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Outer Veil
 
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Outer Veil
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Outer Veil
Publisher: Spica Publishing
by Michael D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/15/2015 14:22:14

How do we go from moon landings and space probes to a Galaxy spanning Empire in only a few thousand years? How did this all start?

Outer Veil is a great prequel to the Traveller universe. It is the beginning of man's "conquest of the stars." There are colonies in space, there are space stations and there are Jump/Warp speed craft.

So many have detailed the setting, so instead of adding to that... here's my take.

Outer Veil seems to offer a logical step to early human colonization of space... the first 100 years or so. With the advent of Jump technology, humanity can now reach the nearest star systems in less than 100 years or more... and of course, with the ability to travel, comes the first desire to PROFIT... and it seems only natural that the corporations would be the first to exploit the technology to get their hands on the materials available from far away colonies. Which leads to competition... which leads to fights.

Bad news is... the investment is hard to make pay off... so eventually, economic upheaval ensues, then civil war.

This is just a taste of the world of 2159... well thought out... and unlike others who have made games similar to this, this one is done without the need to make up a political screed at the same time.

The background is presented without editorializing... it is written as if observed dispassionately, IE "Here's how everything went down..."

And it is all plausible...

This is Traveller... without the Empire... without Jump 6... and without aliens (kind of a shame, given the intense development of the alien cultures of the Traveller universe... but I digress...) There are alien ruins, abandoned colonies and a plethora of good Science Fiction tropes waiting to be explored.

If you liked Firefly/Serenity... this one is for you... here's the future... not everyone living in gleaming cities, but a future where you have the gleaming cities, and the frontier of old. Access to the technology does not mean everyone uses it. Farms on frontier worlds may be plowed with tractors... but they will not necessarily have the latest and greatest tech.

So, here come your characters... what do you want to do? Want to smuggle high tech cargos? Want to explore strange new worlds, and spelunk alien ruins? Want to be a Seccessionist? It's all here. And it is compatible with the Traveller universe.

Want to take your Merchant Prince character from Traveller and transplant him? Easy. A few tweaks and BOOM welcome to 2159.

There are some changes, and they are well summed up in the Outer Veil main book. Look no further than this main book to get started... everything is here.

Better... The authors have PROVIDED (thru drivethrurpg) a 10 part introduction scenario.

This is good, crunchy material. If Traveller isn't your game... no worries.... this material can very easily be converted to any system, thanks to the authors' attention to detail...

The Megacorporations, the "Federation," and the universe are detailed in such a way as to be easily transferable.

You KNOW you want it.

This is an OUTSTANDING product... easily worth the $14.99 cost.

Are you ready to "boldly go..."



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Outer Veil
Publisher: Spica Publishing
by Thomas Z. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/24/2012 07:15:30

Introduction

OUTER VEIL is a new setting book for the Traveller rpg published by Mongoose. Traveller has a pedigree going back to the very root of roleplaying (1977) and has a well developed setting that has emerged, somewhat organically, over the intervening decades. This setting, which is usually referred to as the Original Traveller Universe (OTU) is set very far in the future and has a very decentralised feel with a light feudal oligarchy ruling over it. It also has some anachronistic touches, and despite being millennia in the future it often feels oddly like 1972!

Spica Publishing, founded in July 2006, have published a wide range of support material for the current Mongoose edition of Traveller, and yet in the past they did have plans to publish an entire sector in the OTU. This seems to have been somewhat derailed by the new licence, although not by any active intervention by Mongoose or Mark Miller, and it seems that they have turned their hand to a new and independent setting.

Overview

OUTER VEIL is a near future setting, the game date is 2159, and yet mankind has explored a full sector, divided into the dense Core, the growing Frontier and the thinly settled Outer Veil. The pace of technological progress has been consistent and IMHO more acceptable for a SF genre project. From 2033 to 2159 Earth has moved from TL8 to just TL11, with Jump-1 ships developed in 2068, and Jump-2 in 2150. The history of the setting is well developed and addresses a lot of the usual issues about Traveller, e.g. Why doesn’t knowledge spread evenly and how can barbarism exist a week away from abundance and ultra technology? In OUTER VEIL the whole of space is nominally TL10-11, and if you have the money you can buy equipment at that level. ICT is cheap, pervasive and wireless, and as the text says “storage is effectively limitless with 22nd century technology”. That’s not to say that backward colonies don’t exist, indeed on the Veil some goods are imported in a lower tech form just so they’re easier to maintain. Gravitics is a new technology and although it has replaced aircraft, ground vehicles are still wheeled, tracked or waterborne.

