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21 Plots III

Editor’s Note: This review originally appeared on RPG.Net in October 2012, and is reprinted here and in the April 2013 issue with the author’s permission.

21 Plots III. John Watts
Gypsy Knights Games. http://www.gypsyknightsgames.com.
25pp., softcover/PDF.
US$4.99 PDF/US$10.99 Softcover

Once again, Gypsy Knights Games comes up with a set of adventure hooks for their Alternative Traveller Universe (ATU). This product is closely aligned with the twin releases of the Hub Worlds and 21 Organizations, although possession of either is not required, as an imaginative Referee can easily change names or places to substitute for the places or things that are specific to this ATU.

And, because, it is an “alternate universe” this product is excellently suited for any Science Fiction Role Playing Game, not just Traveller – so long as the emphasis is on trading and mobility – as each of these adventures do presume that players have their own ship or at least access to a ship which unfortunately is becoming the norm in most SFRPGs. Without sounding too old fashioned or grognardy – I remember the days when players had to earn a starship and were always in danger of losing it by hook or crook – but that is not the fault of this supplement – notwithstanding, none of these situations offer genuine peril. That said, each of these adventure seeds are solid and present a different situation than the other Plots series which for me shows the dedication and hard work in crafting these adventure seeds.

The best part of this book is that it really shows Gypsy Knights’ devotion to building better worlds – fully rounded and realized worlds, thus, we do not get generic desert worlds that are Dune or Tatooine clones – we get original and thoughtful laid out worlds replete with a history that forms a tapestry and backdrop for these adventures. Traveller, all too often, has used a cookie cutter approach distilling worlds to just a series of numbers, leaving the Referee with the laborious task of creating the social science matrix in which adventures can occur. These adventure seeds provide enough background, that if the Referee is not in possession of the correct Sector book or Quick World, they can put some numbers together and fly the seat of their pants – and still create a memorable adventure. And, because it is written in the format of 101 (1001) Patrons in which a basic premise is set up and the Referee can choose or roll 1D6 for possible outcomes – the same basis for the adventure can reused with completely different results.

If this volume is missing anything is unfortunately an index, undoubtedly, when all plot books are compiled into a single book – an index will be forthcoming but in the meantime, should the Referee purchase a Sector book, it would be helpful to be able to line up a world with an adventure in the case of freeform campaign or series of one-shots (which many a gaming night) is degenerating down to these days, as opposed to a prolonged campaign.