This book… frustrates me. I understand that choices needed to be made, and that my dissatisfaction with them is personal, but parts are hard for me to process efficiently, especially the ‘Worlds of the Frontier’ chapter.
That said, some things are in need of examination. The book seems not quiet ready for release. And as long as this ‘review’ is, I’m afraid I was a little haphazard. Trouble concentrating, so I might have missed some obvious typos when my eyes glazed. But you may need to have some words with the head of your hyphenation department.
Some points below are partially edited as I found answers later in the book, but that’s part of the problem. Things should be organized so that a concept is explained prior to using it. This definitely applies to the PAS Severity and Compatibility digits and the alien and animal Traits most of all.
p. 2: ‘dis-repair’ and ‘re-opened’ Are those Britishisms or can the hyphens be dispensed with?
p. 4: Both ‘20 lightyears’ and ’20-light year’ in the main text ’20 light years’ in the Jumpers box. All should be ’20 light-year’ or ‘20 light-years’ as appropriate.
p. 5: ‘selfsufficient’ self-sufficient
p. 10: Inca Republic appears to be both Tier 3 and 5.
p. 11: An odd definition of Oceania to include places like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bhutan and the Indian states. Asia is where they belong, especially since Burma is In Asia… yeah look at the division between Asia and Oceana…
+ And I would think Siberia would be rather habitable, and not greyed out, even in a colder world – if nothing else, through it into the Russian Commonwealth.
+ And Africa is messed up. I mean, I guess technically its correct but with a mosaic of three different zones using the same numbers over and over, it is very hard to interpret.
p.12-13: If possible, adding the light year distance in a “#.##” format as an overlay on the lines would make this map or at least the poster map, which I presume is larger. Much more usable in-game.
p. 19: Since interface Transport Quality is a letter, perhaps it is better to displace in the examples as ‘L’ instead of 2. Actually, looking at these in detail, I have no idea why you switched from letters to numbers in the UCP example.
p. 19: Looking at the actual values for asteroid belts, I’m starting to make the inference that it’s meant to represent the resource value of the asteroid belts of a system, not the quantity of belts. If so, it should state so. If not, it seems like too many systems have too many asteroid belts.
p. 19: ‘number A-BCDEFG-H J K 12 is explained above’ no dash between A and B in the UCP
p. 22-24:These charts have… problems. They list system and colony, but not world names. Yes, they may all be the same, but they may not. Also, no arm designation – yes, I suppose that makes the chart too wide, as UCP already wraps. Okay, lots of ways to try to display the information and you picked one. I might have done it differently… or done it twice to present the information I different ways for different purposes.
p. 22: looking at UPPs, there seems to be some abnormally high asteroid belt numbers: 6, 7, and as much as 9 for Beta Comae, which seems… odd. Unless the number means something like density or resource value, not quantity (but they do… sigh).
p. 22: Nyotekunda’s last three digits are 50’ so I’m assuming that last digit was supposed a be a numeric.
Berthier’s UPP is ‘C4120314-B’ an extra digit, but I’m not sure which one.
Finally, the UPP for ‘Uninhabited’ is missing a zero.
p. 23: Vogelheim | Alderhorst seems to be listed twice – as French (with the wrong Tier code) and on the next page as German, also with the wrong Tier and a different population digit multiplier. Or you just have the world name instead of the colony name and it should be Saint-Benoit and New Mark (see this format is confusing)
p. 24: Cold Mountain is missing a digit in the UPP D7D766-8 – it’s one short – p. 55 it’s C6D766-8 – which is also short and doesn’t line up on starport either. The previous version of 2300 has it as C6D6766-8, but since the colony starport is listed as D, I would think it should be D6D6766-8
p. 25: ‘The world of Elysia’ nation, not world, since there are other colonies on that world.
p. 27: ‘the opening of the American Arm proper dates from the establishment of the outpost at Broward in 2172. This way station became the crossroads for the American and Manchurian Arms’ Yet Broward isn’t mentioned as a ‘Major Outpost’ on p. 22 while uninhabited Sandberg is? Broward is never mentioned again in this book.
p. 29: the King UPP has an appended ‘E5’ at the end. This is not explained. All the world UPPs seem to have these extra two digits. (Oh wait! It is on page 101! – need to put this on the p. 19 explanation and a short summary of it. Does ‘E’ for King mean a DM-14 for PAS checks on King. Ugh. Are these the converse of the Habitability score from the previous version? – meaning instead of ‘10- a bunch of things’, it’s just ‘+ a bunch of things’?)
