Review - Borderland: Tanith


Emperor Mongoose
The latest mini-supplement from Mongoose in the Borderlands Planet profile series, Tanith clocks in at 18 pages, though there’s only 14 pages of text, along with a couple of low-res grey-scale illustrations.

The planet of Tanith is heavily influenced by the mercenary trade, and as such the first page is dedicated totally to mercenary company operations and concepts. If you haven’t seen this in a previous supplement it’s actually good information. If you have (or say you’ve picked up a copy of Hub Federation Ground Forces from Gypsy Knight Games), then it’s mostly filler. But nicer than many other examples of filler out there.

While I haven’t purchased any previous system profile booklets in the series, I am very pleasantly surprised with the level of detail and backstory included here. Some of the older Traveller pieces detailed out the system, and MJD does the same here – which is great in my opinion! Now a referee has more to work with. Not only do you have a basic idea of what’s present in the system you have a history on the planet (Tanith), a listing of a refueling station located nearby owned by another stellar entity and a few lines about how the two don’t get along (i.e. potential plot points!). Furthermore they provide you with details on another planet in the system (about half a page worth) that you can use to provide more adventure opportunities for your players. And, if not, it’s always nice to have more, rather than less, detail about a system and its’ people and just why they might be there and what they are doing. The last page in this section (three full pages) has details on every other planet and anything of that might be of interest for a player to go investigate.

The following section provides more details on the port of Tanith, the surrounding region, some background on the operations and economics as well as a primer on local conditions. Since we are talking about a port of mercenaries there is plenty of info on what you might expect defensive wise on the ground, in orbit and what kind of ships you might encounter. I found it to be interesting to both a referee and player.

Since the supplement talks about Tanith being so friendly mercenaries, it’s only natural to write up a section on some of the denizens for (potential) hire. There are six pages dedicated to this, with each sample organization getting about three-quarters to one full page write-ups. Now some of that space is taken up by a TO&E listing (that’s table of organization and equipment), but for those that aren’t savvy on military structures or organizations it’s nice to have. And even if you are it makes for easy at-a-glance understanding of unit structures and capabilities.
The additional verbiage on each unit just rounds out the whole thing.

The final five pages are devoted to potential adventure hooks. While none of the hooks go into great detail or provide things like d6 charts to generate enemies and loot, they do provide potential referee’s or players enough ideas upon which to build upon. And, in my mind at least, that’s half the battle. Sometimes getting the initial spark going is all that is needed. If you are the type of person that likes everything detailed out and handed to you, well, I think you might be disappointed with what’s here. But most everyone else should be quite pleased with it.

Aside from the low-res artwork there’s not much to complain about there. The information is presented well and in reasonable detail. It would be nice to see some further detail on things that do get mentioned. For example, remember the earlier detail about the fueling station operated by a potential rival being in-system? Just what kind of station or forces would be seen there? The high port is described as being little more than a mooring station for unstreamlined ships, and then it immediately goes into talking about how heavily armed with missile batteries, particle accelerator barbettes and a fighter squadron is also based there. So does that make it a 1,000 ton light battle station? A 5,000 ton space station? This trend continues into the mercenary company descriptions. Some information like troops being equipped with gauss rifles as standard gear is good, but descriptions of generic missile teams, or EW operators, or vehicles equipped with magazine-fed 180 rounds-per-minute mortars (but only carry 40 rounds onboard) kind of leave you hanging. If you did want to use one or two of the mercenary companies you don’t have the full unit descriptions available.

Overall I was very impressed with this, even with some of the information holes that seem to be there from my reading of it. The price point is very fair (another $2.99) for what you get. It’s a solid product for a fair price. And even if you aren’t looking to adventure in this area the information contained inside can be easily adapted to just about any Traveller setting or system. I rated this a full 5 stars on DTRPG. MGT is getting better, though they are still obviously struggling with the same things they normally have. I'd happily pay an extra dollar to fund artwork like Ian Stead's or any other artist that takes the time and effort to create interesting ships for me to salivate over. Do you hear that Matt? People willing to PAY more if they get better artwork! Please consider upping your game and testing the waters - we don't bite (much).
Well, Tanith worked out pretty well for Lucas Trask and the crew of the Nemesis. I guess we can call it a wash!
Thanks for the review.

$2.99 ??? You could (almost) get the left arm of a Games Workshop 28mm figure for that kind of money :shock: