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Official 2010 Traveller Calendar
by Richard C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/23/2015 13:18:15

This 2010 version of the calendar features William H. Keith's alternate cover image for Alien Module 1: Aslan. There is also some excellent art from various licensed sources. A very good buy.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Official 2010 Traveller Calendar
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2300 AD Equipment Guide
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/23/2015 07:44:06

The Equipment Guide does pretty much what it says on the tin, provide a large list of useful items (excluding vehicles and weapons) which an adventurer in 2300 AD might find useful. It's laid out in a manner designed to be easy for use, with chapters mostly on functional lines (so medical, security, etc.), with chapters on alien artefacts from Pentapods and Kafers at the end. There's enough detail to make the items seem real, and enough game mechanical information to allow them to be used in the game.


First up is Medical Equipment, covering a range of things from what you need to resupply your first aid kit to 'automeds' and a wide range of pharmacuticals. Details of anagathics (anti-aging treatments) are included, and in every case there's a task for using the item (or avoiding side effects in the case of some of the drugs) as well as costs and some line art. A packet of pills looks like... well, a packet of pills, though!


Next is Security Systems, probably more use for the referee trying to keep the party out of places they shouldn't be. Much of it - writing the review almost 30 years after the book was written - is already if not in common use at least in experimental stages now. Tools for bypassing security are also available (although generally illegal), as well as surveillance devices and all sorts of other stuff that has some link to the concept of 'security'.


2300 AD is a game about exploration, so the next section on Exploratory Equipment is of particular use. This starts off with survival equipment, much of which will be familiar to anyone who likes visiting extreme environments or even just does a lot of hiking and camping. Intertial mapping systems are interesting, and there are also sub-sections on personal communication equipment, a solar power generator for field use, and various items to augment the senses. There's also a sub-section on oceanic equipment, should you fancy some underwater exploration.


Computers merit a section to themselves, with some interesting notes about 'wearable' and even sub-dermal equipment, and then rather oddly - given that this book is not about military material - a section on Combat Walkers. Designed for fighting, there are no peaceful uses for the beasts, they wouldn't even make useful cargo lifters! Next, it's out to space with a section on Space Equipment. Chief amongst this is the pressure suit (P-suit). As well as personal equipment, we also find satellites here. They can have a range of uses: navigation, communications, survey or even surveillance. The last of the regular equipment chapters is the catch-all of General Use Equipment - you'll find a wide range of stuff from a multitool to explosives, along with various tool kits, cargo handling equipment and so on.


Next comes a chapter on Pentapod Products. Produced by the alien species called Pentapods, they use bioengineering to produce analogues of many things that humans use technology for. Some of these are quite ingenious, others plain weird.


Finally, a chapter looks at Kafer Equipment. Unlike Pentapod items, which can be bought on the open market, Kafer ones can only be acquired by taking them from captured or dead Kafer. A lot of effort is being devoted to attempts to understand them, and to figure out how they work... in some cases, what they do. Each entry gives the human-assigned name, a physical description and notes on what it is thought that they do. This chapter is player-friendly, describing what has been discovered so far (the referee is directed to the Kafer Sourcebook for more accurate information).


Overall, this is a useful book to have to hand, especially if your players enjoy 'gearing up' their characters. Presentation is logical, with everything you need grouped together (description, rules for use and illustration), even if some of the illustrations seem to take up a lot of space without adding much to the effect. There's a good index at the back (provided you can recall the name of what you are looking for). It all helps to make the galaxy of 2300 AD a bit more 'real'.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
2300 AD Equipment Guide
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2300 AD Ground Vehicle Guide
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/20/2015 07:17:51

Subtitled 'Vehicles for Unearthly Terrain' this is a collection of ground vehicles that are to be found throughout the 2300 AD galaxy - well, the human-colonised bits anyway (plus a few Kafer ones for good measure). It's a bit heavy on military vehicles, although you might either want a combat vehicle or hold that they are suitably rugged to cope with frontier environments. There are dedicated exploration vehicles, though, if you prefer to remain civilian.


Each vehicle comes with a line-art sketch, game mechanical details and some background text. These include details of how easy it is to get hold of, the equipment and other facilities that it has; and also looks at modifications that are commonly found. Naturally it's up to the party to suggest other modifications that they would like to make (generally things like adding weapons!) and for the referee to rule on cost and if it's even possible.


