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Old November 2nd, 2008, 10:57 AM
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Default Review of SPL's Careers Book 1 (MGT)

Review of Careers Book 1, by Richard Hazelwood and Spica Publishing Limited

Spica Publishing Limited has published a set of alternate career events tables for the non-military careers-- presented in the Traveller Main Book (TMB), using a d66 roll (rolling two d6s and taking one for the tens and one for the ones) much as Mercenary has done. This is a worthy addition to the Mongoose Traveller character generation options, as expanded life events are always useful for fleshing out characters. One thing is that the table has life events as occurring on rolls between 31 and 36; I would prefer to have the option be scattered throughout the table and reflect life’s randomness, but since space on the table is limited I expect that it was done this way to save it. The tables themselves give both alternate mishaps and more career events (split into two tables, naturally), providing players an alternate set of events for their characters; these remind me why I like to roll for life events for each year instead of each term. This section promises to be useful for anyone who wants more options than provided by the main book alone, or a jumping-off point for tailoring life events for their players. Perhaps they should have put in a table for the Psionicist career, but that may be in another book—or I hope so.

There are two Life and Unusual Events tables. The first has been similarly expanded, using a d66 roll. There are some extra options here as well, such as several varieties of betrayal and having two versions of “crime.” The Unusual Events table is now a 2d6 roll, giving 11 options, with 5 that were not available in TMB (I really like the “game show” result; it injects a bit of lightheartedness which is an interesting little bit of fluff to stick on characters). One of the options is “ancient technology,” like in TMB; however, CB1 has not given any options for what the technology may be. This is one of the few flaws in the book; I would want some extra options for what kinds of Ancient tech that my characters or players might find, simply so that I could create an interesting story around it (such as a sapient computer which is also psionic—and when the Imperial authorities come to take it away, it takes over the character who finds it and manages to drive the Imperials off while running away from them).

Art is somewhat sparse in this book. The art is computer-generated, and is in black and white; in my opinion, this type of art is better when it is done in color; however, that is about my only complaint about it. Most of the art pieces are examples of each career, for example having an adventurer, a bounty hunter and a worker with the appropriate careers. Some of the expressions are odd, particularly the Clergy and Space Patrol. They’re amusing, but on the other hand maybe they give character.

True to its name, Careers Book 1 gives several more careers for Traveller campaigns: Adventurer, Bounty Hunter, Clergy, Colonist, Corporate Citizen, Militant Religious, Space Patrol and Worker. It also includes a selection of pregenerated characters, made using the careers presented in this book. Each of the careers is presented in the same manner as in the TMB; each has a qualification roll, assignment selection with three each, career progress (survival and advancement), skills/training, rank listing and rank benefits, life events and mishap tables and mustering out benefits. These careers are compatible with Mongoose Traveller’s setup, and are meant to be utilized the same way. One addition that this book makes is the skill of Social Science: Theology, which is the study of religion; it is only standard for the Clergy and Militant Religious careers, but since it is a social science it can be learned by anyone (as skills should be in Traveller).

The book gives a selection of pregenerated characters, three from each of the careers and several multi-career characters using careers from the TMB. They are presented in stat-block format, with age, terms, credit balance, attributes, skills and possessions/contacts listed in that order. They have been generated in the per-term method; in my opinion they are a bit low on skills (given how I prefer to generate skills and life events by year), but they are absolutely compatible with TMB characters, and give Referees and players a good idea of what the careers can produce. Perhaps the author and playtesters could have created a few more characters with combination careers, such as a Clergy-and-Militant Religious character, but within the space they had the characters presented are quite nice.

Conclusion: Spica Publishing Limited’s Careers Book 1 is a worthy addition to Traveller and Mongoose Traveller. Although I would encourage SPL to insert a list of Ancient Technology possibilities, I would encourage Travellers everywhere to gain a copy (would that everything could be free, but that’s a couple dozen or so social advances from now). The book allows players to generate a wider range of characters, from a treasure-loving adventurer to a priest who’s taking her faith to the stars to a colonist who’s grown restless taming an underdeveloped planet, and allows referees to generate NPCs from all walks of life for their players to interact with. I enjoy this book a lot, and encourage people to buy it. Even if your campaign uses Classic Traveller, Mega-Traveller or even TNE, this supplement will be useful, and if converted, opens up a wider range of character possibilities.
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Old November 6th, 2008, 09:15 PM
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I'm happy that companies are finally starting to take advantage of the license.
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Old November 7th, 2008, 09:58 AM
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A revised version of the book is now available and it includes the expanded Psion career which was accidently left out of the original version.

