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Old February 12th, 2009, 06:08 PM
fiat_knox fiat_knox is offline
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Default Beltstrike

So who's got it? And what do you all think of it?
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Old February 16th, 2009, 05:57 PM
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I am interested too looks good with new character classes and the like to add value.
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Old February 17th, 2009, 04:04 AM
fiat_knox fiat_knox is offline
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Larry Niven loved Belters. The term "Belter" comes from his Known Space series of books, AFAIK. The most prominent Belter in his books was, of course, Gil the ARM with his telekinetic "third arm." IIRC, the Belter term for people brought up at the bottom of gravity wells was "Flatlanders," though that epithet was mostly directed at Earthers.

Speaking of Larry Niven, another of his Known Space tech toys makes its debut in Traveller. When I saw it, I found myself jumping around in excitement, like the agitated little primate that I was.

I actually enjoyed the good, long look the book gave to Belter culture. It's not just an adventure; the whole setting can be lifted out of whole cloth and dumped into YTU, and even the OTU somewhere.

Somebody mention the Bowman Belt in the Spinward Marches?
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Old February 17th, 2009, 08:39 AM
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I have it, but I haven't given it much look. The casual flipping through it that I did the other day left me with the impression that it was pretty good. It does give great detail, for instance, I seem to recall there's a whole section on what sort of ores a belter can kind, their worth, what uses they have, etc. Pretty cool stuff.
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Old February 18th, 2009, 12:09 AM
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A quick review of Beltstrike.

Overall, I think itís an excellent product. Itís got a very Mongoose Trav feel in that its pretty simple and quick. It doesnít add a whole lot of new complicated systems or questions, simply lays things out and lets you go play.

This is the very first section and is only 11 pages long. Before you start groaning, refer to my comment above. This section has just enough information to give me a good idea of what a belt is, how it forms, whatís in it and where the best goods are.
There are a few tables for determining the content of a field, content of a yield, and mining incidents. A brief discussion of minerals that are available. I only noted about three or four ďspaceyĒ minerals and was a little bummed that there werenít more exotic minerals. But frankly, thatís what my imagination is for. Overall impression of the sectionÖ very good and introductory. Just enough to do the thing without bogging me down in charts or requiring actual knowledge.
I got the feeling that the author may have played EveÖ

There is also a nifty two page section on activities in Zero_G. This aspect of movement was ignored in the other books and I was glad to see it represented here.

This section was a bit disappointing as it really didnít add all that much. But thenÖ what do you add really? The event table has been expanded and same with the Mishap. The Belter career has been split into Miner/Prospector/Researcher/Worker.

There is a good discussion of how to prospect, the use of licenses and a viable economic model for solitary miners. This is important to me as the whole solo miner stereotype just doesnít make a lot of economic sense. But the section details the ways in which Belters scour fields for a good rock, stake an orbiting claim transponder around it, core a few samples and then head back to sell it to the corporation with the drills. Itís laid out nicely.

Equipment section adds some pretty essential space gear.

The rest of the book (p34-94) is made up of a discussion of the Sonares system, a generic location for a Belter campaign. The book is labeled ďAdventure 1Ē so it would need to be mostly that. The system, communities, polities and situation are really well-done. There are split-view maps of bubble colonies and all sorts of great stuff in here. The entire scene is very detailed and logical. The only issue I had with itÖ it assumes no Jump-tech. The system and its people are about ten years from J-drives. That tends to make a mess of things if you try to port it into an OTU campaign. Whatever. Either way, the system is set up to be perfect for a belter campaign.

I donít have any interest in a belter campaign. I like jump drives and guns. But this adventure is exactly what I would imagine a Belter campaign to be. It is a series of linked adventures that follow the characters as employees of a fledgeling belter company. The company is in the process of obtaining a large old mining outpost and the players are needed to check it out. What follows is a number of adventures that take the characters over the course of a couple years. No need for me to create spoilers but, suffice to say, I really liked it. The adventures are spaced out and provide a huge amount of room for the players to be involved in prospecting, engineering marvels, maintenance all that gritty stuff that is so important with a Belter campaign.

The one issue I had with it was that there were a couple scenes that really needed combat characters and, in a Belter campaign, I would think they would be less common. What do I know, though.
Excellent product. I think the best part of this product is the overall feel and attention paid to the elements of a Belterís existence over regular Traveller. The Belterís existence is constantly threatened by suit rips, power loss, damage repair, natural disasters etc. Both the adventure and the writing of the book really drive that home. The Belter vibe is much more of the frontiers of space feel rather than anti-gravity and respirators. Itís kinda low tech and precarious.

Good book. I recommend it if youíre interested in Belter campaigns. The mining material is good but the real gem is the adventure and Sonares system. And I donít think Iíll ever use it. But itís got a lot of great ideas to show that Traveller isnít about Battle Dress and Fusion guns. Itís about ďpeople doing things.Ē

I should note that Mongoose/author screwed up and the map of the Sonares System did not make it into the book. The author realized this on the forums and it is being made available as a download on the website.
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Old February 18th, 2009, 07:58 AM
rust rust is offline
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Thank you for the review.

I had already preordered it (in September ...), but now I feel sure that it
does include what I hoped to get for my setting and campaign.
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Old February 18th, 2009, 09:23 AM
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Funny, I would have said the opposite of a Belter Campaign...Outland is the consumate Belter movie for me, followed by Alien. Whilst, it is true the protagonists are not Belters but they could easily be adapted. The challenge of Traveller of doing away with the Jump Drives will be come easier as we learn more about extra-Solar Systems. True, ours has much adventuring possibilites...if you don't believe me pick up GURPS Terradyne...but it is tad too familar. If you learn about the real exotic things that are: "Out There" then not having a Jump Drive is not a hinderance at all and makes for some nice Hard SF gaming.
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