Vanguard: Boarding Actions in the Fifth Frontier War

After many, many years of waiting… a miniatures game is finally coming to the Traveller universe!

At 4pm (GMT) on Wednesday November 14th, we will be launching a Kickstarter to produce a massive box set miniatures game for Traveller, entitled Vanguard: Boarding Actions in the Fifth Frontier War. This set will provide everything you need to build Imperial and Zhodani forces, and then play through a campaign to board or defend a warship – all against the backdrop of one of the largest wars to strike Charted Space.

If you have dropped by Planet Mongoose to learn more about Vanguard, then you have likely already seen some of the sneak peeks we have revealed of this game – this post is an in-depth exploration of the game and what we are planning for it…

 

The Box Set

Vanguard will be arriving in a massive box set, jam-packed with everything you need. We are still finalising the contents (we keep adding new bits and pieces, like we always do with a Kickstarter project!), but you can expect to see the following:

  • 16 Imperial Marines in Combat Armour
  • 14 Zhodani Troopers in Combat Armour with 2 Warbots
  • 6 Large (A3 size) gameboards depicting the interior of a ship
  • 64 page Rulebook, complete with never-before-seen background on the Imperial Marines and their Zhodani equivalents
  • A Card Deck with miniature representations of the gameboards (to randomly generate areas of a ship) and Strategy Cards
  • Many, many Counters to represent wounds, debris, barricades and a lot more
  • Stand-up Iris Valves in both open and closed versions to help or hinder forces fighting in narrow corridors

The miniatures of Vanguard are produced in ‘heroic’ 28mm scale, and will fit in well with any similar modern game.

 

Playing Vanguard

As with our previous miniatures games, we have kept the core rules simple, allowing us to layer tactical options on top to create a game with some considerable depth.

To play Vanguard, two players choose which force they will fight for (Imperium or Zhodani Consulate in the core set) and whether they will be the attacker or defender, and then select the type of ship that will be boarded – Frigate, Destroyer, Cruiser, or Battleship. The size of the ship determines the number of units each player has at their disposal.

Once the players are ready, they play the Breach! mission. The attacking force has closed in on the target ship, given it a good pounding, and then launched boarding units – burning their way through the hull, the boarders have a few vital seconds to gain entry before the defenders can properly react. They must secure the immediate area before the defending forces can mass an effective resistance and throw them off the ship.

The attacker has several advantages in the Breach! mission, and so will likely win – it is the defender’s task to make the boarders pay for every inch they advance.

After the Breach! mission has been completed, the players run through a number of missions that chart the progress of the boarding action. The attacker must consolidate their position and then send out reconnaissance teams to quickly find out the quickest routes to the most vulnerable areas of the ship. In return, the defender can draw enemy units out of position and ambush them.

The end game of the boarding action will see the boarders launch a Strike mission against a critical objective (such as the bridge or engineering section), or the defender launching a successful Counterattack that pushes the boarders off the ship – at that point, the attacker has the option to launch a new boarding action if they feel they have enough forces remaining, or gracefully concede the campaign to the defender.

All of these games can be played in a single day of solid gaming, or be conducted over several evenings down the local games club.

Throughout the game, both players must manage their resources, choosing when to commit their most powerful units to the fray and avoid frittering them away in less important clashes. The player who can gain the most momentum will have a solid advantage, but things can reverse quickly with one bad choice!

 

The Core Rules

This is a Traveller-based game, and the core rules will be instantly familiar to anyone who has played the RPG.

If you want a model to perform an action beyond simply moving, a Check will be needed. This is simply a roll of two dice whose values are totalled, and then an appropriate modifier (usually a skill) is added. If you gain a total of 8 or more, you have succeeded. It is that simple!

For example, an Imperial Marine has just entered a corridor and sees a vile Zhodani trooper at the end of it. He raises his Laser Carbine and fires!

He rolls two dice and gets a total of 7, but then adds his Gun Combat skill of 1, for a total of 8 – he has just made it it!

This system is used for shooting targets, hitting people in close combat, hacking doors, setting explosives… just about everything!

Each model itself has a number of Action Points (AP), which are used to select specific actions. For example, moving one square ahead consume 1 AP, while shooting a heavy weapon requires 2 AP.

The core rules really are that simple, and they are flexible enough for you to do what you want in the game, while staying simple enough that they effectively become ‘invisible’ while you play (something we strive to achieve in all of our miniatures game – it is far more fun to actually play rather than constantly look up things in a rulebook!). However, we have added one complication – Snapshots.

A Snapshot (aside from being a reference to a very old Traveller-based game) is an opportunity that a model can take during their opponent’s turn. If it sees an enemy model complete an action (such as marching around a corner), it can attempt a DEX check (Dexterity check). If successful, it can loose off a ‘snapshot’, hopefully wounding or disabling the enemy before it can act.

This means you cannot simply move models around with impunity – you will need to flank enemies and support your own troops as you advance towards your objectives, and one model going down can create a gap in your line that will be quickly exploited by a cunning opponent.

 

The Forces: Imperial Marines

Both Imperial Marines and Zhodani troopers are equipped with Combat Armour and carry Laser Carbines as their standard armament. However, there the similarities end.

An Imperial Marine wears heavier Combat Armour than their Zhodani counterpart, is equipped with a Cutlass for ‘close encounters’, and has access to a wider variety of weaponry. Beyond the Laser Carbine, they can instead carry a Laser Sniper Rifle (useful for covering long corridors), a rapid-firing Gauss Rifle, and the feared Accelerator Shotgun (for when you absolutely, positively have to kill that last Zhodani).

In addition to weaponry, the Imperial Marine can also carry Shaped Charges to get through sealed Iris Valves (airtight doors), Medikits to keep other Marines on their feet, and Terminal Intrusion Comps to hack into vital systems on the ship. Officers even have access to expensive Psishield Helmets…

The Imperial Marines are led by Captains and Lieutenants, and are organised into Boarding Squads, Special Weapons Squads, and Pathfinder Squads.

Their basic tactics are to weather the assault of an enemy and defeat them with well-equipped Marines who have the tools to get any job done.

 

The Forces: Zhodani

Zhodani troopers have a very different approach to battle. While they wear (very distinctive) Combat Armour, theirs is of a lighter build. While an Imperial Marine might be able to shrug off more attacks, a Zhodani trooper is a lot faster and more agile than his enemy (in general, they get more AP than Imperials and can turn in tight corridors easier). Whole units can wrong-foot and flank an Imperial Marine force, striking from positions rapidly gained before their enemies even know they are there.

In addition to this, the Zhodani have a very powerful weapon at their disposal – Psionics. With a mere thought, a Zhodani trooper can telepathically distract an opponent, force them to commit to an action they might not otherwise choose, telekinetically hurl an Imperial Marine across a room, or build a psychic shield around themselves. One particularly favoured trick of powerful Zhodani psions is to use Clairvoyance to scout out a location behind an Imperial unit, and then Teleport behind them to launch a devastating (and unexpected) attack.

And those Psishield helmets the Imperial Officers love so much? They only work against telepathic powers…

Every Zhodani squad leader and noble is a psion with access to these powers, and the Zhodani player can upgrade every other Zhodani trooper to be a psion, if that is so wished…

So, the Zhodani are fearsome opponents – but they have one more thing in their armoury…

The Zhodani military uses Warbots in many roles, and boarding actions are not least among them. The type of Warbot used on board a ship is very heavily armoured, capable of snipping the head off an Imperial Marine with its claws, or using its Laser Rifle to mow enemies down. However, many Zhodani nobles prefer to mount Flamethrowers on their Warbots – shorter ranged and it is tougher to get through Combat Armour… but entire rooms can be immolated instantly.

 

Just Zhodani and Imperials?

The Traveller universe is huge and we could put all sorts of things into Vanguard. However, we want to keep the focus of this game ‘tight’ without the requirement to make multiple purchases to build ever larger forces – we want everything you need to play the game in the box set.

However, this being a Kickstarter project, we could not resist putting in a couple of stretch goals that will give you a bit of variation.

If all goes well in the Kickstarter project, we will add first the Aslan, and then the Vargr!

The Aslan are honour-bound warriors whose thirst for territory drives them ever onwards to expand. They will think nothing of boarding a heavily armed ship to prove their right to lead. As a force, the Aslan have lighter armour than the Imperials and Zhodani (though their leaders have access to something very heavy) but they are very, very strong, and love nothing more than to slay an enemy ‘honourably’ with the Dewclaws.

For their part, the wolf-like Vargr have to be a lot sneakier than most – this force will represent pirates or corsairs trying their luck against a disabled warship. They are the fastest of all the forces but must concentrate on defeating enemies one at a time with pack tactics…

 

Strategy Cards

Both players will gain Strategy Cards throughout the boarding action, though the player who develops the greater momentum on the ship will have greater access to them.

Strategy Cards represent ploys and events that take place beyond the scope of the squads in the set of corridors represented by the gameboards, but which can nonetheless greatly affect a mission.

For example, the defending player might choose to switch off the artifical gravity in a section of the ship in order to disorientate the boarders or rapidly Vent Atmosphere to expose everyone to the void (and yes, models can be lost as they are sucked out into space!).  The attacker might target an area of the hull with his own ship, equip his forces with Stun Grenades, or engage in Electronic Warfare to disrupt the defender’s own strategy.

 

Exploring the Universe

One thing we want to achieve with miniatures games like this is explore an area of the Traveller universe that, up to now, has not had much attention. Within Vanguard, you will find a great deal of information on the regiments of the Imperial Marines and Zhodani, including equipment, organisation and unit markings (the latter of which will, of course, be of great benefit when you paint your models!). Marc Miller, the creator of Traveller, has weighed in here and given us some great material for his favourite regiments, which have been included in the rulebook.

We have even persuaded fan-favourite Martin Dougherty to not only flesh out the regiments presented in Vanguard, but to write a brand new short story that presents the chaotic environment of a boarding action from the Imperial perspective.

 

Join us in the Vanguard

We sincerely hope you will join us in this Kickstarter project to bring to life the first new Traveller miniatures game for a long time. In return, we will provide you with a game that you can play over and again without repetition, charting the fate of a warship in the Fifth Frontier War. You will be able to explore the forces used in this conflict, and have a range of superb 28mm miniatures to represent them on the table top.

Join us in the Vanguard – we think you will enjoy it here!

The Circle – March 10-11

Welcome to the Circle, the first women-only gaming event held at Mongoose Publishing’s HQ!

The intent of this event is to provide a safe, comfortable environment where female gamers can meet other female gamers and enjoy a weekend of RPGs, miniatures, board, and card games – if it belongs on the tabletop, you will be welcome to play it here!

