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Travellers Aide #2

Ben W Bell

SOC-14 1K
Peer of the Realm
So why is the print version 4 pages shorter than the screen version? Has it just had the covers chopped off?
Originally posted by BenBell:
So why is the print version 4 pages shorter than the screen version? Has it just had the covers chopped off?
The print version is 'shorter' because it is two columned. This reduces the page count as more text actually fits on a single page.

Okay. Of course it makes sense not being two columned on the screen so you can read without scrolling up and down continuously. Good thinking.
Here'a review of TA#2 I posted to the TML on July 7th.

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 be 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.
I don't want to appear rude, but that's more a description than a review. Apart from using the stories as gaming material, are they actually fun to read? Is the writing any good? How does it compare to other gaming-related fiction?
I haven't read these stories so I can't comment specifically, but I can say that in general MJD's Traveller fiction is all very good, very well written, and a clear notch above most other game-related fiction (a subgenre I typically avoid). Check here for some typically fine examples.
T.Foster said this
I haven't read these stories so I can't comment specifically, but I can say that in general MJD's Traveller fiction is all very good, very well written, and a clear notch above most other game-related fiction (a subgenre I typically avoid). Check here for some typically fine examples.

Chron says this
I have read all but the last which was a begining of a full fledged traveller novel that will be in the TA fiction <wont read it till tomarrow> well anyway the ones I read are darn good KUDOS to MJD :D
The Grand Endeavor story was interesting enough that I just ran my Traveller group through an adventure based on it. It went great and my players complimented me on the excitement level of the game and the challenges involved. I changed the particulars to the following setup:

PCs just jumped into a low traffic frontier system about 5 hours under 1G to the planet and are contacted by Melkarei Control (the Downport Tower) to arrange an approach vector. At 4.5 hours Melkarei Control contacts them and states it has detect Jump Emergeance about 1000 km off their port side but cannot get a power reading or raise contact - they request a visual confirmation from the Free Trader. The Free Trader's sensors detect the laser scarred hull of a 600 ton Subsidized Merchant and its shattered bridge compartment. Melkarei control informs that it is recieving a weak signal from the vessel but can't boost it sufficiently to understand (PCs also fail a Sensors attempt to clean up the signal) and that its Customs Cutter is inbound to their position but won't reach the ship for 2.2 hours. They requests the Free Trader's assitance under a specific interstellar law regulation. They ask that a boarding party enter the ship and try to locate and triage survivors and attempt to restore power to the maneuvar drives as the ship is on a collision course with the planet (257 minutes until atmosphere - they don't inform the PCs that the Cutter has orders to attempt to destroy the vessel 26 minutes before that happens). And things get interesting from there.

The crew was only a Pilot, Engineer, and Doctor so they had to match course with the vessel as it passed (it was moving at a higher velocity then they could accelerate to in time, but the Free Trader started ahead of it) and fly across in an open top grav sled in vac suits and try to gain entry to the ship (they left their ship on autopilot with a program to maintain current heading until clear of the vessel and then establish a supplied orbit given to them by Melkarei Control). From there I had a set of Engineering, Medical, and Pilot tasks for them with the times it would take to accomplish in order to effect rescue of the survivors and the ship (and the tasks affected each other - reviving the Engineer 2nd Class who was trapped under debris allowed them to learn about the intermittent power feed to the drives they'd have to repair - otherwise it would have been a large penalty to the Pilot's attempts). They PCs came together beautifully (though they were spooked by the ship - kept expecting HR Gigers' Aliens to jump out at them - they are all Traveller newbies) and managed the rescue, saving who they could and getting enough power to push the ship into an orbital trajectory (both the bridge and the avionics components were gone so the Customs Cutter fed them telemetry to the backup drive control console in engineering) - the PCs wouldn't even leave on the Custom's Cutter until all the survivors were off. I totally recommend trying it with your players if they're altruistic enough (or can be badgered by local government threats of legal action).
It sounds like they had a great time with that scenario. You've given me the idea of running it for my group of Traveller newbies too.
Just a suggestion for the next fiction collection - How about a table of contents? It would make finding the stories easier. You could even put the opening contents on the TOC instead of the text as a teaser.
Hey all,

I finally did up my promised review of TA #2 and posted it to JTAS and went to post it on RPGNow.com but I couldn't find a post review link or even a link to purchase it from there (TA #1 is there though) can anybody offer a little help? Anyway while I'm here <command paste>

Better late than never, here is my much overdue review of Traveller's Aide #2 "Grand Endeavor" from QuikLink Interactive, Inc.

This is the second in QuikLink's Traveller series of Portable Document Format (.pdf) publications and features four short stories by Martin Dougherty set in the T20 background, and the Prologue and Chapter 1 of his serialized (continued in forthcoming Traveller's Aides) full length Traveller novel set against the backdrop of the The Interstellar Wars between the Terran Confederation and The Vilani Imperium.

The whole is 47 pages of great Traveller fiction with 7 interior black and white sketches and a full color cover.

