Monday, May 12, 2008

Hey, How About If I Review "Darthanon Queen" Today?

'Cause, you know, I read it yesterday and I was, like, 'Huh, how about if I review this tomorrow?' So whaddaya say?

Darthanon Queen is a GDW-approved Traveller adventure published by Judges Guild. It offers up 3 scenarios based around a ship in distress, the Darthanon Queen; each scenario spells out why, exactly, the ship is in a bucket to hell and what the PCs are walking into the moment they go do something about it.

Scenario 1 posits that the DQ is full of tasty soft-serve ice cream and coney dogs.

..., wait. Let's try that again.

Scenario 1 posits that the Darthanon Queen is host to a space monster which has broken out of its portable low berth and is makin' bacon outta the passengers and crew. Deritative, maybe (it was published in 1980, right after Alien came out), but a recipe for fun: I mean, if you were on the Nostromo, what would you do?

Scenario 2 puts the ship in a different kind of peril: hidden explosive charges, ready to go off. There's some cockamamie explanation about an Imperial courier and evidence of corruption and some crooked SPA dudes, but really the whole thing boils down to "find the bombs before they blow up".

Over in Scenario 3, however, we get some much more interesting distress: Mutiny! Turns out the Captain is something of a grand-standing glory hog, and Ensign Kif decides to d- er, the crew decide to do something about him. In the scuffle, some controls get damaged and etcetera, so the PCs come into it with TWO things to work around if they want their reward.

Frankly, I think the second scenario, the one with the bombs, is the weakest; I think the authors agree with me, because they suggest either running each scenario separately or (nudge-nudge) combining all three into one suspenseful, action-packed mayhem-o-rama with bombs and yelling and screaming and a monster and explosive decomp and a fashion model NPC (no, for real!!) nd stuff. I dunno, I think that's too much; I really think that Scenario 2 works best when coupled with Scenario 3, and run the bughunt some other time.

Oh, yeah, the monster -- it's called "The Dyson", for whatever reason, and -- get this, I love this.


At first, you realize this and you're all, like, "WHAT?!", up until you get to the section of charts and tables for rolling up all of its abilities at random. Dude! You don't get one monster. You get bunches of 'em, all streaming out of of these tables and into whatever other scenario you can think of. Even if everyting about this module sucked, you'd still have a BEM generator. Sure, its special abilities can range from the neato to the "WTF?" ("It breathes fire and teleports? WTF?!"), but...c'mon, man...BEM generator.

Top it off with a full set of deckplans (always useful) and a bunch of broadly-sketched but strongly-defined NPCs (and I mean a bunch -- Three full ship crews plus a set of passengers), and this JG Trav module is ready to love you long time. Oh! And that "bombs on the ship" scenario may be kind of a snoozer, but you get detailed descriptions of the bombs and how to defuse them. Nice for adding color and excitement, eh? Eh? Eh?

Oh, and it features art by Kevin Siembieda. Did you know that? I didn't.

Well, I did once I looked at the signature.