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Vikings of Legend
by Darren P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/25/2015 13:11:04

I got the RQ6 essentials. Then got out my old RQ2 Vikings. Did a one night session, and by popular demand then 5 more nights. I bought this for more information, not realising it is much like RQ2 Vikings - but with more and varied information. Works great with RQ6.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vikings of Legend
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Traveller Core Rulebook Beta Playtest
by Daniel C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/03/2015 14:06:02

I am having a great time both reading the various beta materials as they come out and in posting feedback and interacting with others in the Beta forum on Mongoose's website forum.


They have made some changes to the original Mongoose Traveller rules. But it si still clearly a Traveller based game. Some of the changes feel more like clean ups but others are quite a new change to the game. Do I think this product is for everyone? No. If you do nto plan to play some test games and offer feedback, the product will seem too unfinished and in need of fixing. But if you are willing to read, play, offer feedback, offer ideas, and help discuss/debate various items within the rules than this product could eb well worth the money.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Traveller Core Rulebook Beta Playtest
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Traveller Core Rulebook Beta Playtest
by Danny S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/24/2015 23:44:37

This is a beta version, so this review is more about the potential. The rules of classic traveller are here amended and updated. Career paths are unified and enhanced for playability. Mechanics cover the use of skills more effectively. Some features such as ship design, robots and "technology makers" are moved out of the core. Less emphasis on planetary biosphere creation as well. Structures are present for campaign styles such as trade based, military and exploration based campaigns. Background used in the core rules is "Third Imperium" but only as needed to give a rule some context. Action rules are soundly rationalised. The bane and boon mechanism, a la advantage/disadvantage from D&D and Call of Cthulhu, doesn't seem properly utilised and seems somewhat skewed in a 2d6 based system.


The play test forum that you get automatic access to is fairly active. Much of the rules has stabilised but some parts such as post creation skill development are in flux. I find there is still a tendency to think about digital technology in 1990s terms.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Traveller Alien [BUNDLE]
by Daniel C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/20/2015 00:37:49

I found the books very informative. I do wish they offered books on the other Major races. Seems odd to do all but two.


I also would love to know what, if anything, will change with the 2nd edition they are working on right now.


In any case, glad I bought this.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Traveller Alien [BUNDLE]
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Encyclopaedia Arcane Constructs
by Ben D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/16/2015 14:35:54

A very nice looking book, with very useful formats for making or modifying constructs in a 3.5/Pathfinder game. While many equilivant constructs can be found in Monster Manuals/Bestiaries for a cheaper gp cost, building a completely customized construct has a great appeal.


Since I'm playing as a wizard that wants to build a construct body for themselves, the special construct abilities actually give you a chance to do that.


Great book if your character wants constructs, or if you want to throw new construct builds at players who memorize monster stats.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Encyclopaedia Arcane Constructs
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Traveller Core Rulebook Beta Playtest
by Joseph G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/16/2015 13:22:07

So far, so good. It's very similar to Mongoose Traveller, but cleaner in some ways. I can't wait to actually play it.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Traveller Core Rulebook Beta Playtest
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Referee's Aid 8: Traders & Raiders
by Chuck C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/14/2015 15:26:33

I bought this looking for the tables that Traveller is famous for, but that's not what this is. It's all textual descriptions of interstellar trade, with a few very Traveller-esque illustrations. The information is probably good, but it's doubtful it could be as good as in the excellent Far Trader book for GURPS Traveller. For a few bucks more, that is a much more robust treatment of the topic.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Referee's Aid 8: Traders & Raiders
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2300AD: Tools for Frontier Living
by Matt W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/13/2015 08:07:02

I think this product is terrific if you plan to use it for the existing 2300 setting.


My only quibble is that the section on biosphere and habitability doesn't seem very well playtested. To set up an agricultural colony, a world must have a minimum habitability of 5 and a biosphere of 2. With the existing rules, that can be a frozen iceball with a trace atmosphere. Base hab 10, -4 for trace atm, -2 for cold, + 2 for low gravity, +1 potentially for biosphere. The rules allow for biosphere rolls on worlds that have insidious atmospheres, which means you can allow for worlds with pretty weird alien life (which is good), but I don't think that the existence of such life would necessarily make colonization easier.