Vehicles range from a specialised exploration vehicle to hovercraft, trucks, snow-skimmers, luxury limos... just about anything you can imagine. Many can cope with off-roading in rough terrain but some do need a road so will be limited to the better-developed parts of whichever planet the party is on. There are even trains - with options for conventional railroad ones, maglevs and airfilm suspension. It's unlikely that these will be personal vehicles, but characters might well need to take a ride to get wherever they are going on one.


For the miliary-minded, there are tanks and other military vehicles, including some drones (if operated from a vehicle). These often have variants depending on the intended use, and information about weapons systems is included should you end up having to fight! Interestingly, military vehicles from several nations - chiefly Germany, America and France - are included. Personally, there are rather too many of what appear superficially similar combat vehicles, but if your campaign involves a lot of fighting you might find the variety of use. Finally, there are some Kafer military vehicles. Mostly these will form the opposition, but perhaps the party might get the chance to capture or steal one.


The vehicle listings are followed by notes on various 'vehicle accessories' that you or the party may wish to add. There are also a few colour illustrations including some uniform patches and vehicle markings, as well as a few cut-away drawings of some of the military vehicles mentioned earlier.


There's a good selection here, particular if it is a military vehicle that you are after. They manage to have a slight air of future-tech whilst being rooted in reality. Apparently driverless car technology has not taken off by 2300 AD! Although some vehicles can be sealed, and there's mention of a Pentapod air filter, little mention has been made of adaptations needed for use on airless worlds or ones where the atmosphere is unbreatheable for whatever reason (too thin, wrong composition...).



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
2300 AD Ground Vehicle Guide
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2300 AD Bayern
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/19/2015 07:50:36

The 2300 AD game is all about exploration, and it doesn't get more epic than this! Bayern provides all the material you need to run adventures around the voyage of the eponymous starship to the Pleiades Star Cluster in the constellation of Taurus, a trip expected to last almost half a decade. The information provided includes details of the Bayern himself, the aims and objectives of the mission which is sponsored by the Astronomischen Rechen-lnstitut, notes on major members of the crew and scientific staff (who could make good characters, or be people with whom the characters interact) and material about the Pleiades Cluster itself. There are also two adventures, one to be used during the voyage (on the way there or the way back, it doesn't matter) and one when actually in the Cluster.


Despite two adventures being provided, there are notes throughout which suggest events and adventures that you can develop for yourself. In some ways, this campaign is more like Star Trek, a voyage of exploration - and as you'll see from one of the adventures, there are opportunities to stop off along the way to the Pleiades to explore other systems. As designed, the Bayern is an unarmed science vessel, but should you wish to include hostile contacts that don't end with the entire party dead, you might consider amending this so that the Bayern is capable of at least self-defence.


Even between systems, there's plenty going on aboard. During at least part of the voyage, the scientists will be in cyrogenic sleep but those crew who are awake will have to keep themselves entertained as well as look after the ship - after all, there won't be many opportunities for shore leave. Anything from putting on concerts and contests to continuing education presents the potential for adventure, particularly when your players enjoy interaction and role-playing... and of course, everyone has to keep fit. Indeed, it's written into their contracts! There also might just be a secret or two to discover...


There's a whole section about the Astronomischen Rechen-lnstitut (AR-I), which is based on Earth (in Germany, as you might imagine). This covers motivations, background, history and facilities - likely known to expedition members as they will have been hired and probably trained there. Next comes a section on the objective, the Pleiades Cluster itself, here mostly astronomical data that is known before the expedition sets out.


This is followed by a section on the Bayern starship, with the history of its development as well as technical data on the starship and associated vessels - landers, spaceplanes and 'EVA bugs' for things like external maintenance as well as an assortment of drone craft. Leading members of the crew are covered in sidebars, and there's quite a bit about the ship's computer, called Aristotle.


Next is a section about The Ship's Complement. Here are full details of notable crew members. The entire crew is 110 people, some ship crew and some scientists, and all are regarded as expert in whatever it is that they do. This voyage was oversubscribed and the AR-I were able to be very selective. The main groups of people are the bridge crew, engineering, scientists, vessel support crew (who look after the ancillary vessels and drones), medics and even a small group of journalists. Most are in cryosleep until needed, with the bridge and engineering constantly staffed of course and others being awoken as and when their services are required. Not everyone is presented in full detail, but for those who are there is sufficient for them to be used as player-characters. This includes both game statistics and background, so that they can come to life with ease if being used as NPCs. Most of them occupy senior positions and are likely to be awake most of the time, hence ideal for player-characters.


