This article originally appeared in Issue #003 of the downloadable PDF magazine.
Sci-Fi Adventure Seeds. James ‘Grim’ Desborough
Postmortem Studios: http://www.postmortem.demon.co.uk
and Cubicle 7 Entertainment: http://www.cubicle7.co.uk
While not a Traveller or formally Traveller-compatible sourcebook, this third-party adventure seed book is generic enough that a referee can easily adapt the seeds to almost any sort of Traveller-powered campaign.
On the Shelf
A white cover with black MICR-style lettering, and the spacecraft, sun, and planet picture, combine to make this book stand out on the shelves against practically any other RPG rulebook or supplement, for any system, from any publisher.
The book is well-laid-out, with a very readable font and good use of white space. Adventure seeds are one per page, with a description, three “twists”, and an epilogue for each; many also have additional notes or ideas.
On Closer Inspection
The book could have made use of a bit closer proofreading. The occasional “grocer’s apostrophe” appears, and there are some minor errors of grammar and infelicitous word or phrase choices. It is, however, really no worse than many other supplements in this respect.
There are four pages of ‘front matter’, covering a brief summary of what Science Fiction is, a contrast of the Adventure versus the Adventure Seed, and some discussion of where a referee can look for ideas.
The remainder of the book is the Adventure Seeds themselves. As noted above, each Seed has only three “twists” instead of the six that seems to be a de facto standard for Traveller, but few, if any, of the twists are simply variations on a previous twist – something which is not unusual in specifically Traveller Seeds (“4. As 3 above, except…”).
The book’s utility is slightly impaired, but the reason for the impairment is one of those things that rarely gets thought of even long after publication – there’s no summary information to let the referee quickly determine whether a particular Seed is suitable for his/her campaign. Sometimes the key information is available on reading through the Seed, or the notes at the end of many of them, but having the book – or at least an index – organized by any of several categories would have been helpful.
If you, as a referee, have trouble coming up with ideas for adventures, this is a useful resource – but similar resources are available for less or free elsewhere. Think twice before purchasing this, but don’t rule it out entirely – there are some seeds in this volume that don’t follow the “conventional” adventure idea patterns, and could lead to quite the enjoyable session.