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Bastards of Foreven Fleet Book 2: Starships
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/02/2014 07:58:09
Any Traveller universe, be it the original one (OTU) or an alternate one (ATU) like the Foreven Sector, needs loads and loads of starships. Space travel is mature enough to have lots of vessels out in the black and it beggars belief that they are all built to the same design, so I relish the addition of yet more starships to ply the spacelanes.

This collection includes a variety of craft designed for various purposes and allowing for considerable variation. Each comes with copious flavour text, designed for use in the Foreven Sector ATU but capable of use in any Traveller universe with minimal modification. There are delightful sketches redolant of the original Traveller books, deck plans and various exterior views as well as full specifications.

First up is a luxury yacht or VIP transport, which has a distinct VIP suite as well as space for both crew and the VIP's entourage. You could create a whole campaign around a travelling diplomat or noble and his retinue, have the party running a VIP vessel for hire or run a one-off adventure involving an attack or rescue mission. And that's only the first one!

Next is a specialist mining/survey rig. It's designed for use in an asteroid belt, to search out mineral resources and evaluate them. Designed for long-term deployment, it is roomy and comfortable for the crew of pilot, engineer, geologist and a couple of mining specialists - and even boasts a laboratory for the geologist. It's not big enough to conduct full-scale mining operations on its own, but could be used in conjunction with a shuttle craft such as the Skipjack (described later) and some long-haul cargo containers, also covered in this work. Again, if not running a mining/exploration campaign, you could encounter these craft during a visit to an asteroid belt.

The next craft is an ingenious answer to the question of what to do with old X-boats... mate them to a Vagrant class service hull, of course. This annular structure provides extra space and manoeuvering drives, while the X-boat provides Jump capability. An interesting and versatile concept.

Then there's the aforementioned Skipjack class system shuttle. Intended to be used in-system, it needs a crew of three and has plenty of cargo space. It can skim fuel for its manoeuvre drives and is a good 'workhorse' craft to have buzzing around a busy system. Variants exist that can be used as landing craft, and the large cargo spaces can be reconfigured for carrying personnel. Apparently one has been tricked out as a spacefaring brothel...

If you need additional cargo capacity, a Longhaul class cargo container can be attached to your Skipjack - a relatively simple task, so you can travel around picking them up and dropping them off as needed. Again these can be configured in a range of ways including colony transports, cold sleep personnel, or even as a basic system defence platform with weapons and crew quarters.

Next is a high-performance courier ship, the Kankur class frontier courier. This is another versatile vessel and suitable for the classic Traveller party (yes, it has a smuggler's hold!). There is a military version, an advanced scout craft (with stealth capabilities) and even a luxury transport version - each of these is described complete with deckplans showing how interior layout is changed.

If the luxury version of the Kankur does not meet your needs, try the Astoria class executive transport, which has enough space to carry a large crew to tend to your passengers' every need as well as to fly the ship. They even feature a battery of escape pods should their admittedly powerful defences prove inadequate or other difficulties arise. Apparently they are also good for corporate strike teams, if such operate in your neck of the woods.

Finally, there's the Saliant class patrol frigate, a powerful military heavy escort which can carry a marine unit and is capable of Jump-3 - and packs a heavy punch in its own right. It can land and also has a g-carrier with garage bay. A nice vessel for military/mercenary use.

So, a good range of well-designed and versatile craft, ready for use around your universe.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bastards of Foreven Fleet Book 2: Starships
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Quick Decks 6: Frontier Starports
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/17/2014 10:29:15
If you are looking for a 'plan for a starport' you are in the wrong place: but if you are looking for the components to map out bits of a starport when who's where becomes important, here you will find the tools that you need.

I generally think of starports a bit like airports, places to pass through or hang about waiting for departure (or when meeting someone). So you need lots of space, facilities for dropping people or good off or picking them up, and there's likely to be security, retail outlets, food and drink and facilities appropriate to whatever immigration and customs controls there might be wherever your starport is located. Then there's the underside, the working side. This includes the facilities to support the folk who work there - who need offices, stores, break rooms, comfort facilites and somewhere to eat. There is also the services required by those who use the starport as part of their work, from people who crew spaceships to those who supply and repair them. Workshops, storage and so on.

