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Golden Age Starships Compilation 1-5

This article originally appeared in the April 2011 issue of the downloadable magazine.

Golden Age Starships Compilation 1-5. Michael Taylor and Ron Vutpakdi
Avenger Enterprises and Comstar Games, via Mongoose Publishing “Flaming Cobra” imprint, http://www.mongoosepublishing.com
176pp, softcover
US$29.99/UKú21.99

On the Shelf

As with other Avenger/Comstar/Flaming Cobra releases, the basic cover color is a light blue shading to medium blue at the bottom. The top half has the title in yellow, over a black-and-white image related to the content. Below the image are Avenger’s and Comstar’s logos, and the “Traveller Compatible Product” logo.

Initial Impression

One could get the impression that Avenger/Comstar or Flaming Cobra is something of a ‘stepchild’ of Mongoose; the paper has a definite texture to it more reminiscent of newsprint than of the not-quite-glossy bright white of the Mongoose Traveller direct products. (Note: It’s definitely not newsprint; it just feels like it’s coarser and lower-quality than the Mongoose direct products.) That’s not to say that less care was taken in the product itself; the Avenger Enterprises editor-in-chief is Martin J. Dougherty, whose reputation for quality Traveller product extends back many years. The volume backs up that reputation, and is chock-full of deckplans and stat blocks, with text and adventure seeds for each of the five ships included in the compilation.

On Closer Inspection

The deckplans are clear enough and large enough to be usable, though not for miniatures. Paging is separate for each of the five products in this compilation; this has resulted in at least one product having the odd pages on the left and even pages on the right, instead of the (normal) opposite. Text is clear and readable, with adequate white space and artwork, along with the deckplans and drawings, to break up ‘grey walls’ and hold the reader’s interest.

The included starships cover a variety of missions, and one of them, the LSP Modular Starship, offers plenty of options for customization for virtually any mission at all. Another “starship”, the Archaic Small Craft and Space Stations, offers the opportunity for playing in a milieu where the technology is likely to be familiar to most players, and where information on how it works and what its capabilities and limitations are will be readily available. With this module and limiting the campaign to TL7 or TL8, one could easily run a Clancy-esque adventure on the International Space Station.

Each starship (including the Archaic Small Craft and Space Stations) comes with a set of relevant scenarios, adventure seeds, and/or Amber Zones (what Freelance Traveller has renamed “Active Measures”). Where desirable or appropriate, profiles for “generic” characters of scenario-required types are provided, along with information on other materials not profiled elsewhere (such as the Zhodani corvette and the Zhodani and Imperial fighters, included in the LSP Modular Starship package).

The provided information is set against a Year 1105 Spinward Marches/Official Traveller Universe background, but it would be simple to “file off the serial numbers” and incorporate it into virtually any campaign, regardless of setting specifics.

Summary

While by no means a ‘must-have’, it would be difficult to consider money spent on this volume to be wasted. It’s a solid product, with a high degree of utility. More products like this one would be quite welcome.