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Mongoose Traveller Book 8: Dilettante

This article originally appeared in Issue #012, December 2010, of the downloadable PDF magazine.

Mongoose Traveller Book 8: Dilettante. Pete Nash.
Mongoose Publishing http://www.mongoosepublishing.com
94pp, softcover
US$24.99/UKú16.99

The eighth generic career book for Traveller focusses on the independently wealthy Traveller.

On the Shelf

As with any generic career book, the word Traveller and the arrow are green, on an unillustrated black background. The subtitle on the first printing is “Honesty’s a Fool”, the same as for Scoundrel, but this is clearly both inappropriate for this book, and an oversight on the part of the editorial staff at Mongoose.

Initial Impression

The book follows the standard form for Mongoose Traveller career books. A variety of relevant careers is followed by information, rules, guidelines, equipment, and campaign material to go with characters developed using the book. As has become standard, the material is well-organized and easily read.

On Closer Inspection

Unlike previous versions of Traveller, the handling of the wealthy Mongoose Traveller is fairly comprehensive—if you’ve seen it done by someone with oodles of money in real life, chances are that it’s accommodated in this book. Twenty-one career paths in seven careers cover everything from the sports star to the talk-show host to the court sycophant to the adventurer to the collector to...

Social Standing becomes more than just an indication of noble rank and/or a simple reaction roll modifier; it is expanded to affect the character’s recognition and influence, and that in turn is affected by the character’s area of influence (both in terms of geography and what the character does). Rules for modifying your Social Standing—and what happens if you fail to maintain it—bring an additional dimension to in-character play.

Wealth is more than just cash—and when mustering out, a character doesn’t roll on a simple Cash table for some number of liquid credits; instead, an income-generating portfolio is built (and the rules for doing so encourage the possibility of portions of the portfolio becoming adventure hooks).

Fame can be used by the character—or used against the character. The famous entertainer character might be able to talk the grav bike dealer into just giving him a bike in exchange for an endorsement of the dealership—but when he trashes a bar in a bit of overdone carousing and is arrested, his face will be all over the papers, and (if the local social climate is chilly enough) he may not be able to talk his way out of criminal charges or get off scot-free. All of the good stuff—media access, bypassing authority, freebies-for-endorsements, preferential treatment, contacts in high places, etc.—are balanced by the bad—kidnap and extortion attempts, the chance of addiction, mental breakdown, unwanted media or fan attention, public embarrassment at every faux-pas, and so on.

Entertainment is part of the lifestyle of the characters generated in these rules, and this book outlines how to include it—both throwing parties, and attending them. Dinner and dancing at Cr500 per person just barely shows up on the radar; thousands of credits per day at a resort is more like it, and tens of thousands of credits per day isn’t out of the question.

You can also spend some of those credits on Stuff. Expensive Stuff. High-quality Stuff that you want to be seen in. You can afford the best, so get the best. This book list some of the best, and the kind of prices you'll pay for it. Stuff isn’t just the little things; it's the big things, too—like the 100-ton J2 yacht. And the 2500m2 home on a couple of dozen hectares of land. And the staff to maintain the home and crew the starship. And so on...

Summary

Money may not be able to buy happiness, but an awful lot of it can buy an awful lot. It doesn’t take much, however, to buy this book, and doing so isn’t a bad idea if you want to add the wealthy Traveller to your campaign.