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Adventure 1: The Kinunir

This review was originally posted to the author’s blog in March 2017 and reprinted in the May/June 2017 issue.

Adventure 1: The Kinunir. Michael Johnston.
Game Designers’ Workshop http://www.farfuture.com
94pp., softcover and PDF
US$3.99/UKú3.22 or included in the Classic Traveller CD-ROM

Note: This is the cover included in the Classic Traveller CD-ROM. The version from DriveThruRPG includes a large white Helvetica “A01” in the upper right corner of the black area of the cover.

Adventure 1: The Kinunir was the first official adventure published for Traveller in 1979, two years after the release of Classic Traveller. It’s an interesting read, and it has some ideas. But here’s what I got from it:

For running, it’s a very bare-bones set up. There’s three entry points, and it’s largely up to the referee to get the characters from the entry to the adventure itself. It’s a more bare-bones approach than the current ideas on how to write an adventure. This is less the modern adventure with everything scripted out, more of a frame work to build into your universe.

In a fundamental difference, the Imperium is not as pleasant in this incarnation as it is later on. The Imperium disappears politicians it doesn’t like and locks them in prison hulks. They ruthlessly use Ancients technology and anagathics for the ruling class, and make it difficult for lesser nobles and players to get access to it.

Warships are built with imported components. The scrapped Adda Dubsar lays on its ways on Regina, a TL A world, fitted for a Model 7 computer. At least for its own purposes, the setting is implicitly allowing for equipment on a world to be produced outside of its stated tech level. It can either be a plot point or something like current-era ships built in China but fitted with Western weapons and sensors. I see “Tech Level” as mostly relating to what is commonly available on the world.

Also, we begin to see information about the wider setting. Somewhere in this Imperium is a Vegan Autonomous District—this won’t be detailed until 1982 when Solomani Rim is released. For a J-4 ship presumably built in the Spinward Marches, it’s a long journey in the Official Traveller Universe. There’s also mention of the Fourth Frontier War, and Express Boats. It’s starting to merge the small ships of the initial release into the large ships of High Guard and later editions. Also, Strephon and Iolanthe are mentioned, complete with UPPs.

Generally, this is an interesting addition to any Traveller collection, and a fodder for ideas as well. The Kinunir and similar ships can make give your Free Traders a real threat without a big ship, or be Big Daddy for merc campaigns, especially if the Marines are deployed. It’s setting neutral for the most part, and easily adapted. A lost starship is a great adventure hook in any science fiction setting.