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Bastards of Foreven Book 0: Stories from the Frontier

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Bastards of Foreven Book 0: Stories from the Frontier
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Bastards of Foreven Book 0: Stories from the Frontier
Publisher: DSL Ironworks
by Mysterious B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/17/2013 18:49:21

When is an Alternative Traveller Universe not an ATU but Alternative to the Official/Original Traveller Universe? When it is using the OGL Foreven Sector, despite, quite a large number of typos - this is an excellent introduction to DSL Ironworks version of Foreven. Most seasoned, including, myself has taken a stab at writing their own version of Foreven, what makes this one particularly noteworthy is that it is attempting to unify previous fragments with brand new game concepts and create a sector of swashbuckling adventure. However, this is only Book 0 - thus, really a precursor of the goodness to come.

I was thoroughly enchanted by this short introduction and the careful logic that went into the re-imagining of Foreven. It is as good or better than what I created doing the same thing but in very much amateur production. Exceptional graphics and well thought interconnected histories gives a whole new set of lenses to view Traveller history (long biased from the vantage point of the Imperials). Here we have a Sector that has been Zhodani, Darrian and even Swordies have nestled claims. What's more, it was the forgotten front in the Frontier Wars between the Imperium and the Zhodani Consulate - but truly as a frontier - much as Africa was in the First and Second World War - which did not prevent or halt conflict - just gave it a very different hue than the conflict in Europe.

DSL Ironworks has created a great product, with a real retro-Traveller taking one back to the heady days of either the last days of CT or beginnings of MT. When there was an Imperial Campaign that was moving...Mongoose has managed to capture some of this energy but I fear not nearly enough - let great companies like DSL blaze a new frontier. I hope that these "books" get a proper editor and get compiled into a deadtree version. Keep up the excellent work!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bastards of Foreven Book 0: Stories from the Frontier
Publisher: DSL Ironworks
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/27/2013 12:35:00

Going by this introductory material, Foreven Sector is going to be a place I shall enjoy visiting!

The product begins with an introduction in which author Donavan Lambertus starts by explaining in some detail how the name 'Bastards' of Foreven came about - ship nose art developing into some pirates which led to a mixed group of mercenaries... If you delight in peeps under the hood, seeing how game developers' minds work, there is a fair bit to fascinate you here. The really fascinating bit is how every effort has been made to make Foreven Sector as compatible as possible with the Official Traveller Universe (OTU), particularly places like the Spinward Marches which it abuts on to, but also in terms of the history and culture of the region... and yet making it its own self: you won't be confused for one moment as to where you are!

That done, we have a section on Standards and Assumptions, laying out the basics under which the setting has been developed. Mongoose core rules, of course, but also details of how Jump operates, stealth in space, the use of fighters and battleriders in space combat and so on. It's always good to be sure of your basic assumptions, but rare to have them laid out so explicitly: both a useful and a refreshing approach.

Next some flavour text introduces a section in which we learn the history of Foreven Sector going right back to speculation about the Ancients and then pre-Imperium exploration by Zhodani and Darrians, and early incursions by both the young Imperium and the Zhodani with the inevitable butting of heads upon occasion. Whilst at the moment there is peace between them, it is somewhat tenuous and it is highly possible that this is where the situation will boil over to open warfare should it come to that.

This is followed by a look at the major polities here, interspersed with more flavour text, all of which makes fascinating reading. Despire continued incursions by Imperial and Zhodani forces, most of Foreven is occupied by smaller but rising powers, and this is where we find out about them. Some are but single worlds with ambition, others have taken at least the first steps towards realising that ambition. We also learn of other pivotal groups - megacorporations, criminal gangs including pirate bands, and groups of mercenaries.

Now we get down to serious appetitie-whetting with a sample world: Akadi. It's a largish water world which orbits a red dwarf (binary system actually, paired with a white dwarf) with a thin atmosphere and a distressing attaction for comets and asteroids: their impacts not only do damage but tend to generate tsunamis as well. Complete with maps and pages of detail, this world is all ready for an extended stay or to play a major part in your adventures in some other way. Biosphere, settlements, government, culture, products, system data, a timeline and more are provided to put everything you need to know at your fingertips.

There is also a sample vehicle, a TL10 Veridion Class ATV. This is a popular planetary surface workhorse for transportation and exploration, or of course as a combat vehicle. Notes, statistics and extensive drawings of all three versions are provided. This is followed by a 'TAS Documentary' extended piece of flavour text, a sample starship (again with considerable detail) and a sample adventure. This, Last Flight of the Junyo, is designed not only to be an enjoyable adventure but also to serve as an introduction to the Foreven Sector as a whole. Here in space is the abandoned lifeless hulk of an Iridonnian diplomatic ship, the characters' task is to investigate and find out what happened to it. (Iridonia is one of those small but burgeoning polities mentioned earlier.)

Finally, there's an entire sample subsector, complete with 2- or 3-line entries about each system.

If this doesn't make you want to explore... well, you're not cut out for space exploration! A fine beginning and I am already looking forwards to the next book.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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