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Mongoose Traveller Supplement 3 - Fighting Ships

Traveller Supplement 3 - Fighting Ships. Bryan Steele and Stuart Machin
Mongoose Publishing http://www.mongoosepublishing.com
126pp, softcover
UKú15.00/US$24.95

This supplement, the third for Mongoose Publishing's Traveller line, covers starships and small craft intended for ship combat missions.

On the Shelf

The yellow Traveller logo in the center of the black cover is essentially ideal, combining the more visible yellow of Supplement 2 with the sharp-edged look of the unshadowed logo from Supplement 1. The tag line for this book is "The Mighty Fleet".

Initial Impressions

As with the previous supplement, Traders and Gunboats, this book is chock-full of ship designs including deckplans. Each ship entry consists of a short block of descriptive text and a table showing a breakdown of cost and volume by system, followed by an artpic in pseudophotographic grey-scale and deckplans.  The isometric stacking diagrams from the previous supplement are omitted in this volume, except for the Plankwell-class Battleship.

On Closer Inspection

There are five groups of ships: Small Craft, with five radically different fighter designs (including one completely automated one), Small Starships, covering couriers and destroyers (one design each), Cruisers (four designs, including the High Lightning class, renamed the Azhanti High Lightning class), Carriers (two designs), and Battleships (three designs).  All of the battleships are actually called 'dreadnoughts' in their listings.

The deckplans for the carriers and battleships are at a scale that is uselessly small; these deckplans won't even enlarge well. The High Lightning plans might be able to enlarge usefully; the other cruisers would be marginal at best.  Since the type of campaign session that would have the typical player-character party aboard one of these ships is fairly limited, this should not be considered a serious deficiency.  The small starships will enlarge reasonably; they also have more potential utility in campaigns than their larger brethren.

Summary

Overall, there isn't much reason beyond collection completeness to acquire this volume; the most useful ships would be the courier and the destroyer. The various types of fighter are more "local color" items than useful information, and the larger ships would be most useful for campaign sessions where the ship is the setting, rather than being transportation - for example, exploring a derelict example to learn why it's derelict, or a combat mission to put down a mutiny or to repel boarders - but such sessions would require deckplans of better quality than can likely be obtained from this volume.