Saturday, March 17, 2012

Mailbag 5: Starmada and Traveller

starmada nova, starmada nova review, and starmada nova release: I've been getting a lot of hits for these, perhaps because not a whole lot of other people are talking about Nova...  bodes well :\.  Latest news is that preorders for the paper book and downloads for the pdf should be up this week.  Soooon.  Until then, not much I can do about a review.

mongoose traveller combat: Overall, I'd say that I liked Mongoose's combat system.  It's quick, which is great.  It's dangerous, but not unduly so; heavy anti-armor weapons like laser rifles kill lightly-armored PCs, but most of the time you're looking at 3d6ish damage (average 10.5), armor 6ish, and 21 HP, so you can take 3 hits to unconscious, another two to dead.  This gap between unconscious and dead is pretty big, which is nice because often you're left with survivors (who can be interrogated, but who you also have to take care of), and because PCs aren't necessarily killed outright either.  I'd also say that there are "enough" legal actions in combat; attack, move, change stance, aim, use leadership, and 'other shenanigans'.  It's neither "All I can do is move and attack", nor "I have a full 52-card deck of combat powers."  Their grappling rules are also nice and simple compared to d20's.  The range tables are a pain to keep track of, the vehicle combat rules are a bit more complex, and I'm not entirely happy with their implementation of Reactions, having seen Trailblazer's, but overall, it's a pretty damn good combat system.

traveller campaign blog: Well, I'm not sure of any off the top of my head that do play-by-play session reports, but if there were such a blog, it would be found in one of three places.  Obsidian Portal has a large list of Traveller campaigns; some of them may have active blogs.  Citizens of the Imperium has a number of blogs, I believe, but I haven't explored it fully.  Finally, Spinward Scout has a great heaping pile of Traveller resources, some of which are attached to blogs.  If you don't mind the fact that it's audio, the Close the Airlock podcast might also work.

mongoose traveller campaign management: I found the best way to manage mine was a combination of an Obsidian Portal wiki for things the players knew about the universe, a printed and scribbled on hexmap of a subsector, and a huge pile of text files.  I believe Alex used the Portal and a bunch of spreadsheets for his.  You might also find the Starfarer's Kit useful (or at least entertaining).

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