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Rise of the Drow Epilogue: The Commander of Malice
Rise of the Drow Epilogue: The Commander of Malice
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Techbook: Chrome
Publisher: Terra-Sol Games LLC
by P-O B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/25/2013 07:31:48
Classic Traveller is inspired by Science Fiction before cyber-technology started to appear (with a few exceptions) in Science Fiction. So, in Classic Traveller there are no rules for cybertech.

There was a short article series in JTAS #02, #03 and #04 that talked about the differences between robots, cyborgs, androids, etc. We had to wait until the book 2300 AD Earth/Cybertech Sourcebook for 2300AD before GDW produced any good rules for cybertech, But this was for another RPG and not for Traveller and only 13 pages of that book was about different types of cybertech.

Cybertech might not fit well (if it is common) in the OTU. But for an ATU that needs a more modern feel, rules for cybertech are needed. Terra/Sol Games has produced a book that fills the gap; Techbook: Chrome.

Techbook: ChromeChrome is a well-known cyberpunk term, known from William Gibson’s Burning Chrome. It’s clever title for this book.

The contents in the book are just what you expect, and more. There are rules covering Cybernetic Replacements and Biologicals and Accessories and Cyborgs and Cyrgeware.

Cybernetic Replacements is just what you expect it is. Biologicals is the same but these replacement are grown from organic tissue. You can buy biological upgrades and combine it with the cybertech. This can make your setting really feel like Bladerunner.

The Accessories section of the book are about improvements or additions of the body to add a function that a normal person doesn’t have. These can be both Cybernetic and Biological additions.

The Cyborg section of the book is about cyborgs. A cyborg is defined as an individual whose brain (and possibly other organs) have been placed in a robotic shell. This section of the book discusses lots of aspects of being a cyborg, including braincase, “food” and combat.

The section called Cyrgeware is about the ability to be able to change something (a function or appearance) within your body.

Most of the illustrations in the book are in grayscale and are really good. There are a few in color but only one (showing a sexy cyborg) except the cover is worth mentioning.

An alternative for this book would be 2300 AD Earth/Cybertech Sourcebook for 2300AD or Supplement 8: Cybernetics from Mongoose. But in my opinion, Techbook: Chrome is more interesting. It would be very useful in an ATU where you want cybertech to be more prominent.

The review is also posted at the Zhodani base blog: http://wp.me/p2o79h-Ty

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Techbook: Chrome
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CHALLENGE Magazine No. 46.
Publisher: Game Designers' Workshop (GDW)
by P-O B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/27/2012 12:16:11
If you want to play a horror scenario for Traveller, then I would say that you should have a look at Challenge #46. It is a Special Horror Issue.

In this issue you can find a 6-page article about scary wizards and witches, with three interesting adventure hooks. There is a four page scenario with some nasty surprises about salvaging a haunted scout-ship. The final (and maybe most scary) scenario is about encountering a ghost ship in jump space. It is written by Mike Mikesh. This scenario also includes deckplans of a 600-ton subsidized liner. All of these articles for Traveller are very good and usable. But there is more…

There is a scenario for Twilight: 2000, one for Space: 1889, one for 2300 AD, one for Cyberpunk, two for Shadowrun, one for Torg, two for Call of Cthulhu, one for Star Wars and one other (for fun). The one for 2300 AD would be easy to adapt for Traveller if you need another scenario.

Review can also be read at the Zhodani Base: http://wp.me/p2o79h-Hr

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CHALLENGE Magazine No. 46.
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Quick Decks 2: Expansion Pack
Publisher: DSL Ironworks
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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tIG TPT-133 "Fat Cat" Logistics Transport
Publisher: DB Game Design
by P-O B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/24/2012 14:47:28
The Fat Cat (tIG TPT-133 "Fat Cat" Logistics Transport) is an interesting ship from DB Game Design. It's a 300 ton trader with an unorthodox design. 300 tons might be a nice compromise between the 200 ton far trader, that might seem too small and the 400 ton Subsidized Merchant that may be too big. This feels like it would be a perfect adventure ship. The design is done for Mongoose Traveller rules, but can easily be used with any Traveller rules. The design is for an unspecified ATU (that I think we will soon hear some more about), but can easily be used in the OTU.

The deckplans in the book are in black and white. The level of detail in them are better than what we are used to see in a CT product. The side views are really cool. I like that they have included images of humans to show the size. The descriptions of the deckplans are very good.

The CGI images are good but I think the texture on the ship is a bit boring. (I want to see serial numbers, name of the ship, company logo, warning markings, etc.) The darker images are the ones I like the best. The mirror effect on the landed ship is quite cool, since that is not what we are used to see. Showing humans in with the landed craft is also a good idea.