This is a free event with no entrance fee and while the odd Mongoose game will be played, there will be no hard sell during the day. Just come along and enjoy all the games on offer!

 

Where

The Circle takes place at the offices of Mongoose Publishing:

Mongoose Publishing
52-54 Cricklade Road
Swindon
Wilts
SN2 8AF

Click for Map and Directions

There are free car parks within a hundred yards of our office (don’t park on the street outside, that is not free). Once you are in the area, look for Iceland – we are directly opposite, on the first floor above the bed shop. The entrance is round the side of the building!

We will be open from 10am to 6pm on both days (you are welcome to come to either or both days). If you are GMing a game, you will be welcome to arrive at 9:30am to begin setting up.

 

Who Can Come?

In a nutshell, anyone who identifies as female is welcome to the Circle. Men are respectfully requested not to enter the building during the event (only Mongoose’s female members of staff will be present). If they are responsible for transport, we believe they will find a lot in Swindon to keep them occupied during the day!

 

Registration

While this is a free event, we would like to know how many of you are coming and what type of games you are hoping to play. If you are intending to come, please send an email to msprange@mongoosepublishing.com stating:

  • What day you are coming (or whether you will be here for both days)
  • How many will be coming with you
  • What games you wish to play

 

What to Bring

Other than yourself, you really do not need to bring much!

Dice, pencils and pencil sharpeners are always handy at these events, along with any games you wish to introduce to others.

We have a small tuck shop here at Mongoose which is very reasonably priced, and there are plenty of food outlets on the same street, as well as two supermarkets. So long as you do not make a mess, you are welcome to eat at the gaming table.

 

The Weekend’s Structure

For this event, we are intending to keep things fairly flexible in terms of games and gaming. It is likely that games will be run in the morning, with a break for lunch, and then you will have a chance to play a different game in the afternoon. However, if you wish to stick with the same game all day (or across both days), you will be more than welcome!

The Mongoose staff will be running games of Traveller (a sci-fi RPG), along with the Firefly and Talisman boardgames. We will also have some volunteer GMs on the day to run a variety of other games.

However, we encourage you to bring your own games and introduce others to them during the event. There will be plenty of tables available for everyone.

Upon arriving, several games will already be set up ready for you to join. Simply pick the game you want to play and join in, or grab a spare table and start setting up your own. A Mongoose staff member will be on hand to collar gamers and bring them to you!

The following games are among those that will be played over the weekend:

Traveller: Deepnight Endeavour
This adventure takes place aboard a derelict exploration vessel which the Travellers must enter to locate fuel. With no way to get home, they discover there are survivors, and that the ship has taken aboard a malevolent entity seeking to reach an inhabited planet. The Travellers might simply try to escape or they could attempt to destroy the entity, but they will face opposition from the original crew as well as the entity itself.

Bluestockings
A GM-light storygame about being the first women to study at Oxford University. It is 1880, and you are about to join the second cohort of students to enrol at Somerville Hall in Oxford. You will not be officially members of the university, you will get no degree at the end of your studies, and there are many people who believe it is foolish, wasteful or even dangerous to educate women, but you are going anyway. There are academic challenges ahead, but also social ones. Will you be called home early to help support your family? Will you fall foul of the restrictions placed on women at Oxford? Or will you just fall in love with someone while you’re there?

Doctor Who: Urban Sprawl
There’s been a fatal stabbing outside a nightclub in Leeds. What’s that got to do with you? Well the murder victim doesn’t seem to be human…

Doctor Who: Cold War
It’s the mid 80s and the height of the Cold War. UNIT has a tricky diplomatic mission: the Soviet Army has discovered something weird in Afghanistan. You must investigate without riling up the Soviets, annoying the CIA or accidentally starting WW3.

Closing Doors
When one door closes, another opens, or so the saying goes. All through our lives we make choices. Some turn out well, and others not so well. But what if you could go back and make another choice? Change one of those choices; open a door you left closed and always wondered about? This is a game about a group of old university friends, meeting at their usual holiday cottage for another annual (more or less) reunion, who find themselves jumping through alternative universes. How differently could their lives have turned out? How might those small moments have changed the trajectories of careers, families, relationships? And what’s causing them to jump? Will they get the chance to choose which door to leave open, and which to shut forever?

 

The Role Play Haven

The Role Play Haven will also be present during the weekend with their female members.

The Role Play Haven is a non-profit Community Interest Company (CIC), focused on delivering an excellent gaming experience, while raising money for charity.

They have branches in Lewisham, Stratford and Archway, and play games ranging from the classic Dungeons and Dragons, Traveller, to more recent publications, such as Star Wars: Edge of the Empire; Star Trek Adventures; or new age indie games like Fiasco and Apocalypse World. With at least half a dozen tables to choose from at each branch, you’ll always find something to suit your gaming needs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

State of the Mongoose 2017

Mongoose Publishing has just finished its 16th year and, it has to be said, things are looking good!

The State of the Mongoose is our yearly address to gaming community, covering how we have been getting on over the past 12 months, and looking forward to our plans for the following year. So, with no further ado…

 

Business Stuff

After the big changes over the previous two or three years, things have become remarkably stable here at Mongoose. Studio 2 Publishing and DrivethruRPG handle our printed books and ebooks respectively, allowing Mongoose staff to focus almost entirely on design, which is where we are most certainly happiest.

We have maintained our policy of using guidelines to channel publishing dates rather than deadlines and we have managed to keep to the odd one here and there. What is more important is that books are only released when we believe they are ready, rather than being pushed out because of an artificial date – this does lead to books being delayed due to last minute ‘wouldn’t this be great?’ ideas, but we feel the final work is all the better for that.

Under this system, we try to release a big hardback book every three months, with smaller adventures and ebooks either side but 2016 saw us wedged firmly in some very large projects. The biggest, without a doubt, was the Pirates of Drinax mega-campaign set, a slipcase with three hardbacks and a massive poster map (available at Drivethru, and at print right now). However, we have also worked on a number of boxed sets, including the new Traveller Starter Set, Yellow Clearance Black Box Blues (Remastered) and, more recently, the Great Rift.

 

Kickstarters

The latter two are great examples of how Kickstarter can be leveraged to take a good project and make it so much better, while keeping players engaged in the whole design process. Yellow Clearance Black Box Blues (Remastered) is, of course, based on the classic Paranoia adventure but doing it through Kickstarter allowed us to not simply reprint the old book with some tweaks to bring it up to the latest edition, but do it as a four-book box set in its own right with all sorts of added material. The Great Rift (now available on PDF and about to go to print) was intended to be a 200-odd page box set with a giant poster map – it now spans nearly 400 pages with three giant poster maps, and has had three standalone adventures added to get you going immediately.

All of that was a direct result of using Kickstarter.

So, I think it fair to say we will be doing some more ‘special’ projects in the same way in 2018. The combination of increased resources during the development stage wedded to direct involvement with backers not only make the whole process a lot of fun for us, it also results in projects with a much grander scope, taking them to a whole new level, and thus far no project has demonstrated this better than the Great Rift.

It would also be fair to say that we have now ‘cracked’ the Kickstarter process. The last of the Paranoia Kickstarter is done and now at print, and the Great Rift Kickstarter has been turned around in record time, despite nearly doubling in size (and is at the printers right now). We still have a tiny number of obligations with older Kickstarters that involved miniatures, for which we now have to rely on third parties to fulfil, but the Judge Dredd project is now complete, and all metals for Rogue Trooper have been sent out – we now have only a few dozen resin vehicles to follow which will be completed in the first quarter of 2018.

The ‘secret’ has been to bring as much work as possible in-house, and prepare the majority of each project before the Kickstarter so much as goes live.

 

Brexit

Here in the United Kingdom, the word on everyone’s lips is Brexit. I won’t get into the politics here (suffice to say the Powers That Be seem intent on turning it into a disaster), but the effects are already making themselves felt. And if you are an effective exporter in the UK, those effects have been fairly positive up to now.

Pound Sterling crashed after the referendum and while it has recovered a little since, Dollars from the US and Australia, with Euros from Europe, are worth a little more now than they once were. Which is good if you are selling books and PDFs to those countries. The flip side is that as we have our books printed by Studio 2 in the US, our cover prices are linked to the Dollar, with the result that UK gamers are paying more. We have kept the prices flat for now (those Traveller hardbacks should be nearer £40) but literally no one knows what is going to happen over the next couple of years.

Within the context of Mongoose, we do not foresee any major issues with Brexit. However, the thought does occur that it does not really matter how well Mongoose is doing if, outside our offices, the rest of our countrymen are re-enacting scenes from Mad Max as they fight over the last tin of baked beans…

 

New Year, New Office

We have made some real changes around Mongoose HQ, improving both the environment and the tools used to produce games.

The first thing we did in 2017 was replace the office computers, as we had been lumbering on with the same tired old machines for a few years now, and they badly needed updating. The old computers were effectively thrown into a skip, and replaced with dual screen Alienware systems that run silky smooth and are VR-ready (perhaps Amy and Sandrine can start putting books together by waving in the air, Minority Report-style…). Amy, being the principle artist, also has a third screen, a massive graphics tablet that allows her to draw/paint directly into the art packages we use (Adobe Creative Suite).

We have also revised our back up procedures so that everything is backed up in at least three different locations (including off-site), installed a 300 meg broadband line (no more waiting for massive art files to download), and most of our software is now cloud-based, meaning we can work from any computer, anywhere in the world.

Technology rocks.

For my part, I just picked up a humble Alienware laptop because, you know, Microsoft is going to bloat Word. Nothing to do with me feeling left out over the other new computers in the office…

We did not stop on the technology front though. Since Mongoose began, I have always wanted it to be different from a ‘normal’ working office – I wanted it to be a fun place to be in. For several years now, we have had one side of the office dedicated to gaming space, where the local club comes round every Tuesday night, but I felt that this alone lacked… ambition.

For the past couple of years I have been adding display cabinets and filling them with miniatures (mainly Star Wars and Warhammer), but this year we have added another block of cabinets, plus shelving upon which we have placed ‘cool stuff’. If you have a close look, you will see we have IP represented from Star Wars to Bagpuss, plus the start of a World War II fighter collection.

We also have (finally) a table big enough to play Talisman with all the expansions, and a TV/Xbox set up. This is an ongoing process, and there are still things I want to add (such as the 8-bit gaming area with Commodore Vic-20 and Spectrum +2, and I am debating whether to start a fantasy sword collection…). However, even as things stand, out of hours at Mongoose HQ is pretty fun.

We have also added a new recruit to Mongoose, the Office Vargr, named Stug…

 

2017 and the Mongoose

In the end, we did not release often this year – but we released well.

After a setback or three, Paranoia finally arrived, the Red Clearance box set surfing ahead of a wave of supplements, including expansion decks, adventures, and the world’s first Interactive Screen for Gamesmasters (seriously, check it out…).

