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Mongoose Traveller 2nd Edition: Marches Adventure 1: High and Dry

This review originally appeared on RPG-Resource in January of 2018, and was reprinted in the January/February 2019 issue.

Marches Adventure 1: High and Dry. Martin J. Dougherty.
Mongoose Publishing http://www.mongoosepublishing.com
45pp., PDF
US$8.99/UKú6.76

Many groups of Travellers want—if not outright need—a starship. This adventure, which would make a good campaign starter, provides the opportunity to not only give them one, but give them a good adventure as they acquire it. Interestingly, it’s possible to complete the adventure without any combat—there’s plenty of action to keep them busy, it just doesn’t have to involve a brawl. That said, there are plenty of opportunities in which a fight could break out if the group so chooses…

It all begins with the offer of a ship. So it does help if the party has the necessary skills to pilot one, plot a course, and run the engines. Other than that, the party may include any backgrounds or skillsets. If one is a former Scout and has rolled a ship as a mustering out benefit, that’s peachy, just tell him to report to the local Scout Officer to arrange for it. Otherwise one of the party’s contacts has arranged for them to have one but they will have to fetch it for themselves—or if another party member has ownership or shares in a ship, use that ship instead only, again, for some reason it’s elsewhere and has to be fetched.

The intention is that the adventure begins on Flammarion in the Bowman Arm, in District 268 of the Spinward Main. It’s an interesting enough region to knock around in, and frequent reference is made to a campaign called Project Steel which is quite hard to find—there are copies on Amazon, although I don't believe it ever was released in PDF—seeing as it was released by ComStar Games/Avenger before Mongoose Publishing acquired the Traveller licence and others who had licences at the time lost them. Hopefully it will be reissued one day as it would make a good follow-on to this adventure. But I digress…

There is some background about the Bowman Arm and the various places to visit therein, especially a planet called Walston which is where the Scoutship IISS S001642-C, known as the Highndry is to be found, along with an explanation of why it’s there. The explanation given to the party is that it suffered a major breakdown of its electronics on Walston and needs to be patched up and brought back to Flammarion for repair. In return, their expenses will be covered and once it is fixed they will receive the ship on a standard IISS ‘detached-duty’ contract. The notes cover the trip—it’s not merely a question of making a couple of Jumps, good atmosphere building and reality here, also it gives a new group time to get to know each other—and finally the arrival on Walston.

Of course, this is where the fun starts. The ship is not at the starport on Walston. The party has got to find it before they can make an attempt at fixing it. Fortunately, there’s plenty of information to find out by asking around in the local Star Town and beyond… they’ll even be offered assistance in retrieving their ship if they’d be kind enough to undertake the task its previous crew had contracted to do.

It all makes for a fascinating adventure, and an excellent start to a campaign. The level of detail at every stage is considerable and creates an excellent air of reality, a sense that there are lots of things going on that have nothing to do with the party and which would be taking place even if they weren’t there. It's all part of creating a living alternate reality in which you and your group can immerse yourselves every time you play.