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Mongoose
Mongoose
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Supplement 5-6: Vehicle Handbook
by Scott G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/11/2012 13:27:01
Ok book, certainly not vital but good if you enjoy creating vehicles or want to know exactly what specifications a vehicle has. The finished costs feel too high though. I found the book useful as I am a bit of a gear head.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Supplement 5-6: Vehicle Handbook
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Book 0: Introduction to Traveller
by Colin P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/09/2012 16:20:50
A Decent Introduction to Character Generation, Skills, Combat and Combat related Items. The Text is utilitarian and the Graphics are few, leading the book to appear very dense but, the book does give a decent overview of the game mechanics although not much into the setting. Of course, as an introduction, each section is abridged (for example, there are only a few of the careers available in the Core Rule Book). It is probably enough for a decent GM to craft a basic combat encounter or one-shot, however, I doubt it would be very deep. I used it to see if my group and I would like the game before purchasing the full edition. I suppose it would also be good for new players as a quick reference for CharGen/Skill/Combat but, If you're buying the PDF, it's probably cheaper to make copies of those sections from your Core book and lend them to players.

All in all, it is a decent product, however It would be more suited as a free demo from Moongoose than paid partial rule book.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Book 0: Introduction to Traveller
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Alien Module 5: Solomani
by Jacob R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/07/2012 22:15:08
As a matter of full disclosure, I am a freelance writer occasionally employed by Mongoose. I had nothing to do with the production of this book.

AM5: Solomani does a great job of presenting the formerly monolithic baddies of the Solomani Confederation in a more balanced and complex light. The Solomani are still baddies from an Imperial point of view, but they are here given more credible motivations, and viewpoints from fairly open-minded to severely xenophobic are examined.

The book offers new minor races, including a deeper look at Uplifted Dolphins and Apes, as seen in the Core Rulebook. The Career section could be longer, offering nothing like the selection found in previous Alien Modules. The book would benefit from more artwork, including an actual picture of the apes, although the artwork is parsecs ahead of that found in Alien Module 4: Zhodani.

