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Solomani Front
by CD F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/24/2022 11:46:20

Solomani Front gives the Solomani Rim and Alpha Crucis the Mongoose 2 refurbished look plus a good deal of Solomani Culture. Deep inside this lore is the mystery of how humaniti was taken from Sol (Earth) and planeted widely across this section of the Milky Way. The mystery isn't explained but the effects of the mystery on the Solomani is explained.

Some of the politics of the Solomani are layed out along with some great Imperium History. I love the ships and there are a few new variations on humaniti like the Selenites (Spacers who do well in low and zero-g) and Aquamorphs (underwater adapted).



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Solomani Front
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Mercenary
by CD F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/05/2022 11:40:12

This gives the basics for running a military campaign where the Travellers are Mercenaries. The idea that there is a "Ticket" which is the contracted mission and some mini-games for different levels of success if you don't play out all the outcomes with the player combat found in the Core Rules book.

The mini-games give Success for a "MISSION AND OPERATION RESOLUTION" using what is called an "ECEI check". There is also a more in-depth mini-game that looks into Infiltration, winning the Hearts and Minds of the local populace and Intelligence. This book is worth it if the Referee and the Players want to make due with anything from flavor and background to a whole wargame.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mercenary
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Alien Module 1: Aslan
by wade g. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/04/2022 19:44:36

I don't own The Pirates of Drinax Book 2, so...my review is about this product. I think it's great. Unlike the boring or poor illustrations which Mongoose uses, all of The Third Imperium products have great art. Inside every product (including other companies) thier ship layouts never show water tanks for drinking, showering, eating. They also never show where weeks of food required for long trips. Where is that stuff stored? Lots of fuel and zero water and no equipment to filter water.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Alien Module 1: Aslan
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El Cheapo Deck Plans Vol. III: Drake Scout Ship Mongoose 2e STATS
by wade g. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/03/2022 22:45:56

Fuel tanks (16 weeks of operation)...but zero storage of consumables and water (for showers, drinking, etc.).



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[4 of 5 Stars!]
El Cheapo Deck Plans Vol. III: Drake Scout Ship Mongoose 2e STATS
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TAS 2D Deck Plan Templates
by wade g. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/03/2022 22:22:52

Deck plans are good but it is somewhat irritating that storage for consumables and water (drinking, showering, etc) are never given space.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
TAS 2D Deck Plan Templates
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100 Rumours to Hear in or About the Great Rift: Corridor and Reft
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/27/2022 10:23:03

This has been a life-saver for my Great Rift campaign, and can do the same for yours.

The rumours have confirmed some of the PCs supicions (not necessarily accurately), and given them some wild gees to chase. Some of these rumours are going to trun into adventures.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
100 Rumours to Hear in or About the Great Rift: Corridor and Reft
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Traveller Core Rulebook Update 2022
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/25/2022 11:51:09

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2022/05/review-mongoose-traveller-2nd-edition.html

We are coming to the end of my journey with the Traveller rule system. Not 100% at the end, but getting there. Today I want to talk about the newest, 2nd Edition of Mongoose Traveller. This edition is an update to the Mongoose Traveller from 2008. Again it coexists with the T5 Traveller from Far Future Enterprises I reviewed yesterday. The only thing I can liken it to is the coexistence of D&D 4e and Pathfinder 1st Edition. Though which one is which is a matter of opinion. Traveller 2nd Edition was first released in 2016. A revised update was released in 2021 and called the "2022 Edition." Both are the same rules though the 2022 update has a few improvements in layout and editing. For this review I am just going to consider the 2022 version and notes from the 2016 version.

Traveller Core Rulebook Update 2022

PDF. 266 pages. Full-color covers and interior art. Bookmarked and hyperlinks table of contents.

Traveller is experiencing a renaissance of sorts. We live in time where old-school games are really popular, sci-fi is having a new golden age (have you seen all the Star Treks we now have?) and Traveller is riding that wave. The new Traveller is best seller on DriveThru with the 2016 version a Mithral bestseller and the 2022 version a Platinum bestseller as of this writing. I also know my FLGS sells the books hand over fist. One of the reasons I wanted to do my deep dive into Traveller now was because of all of this.

So how is the 2022 Edition?

In a word it is gorgeous.