Everything else, though, amazing work.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
2300AD: Tools for Frontier Living
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Traveller Core Rulebook Beta Playtest
by paul h. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/15/2015 17:14:44

The Beta-rules are in too much flux at the moment to really review the product. The new core rule book isn't going to follow the same path as the previous one, and this may be good, or not so much. The tag line says it's everything you need, but that's not entirely true as you'll still need to purchase the additional core rule books to round out the initial set of information. That is unless you happen to enjoy playing Traveller where pretty much everyone has the same ships, the same weapons the same everything.


There's a lot of small changes to the rules that add up to a big change in the overall game. It's not just one thing here or one thing there, it's lots of things here and there. But somewhere buried in all there is sill the intent for it to BE Traveller. Or at least a sci-fi game that has the inherent feeling of Traveller.


If you are on the fence about this I don't have any good advice for you on which way you should proceed with the game. It's not ready to be played right now and you'll be waiting for quite some time before it is. And when it does come out, you may not feel it's enough to justify replacing your 1.0 sets of books for the 2.0. I highly suggest to anyone who is trying to figure out which way to jump that you point your browser over to the Mongoose forum and catch up on the discussions. That's probably the best way for you to determine if this new version is right for you.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Traveller Core Rulebook Beta Playtest
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Traveller Core Rulebook Beta Playtest
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/09/2015 13:41:44

OK, so why do we need a new set of rules? Let's see what is here and how it improves on what has gone before. It is supposed to be broadly backwards-compatible with Mongoose Traveller materials, but will of course have resources - sourcebooks and adventures - crafted specifically for it in due course.


The Introduction begins by explaining what Traveller is: a science-fiction role-playing game of the far future that can be used to play out whatever you fancy - and adds that if you have a favourite SF film or TV series (or presumably book!), Traveller ought to be able to replicate it on your tabletop. It touches on the Third Imperium (the Official Traveller Universe as it's known) and gets a little muddled in the distinction between the players of the game (that's you and me) and the characters that they play. I am not (alas) a Traveller, my character is, the lucky tode! It talks about the sort of adventures and campaigns you can enjoy and runs through some game conventions (standard terminology) before explaining the concept of Tech Levels and, in brief sentences, showing what each one means from TL0 to TL15.


Next, Chapter 1: Character Creation introduces the unique Traveller 'life path' character generation process. It is recommended that a group of players generate their characters together, primarily so as to establish connections between them - it's also to be noted that lots of players enjoy creating characters as a game in its own right even when they don't need one! (However there is a new connections bonus that can lead to an additional skill level for both characters involved.) The process is well explained with plenty of detail (and suggestions, even here, for adventures) and there is a large flowchart that makes the process clear. As a double-spread page that would be fine, it's worth printing out at least those two pages from the PDF to get the full benefit. Each career - and the pre-career options of university or military academy - provides the character with not just skills but life-events that have in-game consequences as well as game-mechanical ones. Overall, the actual process has not changed much, but it is laid out and explained well. Character generation is primarily human-centric, with a brief mention of aliens and scant details of Aslan and Vargr - the intention is that they will be covered in separate sourcebooks. Tucked at the end is a new career, that of the Prisoner. It's not one that you choose for your character, but assorted events that may arise during character generation will land him there without the option!


This is followed by Chapter 2: Skills and Tasks, which gets down to the business of explaining how to use the skills that your character has and the task resolution system. Although still based on the classic 'roll 2 dice against a Referee-set difficulty' the use of modifiers other than those based on the character's own capabilities has been replaced by the use of extra 'boon' or 'bane' dice. These come into play when conditions are beneficial or adverse to the attempt being made. A third die is rolled. If conditions are favourable, the player discards the lowest roll and uses the other two dice to resolve the task as normal. If things are against him, he discards the highest die roll before resolving the task. Neat, and a lot easier than having to determine just how beneficial or otherwise the circumstances might be! The idea is that task difficulties and applicable modifiers ought to be fairly standard for any given task, all you need to decide is if the circumstances under which you are trying to accomplish it warrant a boon or a bane die to be added to your roll.


