Just as in the real world, not everybody in the Traveller universe needs to work. This book provides tbe equivalent of a 'career' structure for those characters in that happy situation, independently wealthy and able to pursue their own interests instead of doing a day job. It also provides some fascinating outlooks on what it means to be in that situation in the far future, exploring new dimensions of the Social Standing attribute, what you can do with all that wealth and the potentials (and problems) of being famous. Even if characters do not start out fabulously rich and famous, it might happen during the course of a campaign.
The first section, Character Generation, looks at a total of 21 dilittante careers. Some will come from the nobility, others will have wealthy parents. Some will devote their time to specific goals such as sporting or artistic excellence, become humanitarians or connoisseurs, go adventuring more to stave off boredom than for the usual reasons of getting rich and buying a ship and so on. These careers are structured in the normal manner with skills to gain and life events to help build a background and life story. Many of these provide ideas that might spawn adventures for characters of this type as well!
Next comes Social Standing. This section delves into the often-neglected statistic, providing new insights into how to use it, how to make it important in the context of your game. Social standing varies depending on the sphere in which the character operates, but within that sphere and, depending on its nature, outside it as well the character may well be able to exert influence, gain favours and be recognised by others as a person of substance or importance. Often it is not automatic, you have to work at maintaining your social standing.
So, how is a character in such a fortunate situation? The next section, Wealth, provides information on where all that money might have come from, how to grow it even further... or how to fritter it all away. Sometimes it is inherited, some - particularly sporting or performing stars - may have made it for themselves. Dilittantes are assumed to be living off the interest or revenue generated by their assets on a day-to-day basis, but there may be times that they'll want to purchase something big and have to dig in to their capital, perhaps selling something else in the process. Characters may even want to play the markets, and rules are provided to model trading in stocks.
The following section looks at Fame, and it's not all fun and games. It can be used to advantage and it can also turn round and bite! Various pitfalls are presented, along with the necessary rules to help characters fall into them... and claw their way back out again. Many again provide adventure ideas as well. Kidnappers, swindlers and stalkers also regard famous people as fair game.
The next couple of sections, Entertainment and Equipment, provide some ideas on what a dilittante character might wish to spend his wealth. Everything from smart clothes to estates and residences, even a few fancy starships are provided here. The final section, Campaigns, looks at some of the things that you could do with a bunch of wealthy characters, whether they start the game that way or you arelooking for some way of continuing a campaign with a party that has struck it rich!
It's an intriguing concept and provides scope for some wildly different, novel campaigns - a wholly-new aspect to Traveller that many will not have considered. Even if the party themselves are not that well-off, they might meet - or even be employed by - someone who is!
Return to Mongoose Traveller Book 8: Dilettante page.
Reviewed: 9 June 2015