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Mongoose Traveller 2nd Edition: The Pirates of Drinax: The Theev Cluster

This article originally appeared on rpg-resource.org.uk in October 2016 and was reprinted in the January/Feburary 2017 issue.

The Pirates of Drinax: The Theev Cluster. Martin J. Dougherty.
Mongoose Publishing http://www.mongoosepublishing.com
17pp., PDF
US$5.99/UKú4.80

In the middle of the Sindal Subsector you’ll find the three systems that make up the Theev Cluster. Strategically important, it has a bad reputation as a pirate hotspot that encourages many merchants to go the long way around to wherever they are going. They are also remarkably hostile towards the Imperium. For most Traveller players I’ve met, it’s their kind of town!

The Introduction gives the history and background of the cluster along with a map of part of the Sindal Subsector to help you get located. It winds up with a discussion of the Imperial Navy’s dealings with the locals.

We then move on to the first of the systems, Vume. It’s probably the least hostile system, but that doesn’t mean it’s a very welcoming place—and that’s not just because the main planet is an airless, waterless rockball of a world! Most life is found on the orbital highport, although people venture to the surface to explore some ancient ruins… billed as an Ancient site although nobody is really sure if it was them or some other long-lost race who built them. They’re now inhabited by some quite peculiar folks.

Next we read about the Theev system. Now a bit of a backwater if not pretty much abandoned altogether, it used to be part of a major trade route. Their highport was bored out of a moonlet artificially placed in a geostationary orbit around the main world. It is not recommended to break the law here, as they don’t go in for the niceties of law courts and endless appeals—perpetrators are merely shown out of an airlock… and that’s the official law enforcement by a black-robed bunch called the Widows. Travel to the downport is discouraged, and as the world is arid and very dusty, people generally only go there on business—or hunting for rumoured treasures outside of the controlled environment that protects the one inhabited city that has grown up around it. The place is ruled by the Pirate Lords, and the Widows enforce their rule at least in the Upper City. The Lower City is darker and meaner…

Finally comes Palindrome, the third system in the cluster. It’s a run-down backwater; even the highport is scruffy and half-abandoned, even though it still claims to be Class B. The planet below is uninviting, with a thin atmosphere and little surface water and a single domed settlement called Astrogo which is run as the personal property of a retired pirate, the Lady Yemar. Here, the standard of living is high, supported by a TL of 12, and the community is quite insular and inward-looking. It is a good place to find those ‘special’ items not on sale elsewhere, and a haven for fugitives. The place is quite welcoming to outsiders provided they don’t strut around in Imperial uniforms.

This is an intriguing group of worlds likely to prove popular with the ethically-challenged. Each is brought to life in the concise notes provided, though you will have to provide even the notable inhabitants and any maps you might need; even the rest of the systems are not well-developed. When your party decides to go ‘shopping’, send them here.