Skip to content

Ships of the Clement Sector – Gypsy Knights Games

In honor of TravellerCon, Gypsy Knights Games is having a sale on their Traveller RPG line. I like GKG’s Clement Sector setting so I took advantage of the sale and brought my Ships of the Clement Sector (SOC) collection up to date.

GKG’s Clement Sector setting is a small-ship universe. The largest ships in this collection are the 2,500 dT Moltke-class cruiser and the 2,540 dT (fully loaded) Vulcan-class Attack Boat Tender. At the other end of the displacement spectrum one finds the 10 dT Work Pods (SOC 4) and System Defense Boats (SOC 9). Although I bought it prior to the sale, I would be negligent not to mention the excellent Historical Ships of the Clement Sector 1: Trent-class Destroyer which is a pre-gravtic design with spin habitats and nuclear propulsion.

In terms of production values, the SOC series is blessed by great ship artwork. The people poses are, well, acceptable. But a ship book is about the ships, and the graphics and background stories are well done and go a long way towards making the setting and ships interesting.

As part of the playtest of Mongoose Traveller 2nd Edition (now in Public Beta testing) I see the new rules will change how spacecraft are handled in the game. The biggest difference looks to be power production and consumption. Although I see GKG putting up a good public front, I also read/hear a bit of anger in between the lines at the changes that are coming. I am fully with GKG on this matter; their awesome The Anderson & Felix Guide to Naval Architecture is what Mongoose Traveller 1st Edition needed to consolidate all the ship construction rules spread out over so many books and supplements. To have Mongoose literally “change the rules of the game” after all the great work GKG has recently done is tough on a business.

So do GKG a favor and send them some well deserved money. With the SOC series they have earned it!

Playtest Update – Mongoose Traveller 2nd Edition (Public Beta)

The Mongoose Traveller 2nd Edition RPG playtest continues. Sometime in September Mongoose rolled out a “September Revision” for download. I actually didn’t find it until this weekend; after an initial spurt of dedication I rolled back on my playtest efforts. This weekend I “reengaged” a bit.

To Mongoose’s credit, many of my initial issues have already been cleaned up. “Traveller Creation” has been cleaned up with missing parts (like Commission rolls) showing up. For me, the “Skills and Tasks” chapter is the one I focused on before and I am happy to see many of my issues with the Boon & Bane mechanic were addressed. Maybe too well addressed; whereas the first draft used Boon & Bane (too) liberally this draft has the mechanic present, but little guidance on HOW to use it. With Boon & Bane being replaced in many places by die modifiers the “Combat” and “Encounters & Dangers” chapters are cleaner. “Equipment” is equipment; with the release of Central Supply Catalogue (CSC) (in a word document only) lots needs to be cross-checked. “Vehicles” has a dogfight rule which, although great in concept, suffers from total unrealism (both combatants must be within 1 km to initiate a dogfight). I still need to dig deeper in the “Psionics” and “Trade” chapters.

My greatest disappointment remains the “Spacecraft Operations” and “Space Combat” chapters. Without the publication High Guard (coming soon to another word document) for spacecraft there is actually little that can be done. At this point, to do a real playtest of spacecraft combat I must make more-than-a-few assumptions based on what I know of Mongoose Traveller 1st Edition as well as Classic Traveller. In my opinion, this is a MAJOR FOUL for a core book. I strongly believe the CORE RULES should be able to stand on their own – these don’t. I also have doubts as to the marketing strategy for the 2nd Edition, i.e. to be useful a player will have to buy BOTH the 2nd Edition Core Rule Book AND High Guard. Good for Mongoose; bad for my wallet.

First Impressions – Mongoose Traveller 2nd Edition (Public Beta)

IT’S no secret that I have been, and probably always will be, a Traveller RPG player. My first RPG ever was the classic Little Black Book three-volume boxed set i 1977. I played what is now Classic Traveller (CT), then flirted with Megatraveller (MT), skipped Traveller: The New Era (TNE), investigated Traveller 4 (T4), invested heavily in Mongoose Traveller (MgT), and supported the Kickstarter for Traveller 5 (T5).

In early September 2015, Mongoose Publishing rolled out a public beta of Mongoose Traveller, Second Edition (MgT2E). I was hesitant for about 48 hours to buy the downloadable pdf because, well, it’s Mongoose which has a history of poor rules integration, proofreading, editing, and abandoning properties (Hammer’s Slammers being the most egregious to me in the realm of Traveller rules). Mongoose set up playtest forums on their website which were publicly viewable at first but now require a password to peruse.

As a public beta the product is not perfect. Aside from the typos, bad cross-references, and the like there are two major changes in MgT2E that caught my attention – Boon/Bane and Spacecraft. Additionally, I worry about backwards compatibility.