The history and the setup of OUTER VEIL has been done extremely well, so as to be believable, consistent with the core Traveller rulebook, and yet also to deliver a style and feel that is far more Firefly or Aliens than some SF games you may have played. Essentially space was colonised by Megacorps that seized political control through the Inter Stellar Trade Organisation (ISTO) after various corporate wars. Eventually the nation states rebelled and after a civil war established the Federated Nations of Humanity in 2131. The government structure of Humanity is rather similar to the present European Union, a ruling Executive of three members, an elected Assembly, and Commissions of civil servants that manage the broad decisions of the other two institutions. The wider structure of Member Nations and Colonies mirrors the colonisation of North America by the U.S.A., with Colonies similar in form and type to the Territories, and the Member Nations like full states. The Megacorps still run 60% of the economy, the FNH actively runs 25% with the balance in the hands of Independents. There is a wider variety of ‘actual’ governments the further away from the Core that one goes, and there are good rules on setting up new Colonies: indepedent, corporate charter world and government colonial projects. The political system is dominated by three broad coalitions: Stability (conservative), Progress (expansionist) and Unity (lefties), all of which can provide excellent flavour and motivation. In addition there are Secessionists, militant and peaceful; pirates, privateers and raiders, unsanctioned colonies and a whole grey zone in which dissidents and outcasts can dwell.

Military concerns are not pressing for the FNH at the moment, they keep a Core Navy, a Marines Corp (FNHMC) and planetary armies. Few warships above 1000 tonnes are seen in the Frontier and the Outer Veil, most smaller than that. Mercenary units exist and are licensed, and in the Frontier and Outer Veil illegal corporate wars still erupt. Meson guns haven’t been invented, combat armour isn’t known, and this and the small size of ships means that a referee need not use High Guard or Mercenary, although they could.. This is not a setting for huge naval battles or a Honor Harrington “ship of the line” style campaign. It is well suited to brush wars, black ops by corporate teams and possible bug hunts. I say possible, but not yet.

The economy is well explained in the setting, the role of the Megacorps allows for Outlander or Blade Runner games, but as the scale diminishes in the Frontier and the Outer Veil, then the Free and Subsidised Traders start to play a key role, allowing a Firefly or classic small scale mercantile/troubleshooter game. As mentioned above, the possibility to start colonies is covered, and colonial games have great potential for economic gaming. The nature of travel and the distances to HQ mean that even the largest Megacorps can get very entrepreneurial on the borders.

The culture is Neo-Modernist, most religions we know now are extant, although they have to have adopted an explanation for multiple worlds, and the evidence of alien intelligence, not to mention psionics. From the dense activity of the Core to the abandoned ‘land grab colonies’ composed of a single ethnicity or culture, most SF cultural diversity can be extrapolated and encompassed.

Did I mention aliens and psionics? Well there are no aliens, but there were. Ruins exist of the Monument Builders and the Ascraeus Civilisation, but these are ancients and no current non human sophonts have been encountered. The Ascraeuns were a TL13 humanoid species and through their artefacts humans discovered psionics, although it requires a psionic amplifying device to be effective.

Contents

OUTER VEIL is well written, it uses concise but rich text to build a good overview of what is a huge setting, and it does so in 8 key chapters:

The Outer Veil, which is a summary of the overall setting,

Outer Veil Characters, which provides eight careers suited to the setting:

Citizen,

Colonist,

Elite,

FNH Marine Corps,

FNH Navy,

Justice Commission,,

Planetary Army,

Scout,

Starships of the Outer Veil:

14 ships that cover the full range of Traveller core ship types with deckplans,

Belting, as it says, mining rocks

Astrography:

The full sector, mapped and detailed at the level of about a page per sub sector, so similar to Mongoose sector write ups,

Referee’s Information:

Outer Veil Patrons: four of them,

Brotherhood and Justics:

An introductory adventure.

Conclusions

OUTER VEIL is a very good product. It is well written, the setting is meshed into and out of the core Traveller rulebook, and by being written from the ground up it is consistent, believable and allows for many excellent gaming opportunities. It will suit players who want an SF game that might happen in fifty years, where society has changed but the culture is recognisable and the tech is still within human comprehension. It allows for dystopian, corporate, colonisation, first contact (hey add your own aliens), and frontier games. There is no meta plot, no 300,000 year history, it’s new and it’s all up for grabs.

On the other hand, it’s Traveller. It carefully doesn’t break anything. You can grab a ship from a Mongoose book and as long as it’s TL11 or lower and doesn’t have a meson gun, it’s fine. You can use High Guard or Mercenary or Agent or Robots or Cybernetics. Nothing you have in your Traveller collection is redundant, well maybe that TL16 Twilight Sector book, but that’s the opposite end of the spectrum.

The book is simply laid out, readable, and illustrated with neat CGI images that fit the feel of the setting whilst not setting any hearts a flutter.

Should you buy it? Yes: if it sets your teeth on edge explaining away OTU’s tech levels and historical absurdity, or you don’t want aliens, or you want a new brave frontier. No: if your lOVe the OTU and are happy and love the depth and scale of all the existing material. Maybe: if you fancy a read, might port some of the ships and careers to your game or back to OTU, and since it doesn’t really break Traveller, just like the idea of diversity.