So, what do you get here? There's a lot of rather bland floor and wall tiles you can use to make whatever space you need. There are some quite good seating areas for the places people have to wait in. There's a nice security barrier for ground vehicle traffic in and out of the starport area. There are offices, staircases, even more waiting areas, tables, kitches, rest rooms, bars, smart entrances and rather more mundane ones... the sort of sleeping facilities suitable for transients, even a shower block, workshops, medical centre, corridors... and a few examples where all of these have been put together to provide sample locations.

There is an Introduction that gives a few hints and tips, mostly to help with printing; and a contents list which helps you make out what each sheet is supposed to be (not all are that obvious just looking at the plans). There is also a comprehensive legend (map key) to explain all the symbols used. The 'Layers' facility can be accessed to customise the plans somewhat, quite neatly.

Overall, this is a useful toolkit - but you will need to work out the overall plan for yourself, and decide which bits you need to have in more detail. This will no doubt be determined by what you intend to take place there - a party just passing through may need no more than a brief verbal description, but if the characters get into a brawl, you will find this very useful indeed!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Quick Decks 6: Frontier Starports
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Quick Decks 1: Starter Pack
by Stephen Y. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/24/2013 08:31:59
A good printer friendly map set.
The pdf is 31 pages (25 pages are the actual maps and items to 'occupy' the maps, including a blank map page.
Good usage tips (p.4) for setting different scales (25mm, 20mm & 15mm).
Well worth the price.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Quick Decks 1: Starter Pack
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Bastards of Foreven Book 0: Stories from the Frontier
by Mysterious B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/17/2013 18:49:21
When is an Alternative Traveller Universe not an ATU but Alternative to the Official/Original Traveller Universe? When it is using the OGL Foreven Sector, despite, quite a large number of typos - this is an excellent introduction to DSL Ironworks version of Foreven. Most seasoned, including, myself has taken a stab at writing their own version of Foreven, what makes this one particularly noteworthy is that it is attempting to unify previous fragments with brand new game concepts and create a sector of swashbuckling adventure. However, this is only Book 0 - thus, really a precursor of the goodness to come.

I was thoroughly enchanted by this short introduction and the careful logic that went into the re-imagining of Foreven. It is as good or better than what I created doing the same thing but in very much amateur production. Exceptional graphics and well thought interconnected histories gives a whole new set of lenses to view Traveller history (long biased from the vantage point of the Imperials). Here we have a Sector that has been Zhodani, Darrian and even Swordies have nestled claims. What's more, it was the forgotten front in the Frontier Wars between the Imperium and the Zhodani Consulate - but truly as a frontier - much as Africa was in the First and Second World War - which did not prevent or halt conflict - just gave it a very different hue than the conflict in Europe.

DSL Ironworks has created a great product, with a real retro-Traveller taking one back to the heady days of either the last days of CT or beginnings of MT. When there was an Imperial Campaign that was moving...Mongoose has managed to capture some of this energy but I fear not nearly enough - let great companies like DSL blaze a new frontier. I hope that these "books" get a proper editor and get compiled into a deadtree version. Keep up the excellent work!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bastards of Foreven Book 0: Stories from the Frontier
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Bastards of Foreven Book 0: Stories from the Frontier
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/27/2013 12:35:00
Going by this introductory material, Foreven Sector is going to be a place I shall enjoy visiting!

The product begins with an introduction in which author Donavan Lambertus starts by explaining in some detail how the name 'Bastards' of Foreven came about - ship nose art developing into some pirates which led to a mixed group of mercenaries... If you delight in peeps under the hood, seeing how game developers' minds work, there is a fair bit to fascinate you here. The really fascinating bit is how every effort has been made to make Foreven Sector as compatible as possible with the Official Traveller Universe (OTU), particularly places like the Spinward Marches which it abuts on to, but also in terms of the history and culture of the region... and yet making it its own self: you won't be confused for one moment as to where you are!

That done, we have a section on Standards and Assumptions, laying out the basics under which the setting has been developed. Mongoose core rules, of course, but also details of how Jump operates, stealth in space, the use of fighters and battleriders in space combat and so on. It's always good to be sure of your basic assumptions, but rare to have them laid out so explicitly: both a useful and a refreshing approach.

Next some flavour text introduces a section in which we learn the history of Foreven Sector going right back to speculation about the Ancients and then pre-Imperium exploration by Zhodani and Darrians, and early incursions by both the young Imperium and the Zhodani with the inevitable butting of heads upon occasion. Whilst at the moment there is peace between them, it is somewhat tenuous and it is highly possible that this is where the situation will boil over to open warfare should it come to that.

