Saturday, September 06, 2008

More Traveller

I finally got my hands on the 760 Patrons and the Mercenary books for Traveller. I haven't gotten to read much of either yet, but I've browsed through them enough to give my initial impressions.

Mercenary is very much what you would expect if you ever read the original Mercenary book for Traveller. It's all about expanded rules for running mercenaries, from character generation, to equipment, to combat rules everything has been given new options. Toss in a system for generating mercenary tickets (otherwise known as jobs), and we have the classic Mercenary book updated for MGT. It looks promising.

760 Patrons on the other hand, is not at all what you would expect if you ever read the original 76 Patrons supplement. A patron encounter has a specific meaning in Traveller terms. A meaning that is clearly defined in the MGT core rules as follows:
Each patron encounter lists:

• The patron’s name and role.
• The skills and resources required to complete the mission
• The suggested reward for the mission
• The mission as described to the characters
• What’s really going on. Several possible variants will be presented – either pick or roll for which is the real situation.
760 Patrons lists the patron's role and that's pretty much it. There are no missions here, merely charts of NPC motivations that could be used to inspire a mission or flesh out an NPC. If they were insistent on stealing a name from an older supplement, it would have been more accurate to call this one 760 Characters after the old 1001 Characters that simply gave you line after line of randomly generated character stats, even though there's no stats here.

To be fair, I can see this being a very useful supplement. It's a great way to bring to life an otherwise random NPC. It's just not what I was wanting or expecting based on the title and marketing. I would still love to see another book of true patron encounters at some point. In the meantime, I still have the FFE reprint of 76 Patrons.

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