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Mongoose Traveller Supplement 7: 1,001 Characters

This review was originally posted to http://www.rpg-resource.org.uk in September 2012 and is reprinted here and in the October 2014 issue with permission.

Supplement 7: 1001 Characters. August Hahn.
Mongoose Publishing http://www.mongoosepublishing.com
hardbound, 212pp

Are you good at coming up with instant NPCs out of thin air? Even if you are, this book contains a wealth of characters all ready to populate every world, every ship, any location you care to name in your universe….

The Introduction sets out the scope and purpose of the book. Each character comes with game statistics of UPP, main skills and the gear he will likely have with him when encountered… but more importantly there’s a name and some background: what he looks like, the sort of things he’s doing, perhaps even a goal or ambition—and a phrase that sums him up. Many of the characters are human, but other races are included—Aslan, Droyne, Hiver, K’kree, Vargr and the Zhodani—to maintain the diversity of the universe.

The first thousand characters are arranged in six chapters, to make it easy to find suitable ones for your purposes. The chapters are Corporate, Government, Military, Criminal, Independent and one with a motley collection of ‘Aliens, Outcasts and Fringe’ characters. Some are organised in six-person teams, designed to work as a group—naturally, if just one of them is what you need, the others do not have to be around. Whilst it is suggested that a bit of time be spent rounding them out and developing them further, any character will do as a player-character should the need arise. All have been created using the standard character generation rules, so are compatible with a party created the conventional way.

Within each chapter, the characters are further subdivided, so if you have a sudden need for an accountant, say, or an insider trader you can lay your hands on one at once. Reading through, many of them also spawn plot ideas, so if you need a distraction, a filler adventure, or a side quest, drop one or more of these characters in and let matters develop.

The 1,001st character is a bit different. Given a whole page to himself, he’s a Duke with a long backstory and twisted psyche, ripe for use in the convoluted intrigues that Traveller nobility indulge themselves in, as evidenced by the way that he’s clawed his way up from second son of a mere Baron to his current title. He could prove a dangerous enemy, or an even more dangerous employer or patron!

Generally well-presented, there’s a slightly annoying quirk in layout that has nearly all of the text underlined, and I’ve spotted the odd ‘over-reliance on spelling checker’ error—a rogue selling ‘vacations’ instead of ‘vaccinations’ to mild diseases he infiltrates into air handling systems on space stations, for example.

Overall, this is a useful resource for any Referee, particularly if your players get inquisitive about everyone that they meet… potentially less embarrassing than using your students’ names!