In the last part of the book there is an example crew and 3 Patrons (adventure hooks). I like this, since I like adventure. Now it is easy to use the ship, either as an encounter or as a PCs ship to run some quick scenarios.

I like this product. It could serve as a template for what a product for a Traveller Starship should include. (I only missed a good index.)

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

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
tIG TPT-133 "Fat Cat" Logistics Transport
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Sword Worlds
Publisher: Mongoose
by P-O B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/17/2012 15:53:11
Originally published at: http://zho.berka.com/2012/05/17/sword-worlds-revisited-by-mo-
ngoose/

What has Mongoose done to the Sword Worlds? Do I need this book? These are the questions that I will try to answer here.

The cover of the book is quite cool, but it doesn’t look like the soldiers in the image are Sword Worlders at all.

Interior art is not bad either. I just feel it is too much Viking themed, and not really showing the hi-tec spacefaring culture that I wanted to see. The deckplans are fine and the 3D rendering of the Jarl is ok. It can be seen in colour at Biomass Art.

There are a few contradictions in the introduction of the book. Are the Sword Worlds a dangerous place or a popular place to visit? Are there no physical differences from original Solomani or is the average male weight 105 kg, and the females pregnant for 10 months? Then there is also (a likely) bug in the naming rules, since the female surname possessive form is missing, but not the male possessive form.

How did the come up with the Army Ranking table? I don’t think that matches any Scandinavian army.

There are 3 new careers. The first one is the Aesirist Church. This isn’t something that I like. It is too Viking themed. I will not use it in MTU. The next one is The Patrol. From old JTAS #18. This is a good idea to include. The third is Jäger Command. I think it should really be part of Marines or Army, as special forces.

The origin of sagamaal and the vocabulary makes some sense. Currency and exchange rate was a good thing to include. History is a bit messed up. It’s interesting but doesn’t match the previous publications.

In the Worlds chapter, the world listing of the subsector is missing the worlds outside the Sword Worlds. The atmosphere of Enos is explained in the same way as in the GURPS SW module. (To keep Traveller fun, these things should be ignored so that the referee can deal with in a different way.) Mithril matches the old adventure Mission on Mithril.

The equipment list is nice, but there are some items that are just too Viking themed. There is a nice selection of ships. Some parts of the encounter tables are fine, and the animal are interesting. The miniphants has been changed. They are not the same miniphants as in JTAS #16.

There are some proofreading errors (as usual). There are some extra-large apostrophes. There is a reference to a class III starport. (That is what a type C starport is called in GURPS.) There are some talk about the border worlds (that shouldn’t exist in 1105). I get an error message in the end of the pdf. Please Mongoose, do a better job!

So, I think that parts of the book is good, and other parts are not so good. You can buy it for the good parts. Maybe you like the other parts as well. The alternative would be to use JTAS #18 and read Space Viking for free, and form your own opinion about the Sword Worlds.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Sword Worlds
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Quick Worlds 12: Megara
Publisher: Gypsy Knights Games
by P-O B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/20/2011 14:10:50
Megara - For the blood thirsty
August 20th, 2011 by BeRKA

Megara is the 12:th of the “Quick Worlds” from Gypsy Knights Games. This might not be the most interesting one in the series, but it is still a useful one.

The idea is that a referee can use this (or the other books in this series) in his/her own universe to save some time when a more detailed world is needed. The referee can then change anything (e.g. the name of the planet or the UWP) to fit a planet in his/her own universe.

The planet Megara has a UWP of C9887B7-D. If you want to match it with a planet in the OTU, then maybe the planet Dakar in the Ilelish Sector is a good match. Dakar has a UWP of B9887BB-A. Any planet with a star-port between A-E, size 6-9, atm 8, hydro 8, pop 7-8, gov B, law 7-C and tech-level 6-D would probably work fine. It is actually impossible to create the UWP of Megara using classic rules. The tech-level is too high. But nothing in this pdf suggests that the tech-level must be this high. There is a maglev train, but that might be imported.

In this pdf, there are descriptions of the system with an image of the gas giant, and an overview image of the system. There are some general description of the planet Megara, and an isodecahedron map. Then there are some more specific descriptions of the planet and the people and cities and politics, and of the big herd animals called Betas. Finally there are a few adventure hooks.

What I would have wished for would have been some more detailed adventure hooks, an image of the Betas (and animal encounter tables), some notes on gas giant refuelling (since the gas giant is within the 100 solar diameters from the sun) and maybe some notes on the seasons due the the eccentric orbit.