The two adventures - Death Throes and Daughters of Atlas - follow. Death Throes covers a visit to a system encountered during the journey, whilst Daughters of Atlas deals with the exploration of the Pleiades Cluster itself... and boy, is there plenty to be found! Characters who do not go insane will have quite a tale to tell when they return.


This is exploration of the highest order, presenting intellectual challenges and puzzles all presented in a realistic way... leaving you imagining that this could just happen, did we have a way to travel as far. For those who love science fiction and exploration this will be a memorable campaign, although those who prefer to solve all problems with a blaster or a fist may be disappointed (although of course you could easily add in more adventures that would provide opportunities for combat if you wanted). For realistic space exploration with a scienc-fiction twist, however, this is outstanding.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
2300 AD Bayern
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2300 AD Invasion
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/17/2015 03:11:12

Invasion is a sourcebook detailing the Kafer advance along the French Arm of the galaxy, complete with loads of ideas for adventures and events in which the party can become embroiled, if they are privateers operating in space or become resistance fighters due to being on the wrong planet at the right time. Whilst there are other books in this line detailing encounters with the Kafer, not to mention an entire Kafer Sourcebook to let you in on far more that humanity knows about them at the present, you do not need any of them to use this book, although they might help you build your campaign even more effectively.


The book begins with a Referee’s Synopsis that lays out the course of events since first contact was made at Arcturus and Aurore. It then moves on to a section on The Military Situation, which describes the state of play in August 2301, when the events described in this book begin. Whilst the main focus is on human ships, Kafer forces are also mentioned. Next comes a section on The Path of Invasion, which includes a sidebar on how to get the party involved. It also explains how Invasion is intended to provide a backdrop against which your adventures will be played out, recognising that role-playing and all-out war can be difficult bed-fellows. Those who would like to play out major engagements can use the supplement Star Cruiser which presents rules for a starship combat board game (or you can just use the starship combat rules in the 2300 AD core rulebook. Here, though, we concentrate on events that are appropriate for a regular party of player-characters, with the wider sweep of the conflict presented as background. Even before they get involved themselves, the party will be able to hear news reports as the Kafer begin with a surprise attack and then move onwards…


Scene set, the following chapters cover each system the conflict reaches in turn. Every section includes ideas for adventure to use with the party should they be there, and for running a space combat within and around the system, should your tastes run in that direction. Influential personalities are mentioned, perhaps the party will meet them in their travels. You will need to decide when the invasion and the party meet – events before then will have happened but the party may influence later ones – you will have to judge how much their actions make a difference to the suggested timeline.


There is also information on a couple of bases established by the Kafer and a detailed account of the Battle of Beowulf, before moving on to a section called Adventures in the Kafer War which looks in greater detail at the sort of things your party might become involved in. The three main areas are escaping from a planet before the Kafers get there, fighting the Kafers on the ground and fighting them in space. Less martial individuals might concentrate on surviving under Kafer rule, but it is likely – knowing player-characters – that they will probably get caught up in a resistance movement (or even start one!). Other opportunities include courier missions, acting as privateers or even reporting on events to the rest of the galaxy. There are some technical details to help you adjudicate things like communications, blockade running and privateering in general too.


For those who wish to become involved in ground battles, the section War to the Knife provides a wealth of detail pertinent to running anything from a skirmish to a full-blown battle in the context of a role-playing game, where the focus is on the small group of characters that make up your party. This is well-handled and provides some good ideas. Material on Kafer weapons, equipment and starships is also provided.


Invasion handles the difficult subject of running a full-blown war in the middle of a role-playing game well, and provides for plenty of action should the party be caught up in events. Perhaps they will make a real difference, or maybe their fight will be just one to survive: they will, however, have answers to the age-old question, “What did you do in the War?”



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
2300 AD Invasion
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2300 AD Mission Arcturus
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/15/2015 10:37:41

This adventure, whilst capable of being run as a stand-alone one, works best if you have already played at least some of the adventures in Kafer Dawn and have established the party as competent troubleshoots on Aurore, which is where it all begins. After an Introduction, which explains this and a bit about the contents of this book, there is a Referee's Synopsis that provides an overview of the adventure in quite some detail.


