One-Act Adventures: Vengeance by Proxy
This article originally appeared in the March 2013 issue of Freelance Traveller.
Adventures: Vengeance by Proxy. Jason Kemp
Samardan Press. http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/samardanpress.
US$3.99 PDF/US$8.99 Softcover
On the Shelf
At only 16 pages, it’s going to get lost if it’s edge-on. In full-face view, it follows the basic structure of other Traveller third-party titles (and some setting-specific titles from Mongoose), with black segments with the title at the top, and publisher information and compatibility requirements and logos at the bottom, surrounding some artwork. For this number from Samardan Press, the artwork is a striking image of a whirlpool nebula. The print version of the cover seems to have less of the blue seen in the image accompanying this review, but is still quite striking.
The adventure of the title is presented on two-and-a-half pages, in the form of four scenes, presented in the order that they should be run. Each scene consists of a synopsis of the events that are expected to happen during the scene, plus some referee's notes about it. The scenes are set out in broad only; essentially specifying why the PCs are in the scene, and what the goals (for the scene) of the other party are—no specific method of achieving the goal is set out, nor are any specific events during the scene specified.
Immediately following the scenes is a page of character data, identifying the NPCs that the party will encounter. These are presented in the usual Traveller format, and include stats, sills, equipment, and a brief description.
The page-and-a-half of Library Data following the character data is very much tuned to Mr Kemp’s Azri Drakara Sector setting, and contains mostly background information entries. Some of these will be of interest to the PCs, but none of them provide information that has any immediate impact on the adventure.
A description of “Gee-Ball” follows, slightly more than a page. This description is more in-depth than the Library Data entry, because one scene could have the PCs involved in a game. The ‘in-universe’ rules are included, to give players and referees an image of what’s happening during play, and a set of rules for ‘gaming out’ a match are provided to resolve the game that the PCs might get involved in.
Two pages of subsector data for Cepheus Subsector, on one world of which the adventure happens, are provided; this consists of a subsector map and a listing of the worlds in the format familiar to long-time Traveller players, dating back to the earliest days of Classic Traveller. Two pages of explanation of the codes in the UWP follows, mostly tables that could have been taken from (or adapted from) the similar tables in the Traveller SRD.
The book closes with just over a page of the legalese required when one publishes material to which the OGL is applied.
The only artwork in the adventure is the cover; however, that should not be construed as a deficiency—while there is plenty of room for additional artwork (roughly two-and-a-half pages) due to the locations of page breaks, any additional illustrations would not necessarily have added anything to the adventure; at most, they might have provided imagery such as the appearance of the major NPCs, which in this reviewer’s opinion can be just as easily—and just as profitably—left to the imaginations of the players.
Although written for the author’s own unofficial setting, and for the current (Mongoose) edition of the Traveller rules, it is easily adaptable to any setting that carries the same trope elements as the Official Traveller Universe, and to any of the so-called ‘Classic-compatible’ rule sets (typically held to be Classic Traveller, MegaTraveller, Marc Miller’s Traveller/T4, and Mongoose Traveller).
For the referee who has trouble coming up with good playable scenarios, but can easily grab someone else’s set-up and run with it, Vengeance by Proxy is a worthwhile short-but-expandable adventure to have. Mr Kemp has hit on a useful style of presentation, and has not over-specified the adventure, making it very nearly ideally flexible. A definite “buy” in PDF; the print edition is the purchaser’s call.