There are also some other problems with this pdf. I hope Gypsy Knight Games (and other publishers) will learn from this constructive criticism and avoid such problems in the future.

The first problem is the colour bleeding on the cover. I don’t want to see that on a commercial product.

Solution: Don’t compress the images so hard, and don’t reuse already compressed images.

The second problem is that there are green patches that look like land on the image of the gas giant, and the background is black without any stars. It looks like it has been made using some simple (web-based) planet generator and it doesn’t look like a gas giant.

Solution: Learn to use some graphics tools, or hire someone who can!

The third problem is the 501 day orbital period. This just doesn’t work for a G4V star and a 0.998 AU orbit. This violates Kepler’s third law. To make the year about 500 days, then the solar mass would be appr. 0.5 solar masses. That would suggest that either the star is a type K star in the cooler regions, or it might also be a type G4, if it is a sub dwarf. In either way, Megara would be a lot cooler. If I use this module, then I would just ignore this and calculate my own orbital period.

Solution: Double check the physics in your product.

Update: The third problem has been corrected in a new version uploaded to DriveThruRPG. It’s a good thing when a suggestion in a review can help the product improve. Now I know how the Top Gear presenters felt when they convinced Koenigsegg to fit a rear spoiler on their CCX. ;-)

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Quick Worlds 12: Megara
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Spinward Encounters
Publisher: Mongoose
by P-O B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/05/2011 05:51:45
The contents of Spinward Encounters are really really good. I love adventure, and this book is packed with them. There are 64 Patron type Adventures (4 for each subsector in the Spinward Marches), and 16 Amber Zone type adventures. Many of these are well thought out, and are a bit longer than a normal (classic) patron or amber zone. A nice thing about a few of the amber zones in the District 268 is that the referee can connect them into a mini campaign.

As a referee, you might think that only four adventures for each subsector makes this product a bit overpriced. But if you are playing in one of the two most popular subsectors (Regina or District 268), then it would be easy to lead your PCs into the five adjacent subsectors. Then you would have 24 useful patrons to play, and for Regina five extra Amber Zones, and for District 268 nine extra Amber Zones. If you play in any of the Vilis, Lanth, Sword Worlds or Lunion subsectors, then you can use 36 patrons if you let you PCs travel into neighbouring subsectors.

The problem with this book is that the layout is quite bad, and that there is no proper index. An index is something that would be very useful if you want to plan to integrate any part of the book into your campaign.

There are a few nice images in the book. I like the one with a Bwap and a Vargr on page 33. This image is probably meant to illustrate the patron at Jesedipere at page 16. As I said, the layout is quite bad… In this image you can spot the Serenity in the background. Maybe also in the image on page 27. That was a nice Easter egg. LOL!

I decided to make a quick index, so you quickly can see if your PC group is at a place where the referee can run any of the adventures in the book. The patrons and amber zones are in the same order as in the book. The patrons are sorted by subsectors A-P in the Spinward Marches. The planet listed is a suggested starting place. This is not always the same as where the adventures takes place.

Patrons:
Chronor Subsector - page 7

Bounty Hunter - Rasatt
Agent - Whenge
Diplomat - Rasett (sic!)
Army Enlisted Man - Quar

Jewell Subsector - page 10

Abbot - Emerald
Priest - Pequan
Researcher - TBD
Entertainer - Jewell

Regina Subsector - page 13

Government Official - Beck’s World
Naval Enlisted Men - Alell
Bureaucrat - Regina
Law Enforcer - Roup

Aramis Subsector - page 16

Merchant - Towers
Bwap Treasury Assessor - Jesedipere
Imperial Scout - Dhian
Criminal - Junidy

Querion Subsector - page 19

Itinerant Trader - TBD
Salvager - Thanber
Scientist - Sansibar
Naval Officer - Retinae

Vilis Subsector - page 22

Imperial Scout - Garda-Vilis
Merchant - TBD
Engineer - Phlume
Police Officer - Garda-Vilis

Lanth Subsector - page 25

Aslan Male - Keanou
Imperial Scout - Keanou
Criminal - Dinomn
Salvager - D’Ganzio

Rhylanor Subsector page 28

Theatre Owner - TBD
Starport Administrator - Henoz
Corporate Fixer - Rhylanor
Submariner - Vanejen

Darrian Subsector - page 31

Arms Dealer - Darrian
Farmer - TBD
Doctor - Mire
Archaeologist - Darrian

Sword Worlds Subsector - page 34

Traveller - TBD
Government Official - Dyrnwyn
Farmer - Hrunting
Flyer - Gungnir

Lunion Subsector - page 38

Businessman - Spirelle
Belter - Zaibon
Scientist - Smoug
Broker - Lunion

Mora Subsector - page 41

Zoo Keeper - TBD
Army Officer - Byret
Business Executive - TBD
Private Investigator - TBD