If anything, Traveller had an even mightier year, with the boxed Starter Set arriving and the Great Rift just going off to print. The heavyweight, though, has to be the Pirates of Drinax mega-campaign, a true tour de force written by Gareth Hanrahan that provides a strong storyline in a massive sandbox that will provide months (if not years!) of gaming. In my own not unbiased opinion, the Pirates of Drinax stands as maybe the best thing Mongoose has ever released – it is available on Drivethru right now and the slipcased, three-volume printed edition will be arriving any day.

If you have any interest in Traveller at all, this is not one you will want to miss…

We also managed to squeeze out some new Traveller adventures, as well as PDF missions for Paranoia, which are always worth a look!

 

Traveller in 2018

So, what can you expect in 2018 for Traveller? We have oodles of books already in preparation…

The Shadows of Sindal: This was actually intended for 2017, but was a casualty of the increasing size of the Great Rift box set. This is the last of the initial Pirates of Drinax expansions, and is an entire ‘bolt-on’ mini-campaign that can be inserted into the main storyline. The Travellers will learn of a new biological weapon that has been deployed against the Aslan, and its mere presence threatens to overturn the balance of power in the Reach…

The Traveller Companion: We have been talking about this one since the release of the new edition! However, it is almost with us, with over 50% of the text done, dusted, and we are just waiting for the rest (Martin Dougherty is working on that right now). This book mirrors the Core Rulebook closely, adding new options and rules every step of the way for you to expand your games. Think of it as a Traveller ‘toolkit’ with, for example, new ways to create characters (including ‘point-buy’ systems), new characteristics (such as Luck), more weapon types (disintegrators!), more Alien Traits, and more… well… everything!

Behind the Claw: One thing we really wanted to avoid doing with the new edition is treading too much old ground. However, our work on the Trojan Reach and, within the Great Rift, Reft, has convinced us that, approached correctly, there is value in it. Added to that the desire to build a HUGE block of sector maps covering Charted Space, and we were sold – if you look at how the sectors of the Great Rift and Trojan Reach all tessellate together, we just had to go back to Deneb and the Marches and fill that gap!

So, we are giving these two sectors a spring clean and will be releasing them fairly early next year as a big hardback, complete with a poster-sized sector map for both. We have completed the revision of the Marches already, making sure everything ties in with the latest stats on Travellermap.com, and adding lots of new material, such as Dolphin Travellers (and their equipment – Amy cannot wait to start doing art for Dolphin Battle Dress!), the Abyss Rift, the Planetary Aerospace Defence missiles used on Dorannia, and a hand-cranked dirigible… Martin has now re-written Deneb, and we are just putting the finishing touches to that.

Psion and Mercenary: We wanted to avoid ‘career’ books in the new edition, unless they actually added something truly worthwhile to game play. This is somewhat easier with Psion, as the core rules do not dwell long on the subject, but we wanted to find a proper angle for Mercenary. We are working on a brand new system that will (we hope) fully support a mercenary-centric campaign that is easy to get into – to the extent that you will see it backed up with Mercenary Adventure 1: The Wardn Conflict (for example). This is an area of Traveller beloved by veterans but rarely touched upon by newcomers.

We are aiming to change that with this book…

Starter Set II: We haven’t got a name for this box set yet, but we know where it is going. Our approach is two-pronged – on the one hand, it is to the current starter set what D&D Expert was to the red box Basic edition, expanding the rules and horizons of players. We will be doing this by adding High Guard mechanics to the set but, instead of all the ships you see in the current hardback, we will be detailing the vessels of the Refugee Fleet as it tries to get out of Dodge and leave the ruins of Tanith far behind. The campaign in this set will extend that storyline as the fleet tries to find a new home…

Another Box Set?: The thing is… we have really enjoyed not only working on the Great Rift, but seeing it grow and expand due to the efforts of all the backers. It really would not be the set it is now if it were not for them. So, we kinda want to do it again!

The current plan is to, somewhere towards the end of February (when the Great Rift and its adventures will be on its way to backers), run a new Traveller Kickstarter. This will be another box set, this time covering a single class of warship, adding blueprint deck plans, adventures and technical information. If you are old enough to remember the Azhanti High Lightning boxed set, you will sort of know where this is going – but we want to really knock the ball out of the park this time round.

There are all sorts of ways we can expand on the basic idea of this set, making it perfect for a Kickstarter and the input of backers. We hope you will join us!

Oh, and what ship will it be? We have settled on the Element family of cruisers (including the Ghalalk-class Armoured Cruiser in High Guard – this is actually three classes in one), as the modular nature of this ship will allow us to go to town on the deck plans, adding compartments for fighters, marines, additional weaponry, and exploration roles (very suitable if you also have the Great Rift).

The Sword Worlds/Florian League/Glorious Empire: This is actually three books, each of which looks at one ‘empire’ in the Marches or Reach. Martin Dougherty has already begun preliminary outlines of a new Sword Worlds book, and I am very keen to push forward on the other two. Each will be a 160-200 page hardback, packed full of information, ships, vehicles, and rules for playing Travellers from (or affected by) the empires. As well as expanding these areas of space, I am hoping each book will look, well, glorious!

2300AD: A new version is indeed coming, and we already know the core rulebook will be supported by the Aerospace Engineer’s Handbook and a newly revised Bayern. Sandrine will be taking the lead graphical role in this line and, between her and writer Colin Dunn, we are expecting great things…

Fifth Frontier War: This is another one we have talked about for a long time – since our first edition of Traveller, in fact! We now know what we want to do with it (a hardback Expedition to Zhodane mini-campaign that leads into three – count them! – slipcase campaign sets, each the size of Pirates of Drinax, taking the Travellers across the Marches and Zhodani space, and on into the Extents, a truly epic journey that will allow them to witness the war from both sides of the border…), but how we go about it is another question. We are talking well in excess of 2,000 pages of Traveller goodness, including bringing Vargr and Zhodani properly into the new edition (and you might now guess why we are pushing forward with Behind the Claw and Sword Worlds, laying the foundations for this RPG epic!).

As well as those huge, monolithic campaign sets, there will, of course, be oodles of supporting material, allowing you to really immerse yourself in Charted Space during one of its most perilous events. If 2018 does not see the release of the first Fifth Frontier War campaign by the end of the year, we will certainly have laid down the ground work to support (including the aforementioned Behind the Claw and Sword Worlds).

And All The Rest: There is a lot more in the works I have yet to mention, such as the Mission to Mithril adventure, a revisiting of the classic, again penned by Martin – this one is written, edited, and is now in layout (you may see the ebook edition before the end of January, all going well). Further away is the box set that collates all the old FASA Traveller material (ships, worlds, Sky Raiders, and the Far Frontiers and Reaver’s Deep sectors) and updates it all to the current edition. Then there is the Naval Architect’s Handbook, Core Sector, Twilight’s Peak, and I still have a burning desire to visit the K’kree, as Traveller Inner Circle member Rob Eaglestone has come up with an absolutely cracking angle for these aliens…

Traveller Miniatures Game: This idea has been pushed around for a few years, and we now know where we are going with it. The ‘strategic’ idea is to produce a handful of self-contained Traveller miniatures games over the next few years, rather than try to dive straight in with a 40k-kicking open table game (that would not work anyway).

The first of these will be a game that focusses on boarding actions, whereby two forces (Imperium and Aslan in the main box set) attack and defend a ship. The hook here is that you do not just play through a list of set scenarios but instead engage in a complete mini-campaign where each player allocates resources to attack or defend vital areas of the ship such as the bridge or engineering. These decisions then affect the battles fought through the ship’s corridors as the boarding action succeeds or is defeated.

All the miniatures will be done in plastic, drawing upon our experience with Starship Troopers, and the range will be intentionally limited – at this time we are planning on the main box set (which really will contain everything you need to play, including the corridor sections of the ship and campaign rules) with additional single sets adding a fixed number of new forces, such as Vargr and Zhodani. It will be fast, frantic and, hopefully, a lot of fun!

As for when? Well, we kind of have this pencilled in for development at the end of the year, so it will be 2019 before it appears in stores. However, we also have a lot of big projects this year and, as always, we won’t release this until we are sure it is ready. We just want you all to know that your cries for a Traveller miniatures game have been heard and we are on the case.

We will get to it all, I promise. What I hope is clear is that Traveller has a very, very bright future, and we hope you will all join us as we continue to push back the boundaries of Charted Space.

 

Paranoia

A good session of Paranoia is one of those glorious moments in gaming that you remember for years, and the current Red Clearance edition has been geared from the ground up to deliver those experiences. We are now working on the follow up of the first wave of expansions with a brand new box set, Acute Paranoia. Its mission brief? Deliver cool new things to do in Paranoia!

This is a project that is being worked on right now, and we are looking to start showing you what we have been up to in the second quarter of 2018. As well as containing three books (Players, Gamesmasters, and Missions) and an extended card deck, Acute Paranoia will be the vanguard of a second wave of expansions released over 2018 and 2019, including the CoreTech card deck, written by Gareth Hanrahan, which allows players to modify their brains. Nothing could possibly go wrong with that.

Gareth has also been appointed Overseer/Taskmaster for a stable of Paranoia writing talent, both familiar and new, ensuring everything meets official High Programmer standards.

Keep an eye out for announcements in the second quarter, as Acute Paranoia is going to be, as they say, a good ‘un.

 

Victory at Sea

As visitors to our forums keep reminding us, Victory at Sea is still being played and the promised new edition is deeply desired. Up to now, we have held things back as we have wanted to present Victory at Sea as a complete range, complete with model ships. However, this requires us to work with a third party to manufacture and distribute miniatures and, while we have had some bites, nothing has transpired. So, this year, we are going to leave the miniatures to one side (we can always go back to them), and release the new rulebook.

And what a rulebook it is.

Currently, it weighs in at around 300 pages, and contains just about everything that floated in the major fleets (Royal Navy, Kriegsmarine, US Navy, Imperial Japanese Navy, Regia Marina, and Marine Nationale) during World War II. However, we have gone deeper than that – we now have dedicated rules and scenarios for convoy missions, coastal invasions (including fighting over objectives as forces move inland, supported by naval artillery), refits for every ship we could find information for, and oodles more background information and historical scenarios.

If WWII naval gaming is your thing, this is the book you have been looking for, and we will now be burning some serious midnight oil to get it done this year. This book has been sitting in development hell for too long now, and all your prodding has had an effect.

We will get you the Victory at Sea you deserve.

In the meantime, there are other things happening in the world of Victory at Sea. The first computer game was a greater success than any of us had imagined, and the sequel, focussing on the Pacific War is being released this year (currently penned for late May). After that, Victory at Sea: Ironclad, covering naval actions during the American Civil War, will hopefully appear before year’s end.

