The Khiidkar Incident. Martin Dougherty and Neil Frier.
BITS, 1999. 36pp. £4.50 ISBN 1 901228 20 7
The Khiidkar Incident is a reprise of arguably the best adventure in the Imperium Games volume Missions of State. Here BITS presents the restored text as a complete adventure booklet. The most notable differences are the inclusion of deck plans for the two main vessels; the addition of GURPS statistics for all the characters, ships and tasks; regional maps of Khiidkar; and a much improved text layout. This latter makes the adventure much easier to read and to use. The various details are in the chapters that they're needed and straightforward to locate. Included are short descriptive pieces that set the scenes very well and can be read direct to the players. In fact this is one of the most 'readable' Traveller books published.
The plot itself concerns an Imperial Count's efforts to capture the notorious 'Captain Swing', leader of the Khiidkar Freedom Front and some of the effects of those efforts. It involves starship battles, boarding actions, court intrigue, duelling, boar hunting and - of course - jealousy over the love of a beautiful woman. The settings range from on board starships, through noble feasting, to forest hunts. It sounds action-packed and there's probably enough material here to mount a small campaign, but the authors have handled it well and the elements work well together to strengthen the whole. There's a good balance between the serious and the more humourous; the deadly and the 'impossible'. The referee will need, however, to run this with a firm hand and a willingness to ensure that desired outcomes of certain events are achieved.
This is not an adventure for mercenary oriented players. It isn't an adventure suitable for scouts or merchants either. This is ideally suitable for role players who want to throw themselves into the part. Particularly if they've hankered after playing minor nobility. It would be difficult for an already established group of characters to make much of this volume; the PCs provided are really required for the adventure. However, the six PCs provided (as well as 4 NPCs) are well thought out and interesting characters; they are well described and it would very easy to 'get into character' even after a only a brief introduction. Information and methods for tournament scoring are provided.
Originally designed for Marc Miller's Traveller, The Khiidkar Incident now includes GURPS data and a table for converting tasks to any era of Traveller. While some of the setting material refers to Milieu 0, this is minor and any competent referee would be able to easily adapt this to any era they chose (though Traveller: The New Era enthusiasts might have a little more work to do).
Technically the book is identical to other BITS books - A5 (digest sized), transparent plastic cover over a colour picture that is relevant to the contents and comes in at less than 40 pages. It is interesting to note that this is the first BITS book to drop the Marc Miller's Traveller logo on the cover and adopt a more generic one suggesting its suitability for any era. The deck plans (a 400-ton patrol cruiser and a 400-ton Tempus-class patrol vessel now being used for 'other' duties) are excellent, the maps clear, and the layout much improved over the Missions of State version. A small section of Library data at the end provides addtional useful information.
In short, this a good resource for referees who enjoy running preplanned adventures; for players who want a role playing challenge; and for those who can't get a game of Traveller together, it even works for just 'reading'. This is how Imperium Games should have done it. If any Traveller book of the last three or four years is destined to become a classic - this could be it. Recommended.