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High Guard
by CD F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/06/2021 19:16:20

Good product with lots of ships that characters can use to travel universe. I love the Scout/Courier and just reading that little snippet about the Q-Ship. "Q-Ship: A trader, merchant, freighter or other civilian vessel that has hidden weapons, used to trap pirates and other raiders." Gave me lots of adventure ideas.

Great book if you want the characters to have to earn their keep hauling people and precious cargo across the stars.

I would have liked a more detailed Table of Contents but the art and layout are great.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
High Guard
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Legend
by Mark A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/29/2021 19:04:40

Excellent basic rules set that can be used and expanded by the gamemaster or expanded by buying more products. System is a combination of the original Runequest and King Arthur Pendragon. For a dollar it's a can't go wrong purchase.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legend
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Pirates of Drinax: Theev
by David T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/25/2021 13:34:54

This is slightly misnamed, it is actually the Theev Cluster of Theev, Vume and Palindrome all within 1 Jump of each other, (the front cover which I actually looked at does say Theev Cluster).

There is a lot of information, 3 pages each on Vume and Palindrome and 6 on Theev, it it is nicely presented with colour illustrations each section closes with a summary of in system piracy. I would have liked to see a world map for each world (I have generated world maps for these worlds using Traveller map).

The price is very reasonable.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Pirates of Drinax: Theev
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Spinward Salvage LIC
by David T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/25/2021 11:55:58

This details a company and the ships it operates 1 Kton X-Boat Tenders, 400 ton Survey Scout 50 ton Modular Cutter and 4 modules. Scout Couriers and 30 ton Tugs are mentioned but no plans provided. All details are Mongoose Traveller versions. There is a map of the company base on Efate and a map of Regina Subsector. This is followed by 5 pages of an adventure with a list of characters. The book finishes with 5 pages detailing the 1 Kton Machii class Scout Cruiser.

I would have liked a more use of colour, but I liked the deckplans provided. I would have liked more detail on the insides of the company offices for when they are broken into.

Overall excellent value for money.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Spinward Salvage LIC
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Golden Age Starships 2: Corsair
by David T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/23/2021 13:26:18

I had to purchase this deckplans for the Traveller's 400 ton Corsair that can swallow a Type S Scout.

There are background details for the ship and MGT stats including the essential Transponder changer. Followed by 2 pages of black & white deckplans then 4 colour schemes for the ship. Details of what is included in the Ships Locker. Details of known corsairs from the Spinward Marches conclude the book with stats for the Captain and standard crew member. Bags of info.

Coloured deckplans would have been nice, but this has a nice retro feel to it.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Golden Age Starships 2: Corsair
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Fiddler's Green
by David T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/23/2021 11:19:09

Purchased this based on the title and it opens well. There is a nice colour world map of Bularia and lot's of background materiel. However there are no local maps and it needs some work.

My main problem was giving the Travellers a reason to go there in the first place as Bularia is at the bottom of the Darian subsector and outside the imperium.

I did like the alternative ending(s).



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Fiddler's Green
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The Pirates of Drinax
by David T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/23/2021 10:36:28

what's not to like Pirates, Piracy and more Pirates. A huge sandbox campaign that has kept me going for over 3 years. OK Covid mainly responsible for that, but look forward to finishibng one day.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Pirates of Drinax
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Traveller Starter Set
by David T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/23/2021 10:33:55

An improved version of MGT's original Traveller rules. Plenty of colour images rather than b&w sketches.

My favourite part are the new starship construction rules, which bring back power allocation between basic systems, the drives, sensors & weapons and other bits like medical bays. I think this enhances the realism for a little extra work and is more in line with the original little black books.

Book 3 is an unexpected bonus a subsector set in a previously unmapped part of the galaxy and far from the conventional Traveller setting.

My main gripe is that the vehicle design rules and starship construction rules are in additional books, so more to pay for.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Traveller Starter Set
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Spinward Marches 1: The Bowman Arm
by David T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/23/2021 10:23:37

There is a fair amount of background detail and brief descriptions of several planets.

The bulk of the pamphlet (8 of 24 pages) comprises a description of Walston and adventure seeds for the planet. Afurther 5 pages are a guide to adventuring in the Bowman arm.

I would have liked the level of detail applied to Walston for several other planets to really justify the title.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Spinward Marches 1: The Bowman Arm
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See How They Run
by Jeffrey Z. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/11/2021 17:08:43

This article originally appeared in the March/April 2021 issue of Freelance Traveller.