But how, you ask, did the computer game developers manage to produce a that if we do not have a miniatures equivalent? Well, umm, actually we do. Penned by Official Naval Boffin David Manley and developed for the second edition Victory at Sea rules, Victory at Sea: Ironclad is actually a thing, and will be appearing in print.

Just let us get WWII out of the way first, and we’ll soon have you running blockades on the river!

All going well, that will not be the last you hear from Victory at Sea computer games, and another (covering a new era) is already being planned and yes, that will also be accompanied by a miniatures game rulebook.

 

Longer Term Aims

Our immediate aims remain ‘make Traveller and Paranoia the best RPGs in their respective fields’. You can also add ‘release the new edition of Victory at Sea before the mob outside lynches us.’

Each of the properties we are working on now (Traveller, Paranoia, and Victory at Sea) are all so huge, they could occupy our full attention for years to come.

To take Traveller as the example, we have immense scope in terms of both time and space. There is the entirety of Charted Space to explore and even after all this time, we have only scratched the surface ‘behind the claw’. We still have the Rim to visit, the Imperial Core and, of course, the Hivers and K’kree. And then there is the concept of time, as we visit major events of the universe, such as the Fifth Frontier War, and we have a working model to visit different eras such as the Rebellion without us getting buried in supporting multiple sub-lines at once.

All of this we want to cover, and we want to do it to the very best of our abilities. In a nutshell, so long as you all join the voyage with us, we have enough to work with for the next decade and beyond, with all three games.

However, beyond these explorations there are some goals we want to start hitting in 2018. Prime among these is ramping up the level of our graphics design and art even further. We made major strides when the current edition of Traveller was released, and the Pirates of Drinax and Great Rift have already elevated things – but I want to go so much further in the presentation of our books. Not just in the observable quality but also in finding new ways to present information. Feedback on this as new books come out will be gratefully received.

We also want to work with Mr Marc Miller in getting Traveller into other mediums, such as computer games. The Traveller universe is just so broad with so many good stories to tell, and we want you to be able to immerse yourself in it in a variety of ways. We are pursuing leads to do just this but, as is the nature of the beast, this may take a while…

Finally, we want to revisit miniatures games again. We play a huge amount of miniatures games outside of Mongoose and, if we say so ourselves, we are good at creating miniatures games. Not so much manufacturing miniatures themselves but through a combination of miniatures-less games (such as Victory at Sea) and self-contained sets of plastics (Traveller), this is something we can very much do in a convincing manner.

 

To the (Far) Future

It has taken time, but we have finally manoeuvred Mongoose into a place where we can take our time over projects, and ensure each delivers the best gaming experience we can manage. Now is the time for us to start building upon that and cementing the seal on Traveller, Paranoia and, yes, Victory at Sea.

Ultimately, we are in the business of fun, and our main motivation is delivering to you the passion we have for our games. We genuinely love the games we publish (yes, we play them!) and we always want to find new ways to approach them and then bring the best of those to you with each new release, be it an adventure that is played in just a session or two and yet stays in memory, new rules or campaign styles that get everyone round the table involved, or a grand sweeping campaign with titanic ups and downs that consumes the attention of players for years.

In 2018, we rededicate ourselves to these goals.

See you at the gaming table!

Matthew Sprange
Managing Director
Mongoose Publishing

New Event for Female Gamers

Recent events in the tabletop gaming hobby have made many of us aware that it is all too easy for an atmosphere to develop around gaming events that is uncomfortable for or even hostile to female gamers.

In light of this, and after discussions with Mongoose Publishing’s mostly female staff, we have decided to hold a gaming event dedicated to women alone. Here at Mongoose’s offices in Swindon, Wiltshire, we have a great set of gaming facilities and we would like to invite you to join us for a day of gaming in a safe and relaxed environment.

The event will be run by female staff, and all tabletops games (RPGs, boardgames, and miniatures games) will be welcome.

Before we set a date and begin arranging games, we would like to see how much interest there would be in such an event (and if you are a female GM willing to run games, we really want to hear from you!).

If this sounds like something you would be interested in, please drop me a line at msprange@mongoosepublishing.com.

If there are enough attendees, we will be looking to run this event in the first half of 2018. We will not be charging for attendance, nor will you meet any ‘hard sell’ for Mongoose products. Our intent is purely to provide a relaxed environment where female gamers can meet one another and play games without concern for inappropriate behaviour.

If you know of anyone who might be interested in such an event, please feel free to forward this message on to them.

 

Traveller in 2017

We covered some broad strokes for what would be coming up for Traveller this year in the State of the Mongoose, but now we can delve a little deeper and let you know what to expect for your favourite sci-fi RPG.

We will be continuing the regular(ish) release of ebook support for Traveller throughout the year, including more Referee’s Briefings (the next two will be Incidents and Encounters, due in a few days, and Garden Worlds, later this month) and various regions of the Traveller universe (the Lunion Shield Worlds will be appearing in a couple of months or so).

 

Vehicle Handbook

However, the next big hardback will be the Vehicle Handbook, which pretty much does for vehicles what High Guard does for ships. We have based this book on the previous edition, spearheaded by the mechanics of Colin Dunn, but we have focussed heavily on usability, meaning it is even quicker to put vehicles together now. The second edition Traveller rules have helped a great deal here, streamlining the mechanics for vehicles and how they integrate into the wider game.

As well as giving plenty of options for the types of vehicles you can create (from hovering submarines to bouncing walkers to massive airship aircraft carriers), we have also included a veritable fleet of vehicles, some familiar, some brand new, for you to insert straight into your campaigns. We have been at pains not to simply give you a car, a lorry, a motorcycle – that is a bit boring. Instead, we have been working on creating vehicles, across all Tech Levels (yes, we have TL1 vehicles in the book!), that may be found throughout the universe. So, if you are looking for low tech nomad raiders, the wind-powered land ship with a full complement of bolt throwers will be just the ticket (and can provide a nasty surprise even for well equipped Travellers!). At the other end of the scale, Travellers might be interested in dropping MCr5 on the Abel thermospheric reconnaissance drone, capable of staying on station above enemy territory, undetected, as it relays intelligence back to them.

Or you can go full Mech with the range of fighting walkers we have included.

Vehicle Handbook is in layout right now, and you can expect to see the electronic version around the beginning of February, with the hardback surfacing late spring.

 

Traveller Starter Set

One reason for the new edition of Traveller appearing when it did was because of a request from Mr Miller for us to do a starter box set (it did not make sense to do one towards the end of the product cycle of the last edition, so the new rulebook was written).

This box set will contain everything players need to dive into Traveller, from the rules (which, while the Core Rulebook will have more breadth, will not be a cut-down version of its rules) to a complete mini-campaign. The campaign is set in the Traveller Universe, but many, many light years away from the Third Imperium or, indeed, any part of Charted Space. It is our intention that it will serve as both an introduction into the mechanics and concepts of Traveller, as well as a long-running campaign that we may return to at a later date (possibly as part of an ‘advanced’ rules box set, but we will have to see…).

The keen-eyed among you will recognise that the front cover of the starter set is the reverse of the Core Rulebook, taken from the point of view of the Corsairs…

Expect to see the electronic version of the starter set in February…

 

Reach Adventure 4: The Last Flight of the Amuar

The next full adventure set in the Trojan Reach will be the Last Flight of the Amuar, a re-imagining of the classic adventure, Leviathan.

The original adventure presented details of the Leviathan-class merchant cruiser and an outline of an adventure aboard one. In this adventure, Leviathan was engaged in an exploratory trade cruise into the so-called Outrim Void, a region just over the border from Imperial space.

In this adventure, written by fan-favourite M J Dougherty, the Travellers will iscover that Amuar continued heading into deep space rather than turning for home as her mission plan had indicated. The clues point to the backwater world of Pa’an, where the wreck of Amuar is found. Entering it, the Travellers will seek clues as to why the mission profile was changed, and how the ship came to be crashed on a nowhere world…

 

The Pirates of Drinax

This is the biggie. The previously free-to-download Pirates of Drinax is getting a major uplift, with all material re-edited, re-written, and expanded, combined with source material on both the Aslan and Trojan Reach, and bundled together with a giant poster map into two full colour hardbacks within a slipcase.

This is going to be a magnificent Traveller set to own and, we believe, the best campaign written for Traveller thus far (and one of the best written for any RPG – the principal writer, Gareth Hanrahan, has a real gift for this kind of work).

Along the way, we have accumulated way more material than we can possibly fit into the slipcase books (well over 700 pages worth!), so we have decided to package a lot of these extra bits and pieces as ebooks that can be downloaded to expand and enhance your campaign. We should be at pains to point out that nothing outside of the slipcase books is necessary for the campaign – it really is extra supplements that can be added for an extended Drinaxian experience.

For example, we have included a large number of Patron encounters in the campaign – however, we have also expanded half a dozen of those encounters into full blown adventures (perfect for the lazy referee!). The campaign includes a full chapter on the ship the players start with, the Drinaxian Harrier, covering its capabilities and ways it can be improved – there will also be a Harrier supplement adding yet more options to this magnificent ship.

Beyond that, we have a Ship Encounters supplement with ready-to-go vessels for the players to plunder (all with extensive backgrounds that can lead onto brand new adventures or, at least, greatly complicate the pirating operation), and we already have released supplements for Drinax covering specific regions, such as Theev (expect to see similar releases on the Florian League and Glorious Empire!).

Finally, we will be introducing a brand new chapter to the campaign, in the form of the Shadows of Sindal, a trilogy or linked adventures that will take the players ever deeper into the story.

We are aiming for all of this to be released over the summer months but, with Traveller in general and Drinax specifically, it will appear when it is ready – there is no way we are going to rush projects of this magnitude.

Either way, the Pirates of Drinax is set to be a truly epic campaign or the most monstrous proportions!

 

The Traveller Companion

Despite being mentioned in the Core Rulebook, the Companion did not appear in 2017 – we are taking steps to rectify that right now!

So, what is the Traveller Companion?

Well, a good description would be all the material that did not make it into the core books released thus far. Its chapter structure mimics that of the Core Rulebook, with different or additional takes on each – for example, in the character creation chapter, there are new pre-career options alongside new ways to create characters that do not use the career system. In the Encounters chapter, you will find new hazards and additional traits for animals, while the Spacecraft Operations chapter includes, among other things, what happens when a ship strays a bit too close to a black hole…

It is basically a repository for every whacky idea the designers ever had, along with a good dollop of material that has been put together from comments made by players on various Traveller forums. We are still adding ideas into the mix (‘say, wouldn’t it be whiz-o-whiz if we added rules for T Tauri stars?’), and the end result will be a massive toolkit for referees to plough through, picking and choosing what they want to use for their own, unique campaigns.

