Traveller's Aide #2: Grand Endeavor Review

Posted by me to the Traveller Mailing List (TML)

This is second in an ongoing series of Traveller supplements from RPGRealms. This issue contains no charts, and no rule specifics. It's a collection of fiction written by Martin Dougherty.

These stories are in two settings. The first is the Year 1000 setting of D20 Traveller. The other is during the Interstellar Wars between the Vilani Empire and the Terran Confederation.

The first story is also entitled Grand Endeavor. The main characters are the crew of the Free Trader Eternal Optimist. The Captain, Paulo Danilo, is retired from the Imperial Navy. The Second Engineer, Maris Duffey, is a retired Imperial Marine. The other two crew members are Daanai, the medical officer, and Jarrsoegh, the Chief Engineer, and a Vargr.

The story doesn't involve any characters shooting their way out of anything. It's about working out personal demons and dealing with the hand dealt you. An interesting story, but not one I'd set up for player characters, unless the person playing Captain Danilo is a skilled role player, willing to take the story where the character needs to go.

The second story is "In Wilder Places Too...". Plenty of shooting and other action in this one. The two main characters are a Mutt & Jeff duo in the tradition of Fred Ramen & Larsen Whipsnade. Ok, maybe not that disastrous to the locals.

The story starts with the two quasi-heros in a bar fight. Well, only Jandro Dalden is fighting, that's what he's good at. Tal Peters is hiding under a table. He's saving himself for what he's good at. That's talking their way out of (and into) trouble. He's going to need that skill later. This is a great scenario for a small group of players (two or three) to get an intro to system combat (regardless of the ruleset used) and the flow & style of the referee. It's got hand to hand (in bars & aboard a rapidly moving air/raft), gun combat, blade combat, and it also teaches players that there really is a good time to just run.

The third story is "Reactivation Clause." Not something I'd run characters through, but it's good background reading for anybody wanting to play a retired Scout.

The fourth story is "Wheelman". Once again we met the crew of the Eternal Optimist. The story is told from the point of view of another character. A "freelance mobility expert." A skilled driver of vehicles (wheeled, Hover or Grav), who is in a tight spot, but willing to take on one more job. It's also about the wheels in wheels in wheels world of Intelligence & counter-intelligence. A fun scenario either as a standalone or part of an ongoing campaign.

The next two stories are the Prologue and first chapter of "The Last Harrah." The full novel will doled out a chapter or two at time in the Traveller Aid series. It takes place during the Interstellar Wars. Back when the Terran Confederation was fighting the Vilani Imperium. Both are good fodder for player scenarios. They take place on smaller craft, which makes it easier for a group of players to handle. Character shipboard skills are important to help offset the technological advantage of the Vilani craft. If your players are used to all the TL F toys of the Third Imperium setting of Classic Traveller or MegaTraveller, this setting will have them thinking a bit more about how to make the best of the lower tech tools they have.

Review of Traveller Aid #1
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Portions of original material © Copyright 2002 Mark Urbin