Overall, this is a great read. And GMs of any system can use the info here to inform their own baddies. Just swap names and you have Cardassians, the Galactic Empire or anything else that your campaign requires.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Alien Module 5: Solomani
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The Quintessential Witch
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/07/2012 16:36:48
I am not a huge fan of the older Mongoose books. There are number of issues of classes all over over the place, odd editing and art that runs the gambit. This book is not any different. The witch class is pretty typical of the time (early days of the d20 boom). There is a wide variety of Prestige classes, which is nice, but not all of them are usable. The book tends to be full of a lot cliches. Though the ones that are good (Occultist, Puppet Mistress) are very good. There is a good section on new uses for skills including telling fortunes and a good section of feats. There are new spells and new magic items, as expected, but the coolest thing might be the Places of Power. Some Times of Power ends the book (also a good section).
The added material adds quite a bit to the overall quality of this book.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Quintessential Witch
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Battlefield Evolution: World at War
by evan m. Date Added: 05/05/2012 23:53:23
I was really excited to try this set of rules. Alas, it is not printable! Oh well, now I have to hunt down a copy.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Battlefield Evolution: World at War
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2300ad
by Dierk D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/30/2012 14:16:31
Teils nett aber teilweise auch nutzlos.
VORSICHT SPOILER-ALARM !!!
Als 2300AD (bzw. seine Vorgänger Traveller 2300AD) raus kamen, war ich aus dem Häuschen. Ich habe mir das Original schicken lassen und bin für die Box 400 km weit gefahren. Ihr könnt Euch also vorstellen, wie sehr es mich gefreut hat, dass das gute alte Hard-SF-Game wieder da ist.
Entsprechend enttäuscht war ich vom PDF. Wie schon andere Fans vor mir bemerkten fehlen die schönen Bilder und Graphiken. Bei Durchlesen erschien mir das Material als zurechtgestutzte Ausgabe von 2320 AD (vom selben Autor), wobei schlampig gearbeitet wurde.
z.B.: Die verschiedenen "Egos/Persönlichkeiten" der Eber werden erwähnt aber nicht erklärt. Stats für Käfer fehlen, die Klaxun, Ylii fehlen ebenfalls. Ein Index zum Auffinden von Infos wurde ebenfalls nicht erstellt. Die Kapitel sind nicht durchnummeriert, was das Auffinden von Fakten unnötig erschwert. Der Schwerpunkt liegt viel zu stark auf den Menschen, den Konzernen, Terroristen und den Kolonien. Dabei bleibt das Feeling von früher "Der Aufbruch der Menschheit zu den Sternen" und "das wilde Leben in den Randregionen" (Serenity lässt grüßen) auf der Strecke.
Dafür gibt es Delphine... toll, die haben schon in Traveller genervt... oder fandet Ihr einen PC als Delphin in Anti-Grav-Kampfanzug witzig? Den besten Delphinauftritt in der SF gibt es im "Anhalter", doch das soll eine andere Geschichte sein.
Unsere Kampagne vor 20 Jahren war eher eine von Scout- und Militäroperationen geprägte Abenteuerserie, die sich mit den Kafern beschäftigte oder wo sie als Störenfriede auftauchten. Alles lebte von dem Geheimnis dieser Aliens, woher sie kamen, was sie wollten, wie der Krieg mit ihnen verlaufen würde. Das alles ist nun auf eine Spalte, d.h. eine halbe Seite Text beschränkt worden. Schweigen auch zu den Hintergründen und Zielen der Pentapods usw.
Nach zwanzig Jahren und vielen, vielen deutschen Fans hätte ich eine Überarbeitung der deutschen Namen und Bezeichnungen erwartet. Die waren im "vorGoogle"-Steinzeitalter grauenhaft übersetzt und Sinn hatten sie meist keinen. Einige waren auch schlichtweg falsch. Auch diese Chance hat man sich weitgehend entgehen lassen. Immerhin ist jemand drauf gekommen, dass man einen Kampfanzug deutscher Produktion nicht ohne geschichtlichen Bezug KZ-7 nennen kann und man hat die Bezeichnung rausgeschmissen. Das beim "Astronomischen Recheninstitut" vielleicht richtiger "Astronomisches Recheninstitut" gewesen wäre, steht in den Sternen. Die sonstigen Bezeichnungen sind eher krude Aneinanderreihungen von deutschen Worten, die wohl im amerikanischen Slang gewaltig (oder gewalttätig?) nach deutscher Sprache klingen.
Die von anderen Schreibern schon erwähnten Karten zu den Planeten sind nützlich, besser als in den Supplements zum Original und mit der Planetenbeschreibung zusammen auch einigermaßen brauchbar. Mir fehlen aber Hotspots oder Abenteuerideen wie man sie in 2320AD finden konnte. So bleiben sie nur eine nette Aneinanderreihung von Spieldaten, die ich mir mit 15 Minuten Arbeit und dem Traveller Basisregeln hätte selber machen können.
Ob ich mir die Einführung von genmanipulierten Menschen als Siedler gefallen lasse ist ebenso eine Geschmackssache wie Cybertech. Ich habe es vor 20 Jahren nicht gebraucht und werde es nur sehr zurückhaltend nutzen. Meinen Spielercharakteren wird noch schön schlecht, wenn sie fremde Planeten betreten. Wofür habe ich Schwerkraft und Atmosphäre, wenn ich sie als SL nicht einsetze?. Für den Notfall habe ich ja noch ein As im Ärmel und verteile Pentapod-Equipment... Was fand ich eigentlich gut, wo ich doch 2 Sterne verteilen wollte?
Hmmm... ja, das alte 2300AD ist out of print, das neue Settig für TRAVELLER lässt sich bisher nur mit Hilfe des alten Materials einigermaßen gut in spielbares Material umsetzen. Immerhin sind die Regeln aus Traveller sehr gut bekannt und vielschichtig einsetzbar. Das Traveller-Material spannt einen weiten Bogen an Möglichkeiten und Ausrüstung für das 2300AD-Spiel.
Alles in allem macht das PDF aber den Eindruck eines Teasers. Vieles wird angedeutet und vorgestellt, aber das Ganze zu flach, als dass man daraus ohne altes Material eine sinnvolle Kampagne flechten kann. Der Versuch alte Sourcebooks und das Regelheft zusammenzuführen ist durch die schlechte Bearbeitung misslungen. Der Autor kann es besser, was er in 2320AD bewiesen hat. Es reicht eben nicht nur die Stats von T20 anzupassen. Der Fließtext lebt halt auch.
Bleibt abzuwarten, ob Mongoose bei weiteren Veröffentlichungen sauberer arbeitet, besser strukturiert und nicht ganz so sehr die Geldmachermaschine anwirft. Ich hoffe inständig, dass die angekündigten Veröffentlichungen zum "French Arm" die Quellenlage zu den Kafern und zu anderen Aliens verbessert und nicht halbdurchdachte Zusammenfassungen den Lese- und Spielspaß bremsen.
Für Sammler o.k als Impuls die alten Sachen wieder aus dem Archiv zu kramen. Man kann mit vertrauten Traveller-Regeln wieder in die faszinierende Welt des Jahres 2300 AD einzutauchen. Für Neulinge mit Vorsicht zu geniesen und als Sourcebook sicherlich ein Teaser. Wartet aber besser ab, was sonst noch so rauskommt.
FAZIT zu wenig Leistung für zu teures Geld (PDF = 21,72 Euro)

