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Carl Clare
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Mongoose Traveller
Tripwire

Author: Simon Beal
Publisher: Mongoose
Tripwire is a 93 page adventure based in the Jewell Subsector of the Spinward Marches. This is a review of the printed softback version.

Physically the book is of the standard Mongoose quality and is unlikely to fall apart anytime soon.

Tripwire is now out of print but can be found on Amazon and as PDF or PoD on Drive Thru RPG.

Tripwire begins with an overview of the Jewell subsector including a map and brief descriptions of each planetary system and a page reference as to where this planet is referenced in the adventure.

The campaign is a mix of tramlines that the PCs need to follow and (later in the campaign) elements of free play (definite goal but steps can be carried out in any order). Generally when I played this campaign my players took the bait and followed the (sometimes obvious) clues to the next part of the story. If you have players who regularly ignore or miss ‘hooks’ then the Referee will need to be prepared to think creatively as many aspects of the game must be uncovered if the PCs are to progress. When I ran this campaign I hadn’t Refereed a published campaign for a long time and did occasionally have to emergency retcon aspects to avoid the story falling apart. In retrospect I would advise any Referee who intends to run this campaign plots it out with all it’s major clues and branch lines. Unlike a geographically isolated adventure (such as the timeless classic Death Station) the players will be in control of a jump capable ship and may freely roam around the sector.

One of the major player complaints about the campaign was the sector itself. As they noted, many of the planets are based on mining and others have no real major economic structure to support them. I have to say I agree with my players on this – one of the difficult aspects of creating a subsector is economics but I did expect a bit better from a published campaign. Furthermore there is a lack of any innovation in the nature of the governmental and non-governmental organisations in the subsector. Apart form the continual threat from the Zhodani and the ever present Imperial nobility there are only three other major organisations active in the subsector. The liberation front the Arkesh Spacers and the Federation of Arden and whilst these organisations offer the opportunity for side quests they are limited in use and scope. I felt there was a significant missed opportunity for a large NGO to create havoc with the PCs activities.

The story in Tripwire is difficult to explain without spoilers and if you intend to be a PC in the campaign then don’t reveal the spoiler below.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
The campaign is based around collecting the information about a weapon left behind by the Ancients: the eponymous Tripwire. The Tripwire is a network of large field generators which can ‘trip’ a spacecraft out of jump if the line between two active nodes is crossed. As Jewell is a border sector the Zhodani are very keen to gain control of this technology and have infiltrated the liberation front. The Imperial agents have clues that lead toward the conclusion of the first section of the game where there is an assassination attempt of the subsector Duke whose symbol of office is actually a master key for the weapon. Following this the players are employed to uncover and destroy the Tripwire technology. This they can do by activating a predetermined number of devices to cause an overload. The resulting damage to the related planets and their populations ranges from no collateral damage to everything in a 2d6 kilometer area is destroyed. One aspect I really wished I’d added to the mix when I ran this campaign was greater interference by Zhodani agents in the PCs activities. If I ran this again I would include Zhodani agents and strike teams to spice up the quieter parts of the game and keep the PCs on edge.



Overall

Tripwire is a large campaign that should keep a group of Travellers occupied for many hours. As such it is definitely value for money. There are elements of the campaign that are frustrating for the Referee and there are several missed opportunities for creative sector and world building but generally the campaign is enjoyable. I would recommend that any Referee plan this campaign carefully before bringing it to the table. That’s not to say it cannot be run with little preparation but I definitely felt that it would have been a better experience for myself and the players if I had spent a lot more time in preparation.
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