Rebellion Sourcebook (1988)

Rebellion Sourcebook (1988) is probably the moment MegaTraveller shines at its brightest. Yes, I know lots of folks hate the Shattered Imperium, but let’s put that to one side.

The sourcebook is dense with information, primarily detailing the thirteen factions of rebellion that have risen up in the wake of the assassination of the emperor. Some of these are legitimate claimants (like the various royal houses), others are opportunistic (like the alien nations that are taking advantage of the withdrawal of the Imperial fleet to the core worlds to conduct raids and territory grabs). Long histories and complex motivations fuel all the factions and the book is at its best when it is laying these sorts of details out. There is so much potential energy here, so many story threads, you can take this rebellion just about anywhere. It all feels interesting and, especially compared to other galactic science fiction of the time, very different (compare to, say, the political minimalism of the Star Wars rebellion). Politically complex. Though, I have to say, it is weird that everyone seems pretty committed to feudalism in this particular future — none of the factions have an obvious interest in democracy or socialism, both of which have fueled most of our real world rebellions.

A large-ish portion of the book is dedicated to the positioning of the Imperial fleet and their subsequent movements at the onset of the rebellion. Those bits read like groundwork for a wargame (though I don’t honestly know if they made one — the precedent is there, though, considering The Fifth Frontier War game).

I like the cover by AC Farley a lot. It sort of incongruously reminds me of Red Dawn.

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