Chapter 3: Combat then takes a long, hard look at how fighting is run within the game. Combat is still deadly, and relatively speedy. Characters use their skill in the weapon they are using, and wield them in initiative-order sequence in combat rounds. The system has been streamlined and integrated with personal combat, vehicle combat and starship combat all working the same way.


Naturally, getting caught up in a brawl is not the only danger to be faced in the far future, so Chapter 4: Encounters and Dangers provides loads of hazards and the game mechanics necessary to deal with them. Environmental dangers abound... but fortunately there is also a section on healing. Animals (which may or may not be hostile) are also covered here with a broad outline of a system to create animals and encounters with them. Several examples are given - and it can be great fun thinking up exotic critters for the worlds the party visits in its travels. Animals, of course, are not the only beings they will encounter, so there is also a section about NPCs which includes quick generation of them and the sort of encounters that may be had... there's even a rudimentary patron encounter system here for generating really fast adventure seeds on the fly.


Next comes Chapter 5: Equipment. Starting off with notes on money and standards of living it soon launches into The Core Collection, a catalogue of much of what the well-equipped traveller might need - which is presented like a real-world catalogue complete with illustrations (well, some of them, and plenty space earmarked for more) and sales-speak as well as the necessary game mechanics to use them. As well as the weapons, armour and gear you'd expect, the Core Collection also includes augmentations - cybernetic or biological modifications to improve on or even add things to the standard human.


Chapter 6: Vehicles follows; but here the emphasis is on what vehicles can do and how they are operated. It also includes vehicle combat. Quite a few examples are provided for those who want to get going quickly. This is followed by Chapter 7: Starship Operations which looks at the bread and butter of running a starship and starship encounters, including things like running costs and starship security. There's a separate chapter for starship combat, which allows characters to play a part in different roles - and makes starship captains worry about how much power they are using! Both ship-to-ship combat and boarding actions are covered here.


Next, Chapter 9: Common Spacecraft looks at ships which are familiar to the experienced Traveller player, but presents them in a new and visual manner. Statistics appear in a neat panel that gives you all you need to know, whilst deckplans have gone isometric. This gives a nice impression of what it would actually be like to wander around the ship in question and matches up well with the external views. They won't work so well as old-style deckplans for people who like to run combat aboard like a miniatures skirmish though. There's a good range of standard craft here from traders and scouts to liners and yachts.


Separated out - not everyone likes to use them - is Chapter 10: Psionics. (They are, however, mentioned within the lifepath parts of character generation: with several opportunities to be contacted and tested. If you don't want to use them, you'll have to roll again if you get one of those results.) The default model is that psionics are rare and viewed with offical caution if not outright hostility - in the Third Imperium, for example, they are banned. If you do choose to use them, psionic strength and skills are covered here as well as the psion career path.


Next comes Chapter 11: Trade. This provides a system for conducting interstellar trade that manages to be quite detailed and yet abstracts the process to a few die rolls, a neat method that allows a party to focus as much or as little attention on it as they please whilst still providing the possibility of a rationale for their travels and an income to fund it.


Finally, where are you going to travel to? This is covered by Chapter 12: World and Universe Creation which lays out the way in which worlds, systems and sectors are described and how to design them, and Chapter 13 which details the Sindal Sub-Sector in the Trojan Reaches - the new setting which is to be developed for this latest iteration of the Traveller game.


Overall, this book presents something that is still recognisably Traveller but with the benefit of 30-odd years of game design building on the original concepts. It shows great promise particularly in terms of integration and streamlining of game mechanics, and presentation values look as if they will be good too - although of course in this playtest version quite a lot of the art is missing. There are also a few typos which will hopefully be caught before the final version... but it promises well for the future of the game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Traveller Core Rulebook Beta Playtest
by A. P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/05/2015 03:03:19

Second edition represents a marked departure away from the traditional, rules-heavy, refereed, simulationist approach to Sci-Fi gaming toward a mass-market, rules-light, game-mastered Sci-Fi in the Far Future(TM).