Am I pleased I have it? Hell Yes!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Outer Veil
Publisher: Spica Publishing
by Gerald M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/06/2011 21:04:23

Outer Veil is an amazing campaign setting. The detail is amazing and the near earth future setting has a much stronger feel of realism than the official Traveller Universe. I like the no aliens but ruins, The mega corporations, the extra world detail. This is the campaign I have thought about creating but never had the time and tripped on the details. The referee and players have so much room for adventure, from FNH Agents to Frontier merchants, New World Colonists, Scouts, Pirates Mercenaries ad infinitum. The Outer Veil fires my imagination and I am looking forward to firing up a campaign. Amazing job Spica Publishing you are a blessing to the mongoose Traveller Rule system.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Outer Veil
Publisher: Spica Publishing
by John S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/18/2011 17:56:13

Looking for a home for your Ripleys and Deckards? You're in luck because the Outer Veil has plenty of space available. Set in the mid 22nd century at the beginning of the interstellar age the Outer Veil literally offers a sector wide gaming challenge. Corporate intrigue, exploration as well as life on a new world are only some of the adventures possible with this setting. Humanity may dominate the stars but we are not the first out there. Ancient ruins of two interstellar races abound leaving the question are there more? Setting specific rules, careers, spacecraft and equipment provide the finishing touches to the strong background. Bottom line if you are looking for a new Traveller setting with a what's out there feel the Outer Veil provides it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Outer Veil
Publisher: Spica Publishing
by ralph s. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/17/2011 02:40:00

The Outer Veil is an odd on by Spica Games to Mongoose' latest Traveller Rules. It covers this universe one hundred and fifty years from now, as humanity drives out into the explored or unexplored section of space called 'The Outer veil'. As well as history and a complete sector based around Sol, it has new ships and weapons as well as an adventure and setting specific careers. The TL is 11, which means that Jump-2 is only just becoming available. This whole product is extremely well thought out, and a joy to read. They seem to have sorted out a few missing items very quickly and are very responsive to constructive comment. I hope they concentrate from now on, on producing scenarios and addons for this system rather than the regular Traveller universe. as this is a trully excellent idea and product. Even the ship deck plans are a cut above the normal. I can't recommend this product enough to anybody who wants to play either Traveller or just a sci-fi RPG. Its great.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Outer Veil
Publisher: Spica Publishing
by Daniel H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/02/2011 18:01:21

A Short Review:

"Outer Veil" is the lower-tech, smaller Traveller setting I've been looking for!

The book is chock full of a frankly stupefying amount of data, from 20 new ships, 8 new character careers, some new setting appropriate weapons, long writeups on the history of the sector and who the "movers and shakers" are, some asteroid mining rules, patrons, an adventure, and UWPs of over 600 worlds! And thanks to some extra data Spica put in their UWP tables, you know more about those worlds than you typically would in a Traveller sector book.

Also: no aliens are alive in the setting. There are ruins of two variety of "ancient aliens", one an ultra-mysterious race that only left stone monuments and nothing else, and the other a high tech race that appears to have disappeared from the sector only a few millennia ago. If you want to imagine them as "Grays" or "Chariot of the Gods" types, that might be appropriate. Their artifacts are mostly corroded and worn down junk. Mostly. Both aliens have sites dotting the sector.

Artwork is competently executed but minimal, and is either "Poser" type scenes or line drawings. The artwork seems to be properly employed to help fill blank space on pages rather than to inflate page count. Thumbs up.

Things I Loved:

So, so many worlds! I've estimated that there are over 600 of them, with 2/3 being at best "frontier" and at worst "an unexplored blip on a star map". The distribution of technology on the worlds seems much less haphazard than usual for Traveller, which is a nice touch.

SPICA has added some new statistics to the classic UWP line, most notably the Stellar Classification of a world's star(s) and more interestingly, a "Life" stat that tells not only how advanced the local life is, but how compatible with Earth biology it is. This is a fantastic idea, and really helps breathe life (no pun intended) into UWP stats.

The setting appropriate ships, weapons and careers give a lot of character to "Outer Veil", and I like the "book 2" approach of having most ships well under 2,000 tons. That 800 ton frigate just became the most powerful ship within a half-dozen parsecs.

Things I Didn't Love:

The subsector maps are rough; maybe they're bitmaps instead of vector graphics. There isn't a full sector "zoomed out" view. SPICA has said they are planning such a thing though.

In Summary:

You really will not find a more detail dense setting book for this price. Possibly for any price.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Outer Veil
Publisher: Spica Publishing
by Rudolf S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/31/2011 05:13:26

Outer Veil is a most welcome alternative to Traveller's standard setting, especially because it is much "closer to home", with a shorter history and a smaller explored space with lots of unexplored frontier. The 156 pages contain everything a referee needs, the detailed background information (history, politics, society, megacorpo-rations, etc.) as well as new character careers, starships with deck plans and star charts - and even rules for asteroid belting. This very well done material alone would be a good reason to buy Outer Veil, even if one does not intend to play the setting. I did not yet take a closer look at the introductory adventure, but what I have seen so far looks very interesting. All in all, another most useful Traveller supplement from SPICA with well deserved 5 stars. Highly recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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