The first major change is the Boon/Bane mechanic where the player rolls 3D6 and takes the lowest two (for Bane) or the highest two (for Boon). This 3D6  + Dice Modifiers (DM) roll is in place of the usual 2D6 + DM core mechanic. For some reason, the rules as written (RAW) are confusing to me.

MgT2E states, “When the referee decides a task should be either easier or harder, he may change the target number needed for the check.” (MgT2E p. 58)

  • Note: MgT2E uses Target Numbers for Task Difficulty ranging from Simple 2+ to Formidable 14+. This is a change from MgT where difficulty was represented by a DM (Simple +6 to Formidable -6) (MgT p. 49) and the task roll was 2D6 + DM > 8 for success.

When defining difficulty, MgT2E rules state, “Before any other factors are taken into account, the referee should set the difficulty of a task, based on how hard he believes the task should be without any exterior effects. For example, making a telephone call is a Simple task, and remains so, even if the Traveller is hanging upside down from a spacecraft flying through a storm.” (MgT2E p. 61)

Dice Modifiers, “…should be regarded was being “hard-wired” into the rules, and only applied if they are listed in a Traveller rulebook or supplement.” (MgT2E p. 61)

MgT2E defines Boon/Bane as, “…an exterior factor…influencing the task, for better or worse….Making a phone call while hanging upside down from a spacecraft is a good example of a Bane being applied….” (MgT2E p. 61)

I’m sorry – I just don’t get how task difficulty and Boon/Bane work together. Nor do I see a clear difference between task difficulty and exterior factors. Don’t get me wrong; I like the intent of the Boon/Bane mechanic (the 3D6 High/Low 2D roll makes for interesting odds and results) but the RAW are unclear as to when, or even how, Boon/Bane is applied. I would like to think it’s a narrative (role-playing) tool for the players and referee. Regrettably, the rules are silent on that issue.


There are no ship construction rules in MgT2E. Mongoose assures us that these will follow in a new High Guard publication. In every previous version of Traveller there was always at least a basic ship construction rules set included in the core product. Not MgT2E. Without spacecraft construction rules it is difficult to use the Spacecraft Operations and Space Combat chapters because, beyond the few sample ships, I have no way of telling if they scale well enough. Nor is it apparent why ships now include Power and Power Requirements. It appears to me that power was introduced late in the design process and its interactions were not fully vetted with other rules.


I actually have invested heavily in MgT. I have numerous books and supplements. I also have invested in third-party publishers. I like Zozer Games’ Attack Squadron: Roswell, Outpost Mars, and Orbital settings. I love Spica’s Outer Veil. I have recently laid down good dough for Gypsy Knights Games Clement Sector setting. I even have Flynn’s Guide to Alien Creation. There are sufficient differences between MgT and MgT2E in character generation, skills, combat, and ships that I question the usability of MgT products with the MgT2E rules. Unfortunately for Mongoose, their past performance has me wary of their commitment to the future. I have yet to forgive them for abandoning Hammer’s Slammers. I regret purchasing the mess they published as Book 1: Mercenary Second Edition. Indeed, it has been the third-party publishers that are putting out the most useful products (for example, see The Anderson and Felix Guide to Naval Architecture which is the ship construction manual that MgT has needed all along (and is now – I’m guessing – useless in MgT2E to a degree yet to be determined).

At this point in time I have adopted a wait-and-see attitude. I participated in the Traveller Playtest forum the first few days but, frankly, I don’t feel like my input has any value given the overwhelming fanboy presence (about what I should expect on a publishers home ground).

RPG Archetype – Smuggler’s Blues

Smugglers. It seems that every science fiction RPG needs this character. In Mongoose Traveller it is a shady Merchant or Rogue. In Star Wars: Edge of the Empire its the Scoundrel. In the Firefly RPG its a Smuggler.

Doesn’t matter what its called, nobody explains it better than Glenn Frey.

Firefly RPG – Benedict Changram, Small-Time Trader, Captain of Eagle-class Light Transport “Drunken Tiger”

Benedict Changram, Small-Time Trader, Captain Eagle-class Light Transport “Drunken Tiger”

Attributes: Mental D8, Physical D8, Social D8

Skills: Craft D4, Drive D6, Fight D6, Fix D4, Fly (Transports) D8, Focus D6, Influence D8, Know (Trade Guild) D8, Labor D4, Move D4, Notice (Hidden Compartments) D6, Operate D6, Perform D4, Shoot D8, Sneak D4, Survive D4, Throw D4, Treat D4, Trick D6.


