I always delight in game aids that support the alternate reality of the game in question, and this is a fine example. It opens with a traditional engineering blueprint for Destiny Foundation Ltd.'s "Conestoga Habitat/Rover Module" and rapidly moves on to an Introduction and History of this vessel written in academic tone, looking back at, well, the history of its development from the standpoint of an historian of the development of space travel writing sometime in the distant future.
It's an inspiring piece too, all about a company CEO who'd made his pile and decided to use it to fund the development of a space vehicle that could be operated by ordinary non-specialist people and afforded by private individuals wishing to get out to explore and settle off-Earth. A neat funding methodology was devised to enable this, prospective space explorers 'purchased' a space mining robot (probably liquidising all their assets to do so) and the proceeds of the robot's mining of rare resources off-world funded their training and launch into space. So, here's the ship designed for these fortunates to use, designed as both transportation and long-term habitat for an entire family suitable for Mars or the asteroids.
Next, the layout and operation of a Conestoga module is described. In exploration mode, it 'walks' on powered legs, capable of transversing rugged terrain, and once a suitable place to settle is found several can be linked together to form a more spacious dwelling. The standard family habitat is a comprehensive and compact arrangement, think of a well-equipped caravan, trailer or RV; and everything is described in terms that suggest that it would actually function were it to be built. The 'rover' version is also described: this is designed for long-term exploration and has less amenities but considerable laboratory and sample storage space.
This is followed by a description of live aboard a Conestoga, with a note that virtually every spacefarer alive 'at the time of writing' was either raised in one or has at least lived in one at some point.
Next is GM information, including ways to incorporate Conestogas into a campaign - perhaps the characters own one or at least they may visit communities that use them - and some adventure seeds.
It is a neat and original addition to the range of space vessels available to science fiction role-players, practical in its applications and well-presented. Although designed for use with OpenD6 it would convert with little effort to a different rule system if preferred.
Return to Conestoga Rover page.
Reviewed: 24 January 2011