Expect the Traveller Companion during the summer, and as a full colour hardback in autumn.

 

Expedition to Zhodane

For the next stage of our Traveller storytelling, we will revisit another classic adventure in the run up to one of the mightiest events to engulf the Third Imperium.

Once again, M J Dougherty will be taking a classic adventure and reworking it – this time, turning it into an eight episode mini-campaign that will send the players deep into Zhodani space and serve as a suitably climactic build up to the next mega-campaign we will be working on, the Fifth Frontier War (likely to be a 2018 release itself – but well worth waiting for!).

Expedition to Zhodane will start appearing towards the end of summer, and will be completed by the end of the year, followed by a hardback compiling the campaign in early 2018.

 

2300AD

All going well, the new edition of 2300AD will be arriving this winter – brought up to the spec of the new Traveller rules, streamlined to make it easier to get into, and in glorious full colour throughout.

The design is being headed by Colin Dunn,who will be well known to fans of this setting, and work on supplementary support has already been started, including Bayern, the Aerospace Engineer’s Handbook, and a brand new epic campaign that will get players with little or no experience into the 2300AD universe.

Expect a much bigger commitment than before to 2300AD over the next few years.

 

Anything Else?

These titles form the cornerstones of our plans for Traveller throughout 2017 but, as ever, we will be trying to squeeze more in where we can – there is a long, long list covering what we want to do with Traveller, in terms of both game and setting, and we would very much like it if you all came along with us. We believe there is tremendous scope for Traveller, in terms of mechanics, source material and stories, and we will be aiming to touch on all three throughout the year.

If you have any suggestions for must-have titles, feel free to swing by our forums and let us know!

 

State of the Mongoose 2016

It has been a tradition over the past 14 years to make a public post on how Mongoose has been getting on over the past 12 months, as well as taking a gander at our plans for the following year. You are all welcome to make any comments and ask any questions regarding this address on our forums HERE.

Short Version: The State of the Mongoose is pretty good, actually.

Longer Version: We have some issues here and there, but they are all manageable, all being fixed one by one, and none are company threatening in the least.

Full Version:

 

Changing Business

Late last year, we released the new edition of Traveller with the printed hardback following just a short few months after. This heralded not only a change in Traveller itself but also a fundamental shift in how we approached our games here at Mongoose.

The new Traveller was, in a way, a culmination of a number of changes made over the past few years and what we chose to focus on, as a company.

For most of our history, we have dabbled in the miniatures market with several games, starting with Mighty Armies and ending with Judge Dredd. The closure of our miniatures production facility in Ohio naturally led to a hard look at how we were going to proceed with miniatures overall. The upshot of that? A decision that we were just not built to handle the production and sales of miniatures, and that was a problem that led directly to the top of the leadership of Mongoose (that would be yours truly).

Now, I flatter myself to say that we are good (very good?) at miniatures games… just not the miniatures themselves. So, it was decided that we would pull out of miniatures production completely and leave that to companies built upon such expertise (like our friends at Warlord who took over the production of the Judge Dredd miniatures range).

This approach was then applied to the printing, warehousing, distribution and sales of printed books. For a couple of years now, Mongoose has printed no books. At all.

Bit weird for a publishing company?

We engaged the services of a US-based company called Studio 2 Publishing, who may be familiar to some of you (they provide the same services for the Savage Worlds RPG and, indeed, were first recommended to us by Shane Hensley). Studio 2 is now responsible for the printing and distribution of our entire printed RPG line – if you have seen one of our books in your local store of late, it came from them.

These changes, and others like them, resulted in a big departure from the way we did business.

At a stroke, it annihilated, utterly trashed, the admin required to run Mongoose. We used to have full-time staff members doing nothing but counting beans (actually, there was a bit more to it than that, and they were very good at what they did). Today, admin revolves around 10-15 minutes every day doing the accounts and keeping on top of customer service emails – a role I can easily cover myself.

In addition, we no longer have warehouse staff, warehouse rental fees, bills from shippers and, that holy grail of publishing, no bills from printers. This means cashflow becomes flat – steady, and very, very predictable. Few medium and long term businesses go bust because they run out of money; they go pop because of cashflow issues.

This in turn results in Mongoose being more stable now than it has ever been. I am not going to use the term bulletproof, but we are now in a very good position to weather any storm that sweeps through the industry (such as Pound Sterling sinking faster than the Titanic, which has provided us with very much mixed blessings overall).

So, no-stress cashflow and lower outgoings – this led to something I have wanted to enact for years but could not do so until now.

The majority of gaming companies (at least 90% of them) all have a front-loaded model. The reason they have constant releases every month or so is not because they enjoy releasing products, nor even because they can. It is because they must.

It is no secret that most sales of a gaming book occur within the first three months, with some (very few) products becoming ‘evergreen’ and having long sales tails. The thing is, if you have a nice big, respectable gaming company, you need those three-month sales just to survive, to the extent that if you go three months without a release, you begin seeing serious cashflow issues. Beyond that, gaming companies start imploding.

This is why we work to deadlines in publishing.

However, here at Mongoose, we found ourselves in a rather special position. Through a combination of a (very) large ebook back catalogue and increased royalties (this year, for the first time, we received more income from royalties than we paid out, which is not bad going at all when you consider our fondness in the past for licences), Mongoose can go a very, very long time without having to release new product. Going a full year without a new release might be a stretch… but I think with careful management it would be doable.

This means we no longer have to release books just to survive. We can release them when we feel they are ready, and not a day sooner.

This policy was instituted with the new Traveller from the start. Deadlines were replaced with guidelines, and nothing would go out until we were sure we liked it.

The upshot of this?

We broke every single dead/guideline set. Every single one!

However, the flip side is that the new Traveller is far, far better than it might otherwise have been, and it is a game we are well and truly proud of.

Some other, smaller, changes were made along the way to aid this process; we cut down the number of writers that work on our games, focussing on those with a demonstrated ability to write for Traveller (and Paranoia, for that matter); we also cut out the old editorial process – it was far too variable in the past, so now I have bitten the bullet and do all editing myself (an additional benefit here is that if any given text is boring the hell out of me, it gets cut immediately, and I am not sure I can say that was true of all our previous editors…).

This is going to result in a big slowdown of new products from Mongoose, compared to what you might have expected in the past – I think we are looking at one hardback every 3 months or so, with the odd adventure book and smattering of ebook support.

On the face of it, this means less income for Mongoose but that is something we can sustain now, and there is the (admittedly vague) thought that better quality books will mean more sales individually, once the word gets around.

That is okay. The Mission Statement for Mongoose today is not to rule the world, but to produce games we like at the best possible quality.

 

2016 and the Mongoose

The big hit of the year was the new edition of Traveller.

For this game, we wanted to a) streamline and enhance the previous edition (which, frankly, did not have a great deal wrong with it in terms of mechanics) and b) make it a pretty book!

We started from scratch with the artwork, and introduced copious amounts of 3D designs for both vehicles and spacecraft. The equipment section has been presented as a type of shopping catalogue (a conceit we extended to the Central Supply Catalogue, also released this year), and we have revised the way we present sector maps, in a way that allows useful notes to be made directly onto them (no more black backgrounds!).

At every stage of the new game, we inspected every rule and took a long look at how it was actually played during a game. Traveller has a history of leaning towards simulation, sometimes at the expense of gameplay, and we wanted to very much reverse that. The result is a game that will feel extremely familiar to players of our previous edition or Classic Traveller, but will feel much smoother and more intuitive during play.

We backed up the release of Traveller with a flurry of ebooks and adventures, dividing the latter between the familiar Spinward Marches and the rough and ready Trojan Reach – both sectors are adjacent, so Travellers can voyage easily between the two and while we are continuing to explore the Marches, we will be very much having a focus upon the Reach with this edition.

As mentioned before, our new design policies have led to several books being delayed. However, most are in an advanced state of completion and will be appearing early to mid-2017.

Vehicle Handbook: This one is being laid out right now (it will be the first of the big titles to appear next year) and does for vehicles in Traveller what High Guard does for spacecraft. We have taken the previous Vehicle Handbook and streamlined it further, making it even easier to build pretty much any vehicle you can imagine, from a humble bicycle to a fusion-powered super-heavy drone-controlled death tank with grav drives and a burrowing attachment! As well as the design system, we have also filled this book with all manner of vehicles that can appear on Traveller worlds. Here, we have tried hard to avoid the ordinary (we are not going to give you a lorry, followed by a family car from the 21st century) and reach further for what is a) likely to appear on worlds far from our own and b) start to feel for the limits of the design system. We have ensured there are vehicles for all pockets, so if you have a hard up mercenary force, we can point you to the (very) lightly armoured gun skiff that has room for a massive weapon and very little else, while those rich folk wanting to travel in style can board the hypersonic Concordia II jet…

Traveller Companion: This is the one title we did not properly get to grips with in 2016, but it is well on its way and being handled by Traveller-supremo Martin Dougherty. This book is intended to be married to the Core Rulebook and provides, well, options for referees and players wanting to develop their campaigns. Think of it as a toolkit for Traveller – if you want to introduce new aliens and animals, new technologies, non-random character creation, explore worlds in new ways, introduce new hazards for both planetary and space travel… the Traveller Companion will be for you!

Traveller Starter Box Set: The one title I was most disappointed at not having brought out in 2016 was the all new Traveller starter set. This is a boxed set that will now be appearing in the second quarter of 2017 and, well, it contains everything needed to start playing Traveller. It contains a full set of the Core rules (not cut down, you get everything in the Core Rulebook), along with a brand new campaign that is set in the same galaxy as the Third Imperium, but far, far away – we have some ideas on how to extend and expand this campaign over two or three more box sets that also introduce rules into the game, but that will (as always) depend on you chaps and what you think of the first.

 

Traveller in 2017 – Overview

Our first priority for 2017 is getting the books we are currently working on out of the door. But we have some real crackers in the works for you beyond that…

 

Drinax & DLC

A while ago, we released the Pirates of Drinax mega-campaign as a free download, and very well received it was too.

We are going to be re-releasing Pirates of Drinax in early 2017 and, this time, we are going to ask you to pay for it.

But why would we pay for it, I hear you ask…

Because this edition is going to kick some serious bottom.

The new Pirates of Drinax has been revised from top to bottom, with oodles of new material included – no more vague mentions of mysterious predators on far flung worlds – if your Travellers visit that world, we have got the referee covered and provide description, game stats and artwork of that predator. If a new ship is mentioned, you will have the stats, hull and deck plans for it. In other words, everything you need to run the Pirates of Drinax campaign.