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
2300ad
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Slayer's Guide to Yuan-Ti
by Will G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/30/2012 09:53:03
The content was interesting, but the execution was not amazing.

Pros:
Nice fluff for GMs needing to add some flesh to their creatures.
Some good character blocks to slot into your game as NPCs.

Cons:
There were several instances of page references with no page number referenced.
At least one instance of new content referenced but not covered (ie. the penetant.)

Quite reasonable for the price, but misses the mark for much beyond average.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Slayer's Guide to Yuan-Ti
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Supplement 5-6: Vehicle Handbook
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/26/2012 12:09:00
Originally posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2012/04/26/tabletop-review-travell-
er-supplement-5-6-vehicles/

Back in 2009, Mongoose Publishing released two new supplements for their Traveller line – Civilian Vehicles and Military Vehicles, Supplements 5 and 6 respectively. I came to them late, and didn’t have much chance to use them before I discovered that they were in the process of rewriting them from the ground up.

It seems they were poorly received.

I read through them, and found the system presented in the original books to be deliciously complex. You measured volume in honest-to-god cubic meters. You worried about the total mass of the vehicle in comparison to the propulsion system you chose, and just how large a propulsion unit it was, and how much power it would need, and therefore how large a power unit you’d need to power it! And once you’d determined the armor it carried, and the weapons, and the people, and the cargo, you ran through the list of a dozen plus possible modifications or optional features for each item you’d picked. Then you ran the numbers and went back to the drawing board to tweak things so that your tank could, in fact, move. Or have enough fuel endurance to fight a battle.

It turns out, people – normal people, I should say – don’t like that sort of thing.

Aside from any mechanical (heh) issues with the system, and I’m assured that there were some, people balked at the complexity of the system. It wasn’t quite as thorough and math intensive as, say, GURPS: Vehicles 2nd Edition – the gold standard for vehicle design systems that have a degree in mechanical engineering as a prerequisite – but it was enough to turn them off entirely to what was, in all actuality, a perfectly serviceable little design system.

In addition to this, there were two volumes, one for civilian vehicles and the other for military – and they were the same design system! The only place they differed was in the list of pre-built vehicles in each one. Folks, understandably, cried “foul” at this, feeling like the people who read the fourth and subsequent books in Piers Anthony’s “Incarnations of Immortality” series – “Hey, this is the same stuff, repackaged! I’ve been taken for a fool!” They didn’t quite rise up in angry protest with pitchforks, but the response was, say, a touch cooler than tepid.

So, a new edition was put together. This time, the book was a single volume called Supplement 5-6. If you bought one of the earlier edition, you could return it to Mongoose and they’d give you the new one in trade. If you bought both of the prior editions, you got the new version, plus another book from the collection. Honorably done, Matt, and just plain good business sense.

Now, you’re wondering what I think of the new version. Let me begin by quoting the introduction in brief:

The new vehicle design system was created to be quick. With practice, you will be able to create small, basic vehicles in just a few minutes, allowing you to create vehicles, almost on the fly, during a game. Even a large, multi-turreted super-heavy battle tank will not take much longer than five minutes’ work.

The key to this is that the design system focuses on effect rather than components. You will not find complicated charts of different engines, reactors and other power systems – in terms of effect, we really do not care how a vehicle is propelled, we just need to know how fast it goes and what it can carry.

At the same time, you will find the system to be very elegant, taking into account changing Tech Levels that bring new forms of propulsion, new materials that are lighter and stronger and new control systems that require less crew. All of this is factored into the very simple system.