Mongoose, back in the early d20 boom, earned a bit of a reputation of a "spaghetti publisher" as in "throw a plate of spaghetti against the wall and see what sticks." As time went on their reputation improved. These days they get a lot of credit for not just having solid books, but also serving the d20 bust. Though some less than perfect editing sneaks in. The 2016 edition seemed to have this problem; at least that is what I have read online. Both books had high-quality color art, there are some pieces in the 2016 edition I actually like a little better, but in general, I am pretty happy with what I see. Happy enough to wish I had grabbed the physical books when I was last at my FLGS.

What about the rules?

The book is similar in many ways to Mongoose 1st Edition, but enough differences in layout and organization. For the first time, the designer did NOT try to invoke the feeling of old Classic Traveller. This is a GOOD thing. To attract new players they needed to make this a new game.

Introduction

This covers the various reasons why you might want to play Traveller and the different ways to play. I was hoping that among the examples of Star Trek and Starship Trooper they would include the most British of all Traveller shows, "Blake's 7." Which always was my goto example.

There are some suggested books to read such as Traveller Companion, High Guard, The Third Imperium, and more. I don't have those so I can't comment on them here. What it does tell me that this version of Traveller is set in the Third Imperium. So that is something to look forward too.

We get some game and dice conventions and descriptions of the Tech Levels.

Traveller Creation

Character creation is next as expected. This follows much along the lines of all Traveller versions. You roll your six abilities/characteristics. We are back to our standard six from Classic Traveller with the same point spread and averages. The CCP is still here too.

You pick your background skills and then move to the next phase. There are good flow charts for character creation and the character sheet is annotated. You go into your pre-career (aka school) and then move to your career.

Like the first edition, careers are laid out with face pages so everything you need for a career is at a glance.

This is quite helpful really. The careers supported in this core rules are Agent, Army, Citizen, Drifter, Entertainer, Marine, Merchant, Navy, Noble, Rouge, Scholar, and Scout. There is an extra "career" that of Prisoner. Possibly to do that epic Stainless Steel Rat or Farscape adventure.

Various benefits and of course mishaps occur, leaving you with extra cash, some property or medical debt.

There are some Skill Packages now. There is a push here to get all the players and characters working to gether to make sure there is cohesion.

We then get some examples of Alien species. The Aslan and the Vargr.

Skills and Tasks

This chapter is combined as it really should be. The system is basic which is what you want. The character rolls a 2d6 and need to get greater than an 8 to succeed. There are various Die Modifiers added and the Target number (the "8") can be be altered depending on the task difficulty. There are example throughout which works well. An "Impossible Task" for example would require 16 or more rolled on the check. There are also levels of success and failure. So if the roll is missed by -6 that is an "Exceptional Failure." A roll of 6+ over the target number is an "Exceptional Success."

The amount of time spent on a skill check can alter the results and there are opposed checks as well.

The rest of the chapter covers all the skills, their specialities and descriptions.

Combat

Combat is a always separate and it is a special case of a skill check. What I do like about this system is that combat can rely on STR or DEX as appropriate and is not hard-coded like say D&D. For example Initiative can be modified by DEX or INT.

The combat phase is broken down into Significant, Minor, and Free actions. You can do one Significant and one minor action per round or three minor actions. You can perform anynumber of Reactions or Free Actions as permitted. What can be done in these actions is detailed. Attacking an opponent is Significant action, as is giving orders (Leadership). Minor actions are things like aiming, reloading, changing stance.

Damage is discussed and it is very deadly.

Encounters and Dangers

This combined the old Encounters and Animal Encounters chapters of Classic-era Travellers. There are all sorts of environmental dangers, diseases, high and low gravity situations, radiation, falling and so much more. Hmmm. Maybe best just to stay on your homeworld. To quote Leonard McCoy from the 2009 Star Trek movie "Space is disease and danger wrapped in darkness and silence."

Animals are discussed and even a few examples are given.

NPCs are also presented with the ubiquitous d66 tables of quirks, motivations and more that Traveller fans love.

Equipment

Covers the economy briefly and plenty of things to spend your precious few credits on. The list here is not highly different. What is different here is the new level of art added to the lists. Descriptions of arms and armor are paired with great color art of these items. More than that there are tech items, medical equipment, computers, and survival gear. Various toolkits are also described such as Planetary Sciences and Psionicology Toolkits.