Boon and Bane dice work similarly to advantage/disadvantage dice in D&D 5E. What works well in a light setting like 5E is the harbinger of doom in Traveller. Billed as a system to simplify the referee's job, Bane and Boon dice actually limit player options without being much better than the traditional DM based system. For example, where before you could take multiple negative DMs to cut the time required for a task by several steps, you are now limited by the B&B system to one step only, since a player can only be affected by one bane dice at a time. I used that particular system just last week in my own game. Had I been playing this edition, I would've been incinerated by a jumpcusser's laser beam. The life of a famous drive engineer and his crew ended because he was magically prevented from speeding up his rolls by more than one step. Wait, though-- would I have been killed? Let's take a look at space combat!


Space combat is totally, 100% wrecked. Structure has been removed as a stat. As an example of the changes, the normal Free Trader now has a hull rating of 40. Weapon damage is, on the whole, the same as 1E. System hits are now restricted to critical hits exclusively. Where in 1E, you'd get through the hull and the armor, then start hitting systems and structure before actually destroying the ship, when you remove the hull in 2E, the ship is destroyed and beyond, and I quote, "any repair". That's right-- hull points are now health points. 1E's harrowing, highly-lethal, and most of all satisfying damage model has given way to what is essentially ground combat in space with more hit-points. Not only that, but good luck taking it as a prize. At least after a combat in 1E, you could take hull-less ships as heavily-damaged rewards, or for salvage, or something. Now you're just... out of luck? The fact that system hits are now essentially random means that power is more of an annoyance than anything in the combats I've run. While it could have been a welcome addition to the simulation of 1E, it seems like a pointless extra stat in a system that wants to be this light. Several ships cannot actually run their maneuver drives, jump drives, and basic ship systems in combat at the same time, as well. This is before weapons, you understand. I'd fix this, if there were any actually any ship construction mechanics in the core rulebook. Those are stripped out in favor of a multi-book "core collection" philosophy. The ghost of D&D whispers at our airlock again, friends.


Those are the two big complaints I have right now. Not the only ones. The skill mechanics aren't that good. A couple of skills were combined that made sense, but the progression is a little fast, and there's a hard limit on how far you can progress. EDU is now the most important stat bar none if you're playing a freeform game. Armor values on people have gone way up, without a corresponding increase in damage output. Combat in general is far less lethal. I mean really! This is a game where you can die during chargen. Why nerf the lethality? My friends and I have run a couple of sim combats and we're all kind of universally disappointed.


Now, it's not a total loss. I'll pick and choose some mechanics that I like as they are to use in my 1E games, particularly a certain clarification about the amount of mail available at a port, but I'm not going to be transitioning over to 2E as it stands now. 2E is tantalizingly close to being okay, but it's marred by some weird mechanics that can be fixed, and some big flaws that are working as designed and intended, according to the forums. I haven't posted there yet, but I plan to. I feel like a segment of the Traveller playerbase was left out of previous playtests by accident, and the exclusion of the serious side of the community let the book get to this current state. Like I said at the start, this book represents a design philosophy shift, not poor design. These would be good rules for a different game. They're bad rules for Traveller. If you're not on board with the present direction of the game, or willing to really push to try to change it, I wouldn't drop the cash on this.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Book 4: Psion
by Dale W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/29/2015 10:43:53

An interesting look at the psionic gifts which provide many versions of them that, until this book, were only available to and the definition of the Zhodani. Well worth the purchase if psionics are something you intend to add to your Traveller Universe.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Book 4: Psion
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Supplement 7: 1,001 Characters
by David B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/15/2015 20:36:31

Well presented book with all sorts of good ideas for NPC's. This one, as a supplement, is not "required" but I believe is a must have for any GM's collection. Even IF you do not use the NPC's as described you can use it for a spring board of ideas.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Supplement 7: 1,001 Characters
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Special Supplement 3: Vehicle Upgrade Manual
by David B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/15/2015 20:34:12

Good addition to the vehicle rules. To me it was somewhat useful others may find it invaluable depending on your campaign style. On the whole i do recommend it to all GM's.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Special Supplement 3: Vehicle Upgrade Manual
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Special Supplement 4: Rescue Ops
by David B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/15/2015 20:31:27

This was an excellent source book for rescue ops. If your characters like to play fire fighters or medics or just gem themselves into that sort of situations this book is for them. I recommend it to GM's for the technical data and equipment listings with in.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Special Supplement 4: Rescue Ops
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