This mega-campaign is going to be presented as a double volume, full colour hardback set in tough slipcase, complete with a huge poster map that will have the entire Trojan Reach on one side (again, in a format that will allow you to makes notes upon it, charting your progress as you cut a swathe through the stars), and (at time of writing) everything you need to know about the Harrier commerce raider on the other. As well as the campaign, these books will detail the Trojan Reach in its entirety, introduce all background and rules for the Aslan (including Traveller creation, ships and equipment), and provide you with plenty of patrons and encounters across the sector for any campaign.

In short, it is not just a campaign, but an entire sector and alien module too!

However, as we were working on Pirates of Drinax, we realised we had way too much material to cram into even a double volume set. So, we started work on supplementary material.

For a long time, we avoided using the term DLC around the office for this. DLC has developed some negative connotations, which were just not applicable to what we were doing. However, we had a good, long think about this and in the end decided to call it what it is – DLC.

This stems from my own video gaming. When I get to the end of Skyrim or Mass Effect, or any other game I have been enjoying, I am more than happy to dive back in and expand the experience. This is what we want to do for Pirates of Drinax, provide additional materials that will expand and genuinely enhance the campaign experience, that have solid value and worth – they are not vital to run the campaign, but we think the campaign is better with them.

We are not going to charge you to add a horse to your game.

What we will be providing are ebooks (most of which have been written by fan-favourite Martin Dougherty) with patron encounters expanded into full-blown adventures, NPC ships with a back story to ensure you never raid ‘just another merchant’, and more detailed world descriptions (such as the ebook Pirates of Drinax: Theev we released recently). We have even taken the chapter in Pirates of Drinax covering the Harrier commerce raider and created a complete owner’s manual for it, with lots of new options for upgrades and repairs.

As well as keeping the campaign set to a manageable size (it is going to be well over 400 pages by itself), this DLC allows you to pick and choose where you want to expand your campaign – if your players never go near one subsector, you won’t need expanded world descriptions for it. On the other hand, if your players are constantly hitting merchant shipping, you might want to add some spice to their encounters.

Either way, we will have you covered.

 

Beyond Drinax

Pirates of Drinax represents a fairly monumental effort for our design team, and we are aiming to make it the best title we have ever released ever.

However, after it is complete, we will be looking to top it. And, it just so happens, we have a candidate that might just do that…

We started thinking about how the format we used for Pirates of Drinax (campaign, alien module, and sector) could be applied elsewhere, and where it would best serve.

For several years now, we have talked about tackling the Fifth Frontier War (FFW) properly, and now we finally have a vehicle worthy of it.

This project is being spearheaded by Rob Eaglestone, a name that will be very familiar to Traveller veterans. The FFW campaign will be another double volume that will have a complete multi-month campaign, an alien race (the Zhodani), and a whole sector (Ziafrplians, but we will be using a ‘common’ name for it that everyone can pronounce!).

The twist for this campaign is that the Travellers will be Zhodani agents in the run up to the war.

If everything goes according to plan and you chaps enjoy the campaign formats, we have this Grand Idea that the FFW will actually be a trilogy of campaigns, released one every year, that will focus on the Zhodani, the Vargr (or, rather, what is going on in Vargr space), and then the Vilani in the Spinward Marches, all backed up with additional and optional material in the form of ebooks.

After that, we will probably have a little rest!

However, before anyone panics, we are already looking at the likes of the K’kree, Hivers, and Solomani. Will they be in this grand campaign format? I would like them to be, but that will be down to all of you and what you think of Drinax and FFW.

On top of that, we have some (slightly) smaller projects we are looking at for Traveller in 2017. We want to cover some of the pocket empires in the Trojan Reach, notably the likes of the Florian League and Glorious Empire, which are both frankly fascinating, and these may be compiled towards the end of the year into an ‘Empires of the Reach’ hardback. By the same token, I would like us to take another swing at the Sword Worlds, and we have plenty more adventures coming, including a complete top-to-bottom revision/reimagining of the classic adventure, Leviathan (entitled Last Flight of the Amuar).

Some of you have already been asking about 2300AD, and what our intentions for it are.

Well, Colin ‘I am 2300AD’ Dunn has been beavering away on a second edition book, married to the new Traveller rules. It is our intention to release this in 2017 (likely at the bottom end of the year) as a full colour hardback with its own styling, along with a handful of supplements we have in the works (such as the Aerospace Engineer’s Handbook, and a revised Bayern).

We are conscious that 2300AD has had a bit of a barrier set up around it, that has made it somewhat impenetrable to non-2300AD veterans. This we are looking to break down.

We are going to be doing this with several approaches:

  1. Graphics and art: We are actively looking at new ways to present information other than big, block text (you can see the stirrings of this in the new Traveller).
  2. Technology: 2300AD has had a habit of adding ‘all the new technologies!’, along with the rules that go with them, and that just buries players. As with the new Traveller, we are looking for ways to properly streamline and simplify this game.
  3. There has always been a line of thought that said ‘yes, 2300AD is all well and good as a setting – but what do we do in it?’ We are looking at releasing 2300AD alongside a proper story-driven campaign that will both get veterans interested in returning to the universe, and introduce it to newcomers.

Ultimately, we want to build 2300AD up so it stands at least shoulder-high to the grand Third Imperium universe. This will take us the next few years to accomplish, but it is going to be a great ride for anyone who wants to get on board early.

 

Paranoia

Ah, now, this is the Big One. If the new Traveller is awesome, then the new Paranoia blows the lid right off.

The new Paranoia was born from an extremely successful Kickstarter and, as I type, it is finally being printed. Kickstarter backers will see their copies in January/February, and it will be in stores a couple of months or so after that (the retail edition is being printed at the same time).

The new Paranoia is, in my ever so humble estimation, and speaking as someone who has played the game since they were twelve, the Best Paranoia Ever Of All Time.

That is not hyperbole. The game is that good.

World Famous Games Designer James Wallis has done an absolute corker on Paranoia, ably assisted all the way by luminaries Eric Goldberg, Greg Costikyan and Ken Rolston.

So, how to describe it?

Well, even if you have never played Paranoia, you can sit down and be playing within minutes of opening the box set. Minutes.

Character creation is a masterpiece of games design that is intended not to create Troubleshooters (that is almost incidental) but foster rivalries among the players right from the start.

The largest book in the box set is the GM’s guide, and it has no more than half a dozen rules within it. In the new Paranoia, it is the players who run the game. The GM is really just there to make their lives difficult (here at Mongoose, we understand the pressures a hardworking and under-appreciated GM is always under – Paranoia is his perfect game).

Alpha Complex itself is exactly the same it always has been. It has also been changed to reflect today’s uncertain world. With the new Cerebral Coretech implants, the Computer truly can watch everything. And, of course, the dreaded Communists have now been joined by the vile Terrorists.

Once we have got the Kickstarter edition out of the door, we will be doing some previews of the new game, but I will just say this – if you have had but the slightest interest in Paranoia in the past, you will want to take a look at this new set. It is, as they say, a good ‘un.

Happily, the Kickstarter also funded several expansions to the game. Released alongside the box set will be the Interactive Screen (who wants a normal, boring GM’s Screen, eh?), and the full colour Forms Pack, printed on a tear-off pad so players can be threatened with bureaucracy at any time (or whim).

Following them quickly will be the first two expansion card decks. The first, The Mutant Explosion, adds many more mutant powers to the game, while the second covers additional Secret Societies… I don’t want to say too much about this one at the moment but suffice to say as well as brand new societies, it brings about schisms to old favourites!

Yellow Clearance Black Box Blues is currently being revised for both the new game and the changes in the setting, and a brand new set of adventures, Ultraviolent, will follow quickly.

Paranoia: A game of the darkly humorous future, upgraded for the post-privacy present…

 

Victory at Sea

This one has been on the cards for a long time – our miniatures game of World War II naval warfare.

When the first edition was released, many, many moons ago, its success caught us by surprise and, over the years, it became clear a second edition might be a good idea. We wrote the new game, playtested it a lot, and created a great many (about 150, as things stand!) 1/1800 scale ships.

But what to do with it?

We did not want to produce the game ourselves because, well, we don’t do that any more. So, we have spent the past few years looking for a suitable partner who can handle both book and miniatures… and we think we have found someone. Keep a weather eye out in the first half of 2017 for some exciting news here.

Incidentally, the Victory at Sea video game was released in 2015 on the PC. In development right now is Victory at Sea 2.0, again for the PC, and Victory at Sea: Ironclad, covering the American Civil War. We actually have a full miniatures rulebook written for the latter (heavily inspired by rules written by David ‘I know more about naval warfare than you’ Manley and yes, that will be making an appearance too on the tabletop. But WWII comes first.

 

Longer Term Aims

Our immediate aims are ‘make Traveller and Paranoia the best RPGs in their respective fields’. Although what other RPG occupies the same field as Paranoia might require some thought.

Beyond that, one goal is to properly develop our own original setting. We have messed about in the shallow end of this several times (Deus Vult, Wraith Recon, Infernum, for example) but we have never really, properly committed to any of them, and I am not sure they were the right ideas in the first place.

We do, of course, have some ideas. First among these is the Articulo Mortis setting for Traveller (the name of which has to change, for reasons that will be very obvious once you translate that title), a mixing pot of Third Imperium, Firefly and, yes, the Walking Dead.

Will that be the one we go forward with? No idea yet, but it is certainly a contender.

On a slightly different tack, Mongoose has been somewhat known for producing licensed games in the past (Babylon 5, Conan, Starship Troopers, to name but three). Are we looking at chasing more licences… well, not really, but never say never. The Golden Rule here is that we produce the games we ourselves want to play. If one of us gets a hankering to play, oh, I don’t know, a Halo RPG, you can be sure we’ll get onto the phone quickly.

That said, there is a proposal from us on the desk of a certain someone. It is not a massive mainstream licence (not TV or film), but it is ‘known’ in the RPG world. We think a small number of you would be really excited for it (we certainly are!), and we think we can do a good job. As for what it is… well, a decision is being made early next year, so you’ll just have to wait!

 

Onwards and Upwards

Overall, there has been a new attitude developing at Mongoose.

In the past, we have watched the RPG market like hawks, responding to trends and the actions of our competitors. These days… honestly… I really could not care less about the games other companies produce. Unless they are really good games, of course, in which case I will be playing them!

We are in the happy position that we do not need to consider other publishers as competitors (no one else can really do the games we produce), and so we are free to concentrate on designing the games that we want to play. To that extent, every one of our books today goes through the same three stages:

  1. Make it playable
  2. Make it pretty
  3. Add a dollop of awesome

As a writer, the first of these is the primary issue. There have been too many RPG books in the past (both from Mongoose and other publishers) that waffle on about detail and get into mechanics that may seem realistic when they are being written, but are absolute murder during play. RPGs are intended to be played and it can be easy to fall into the trap of forgetting that.