So far, Timothy Collinson has managed to make every adventure he’s written interesting just to read, never mind play (which I hope someday to be able to actually do!). See How They Run is no different; it starts with the following teaser:

“Small merchant ships are a common sight in Known Space, and the Zhodani have their share of traders plying the spacelanes even if they’re less well known to the Imperials. One such crew has their work cut out for them to make their way in District 268 where they’ll never be quite sure of their reception at the next world.”

There is no question that the Zhodani are under-represented as protagonists in Traveller adventures to date; that Mr Collinson is willing to attempt to do so – and that he pulls it off as well as he does here – speaks well to his imagination, his writing skills, and his ability to develop and organize adventures.*

    • It should be noted that Mr Collinson has run all of his adventures at least once, at TravCon in the UK, with all indications being that they have been well-received. This speaks well additionally to his ability to run an adventure.*

The author states that the intent of the adventure, as suggested by the title, is to loosely connect with his previous adventure, Three Blind Mice. The connection is not explicit nor actually a part of this adventure, but rather an opportunity set up by the presence of the PCs in the area, after it concludes. One need not be familiar with Three Blind Mice to play and enjoy See How They Run.

This adventure centers on a Zhodani free trader, whose crew are Zhodani Intendants (Zhodani SOC A), led by an Aspirant (the lowest Zhodani noble rank, SOC B). They are exploring (and hoping to expand Zhodani influence in) what the Imperium calls District 268 in the Spinward Marches sector. The adventure is written to the Mongoose Traveller 2nd edition Core Rulebook, and the author strongly recommends that the referee be familiar with the material in Alien Module 4: Zhodani (which will require some minor adjustment, as it was written for 1st edition rules). Other volumes cited as helpful are Spinward Marches, Supplement 4: Central Supply Catalogue, and Supplement 13: Starport Encounters, and some of the psionic talents come from the author’s article in Freelance Traveller #56 (August 2014).

It is likely that many Traveller players, on hearing “Zhodani”, will assume that this adventure focusses on psionics. Mr Collinson explicitly states that it does not – but also notes that because psionics are so fundamental to Zhodani society, it is neither unexpected nor improper to view everything through a psionics “lens”, and there is no question that psionics will be useful during the adventure.

The characters provided each have their own personalities and issues; in spite of being Zhodani and psionically-capable, they are most definitely not “psionic supermen” in either the hero or villain mode. Rather, they are people, with their own flaws, motivations, and personalities, and skill sets that just happen to include psionics. This adventure does not demonize the Zhodani, as was common in early Classic Traveller material; it offers the players and the referee the opportunity to present them in a more sympathetic light.

If you choose not to use the provided characters, Mr Collinson provides a psionic talent package, conceptually similar to the skills packages that Mongoose provides in their adventures; these packages consist of skills/talents that need to be “covered” in the adventure, and can be divided among the characters to ensure coverage and that no character is “left out” of the action.

This adventure, like the author’s other adventures, is structured as “Acts” and “Scenes”, with each Act focusing on a particular thematic line, with the Scenes providing the dramatic development within the theme. Act One can be viewed as ‘scene-setting’; there are no real options beyond the refueling scene. Act Two is the ‘meat’ of the adventure; there are several scenes that may be played out in any order, or omitted entirely. This Act, however, will provide much of the information required for the established mission of the ship and crew. The activities that are outlined in each of the scenes are widely varied, and present opportunities for the players to develop their characters and put their own stamp on them. They will be able to present themselves positively, and they may need to face situations where they cannot even reduce negative perceptions. In any case, the emphasis is very definitely on role-playing and character development. Act Three is an opportunity for the PCs to “close out” some events from Acts One and Two, hopefully to satisfactory conclusions.

The folio is rounded out with a wide variety of “prep” information – lists of NPCs, Library Data, possible encounters, possible seeds for future adventures that could be incorporated into the PCs’ activities, capsule summaries of the PCs, a table – very useful – of which characters have what skill, background information such as the PC’s route from the Consulate to District 268, a list of worlds and how accepting of psionics they are, some guidelines for playing Zhodani characters, conversions of PCs and NPCs to Cepheus Engine, a list of potentially useful task checks, and even a page where the referee can jot quick notes on equipment, actions, and encounters for each PC.