‘Environmental Hazard and Requirements:’ for all worlds seem to have the former, but no mention of the latter. I mean you have all those goodies from Book 1 listed in the Augmentations chapter besides just the plain world-specific PEA modification, so list them – including the PEA modification, if available, because it might not be, especially on the newly settled worlds.
+Bases seem to show up in UCPs though that’s not how the format was described on page 19.
p. 29: HERMES – the colony and its UCP are missing as is any expository text or a map. What’s up with that?
p. 31: ‘Only 7% of the surface of Ellis is covered with water, primarily small briny seas around the south pole.’ Should have told the map maker, since all the bodies of water and settlements are in the equatorial zone on the map.
p. 31 BOTANY BAY and KINGSLAND: Well at least the colony and map exist. So, this is only random summary information on random colonies? Urgh. Definitely would have made different choices if it were me. And I’d also list spectral class of the stars along with their ‘names’.
Is an Atlas of the X Arms forthcoming – and not just the French Arm this time? If I did it, you’d probably hate it. I have the last five versions on the National Geographic Atlas stacked on a bookshelf next to the NASA Atlas of the Solar System, so a 2300 atlas would probably come to 500 pages with charts and tables galore and nobody could afford to pay for it except idiots like me.
p. 31: KINGSLAND: the colony UCP and in three spaced digits, the first of which, if population, implies a colonial population higher than the world’s population. There’s also an ‘O’ before the trade codes. And the pop multiplier for the colony is 6, while it is only 5 for the planet as a whole.
p. 32-33 – okay, so its ‘name-towards-spin’ as the map format. I’ll have to see how well that works on the physical copy. Dizzying.
p. 35: NIBELUNGEN: If the world’s population is 300 million and the Nielungen colony is only 90 million, who are the rest of the people? It also has a law level lower than its colony, but with government 4 and no other colonies listed? I don’t get it.
p. 35: BEOWULF: same odd three digits at the end of the colony codes for the two colonies.
p. 39: KIMANJANO: Same issue. Is the O after TL on the Okavango UCP supposed to be a base code? And if so, is ‘O’ Outpost? – I don’t know, guessing here…
p. 39-41: KIE-YUMA: Doesn’t rate a map? And on p. 41 it’s written as ‘Kie-yuma’ instead of Kie-Yuma.
p. 41: BETA CANUM: This time the two odd digits for the world have a space between. And the world TL is B, even though the French colony with the most people is C and it has a Beanstalk… The population of the three colonies adds up to 50 million, but the planet is 80 million – I suppose that could be within rounding if there’s a lot of pentapods, there’s only 400K listed on page 21.
+‘the Pentapods made a request to build an enclave on the French Continent’s western shore.’ Map shows it a hex (1075km) or more off the shore.
p. 45: CRATER: If I’m reading it right, the world has a population of 2 million, but the colony 5 million.
+ Also not sure why planetary Law level is 6 when the only colony is 4. Back on the table (p. 23) the population matches at 2, but the Law Level discrepancy still exists. No map for Crater.
p. 45: ALDERHORST: both colonies have a D starport, but the world has a C.
p. 47: DUNKELHEIM world Pop = 300 thousand, colony pop = 5 million. This and the weird ‘O’ or ‘0’ prior to the trade code exists on the p. 22 table as well. Plus ‘NI’ should be ‘Ni’ for non-industrial.
p. 51: HOCHBADEN: Similar problem with colony pop exceeding world pop and ‘NI’ instead of ‘Ni’.
p. 51: AURORE: The population of the three colonies adds up to 11 million, but the world only 8 million.
p. 55 COLD MOUNTAIN: as mentioned above, the UPP is missing a digit. Probably should be D6D6766-8. +Also, if the pop digit for the UPP is 4, and the POP multiplier for the only colony is 1, then one of them is wrong – the world should drop to 1 (going by the previous version of the colony, also digit 1).
