Fire, Fusion and Steel
Technical Architecture Book
Traveller: The New
Era Rules Supplement
[sterling]9.95 - 160pp
Fire, Fusion and Steel is designed to allow Traveller referees to
do one of two things: it allows you to modify anything you want if you are
running a Traveller campaign using the 'official' background, or it
allows you to design equipment to use with a campaign based on a completely
different background. This book is not for the faint-hearted, as it is packed
with tables, charts and text allowing you to create anything from an individual
bullet to a starship.
The book is subdivided into three sections - major systems (starships, vehicles
and aircraft), subsystems (controls, power plants, etc.) and weapons. You also
get a copy of the T:TNE upgrade booklet which includes updates and
errata for the Traveller rulebook, as well as half a page of errata for
Fire, Fusion and Steel!
The major systems section is probably the easiest part of the book to use. The
design sequences are fairly linear and easy to follow. The ship-building rules
are the same ones from Brilliant Lances (as you'd expect) and the
aircraft and vehicle design rules follow on logically from them.
The subsystems section covers the widest variety of material in the book. It
begins by dealing with materials from which to create all your equipment. It
deals with faster-than-light travel, detailing a number of options which can be
used instead of T:TNE's jump drive (or as well as it - alien technology
doesn't have to conform to expectations), such as stutterwarp and stargates.
The rest of the section runs through the sort of subsystems that you might
expect to find in the vehicles you can create in the major systems section.
Then you turn the page and find the cybernetics chapter - thus proving, once
and for all, that there really is no future so dark that it can't get a little
darker. Now, at last, you can play Traveller with smartgun links and
skill chips hardwired into your soul.
I haven't delved much into the weapons design rules yet, because there is so
much else to look at first. The rules are logically sub-divided, starting with
small-arms and working up to starship weaponry. It all gets pretty technical
(there are three pages on how lasers work, for example) and there is an awful
lot of it to go through. There are appendices giving you some standard weapons
to fit aboard starships, and some basic design examples.
Conclusion: Fire, Fusion and Steel is a tool kit, nothing more. If you want to
modify your Traveller campaign at all, this book will be invaluable.
Review by: Dave Elrick
Product Supplied by Hobbygames