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Old August 13th, 2008, 10:24 AM
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Default Mongoose Mercenary

Ok it arrived today and this is very much some initial impressions.

The book starts with some new career options from Regular Service options like Wet Navy and Airforce (and also some expanded mishap and event tables) to new Mercenary Careers like Warmonger and Guerilla. Not tried them out yet nor gone into much depth but it all seems fairly sound.

New skills and specialities are added (natch).

A large section on Mercenary Tickets and running a merc unit. This looks good. A lot of influence from Battletech/Mechwarrior's Mercennaries Handbook here as well as other sources. Nice work.

Some interesting additions to the combat rules including kill shots as well as a mass combat system that on first inspection looks passable.

New weapons and equipment. Looked interesting but I can see this upsetting both Old Traveller Grognards and Players with Actual Military Experience. Here is a prime example that got me. In the Heavy Weapons section is a Frag Gun? On reading you discover that this is actually an artillery piece designed to fire large caliber shells that will explode above the ground creating an airburst. WTF? Is that all it does? Not very flexible, not exactly King of the Battlefield. Where are the quick and delay options for digging out bunkers or dealing with armour, bomblets, smoke, illumination. Oh well. But there is more. How do these airburst shells work? They detonate when they reach a specific falling velocity. <insert blasphemous curse of choice>! Not to mention that most high angle fire will achieve terminal velocity well before they hit the ground and that firing elevations, weather, shell charge and gun muzzle velocity variance will make fuse calculations the job of a Kray (oh and let's add MRSI to the mix too). A simple wiki inspection will give you a wide range of methods for proximity fusing from time delay to more modern radar fuses, hell for the OTU we could add Gravitic Sensors, why not.

And that's just one weapon. No SMG either.

I'm sure on further reading I'll get over my gunnery humpf and enjoy it but each time I look at a new weapon I just cringe. Really poor work.

I'll give it an initial 6/10
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Last edited by Border Reiver; August 13th, 2008 at 10:25 AM.. Reason: duh
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Old August 13th, 2008, 11:12 AM
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Well, it's a waste of several pages, but I'll continue to use my Striker-BRP weapons conversions, anyway. However, what about that character generation stuff? Are these guys going to be just different, but not better than, TMB characters? That's what I hope for, and what I wished CT had done. I want these books to expand the TMB, not make it obsolete.
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Old August 13th, 2008, 12:07 PM
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Yup, that's what they are. These are additional careers to add to your choices from the corebook. There are also the expanded event and mishap charts for the Marine and Army careers which improve the chargen experience but don't actually make the characters bigger, faster, stronger etc.

But the equipment really is starting to annoy, especially the heavy weapons but some of the other stuff too. I think someone at Mongoose is picturing Battledress as either some kind of Mecha or like the Ape suits from there Starship Troopers game. Ok so I can see how something like that can be armed with a howitzer fed by a 20 round belt but not battledress. So call it something different from "Artillery Battledress."
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Old August 13th, 2008, 12:18 PM
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Oh dear on the gear front, then. I hope they don't innovate too much with High Guard in that case.

Still, I'm glad to see that at least they're not repeating one of the biggest mistakes of CT with the advanced character generation.
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Old August 13th, 2008, 01:04 PM
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I almost wish I'd stopped before I hit the equipment pages.

There is more good than bad here but the bad is very bad.
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Old August 13th, 2008, 01:17 PM
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Still, I'm glad to see that at least they're not repeating one of the biggest mistakes of CT with the advanced character generation.
Unless you consider advanced chargen to be a feature and not a bug.
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Old August 13th, 2008, 02:21 PM
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I read through a few sections and find myself somewhat disappointed with MGT:Mercenary.


On the upside:
  • I like the expanded event and mishap tables for military careers, this should help cutdown on the duplication that I've seen with the basic tables.
  • I like that they char gen gives more options but doesn't produce overpowered characters like CT:Mercenary did.
  • I like the suggestions for making the new skills available to core book careers.
  • The mercenary ticket rules seem interesting, but I haven't had a chance to really dig into them yet.


The downside:
  • Some truly atrocious art... granted I paid for the rules, not for the art. But this stuff makes the whole project seem amateurish.
  • The equipment section leaves me completely cold. Border Reiver has already covered some of it, but generally, it's just bad.
  • In general, the editing/writing feel weak. I know this is a vague complaint, but I don't really want to dig through the text to find examples.
  • Some of the career tables just seem wrong. In the core book careers, the general pattern was the higher the survival roll, the lower the advancement roll. This made perfect sense to me... the player has to balance risk versus rewards. However, a many of the new careers completely break that pattern, providing higher risks for fewer rewards.

I will use the book, but I'm going to have to house rule a bunch of stuff to make it work for me, and that makes me sad for a new product.
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Old August 13th, 2008, 03:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vargas View Post
Unless you consider advanced chargen to be a feature and not a bug.

Even if you like Advanced Chargen, then Basic Chargen is broken (too few skills per term). It is more an issue of the imbalance between Basic and Advanced Chargen in CT that was 'broken'. MegaTraveller managed to balance them out - generating about the same number of skills either way.

Congratulations to Mongoose Traveller for maintaining the balance between the Core and the Add-Ons.
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Old August 13th, 2008, 04:27 PM
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maybe waiting for a second print would fix some problems?
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Old August 13th, 2008, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by atpollard View Post
Even if you like Advanced Chargen, then Basic Chargen is broken (too few skills per term). It is more an issue of the imbalance between Basic and Advanced Chargen in CT that was 'broken'. MegaTraveller managed to balance them out - generating about the same number of skills either way.
I guess I'm hung up on the word "broken" because 1) both approaches works just fine when all characters are gen'ed using the same system and 2) I've never viewed Advanced and Basic as being meant to be fully compatible anyway.

My solution in the old days, developed really for those players working from Supplement 4, was to simply allow twice as many skills per term for characters not developed using the Advanced rules.
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