Creating vehicles in under five minutes? A laudable goal. No complicated charts of different engine types? I’ll admit, I paled at this, fearing that realism would be sacrificed at the altar of simplicity. So I went into it with more than a little trepidation, expecting the worst.

Happily, everything turned out okay.

The steps are very easy to follow, though the breadth of options will make some of them take longer than their brief description might imply: choose your chassis, choose chassis mods (if appropriate), add armor, add weapons, choose universal (as opposed to chassis-specific) mods, calculate stats.

A ground car can be had, at any tech level, in a matter of seconds complete with most of the details you’d care about, on either side of the GM’s screen, for play. The first time through the system, you read every option, and debate whether or not it would be valuable for the vehicle in question. On future builds, you start to build up a mental library of those options, and when they’ll be handy. As you build more and more complex vehicles, the time you invest definitely goes up – a quick grav tank I did in a back-of-a-napkin style while testing the system out took me closer to fifteen minutes, but it was the first time I’d really closely looked at the weapon and advanced armor rules. I’d argue that that’s still a fairly quick turn-around.

The system does gloss over power and mobility. You still have to consider things like tracks versus wheels versus anti-gravity, but they’re factored into the type of vehicle chassis you choose to work with.

The weapon list is a strange mix of oddly specific and maddeningly broad, for my tastes, and needed a bit more proofreading before the book was let out the door (the concept of a “destructive” weapon was omitted, unless you already have the Hammer’s Slammer’s sourcebooks, and have run into it there, for example) but provides you with a goodly selection of weapons to choose from, from a range of tech levels. The armor system is very nearly primitive in comparison, assigning a single number of points per facing, and a token bit of fluff in the name of the materials used at that particular tech level.

An area that does suffer in the simplification is weight. The vehicles wind up with a “shipping weight” that’s valuable for determining how much space they take up in a ship’s hold, but cargo is limited simply to “spaces” – and you’re left with not even a sentence telling you “as for how much weight you can carry in that cargo area, you’ll have to wing it…” It’s the biggest failing in the system that I’ve found yet.

Another failing of the book is in the build examples. I’ve talked to the author and it seems the examples were written fairly early in the process, and didn’t get updated correctly when core rules were changed after playtesting. They’ve been noted, and hopefully will be corrected for future printings and in the PDF versions.

An unexpected gem from this book, especially valuable if you’re intending a Mercenary campaign, or are keen on anime/manga style gaming, is a full set of rules for building custom Battle Dress – the long-standing Traveller version of light powered armor. It gives broad ability options for GMs to choose from, as well as adding flavor to a formerly just-barely-two-dimensional element of the Traveller universe.

The rest of the book is a huge collection of vehicles, both civilian and military this time, from a broad range of tech levels, and from a broad range of polities – Aslan, Vargr and the like from the Third Imperium, plus entries for the other universe books supported by Mongoose – Hammer’s Slammers, Judge Dredd and Strontium Dog, specifically.

So, should you buy it? If you’ve already purchased the original Supplement 5 and/or 6, you’d be foolish not to trade them in – especially as I think you only need to send them the covers to do so, meaning you can keep the meatier, juicier rules if you like that sort of thing. If you’re intending to play using the Mongoose Traveller rules, I think they’ll be hugely beneficial to you if your game is anything but primarily cerebral. If you gloss over things like ship specs or vehicle chases, you might be wasting your time with this one – or you might find that it opens your eyes to a whole new level of crunch to apply to your campaign.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Supplement 5-6: Vehicle Handbook
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Legend
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/18/2012 07:23:11
For just $1 you can buy into a near enough complete version (you'll probably want the Monsters book too) of one of the most flexible, intuitive and dynamic systems on the market. 'Nuff Said.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legend
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2300ad
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/18/2012 04:07:50
The appearance could have been improved with more art, etc, and there are some glaring editorial errors throughout (equations being mistyped, etc). Yet, all this said, this is an indispensable Traveller book and setting for any gamer who wants to get into a hard science, near future setting. The 'French Empire' conceit seems a little counterintuitive to me, but it's well grounded out in the future timeline explanations and the science of the game is generally pretty solid. Personally, I think the RPG world needs a strong 2300AD setting to ground out BladeRunner/Firefly type stories - and its great to see this game line return, regardless of anything else. I would hope they revisit the editing of the game before too long, however. Incidentally, my new Mac has the cover in white borders rather than black - what's up with that?