And of course guns.

Each bit of equipment comes with a TL rating.

Vehicles

Cover most moveable craft that are not Starships. Each one gets a TL rating, an associated skill needed to operate, speed factors, crew/pilot and of course cost. Nothing is free in the Imperium.

Spacecraft Operations

A mostly alphabetical listing of everything (mostly everything) that can go on in a ship.

Space Combat

Similar to other versions and the combat chapter above. This details how ships can fight including movement, targeting, and firing phases. Along with damage and reactions. The chapter is not large but remarkably detailed.

Spacecraft Construction

I think I would have put this chapter before combat. Mayb put combat after Common Spacecraft.

Distinctions are made between interplanetary and interstellar spacecraft. Like character creation, there is a helpful flowchart.

Common Spacecraft

I rather love this chapter. This lists all sorts of spaceships with their details and a full color picture and some deck plans. This is also laid out so many of the ships have all their details on the facing pages.

Many of these ships are found in previous versions of Traveller too. So it adds a nice bit of continuity to it all.

Psionics

Stuck near the end is psionics again. There are talents and powers and the Psion Career. I have always liked the Psionic powers section in Traveller, but this one really makes me want to play one. The Careers are all numbered 1 through 12 with the "Prisoner" at 13 (Navy for example is 8). The Psion career is appropriately numbered "X."

Trade

Covers basic trade between the worlds/systems/colonies. There is a huge d66 list of Trade Goods to be used by Referees.

World and Universe Creation

This chapter feels more like Classic Traveller than the others. Sadly no equations to apease the math geek in me but a lot of information all the same. The section is not huge and I a sure there are additional books for more worlds out there. But there is enough here to get you started.

Index

The index is comprehensive and hyperlinked.

Unlike previous versions of Traveller there is no included adventure here.

--

Ok. What can we say here at the end? Or in other words who should buy this Traveller and what does it have over other Editions/Versions?

Who Should Buy This?

Much like D&D is synomous with Fantasy Roleplaying, Traveller is synomous with SciFi Roleplaying. IF you want to try science fiction out then for me the obvious first step is to see what Traveller is doing.

Traveller 2nd Ed 2016 vs. 2022

Both corebooks are still on the DriveThruRPG market now. They are the same system. I have both and while the rules are largely the same the organization of the 2022 version is much better.

Classic Traveller vs. Mongoose Traveller 2nd Edition

Ah. The old-school vs. new-school debate. We live in a time where not only you can get new Traveller in print you can get old Traveller in print as well. Which one should you play? I think the choice comes down to experiences. Both games really let you play the same game. Both games are fun. Both games take on some basic assumptions but largely leave the rest of the universe to your imaginations.

IF you started with any version of Traveller and enjoy that, then stick with that, but certainly check this one out. IF you have never played any version of Traveller before then the Mongoose 2nd Edition, 2022 version is the one to get. You can buy it at DriveThruRPG or your FLGS.

Mongoose Traveller vs. FFE Traveller

We owe a lot to Far Future Enterprises for getting all the Traveller books from 1977 up to today scanned and added as a PDF to both their website and to DriveThruRPG. That is a huge debt we owe them. However, I can't exactly recommend Traveller 5 over Mongoose's version. There might be content in the FFE Traveller 5 that I could port over. But I think to show my appreciation for what they have done, I'll keep buying the older Traveller materials.

In the end, for me, Mongoose Traveller 2nd Edition is, right now, the best Traveller I can buy.

I'll make an effort to grab a print version the next time I am at my FLGS. Right now there is no Print on Demand version for the 2022 edition.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Traveller Core Rulebook Update 2022
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Traveller Main Rulebook
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/23/2022 12:19:20

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2022/05/review-traveller-main-rulebook-2008.html

We are getting to the end of our journey into the various editions and versions of Traveller. Today I am bringing us to the modern era and will spend some time with the various Open Gaming editions of Traveller. That's right. Traveller has hit the retro-clone stage of development. 2008 was not all that long ago. This blog was up and running at this point and I was beginning work on a lot of the projects you know me well for. So consequently I was not really paying all that much attention to what was going on in the world of Traveller.