It is also available in hardback directly from Spica if you like your books that way!
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Old July 2nd, 2009, 03:27 AM
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Default Well worth the price!

Just finished a first reading of it, I love it. The events and mishaps tables have plenty of character to them, which is tough to manage, and they're well suited to the careers, as are the skill tables.

The only false notes I found were in the colonist. Having astrogation in the advancement table didn't seem to match the careers, nor did ship shares in the mustering out table. I would have expected an admin skill or something related to an advancing position in a colony, and vehicles in muster-out rather than ships (personal front-loader for the farmer, yay! Second roll gets a backhoe!)

These minor items aside, this book's going to be a very valuable addition to my game. The religious careers alone are worth the price to me. I'm really pleased with the quality of the art, too. Quality>Quantity.

When's book 2 coming?
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Old July 2nd, 2009, 04:23 AM
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I, too, find it a valuable addition.

For me, however, the false note was in the clerical career.

I've told Grufty my concerns on that point before. Suffice it to say, it reflects a certain particular sect, and that was obvious to me, but at the same time, it's oversimplified.

If I run Traveller in the near future, I'll be hybridizing madly... MGT CGen, MT skills, T20 Ship Design and Expenses, MGT T&C... and CB1 will be part of it.
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Old July 2nd, 2009, 08:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saundby View Post
Just finished a first reading of it, I love it. The events and mishaps tables have plenty of character to them, which is tough to manage, and they're well suited to the careers, as are the skill tables.

The only false notes I found were in the colonist. Having astrogation in the advancement table didn't seem to match the careers, nor did ship shares in the mustering out table. I would have expected an admin skill or something related to an advancing position in a colony, and vehicles in muster-out rather than ships (personal front-loader for the farmer, yay! Second roll gets a backhoe!)

These minor items aside, this book's going to be a very valuable addition to my game. The religious careers alone are worth the price to me. I'm really pleased with the quality of the art, too. Quality>Quantity.

When's book 2 coming?
Thanks for the positive feedback, saundby! CB2 is still in the oven baking at the moment, along with Allies, Contacts, Enemies and Rivals ("ACER"). We'll post here when they're available.
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Old July 2nd, 2009, 08:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jame View Post
[FONT=Calibri][SIZE=3]I would want some extra options for what kinds of Ancient tech that my characters or players might find, simply so that I could create an interesting story around it (such as a sapient computer which is also psionic—and when the Imperial authorities come to take it away, it takes over the character who finds it and manages to drive the Imperials off while running away from them).
Problem with tables is that it can limit the imagination. Once the table is created, people may limit themselves to what is on the tables and no longer imagine their own, like your sapient psionic computer.

Also, I believe writers are often a bit skittish (is that the right word?) about stepping on the toes of 'canon'/'OTU'.

Last, 'ancient' 'artifact' may not equate to 'made by the ancients' 'something old yet very high tech', it could just be pottery, jewelry or a broken piece of a hand tool left behind by human colonists a long time ago.

Last edited by CosmicGamer; July 2nd, 2009 at 08:25 AM..
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Old July 2nd, 2009, 12:17 PM
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I bought it a few weeks ago and it is indeed a very slick product that is well produced and would be of value to any MgT player. I prefer B/W line art or other hand drawn pieces to CGI in printed works but that is a minor nitpick. The crusader character looks excellent in his knife wielding pose and is by far my favorite piece of art in the book.

I also found the "make your own" templates to be a nice perk.
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Old July 2nd, 2009, 04:27 PM
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Yeah, I am a fan and have used the tables in my current campaign, well worth the cost, Will definately look into and probably buy any further products on the strengths of this one.
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Old July 3rd, 2009, 06:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aramis View Post
I, too, find it a valuable addition.

For me, however, the false note was in the clerical career.

I've told Grufty my concerns on that point before. Suffice it to say, it reflects a certain particular sect, and that was obvious to me, but at the same time, it's oversimplified.
I see what you mean.

Fortunately the bias is in line with the campaign I'm planning. I'm leaning toward a Dumarest-style campaign next year rather than Lensman. This will work well enough for the version of the Church of Universal Brotherhood I'm envisioning, which is more complicated than the simple "good-guys only" version in the books.
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