The Dawn Colonies

The Dawn Colonies

The Dawn Colonies
From: Gypsy Knights Games
Reviewed by: Ron McClung

The Dawn Colonies is a new RPG Supplement from Gypsy Knights Games.

I asked John Watts once what TV show he would relate his setting to, I predicted correctly that he feels it was most like Firefly.  In many ways, it really has that feel – the grittiness, and the feeling of being a western in space.  However, at the same time, it addresses a lot of the things that Firefly and the subsequent RPGs ignored – the realism, the vastness of space and the isolation one planet can feel.  It keeps a lot of the adventure local, instead of planet hopping across the universe.  It is that sense that makes it attractive to me.

Expanding out past the Clement Sector, the fine people at Gypsy Knights take you to a new sector of space called the Tranquility Sector, which is located near the Clement Sector and connects to the Cascadia subsector of Clement.  As opposed to Clement, Tranquility is a frontier, where the factions of the Clement sector have moved past their disconnection from Earth and followed their continued desire to human colonize the region.

From the website:
“Four colonies on the edge of the frontier!”

There are four colonies presented in this sourcebook, each less than 50 years old.   They are fairly young as compared to the Clement sector, still struggling and developing to live on their own.  There are also several unexplored systems with simple letter-number designations left for GMs and players to adventure to.

The Cascadia Colonization Authority (an organization from the Clement Sector) was primarily involved in the settling of two of the worlds, Dawn and Tranquility.  Although considered independent worlds, they have considerable ties back to the Cascadian government.  Dawn, the more populous world, is quite literally a frontier farm world, with two major cities and controlled by the Lawson family.  Tranquility is a mining world in the neighboring hex to Dawn and supports a small mining facility.

Argos Prime is an independent world primarily colonized by ethic Slavs and Greeks from Clement.  It is a cold world, with much of surface covered in snow and sea-sized sheets of ice.  The population primarily lives under these sheets of ice and these “ice windows” are also a tourist attraction.

Bicocca is the final and youngest of the new worlds, settled by colonists of Italian descent.  It is seeking out any and all colonists willing to come and is slowly growing as a settled world. Bicocca is an earth-twin that has one small city that houses almost 1300 colonists.  It is a world with a lot of potential for growth and colonization, and that potential is waiting to be tapped by the players.  It is a simple and very welcoming world and a great colony to originate a character from.

In each system entry, a little more detail is given about other worlds in the system.  Sometimes these worlds are uninhabited and are waiting to be explored while others have outposts on them.  But most of the solid bodies in each system are at least mapped out with very attractive full color rendering.

From the website:
“The Dawn Colonies are the only settled worlds in Tranquility Sector.  Located to trailing of Clement Sector, Dawn Subsector is the spearhead of colonization into this new sector.  The last stops before heading into the unknown!”

Following the system descriptions, a short section on making characters from this subsector is presented.  It contains a simple table of backgrounds skills for character from each of the colony worlds.

Key to a “frontier” region of space is the adventuring and encounters.  It is totally different from adventuring within civilized space.  The final pages of the book are dedicated to just that.  It mentions the published adventure series that is also available in PDF but also describes ways that a GM can design adventures and the various ways characters can find it in the Dawn subsector.  Dawn subsector is significantly different from the other subsectors of this line and I am glad they put this in the book to get that point across.  One very good idea is a way that a GM can make the Dawn subsector his or her own: base an entire campaign on the settlement of one single system.  The text gives enough ideas and inspiration for conflicting interests from the Cascadia subsector and the growing criminal elements within Dawn.  A GM could have years of adventuring with just that, with a little work.

The book closes with random encounter tables and stats for various creatures found in this region, enhancing the “frontier” feel just a little further.  Call me petty, but I like to have a picture of the creature along with those stats but I understand that art for that can be expensive.

In conclusion, I wasn’t overly thrilled with the first half of the book when I first got into it, but as I read through it, it got better.  It is not one of Gypsy Knights best works but it does create a new level of potential in the Clement sector setting.  It also can be used in other Traveller settings if a GM so chooses.

For more details on Gypsy Knights Games and their new RPG SupplementThe Dawn Colonies” check them out at their website .

Codex Rating: 12

Product Summary

The Dawn Colonies
From: Gypsy Knights Games
Type of Game: RPG Supplement
Author: John Watts
Cover Art: Fotoila: Algol
Artists: George Ebersole, Ian Stead, kraifreedom, Angela Harburn
Editor: Curtis Rickman
Number of Pages: 50
Game Components Included: One PDF sourcebook
Game Components Not Included: Core Traveller rule books
Retail Price: $6.99 (US)

Reviewed by: Ron McClung