[Editor's Note: Thanks to an agreement between BITS and Steve Jackson Games, all BITS supplements are available in North America through Steve Jackson Games. You can find contact information for Steve Jackson Games in the Traveller FAQ in the Freelance Traveller Information Center. Ordering information for all BITS products can be found on the Steve Jackson Games Catalog page.]
Little Black Book supplements are back! And back with a vengeance. (Only they're not 'black' any more, they're quite natty colour things that are representative of what is fast becoming the BITS style: slightly mechanistic but colourful and evocative, and most certainly "Travelleresque").
101 Plots is very much in the style of the old GDW supplements both in physical size and concept.
This book, like its companion volume 101 Cargos, is by Jo and Lesley Grant, 40 pages long.
'101 Plots' is a book no referee should be without. The implied warning there is that players might want to steer clear of it for obvious reasons. It doesn't say it's for referees only (like some of the early GDW books did) but PCs could well spoil things for themselves reading this. On the other hand, if they just want to be inspired by the sheer inventiveness to be found in this volume perhaps it should be up to the referees to change things round - I'm sure they will anyway!
As has been mentioned on TML the book claims to actually have 134 plots, in fact I can reveal that there's 135. (Yes, I am a sad person. Perhaps there's some kind of Jump Space distortion going on here). However many there are, what you get ranges from Patron encounters just like GDWs '76 Patrons' supplement, to personals which are briefer more for fun. Let's have a quick look at them:
- 32 Patron encounters - the usual format of a briefing paragraph followed by (up to) six outcomes.
- 15 Introductions - basically 2 or three paragraphs providing a way of getting PCs to meet people.
- 24 Job Advertisements - the actual text of the advert followed by descriptive paragraphs relating to the work.
- 17 Red Herrings - patterned on the Job Ads but the work involved is not so worth-while!
- 20 Information Notices - similar to the job ads but leading to info that may (or may not) be of use to characters.
- 12 Personals - from the obscure and cryptic to the Valentine 'sickies' - fun and just might lead to something!
- 15 gimmicks - 2 to 3 paragraph descriptions of imaginative oddities.
There's also a brief glossary with very short entries briefly describing various things mentioned in the book and there's even a page for notes to keep track of where you've used what plot.
Without quoting any of the items to you (and thereby spoiling the fun), it's hard to say much more. Each of the items is titled which gives you a quick and informative reminder of which one's which (an index might have been useful but would have been quite a lot of work to very helpful) and the entries are imaginative, geared towards role playing and occasionally down right fun. I can't recommend the usefulness of this book enough as it provides more than a few 'ideas' of just the sort that are hardest to come by when writer's block has set in and the well of imagination has run (however temporarily) dry.
Have fun, enjoy these books, and above all don't fear that Marc Miller's Traveller won't survive. If BITS has anything to do with it based on their first three publications, you don't have to worry yet.