The basic premise is that the party are asked to join Mission Arcturus, which is being sent to investigate why nothing has been heard from the scientific station at Arcturus for about three years. Given that the Arcturus system is only about a day's travel away, you might ask why nobody's bothered until now, but it seems that they were too involved with dealing with Kafer attacks. It was, however, the folks on the station who first reported contact with the Kafers... although it was a couple of years after they'd reported this that contact was lost.


The adventure is well-structured, beginning with An Invitation which covers the party's recruitment. The next section is Aboard the Bassompierre, this being the vessel in which the mission team will travel to Arcturus. The main force aboard, to which the party will be attached, is a company of American Marines, and the next section introduces them. (Those referees playing this adventure 'cold' rather than as part of an existing campaign might care to use the Fire Team One NPCs as player-characters instead of having the party attached to them as advisors/troubleshooters.) There are also a couple of combat walkers aboard, characters with appropriate skills could pilot them (or there are NPC pilots who again could be used as characters if needed). If you are using the NPCs as your party, some advisors are supplied to fill the advisor role intended for your players. It's a neat way of ensuring all necessary roles are filled and giving you various ways in to the adventure, especially if you do not have an existing party suitable to participate.


After a brief section introducing the Arcturus system, we move on to resources about Station Arcture itself. These include its outward appearance and deck-by-deck detailed descriptions... as the idea of the mission is to go aboard and discover just why nothing has been heard from them for so long. Starting with the initial approach and external investigation, the party and others will make their way aboard and deal with whatever situation they find there. There's plenty of material - including some evocative descriptions to read out - to help you run this exploration, when the party pretty much has free rein to go wherever they like on the station. Whatever they decide to do, wherever they decide to go, you will find what you need to run encounters and adjudicate events. Needless to say, this exploration will not be straightforward, with external events as well as internal hazards.


It's a cracking adventure, the classic exploration of a deserted spacestation where anything might be lurking poised to get you, well-resourced and coherent in vision.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
2300 AD Mission Arcturus
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2300 AD Kafer Dawn
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/12/2015 07:59:28

This adventure is set on the planet Aurore, in a system which was recently a battleground between humanity and the Kafer, an alien race that does not seem disposed to find ways of sharing the galaxy with other sentients. The book contains background material on Aurore itself, the major settlement of Tanstafl, the Kafer, and a whole series of interlinked adventures suitable for a party of freelance adventurers or mercenaries. Most of this work is for referee's eyes only, with the usual 'read alound' material and a few handouts.


The first section, Aurore, is written to provide the referee with background information on the planet itself and the Eta Bootis system in which it was found, with the specific intent of providing material to remind players that their characters are on an alien world. For a start, Aurore is actually the moon of a gas giant that's almost but not quite a full-blown star in its own right. It's tidally-locked and only parts of the planet are habitable, so settlements need to be located with care. There is a lot of physical and astronomical data to absorb here, things which give rise to a unique planetary setting. There are environmental dangers as well, things that long-time Aurorean residents are accustomed to but which can easily catch newcomers (like the party!) unawares.


The next section, Aurorean Biology, delivers a wealth of native lifeforms, many of which are actively inimical to people. It seems that mutually-incompatible biology does not stop them trying to eat people, even if they won't get nourishment (or may even be poisoned) by the attempt!


These sections are followed by one about Tanstaafl. Built on the site of the first colony, this is the premier city on Aurore, situated near to the spaceport of Port Blackjack. As well as describing the city in reasonable detail, it also lists a lot of other settlements to be found on Aurore, mostly with a sentence or two to give at least an idea about them.


Next is a section on Kafers. This is definitely 'referee territory' - very little is known about this race at present except that they are not interested in forming alliances or sharing the galaxy with anyone! However, what little is known about them and their activity is presented in a separate sub-section that can be shared with players as you see fit. The rest they'll have to find out the hard way...


Then comes the Campaign Introduction. This begins with some background and scene-setting information, which assumes that the party has arrived on Aurore in search of adventure or as mercenaries seeking work - of which there is plenty either in the militia or as a private military contractor. Four actual adventures are provided, as well as ample scope for devising your own given the information in this book. Having played through this module many years ago, I can now see how the referee used elements of the adventures provided and wove them into a plot of his own design making use of the material here...


