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Supplement 4: Central Supply Catalogue
 
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Supplement 4: Central Supply Catalogue
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Supplement 4: Central Supply Catalogue
Publisher: Mongoose
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/26/2015 08:11:39

More than a mere 'supply catalogue', this book not only presents a vast array of items that Traveller characters might wish to have in their possession, it links them to Tech Level and provides the information a referee might need to decide whether or not each item is actually available. To this end, it begins with a lengthy discussion of what lies behind the bare numbers of a Tech Level, and looking to the dizzy heights of TL20 or beyond.

This initial discussion continues with a look at what Tech Level means within a society and how imports may exceed local Tech Level, often by quite a lot, although you'll probably need to import support personnel to keep high level items running as well. Also it may not be uniform: some areas such as transportation or communications may be higher (or lower) than the average TL of a world that appears in the records. The nature of society changes as TL increases as well, with more leisure time and the need for more sophisticated forms of entertainment as well as greater trade opportunities as it rises, with more people being engaged in activities other than day-to-day survival. There are also notes on low-tech versions of items, representing invention, prototyping and the creation of low-tech solutions to higher-tech problems. Likewise, a higher-tech version of a lower-tech item can be devised. All quite interesting and well worth a read if you want a realistic and varied approach to technology across your galaxy.

This all depends on being able to craft and to understand devices, and rules are provided to enable such cross-TL endeavours. Even once you have determined what is possible, the next question is how legal it might be... and that depends on what the item is, where you want to have it, who you might happen to be, and on a web of permits and restrictions that balance out the needs of local worlds and galactic society - the Imperium, if it exists in your universe - as a whole. Even if you have the correct paperwork, and the necessary funds, it may not be easy to actually find that particular item you're after... All this discussion is underpinned by the necessary game mechanics to enable you to administer the processes involved within your game. This section rounds out with some miscellaneous rules for computer hacking, sensor use, firing artillery and a selection of non-lethal weapon and drug use.

We then move on to the actual items in the catalogue, grouped as Personal and Light Support Weapons, Support and Artillery Weapons, Personal Protection, Survival and Field Equipement, Electronic and Medical Equipment and finally Subsistance and Living Expenses. This makes it easy to find what you're after, or allows you to browse to your heart's content in an area that interests you.

Each section starts with some general discussion of what's there before diving into actual items, which are ordered by TL (lowest to highest) and come with description, statistics and quite often an illustration... although at times you are left guessing as to which drawing in a picture refers to which item in the accompanying text! What's nice is the detail in things like ammunition type and accessories to go with your shiny new purchase. There are also some neat advertisements for specific products, although in general everything is kept pretty generic - a 'shotgun' rather than manufacturer and model details. Needless to say, personal weapons get far more coverage than any other items but there are some neat things tucked away within the survival and medical gear sections.

The discussions on how to handle Tech Level and associated material elevate this work above a mere equipment catalogue, but if it's a shopping spree you're after there is plenty to be had here.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Supplement 4: Central Supply Catalogue
Publisher: Mongoose
by Daniel H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/09/2011 17:09:15

In short, this book is the perfect companion to the main Traveller rule book for gaming groups looking for more options in their equipment list.

In fact, the first few dozen pages (an overview of technology levels, their impact on society, and the difficulties players will have working too far outside of their usual areas of expertise) is so relevant that it should have been in the main rule book. That also goes for the updated security and hacking rules, and the advanced equipment prototyping (and reverse-engineering) rules. Good stuff.

The rest of the book comprises the "supply catalog", and the preview's table of contents lets you know what you're getting in to. There aren't any real surprises here, except that the CSC goes well beyond the Classic Traveller setting, including things like "arcswords", "stun fists" and "psy-boost daggers", as well as a number of TL 17+ items such as disintegrator pistols that are well above Third Imperium tech levels.

In other words, not everything in this book is appropriate for the Third Imperium setting, due either to tech level or theme, so a Referee will need to provide some guidance on what is available in his games.

I've seen some complaints that this book is mostly "weapon porn", and I can't really dispute that. Just under 2/3 of the book is weapons and armor, though considering that the CSC covers the topic of weaponry and armor in detail from stone age to super-tech, that doesn't seem too unreasonable.

The artwork varies from classic "pencil and paper" outline artwork to a handful of amusing "magazine ad" looking pull-outs. Some of Mongoose's other books suffer from highly variable art quality, and while CSC is a bit schizophrenic in its split between classic style line art and sometimes video game or Anime-stylings (especially in the Battledress part - the Knight Sabers would not look too out of place in those suits [not a bad thing, IMHO]) but overall I found the artwork to be good. My only complaint is that it's not always easy to tell which weapon each piece of art matches up to.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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