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Referee’s Companion (1988)

I like this James Holloway cover on its own merits, but I also like it as a visual metaphor for an already complicated RPG issuing an even more complicated rules expansion. So you already crashed your ship in the ocean. How much worse can it get?

This is the Referee’s Companion (1988) and, I dunno if it is my own prejudices showing, but any rulebook that leads with mass combat rules is just not off to a good start. There are also tedious new rules for sub-light starship movement and a surprising amount of space given over to calendars. The section on megacorporations is two, all-to-brief pages. There are also sections on research, robots, tech, maps. It is a weird hodgepodge, and most of it feels under developed. The main thing of interest is the sections on the main alien cultures, but even this feels thin for some reason.

Fun fact: this (and a couple other MegaTraveller books) have some very early Tim Bradstreet art, from a period before he established his signature style. It is wild to think that in three short years he’d got from this to cranking out iconic Vampire: The Masquerade art.

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