Twilight Sector Setting Update Alpha
This article originally appeared on RPG.Net in May of 2011, and is reprinted here and in Freelance Traveller’s July 2012 issue.
Sector Setting Update Alpha. Chris Stevens
Terra/Sol Games LLC http://www.terrasolgames.com
This slender volume carries a great deal of punch despite its small size. It is an enhancement to the supplement entitled the Twilight Sector Campaign Setting Book: Revised for Mongoose Traveller in which a pair of Alternate Earths located in a different region of space are determining the history of humanity. The original Twilight Sector Campaign Setting Book was viewed as incomplete by most players and referees; TSG has remedied this by this short volume that ironically leads you to wanting more. Contained within are the useful tools that would have added value onto the original book. It contains things like an integrated timeline and brief synopses of the stellar nations, and in-depth examples of the Transluminal drive (which is a core difference between the OTU and this milieu; despite the Core Traveller rules accounting for this, it is always necessary to spell out how one does Jump in Space Opera). Ironically, I found this chapter somewhat redundant as I did understand it from the main book but I could see where many would be confused. Kudos to TSG for making this process even more clearly defined in a free supplement. Lastly there are even more adventure seeds. I will not give away contents lest players should be reading these reviews. Needless to say, they are as solid as the ones in the primary book.
Criticisms? Well, for one the volume does recycle much of the art of the original Twilight Sector Campaign Setting Book after one gets past the excellent cover. While that book had exceptional art, to see it twice and in some cases thrice repeated is really too bad. Their choices were good, in keeping with the text, but, unfortunately, these were not some of the best pieces in the Twilight Sector Campaign Setting Book. So, seeing bad art repeated is too bad, but something I believe will be remedied in future supplements, as I can see Twilight Sector: Beyond the Open Door returns to the tradition of having phenomenal art. I could maybe criticize the lack of even more content – but we gamers are always trying to get more from a publisher. I certainly look forward to future releases and hope that they will indeed consider POD with a multitude of international partners to bring this fantastic milieu to an ever larger audience that may be stymied by the large print costs associated with PDFs and POD publishers in the United States. Having said that, eBook readers and tablets are getting better so maybe in the future, all RPG products will be some form of PDF or e-inked paper. As much as I embrace the future, though… I hope not. I love paper, especially when the lights go out.
The fact that Terra/Sol Games LLC released this for free really shows their commitment to the game and to gamers as a whole. Maybe it still leaves the Twilight Sector incomplete but I do not think so. If the function of a supplement and a game company is to spur the imagination of Referees and thus create vivid visual and audio landscapes rife with adventure, then Terra/Sol Games LLC has done a great job with everything in this line to date. The line and milieu should not be viewed as competitors to the more established OTU as complementary adjuncts in the best of Traveller products that have gone on before it. Maybe some would consider me a tired grognard, but most of all I count myself as a player/referee of the greatest SFRPG – Traveller. Nothing that Terra/Sol Games LLC has done to date has altered my belief in that Traveller is the ultimate in providing a flexible framework for adventure and a heuristic to tell the stories that we cherish and encapsulate in our hopes and dreams.