This article originally appeared in Issue #010 of the downloadable PDF magazine.
Traveller: Compendium 1. Multiple authors
Mongoose Publishing http://www.mongoosepublishing.com
Mongoose Publishing distills their house magazine, Signs and Portents, for Traveller players.
On the Shelf
The orange color used for the Traveller logo on this volume matches the orange used for the word “Traveller” on the spine of Mongoose’s setting and adventure volumes. Unlike those volumes, however, Compendium 1 sports the otherwise-unadorned black cover that charaterizes “generic” volumes. There is no tagline.
There is a wealth of material in this volume, ranging from adventures to ships to characters to new rules and careers, and more. It unfortunately doesn’t appear to be organized for easy lookup and identification; the table of contents just lists the individual articles in order.
On Closer Inspection
Some effort to actually organize the volume has in fact been made; the beginning of the volume is all adventures, the middle sports a bunch of rule expansions, and there is a section of careers near the end, but Mongoose didn’t carry through and actually rigidly enforce such a structure on the volume - some material appears to be “out of place” for its type, and there is no actual indication as to whether a particular title represents an adventure, a career, or a rule expansion.
Most of the material appears to be well written. This shouldn’t be surprising, as Signs and Portents, unlike Freelance Traveller, does pay for published material, and would thus necessarily make an effort to see that any articles printed meet the highest standard that they could reasonably manage — even though Signs and Portents itself is available free.
Because the volume is a mixture of article types, a one-sentence summary/description of each article would have been a good idea; the lack is no more than an inconvenience, however, and a minor one at that.
It’s possible to argue both ways about the value of this volume. On one hand, there’s the convenience of having a good amount of well-written Traveller material immediately to hand, in hardcopy, in one place. On the other hand, that same material and more is also available free from the publisher, in electronic form, via Signs and Portents, though scattered about the eighty-four (so far) issues to date. Signs and Portents also has non-Traveller material that you can mine for ideas; none of that would be available here.
In the final analysis, you’ll have to decide whether it’s worth the purchase price to you; for once, I can’t come to a conclusion on it.