Now that Christmas is upon us, here are some mini-reviews of a few products for the Traveller player and referee. I originally intended Gypsy Knights Games ‘Grand Safari’ to be reviewed here but rather than doing it a dis-service with a short review, I’m going to look at it in more depth next week.
Gypsy Knights Games – Hub Federation Ground Forces
This is quite a weighty tome released by GKG and written by Michael Johnson to supplement their Clement Sector ATU. It goes into a great deal of depth starting with the planetary defence force structure and marines, before moving onto the character generation checklist. The next thirty pages cover the specialist career tracks that can be followed by PCs, with the next section covering about thirty pages of vehicles and a final appendix describing various battles and actions the ground forces have been involved in.
My gut reaction when reading this book was to compare it to Hub Federation Navy and where I felt left wanting for more background material in the Navy book, ‘Ground Forces’ more than made up for any gaps in content. The character development is extremely detailed illustrating a variety of situations along with the example character career track. There is a very fine section on additional vehicles illustrated by Bradley Warnes, which includes the 24th century version of the ‘Jeep’, two hovertanks, a hover APC and a single seat fighter. Bradley Warnes figure artwork is as usual exemplary as is the spacecraft artwork by Ian Stead and deck plans by the author Michael Johnson. As previous recent GKG releases, the sections are interspersed with extracts of commentary from specific events of situations, which is a nice touch. There aren’t any adventure seeds, however there is plenty of background and situations described so I don’t consider this to be even a minor flaw with the book.
An excellent book and worth picking up – 104 pages priced at $9.99 from Drivethru RPG as a watermarked PDF or special offer at $19.99 for the softcover and PDF.
Moving swiftly on ‘Ships of Clement Sector 6: Jinsokuna Chirashi-class (Swift-Flyer) Yacht‘, describes a 400dT yacht that serves a variety of roles. Everything from a standard yacht, to favourite of pirates, to ship featured in a hit holovid programme called ‘Superpirate’. The design of the ship (illustrations by Ian Stead) is immediately recognisable as something that wouldn’t look out of place in a Japanese anime cartoon! There are lots of small wings and protrusions and the whole shape reminds me of a manga robot with its arms outstretched in front of it. However the design gives the impression of something that you wouldn’t want to mess with in the spacelanes.
Full descriptions for the three decks of the ship along with stats are provided, along with deck plans covering the four variants of the ship. When I initially looked at the book, it did give the impression of being a bit repetitive as on first glance, the differences between the four variants appeared minimal. However, closely reading the floor plans and stats, you do notice the differences and there is definite value in GKG providing these extra stats and you have craft that can be used in a variety of situations, straight away. Another interesting addition is the inclusion of NPCs and ship stats for the holivid ‘Superpirate’ plus a number of adventure seeds. The only issue I have with the book is that some of the isometric views of the ship could have been a bit bigger on a couple of pages, to fill up some of the white space. However the Swift-Flyer is a great adventuring ship that is a worthy addition to the GKG ‘Ships of the Clement Sector’ line and I can see a number of players groups picking this as their starship. 64 pages priced at $4.99 from Drivethru RPG
A final mention on the GKG front, the latest addition to the ‘Ships of the Clement Sector’ series – ‘Perth Class Frigate’ has just been released for $4.99, so I’ll be taking a look at this over the next week.
The last item that I want to mention (rather than review) is the Traveller 2015 calendar – which a dozen artists (including myself) have contributed artwork and the whole project was pulled together by Ian Stead.
Originally instigated by Andrew Boulton, this years calendars profits will go towards Bryan Gibson’s funeral expenses, Bryan a veteran Traveller artist sadly passed away earlier this year. A PDF version is available from Drivethru RPG for $2.68 (reduced from $4.00) or the dead tree version that you can hang proudly on the wall from lulu.com for £17.74.
I’d like to thank John Watts of Gypsy Knights Games for forwarding me copies of the books above for review and to Ian Stead a copy of the Traveller 2015 calendar PDF. Whatever you are doing or however you may be celebrating the festive season, I hope you have an enjoyable time! Merry Christmas!