Especially if you are a TNG era player, the Beta Quadrant is the unloved stepchild... but if you prefer a more martial approach to your voyages, it's the place to be! Extensively explored in TOS era, it contains the Klingon and the Romulan Empires and the Orion Syndicate; and is regarded as the military frontier... even if the Dominion over in the Gamma Quadrant are doing their best to change things. More of them later...
This work opens with background information and history of the Beta Quadrant. It discusses what role it can play in adventures set in different eras; and also proclaims that they've fleshed out species only mentioned in passing during the TV show, which should prove interesting however well you know the broadcast episodes.
We move swiftly on to Chapter 2, which contains the real meat of this supplement. Packed with more historical information, intercepted transcripts, and commentary from many different people, the main content is a survey of the policical entities and the inhabited planets to be found in the quadrant. Taking TNG era as the base, there's discussion of the current political and cultural situation, science, trade and much more. Each planet gets a quite extensive write-up, enough to facilitate a visit there although of course you'll need to flesh it out a bit to provide an actual adventure. If you like exploring and finding out about new cultures, you will find much of interest here. Notable expansions include the Gorn and the Orion Syndicate - who seem to be behind a lot of organised crime across the entire quadrant!
Next up, Chapter 3: Species of the Beta Quadrant. This provides the information needed to play a wide range of species, with the emphasis being on playing those likely to enlist in Starfleet. Ardanans, Benzites, Bolians, Deltans, Efrosians, Klingons, Chelons and Jelnas from Rigel, Risians, several versions of the Xindi, and Zakdorns.
Chapter 4: Starships of the Beta Quadrant provides technical details on a range of ships used by different species, friend and foe alike: Klingon, Romulan, Orion and Gorn, and a catch-all category of civilian vessels to represent those who trade in the black or who seek new homes in colony ships.
The final chapter is Encounters and Adversaries, which looks at different regions of the Beta Quadrant and provides suggestions for what might take place there. The Romulan Neutral Zone, the Briar Patch, the Klingon Border, and the Shakleton Expanse are covered here. Encounter seeds, NPC stats, even new species to meet... there's plenty here, and a multitude of ideas for using them.
Overall a comprehensive introduction to this region of space. Grab a starship and crew and boldly go...
Return to Beta Quadrant Sourcebook page.
Reviewed: 9 March 2020