Travellers' Aide #9: Fighting Ships of the Solomani
It's very nice for what it is, and I don't intend faint praise by that. It's an excellent contribution for those of us who are running or intend to run a Solomani Rim campaign, and a surprisingly good adjunct to GURPS Traveller: Rim of Fire.
It is a book about the Solomani fleet, how it came to be, and what its tactical doctrines are; it also covers some info about the split with the "internal security" forces of the government, and drops hints about the member states' potential fleets in a crisis. It does a nice job of framing the whole discussion of Solomani intent and goals without resorting to simply portraying them as jackbooted bad guys for the good guys to bash around.
The ships are an excellent mix, and seem to stack up well as a companion to the Imperial ships in extant ship supplements. One can see how the fleets used the tactics they did, and interestingly, underlines the ongoing Solomani insistence on close combat weapons over longer range engagements. The ships do seem to not be just the same Imperial ships with a few extra bells and whistles; it feels like a different fleet with a different doctrine.
The range of sizes run from the capital ships of hundreds of thousands of dtons down to the player-sized foes in the low hundreds of dtons. There are a respectable number of designs included, discussed with a bit of history in many cases (fun for Naval history types), some discussion of its use, and often some character fluff (old, new, popular, crowded, etc.). All have full stats, and look to be typo free as far I've seen (a major failure point with published ship designs). As with most previous QLI (and Avenger) T20 products, they are easily - very easily - ported to Classic Traveller or Mongoose Traveller.
The lack of deckplans is somewhat disappointing but the Mongoose "no ship without a deckplan" doctrine is still quite new and revolutionary (and this is neither published by nor for Mongoose), and most of the ships would have massive deckplans at a very small scale, increasing the page count significantly to little actual useful purpose - I have to say I don't see much benefit in deckplans of Tigress-sized ships.
The exterior views are good, and seem to be relevant to the ships in question, which has been an issue in other products, so, good enough.
I'd say it qualifies as a solid product, of generally good usefulness to anyone gaming in that area, and/or interested in fleet and ship design in Traveller in general.
Those involved in producing it can be proud of it, regardless of other issues. Thanks!