Overall, this is a well-written and well-organized adventure, suitable for a single session (as at a convention) or as the basis for a longer campaign. One might argue that Mr Collinson goes overboard in providing information and detail that isn’t really needed, but it’s easier to ignore information that isn’t needed than it is to generate it “on the fly” when you suddenly realize that it was omitted. Adding this to your collection of pre-generated adventure would certainly not be wasting your money.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
See How They Run
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Patron Encounters
by Jeffrey Z. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/11/2021 14:45:16

This article originally appeared in the November 2013 issue of Freelance Traveller.

Experienced Traveller referees, or those who read Freelance Traveller, who purchase this volume so many years after its release will feel like they’ve found an old friend. For little more than a dime each (a bit over 6p each if you insist on British money), you get thirty-four adventure seeds in the familiar format.

Most of the seeds have both Player Information and Referee Information, but in a few cases, everything is on the table and the “Referee Information” is no more than the list of the possible “roll 1D (1d6)” outcomes. There is a wide range of possibilities in the jobs, including three where the PCs are ‘victims’ (in the sense that they have no control over whether to get involved).

The seeds are presented in a two-column format, easy to read. On any given page, there’s never more than one seed per column, but many are of odd lengths (leaving unused white space in both columns), and some have left ‘The referee should determine the subsequent events’ line dangling at the top of a column or the first sentence on a page (effectively wasting the column). A bit more time and effort (and, admittedly, money) devoted to editing and layout might have allowed a few more seeds to make it into this volume at no increase in page count.

Nevertheless, you do get good value for the price; Martin and his “recruiting agents” have come up with a good set of seeds with interesting twists.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Patron Encounters
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Great Rift Adventure 3: Flatlined
by Jeffrey Z. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/10/2021 22:37:33

This article originally appeared in the May/June 2019 issue of Freelance Traveller.

The reviewer received this as part of the deliverables for the Great Rift Kickstarter.

Most Traveller adventures start out with the characters having knowledge of their own capabilities, and a selection of useful equipment, often with the opportunity to acquire more, and a general idea of what they’ll be up against.

“Flatlined” is different. The player-characters start by waking up from cold sleep (low berth), with partial amnesia, and no possessions at all. They are in a ship – or a small craft; they don’t know which, yet – that seems to have crashed. So now what?

The introduction to this adventure specifically calls out the flexibility built in to this adventure, noting that the described events is only one way that things could go. This is not going to be a blast-any-obstacle adventure; resources (and information) will be strictly limited in several ways, so the player-characters will have to creatively think their way out of their many problems.

The referee, on the other hand, has plenty of information available, including the story behind the player-characters’ presence in this adventure (which won’t really be relevant if this is played as a one-off at a convention, but could have implications if used as an Episode in an ongoing campaign).

The craft that the player-characters find themselves on is an in-system “Smallhauler”, not a starship, and is well-described (including the damage that it sustained in its crash). There is the usual specification sheet and isometric-view deckplan; top-view playmat plans might be useful in the early part of the adventure, before the player-characters make their way out – as they will have to, since the crashed craft is sinking.

In addition to resource limitations, the player-characters will discover that there are time limitations, as well, due in part to a beastie that is profiled in the module and which can be quite nasty. On the other hand, taking some time to learn about them could make it easier to deal with the problems they pose… provided that you don’t take enough time for them to deal with the problems you pose.

This adventure has the player-characters moving from crisis to crisis, often under-informed and lacking resources. At key points, the referee should want the player-characters to react fast, rather than taking time to think – and the actions they end up taking could well define what options will be available later in the adventure.

There is no real denouement; once the adventure is “over”, the player-characters will still be in a difficult situation and lacking resources, though they will be in a better position to get help.

There are a number of characters profiled; the player-characters should not be told everything about those they encounter, but should be allowed to form their own opinions based on their incomplete knowledge and the way the characters react to them, to each other, and to the situation.

All in all, an interesting concept for an adventure, and one that need not be associated with a Rift campaign – pretty much any backwater area away from trade routes can serve. For the referee who likes to have pregenerated adventures on hand, this is a definite buy; the creative referee who rarely uses pregens can still mine this one for ideas to incorporate into self-gens. Players who dislike having adventures spoiled by preknowledge should, of course, avoid this.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Great Rift Adventure 3: Flatlined
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Great Rift Adventure 2: Deepnight Endeavour
by Jeffrey Z. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/10/2021 22:32:45

This article originally appeared in the March/April 2019 issue of Freelance Traveller.

The reviewer received this as part of the deliverables for the Great Rift Kickstarter.

As with Rift Adventure 1: Islands in the Rift (reviewed September/October 2018), this adventure can be played without the rest of the Great Rift set, and while one certainly needs the Core Rulebook, no other volumes are called out as required – or even suggested – to support this adventure.

The adventure is written very ‘loosely’; the PCs are given enough information in the briefing to know where the Deepnight Endeavour might be (or, alternatively, they’ve managed to gather the clues on their own), and a visit to the location to see what might be learned about the ship’s fate isn’t an unreasonable course of action. Beyond that, the ultimate “goal” of the mission is mostly the decision of the player-characters.

The section on actually running the adventure is only seven pages; the rest is all of the details that the referee needs to know about the ship and all aboard it. That detail is pretty extensive; there’s enough there that I could easily see this adventure being run as a multi-party/multi-point-of-view/multi-referee effort, similar to – or possible on a larger scale than – that done by Timothy Collinson and Steve E. at TravCon (UK) in 2015 (‘Generation X’ and ‘Rendezvous with Karma’).

Two pages give you an overview of the adventure and the company behind it; they’re all you’d really need to decide if you’re interested in actually running the adventure.

You get a full twenty pages of information on the ship and its operations; packaged slightly differently, this would be viable as a product by itself. The deckplans provided are the now-standard Mongoose 2nd Edition isometric views, which is something of a shame, as it’s almost inevitable that you’ll want playmats/maps suitable for miniatures.

The situation the characters find themselves in is decidedly not normal, however, and seven pages tell the referee just how ‘not-normal’ the situation is. Fair warning: what you get reads a lot like an outline for a Zombie Apocalypse novel. There are a couple of aspects that bother my suspension-of-disbelief, but if I ‘step back’ and consider it rationally, instead of just overreacting to the fact that the Zombie Apocalypse has been overdone in popular literature to the point of nausea, I really can’t say that it’s any more suspenders-of-disbelief-breaking than psionics is.

A further ten pages are used to describe the crewpeople that the characters will be in a position to encounter. There are profiles for about ten named characters, including motivations, and some ‘generic’ profiles for unnamed characters that can serve as ‘spear chuckers’, ‘red shirts’, or what-have-you. As written, the crew is mixed human and Vargr; there’s no reason that other aliens, comparable in stats and attitude to humans and Vargr, couldn’t be substituted. Some of the information should not be given to players other than the one actually playing the character (in a multi-party scenario), but the character should be played within the limits of motivation and attitude set forth here, and it may thus be possible for someone to discern the hidden information, at least in part.

Finally, there is one page of weapon information, one with a key to reading the deckplans, and five or six of additional detail about the actual situation and how the ship is affected (and thus differs from the theoretical ship described in the twenty pages mentioned earlier), including likely tasks that characters may face.

Overall, a good adventure, and worth having if you’re the type of referee that likes to have a wide variety of pre-generated adventures on hand. (Players, as usual, should avoid this if they don’t want it spoiled when/if they find themselves playing it.) Mr Dougherty has shown over several years of writing for various editions of Traveller that he ‘gets it’, and this adventure only reinforces that.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Great Rift Adventure 2: Deepnight Endeavour
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Great Rift Adventure 1: Islands in the Rift
by Jeffrey Z. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/10/2021 22:27:59

This review originally appeared in the January/February 2019 issue of Freelance Traveller.

The Author received this as part of the deliverables for the Great Rift Kickstarter.

Although this adventure is included in the Great Rift Kickstarter, it has been written such that you don’t actually need the other books of the Great Rift set to run – although having them will be helpful for providing additional background beyond what is strictly necessary to understand for this adventure, and potentially offering the player-characters options for “side trips” or further adventures. Specific references to other Traveller materials (second edition assumed) include the Core Rulebook or High Guard, and the Deep Space Exploration Handbook.

The player-characters are tasked with recovering a ship and shepherding it across the Islands Cluster, two subsectors in the center of the Great Rift. It’s not a simple problem of ship navigation; the Islands Cluster is a cauldron of shifting alliances at odds with each other, in situations that are often just short of open war. Additionally, the PCs will have to contend with biased and incomplete presentation of information, opposition, and a mission complication.

This volume is very definitely targeted to the referee; players should consider themselves discouraged from reading it.