Overall, this work provides an interesting setting and a wealth of background material, with loads of adventure ideas to use in conjunction with your own plots to create a memorable experience for all concerned.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
2300 AD Kafer Dawn
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2300 AD Energy Curve
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/09/2015 08:01:34

This is basically an adventure module, which starts out (after some directions for the Referee that are good but a bit condescending in tone!) with a trip to a system called DM +17 2611-II. It's assumed that the party have been hired by a company called Trilon, who want to explore the place... if that's not the case, you might wish to ditch the opening 'ship's log' handout and substitute your own events which will end up with the same result: the ship crashed on the surface of DM +17 2611-II due apparently to a Kafer attack.


However you get to this starting point, this starts off with a survival situation in which the party will need to assess their injuries (determined using the task system) and see what equipment they have managed to salvage... before the crashed ship blows up! Not to mention that the Kafers might be coming to clean up...


Next comes a Referee's Synopsis of how the adventure as a whole ought to play out. Beginning with a crash-landing on an unexplored and inhospitable world, the starting point is pure survival, and a trek to somewhere a bit nicer than the ice field/tundra they have crashed upon. Further exploration can lead to 'First Contact' situation with the as-yet unknown denizens of the planet. Are they even sentient? Meet them and find out.


It is anticipated that the party will be stranded here for quite some time, years perhaps, before they are rescued. This will give them time to explore, to learn about the planet and all its inhabitants, and to get involved in anything that's going on. Once rescued, they'll need to determine how much information they will share with the rest of humankind. There's fame to be had - which could lead to a whole raft of potential adventures - or they may prefer to stay quiet and look at carving out their own domain on DM +17 2611-II.


The next section is The Planet. This provides a wealth of data about DM +17 2611-II itself, as well as ideas about how to run this extended survival scenario with plenty of advice on the sort of challenges that the characters will face and, from the mechanical standpoint, what they will need to do to overcome them. To help, it's followed by a section on Encounters and other material that cover the strange lifeforms that live on DM +17 2611-II. For example there's one called Color which helps you develop evocative descriptions of what the party sees and feels as they explore.


Finally, there's extensive information on the dominant life-form. They are truly alien, but are explained clearly and it should prove an interesting exercise to 'play' them for your party. Referees who get most of their enjoyment out of providing 'opponents' for the characters to fight may find this module less engaging, but if you like exploration, discovery and interaction this should provide a memorable game for you and your players. Unusual challenges include getting to grips with a completely non-verbal language/communication system and even getting involved in local affairs.


Overall, this is a lot more than a 'mere' survival adventure, with a very original bunch of aliens with whom to interact. Groups who like to push the boundaries with their games should find this enthralling.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
2300 AD Energy Curve
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T4 Marc Miller's Traveller Game Screen
by Richard C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/06/2015 19:00:08

excellent product. Covers all major rules of the game. The included adventure, "Memory Alpha is a very nice touch. Some pages need to be printed seperately or two pages per sheet landscaped in order to view them comfortably. Rules sheets can be printed individually and come out fine. Wonderful for the money. Wish they had an option for a hard copy. Over all, this is a good product for those new to Traveller or just new to Marc Miller's Traveller (T4)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
T4 Marc Miller's Traveller Game Screen
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2300 AD Beanstalk
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/06/2015 07:45:06

Beginning with a short piece of atmospheric fiction and an explanation of what a beanstalk is, this is a set of adventure resources set on the planet Beta Canum Venaticorum-4 where the first beanstalk was erected. There's also material useful for use with plotlines that concern Earth's beanstalk, particularly useful if you have Rotten to the Core, although you don't need that to make use of this book.


The first chapter, The Stage, deals with the history, geography and current state of Beta Canum, useful whenever the party might choose to visit, or in devising reasons for them to go there. Like any frontier world in 2300AD, it is a series of contradictions, high tech rubbing shoulders with primitive - people either have the very best, most advanced, equipment for a particular job or they make do with what they can make for themselves. So a fishing village may boast boats crammed with high tech equipment to find and catch fish, but still use outhouses rather than indoors plumbing! Several nations are represented amongst Beta Canum's colonies, generally occupying their own continent. Whilst native plants and animals are inedible (indeed toxic) to humans, imported Earth flora and fauna have flourished and the planet is already exporting produce to other worlds.