While I mentioned that we are hitting the "retro-clone" phase of Traveller's development, it was not (as far as I can tell) Mongoose that released the Traveller SRD. That was the work of Jason Kemp. But I will get to all of that in a bit when I review the Cepheus Engine.

Traveller Main Rulebook (2008)

PDF. 192 pages (plus covers). Black & White art with a red accent.

Traveller has had a long history. This new version from Mongoose celebrates that history by essentially going back to the beginning with the look and feel of Classic Traveller.

How much does this feel like Classic Traveller? So much so that I am kinda struggling with what to say other than "wow this is like Classic Traveller!" Not in a "they copied The Traveller Book" way but more in a "These are people that began playing this game 30 years ago and now want to introduce new gamers to that game" way.

Everything about this book is a serious nostalgia trip. And given that I have been spending all this time with all versions of Traveller, a serious case of déjà vu.

Introduction

Our introduction to the Traveller game. There are some minor references to "The Third Imperium" but much like the LBBs this game is largely setting-free. Some examples of play are given and the various Technology Levels (TL 0 to 15) are given.

Character Creation

This is very, very similar to the Classic Traveller Character Creation even down to our good friend Alexander Jamison returning.

Side note: I have decided that once a character musters out of one of the services (Army, Marines, Merchant Marines, Navy) they are gifted a sword. Seems like something that should happen and explain why Jamison here has a cutlass in a universe full of lasers.

The big changes here (and see throughout this book) are better layout for looking at options and checklists and guides. This version does an amazing job of getting a new player up and going fast.

You can't die in character creation, but there is still a lot going on. Also there is a point-buy feature for assigning your points to your six abilities. We are again back at an average of 7 for abilities and the UPP is back.

There are still a lot of careers to choose from, more than in The Traveller Book. Life events follow. Someone close to your character can die, but not your character. Though you can muster out and be in medical debt.

There is a section on aliens. Here we get the Aslan, Droyne, Hivers, K'kree, Vargr, and the Zhodani. Given the way the rules of this version are written, I can't see why the older Alien Modules couldn't still be used here.

Skills and Tasks

Skills are very familiar but seemed to be pared down a little. Die Modifiers (DM) are discussed as well as how to do a task check right away. Each skill is detailed along with any specialties under that skill.

Combat

This chapter gets an upgrade in my mind and shows the familiarity Mongoose has had with d20 and other modern systems. Actions are divided into Minor and Significant Actions along with Reactions and any number of Free actions. These are made very clear. Combat actions (a significant action) is detailed on what needs to be rolled. All of this was in previous versions, but now they are more upfront and bolded.

Encounters and Dangers

This is the analog to the older Encounters and Animals sections. Plenty of charts and boxed text to help a referee out when building encounters. Encounters are more than just strange new animals on weird worlds. There are rivals, other humans, and corporate actions just to give some examples. Quite a lot really. True to Traveller there are plenty of d66 tables for all these encounters.

Equipment

Your characters' shopping lists. It looks like this is very similar to other equipment lists of other editions. I will note (because this is me) that computers finally feel right. They, and a lot of the other equipment here feel like futuristic equipment. Computers are tiny and powerful. There are "smart guns" that help you hit your target, holographic displays, and robots and drones in their own sub-section.

Each bit of equipment comes with a TL rating.

Spacecraft Design

Distinctions are made between interplanetary and interstellar spacecraft. Like character creation, there is a helpful checklist.

Common Spacecraft. This is less of a chapter section and more of a sub-section of Design. This list of common ships with their details, some maps, and a picture.

Spacecraft Operations

An alphabetical listing of everything (mostly everything) that can go on in a ship.

Space Combat

Similar to other versions and the combat chapter above. This details how ships can fight including movement, targeting, and firing phases. Along with damage and reactions. The chapter is not large but remarkably detailed.

Psionics

Ah. Psionics. Stuck out into the back half of the book again. Psions are given a "career" write-up as the other character types.

Trade

Covers basic trade between the worlds/systems/colonies.

World Creation

This chapter feels more like Classic Traveller than the others. Sadly no equations to apease the math geek in me but a lot of information all the same.

Index

A pretty good index (not hyperlinked), a character sheet and a hex grid.

