Friday, July 18, 2014

Classic Traveller book review - 76 Patrons

CT-S06076 Patrons

This is a PDF made up of scans of the original product which was released in 1980. This it’s not a fully featured PDF.

The stated aim of the product is to provide a referee with 76 Patrons. My first thought on seeing the title of this product, was that it was going to detail 76 N.P.C.s who could become campaign level patrons for the players. But, a Patron is someone who is offering a job/mission to the players for remuneration.  If this book was produced today it would likely have been called “76 Adventure seeds”, therefore looking with the modern gamer in mind the title is a little misleading, but not much.

There are 76 seeds presented, varying in size from half a page to a full page in length.  Each sets out, the number of players that it’s designed for and any equipment or skills that are required to complete the mission presented.  These numbers are a useful guide as the missions vary in “size” from “go meet that guy”, through to the players acting as part of a body guard team. However a versatile referee can happily disregard these requirements and improvise. In fact, picking a seed with a requirement the players don’t possess could make the game even more interesting.

In most cases the seed is split into sections, player’s information and referee’s information. The player is usually presented with a person who needs, help, or who is willing to pay for services. The subject of the seeds vary tremendously, I found every one interesting.

Within the referee’s section it a really neat addition. There are usually three possible variants of the mission, you’re supposed to roll a die and consult these options to see which one applies.

For instance, suppose there is a mission to escort a bride to another planet. One option might be that she doesn’t want to get married, another that her lover (not the husband to be) is sending mercenaries to rescue her, or indeed that the ship being used to transit to the other planet is hijacked.  These additional options allow the referee to spice up the mission, or indeed reuse it by changing a few names here and there and adding a different twist.

After these 76 seeds come 16 mercenary tickets. These are adventure seeds for larger military groups varying from squad right up to battalion. The stories hinted at in these tickets are just as interesting. They don’t have the variants listed, but most military situations don’t need additional complexity as they are always complicated!

I really liked what I got in this product. There is a lot of inspiration in here, that will keep my traveller game going for years. I’ll play some of these missions as written, others I’ll twist into the existing campaign by taking the idea and fitting it in with existing patrons I already have.

But what’s wrong with it?

These are introductions, just seeds, germs of ideas or plots, there are no details, no maps, no stats. As a referee you will not be playing through a printed module, you’ll be making up pretty much everything.

Well worth the money I gave to DriveThru.

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