Next is The Actors, a chapter jam-packed with relevant NPCs. Most will turn up if you use the adventures in this book (and are cross-referenced so you know where they'll show up, but may be of use elsewhere as well. Each has a detailed background which will help you bring them to life as rounded figures who have a full part to play in this alternate reality, not just cardboard cut-outs there to fill a single purpose and then be forgotten.


The following chapter, The Technical Data, provides loads of background as well as maps and charts, including a lot of detail on beanstalk construction and operation. There's even a handout in the form of a leaflet aimed at tourists newly-arrived on Beta Canum, excellent for setting the scene when the party first arrives.


Finally, The Drama contains three separate scenarios that you can run. Interestingly, this section starts by referring to the adventure The Tricolour's Shadow which was included in the original Traveller: 2300 box set, as the adventures here could be run following it (but you do not need to have played it to enjoy these adventures, fortunately!). These three adventures are all suited to 'troubleshooter' characters, and two at least involve riding the beanstalk, whilst the other includes rooting around its ground facility. All provide good, edge-of-the-seat fun, although those players who prefer to use combat to solve every situation will do less well than those who enjoy interaction and infiltration.


A brief Afterword has additional material about Beta Canum, and that's it. The adventures are good if acting as hired troubleshooters appeals to your group (although the last one could be run for any party who has occasion to ride the beanstalk at any time), and the other material provides you with yet another well-imagined planet to visit.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
2300 AD Beanstalk
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2300 AD Rotten To The Core (2300AD)
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/05/2015 07:55:05

Much more than an adventure, Rotten to the Core is a sourcebook to Libreville, Gabon - the Earth end of the Beanstalk (introduced in the Earth/Cybertech Sourcebook - with plenty of the sort of information that you'll need if the party ever visits.


It dives straight in with what sounds like corporate propaganda extolling the virtues of Libreville (with sarcastic comments from the hacker community in the margins). Calming down and becoming more objective, we then learn about sightseeing in the town. The wealthy live well, and corporate employees have a safe and sheltered life in gated communities but there is a large underclass in the slums known as Mudville. Maps, tables of costs and even random encounters are provided to facilitate the running of a visit to Libreville, whether passing through or as part of your plot.


Next comes a section on how Libreville is governed - which is complex enough to provide plenty of scope for intrigue, if you enjoy that kind of adventure. Governance of the city is split between a Corporate Board (representing the various corporations headquartered here) and a democratically-elected Mayor and Council (most of whom are in corporate pockets...). Law enforcement is also split between several organisations, including police departments, corporate security, the Beanstalk's own personnel and even the French Foreign Legion (don't get in their way!). Suspects who survive arrest are handled in accord with the proceedures of whoever caught them. Many 'public' services are also privitised, with 25 ambulance services competing for your custom, an expensive fire brigade and cheap electricity. Water and sanitation are also contracted out, but to a single provider in each case.


The following section is entitled Cooperation and Competition, and talks about the corporate scene, describing a selection of the big players. This useful information is followed by a section on Going Shopping. The retail experience depends on where you decide to go, of course, with downtown being eye-wateringly expensive and the mudville slums described as 'interesting'. Most of the city prefers credcard use, many places frown on cash if they'll even take it at all, apart from in mudville - there anyone with a credcard is assumed to have stolen it! A discussion of the black market and what you can get there is followed by sections on nightlife, mudville and the lives of the rich and shameless.


Then we get to the adventure proper, Rotten to the Core. This is very 'cyberpunk' in style and begins with a visit to a friend who works in a well-guarded corporate building... and naturally, things go downhill from there. The party will get a swift tour of Libreville (well, the police and others are chasing them after all), with plenty of opportunities for interaction and combat when absolutely necessary - there are some places where getting into a fight is not a good idea, however there are others where it's the main way of doing business. The adventure is well-supported with descriptions, maps and NPCs.


