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Mongoose Traveller - High Guard

Traveller High Guard. Lawrence Whittaker and Gareth Hanrahan
Mongoose Publishing http://www.mongoosepublishing.com
154pp, softcover
UKú15.00/US$24.95

This third rulebook, covering Navy characters, spaceships, and space combat, continues the Mongoose Publishing series of books for their Traveller line.

On the Shelf

As usual, the Traveller logo is prominently displayed in the center of the black cover. A small sample size seems to suggest that green will be the logo color for expanded career books, as this book, like Mercenary, renders it in that color. The (unnecessary, but non-detracting) tag line for this book is "Guardians of the Spacelanes".

Initial Impressions

High Guard is consistent with the appearance of other Mongoose Traveller releases, both in basic organization and in production quality. Text and tables are clear and readable, and material is well-organized.  The introduction outlines the organization of the remainder of the book, and provides an overview of the organization of space navies.  This is followed by the expanded Navy Character creation section, three sections on spaceship design and construction, a section on space combat (which includes some information on vector-based movement), two sections of sample deck plans, and some basic information for creating Naval adventures.

On Closer Inspection

Early printings have a glaring error: Although the credits are correctly for High Guard, the Table of Contents is that from the previous expanded career book, Mercenary. Mongoose can be contacted to exchange copies from this erroneous printing for a corrected copy. Some occasional spelling and spacing errors can be found, but no more than in previous Mongoose Traveller releases.

Freelance Traveller has received permission from Mongoose Publishing to create and offer for download a free, corrected Table of Contents page for this product.  You may download the PDF file here (90KB, requires Adobe Acrobat or Acrobat Reader, available from http://www.adobe.com).

As Mercenary did with Army and Marine characters, High Guard expands on the core rules' Navy career to provide several tracks, each of which has its own assignments.  Career tracks for Navy characters include Crew, Support, Engineering, Gunnery, Flight, Pilot, Command, Naval Intelligence, Naval Engineer, and High Command; entry into some of these career tracks requires prior service in another career track. New skills and benefits are also described, and there are notes concerning naval careers for the canonical alien races. There is also a fully worked example of a Navy character.

The Spacecraft Options section of the book expands on the core rules for ship construction, and provides extensive information for constructing small craft (under 100 tons displacement) and capital ships (over 2000 tons displacement). Later in the book there are examples of both, with detailed deck plans.

The section on Expanded Space Combat provides a good amount of information on both offensive and defensive capabilities, on damage to both ship and crew, and on combat orders.  There is also a short section on handling vector-based movement using counters or miniatures.

Finally, a brief overview of some possibilities for Naval adventures is provided, with tables to allow the referee to quickly generate synopses to build on.

Summary

High Guard is a solid product, well worth the money for players and referees interested in naval campaigns. Its main lack is in small ships (i.e., from 100 to 2000 tons displacement), but since the official setting is implicitly a "large ship" universe, one would be hard-pressed to say this is a serious flaw.