This is followed by a look at the major polities here, interspersed with more flavour text, all of which makes fascinating reading. Despire continued incursions by Imperial and Zhodani forces, most of Foreven is occupied by smaller but rising powers, and this is where we find out about them. Some are but single worlds with ambition, others have taken at least the first steps towards realising that ambition. We also learn of other pivotal groups - megacorporations, criminal gangs including pirate bands, and groups of mercenaries.

Now we get down to serious appetitie-whetting with a sample world: Akadi. It's a largish water world which orbits a red dwarf (binary system actually, paired with a white dwarf) with a thin atmosphere and a distressing attaction for comets and asteroids: their impacts not only do damage but tend to generate tsunamis as well. Complete with maps and pages of detail, this world is all ready for an extended stay or to play a major part in your adventures in some other way. Biosphere, settlements, government, culture, products, system data, a timeline and more are provided to put everything you need to know at your fingertips.

There is also a sample vehicle, a TL10 Veridion Class ATV. This is a popular planetary surface workhorse for transportation and exploration, or of course as a combat vehicle. Notes, statistics and extensive drawings of all three versions are provided. This is followed by a 'TAS Documentary' extended piece of flavour text, a sample starship (again with considerable detail) and a sample adventure. This, Last Flight of the Junyo, is designed not only to be an enjoyable adventure but also to serve as an introduction to the Foreven Sector as a whole. Here in space is the abandoned lifeless hulk of an Iridonnian diplomatic ship, the characters' task is to investigate and find out what happened to it. (Iridonia is one of those small but burgeoning polities mentioned earlier.)

Finally, there's an entire sample subsector, complete with 2- or 3-line entries about each system.

If this doesn't make you want to explore... well, you're not cut out for space exploration! A fine beginning and I am already looking forwards to the next book.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Quick Decks 4: Kankur-class Frontier Courier
by David T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/28/2013 12:16:18
This is an excellent booklet of a 200 ton J3, T4 adventure class ship and perfect for MTU.

As well as a detailed history and description of the ship there are 5 pictures, 6 deckplans and a page of counters.

The only thing I can ask for is MORE of this.

David

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Quick Decks 4: Kankur-class Frontier Courier
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Quick Decks 4: Kankur-class Frontier Courier
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/06/2013 10:46:50
It's hard to be a Traveller without a ship to travel in... and here is one which, if it doesn't happen to suit your needs, is certainly one which ought to prove popular so you'll see them around even if you are not inside one yourself.

A lot of thought and work has gone into this product. The whole concept of a 'class' of ships has been thought through, with a detailed discourse on the history of its development. This embeds the class firmly in the publisher's own Foreven Sector, but even if you don't plan on running adventures there it can still serve as the background for a vessel that is going to have universe-wide appeal. Every ship was designed somewhere, after all, and has a history and rationale behind its design, even if you encounter or even purchase one somewhere else entirely. (In the real world, I live down the road from the Bentley plant, but there's a Renault sitting outside my house!)

The history is followed by gear-head-delighting technical details given in narrative as well as standard table form. Deck plans are followed by a vivid description of the ship, useful for introducing characters to it on their first visit. That covers the 'standard' model but there are four further variants - three official and one typical of the customisation done by those who wish to conduct smuggling operations with their new ship.

And there's more: a full four fully-detailed examples complete with crews and even custom paint jobs. You could use one as a ready-made ship and characters to start a game quickly, or these could be some of the folks you meet on your travels. Friends or foes is up to you! Each comes with sufficent notes that you can see where they might fit in, or even to spawn a few adventure ideas... and if that isn't enough, there's a section of adventure seeds and potential patrons to kickstart your plotting.

It all ends with further deckplans you can print out and even some paper miniatures.

If this is the detail to be lavished on the Foreven Sector, I can't wait to visit it!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hot Spots 1: Drifters Dock - DSLI-HotSpots1
by Mysterious B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/24/2012 19:10:19
A good first effort** at a locales module - in this case, it is a dive/shady bar in the back and beyond of any Traveller Universe. Unlike (much to my dismay), it did not use the Third Imperium as the backdrop rather it relied on a general description - broadens the audience, I suppose.

In any case, what you get here is a description (would have prefered more fluff), a couple adventure seeds and an interesting NPC along with mini and gaming tiles. Priced reasonable for what you get is a portable locale that can be plunked into any game. I understand that this is first of what will be a compilation and therefore look forward to future volumes and the compilation in print (just be sure to index it). The adventure premises are generic enough and this is a great place for players to assemble for their first Traveller adventure.

