Mongoose Traveller 2nd Edition: Reft
This article originally appeared in the May/June 2018 issue.
Martin J. Dougherty.
Mongoose Publishing http://www.mongoosepublishing.com
113pp., PDF (softcover forthcoming)
Price TBD (see note)
Note: The reviewer received his copy as part of the deliverable for the Great Rift Kickstarter, and will be receiving the softcover when it ships to Kickstarter backers.
Reft Sector, while not properly part of the Imperium (except for two areas on opposite corners), has always looked like it should be important to the Imperium. With the publication of Reft, it becomes so.
The introductory material gives a brief historical overview of Imperial involvement with the Islands, in the central subsectors of the sector. It then goes into a description of the Islands’ trade patterns, outlining trade routes and shipping patterns—unlike the general case in the Imperium proper, the cultures of the Islands see no problem with the slower shipping of two Jump-1s for many trade links that Imperial trade would use a single Jump-2 for. A nicely rendered map, showing the two main trade routes in the Islands, is included. Following this trade overview is a capsule history of the sector, starting with the ESA colonization mission of 2050AD, and including the discovery that there were multiple colonizable worlds, the settlement thereof, and the exploration of and expansion into the rest of the Islands. The history continues, recounting the arrival by misjump of the Eldorado at Serendip Belt, the effective trading of repairs to Eldorado for Imperial technology in weapons and the Jump Drive, and the later dissemination of Imperial technology by the Scouts, in a strategic decision to prevent a single state from becoming too dominant (and perhaps costing the Imperium too much when/if a trans-Rift trade route might be created). The section wraps up with an overview of the current political state of affairs in the Islands, and suggests that war may be on the horizon.
The core of the volume is an encyclopedic atlas of the sector, much like those found in The Great Rift. Each of 13 subsectors gets a complete listing of its worlds, an overview of the “character” of the subsector, a closer look, amounting to about a page each, at certain worlds in the subsector deemed interesting, and a map of the subsector. (The three omitted subsector all have zero worlds in them.)
Following the atlas is a section on the “Mysteries of Reft”. These are all non-worlds, and all have some sort of mystery—possibly only legend—attached to them. Most are marked on the subsector maps, but those that are not have no locations given for them. Each of them has up to a full page of description, much like the ‘interesting’ worlds in the atlas.
The final chapter is on the politically and economically powerful entities of the sector. Each gets a descriptive article like those for the ‘interesting’ worlds, running between one and two pages.
Artwork is plentiful, and only ‘suffers’ (if you can call it that) from being clearly rendered rather than photographic. Deckplans of starships and spacecraft are in the color isometric view standard for Mongoose publications, rather than the black-and-white line-drawing plan views from older versions of Traveller.
A surprising omission in this volume is any discussion of the two deep-space stations constructed by the Imperium to make it possible for Jump-4 ships (or Jump-2 ships with double fuel) to cross the Rift through this sector. A trade route across the Rift here would have significant economic ramifications (a friend actually worked this out for GURPS Traveller—though he actually proposed four stations, bringing the route down to Jump-3), and those stations would be critical in making it happen.
Recommendation: With a little extra work on Mongoose’s part, this could have been worth buying on its own. As is, though, you really should get the remainder of the Kickstarter package with it.