Gypsy Knights Games Career Companion is a 61-page supplement for their Traveller RPG ATU ‘Clement Sector‘ available from Drivethru RPG for $6.99 as a watermarked PDF, or as a softcover book / PDF bundle for $15.99. The book describes some of the humanoids and careers that a Clement Sector character might encounter, or wish to follow as a career development.
The book is divided into three distinct sections; ‘uplifted and ‘modified’ humanoids’, career descriptions and additions to the rules set to fit the Clement sector background.
The first section describes the various ‘uplifted’ humans and non-humanoids that can be found in the Clement Sector of 2342; there are the uplifted Dolphins and Apes, Bears and Yeti’s (yes, Yeti’s!) and Kraken which have a text description and colour illustration. Many of the uplifted animals were bred for specific reasons, some for slave labour. Stats are provided if players wish to play one of these creatures as a player-character, which are short but concise. Then there are the humans who have been genetically altered to suit exo-Earth environments; the Altrans who were the result of many nations way to ‘improve’ Humans for the exploration of space. Some are better suited for low gravity environments, some have improved breathing abilities. Stat alterations are provided, though players should note that there referee would challenge them playing such a character as many Altrans are classed as second-class citizens on a number of worlds in the Clement Sector.
The careers section describes eight tracks with three or four variants per track, totalling the bulk of the book at 39 pages. The track is standard Mongoose Traveller format with enlistment, advancement, benefits, skills and mishaps tables for each. Some of the careers include Pirate, National Navy, Orbital Construction Worker and Spy. The variety is good and there are some useful careers that player-characters can use.
The book is interspersed with a variety of full and part-page pieces of artwork by Bradley Warnes and I want to say first of all, the illustrations are gorgeous and answers a common criticism of many RPG books of not enough ‘people’ in books. Artwork is hard to find, especially artists who are skilled in humanoid models and can provide them sufficiently and of a consistent quality. I’ll freely admit this isn’t something I can do, however my focus ever since I was young was on spacecraft design following the sci-fi depictions produced by the late, great Peter Elson. What makes the scenes stand out are that there is sufficient variety, fitting the background text and they have been produced to an outstanding quality.
If I have to make a criticism of the models, (and I’ll emphasise that its a slight criticism), its something that is common in using such digital models. The faces of some of the models are ‘expressionless’, ie. they are looking straight ahead with mouths closed, so they look slightly ‘vacant’. This doesn’t apply to all the models featured in the book and I don’t know how difficult it is to alter the expressions of the faces, but it would be great if the faces could be altered slightly to show more emotion or interaction with the scene. However, to re-emphasise, the book benefits greatly from having lots of character scenes and Bradley Warnes should be highly commended for his artwork.
The final section introduces some Clement Sector specific rules modifications (which are of course optional) but they help the referee to get around such problems such as ageing (actual age and apparent age, when modified by longevity drugs), maintaining social standing when not part of a large interstellar empire and finally, character advancement. This final suggestion for a rules change is an interesting one and is an elegant way for characters to improve skills and personal statistics. This has been a long-running debate over the years in the various editions of the Traveller RPG, GKG’s suggestion for character advancement is nice, simple system and is a refreshing change to more traditional systems that involve amassing thousands of experience points.
As a career book when compared to the Hub Federation Navy, I really enjoyed reading this book; probably because Career Companion is a more ‘general’ book describing a variety of careers and add more ‘colour’ to the Clement Sector. Hub Federation Navy has a similar format, but I felt that book lacked a bit of additional background material to make the book more ‘distinct’. The rules modifications are a nice touch and do add value to the product; at $6.99 for the PDF version it is a well-worth purchase for players and referees alike, not just in use with the Clement Sector background, but any Traveller ATU. I would also like to thank John Watts of Gypsy Knights Games for kindly forwarding me a copy of Career Companion to review.