Unfortunately, we are still stuck with Poser art but I understand the choice in using it. I prefer more realistic illustrations...and given what now is possible with computer art - I would strongly suggest that future offerings maybe go with a solicitation to places like Deviantart and thus provide more realistic art.

All in all a good product, reasonably priced for what you get. So, if you are need of a dive/starport bar...use this one.


**TM1: Reprieve-class Escape Pod - a previous offering that I found vastly superior to this one despite sharing many of the same characteristics

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Hot Spots 1: Drifters Dock - DSLI-HotSpots1
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Quick Decks 2: Expansion Pack
by P-O B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/28/2012 16:41:25
Quick Decks 2 from DSL Ironworks is a tool that helps you to quickly make deckplans for Traveller starships. However, when you start using it and see how good and useful it is, you will probably spend a lot of time using it to make pretty deckplans. The front cover of the product shows what you can use the resulting deckplans for.
Quick Decks 2

In the example that I have done for this review there is a lounge with a bar in the front of the ship. Just outside the lounge are two “freshers”. (I thought that was needed outside the bar…) A wide corridor leads to the next section. In the corridor there is a first aid cabinets and a fire cabinets and a sofa. There are four staterooms connected to the corridor.

I used GIMP when I made the deckplan in this example, but any other good image editor will work fine. I set the grid to 100*100 pixels and the offset to x=75 and y=75 pixels, and then selected snap to grid. Then it was easy to import images from the pdf to gimp and fit them exactly where I wanted.

There are lots of components to choose from. There are the usual classic symbols and many more. There are premade staterooms, lounges, briefing rooms, libraries, laboratories, brigs, armories, barracks, barbettes, sensors, magazines, boarding equipments and more. With the armories and barracks I also want to build some Starship Troopers inspired deckplans.

In 2005 there was a discussion at the CotI boards about additional book-2 components. I suggested some of those we now see in this product. This product makes me happy, since it helps me to implement deckplans using my old ideas.

This is an inspiring product. You just want to build more and more deckplans with it. Another nice feature is that the pdf is layered, so that you can hide some of the components in the images. You can try it using the full size preview. This product is the second in a trilogy of deckplan tools. You might need them all if you are a serious deckplan designer.

From the Zhodani Base: http://wp.me/p2o79h-9J

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Quick Decks 2: Expansion Pack
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Quick Decks 1: Starter Pack
by Patrick N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/06/2012 18:15:29
I really like this product and think that it is a good value for the money.

In general its just a very simple set of starship components scaled to a 25mm scale, all represented by simple, cleanly laid out line-art. As such its very printer friendly and several optional layouts are provided for typical sized staterooms and such.

If you can afford the modest price, and are looking for the ability to lay out some generic deckplans for adventuring, I'd highly recommend it.

If you already have your own set of detailed deckplans, you probably wouldn't need this product.

If you have some generic deckplans without internal details of internal layout and stuff though, this product could be of use to help you fill out some of those spaces.

Pat

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Quick Decks 1: Starter Pack
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TM1: Reprieve-class Escape Pod
by Charles V. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/03/2012 00:14:49
A great addition to the Traveller universe! TM1: Reprieve-class Escape Pod provides excellent detail on what might be an overlooked aspect of the Traveller universe. Not only is there a full write-up with tech specs on the escape pod, but some interesting and funny vignettes of escape pod use are included. The author compares escape pods to other shipboard rescue systems such as escape bubbles and vacc suits, and provides excellent and detailed renders and cutaways of the Reprieve. A listing of standard survival gear included in each pod is provided, as is a random malfunction and damage table to keep players on their toes.

In the grand tradition of Traveller modules such as Double Adventure: Marooned/Marooned Alone, TM1: Reprieve-class Escape Pod could easily be the basis of a series of adventures where players find themselves on an unknown world, trying to survive. As a Ref, this is exactly the type of product that will save me time and heartache. I know I won’t have to pull any punches the next time I run space combat either. I’ll be updating my house rules so that escape pod use by crew and passengers is considered automatic and successful, in the event of a ship’s destruction. With this product on hand, I can easily transition from ‘You encounter a privateer’, to ‘you arrive on a hostile world in your Reprive-class Escape Pod’ seamlessly. 5 stars!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
TM1: Reprieve-class Escape Pod
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