that we start with an adventure scenario, simply title "Episode 1". It begins forcefully setting up that the PCs are the crew of a starship called the Get Woke Go Broke, which was bequeathed to them by their aging mentor. The PCs pick up a distress signal from a ship called The Vanessa, which is breaking up as a result of strange energy emanating from a nearby "pink hole". This leads to an encounter with Yog-Soggoth, though in the end the whole thing turns out be just a simulation, an exercise known as the Kobayashi Maroon. There's a random table to determine whether each PC shat their pants during the simulation; and another to determine why they were chosen for the exercise. The score of the PCs is determined with a 1d100 roll to see how they did, which is completely random and totally independent of anything they did, didn't do, whether or not they shat their pants, or why they were there in the first place. In other words, the typical shoddy design we've seen before from Venger leading to meaningless play where nothing you do actually matters.

Next we move on to Episode 2. One would assume this is a continuation of Episode 1, but no. It has no connection.
Episode 2 is set up to work as a solo adventure, for one player, though it can be played with a group. The scenario begins with a description of the "Pron Faar", the heat that people of "Vulkyn Blood" go through every 7 months, where they want to bone anything that moves. PCs are instructed to roll to determine, with a 1/6 chance, if they have some amount of Vulkyn blood (those who do roll a d100 to see what percentage it is). After this, the actual adventure starts with the PC (or one of the PCs, if more than one is playing) walking in on their wife having sex with someone. It turns out the wife isn't a real wife, she's a Federation agent who was sent to spy on the PC.
At this point, the adventure directly assumes and absolutely depends on the PC choosing to look through his fake-wife's purse and look at her phone. Then, it also automatically assumes the PC will look at the last person she spoke to and go meet them. Then there's an incident with a vorpal whoopee cushion, and a fight against a bunch of clones. There's a wizard named S'pock, some pink & blue martians, Clint Eastwood, a Tron Girl and more. The fight is to win the last remaining female of an alien species famous for their love-making abilities.

"Episode 3" involves the PCs attending a wine mixer. They're offered a chance for work there by a 'sultry' Federation officer. At the Mixer, there's an anti-federation agent planning to cause some kind of havoc, and the PCs are meant to find them out. There's also a terrorist attack by "space muslims" and a Zith Lord who challenges the PCs to a "pussy eating contest".

Then we get to Appendix KM. It begins with rules for playing out a Pussy-Eating contest, where you roll a D6 ("female bisexuals and lesbians" get to roll twice and use the best result) to see how well you do. Venger actually notes here "if your name is the RPGPundit and this table isn't old school enough for you, then feel free to throw little modifiers here and there based on tongue length, warming up the tongue muscle, and sensitivity to the smell of fresh fish".
I think the part he missed is that if your name is the RPGPundit, you wouldn't be having a pussy-eating contest (certainly not one that required mechanical resolution) in your game.
That, and that the obvious modifier would be past experience.

There's also a "blue ball spectrum" table, meant to randomly determine how bad your case of blue balls is.

There's also a brief additional rule, the "can't miss at this range" rule, where you're firing at such close distance that you're bound to hit, you multiply damage. At least this one is straightforward.
Then we have the "surprising NPCs" table. This is a good large table, of 100 entries, of random things an NPC might be doing at the time the PCs unexpectedly show up. There are of course some 'naughty' entries, like "autofellatio training in zero-g", but other more ordinary ones like "eating a large bowl of ice cream" or "having a cat chase a laser, not necessarily a laser pointer", or unusual stuff like "sawing someone in half" or "wiping away blood stains".
There's a smaller, less useful 6-entry table of "how do they feel about the interruption".

Then there's "Venger Satanis, the NPC". Yes, Venger has statted himself out as a possible NPC for people who want to include him in their game. His stats are... let's say, highly flattering. Also a bit naive; he thinks his calling people "hoss" is "charming".

Lastly, there's a table of more random names. It has 24 entries; 8 male, 8 female and 8 miscellaneous.

At the back of the book there's a color-coded tracker to keep score of how bad one's blue-balls are, and then a space for notes.

So, my judgment on this book? Well, first of all I wouldn't be at all surprised if this doesn't turn out to be the "last Alpha Blue supplement". Though maybe it should be. All the Alpha Blue line had a combination of interesting gonzo sci-fi material with raunchy adolescent sexual humor. This one has almost nothing that's really useful to anyone not interested in the latter. Of the whole book, only the "surprising NPCs" table is something I found moderately interesting.

So I guess my conclusion is that this book is only really worth picking up if you are a fan of Alpha Blue in full childish-sex-humor mode.


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Volcano + C&D's Morning Drive


  1. I give him points for the Blakes 7 references.

  2. Hmm, sounds like an RPG reviewer I know might be constipated. Hopefully, it all comes out ok. Later, hoss!

  3. That's beautiful, man. *hits vagina shaped space bong*