p. 57: DAIKOKU: UPP and map size changed from 6 to A. A does not support the low gravity, and once again, the world pop multiplier is not supported by the colonies – all these need review. And if the two colonies have D starports, the world can’t be B, can it?
p. 57: SYUHLAHM: Gov should be 7 if there are two colonies….
p. 57: HEIDELSHEIMAT: how can the gravity be 0.44 on a size 8 world – swiss cheese mantle? Okay, okay, I checked the old GDW version… it’s always been that way (only lived in this house 21 years, but finding old stuff is already an archaeological project).
+ But the pop multiplier still has issues.
p. 67: MONTANA: ‘Gravity: 0G (normal)’ should be 0.98G (going by the Colonial Atlas from 1988)
p. 69: PAULO: no colony info
p. 69: HAIFENG: Listed as no population on the UPP, but the map on the next page has Austin’s World UPP and cities and factories present.
p. 70: ‘Foundations, Corporations, Terrorists and Criminal Groups influence the daily lives of millions of people.’ Not sure anything but the first word should be capitalised in that sentence. Same goes for ‘Corporations’ in the text box.
p. 70: ‘…while others have clearly stated nationalist goals. All exist across borders and nationalities…’ I read that four times and can’t disentangle the contradiction.
p. 72: ‘Its current major project is the construction of two deep-space stations to create a bridge…’ but don’t you need a gravity well to discharge the drive?
p. 75: ’Arno: Small Arms,’ Small arms (heh, that’s a self-referential comment)
p. 76: AmeriCo: their mission statement is the only one italicised
p. 79: Earth First: ‘eight light years’ eight light-years
+ ‘oppose manned space flight’ Instead use: ‘human spaceflight’ or ‘crewed spaceflight’
+ ‘Vanuatu Island’ as somebody else mentioned Vanuatu is the nation. The capital, but not largest, island is Efate (hmm, where have I seen that name before?)
p. 79: ‘As opposed to Foundations and Corporations’ you don’t capitalise the words ‘nations’ or ‘governments’ so why Foundations and Corporations (it’s more something I would do, but it’s not normal in English).
p. 79: Deuxième Bureau de l’État-Major Général: a very picky note that the Staff levels doesn’t have a period at the end of it, whereas all the other do.
p. 80: ‘It took Russia nearly 50 years to contain the infection and even today it still springs up in isolated pockets across the north of the country.’ Okay so maybe that explains Siberia being grey on the Earth map…
p. 80: La Légion Etrangère: ‘LANGUAGE(S): French, Arabic,’ should be a period after Arabic, unless another language was intended to be added.
p. 83: Odd that French officers start at rank 0, but that is not true for any other officer (except the 2nd Lieutenant); it pulls French ranks back, which just seems wrong. If they’re first Tier, I would think a French general would outrank other forces’ generals, not vice versa.
p. 84: ‘hostile and murderous Kaefers’ murderous is an odd word choice, since it has a legal insinuation – how about: ‘hostile and warlike’? or ‘hostile and violent’ or just ‘hostile’? (Or ‘malignant’, ‘deadly’, even ‘brutal’ or ‘ruthless’ could work.)
p. 84: ‘Although the Eber were not the first intelligent aliens encountered, they did provide the first hard proof of extra-terrestrial intelligence.’ What? That’s another one that still reads wrong after multiple tries to reconcile. How about: ‘Although the Eber were not the first intelligent aliens encountered, they did provide the first hard proof of starfaring extra-terrestrial intelligence.’
p. 84: KORMORAN: This world has no PAS Severity and Compatibility stats. No gravity stat.
