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Mongoose Traveller 2nd Edition: Reach Adventure 1: Marooned on Marduk

This article originally appeared in the May/June 2019 issue.

Reach Adventure 1: Marooned on Marduk. Martin J. Dougherty.
Mongoose Publishing http://www.mongoosepublishing.com
33pp., PDF
US$8.99/UKú6.95

Author’s Note: I received this as a complimentary copy from Mongoose for review purposes.

Overview

“This adventure takes place on the world of Marduk, in the Oghma Cluster which lies at the Rimward (bottom) end of Sindal Subsector. The adventure is suitable for almost any group of Travellers, with or without a starship.

“Inventive Travellers can get through this adventure using almost any skills set, though ‘planetside’ skills such as survival and combat skills will be useful. No matter how much weaponry the Travellers possess, they will be deprived of most of it, and will find themselves outgunned if combat breaks out. Clever tactics and use of the environment will be necessary to level the odds.”

This an adventure book that explores the oft explored ‘lost on a hostile planet’ adventure. This scenario is not novel, but the author, Martin J. Dougherty, expands and delivers it well, and in doing so reveals more about the wider setting in which Marduk lies. Whilst quite linear, and using a limited set of components, the book delivers an excellent evening’s gaming, with re-use and links to further travelling in the Sindal sub sector. It is well illustrated with recognisably Traveller-like 3D images, shuttle plans, and competent character illustrations. It follows the high quality of Traveller 2.0 layout and graphics, and has no apparent typos or grammatical problems.

It is comprised of the following chapters:

Introduction: a top level introduction and a potential hook linked to GeDeCo, the Imperial corp of note in the Trojan Reaches.

Referee’s Information: This is an excellent and concise summary of the Trojan Reach, the role of the Aslan Hierate and the Third Imperium; as well as a summary of GeDeCo’s role as starport builder and operator through the Reach. The Sindal Subsector is then described and mapped, before moving onto the ‘collapsed’ worlds in the Oghma Cluster: the titular Oghma, Marduk, and Borite. The adventure is set on the ultra balkanised world of Marduk, but the raiders of Oghma prove to be key. The detail on the Marduk Highport is crisp and useful, and gives insight that can be used elsewhere.

This is a great introduction to the setting. I have read and run the Reach extensively, from the Pirates of Drinax campaign and elsewhere, and I appreciate how Dougherty delivers such flavor in 8 pages.

Arriving on Marduk: a 3 page arrival introduces 3 NPCs that will travel with the PCs, they are interesting, and in fact they would also make perfectly good pre-generated PCs if the referee wanted to deploy them as part of a one-off.

Downed on Marduk, Into the Wilderness, Rule The Ruins, and Holding On For Daybreak: These are the key Acts of the adventure. The core is set in a dark, rain swept night; cunning and vicious predators roam long abandoned ruins; xenophobic locals stumble into offworlders; translation comm computers struggle with barely recognisable dialects. Above, debris from a fatal collision light up the sky as shooting stars, and all the emergency comms channels are silent… Without spoiling anything, all is here for a tense, genre appropriate SF adventure that could be from Star Trek, Doctor Who or H.G. Wells. All the bits are there… and Dougherty keeps the advice coming: the sidebar entitled “Going Off Script? What Script?” is quite charming.

Characters: Stats and ships and all you need… as mentioned before, many NPCs would repurpose as a PC. The system details are light, this would be useable with any previous or parallel version of Traveller, with utility declining the further one went from 2d6…

Summary

Well crafted, well illustrated, well laid out, well written, high potential for an evening of tension, great for a con one-off.

5/5