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Mongoose Traveller: The Third Imperium: Reft Sector

This article originally appeared in Freelance Traveller’s March 2012 issue.

Mongoose Traveller: The Third Imperium: Reft Sector. Martin J. Dougherty.
Mongoose Publishing http://mongoosepublishing.com
132pp, softcover
US$24.99/UKú16.99

Tired of the Spinward Marches, but don’t want to leave the Imperium? How would you like a sector around the Imperium where a Kinunir is heavy metal? A sector where your players can be movers and shakers? Had a hankering to try out “Early Stellar” star-travel? Martin J. Dougherty turned his eye toward the Reft Sector and has delivered a nifty “small ship” sector within a “big ship” Imperium.

On the Shelf

The cover is the standard design for Third Imperium: The Third Imperium logo on the top, artwork in the middle (good artwork this time.), and the Traveller logo on the bottom third.

On Closer Inspection

The book is divided into 5 chapters and we will take a quick spin through all of them.

1. Introduction – Rather than an introduction to the Reft Sector, this is an introduction to the Official Traveller Universe. In eleven pages it covers core concepts such as the OTU, Charted Space and Directions, Communications, and the Major Races. It is a great way to introduce new players to the OTU.

2. Reft Sector – This chapter is the introduction and peculiarities of the Reft sector.

a. Languages in the Islands - gives a breakdown of what languages are spoken in Islands subsector.

b. The Great Rift and the Trans-Islands Run - tankers and deep-space fueling stations make it possible for a Jump-4 ship to cross the rift, albeit at great cost, along with a brief description of shipping within the Islands.

c. Naval Terminology and Ship Designations – This is a “small ship” area, so what constitutes a “major combat unit” is different from the rest of the Imperium.

d. A History of the Reft Sector – Just over five pages of history from yet another briefing on the Ancients, Droyne and Chirper settlements in the Reft Sector, the colony missions and their settlements within the Islands subsector and subsequent interaction with the Imperium.

e. A timeline of the Reft Sector.

3. Powers In The Reft Sector – Movers and shakers in the Reft Sector are detailed. Each polity is given a brief introduction that covers the size of the polity and location within the sector. In addition, the referee is provided sections on the social and political situation, as well as the economic and industrial strengths or weaknesses. Each polity ends with a brief description of both naval and ground forces.

The second section covers the Islandbridge Trading Corporation (ITC) and The Universal Siblinghood of Disunity (USD). These organizations have the same breakouts as the polities, however, ITC is a transnational corporation and the USD is a political/religion/social movement.

The last section covers the Imperium and Imperial megacorporations, “above the claw”, “beneath the claw” and within the Islands (which are not members of the Imperium.).

4. Worlds Of The Reft Sector – If you have been playing Traveller for a while, you may have The Travellers’ Digest #20, which gave an overview of the sector. No need to throw it out, Martin skillfully built on top of it.

5. Adventures In The Reft Sector – This is my favorite part of the book. Mr. Dougherty starts by giving the referee a guided tour on how to gradually slide the Islands Cluster from peace to war. The process he provides, going from a cold war state to total war and beyond isn’t just limited to the Islands. The referee can use the same process to develop the conditions on any scale, from a planetary tussle between two competing nation-states to setting the stage for either the Fifth Frontier War or the Solomani Rim War.

But, that’s not all! He also provides three pages of ideas for adventures in the Islands, from standard Trade or Military adventures to Diplomatic or Espionage adventures.

Pros and Cons

Pros

a. Is consistent with prior versions of Traveller.

b. It is well thought out, and second and third order effects are detailed.

c. Information for more than just military adventures are provided .

d. Pages 126 through 131 are worth the price of the book.

Cons

a. Just enough typos to be annoying.

b. The real problem from my perspective is the maps. There is no sector map in the book, and the subsectors are not labeled (A – P). Thank goodness for www.travellermap.com.

c. The interior artwork is still crap. Other than the cover, it is at Group One level. It isn’t 1978 anymore.

Conclusion

Reft Sector is the best sourcebook for Traveller I have seen from Mongoose Publishing. It is head and shoulders above not only what they have published, but it is also the best product Martin J. Dougherly has published for Traveller.