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Mongoose Traveller Supplement 2 - Traders and Gunboats

Traveller Supplement 2 - Traders and Gunboats. Bryan Steele
Mongoose Publishing http://www.mongoosepublishing.com
124pp, softcover
UKú15.00/US$24.95

Mongoose Publishing's second supplement  for their Traveller line covers starships and small craft of sizes below 1000 displacement tons.

On the Shelf

The yellow Traveller logo in the center of the black cover has a slight grey shadow, producing a subtle 3D effect. It is also a "yellower" yellow than the logo from the previous supplement, 760 Patrons. Overall, the appearance of this supplement on the shelf is slightly superior to 760 Patrons, but it is the opinion of this reviewer that the 3D shadowing would be better omitted from future supplements. The (unnecessary, but non-detracting) tag line for this book is "A ship for every occasion".

Initial Impressions

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.  Each deckplan for a multi-deck vessel also includes an isometric drawing showing how the plans for each deck stack.

On Closer Inspection

Ship designs are grouped by general type: drones, civilian small craft, military small craft, civilian starships, criminal vessels, auxiliaries, system defense ships, and warships.  Many of the ships could easily be modified (usually by removing, adding, or changing armament) to serve in multiple roles; this is especially true of most ships classed as 'criminal vessels' or 'auxiliaries'. All of the ships in this volume could easily be integrated into a campaign, and a player-character party could find itself in control of any of them without necessarily having to break suspension of disbelief. It should be noted that many designs seem to require that a two- or three-ton stateroom house two people (although only one bed icon is shown); if you assume one stateroom per person, most designs have grossly insufficient space for crew and/or passengers.

The deck plans, though interesting, are generally not to a useful scale; to use them for gaming out scenarios using miniatures, you would have to copy or scan and resize.  Mongoose would do well to release all deckplans as separate products, in 25mm scale.

Summary

Traders and Gunboats could legitimately be classed as a 'supplement that no campaign should be without'. The imaginative referee could easily find a ship which could be suitably repurposed, even if the campaign doesn't easily allow one of these designs to be used as given.