Remarkably useful to any Traveller referee, this product provides a whole bunch of resources to aid in the creation of rich background detail, much of which have the potential to become an adventure in themselves. It comprises three sections: Starcrews, Cargoes and Fellow Travellers.
Starcrews provides details on those who work in space. They can be used to fill out a crew, as fellow patrons in a starport bar or.. well, turning up anywhere that fills your needs. But before we get to them, this section begins with various notes about starships and their crews and even a selection of starcrew slang and material to help you flesh out the ones you choose to use.
The section is then divided into sections based on the ship each crew works, beginning with Scouts/Couriers and continuing with Traders, Naval Ships and a catchall Others category. Each entry gives the name of the ship itself and those of the crew (or the more significant ones in the case of those ships with a large complement). Then there is some referee information about that ship and crew, and adventure hooks should you wish them to be more than just another ship in the distance. The way in which this is done means that if, for example, one of the characters gets into conversation with a crewmember in a bar, you are equipped with the background information you'll need for a lively conversation rather than frantic head-scratching to come up with details to answer likely questions such as "Which is your ship?" or "What cargo are you carrying?"
Speaking of cargoes, that is the focus of the next section. This consists of information to aid you in fleshing out cargoes to far more than mere dtons and value. Is it dangerous, or does it require feeding? There are a lot of notes about using cargoes creatively to enliven or even comprise adventures with, in true Traveller tradition, quite a few tables on which to roll. The discussion moves on to different cargo types: natural resources, processed resources, manufactured goods, information and novelties. The initial discussion covers 'HazMat' style warning signs that may be affixed to a consignment, and these are used throughout the listings to indicate possible threats that they may pose in transit. There are notes for each cargo listed to make them even more interesting (and perhaps adventure-worthy). Finally, if nothing catches your eye or you are in a rush to come up with a cargo, there is a set of tables for generating cargoes in considerable detail from a few die rolls. Trade need never be boring again!
The final section is Fellow Travellers. These are the people who, like the character themselves, spend at least part of their time roaming the spacelanes. If the characters take passage on a ship, some of these may be fellow passengers; if their ship offers passage these folk may buy tickets to travel with them. (One of my characters is chef on a ship that offers a high standard of service - it is surprising what adventures you can have with this concept... and my referee hasn't got a copy of this book yet, the game's been going a year or so and as I write this has just been published!) Fellow Travellers are classified by the passage purchased - High or Middle - and by whether they are travelling in a group or by themselves. Each comes with UPP and copious notes about their background, reasons for travelling and even how he's likely to behave, making role-playing him extremely easy.
A very useful resource that ought to grace evey Traveller referee's bookshelf (or hard drive).
Return to Supplement 13: Starport Encounters page.
Reviewed: 18 October 2013