Overall, this is an enjoyable and interesting book. The adventure itself is fast and furious, whilst Libreville has plenty of potential if you want a good setting for urban, cyberpunk or corporate intrigue adventures.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
2300 AD Rotten To The Core (2300AD)
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2300 AD Deathwatch Program
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/03/2015 07:35:31

Deathwatch Program is an adventure that makes considerable use of the 'cyberpunk' feel and the Introduction talks about how important it is to keep events moving quickly, giving the characters the feeling that the world is literally changing and developing about their ears as you run them through the adventure. It ought to feel as if they are being bombarded with new information in an almost out-of-control stream... which of course means that you, as referee, need to be completely IN control! Having a copy of the Earth/Cybertech Sourcebook will be useful for the cyberpunk rules therein, which are built on and expanded in this adventure.


Most of the adventure is set on Earth, but to bring matters to a conclusion the party will have to venture into space, and even engage in some ship-to-ship combat. It all begins with the offer of a simple job from an old friend or former colleague who's now freelancing in the 'troubleshooter' business...


As you might expect, hardly anything is what it seems. You can say that about many adventures, but in this one it is not even completely clear what the adventure proper actually is, as external events conspire against the party without their knowledge... this is quite hard to explain without giving the whole plot away! It does give an excellent feel of the world carrying on around the party irrespective of what they do or even whether or not they are there, providing a real air of reality to the game.


Resources provided are good, with maps and plans and plenty of NPCs and encounters... some are connected with the adventure, some don't appear to be and some have nothing to do with it at all. Some events are intended, others are random and may be used as and when desired. The party can be easily given the impression that they are free to do whatever they want, despite the fact that the plot is rolling along merrily in the background. With time to wander around Corpus Christi in Texas, a jaunt over the border to Mexico to carry out the mission they've been hired for and then some... unexpected... events when they get back to Corpus Christi, they will have plenty to keep them entertained, with a balanced mix of interaction and combat with which to exercise their skills. NPCs are well-rounded, with background detail to make them appear 'real' people, not just there for their purpose in the immediate plot (which means, of course, that survivors may turn up in future adventures if you deem it appropriate!). Everything is tightly-paced, but the information you'll need to run each event is provided just where you need it.


If the party succeeds, they have the chance to literally save Earth from disaster... and sow the seeds for further adventure if those they have thwarted survive long enough to seek revenge! Overall, it's a cracking adventure and well worth a look... and if you don't run 2300 AD there are notes on converting it to another system!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
2300 AD Deathwatch Program
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2300 AD Earth/Cybertech Sourcebook
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/02/2015 08:00:13

This book takes a look at Earth in 2300 AD - after all, however far explorers roam the galaxy, there's still something special about the place everyone came from! It's made up of three main sections. Firstly, there's a more detailed look at Earth itself than was possible in the core rulebooks. Next comes a section on 'cybertech' - surgical, chemical and mechanical augmentations - for those who'd like that aspect introduced to the game, and finally there's an adventure which makes the most of both.


The first chapter is The 24th-Century World. This looks primarily at the 'Western World', on the grounds that the majority of role-players are most familiar with the present-day west, rather than any lack of significance of other parts of the world. It provides an overview of the sort of place Earth has become, and is followed by a chapter OQC which is Orbital Quarantine Command. Just as today many nations wish to control what is brought into them, it was realised as soon as space exploration began that anything brought back to Earth from space could prove hazardous if not devastating to the biosphere (older gamers may recall that the Apollo 11 astronauts were quarantined when they returned home from the Moon!). OQC is a collaborative effort between all spacefaring nations with its headquarters at the orbital end of the Beanstalk and a lot of roving spaceships to intercept every vessel approaching Earth.


This leads naturally into the next chapter, Gateway, which is all about the settlement at the orbital end of the Beanstalk, but takes the time to explain the operations of the Beanstalk itself as well. Gateway is a very cosmopolitan settlement, and it has duty-free status, and it is a destination in its own right as well as a transit point for those arriving at or departing from Earth. There are quite a lot of plans here of Gateway and the Beanstalk to help you get the picture.


This is followed by a series of chapters looking at the history and present-day state and geography of a range of nations, starting with America followed by Texas (now indenpendent), Mexico, Canada, South America, Australia, Japan, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. There's a lot of information here, well worth a read if you want to know what Earth has become. Players should at least read up on where their characters hail from. Everything in this part of the book is 'player-friendly' - it's the sort of stuff you get in history, geography and current affairs class in school.