  • Debt D8
    • Gain 1 PP when you roll a D4 instead of aD8
    • Pay it Forward: When you use your financial resources on behalf of another, spend 1 PP to create an appropriate asset.
  • Guild Trader D8
    • Gain 1 PP when you roll a D4 instead of a D8
    • Shadow of the Guild: Gain 1 PP when your decision to go against the Trade Guild’s policies, practices, or orders puts you in danger or hot water.
  • Ship’s Captain D8
    • Gain 1 PP when you roll a D4 instead of a D8

Signature Asset: Custom Datapad D8: It looks like just another data pad, but it has fancy encryption and hacking tools that can cruise the Cortex without anybody else knowing just how you got into that Alliance – or corporate – database.

Reputation: Alliance D4, Browncoats D6, Corporations D8, Criminals D6

“Drunken Tiger” Eagle-class Light Transport

Attributes: Engines D12, Hull D6, Systems D6


  • Been Around the Verse D8
    • Gain 1 PP when you roll a D4 instead of a D8
  • Built for Speed D8
    • Gain 1 PP when you roll a D4 instead of a D8
    • Full Burn: Spend 1 PP to reroll a pool containing the Engines dice. On our subsequent roll, both 1s and 2s count for Complications.
  • Smuggler’s Delight D8
    • Gain 1 PP when you roll a D4 instead of a D8
    • Hidey Holes: When a crewmember is trying conceal cargo, add the ship’s Hull die to the roll.

Signature Assets:

  • Hard Burn Optimization D8: When you are trying to travel between worlds when your under a deadline, spend 1 PP to guarantee your arrival before that time.
  • Flares and Chaff D8: Spend 1 PP to avoid being taken out by a missile strike.

A Disturbance in the (House) Force – FFG Star Wars Games

Courtesy FFG

I guess my boys are becoming Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) Star Wars fanatics. Big T has all the FFG Star Wars RPG Core Books (Edge of the Empire, Age of Rebellion, and Force & Destiny) along with several expansion books. Together with Little RMN they started playing X-Wing this summer. Little RMN especially got into the system by reading older Star Wars technical books and spending his own money on expansion packs. This weekend, we broke out the Imperial Assault game – and now they are hooked again!

I believe a major factor in the appeal of the boardgames is the “toy factor;” the figures and models along with the many slick cards and tokens – not to mention the funky dice – just ooze that Star Wars feeling. Both boardgames do a decent job of capturing the feeling of the Star Wars universe. X-Wing plays fast and is deadly; just like in the movies. Imperial Assault has heroes and minions. As an added bonus, Imperial Assault is actually three games in one; a Tutorial Game to get started, a Skirmish Game (squad building) to play head-to-head, and a Campaign Game that is much like a RPG adventure series. Indeed, I wonder when FFG will come out with a way to convert your FFG Star Wars characters into Imperial Assault figures?

Bottom Line: Great games for the boys, but a bit damaging to the pocketbook. Glad to see the boys making their own investment in their gaming! In the long run, FFG has created new fans/players for life.

Star Wars: Edge of the Empire RPG – Jado Ragon (Human Explorer/Trader)

Courtesy swredshiftchronicles

Another Nameless Starport in the Outer Rim (Courtesy swredshiftchronicles)

Jado Ragon (Human Explorer/Trader), Captain-CoPilot of ILH-KK Citadel Light Freighter “In the Black”

Brawn-2 Agility-2 Intellect-2 Cunning-2 Willpower-2 Presence-3

Soak=3 Wounds=12 Strain=12 Defense (Ranged/Melee)=0/0 Total XP=110


Astrogation (Career)-2, Charm (Species)-2, Cool (Career)-2, Deception (Bonus)-1, Negotiation (Bonus)-2, Perception (Career)-1, Piloting (Career)-1, Survivial (Career)-0, Ranged Light (Species)-2, Knowledge Core Worlds (Bonus)-0, Knowledge Lore (Career)-0, Knowledge Outer Rim (Career)-1, Knowledge Underworld (Bonus)-1, Knowledge Xenology (Career)-0.


Know Somebody (1), Wheel & Deal (1), Smooth Talker (1)

Motivation: CAUSE – Overthrow the Empire

Obligations: Addiction (10), Oath (10)

Equipment: Lt Blaster Pistol, Heavy Clothing, ComLink, Utility Belt, Datapad, Extra Reloads

Jado is the Co-Pilot and Captain-Aboard the Citadel Light Freighter “In the Black.” For reasons he doesn’t speak about he is a quiet anti-Imperialist. Those that know him have heard his oath – but no one can tell you for sure what it is. Jade does like his Alderaan beer, but understandably it has been hard to procure in the Dark Times.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 121 other followers