This was central to both the new edition of Traveller and Paranoia. Previous editions of Traveller had you tracking the speeds of individual vehicles and calculating their acceleration. How boring and time consuming is that, when you are chasing after the rogue agent in your G/Carrier? All you need to know are the relative speeds of the vehicles and whether one can easily overhaul the other (and how agile they are, once you get into the city or jungle). With one stroke, we got rid of a lot of rules waffle and made the game smoother.

Making the books pretty is down to our design team, Amy and Sandrine (I once commissioned a front cover myself, and was firmly told by my staff to never do it again…). Everything art-related you see in the new Traveller and Paranoia comes down to these two gamer girls.

Adding a dollop of awesome to each book is not something that can be quantified, and falls into the category of ‘we know it when we see it’. This takes many different forms, and may be different for each reader. For us it has included rules (the armour rules for Paranoia in the GM’s book, cited by Ken Rolston as a ‘monument to Paranoia rules writing’), art and design (I thought the ship size comparison spread in High Guard was quite funky), and approaches to how games are actually played (take a look at the way racism is handled in the Traveller adventure High and Dry – it will seriously wind up any Vargr player in the group…).

So, what can you expect from Mongoose Publishing in 2017 and beyond?

Some seriously good gaming experiences, I would say.

See you at the gaming table!

Matthew Sprange
Managing Director
Mongoose Publishing

A Worrying Little Drone

Work continues on the Vehicle Handbook (actually, we are in the very final stages!), which means I get to tinker around with all sorts of vehicles – seeing just what is possible.

With certain (not to be named) players in mind, I set about trying to create something very cheap, and yet very destructive. This is what I came up with…

 

Zircon Nuclear Gun Drone

Found only within military forces keen on testing the limits of interstellar law, the Zircon nuclear gun drone looks innocuous enough, being a relatively small and light grav vehicle, sporting only a single autocannon. However, the autocannon is loaded with californium rounds that have an effective yield of just under a kiloton. While high Tech Level enemies can render the Zircon all but useless through the use of nuclear dampers, more primitive armies will have few defences against a squadron of Zircons.

TL 13 Armour  
Skill Flyer (grav) Front 55
Agility +1 Sides 40
Speed (cruise) Very Fast (Fast) Rear 25
Range (cruise) 2000 (3000)  
Crew - Traits -
Passengers -
Cargo - Equipment Camouflage (advanced), Communication System (advanced, encrypted), Fire Extinguishers, Manipulator Arm (improved), Prismatic Aerosol Discharger, Robot Brain (advanced), Sensor System (improved, increased fidelity)
Hull 20
Shipping 5 tons
Cost Cr444000
  Weapons Small Turret (medium autocannon, improved fire control)

Weapon Range Damage Magazine Magazine Cost Traits Fire Control
Medium Autocannon 6 6DD 100 Cr30000 Auto 3, Blast 500, Radiation +2

 

 

Vehicle Handbook Development Diary – Taking to the High Seas

In a universe full of grav vehicles and spacecraft, it is easy to brush over more down-to-earth methods of travel. However, we wanted one of the core areas of the Vehicle Handbook to be more mundane vehicles that demanded attention from referees, that provided encouragement to be inserted into adventures – and keeping them relevant even at higher Tech Levels, where lower tech solution to a problem still made sense (especially in terms of cost).

The Research Ship is a good example of the latter. It appears in an era where grav transport is beginning to be ubiquitous but, for a mere MCr3.31 provides long term scientific support not possible with the equivalent grav vehicle. Perfectly fine so long as you don’t need to get anywhere fast.

 

Research Ship

Capable of conducting a wide variety of scientific investigations, the research ship provides a full suite of research facilities and can stay at sea for extended periods of time without resupply. Even in a technologically advanced society, the use of such watercraft does not strain research grants and so the pioneers of science can conduct their research without real world hindrances.

TL 9 Armour  
Skill Seafarer (ocean ships) Front 9
Agility -6 Sides 9
Speed (cruise) Slow (Very Slow) Rear 9
Range (cruise) 8000 (12000)  
Crew 4 Traits -
Passengers 12
Cargo 22.5 tons Equipment Atmospheric Sampler, Autopilot (enhanced), Communication System (improved, increased range, satellite uplink), Computer/1 x 2, Crane (heavy), Fire Extinguishers, Galley (seats 10), General Purpose Laboratory (4 scientists), Holding Tank (6 spaces), Hydrographic Sampler, Internal Bay (5 tons), Navigation System (improved), Sensor System (improved, increased range x 2), Sensor System (improved, underwater), Staterooms x 16
Hull 1200
Shipping 150 tons
Cost MCr3.31

 

We have had modern Sloops pop up in previous vehicle books for Traveller – but some rich guy’s plaything is not a lot of fun, so we have gone back in time for the new Vehicle Handbook and provided something more appropriate to pirates!

 

Sloop

Typically sporting a single mast (some rare boats may feature two), the sloop was designed as a utilitarian vessel – cheap, easy to build, and capable of a wide range of seagoing functions from fishing to mercantile activities. However, those seeking to prey upon merchants quickly saw a sloop made for a fine pirating vessel when armed. Fast, manoeuvrable and with a shallow hull that let it sail up rivers or ride right over shoals, a good pirate can make a powerful name for themselves in this boat.

TL 3 Armour  
Skill Seafarer (sail) Front 1
Agility -1 Sides 1
Speed (cruise) Very Slow (Idle) Rear 1
Range (cruise) -  
Crew 70 Traits -
Passengers 5
Cargo - Equipment Crane (light)
Hull 130
Shipping 32.5 tons
Cost Cr62500
  Weapons Fixed Mount (Black Powder Cannon, left) x 7

Fixed Mount (Black Powder Cannon, right) x 7

 

Weapon Range Damage Magazine Magazine Cost Traits Fire Control
Black Powder Cannon 0.5 7D 1 Cr50 - -

 

And because Black Powder Cannons are inherently cool, we made provision for piracy on rivers during the age of steam (or the odd civil war, if you prefer).

 

Liberty-class Ironclad

Sitting low in the water, due to its immense weight of armour, the Liberty-class can, in theory, sail the oceans but is much more comfortable (and safe) on rivers as it has a tendency to be swamped by any wave. The Liberty is intended to bombard shore-based targets as much as engage other ironclads and serves as a superb blockading vessel, its sheer size making it a stable platform for its weapons.

TL 4 Armour  
Skill Seafarer (ocean ship) Front 10
Agility -6 Sides 10
Speed (cruise) Very Slow (Idle) Rear 10
Range (cruise) 500 (750)  
Crew 60 Traits -
Passengers -
Cargo 3 tons Equipment Bunks x 10, Smoke Discharger
Hull 400
Shipping 50 tons
Cost Cr
  Weapons Fixed Mount (black powder cannon, left side) x 4

Fixed Mount (black powder cannon, right side) x 4

Weapon Range Damage Magazine Magazine Cost Traits Fire Control
Black Powder Cannon 0.5 7D 10 Cr500 - -

 

But what about the warships of tomorrow? Before grav tanks make them all obsolete, perhaps they will look a little like the Achilles-class…

 

Achilles-class Frigate

For many Tech Levels the main workhorse of any fluid ocean navy, the Achilles-class is perhaps the ultimate expression of a frigate before grav technology truly outmodes them. Despite their relatively small size frigates are both fast and extremely well-armed, able to threaten vessels much larger than themselves, while still capable of engaging in a wide variety of roles such as search and rescue, anti-submarine patrols and fleet air defence.

 

TL 9 Armour  
Skill Seafarer (ocean ship) Front 10
Agility -5 Sides 10
Speed (cruise) Slow (Very Slow) Rear 10
Range (cruise) 8000 (12000)  
Crew 120 Traits -
Passengers -
Cargo 10 tons Equipment Anti-Missile System (minigun), Autopilot (improved), Bunks x 30, Camouflage (improved), Command Centre (seats 10), Communications System (improved, encrypted, increased range x 2, satellite uplink, tightbeam), Computer/1, Control System (improved), Crane (heavy), Decoy Dispenser, ECM (improved), Fire Extinguishers, Freshers x 10, Galley (seats 30), Internal Bay (10 tons), Navigation System (improved), Operating Theatre, Prismatic Aerosol Discharger, Sensor System (improved, hardened, increased fidelity x 2, increased range x 2), Sensor System (improved, hardened, increased fidelity x 2, increased range x 2, underwater), Smoke Discharger, Stateroom x 2
Hull 2000
Shipping 250 tons
Cost MCr9.58
  Weapons Large Turret (heavy laser cannon x 2, improved fire control) x 3

Fixed Mount (long range anti-air missile, top, improved fire control)

Fixed Mount (torpedo, left side, improved fire control)

Fixed Mount (torpedo, right side, improved fire control)

Weapon Range Damage Magazine Magazine Cost Traits Fire Control
Heavy Laser Cannon 25 2DD+2 - - AP 20 +2
Long Range Anti-air Missile 40 8D 15 Cr330000 One Use, Smart +2
Torpedo 50 5DD 5 Cr60000 One Use, Smart +2
Minigun 0.5 2D 600 Cr1000 Auto 6 -

 

Stay tuned for more previews of forthcoming Traveller books, there are plenty on their way!

 

 

 

 

Vehicle Handbook Development Diary – August 26th

The development of the new Traveller has been a fairly long road, but a most enjoyable one – tinkering with interstellar mechanics for your day job never has a dull moment!

The Core Rulebook came out earlier this year, and High Guard has just been released in ebook format, while we are just awaiting on the Central Supply Catalogue to come back from print.

Right now, we are putting the final touches to the Vehicle Handbook, the tome that will not only allow you to build just about any vehicle you can think of but also comes packed with loads of already-created vehicles that can be inserted straight into your campaign.

Many of these will be obvious – we need a high TL tank for the armies of the universe, for example, just as we need a TL5 tank for players to use when they are on more backward worlds. However, there is always the desire to push things alittle bit further and see just what the design system is capable of.

So, I have been doing just that!

Here is one example. I decided it would be whizz-o-whizz if we had a hypersonic transport in the book – basically, a Concorde II. This is what I came up with as a first pass:

 

Concordia II Hypersonic Airliner

Before the advent of grav technology, supersonic airliners like the Concordia II provide the fastest form of air travel though high ticket prices tend to place them beyond the reach of the common man. However, those who can afford it are in for royal treatment and a transportation system that can get them to anywhere on the planet in a matter of a few short hours. The Concordia II is capable of speeds in excess of Mach 5, though it normally supercruises at around Mach 4.

