Happy New Year Everyone! First off, thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read my blog and take a look at my articles and reviews. I hope you have found them useful and may all your travels be with no ship malfunctions and a full fuel tank!
The past few months have been a bit crazy for me at work and home, not much time to do reviews but I have been keeping an eye on things on the Traveller RPG world and have a round-up of the latest books and supplements that you may find useful.
Gypsy Knights Games continue their development of the Clement Sector background, including a number of updates to their older books to correct some of the writing, so there is a level of consistency across their publications.
A new line of supplements that GKG have introduced are called ‘Ships of the Clement Sector’ detailing spacecraft that are typically seen in their Traveller RPG-compatible setting. I’ll be taking a look at the first two books in a back-back to back review here. Starting with book 1: Kivitat Class Patrol Corvette, the book is 18 pages long, for the very reasonable price of $4.99 as a PDF from Drivethru RPG. Its contents are made up of a very fine colour cover by Ian Stead, page of introductions and copyright notices followed by four pages of a ‘situation commentary’ of a firefight between a pirate and a corvette.
The next six pages cover ship statistics with plenty of views in colour and monochrome of the corvette itself and of course the obligatory deck plans which can be printed. The ship design itself is a nice clean dumb bell shape, with command and control located in the centre of the ship on the top deck. Sensor control is at the front and a ships boat is stored at the back. There are a total of four decks which are described with a full key in the deck plans, plus the following five pages which cover the decks in more detail, operational duties and commissioning history.
The ship design is not unlike something the late, great artist Peter Elson would come up with in an original painting. There is sufficient description in the book so as not to be heavy going, but just enough to tell you about the craft. The book is interspersed with colour and mono art by Ian Stead, deck plans by Michael Johnson and a single decal art piece by Bradley Warnes. As a first book in the series, I’m extremely impressed and does remind me of a 21st-century development of the classic TTA book ‘Spacecraft 2000-2100AD’. For that reason I’m looking forward to seeing more books in the series and can highly recommend this for use in your Clement Sector campaign, or any other Mongoose Traveller RPG setting.
The second book I’m going to look at in my back-to-back review is book 2: Vulkan-class Attack Boat Tender. This is also available from Drivethru RPG for the slightly higher price of $5.99, though you are getting substantually more for your money. The book totals 49 pages and features the same style of ship artwork from Ian Stead with additional decal contributions by Bradley Warnes and deck plans by Michael Johnson. A number of craft are described, starting with the F/AB-61 and T/AB-61 Attack Boats. These are 95dT fast attack craft that operate in small squadrons of six or twelve, launching from the Vulkan tender. The two variants pack different types of armament so as to provide flexibility in the mode of attack. Both types are illustrated with Mongoose Traveller RPG stats, deck plans and isometric views in a mixture of colour and monochrome. A third variant, the E/B-61reconnance boat is in the process of being tested by the Hub Federation navy, however full ship details are provided bolstered by additional text describing the inception of the attack boats and more narrative text from the craft and crews in actual combat.
The book then moves onto the actual tender vehicle itself – the Vulkan. The tender is a spindly design, with limbs to link the attack boats to the main tender body. The concept being that the tender transports the attack boats to the area of operations and detach into a formation for attacking a target from multiple angles. The Vulkan design is slightly flawed in that it needs refuelling from tankers, due to the unstreamlined design. Looking at the deck plans, there is plenty of accomodation to support upto twelve crews on the ship but I’m not sure I’d want to be staying on the ship for an extended tour of duty. I get the impression of a submariner-style lifestyle, due to the large number of crew rooms and little in the way of recreational facilities. An additional 20dT launch is described to complete the book. There are a couple of NPCs described, backed up with a large amount of colour artwork featuring the NPCs and elaborate decals painted onto the attack boats by the crews.
Like the first book, the Vulkan is a really high quality product, text is nicely balanced with narrative pieces through the book. You’re not just getting one vehicle, you’re getting five; this sets a new standard for Traveller RPG spacecraft supplements and is a must-have purchase.