1 map 22" x 34"
1 Guidebook 8.5" x 11" of 32 pages
Copyright 1981 by Judges Guild
Written by Dave Sering and Steve Crow
Artwork by Ken Simpson and Ed Perry
Judges Guild stock # 490
List price in 1981: $4.98 (US)
Game Line: Classic Traveller
- 1 page Cover (title and illustration)
- 1 page Table of Contents (table of contents, copyright notice, explanation of planetary statistics, and map key)
- 2 pages Historical background and major political groups
- 16 pages Subsector listings
- 2 pages Judges Information Only (Zarian Realm and Mandanin Co-Dominion)
- 5 pages Encounter Tables (In town, Zarian planet, Marlan planet, Ginlenchy planet, Imperial planet, Krax planet, Co-Dominion planet)
- 2 pages Rumor Tables (Rumors, Imperium, Co-Dominion, Zarian, Krax, Marlan, Ginlenchy)
- 2 pages Index
- 1 page Treasure Vault (list of Judges Guild material available at the time of printing)
By way of comparison, Supplement 3: The Spinward Marches comes as a single booklet of 5.75" x 8.75" with 44 numbered pages (52 if all pages and the covers are counted).
The cover illustration shows three ships approaching a highport over a planet with many impact craters.
The table of contents page seems quite busy, especially when compared to Supplement 3: The Spinward Marches where this material is spread out over several pages. The map key is not organized as well as it could be, with political affiliation symbols mixed into the map symbols. There is not a differentiation between Imperial and independent systems in the political symbols.
The historical background is a single paragraph of general notes that are not really "history." Imperial involvement is two paragraphs that are useful in refereeing relations with the Imperium in this sector. The Zarian Realm notes have an inconsistency in the tech levels, first saying that Tech Level went from 8 to 12 in two centuries of contact with the Vilani and little advancement has occurred since then; later it says the central Zarian worlds are TL14 and have been for 2000 years. The notes on the Mandanin Co-dominium, Marlan Primate, Ginlenchy Concordance, and Krax Confederation are each about a quarter of a page of generally good notes. The historical background page includes an illustration of two people on the bridge of a ship.
The subsectors in Glimmerdrift Reaches are presented in row order (left-to-right, top-to-bottom) rather than column order (top-to-bottom, left-to-right) as in Supplement 3: The Spinward Marches. I would have preferred using the standard instead of creating a different one. Another break with Supplement 3: The Spinward Marches is using star symbols instead of planet symbols on the map. Each page of the subsector listings is turned 90 degrees to the rest of the book, which makes reading it somewhat awkward for Western readers. The Universal World Profiles (UWPs) are on the left, with some notes on the subsector, and the graphic of the subsector is on the right. This reproduces the feel of the Supplement 3: The Spinward Marches presentation on the page level. The graphics in the guidebook are all in white and grey, which is acceptable at the original purchase price, but color graphics could have helped a bit. Two of the subsector world listings are short enough that there is room for a picture underneath them. The Darkling subsector has a picture of an explosion, and the Glowing subsector has a picture of battledress armored troops firing energy weapons. In the Ryazan subsector, hex 3122 is listed as Kara Su on the USP side of the page, and as Kara on the graphic side. In the Glowing subsector, there is an extra political boundary line that is not on the large map. It doesn't affect anything, but is an annoying misprint.
The Judges information on the Zarian Realm invokes the well-used Ancients explanation. The notes on Zarian psionics potential and abilities are interesting, and seem reasonably balanced. It would be nice to have a few more specifics related to the Traveller psionics rules though. This page includes a picture of a small ship flying low over a mountain range.
The Judges information on the Mandanin Co-Dominion is mostly about the social life and history of the Danin. It would be nice to have specific rules to create Danin NPCs (or even PCs), but that is not given here. The information given should be helpful to a Judge who wants to set adventures in the Mandanin Co-Dominion setting. There is a picture of a spiral galaxy on this page.
The In Town encounter table has 17 entries, numbered 2 through 18. This makes it a bit odd to roll on a typical set of dice. The rest of the Encounter tables are numbered 2 through 12. There are a number of good adventure seeds a Judge could use as a one-evening distraction or as a lead in to a campaign. Some of the encounters are too specific on the reactions of the PCs, something that is normally left for role-playing.
The Rumors tables are full of fill-in-the-blank sentences, so could be useful for more than one campaign, and some are useful almost anywhere. There is a general rumor table that runs 2-12, and the ones specific to a political area run 1-6. There is a picture of a spiral galaxy next to the Zarian rumors.
The index lists each planet in alphabetical order by name. It also lists the page in the guidebook it is found on and the hex location. This is an improvement over Supplement 3: The Spinward Marches as it makes it fairly quick to find any planet. There is a picture of a planet with its moons on the second page of the index.
The large map is nicely done in four colors: white, grey, red, and blue. The top-left corner is the front of the module when folded up. To the right of this is background information on the sector that is similar but not identical to that in the guidebook. Along the left edge is the map key, and below that a small representation of the political entities relationships. The main area is the stellar map with trade routes and political boundaries.
On the back of the map are eight planets shown with the Traveller polyhedral world maps, the UPP, and a paragraph about the planet. Galnor is an Imperial planet that is ice-bound. Vinyl is an independent planet that is mostly water with lots of islands. Rasma is in the Krax Confederation, and is listed as an agricultural planet that has been given an Amber Zone rating. Seraul is in the Ginlenchy Concordance. It has an abandoned starport with only a few people left on the planet. Hyline is a water world in the Krax Confederation with three underwater cities. Cazor is in the Mandanin Co-Dominion, and is the satellite of a barely sub-stellar gas giant. Priluki is in the Marlan Primate, and is inhabited by a splinter sect. Hyde is in the Zarian Realm, and is a tourist paradise.
The quality of the printing, content, and editing of this guidebook and map are on par with the other Judges Guild materials produced in the same time frame. Several of the Judges Guild adventures are set in the Glimmerdrift Reaches, so this material could be useful if you intend to run those adventures. On the other hand, the whole Gateway Domain is being re-created by QLI for T20, so this Judges Guild material is quickly becoming obsolete. The QLI material does not keep systems in the same hexes, so it is a significant choice of which material you use. There are a few useful bits, though a good Referee could create them on their own. Overall, at this point in the Traveller evolution, your money would be better spent on the Gateway Domain book from QLI unless you are a completist (in which case, you are probably still well advised not to spend much more than the original list price if possible).