--

So this might be the best version of Classic Traveller to date. Same rules more or less (I admit I could not spot any major differences), the feel of Classic Traveller and in a cleaned up and reorganized fashion. I know there is a 2nd Edition coming up (I have already started on that) but there is a simple elegance to this edition.

There is also a Book 0 to get you started. It is a cut down version of the Core Rules at 32 pages and is Free. I have both in the same three ring binder I have The Traveller Book in.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Traveller Main Rulebook
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Marches Adventure 1: High and Dry
by wade g. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/19/2022 23:14:56

The description "Free Scout Ship" provides a drawing. NO FLOORPLAN. NO STATS. Once you've bought this adventure, you find out that there isn't actually a ship, but if the pc's finish the adventure, then Scout Service might grant the use of a ship but without stats or plans. Also, zero effort made toward drawings throughout. Draw a square, fill with brown, call it a building. Other than that, the adventure is good.



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[2 of 5 Stars!]
Marches Adventure 1: High and Dry
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2300AD
by Brian S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/09/2022 21:46:21

Just a quick review. I found the necessity of flicking back to the core book for character generation a complete pain in the rear end. Just include the character generation within the same book.



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[3 of 5 Stars!]
2300AD
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OGL Horror
by Greg S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/04/2022 14:53:55

I don't think D20 is the best rules set more modern horror, but as it's been said elswhere, this book is a treasure trove of good advice on how to run a great horror game.



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[4 of 5 Stars!]
OGL Horror
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Crash Priority
by Eleanor [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/01/2022 14:29:28

Paranoia is one of my favorite systems, and this supplement is perfect!



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Crash Priority
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Slayer's Guide to Derro
by James B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/27/2022 02:14:43

A third-party sourcebook on derro for D&D 3rd Edition. This includes details on biology and culture, combat tactics, roleplaying tips, customization options (including feats for improving derro senses, unique equipment, prestige classes, and custom spells), adventure hooks, and a location for a derro-based adventure. The customization options are OK at best, with a few (such as the bonding whip and the custom spells) being particular disappointments.

The presentation of the derro in this book spins out of the description in the D&D 3E core rules... but rather than the more common emphasis on derro madness, they give them a culture focused on personal glory and power over others. The result feels like a hybrid of duergar and drow, but is somewhat less compelling than either. This makes the book hard to recommend for DMs planning to use the derro, unless they're very specifically looking for a non-standard take - the opposite problem from other books in the Slayer's Guide series, which tend to be too conservative. (Originally posted on Goodreads)



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[3 of 5 Stars!]
Slayer's Guide to Derro
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Slayer's Guide to Trolls
by James B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/21/2022 01:23:46

A third-party sourcebook on trolls for D&D 3rd Edition. This includes details on biology and culture, combat tactics, roleplaying tips, troll variants, rules for troll characters (including unique feats and spells), adventure hooks, and a sample troll settlement. The book is well-written overall, and does have some neat ideas here and there, such as creative uses for troll regenerative abilities. However, much of the book doesn't stretch far beyond the core troll, and this is especially noticeable in the tactics and roleplaying sections. The section on variants was also disappointing, as the variations were pretty limited. (Originally posted on Goodreads)



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[4 of 5 Stars!]
Slayer's Guide to Trolls
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A Warrior's Soul
by Jason P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/20/2022 17:46:34

A short story about Aslan Ihateai (second sons who will not inherit) and outcasts basically waiting around in a camp on Kteiroa for a warlord to rise up and give them somewhere to go. In the meantime they drink, trade stories, and squabble amongst themselves.

Tikhnal is the protoganist. He fights a duel with Brukhah, a braggart and bully who has already killed other Ihateai in duels in order to take their assets and wives. About half of the story is the aftermath of the duel and what it means for Tikhnal.

The story gives a nice little portrait of Ihateai camps and the sort of things that might go on in them. It is fairly well-written, but there isn't much length to develop its characters or situation very fully. It is also something of a "gimmick" story, in that once Tikhnal's secret is revealed there is not much more to the story.

The download comes in .pdf, .mobi, and .epub formats. It's 36 pages in .pdf, about 8,200 words.



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[3 of 5 Stars!]
A Warrior's Soul
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