 

TL 8 Armour  
Skill Flyer (wing) Front 2
Agility -1 Sides 2
Speed (cruise) Hypersonic (Supersonic) Rear 2
Range (cruise) 8000 (12000)  
Crew 5 Traits -
Passengers 80
Cargo 2 tons Equipment Autopilot (improved), Bunks x 2, Communication System (basic, increased range x 2, satellite uplink), Computer/1, Control System (improved), Entertainment Systems x 80, Fire Extinguishers, Fresher x 8, Galley (seats 10), Navigation System (basic), Sensor System (basic, increased range x 2)
Hull 150
Shipping 300 tons
Cost MCr165

 

The trouble with doing this kind of aircraft at TL8 is, of course, ubiquitous grav technology is just around the corner (not to mention spacecraft), so the Concordia II very much represents the last gasp of traditional passenger aircraft. It carries a mere 80 passengers and will struggle to get across the Atlantic (massive range was never really a thing for the real Concorde). However, it is fast. Very fast. Mach 5 in perfect first class comfort. We even have a decent bar in there where passengers can stretch their legs and get a drink (and maybe some peanuts).

The downside?

Well, take a look at the cost. How many passengers are you going to have to fly to pay that back, eh? (Again, the real Concorde had a similar issue).

This aircraft could be made a lot cheaper under the Vehicle Handbook system, but I managed to create a ‘perfect storm’ of requirements – the increased speed was a big spend (there was no way I was going to settle for a mere supersonic transport!), as was range. You want a small super-fast fighter, it is not a problem, but if you want to get a bunch of passengers across an ocean in an aircraft like this, you need to spend the Credits. And as far as those passengers go? Just squeezing in 80 of them was tough enough. The seats might be comfy, but you will be wanting to use that bar to get some space.

Then again, at the speed this thing goes, you won’t be sitting down for long.

It does beg the question though: Aside from being an exercise in what the Vehicle Handbook is capable of creating, who in their right mind would actually purchase and try to run one of these?

Well, we have had some ideas…

  • A world that has yet to discover grav technology (or decent space travel, for that matter) simply has no choice if they want to go far and fast. That grav tech breakthrough might be just around the corner, TL-wise, but they may not know that.
  • A world of the super-rich might find it simply more convenient to fly like this rather than use some sort of sub-orbital shuttle. It may be that check-in for the Concordia II takes minutes whereas any type of spacecraft requires you sit in the spaceport lounge for two hours while they repeatedly scan your luggage (they won’t scan you, you are going first class – and terrorists never go first class).
  • Money might not be an object. Dictators spring to mind here.
  • It might appear on a world that has a no-space-travel-zone imposed upon it. Atmospheric flight is just fine, but your oppressors might well shoot down anything that comes anywhere close to orbiting.

So, given that, the Concordia II will be making an appearance in the Vehicle Handbook, however impractical it might actually be in the ‘real’ world.

What do you think? Take a trip to our Traveller forums, and let us know! And swing back here from time to time – we want to make these Development Diaries a permanent (and regular) feature of Planet Mongoose, and you never know when we might accidentally drop a hint of projects that are in the works but have not been announced!

 

 

 

 

 

Brit-Cit Sneak Peek

With the arrival of a new range of Brit-Cit Judges (and more on the way!), we are currently preparing a brand new force list PDF – however, we know you will want to dive in immediately, so here are the draft rules!

 

Brit-Cit Justice Department

This force list is an official update and replaces the Brit-Cit Justice Department force list in the Judge Dredd rulebook.

The Brit-Cit Justice Department, officially referred to as Her Majesty’s Justice Department (HMJD), maintains Law and order in and around Brit-Cit. It is led by the Chief Judiciary and answerable to Parliament. The Judges of Brit-Cit share much in common with their counterparts in Mega-City One, having similar uniforms and close diplomatic ties. However, the two have many differences in operational procedure and administration. Brit-Cit Judges are more lenient in their approach to crime and spend as much time buried in paperwork as they do patrolling the streets of their sector. The largest difference between the Judges of Brit-Cit and Mega-City one is their salary – Brit-Cit Judges are paid to uphold the Law. When their shifts are over, the Judges return to their flats and families, and may even take annual holidays. The Brit-Cit Justice Department is not immune to the privileges that come with wealth and ancestry and, with enough money, a Judge can buy himself any promotion short of a seat on the Chief Judiciary.

A force of Brit-Cit Judges will be very well equipped and able to handle most situations. They are ideal if you like the Judges of Mega-City One, but are looking for something with a slightly different ‘flavour.’

Distinctly Non-Standard: Brit-Cit Judges have their own code of conduct and while many Laws govern their equipment and appearance, for a Judge in an elevated position, these can be more like guidelines. A Beat Judge, Cal-Hab Judge and Para Squad Judge of level 5 or higher may be purchased up to 50 Credits of weapons and equipment. This increases to 100 Credits once they reach level 10.

Justice Department: As Judges, the models in this force must follow the Arrest rules.

 

Brit-Cit Equipment

Cal-Hab Issue Armour: Akin to the lightweight armour used by auxiliaries, the standard issue armour used by Cal-Hab Judges offers less protection but greater freedom of movement. This is due less to the style of Law enforcement Cal-Hab Judges employ, and more to a lack of adequate funding.

 

Armour Type Armour
Cal-Hab Standard Issue +4

 

Iron Lion Mk 1

The original Iron Lion motorcycle employed by the Brit-Cit Justice Department and, to some veteran Judges, still the best. It can still be found in service, primarily in the Cal-Hab zone and the poorer areas of Brit-Cit, and it remains perfectly serviceable.

 

Vehicle Move Agility Ramming Dice Armour Hits
Iron Lion Mk 1 18” +2 3D +6 5

Type: Medium Bike

Equipment: None

Crew: 1 Driver

 

Iron Lion Mk 2

An improvement on the original Iron Lion, the Mk 2 is now in service across Brit-Cit and within the Black Atlantic tunnel. It has more sophisticated on-board computers, a more powerful engine and is greatly appreciated by the Judges who ride it. As with its predecessor, it remains unarmed, relying on the weapons of the rider.

 

Vehicle Move Agility Ramming Dice Armour Hits
Iron Lion Mk 2 22” +2 3D +7 6

Type: Medium Bike

Equipment: Autopilot

Crew: 1 Driver

 

Beat Judge                                                                             140 Credits

The beat Judges are at the forefront of the Brit-Cit Justice Department, cruising the streets on their Iron Lion motorcycles and Avenger patrol cars. Beat Judges are respected by the city’s citizens and feared by the criminals who dare oppose them. They spend eleven years training to become a Judge and then work the rest of their careers in a number of Sector Stations.

 

  Move Agility Shoot Melee Melee Dice Will Armour Hits
Beat Judge 5” +1 +1 +1 2D +1 +5 2

Type: Infantry Hero

Equipment: Boot knife, PC 101 handgun, standard issue armour, truncheon

Options

  • Swap PC 101 handgun with bumf gun for +0 Credits.
  • If the Beat Judge is given the Dual Shooter Talent, he may purchase a second PC 101 handgun for +10 Credits.
  • Ride a Mk 1 Iron Lion for +70 Credits or a Mk 2 Iron Lion for +90 Credits.

 

Cal-Hab Judge                                                                       140 Credits

The keeper of Law in the Cal-Hab wilderness, these Judges are known to be fiercely independent and capable. Honed and tempered by the lawless region they police, Cal-Hab Judges are instantly recognisable by their kilts, swords and Skean-dDhu blaster.

 

  Move Agility Shoot Melee Melee Dice Will Armour Hits
Cal-Hab Judge 5” +1 +1 +1 3D +1 +4 2

Type: Infantry Hero

Equipment: Boot knife, Broadsword, Cal-Hab issue armour, Skean-dDhu blaster

Options

  • Swap broadsword with claymore for +15 Credits.
  • If the Cal-Hab Judge is given the Dual Shooter Talent, he may purchase a second Skean-dDhu blaster for +10 Credits.
  • Ride a Mk 1 Iron Lion for +70 Credits.

 

Para Squad Judge                                                                  165 Credits

The psi-Judges of Brit-Cit, these specialists are highly valued and to call upon their services frivolously is considered a breach of conduct. Like their counterparts of Mega-City One, para squad Judges are often highly-strung, flippant individuals.

 

  Move Agility Shoot Melee Melee Dice Will Psi Armour Hits
Para Squad Judge 5” +1 +1 +1 2D +1 4 +5 2

Type: Infantry Hero

Equipment: Boot knife, PC 101 handgun, standard issue armour, truncheon

Options

  • Ride a Mk 1 Iron Lion for +70 Credits or a Mk 2 Iron Lion for +90 Credits.

 

Detective Judge                                                                     160 Credits

The detective Judge has proven himself capable of leading investigations and acting on his own intuition. Once installed in CID, the detective Judge swaps his beat uniform for the trademark blue suit and trench coat of the department.

 

  Move Agility Shoot Melee Melee Dice Will Armour Hits
Detective Judge 5” +1 +1 +1 2D +2 +4 3

Type: Infantry Hero

Equipment: Armoured trench coat, PC 101 handgun

 

Judges of the World

The Beat Judge, Cal-Hab Judge and Detective Judge may be used as Judges of the World (see page 190 of the main rulebook), replacing the Beat Judge and Cal-Hab Judge on page 191.

 

Brit-Cit Justice Department Mercenary List

The following may be used as Mercenaries (call them reinforcements…) by a Brit-Cit Justice Department force.

Agent (main rulebook, page XX)

Brit-Cit Beat Judge (see above)

Combat Droid (page XX)

Senior Brit-Cit Judge (main rulebook, page XX)

Street Judge (main rulebook, page XX)

Wally Squad Judge (main rulebook, page XX)

 

Detective Judge Armitage                                                    300 Credits

Armitage works hard against the system of privilege that riddles the upper echelons of the Brit-Cit Justice Department. This, in turn, has made him extremely unpopular among his superiors but his sheer competence at crime-fighting ensures his continued career. Unusual among detective Judges, Armitage also refuses to carry a gun, though his time fighting in the Brit-Cit Civil War means he knows how to handle a weapon – he simply chooses not to.

 

  Move Agility Shoot Melee Melee Dice Will Armour Hits
Detective Judge Armitage 5” +3 +1 +2 2D +4 +4 11

Type: Level 8 Infantry Hero

Equipment: Armoured trench coat

Talents: Brave, Dirty Fighting, I am the Law!, Intimidation, Luck of Grud, Shoulder Down, Stealthy, Voice of Command, Voice of Justice

Veteran Judge: Despite his refusal to carry a gun, Armitage knows how to take care of himself. He may re-roll any Agility check (including those made to dodge shooting attacks).

Available To: Justice Department, Brit-Cit Justice Department

 

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