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
2300ad
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Vikings of Legend
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/18/2012 04:00:19
Near enough a little masterpiece - excellent with the Legend rules - and a very complete genre/setting book for an iconic historical adventuring culture. As with all the Legend supplements, concisely written and neatly presented.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vikings of Legend
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Arcania of Legend: Blood Magic
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/18/2012 03:57:28
Sexy magic. Of the type that makes classic sword and sorcery tales edgy. Very provocative as an overlay on existing magic systems (provided in the core Legend rules), but primarily used by GMs to provide NPCs rather than providing viable player options. Nevertheless, a nicely presented concise little supplement.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Arcania of Legend: Blood Magic
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Supplement 9: Campaign Guide
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/18/2012 03:53:54
Lots of charts and tables in this book - and while it is useful for it's stated purpose, it really works best in conjunction with other Supplements rather than as a standalone product. A solid tool - but not an indispensable one.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Supplement 9: Campaign Guide
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Armageddon 2089 Main Rulebook
by Jason J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/16/2012 22:02:04
While the product looks interesting it's completely unreadable. Dark grey text on a background of varying shades of grey is miserable. The first couple of pages (toc etc.) are ok, but after that, I can only read a couple of pages before my eyes want to cross.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Armageddon 2089 Main Rulebook
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Supplement 9: Campaign Guide
by John W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/11/2012 23:06:53
The Campaign Guide is, in my opinion, a lot of fun – it offers a long series of tables and suggestions for how to create a campaign (or a scenario or some other shorter section of action) by rolling on as many tables as might be desired. So, one might roll for a life event, then a patron roll, then a space flight event, then a planetary roll, a return spaceflight event, a home planet event and so forth. In each case, the roll provides an option which can then be implemented by the referee according to the specific makeup of the party.

Of course, this will not suit everyone: some people do not want tables of this sort but would prefer to use their own ideas; others will complain if this or that table or this or that result is not quite what the people involved want them to be. This is normal enough – I myself thought some of the events were a little too cinematic for the experience I want to have (e.g. passengers on a ship turn out to be devil-worshippers who aim to capture and eat everyone; characters suddenly taken over by alien parasites and so forth) but in that case I would simply roll again or substitute results of my own.

The best way to use this guide, then, is probably to use it either as a spur to invention or else, as the Guide itself recommends, as a means of generating automatic or semi-automatic campaigns. In that context, referees can choose some or all of the tables to help define events. It is not as if we are unfamiliar with looking up things in tables when playing Traveller and then interpreting the results.

I did not find the mistakes and errors pointed out by a previous reviewer.

The Guide occupies a halfway position between normal play and the solo supplement that we have had dangled before our eyes by Mongoose schedule for release some time later this year. The experience of Traveller, especially for the solo player, involves pursuing a number of sub-systems and it should be quite possible to link these together in some sort of coherent way. Players with imagination and time can do this for themselves in any case; those lacking either or both would welcome some guidelines that would link (for example), character generation with the finding of a merc ticket and then resolving the military action involved. I remember a story from Baxter’s Xeelee sequence (if memory serves) in which generations of young people are born on a moon on which they are destined to be thrown into the war and almost certainly slaughtered in scenes reminiscent of the worst excesses of the First World War. That would be a setting that could be used to support solo play: as characters are generated, they are tested out for different parts of the military service (through participating in missions) and build up to the big one when they go over the top. That would provide several hours of entertainment and, for me, that would be practical and well worth playing.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Supplement 9: Campaign Guide
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 Publisher Info
Mongoose
Mongoose
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Adventure 4: Into the Unknown

01.Adventure 4: Into the Unknown
02.2300AD: Hard Suits, Combat Walkers and Battlesuits
03.Legend
04.Special Supplement 4: Rescue Ops
05.Heroes & Villains of Mega-City One
06.Supplement 16: Adventure Seeds
07.Supplement 15: Powers and Principalities
08.Traveller Main Rulebook
09.Arcania of Legend: Elementalism
10.Supplement 13: Starport Encounters
11.2300AD: Black as Pitch
12.2300ad
13.2300AD: Tools for Frontier Living
14.Legend: Cults of Sheoloth - The Dark Mother
15.Special Supplement 3: Vehicle Upgrade Manual
 
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