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Trinity Field Reports: Alien Races / Psi Laws
Trinity Universe Updates

Bryant Durrell
White Wolf, 24 pages each

Alien Races
Psi Laws
Additional Information
America Offline: Psi Order Orgotek and FSA Sourcebook
140 pages
By Bruce Baugh, Rob Heinsoo, and James Kiley
Cover art by David Seeley

Luna Rising: Psi Order ISRA and Luna Sourcebook
140 pages
By Robert Scott Martin, Jonathan Woodward, Judith A. McLaughlin, and Andrew Bates
Cover art by Rick Berry

SF Site Review: Trinity

Trinity Links
Trinity Errata
Trinity Character Sheet(pdf) 10.21.97
The Trinity Promo(html)10.23.97
An Interview with Developer Andrew Bates
Trinity Forums
Trinity Chat
Trinity Mailing List

Trinity Quick Start
Quick Start Parts 1-4

Trinity Core Rulebook Excerpts
The AEON Trinity -- Excerpt#1(pdf) 10.21.97
200 Year Timeline -- Excerpt#2(pdf) 10.22.97
Aberrants -- Excerpt#3(pdf) 10.22.97
ALIENS:Qin -- Excerpt#4(pdf) 10.24.97
ALIENS: Chromatics -- Excerpt#5 10.24.97

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Don Bassingthwaite

Now these are interesting little products. Designed as field reports addressed to operatives of the Aeon Trinity, these are colourful, bite-sized morsels of information. Each is devoted to a narrow area of the Trinity setting, covering it with a fair degree of depth but leaving lots of room for individual storytellers to manoeuvre.

Alien Races and Psi Laws are the 2nd and 3rd Field Reports respectively (Extrasolar Colonies is the first Field Report; the recent Media is the 4th). The titles pretty much give away the subject of each -- surprise, no flowery mystery titles here. Don't, however, let the simple titles mislead you. These sugar pops are concentrated.

Alien Races looks at each of three alien races humanity has encountered in the Trinity setting: the aggressive Chromatics, the inscrutable Qin, and the enigmatic Coalition. Each race is dealt with in discreet sections, with a different flavour to each mini-report.

The information on the Chromatics is based on lab observations with captured specimens: not strictly slice and dice dissection, the lab depends heavily on attempts by an encounter team to communicate with the Chromatics. Well-balanced, there are some interesting and reasonable extrapolations about the Chromatic culture (they're not just killer aliens with weird glowing spots).

The Coalition section is likewise described through the reports of a diplomatic rather than a military mission -- at least initially. When things go wrong (and boy, do they ever), the military moves in. Though I would have liked to get a little more of a sense of what Coalition culture was like, the balance is nice, not just a shoot'em up.

By contrast, I actually would have appreciated a little more conflict in the section on the Qin -- although it certainly had the most original approach of any report, being in the form of excerpts from the journal of an Earth diplomat stranded on the Qin homeworld by the disappearance of the Upeo wa Macho teleporters. Still, nothing is left out, there's good cultural information, and the report conveys a fine sense of the very subtle menaces lurking among the Qin.

Overall, I think that the strongest sense that emerges from Alien Races is... well, the sheer alienness of the races. By not telling the reader everything and by throwing curve balls every so often, the report underlines the obvious. These are aliens (and pretty original ones, too), not just humans in funny costumes. They don't react the way you might expect.

Psi Laws does a similarly fine job of tackling its subject, the legal status of psions in the various regions of Earth. Woah. Heavy duty stuff, and yet it pulls it all off, giving a real sense of weight without bogging down. The presentation of illustrative sample cases bring a lot of the situations to life: psion rights, legal testimony by psions, and the place of special powers in society in general. There's some repetition as the text moves between jurisdictions, but it serves to underline common concerns rather than overwhelm the system. Uninvited telepathy, for example, is dealt with in every jurisdiction but is not reduced to dry, blatantly repetitive commentary.

Furthermore, there is a real sense of distinction between the jurisdictions: Europe is not the same as Brazil, is not the same as China, is not the same as Japan, is not the same as the Federated States of America, is not the same as the Stellar Frontier. The feel of the law matches up well with the feel of the sourcebooks published so far (so if the section on Brazil is anything to judge by, I'm now quite eager to see the Norça sourcebook). Although both Alien Races and Psi Laws have the same author, I have to say that I am most impressed by Psi Laws -- this is just a well thought-out and really well written product.

Rules lawyers may well be disappointed by these books, though. There's not a stitch of game mechanics in them. Frankly, I don't miss it a bit -- they're role-playing products through and through. I think the Field Reports are a great idea. Inexpensive but still relevant, they're the sort of product that's great for giving players a real sense of being part of the world. They're not just throw-away products either: storytellers, if you've read the Trinity Universe updates in the new paperback edition of the game or on the White Wolf website, you'll find that the Alien Races book in particular gives players some very tantalizing clues about what's really going on out in space. Psi Laws doesn't do quite the same thing, but it serves as a great reminder for players that there are repercussions to their actions. As the report points out, being an Aeon Trinity operative does not put you above the law.

Copyright © 1999 by Don Bassingthwaite

Don Bassingthwaite is the author of Such Pain (HarperPrism), Breathe Deeply (White Wolf), and Pomegranates Full and Fine (White Wolf), tie-in novels to White Wolf's World of Darkness role-playing games. He can't remember when he started reading science fiction, but has been gaming since high school (and, boy, is his dice arm tired!).

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