+And six asteroid belts? I don’t get where those numbers come from, unless it means resource value of asteroid belts instead.
p. 87: Traits: Large should have a modifier: Large (+1) ?
p. 87: Dances-in-Moonlight is described twice, the second time in italics with an extra sentence. And I have to assume the nomad girl is an Eber, not a human, though the sentence structure almost implies human. Which would be creepy. Very.
p. 87: ‘organiclooking’ organic-looking
p. 87: ‘the xenobiologist theorised that it was a vessel and when an opening appeared in its side, flew the boat in.’ Either remove the comma in front of ‘flew’ or add a comma in front of ‘and’.
p. 88: ‘fivelimbed’ five-limbed
+ ‘bulletshaped’ bullet-shaped
p. 88: GOD|HOME: ‘Primary Name’ is instead the poorly formatted UPP, which, where UPP is supposed to be it should have a dash between Law Level and Tech Level and well, it looks like you reverted back to putting the trade remarks onto the UPP (standard Traveller would be Hi Ht In Wa, but that may not be relevant in 2300). And eight gas giants? That’s a lot. The previous version has the star as DM+43 1953 and a lower population (8) and says it’s the first of two worlds in the system, which mean there at least seven gas giants too many.
p. 89: ‘previously-assumed’ previously assumed
+ ‘less-advanced’ probably better without the hyphen, but it’s a judgement call
p. 91: VASSHON (STARK): no PAS Severity and Compatibility stats. No gravity stat. I only mention this because for both Kormoran and Stark, there are human enclaves.
+ ‘Sos-Soon-Atkacharr’ SosSoonAtkacharr (heh, don’t look at me, but in the previous version and elsewhere here, it’s without hyphens – so for consistency, it should always be CamelCase without hyphens)
p.91: ‘natureloving’ nature-loving
+ ‘Sung power over the xiang’ Xiang
p. 91: HOME OF THE MOTHER: Same stat issue as the other homeworlds. Maybe at least include gravity in the block. Also, what’s with the 2 and 0 before the Po in the UPP? Can’t be bases – or at least not in a consistent form. And the Gov shouldn’t be ‘1’ – it was ‘0’ in the old book and well, probably meaningless in human terms, but not a corporation.
p. 92: ‘currently in the early female stage of her life-cycle’ Cool, but too bad there is no discussion of life cycle in the Characteristics section – for any of the alien races.
p. 93: ‘near the only discharge point in the system’ I need to review how the stutterwarp drive works, but that doesn’t seem right.
p. 93: ‘initial ladings’ landings
p. 93: ‘seemingly-stupid’ seemingly stupid
p. 93: ‘in or near the Serpentis systems’ since Serpens is a constellation with stars at a variety of distances, this is potentially meaningless, though I suppose it refers to Gamma, Lambda, or Psi, and maybe 39 Serpentis. Okay that’s too geeky – I suppose you should just leave it as is…
p. 94: ‘INT (-6)’ an INT of 2 should give an INT (-3)
+ High State should grant Tactics (military) skill of some level, if they become ‘ tactical near-geniuses’. At least skill level 2 if not 3 or 4. In the previous book the Low/High skills were separated by a slash, so that’s an idea.
p. 94: Horse Pistol Kg ‘1.6k’ should just read 1.6
p. 95: ‘…harsh realities of their homeworld’ missing period at the end of the sentence.
+ ‘The shuffle about’ They
p.95: LIGHTFALL: UPP 311? A few thousand in a corporation? Same remarks about not including gravity. I might have the adventure in my archaeological record somewhere and might be able to dig it up.
p.96: Cave Dragon: ‘It was specifically this animal that the Rockwell 12-81 Magnum rifle was
developed to deal with’ so how exactly do you first-shot-kill an 80 hit creature on 5D damage? Oh well. 2D seems too low for claw damage for a Large (+3) creature – 4D is more likely.
p. 97: Dragonbat: Speed 4m. I suppose is ground speed. ‘Flyer (Very Slow)’ should be Flyer (very slow). There are other instances of capitalisation In Flyer speed (Sung, Flying Blind, White Wing, maybe something I didn’t see).
p. 97: Flying Blind: Speed 2m. I don’t know if they have a ground speed - unless they ungulate along the ground?
p. 98 Hellshark: Damage seem low. All the damage in 2300AD from animals seems like it is lower than the Core book guidelines for size. Like by half.
p. 98 Nigh Stalker: ‘night-stalker’ night stalker (Two instances of this. You should really have a talk with the head of the hyphen department)
p. 99: I’m not sure if the illustration is supposed to be a Titan or a White Wing. It can’t both.
