Tuesday, November 11, 2014

T5 Review Part 2

Credit: evan MacDude corrected my earlier misstatement. T5 is not an upgrade of CT but of T4 (which makes sense I guess). I haven't read T4. It came out while I was semi-retired from gaming, but it's on the list! Thanks Evan.

Beyond the oasis of Chargen there's the fabled land of Qrebs where dwell the gun and armor makers. But before you reach it you must pass through Land of the Clones, Chimerae,  and Synthetics. Then you must cross the Desert of the Senses.

Geneering clones was a little tedious but it had good stuff. It could and should have been a book on its own and divides characteristics into genetic and lifestyle components in a simple way. So no your clone is not assured of being absolutely identical to you. It also introduces personality recording and imprinting though oddly this comes a tech level before cloning is possible. Makes you wonder what TL 12 planets do with that knowledge. The section on chimerae, creatures engineered from the genes of two compatible sophonts is also of use and raises interesting questions about a certain major race.

Everyone wants an android servant! Good to see them finally in Traveller. The section has details on creating 'sophontoids' as well as biotech and some methods of keeping them under control (restricted diets, needed supplements, no tethering your love droid to a power cord.)

I have to admit I became lost in the Desert of Senses. The detail is enormous. Resolution for hearing a noise has modifiers for volume and range as you might expect but also addresses frequency, span and voice. Each sense has a section on modifiers for strength of sensation and range for quick and dirty 'Notice this' tasks followed by a section with a lot more detail that left me wondering if I needed to brush up on my anatomy and physics. I'm tempted to say there's too much extraneous detail in this section. If you're interested in creating an alien or android with different sense ranges or new senses it's worth a look. I keep thinking I'll find the inspiration to write a Poul Anderson style story of first contact in it. In the end most of the modifiers could have been made optional and given a sidebar.

The more I read of this the more I can appreciate the work that went into it. I wrote a GURPS worldbook and a Master's thesis and they seem like light reading compared to this. the problem I come to again and again is presentation and focus.

I will push on to the Land of Qrebs