The first short story is the title piece "Grand Endeavor" which introduces us to the flavor and setting for T20's Ley Sector in the year 1000 Imperial, as experienced by a fairly typical crew of a pretty standard free-trader Eternal Optimist, who are called on to act in an extraordinary capacity. I'd give this story an Imperial Sunburst (scale of 1-5) rating of * * * *

The second short story, "In Wilder Places Too..." follows the mis-adventures of an unlikely pair of less enthusiastically respectable travellers who find themselves in the natural (for character's of their type) position of 'volunteering' for a job nobody else would touch. Not a bad story, but not quite my style, so only an I. S. rating of * * *

The third short story, "Reactivation Clause" is my personal favorite of the short stories, perhaps because Scout characters have always been my favorite, but it also has a fine twist ending I didn't see coming (and I usually know how a book or show will end well before), bravo Mr. Dougherty and thank you. I don't want to give anything else away and hope I didn't already say too much, naturally I have to assign an I. S. rating of * * * * *

The fourth, and last short story, is "Wheelman" and we are once again with the crew of the free-trader Eternal Optimist from the "Grand Endeavor" story. They get wrapped up in a fast paced plot involving a Vargr, police, gangsters, spies, a shoot out and a car chase, this story has everything! It was a fun read and like the others offers all kinds of great plot pickings for the GM, just don't let your players read the stories first! I'll slam through all four gears of "Lifters" sweat piece of rubber and steel road car (assuming he'd ever let me behind the wheel) and give this a very fast and tire smoking I. S. rating of * * * *

Finally <grin> we come to "The Last Hurrah", at least the Prologue and Chapter 1, which begin in 2158 AD. In the prologue we follow a group of fresh faced junior ratings in the Terran Confederation Navy as they ship out on their first real mission, before catching up some 15 years later with the war very hot. I'll have to fire all missiles here and give it an I. S. rating of * * * * *

On the format questions raised by the first issue of this series regarding printing it out I have to say they missed the mark, at least for what I was hoping. There are now two versions available, the screen version and a printer version, for the same price you get one or both. However the only difference is the printer version is two columns, which does save a few pages of paper, but it still has the outline graphics on each page that look nice on screen but suck up ink and don't look like much in black and white. I had been hoping they would have made the printer version much plainer and printer friendly. The other technical issue to look at is the editorial quality and I have to tip my hat here, it is excellent. On the whole however (so disappointed was I by the print version) I can only give this aspect of the product an S. I. rating of * *

So overall this edition of the Traveller's Aide still rates a must buy in my books with an averaged I. S. rating of * * * *

Finally I should also mention that if you skip or skim too quickly over this issues introduction you may be missing something of interest. So go and check it out already.

Last I checked (07/24/2002) The T20 Traveller Book is still available for preorder ( http://www.travellerrpg.com/index.html and scroll down) and not only do you save 20% off the msrp of $44.95 for the massive 448 page tome ( your price $36, you save $8.95) (s&h extra but quite reasonable) you also get a free issue of the Traveller's Aide (that's like $5 more in your pocket). I don't know how much longer the preorder will be available, but a lot of us expect not much longer so hurry up and decide. If you just want to check out the Traveller's Aide, or a bunch of free stuff the link above will get you there too.

Daniel "far-trader" Burns
Originally posted by far-trader:
Better late than never, here is my much overdue review of Traveller's Aide #2 "Grand Endeavor" from QuikLink Interactive, Inc.
Excellent, solid review. I agree with all of your comments and ratings. I especially appreciated you not providing any spoilers (I had already read 'Reactivation Clause', but definitely appreciate you not ruining it for others).

And for MJD - good job - I am anxiously awaiting your Phoenix work. Any chance we'll get a preview of it in a future TA (to hold us over until November)?
Originally posted by MJD:
I seem to recall that we've put a sample of Phonenix up on the boards...
You did - I am just being a greedy consumer :)Kinda that, well yeah that was yesterday, whatta ya gonna do for me today? attitude.

If we have to wait until November, then I guess we have to wait until November. But if not . . . .
I enjoyed the stories from TA2. I hope that newbies to Traveller read these stories as they capture what a good Traveller campaign can do.

Traveller is in my mind one of the big 3 systems that shaped gaming. The others are Champions (Hero System) and like it or not, Dungeons and Dragons. The new 3rd Edition D&D (d20) was developed by old Hero writers. It borrowered from that games superior combat system. It took speed of play from the original D&D. T20 takes the great Traveller setting and borrows from both!

:D Imagine the stories this will inspire!
I've enjoyed it,

...as I'm trying to decide on what sort of campaign I will run next, I want it to be a Sci-Fi one, and Traveller (either in GURPS format or t20) is winning out currently.

TA2 has many an enjoyable story in it, I'll even admit that some of the 'noble sacrifice' moments cause a mystiness in this normally stoic curmudgeon - blame the 'former' Marine in me, but that sort of action is typical of anyone who has served for the sake of serving, in any public service/nation service, and not serving for the sake of glory.

Personally I hope to see more fiction for Traveller on-line as I love to read and I've been hard pressed to find much 'quality' fiction for Traveller.

'Reactivation Clause' was not only a solid example of a plot hook to snag players, but also a very good story that pulled me in rather nicely - not only because of the nice work of the storyteller, but also because I'm a cat owner and sometimes I'd rather have 'them' nearby if things were going to be rather nasty.

Anyhow, good work and I can't wait, although I must, for the next stories.