A Look at Metamorphosis Alpha: Chronicles from the Warden, Volume 1

Metamorphosis Alpha: Chronicles from the Warden, Volume 1
Editor: Craig Martelle
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Page Count: 196
Available Formats: eBook and print
eBook – Free w/ Kindle Unlimited
Print (other options available) – $9.99

Recently I received my kickstarter reward for Epsilon City from Goodman Games for the RPG game Metamorphosis Alpha by James M. Ward. I’ve never played or read any version before backing the Kickstarter. I didn’t even own a rulebook though I was somewhat familiar with the setting. A enormous generation ship traveling through space that experienced some cataclysmic apocalypse that caused the original mission to be forgotten by most of the inhabitants. The great disaster that not only wiped out knowledge of the past but altered most of the life on it through radiation, causing strange and unusual mutations.

It didn’t take to long for me to get a hold of the rulebook and start digging into the game while I waited for Epsilon City to be fulfilled. I read the rules and all the supplemental articles that accompanied it. I was quickly drawn to the idea of having my players start off as primitives. Hunting and gathering just to survive. Not travelling more than a few miles from their village for most of their lives until being forced to change course. Not aware that their home was a spaceship. I sat down to start to compose my opening adventure for my group, but I seemed to be stuck for ideas. So, I went online looking for inspiration from other Metamorphosis Alpha gamemasters and to see how they started their games. I read a few adventures; searched high and low for some Warden lore that was appropriate for a game that would fit my vision. The best I could find was a blog by Michael Curtis. He was recapping an adventure he was running for his group and It hit all the right spots for me. A primitive group of adventures going out and exploring in unknown lands. Unfortunately it only spanned a few blog posts before it stopped mid adventure.

I searched and searched for more material specific to Metamorphosis Alpha to feed on. That is when I was introduced to “Metamorphosis Alpha: Chronicles from the Warden, Volume 1” edited Craig Martelle. Mr. Martelle with the aid of James M. Ward gathered some of the best authors in the gaming industry and tasked them with writing a collection of short stories focusing around the Warden. Some stories were of the Warden under construction while other were about it’s inhabitant aboard the vessel long after the great disaster had occurred. Finally this was what I was looking for!

The collection is made up of nine stories. The first in this collection is lead by James M. Ward who writes of the Warden while it’s still under construction. Craig Martelle tells of a tribe of villagers who can’t seem to stop hosting unexpected guests. Craig J. Brain sends forth a group of Marines on a mission accompanied by some playful allies. Michael Curtis follows through with a young heroine on a mission to save her village. Stephen A. Lee uploads his story of a fight to retake control of the starship Warden. Valerie Emerson golden tale is of descendants of a group of engineers who sought shelter in the Warden’s Gravity Chamber long ago. Christopher Clark gives us a different view of Warden though the lens of one of it’s an inhabitants. Steve Peek welds together a story of a young man looking for a purpose and a home. Finally Craig Martelle wraps things up with a maintenance technicians that just needs to know “Are we there yet?”.

Each story is excellently written and in the voice of its’ respected author. I really enjoyed reading “Ties that Bind, Ties That Break” by Michael Curtis. His story of a young primitive heroine tasked to go farther than she has traveled in her life to save her people was superbly written. His word choice and prose style throughout the story made it easy for this reader to picture the world in which it was set. I also really enjoyed “A Small Chance of Success” by Craig J. Brain. I don’t want to say to much about this one as to not give away the best parts of it. All I will say is that I really enjoyed the humor in the story. I am so going to steal elements from this story to use in my own game especially the character Nursey.  Last but not least, I have to say that “Demon in the Midst” by Christopher Clark is my all time favorite story of the collection. This was truly the most surprising of all the stories. Once again I don’t want to give away the surprise so I will only say that Mr. Clark did a wonderful job in presenting the reader with a unique perspective of life aboard the Warden through his protagonist. His story was overflowing with things I am going use within my own Metamorphosis Alpha adventures. War Don Loghon.

For anyone interested in world of Metamorphosis Alpha or struggling to get started like I was, I strongly encourage you to read this book. It has helped me get a better understanding of the setting and elements to use within my game. Each story is fairly short which makes it easy for readers, like myself, who are easily distracted. Lastly, in the author’s note in the back of the book, Mr. Martelle writes “And with the latest medical issues, I’ve set this up so 100% of the profit on this book goes to James M. Ward.” The book is available through Amazon in eBook format or paperback. If you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited the book is free for you to read. Please consider supporting this book and leaving a review or contacting Mr. Martelle to let him know what you thought of the book. The book’s title ends with VOLUME 1. If this books is well received, more volumes may follow in the future. I’ve got my fingers crossed for more.

Written by:
Stephen Pennisi
(“DadsAngry” on various websites)

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