Review – Planetary Toolkit 1 – Ubar

This is the first in a new line of Traveller-compatible products from Paul Elliott of Zozer Games. The book is available as a watermarked PDF which can be purchased from Drivethru RPG for $5.00. When Paul Elliott contacted me asking if I wouldn’t mind reviewing this first toolkit, I asked Paul if he’d like to provide a little background about Zozer Games, to introduce the company to the reader. So, I’ll hand over to Paul before moving onto the review…

‘Zozer Games has been my vehicle for producing free downloaded games for the past ten years. Recently, with my release of 43AD a Roman Empire RPG as a PDF, I’ve thought more about putting out some of my ideas for Traveller. More specifically the type of info I always put together for my own campaigns… what I need is locations, a few characters, a vehicle (because vehicles can be made unique to a world and give my players a real feeling for the world), adventure seeds and a few animals. I thought others might like something similar.

The main aim is to provide useful tools rather than just an aide to imagination. And the secondary aim is to really try and conjure up what life is like on that world, because without the flavour, Traveller worlds get a bit airport-generic…’

So with that in mind, lets take a look at Ubar…

Ubar Cover

Ubar is presented as an 18 page PDF, which includes two pages of licensing information at the back of the book and two pages at the front including the cover and introduction/copyright notice. It is released under the open game license and all stats are presented as Mongoose Traveller compatible.

The book is broken down into a quick overview page, colour planetary map (note: not in the typical Traveller planet map format) and seven pages of a detailed description of Ubar and its notable features. A further page details a vehicle feature (with line illustration) and the final three pages detail plots and scenario ideas set on Ubar. The text is presented in a single column-wide format and all but one of the pages are full of text or illustrations. I did not find any typo’s and the style was easy to read and enjoyable. Something that was also useful was that the planetary stats were broken down in a table format so that the UWP is easily matched against the rule book.

The book details an asteroid impact crater that because of an atmospheric ‘anomaly’ allows the population to live within its confines and prosper. The outside of the crater however, life is harsh and brutal for the miners that extract radioactive ores for the Orion Mining Corp. There are a number of interesting and unusual features and situations on Ubar, which are described in sufficient detail to help the referee set up a gaming session.

Overall, I enjoyed reading Ubar; Paul has put a lot of content into the limited number of pages but presented the book in such a way that it feels balanced and not crammed at all. Amongst the environmental descriptions, notable NPC’s and personalities and creature encounters (again in Mongoose format) on the world help to create a ‘whole world’ feel, even though only Ubar’s major feature and surrounding area is focused on. The only notable downside I can think of is that the colour cover isn’t that eye-catching in its attractiveness; however the content inside in the book more than makes up for this minor shortcoming.

A recommended purchase for any Traveller referee and a welcome addition to the Traveller RPG ‘ecosystem’.

I’d also like to gratefully thank Paul for getting in touch with me and giving me the opportunity to review Ubar! I’ll be reviewing ‘Planetary Toolkit 2: Korithea’ shortly!

About AlegisDownport

Musings on the Traveller RPG world, technology, astronomy and digital art.
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