43 Space Opera Adventure Seeds
This article originally appeared in the July/August 2020 issue.
Space Opera Adventure Seeds. Jason Anderson
Polgarus Games (no website found)
One of the strengths of Traveller is that it allows the players and referees to adopt their own style of SF campaign, from grittily realistic to high space opera, even verging on technofantasy. It can also be a weakness, as that flexibility doesn’t have any “inherent” support for generating ideas, and sometimes, even the most creative referee may find xirself at a loss for an idea.
One can make up for this lack by purchasing and running pre-generated adventures or pre-generated campaigns; there have been many offerings in this class, and they fill a need, otherwise they wouldn’t sell. But sometimes those are ‘overkill’. They’re more than what the referee needs (or wants), or the core idea just doesn’t appeal. Enter the Adventure Seed: A quick outline of a situation, just a paragraph or two, enough to (hopefully) catch a referee’s fancy and trigger xir creative energies without overspecifying the situation or response to it. Those sell, too, because they also fill a need.
This booklet is the latter: a small collection of ideas that aren’t overspecified, suitable for a Space Opera style of campaign. Most can be easily adjusted to support other types of campaigns, as well, although there are a few that really only fit high space opera or technofantasy. These are just the basic scenarios, posing the ‘problem’; you don’t get any suggested denouements as in the ‘standard’ Traveller-format adventure seed. Most are generic enough that it’s sometimes even possible to combine two or more of these seeds into a more complex adventure idea. You don’t get any development of any of the ideas; they can be played as single-locale episodes in a longer campaign (perhaps filling in those two days on Carsten a little more momentously), or as enigmas or potential threats that can lead to multi-world mini-campaigns. Many scenarios also allow for development with the characters on either side of the law, so you can play to your party’s predilictions—or manipulate them into the opposite!
The layout of the PDF is acceptable, but page filling is irregular; several pages have sufficient white space that might have allowed for additional seeds without increasing the final page count. There is no apparent effort to classify and group the seeds, and a little rearrangement might well have also allowed additional seeds in the same number of pages. There are artwork credits on the first page, but no artwork for the credits to apply to.
As with any list of adventure seeds, this is a publication aimed squarely at the referee – players who don’t referee need not apply. For the price, it’s not a bad value, but as with any similar publication, whether to purchase it depends on how likely you are to need it – or want it.