We then move on to the second section, with a chapter called Cyberpunk: An Introduction, which pretty much does what it says on the tin. The use of augmentation technology appears tied in to the rise of megacorporations that rival nation-states in size and influence, and in some smaller corporations that have been swallowed up by organised crime, and it is these two groups which make the most use of it. This overview is followed by chapters on Bionics and Cyberspace (remember, this book was written before the World Wide Web took the internet out of academia and into popular use). These both provide plenty of options that may be utilised by the characters or indeed their enemies.


Finally, the adventure Worm in the Big Apple provides an adventure in which Provolutionist terrorists strike fear into New York City. Pregenerated characters are provided, but if you'd rather use your own make sure that they have the necessary skills to succeed. The adventure starts as everyone takes a bus from the airport into town and... well, they are thrown right into the middle of things. Maps are plentiful, and game mechanics are presented in sidebars adjacent to the text for which they'll be useful. It's quite short, but should provide for an evening of entertainment.


All good solid stuff, its use being determined by whether you intend your plots to bring the characters to Earth and if you want to include cyber-tech in your game. The background material about the Earth nations is interesting, and will be of use to any characters coming from there.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
2300 AD Earth/Cybertech Sourcebook
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Guide Checklist to GDW RPG Titles
by Richard C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/01/2015 15:24:45

As far as I know the only full list of Traveller4 titles available. An absolute essential for anyone interested in game designer's workshop.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Guide Checklist to GDW RPG Titles
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2300 AD Kafer Sourcebook
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/31/2015 11:52:43

In exploring the universe according to 2300 AD, human beings have encountered a few alien species... most are friendly and only one poses a massive threat: the Kafer. This book presents the Referee with all he needs to know to use them to best effect in his campaign (and would be an absolute treasure-trove to human military intelligence, so make sure they never get their hands on it!).


The first chapter, Kafers: An Overview, presents basic information on Kafer appearance, culture and history, with special emphasis on their dealings so far with humans. Throughout, hints are provided to enable you to present them effectively, bringing out salient features of their behaviour and nature without explicitly stating them, rather giving the party the information they gain by observation and letting them draw their own conclusions - a neat approach.


Next comes a visit to the Kafer Homeworld. This is described in standard astronomical and planetographical terms although it must be remembers that it hasn't been explored by humans yet so this information is only available to a party if they go to take a look - it won't be found in any databanks, however obscure or comprehensive they are! This is followed in quick succession by chapters on Kafer Physiology, Psychology, Sociology, Government, Language and Technology. It's all quite fascinating to read, and highlights why humans and Kafer do not get along... and may never be able to do so. The coherency of such a well-designed alien species makes them into excellent adversaries, it is one of the best such alien designs that I have seen. Telling is their relationship with another species, the Ylii, an advanced but much less aggressive race, the Kafer find it incomprensible that the Ylii would prefer to live in a state of 'not-war' with them.


Kafer language is hard to translate and even harder to pronounce or for that matter to read and write. It's worth the effort to pick up a little, though, as it is another way to highlight the 'otherness' of Kafers. To pronouce it properly you'll need to master an epiglottal click and trill your Rs. Their technology is equally baffling and suggestions are given as to how to bring it to the party's attention and facilitate their experimentation. Ingeniously, notes are given suggesting the 'obvious' interpretation of each item to human eyes as well as stating what they actually are: something the party may only get a chance to deduce if they see the item in action. Their naval vessels are presented with different levels of data: that known to Naval Intelligence, that which any Naval officer who's encountered them (or been told about them by one who has) might know and the real data, as well as the observable performance should the party see one. Again, neat information-handling at various levels to enable you to pass on what might be known. There's a chapter on Kafer Space that will allow you to take the war to them - or explore the region - with plenty of detail to make this exciting.


For those wanting to understand the Kafer further, there's a chapter called The Politics of Power which examines the political landscape - again something innovative and quite alien (and possibly having the potential of being manipulated against them, if only you could get a few of them to listen to you rather than to attack!). There's even more about the Ylii with a chapter devoted to them, then finally comes Fun With Kafers, a chapter that offers an assortment of ideas for mixing them into your plotlines.


Some of the most 'alien' aliens written for a science-fiction RPG, these are well worth a look even if you don't play 2300 AD... and if you do, they pose a remarkable threat to your party's peaceful life.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
2300 AD Kafer Sourcebook
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