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Spacedogs

Reviewed by Nicholas HM Caldwell, Copyright 2000

Spacedogs is a 44-page A5-sized "adventure" written by David Thomas and published by BITS (British Isles Traveller Support). The cover art is very high-quality, capturing a scene from the adventure perfectly. Spacedogs is designed for use with Marc Miller's Traveller (T4) and GURPS Traveller (GT), but can be easily adapted to the earlier editions of the Traveller role-playing game, and with more fiddling to other game systems.

The subtitle for this adventure - "The Magnificent Six ride out to right wrongs, free the oppressed and shoot the bad guys" - sets the tone as an action-packed "spaghetti" space opera.

Spacedogs is a complete mini-campaign, even including six ready-to-run characters. The pre-generated player-characters are members of the Vargr, a species of uplifted sentient dogs (whence the title - Woof!), living in the slums of the Imperial capitol of Sylea and treated by the humans as second or third-class citizens. The six are in desperate need of gainful employment. Meanwhile the nearby colony world of Little Heaven is being attacked by pirates, and has sent a delegation to recruit suitable fighters to defend their world. Naturally they'd like to hire the player-characters. Once recruited, the team must purchase weapons and get off-planet to succor the Little Heaven colonists. Pitched battles with the marauders will ensue, and assuming they survive, the group has the opportunity to discover who is behind the pirate menace and end the threat to the colony once and for all.

The complete "adventure" is divided into thirteen scenarios, each consisting of a number of "nuggets" of story and system material. These can be reordered and modified in the light of actual player-character actions. Since no story ever survives contact with the players, this flexibility is essential. The nuggets are sufficiently comprehensive in terms of suggesting appropriate skill checks and responses to typical player decisions that would-be referees can run the game without significant preparation. Suitably boxed-off descriptive text will also assist referees in scene setting.

The six potential heroes and heroines of Spacedogs come with full statistics, equipment, backgrounds and opinions on their fellow Vargr. The last is very useful for those wishing to use this adventure in a convention tournament or other special event where players need to get into their characters quickly and don't have time to invent personalities for them. There's also some helpful notes on how to role-play being a Vargr so that the game does not automatically degenerate into humans in furry suits with guns.

Also included in Spacedogs are concise T4 and GT statistics for the NPCs, clearly labeled and neat deck-plans of the starships featured in the scenarios, plus maps and information on Little Heaven and the other worlds of its solar system.

Overall, I really like Spacedogs. Yes, the plot may be rather clichéd, but it is well written and well edited. It's self-contained and it's fun! In the words of one veteran Traveller referee here, it could be "a good laugh", and may even tempt him out of his self-imposed G-ming retirement just to run it. For those, like myself, who don't use any of the Traveller systems or milieus, Spacedogs can still be tweaked to fit other systems and universes. Just change the names to protect the guilty and confuse the players!

Editor's Note

Spacedogs is published by British Isles Traveller Support (BITS). Their contact details are as follows:
BITS
PO Box 4222,
Sawbridgeworth,
Hertsfordshire,
CM21 0DP
Great Britain
Email BITS@bits.org.uk
Web http://www.bits.org.uk/

You can buy this product through our affiliate GreatGames in the UK. Click here or on the logo for direct access to their catalogue.

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