+ ‘plains-hunter’ and ‘slightly-smaller’ both look like hyphen abuse, especially the latter.
p. 99: Zururyu: There is a Traveller Companion Trait ‘Clever’ which would be appropriate here. And then added to the list on the next page.
p. 100: ‘uplif,’ Is that supposed to be ‘uplift’ ?
p. 100: Aquatic/X: ‘It can breathe underwater, or hold its breath for a long period. The species cannot operate out of water without life support and some sort of mechanical aid.’ How does that work with the ‘hold its breath’ comment? Another logical conundrum. How about just striking the two sentences as unnecessary and/or misleading. Back on p.88 our Pentapod friend has the Trait Aquatic (12 hours) – and an Endurance of 7, which doesn’t correspond to the /X format, and if it did the result would be either 70 minutes or 14 hours, not 12. I suspect our Pentapod would actually have Aquatic/3, but that’s another story not yet told. And the Hellshark is listed as Aquatic (indefinite) instead of Aquatic/3. Maybe levels of Aquatic are entirely unnecessary (treat it like Vacuum – it’s a trait for the native environment), and some modification to Amphibious is what you actually want. How it works for the cetaceans is a bit problematic on a couple of counts.
p. 100: Echolocation (X): The animals prior with Echolocation don’t have a range listed. And another thing. Traits should have been put in before listing the animals (and aliens for that matter) – the order is unorderly.
p. 100: EM Sense (X): Can’t find actual use of it, so I can’t tell if it is being applied according to spec, with range included.
p. 100: Tough (+X) – this Traits differs from the Tough trait described in the Traveller Companion. Maybe call the trait Resilient (+X) instead?
p. 101: The UPP. Okay, so this real does spell it out as the number of Planetoid belts for that number – too high, unless you’re subdividing belt zones (I mean, really, if the answer is 9 then its unlikely to be 9 separate belts, each separate by a planet). And now finally we explain those two digits: PAS Severity and Compatibility – should have done that on p. 19. Seriously.
p. 101: ‘only Tirane and Nous Voila have been easily amenable to terrestrial life.’ But Nous Voila on page 47 has the contradictory PAS digit of 4 and the statement ‘No PAS Issue’. Head hurts – is this characteristic PAS Severity or not?
p. 102: ‘A world’s PAS score determines the overall severity of PAS effects and is used as a DM on PAS checks. This usually runs from 2 to 7.’ If only – they range from 4 to E – so ‘E’ on King I assume is DM-14. Um, maybe you should re-examine the PAS scores on all them planets or clarify why I’m reading them entirely wrong.
p. 103: ‘For example, Cold Mountain is known for being unrelentingly-hostile. The PAS level for this world is 7, giving DM-7 on the PAS check’. It looks like it is ‘A’ back on p. 55, which I’m interpreting to mean ‘10’. I could mean a lot of other things, I suppose, but there are a lot of 8s on the UPP listings and I’m pretty sure ‘A’ is not an abbreviation for ‘seven’ (not in English or French anyway). A lot of worlds seem to be ‘A’, and most are worse than 7. So yeah… redisplay or recompute PAS numbers of all those worlds, people.
p.103: Gravity Regimes: Does no match Book One p. 8 (e.g., Light is missing, Extreme starts at 2.11 – which frankly, I find much more believable). As I mentioned on the Book 1 section – coordinating these values better with the Traveller Companion numbers (p. 55) might make the most sense, even if that one does misstate Jupiter’s gravity… I realise these serve a different purpose than the birth world ranges but these are more reasonable (though not as reasonable those categories as described in the Companion or Core book) and having different gravity definitions between Book One and Book Two, both different than Core and Companion, is overly confusing and an unnecessary complication.
p. 104: Stopping and Bouncing: The check makes no assumption based on speed of impact. For instance, the swimming (slow) or a smart hand hold-moving character is unlikely to be injured. Make the Check Easy (2+) and add the incoming speed as a negative modifier. Make the stun damage equal to the negative effect. Handholds, yes, you can go fast, but if there are still handholds left, you can also slow down at each handhold.
p. 104: ‘automeds’ and ‘automeds’s’ Use autodocs and autodoc’s instead.
p. 106-110: Why would Bandits/Guerrillas or Colonists have Low gravity?
