Albedo (role-playing game)
Cover of the boxed set
|Designer(s)||Craig Hilton, Paul Kidd (1988 & 1993 editions)|
Pieter van Hiel, Jason Holmgren (2004 edition)
|Publisher(s)||Thoughts & Images, Chessex, Sanguine Productions|
|Publication date||1988 (Thoughts & Images)|
2004 (Sanguine Productions)
|Genre(s)||Science Fiction, Furry|
Play style and mechanics
Albedo: Platinum Catalyst is characterized by the notable player-controlled troupe of characters, the main character and four supporting retinue. The main character is more fleshed out than his supporting characters which typically have 3 stats (species, morale, job description) and a weapon.
Morale is a character's ability to keep cool; when a character is shot or witnesses an explosion, they lose one point of this stat. Green soldiers will typically start with one morale point if they trust their commanding officer, and can have 3 morale points after completing three missions with the main character. For main characters, the equivalent to morale is drive.
In Albedo, higher skill gets you a larger sided die. Skill rank 1 gives you the smallest: 1d4, 2 points gives you 1d6 all the way up to rank 5 giving you 1d12. That's not all though, you can decide to take a test in one of several manners: Basic, Pushing, Risking, Breezing, and Rote.
Rote is the "take 10" of Albedo, where you get your skill ranks + 1. This is business as usual. Basic is for those things that you fail sometimes, but need higher than a 2 on the die. Pushing is doing things better. The unusual circumstances where you need to succeed. You grab twice as many dice as you normally would, roll them and take the better (Pushing is the one of two ways to Overwhelmingly Succeed: simply, both dice meet or beat the target). Risking is for those times when you need to reach beyond your normal capacity because regular dice aren't enough and only necessary if you have 4 ranks or fewer. Simply grab the next size die and take your chances. Breezing is the last method, where the character is overqualified for the job at hand and wants to outperform. This is similar to Pushing, only in it you take the sized die of half your skill ranks and roll twice as many (the second way to overwhelmingly succeed, and the reason why you buy over 5 ranks in a skill).
Written by Craig Hilton and Paul Kidd, Albedo was originally published as a box set in 1988 by Thoughts & Images and consisted of 4 books: Player's Manual, Equipment Description, Referee's Manual and Tlakatan Scenario (sample scenario). The RPG was later revised and published by Chessex in 1993 as a softcover. There is one companion sourcebook and a pair of ready-made scenarios, also in softcover:
- Albedo Ship Sourcebook (Kidd, Gallacci - Chessex, 1995), rules for ship design and statistics for various spaceships.
- The Drift (Kidd - Chessex, 1994), an adventure scenario in space.
- Zho-Chaka (Kidd - Chessex, 1994), an adventure scenario on a ConFed planet.
There also exists a third-party guide to converting Albedo for use with the GURPS RPG system, written by Fred M. Sloniker and called GURPS Albedo.
In 2004, Sanguine Productions published ALBEDO: PLATINUM CATALYST, which is unrelated to the original two editions of the role-playing game. The game was published as a single softcover with source material, rules of engagement, and sample characters. Most notable are its attention to details of small-unit tactics using near-future and far-future weaponry, in the same vein as Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six and other "techno thrillers", as well as using genetically-engineered people as a morality play for 20th century geopolitics.