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Starfarer’s Gazette #2

Starfarer’s Gazette #2. Martin J. Dougherty, et alia.
Terra/Sol Games http://terrasolgames.com
87pp, PDF

This review originally appeared on RPG.Net in April 2012, and is reprinted here and in the August 2013 issue with the author’s permission.

Terra/Sol Games has now issued the second issue of their fanzine for the Twilight Sector, this time highlighting the world of Edge. As the name implies this is a frontier world with all the attributes of an interesting civilization of galactic hillbillies with a measure of border reavers to boot. Essentially, while this world is specific to the Twilight sector, it can be transported with no difficulty to any Traveller Universe thus providing an excellent template for a frontier world. What makes this fanzine so interesting is the integration of the whole magazine to support life on Edge.

Thus, one gets a mandatory description of Edge. A world dominated by leaden skies, endless swamps and interesting critters. This naturally has coloured the inhabitants worldview/outlook upon the universe. Assisting the process is that most of population survives by remittances, being subjects for medical experimentation, and rice. And, rice is king. As most have to scrape the swamps just to eke out a modest living, one is reminded of the Swampers (residents of the Okefenokee) and parts of the Louisiana bayou replete with GEVs. However, one is also reminded of any group of people who live relatively isolated from civilization and each other at an approximate TL 6-7 level – not averse to higher technology but just have no means of maintaining it, thus stagnating at this level. The authors have clearly given substantial thought to explaining how this culture copes with the hostile environment and isolation, producing the perfect frontier world. In a sense one is reminded of MJD’s Project Steel, set in the Spinward Marches, as a similar frontier world – settled in the backwoods of space where endless plains of rock and scrub stand in for Edge’s swamps. Most interesting are the critters that inhabit Edge – for they are not neo/pseudo crocodiles and similar analogs but interesting animals.

Then, we move to the supporting material, new weapons and a couple vehicles are profiled. Edge weapons are naturally more akin to shotguns and other pump weapons than high energy weapons and vehicles tend to be on the simple side such as GEVs or gasoline motorbikes. Similarly, in a section called “Ordinary Joes”, we meet typical NPCs for Edge and as an added bonus, the citizen career gets a revamping to tailor NPCs and possibly PCs should they originate from Edge. A couple of exploratory agencies are thrown in for good measure, as well, as a potential adversary in the form of Biotech Company. Rounding the selection out is a piece of fiction, that while good is nothing really special – it rather serves the purpose of tying the different threads encountered in the articles together. Weaving it all together is more background in the form of a timeline and suggestions of the colonization patterns for the Sector. Lastly, to top everything up is an adventure outline. Oh, yeah, there is also Galactic News Service.

The writing is clear and consistently good throughout, it benefits from originating from largely a single authorial voice – Martin J. Dougherty. So, either you like that cantankerous and dry English wit or you don’t (and there is an awful lot of it here). Similarly, the art for the most part remains at the higher standard that Terra/Sol Games is now famous for setting. There are a few things in the art that are sliding back to the jokey side that marred some of their early releases but for the most part, the art is top notch.

So, if you are looking for a reasonable priced PDF that provides a detailed frontier world and had it up to your gills with pseudo-Western towns standing in for the frontier, Terra/Sol Games has provided you with an excellent aid aimed at describing a series of frontier settlements in a different and equally unforgiving environment. I look forward to seeing how they will incorporate Edge into the future products. If your Traveller Universe is in need of an interesting frontier world then you might want to make Edge a Port of Call… If there is any drawback, it is the format, PDF only at this time. Here’s hoping that Terra/Sol Games will make it into a print product sooner or later.