+ Why put anything but ‘N/A’ or ‘Varies’ in the Gravity entry for these generic people?
+ I think you overestimate the intelligence of a bureaucrat and the social status of a street thug. The latter for sure.
+ Terrorists also tend to have lower SOC values, same with Pirates and Belters.
+ If the other starship crews have ‘Light’ for gravity, why don’t Pirates?
+ ’Libertine’ not really explained in these books
+ Review capitalisation (remove it) on skills where present – e.g., ,Colonial Militia Drive 1 (Wheeled or Hover)’should be ‘Drive (wheeled or hover) 1’, among others.
p. 111: Neo-Cats: Pretty sure cats can’t fly. It looks like they received a copy of the Flying Blind block, so they really ought not to have Slate-blades, or Camouflaged either.
p. 111: Neo-Dog: That Clever trait from the Companion? Pretty sure it should come in and apply to all the Neo-X.
p. 111: No-Fin: Okay, so here, Aquatic/1 actually makes some sense, except they don’t have an endurance stat, so I guess it still makes little sense. Speed 0m is land speed, but what’s their water speed?
p. 111: Neo Octopus” Athletics (END) should be Athletics (endurance) to be consistent. Already gave my opinion on Aquatic but as they are ‘unable to operate out of water’ they had better be Aquatic/3 if you plan on keeping the / for Aquatic. Or just make it Aquatic. Same comment on Speed 0m as above.
+ ’although understands as’ needs an article. Problematic, unless you rewrite the sentence as plural and use ‘they’.
+ ’unlike most wild octopuses but’ comma before the but
p. 112: Consider that Clever trait from the Companion for all of these. I just can’t imagine it being practical to treat crows and ravens like protected species, though. Unless they became endangered. Plus, a neo-cat would probably be big enough to catch and eat them. Then you have a proto-dilemma.
p. 112: Cetaceans: ‘Melee 2 (natural)’ should be ‘Melee (natural) 2. Echolocation seem to work just as advertised, so that’s good, but Aquatics/1 is still unworkable as speced without an Endurance.
p. 113: Elephants: finally, an animal with close to appropriate damage levels for their size! Not sure about Speed 12m, though.
p. 113: Great Apes: Speed 8m? Not knuckle walkers, I don’t think. Pretty sure I could outrun a great ape, but don’t really have a way (or will) to test it.
p. 113: Cats: Cats can’t be speed 12m if neo-cats are 12m and ‘faster than their progenitors’. 9m probably. Bite (D3-2)? Maybe. I’ve had quite a few scratches from claws, but very few bites. They hurt like hell, though. Maybe D3 like the Core book says. Or 1 point, but not two out of three being harmless…
p. 113: Probably the same speed issue for dogs, except greyhounds. 9m.
p. 114: ‘hard-science fiction’ hard science fiction
p. 116: ‘Libertine transport Star of Gabriel,’ Italicise Star of Gabriel. I’ve already commented that Libertines are not really explained in these books. They could have at least been thrown into the Organisations section.
p. 117: ‘counter-terrorist’ counterterrorist … hey come on, at least be consistent in the same paragraph.
p. 117: ‘Often the goals of Core-based governments, Foundations and corporations are at odds’ … apparently at odds with rules for consistent capitalisation. If governments and corporations are lower case, then foundations should be too.
p. 118: ‘Sos-Soon-Atkacharr’ SosSoonAtkacharr (both in the bold section and later in the paragraph)
p. 118: ‘Stories of with happened’ Stories of what happened
p. 118: ‘The national rivalries listed on page 10’. Not. Page 10 is half a map. I don’t recall reading about them.
p. X: I’m sure I missed some. Did not read all the worlds in the ‘Worlds of the Frontier’ chapter that carefully as I was a bit irritated with the chapter and it was late Saturday night. I lead an exciting life…
I would really suggest another edit pass or two and at least addressing PAS numbers, asteroid belt counts, and Traits, plus reordering some of that stuff a bit for flow.