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Clement Sector Player’s Guide

This article originally appeared in the March/April 2016 issue.

Clement Sector Player’s Guide. John Watts.
Gypsy Knights Games http://www.gypsyknightsgames.com
115pp., softcover or PDF
US$29.98(S+P)9.99(P)/UKú19.62(S+P)6.54(P)

For those who’ve had their appetites whetted by An Introduction to Clement Sector, Gypsy Knights Games have produced this players’ supplement. Intended as an addition to the career information presented Mongoose’s Core Rulebook and GKG’s Clement Sector core setting book and Career Companion, this covers character backgrounds, new careers, character packages and new skill specialities.

Following a couple of pages of setting fiction which are typical in GKG offerings, the character background section is 28 pages long and includes setting-specific tables to select subsector of origin, planet of origin, background skills for individual worlds and primary language. These are straightforward and one could wish that there were similar homeworld (or home sector/subsector) tables for the Third Imperium to help with background planet selection of random NPCs (though of course the tables would have to be on an entirely different scale and carefully weighted for population given the number of worlds in the standard setting1). This section also includes some tables which could be used elsewhere in Traveller with little or no revision: Youth, Teenage and College events. Each of these has both a d66 Events and a d6 Life Events table. There is also a 2d6 Prison Events table. Youth involves two rolls to cover ages 4-8 and then 9-12 with rolls 31-36 pointing to the Life Events table and rolls 41-46 giving a “relatively calm and peaceful childhood…no major events”. Teenage Years again requires two rolls to cover 12-15 and 16-18 and again rolls 31-36 point to a Life Events table. College has been covered elsewhere in Traveller, but this is a quick and easy take on the subject which some might prefer.

The next section of the book offers six new careers each with three or four specialities as well as a handy list of which GKG books describe the 23 careers available in the Clement Sector setting. This volume offers:

Each has a d66 Events table and a 2d6 Mishap table. The two System Defense careers add a Military Events table as well which is pointed to by a roll of 41-46 on the Events tables. It’s a little hard to see in some cases what these careers offer beyond other iterations of similar in the core rules and elsewhere but these do allow for subtle wrinkles which some might find useful and the expanded Events tables are always welcome. There is little here that is setting specific so referees or players wanting a little extra variety might well want to check these out for other Traveller settings.

The next, and largest section at forty pages, covers ‘Character Packages’. These are aimed at those who feel the standard character generation is too random. For each career and speciality of the 23 GKG careers there is a short paragraph offering prerequisites, benefits, base skills, secondary skills and rank. The idea is that a player will decide how old their PC should be and which career tracks they’ve experienced and then select skills based on terms served (with certain limits). This certainly reduces the random nature of standard character generation rules, speeds up the process considerably and can also make NPC creation quick and easy. Even if referees aren’t interested in the Clement Sector setting, the method here might well be of interest for either home grown settings or the Third Imperium.

The final section of the book is just a couple of pages and offers optional skill changes which GKG feel “will help to better define your character and what your character can do”. They argue, not unreasonably, that some of the main Core Rulebook skills are a little too wide-ranging. Once again, these suggestions could easily be used outside of the Clement Sector setting. Advocate gains specialities of Legal, Oratory and Politics—with one sentence explanations of each of course. Deception gains Disguise, Forgery and Intrusion; Survival gains Cold, Desert, Forest, Heat, High Pressure, Jungle, Mountains, Ocean and Swamp; and Tactics gains Sport. The only setting specific addition is Engineer which gains the obvious Zimm Drive specialty unique to Clement Sector. Opinion will no doubt vary on how useful these are but it’s good to see them detailed in one place given the scattered nature of stumbling across them in the various GKG books and personally I’d suggest Mongoose take a hard look at including some of these in their forthcoming 2nd edition rules.

Throughout the book there are colour illustrations typical of those seen in GKG publications. Almost invariably they focus on sentients although some struggle with the uncanny valley effect of the software used to produce them. Some are mocked up advertising which work well, some are space views that still include a character and some are particularly effective—such as the gravball game, the deep cover spy, two explorers and perhaps the shipping agency office. The uplifted species of the setting make appearances in several of the pictures. The front cover is the traditional black with sidebar publisher name and centrally located illustration with title above and below, this time a rather pleasing crew group photo in front a grounded ship with city behind. In its print-on-demand incarnation this comes as the usual high quality, perfect bound book with colour throughout and is a handsome addition to any Traveller’s shelves with the spine thick enough to accommodate the title. It’s also available as usual as a nearly 30MB PDF which can be bought with the print at no extra cost.

Clement Sector Travellers buying just one book as a player should probably go with the Career Companion, but this Player’s Guide adds considerably to that work and is worth considering. Referees using the Clement sector background will definitely want it for the extra options it offers and even those not using this particular setting may well find use from some of the background tables (youth, teenager and collegiate for example) or the new skill specialities. The new careers aren’t uninteresting but have been covered before where they’re not specific to the setting. What all Travellers might find useful are the 40 pages of character packages noted above. An excellent volume which I suspect I’m going to find creeping off the shelves and into use more often than I might have expected at first glance.

1 Traveller5 has a table (page 82) that offers a start on this, but only for the Spinward Marches and a handful of other odd worlds.