Five Sisters Subsector - page 44

Noble - Raweh
Merchant - Iderati
Merchant - Mewey
Droyne Sport - Mewey

District 268 Subsector - page 49

Botanist - Collace
Bar Owner - TBD
Collector - Mertactor
Broker - Dallia

Glisten Subsector - page 52

Criminal - Mithras
Refugee - Horosho
Banker - Tirem
Traveller - Aki

Trin’s Veil Subsector - page 55

Reporter - Trin
Business Executive - Squanine
Hunter - Chamois
Noble - Fosey

Amber Zones:

Bloodwell - Efate (Regina)
Justice - TBD (Lanth)
Outback - TBD (Glisten)
News Fit To Print - Strouden (Lunion)
Conspiracy - Dallia (District 268)
Emperor’s Birthday - Vilis (Vilis)
Boom Time - Lunion (Lunion)
My Fair Patient - Ruby (Jewell)
Extreme Sports - Edenelt (Trin’s Veil)
Drug Problems - Tionale (Vilis)
Saluma’s Treasure - Aramis (Trin’s Veil)
Detached Duty - Bowman (District 268)
Draykrosk’s Run - Wonstar (Five Sisters)
Dangerous Allegiances - Dallia (District 268)
The Noctocol to Elixabeth Run - Dallia (District 268)
The Talchek Crossing - TBD (District 268)

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Spinward Encounters
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Civilian Air/Raft for Traveller
Publisher: Scrying Eye Games
by P-O B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/25/2011 14:12:54
What you get is what you see in the preview. You get an image of an air/raft and nothing more. You get the same image 10 times. I don't understand why... I think they should have made the 10 images a bit different, so that you at least could select your favourite colour.

Anyway, the image is looking nice, and the style is the same as in the other (so far) two Traveller products from Scrying Eye Games. The best thing is that it is for free. So if you are using any of their other Traveller products, you should get this one as well. It will look nice parked on the cargo deck.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Civilian Air/Raft for Traveller
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Type M Subsidized Merchant "HIMS The Pretty Penny"
Publisher: Scrying Eye Games
by P-O B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/18/2011 15:38:44
This is the second deck-plan of about 20 that they have planned to release. I hope they do the Shivva Patrol Frigate.

The scale is 25 mm/square. The side of a square is 5 ft. This fits a number of counters, card board heroes and miniatures nicely. But it doesn’t match the classic scale exactly (but close enough). It also makes the deck-plan of the ship quite large. The ship is fitted within 19 pages that you have to assemble yourself. It would have been nice if there was a hi-res image-file includes as well, so you could print it out on a large printer/plotter.

There are lots of details in the images. This is very nice compared to the standard classic deck-plans. Now you can see how everything will fit, and where all the rubbish will end up…

The need for deck-plans has always been there. In my group, and in other groups that I have played in, we have always used deck-plans. Even though there might not be any combat within the ship, it is always nice to see where your character lives and works. If there is combat within the ship, a deck-plan is a must.

Combat can be solved using standard traveller rules, or using special on-board rules like Snapshot.

Even though this is a very nice product, I will not use it. The reason for this is that my group is quite tainted by what the March Harrier from the Traveller Adventure looked like. The March Harrier is a type R. (The classic type M is a 600-ton Subsidized Liner.) There are a number of elevators in this ship. Where is the Launch? This is not the same ship. It doesn’t match the March Harrier. But for a new group it would probably be very nice to have this pretty deck-plan on their gaming table.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Type M Subsidized Merchant "HIMS The Pretty Penny"
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The Spinward Marches
Publisher: Game Designers' Workshop (GDW)
by P-O B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/11/2011 16:07:14
If you are looking for maps for Traveller, then you should go to travellermap.com. This product only show the Spinward Marches, and is really not that useful.

However, if you are interested in how GDW produced this sector, then it is quite interesting. In the original draft you can see how planets have been moved and other minor changes that was done before the final version was published.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
The Spinward Marches
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Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society. Issue No. 17
Publisher: Game Designers' Workshop (GDW)
by P-O B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/11/2011 15:07:17
One of the most inspiring JTAS. The additional Special Supplement makes it even better. One important race is described here, and that wasn't described again until Gurps Traveller: Alien Races 4.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society. Issue No. 17
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Campaign 1: Secrets of the Ancients
Publisher: Mongoose
by P-O B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/05/2011 07:43:45
This is what the classic Traveller adventure with the same name should have been. This is a really good update on that adventure.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Campaign 1: Secrets of the Ancients
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