Author: Martin J. Dougherty
Publisher: Quick Link Interactive http://www.travellerrpg.com/
Format: 55 page PDF (Screen and Print Versions)
Special Supplement 1: The Sydymic Outworlds by Martin J. Dougherty, written for both T20 and Classic Traveller, follows along the same lines as the Linkworlds Cluster presented in the T20 Referee's Screen. It details an area of Ley Sector with enough information to start playing immediately, but without going so far as to deny the referee flexibility.
As with the EPIC Adventure series the introduction describes what the book is, the standards and assumptions made, and what is needed to play. The Epic adventure format is explained along with rewards and advancement. An example shows ways to assign rewards through the course of an adventure. This introduction is almost a direct copy from other QLI products, but what is new, as far as I can tell, is the 'Designer's Notes' at the end. This hints of what to expect in the coming adventure, and gives Martin's view of what playing Traveller is all about, a view with which I tend to agree, using as an example, and paying tribute to, the Rescue Swimmers of the United States.
The 'Sydymic Outworlds Cluster' is a section that describes the background to the area of space being detailed. This is a cluster of six worlds with another couple just a jump two away, right on the Imperial boarder. Details of the worlds, and the policies in the area are given along with two maps, that of Ley Sector Delta Quadrant and the Sydymic subsector. Much of the information in this section is taken directly from other QLI products. Those of you who own the Gateway to Destiny and the EPIC adventures will experience a feeling of Déjà vu, however the new material, if presented on it's own, would seem out of place, and to my mind at least, this duplication is justified. The new material in the section, that of the Sydymic subsector and the world descriptions, is well written and enables the referee to have a good insight into portraying this bit of space as different from everywhere else. It still allows the referee flexibility to add their own touches without deviating wildly from the official setting. One thing I think is missing from this background material is the history of the Sydymic Empire and the Sydymic War. While mentioned in the planetary descriptions no detailed information is given about what happened during the Sydymic Empire or the effects of the Sydymic War both of which had a profound effect on this area of space, and I think that the inclusion of a general history would have only added to the quality of this product. Owners of the Gateway to Destiny will find this information in the history of the Gateway Domain at the beginning of that book. There is a selection of rumours, which seem to end all QLI adventures, that give some insight into the current happenings of the cluster and it's surrounds and hints at information in other QLI products detailing the Gateway Domain.
'Short Adventures' presents three Signal GKs (Amber Zones), two Mercenary Tickets, and four Odd Jobs (Patron Encounters). These provide adventuring opportunities in the cluster some of which give further detail and insight into the planets of the cluster and it's current state (Imperial date 993). These added to the main Epic adventure allow this supplement to be run as a mini campaign.
The main guts of the supplement is the 'Keepers of the Gate' Epic Adventure, set on the Imperial client state of Irdashdis. This starts as an innocent on planet delivery job following which the characters get encouraged to act as heroes in the natural disasters that follow. More detail about the fauna and environment of Irdashdis is given in this adventure, and it is written in a way that encourages the referee to present the players with a new planetary experience different from elsewhere. The adventure shows that even on a small, high tech, and highly populated world Mother Nature is still an awesome force to contend with. Another important aspect of the Epic is the character interaction that takes place between the Irdashdiseans, the characters, and also with a small party of the Loyal Sector Guard. Information about the Loyal Sector Guard is given throughout the supplement and indicates that they have taken a keen interest in this cluster.
An Epic adventure checklist and the cast of characters follow, allowing for record keeping and presenting the referee with the stats for all the main NPCs and the fauna encountered. These are given in both T20 and CT stats allowing the detail of the character to be known (T20) and enabling easy conversion to other Traveller rule sets (CT). Library data follows giving further insights into the cluster and the region, and apart from the Open Game License the supplement ends with a section entitled 'Developing the Sydymic Outworlds'. This section encourages Traveller referees to submit their own material detailing the cluster to QLI for posting on their website, stating that this is to be a "fan-driven region" that hopes "With sufficient input from T20 fans, the Sydymic Outworlds will be built up into a vibrant, living game setting". I for one think this is an excellent idea and hope the Traveller referees, having purchased the supplement, will submit their encounters, adventures and detailed locations to QLI to achieve this goal.
Apart from a few typos and inconsistencies that could have easily been fixed before publication I think this is another good Traveller product from the QLI stable. With only little modification the scenarios could be used in almost any existing Traveller campaign and whole planets could easily be transported to other areas of the Traveller Universe. I think the Sydymic Outworlds Cluster as presented is a good place to bring an existing Traveller campaign. It also has some interesting ideas that can be mined and has the potential to be an excellent fan driven resource. Even at $7.50, $2.50 above the price of the EPIC Adventure series, I think this is still value for money, and unless you are a seasoned Traveller referee who has no need to purchase supplements or adventures, I would say this is a good buy.