This review was originally posted to the pre-magazine Freelance Traveller site in 2003, and reprinted in the January/February 2014 issue. The publication data and cover images were not part of the original post. The editor found two possible cover images, and both have been included.
The publication data as included in the PDF magazine was incorrect and incomplete. The correct data is below.
Queen. Ray Harms, Michael Reagan, Dan Hauffe
33pp, PDF (formerly available softcover print)
It’s surprising how a simple black, white, and red cover makes a Traveller product look good, and this plus with Kevin Siembieda’s back cover art, had me opening it for a read, hoping for good things.
The Darthanon Queen is a 600-ton Subsidized Merchant, and the main thrust of the module details the crew, passengers, deckplans and some scenarios.
The scenarios are disappointing. The first is the classic “Alien awakes in the hold and kills everyone”, although this is saved a little by the “roll the Alien’s attributes”. The alien can be rolled to have varying different attributes some of which can be special ones. The special attributes are explained (some are quite interesting), and action points for Snapshot or Azhanti High Lightning are given as well.
The second scenario is a rescue mission as the Darthanon Queen has had charges placed on it to stop evidence of government corruption from getting off planet. Some charges have already gone off. The players are tasked with saving the evidence for a big payoff, and a bonus is added for each passenger saved. There are various rules for how the charges go off and how to disarm them but this scenario lacks… well, just lacks, really.
The third is a mutiny by the crew and is your basic Snapshot or Azhanti High Lightning scenario, “save the hostages from the desperate mutineers”, which is acceptable but nothing special.
The Referee is encouraged to mix, change, or combine the scenarios for different effects, and to be brutally honest you would probably have to, to improve what is offered.
The Snapshot scenario leads us nicely to the deckplans. The Darthanon Queen is basically a rectangular box, a large proportion of which is fuel and cargo. The two passenger decks are long corridors with staterooms off each side, with turret access through a couple of them. This seems strange. The passengers share freshers, which doesn’t feel right for the High Passengers that the ship is supposed to serve. The whole layout is, to me, a little disappointing, unimaginative, and not thought through.
To end the module there is a subsector detailed on a page that is just a map and the systems UWP listings—that’s fine, but nothing special; and lastly crew lists for two possible rescue ships.
The whole of the Darthanon Queen module contains areas for noting damage, a whole, almost blank page is dedicated for the detailing of the Alien’s stats and another for notes. While I can see the thought behind this I just view this as a waste.
The layout of the module is a real classic early 80s medium to low budget production and the artwork goes from good outside to bad in.
The gem and the saving grace for the whole module, for me anyway, was the crew of the Lucky Winds. This is one of the rescue ships that the players might take as pre-generated characters. This lot are on the wrong side of various laws, with one of them being an undercover agent, and all of them disliking or failing each other in numerous ways. As stated by the author role playing this lot would be a task all in itself, and I have to say that reading the descriptions of the crew had me thinking of three or four scenarios over and above the obvious ones.
I feel this one page, out of the thirty two, is the only real redeeming feature of the module and could lead to a few sessions of enjoyable playing.
While I wasn’t expecting miracles from an early Traveller product such as this, by today’s standards this misses the mark widely; unless you are a completist, I suggest that your gaming cash is better spent elsewhere.