The Introduction, consisting of three pages of text and one page of maps (the two Island subsectors), provides the referee with the needed background of the region, including historical information and the origins of the adventure mission. This information is presented as being accurate, and it is specifically noted that referee’s discretion is to be used in presenting it to the player-characters – both in terms of what to present and when, and how accurately (e.g., completeness and bias) to present it.

The next two pages, the Travellers’ Briefing (Chapter One), is information that should be presented by the referee to the player-characters as a mission briefing. This covers an overly-brief summary of the current situation in the Islands, essentially from the Imperial point-of-view, and a mission overview, for recovering the Perfect Stranger, last known to be on Amondiage, and transporting it to the Imperial representative at Zuflucht, at the other end of the Islands. The player-characters will have limited resources (even more limited if they don’t have their own transportation), and may not be able to draw on even those resources under certain circumstances.

Chapter Two provides information on the Perfect Stranger, a 400-ton Type R Subsidized Merchant heavily modified for extended range and duration, consonant with its true mission of intelligence gathering, and sufficient to get to any star in the Islands (albeit slowly; she still mounts the standard Jump-1 drive).

Chapters Three through Six provide information and activities covering the first part of the mission, from arrival at Amondiage to acquisition of the ship to starting the journey to Zuflucht. There is a proposed route that the player-characters will use if they’re playing it safe and sensible, but there are also some places where they might be able to skip a stop if they’re willing to cut into the buffer provided by the extended-range/duration mods.

Chapter Seven offers a couple of exceptional impediments that can be run somewhere along the route. There are notes on how the referee should handle them at various worlds along the route, and what the player-characters should expect depending on their actions.

Chapters Eight through Ten cover the remainder of the trip to Zuflucht, much as the early part was covered in Chapters Three through Six. There are fewer stops on this leg, and thus less to happen – but what does happen can be just as important as the earlier complications.

Chapter Eleven is a single page with a couple of weapons specifically mentioned in the adventure; these are Islands versions of similar items that may be found elsewhere.

Chapter Twelve provides a page of index-card profiles of opposition the player-characters will encounter in a couple of ‘key’ incidents.

Overall, this is an interesting-looking adventure, good for use as a short, self-contained campaign. Recommended buy for referees looking to stock up on pregenerated adventures; players should probably avoid this unless you don’t care about spoilers.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Great Rift Adventure 1: Islands in the Rift
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The Great Rift
by Jeffrey Z. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/10/2021 22:20:57

This article originally appeared in the March/April 2018 issue of Freelance Traveller.

Note: The reviewer received his copy as part of the deliverable for the Great Rift Kickstarter.

The Great Rift is an important astrographic feature in the Third Imperium setting for Traveller, and with the release of this book and the other books that are part of the Great Rift Kickstarter, it finally gets a bit of attention.

The introductory material gives a broad astrographic overview of Charted Space, and how the system of rifts shapes it, from the galactic inter-arm gulfs down to the miniature ‘rifts’ that separate the Jump-1 mains. Following this is a discussion about exploring rifts, with a shout-out to TravellerMap.com. This section also discusses the difficulties of operating around the fringes of a rift, where there may be worlds that are accessible only with high-jump ships, and also the logistics of actual rift crossings.

The next section is the first that focusses specifically on the Great Rift, the so-called “claw” that the Spinward Marches is “behind”. This section discusses two “well-known” crossings of the rift, the Jump-5 Aslan route through Riftspan Reaches, and a Jump-4 route through Reft Sector’s Islands subsectors. An brief summary of the Aslan crossing and a somewhat more detailed overview of the Islands crossing are given, and hints about other crossings and rumored in-rift installations are summarized.

Some areas of the Imperium—and in fact of Charted Space generally—have sentient species, extant and extinct, that are peculiar to that area; the Rift is no exception. Three races are described, one extinct, one that (unusually for Mr Dougherty) pretty much breaks my suspension of disbelief, and one that has enough information provided to be usable as player-characters (much like a “Contact!” article from the original Journal of the Travellers’ Aid Society, or a Club Room article in Freelance Traveller). The pictures of the playable race are clear, but do look like Poser art, and there is no human figure or silhouette to use as comparison.

Although the Rift is mostly empty space, even more so that the areas with denser stellar distribution, there are still things of interest. Chapter Four, Features of the Great Rift, touches on some of those, including a neutron star (complete with a quite unusual set of accompanying satellites), a trio consisting of two black holes and a large star, several areas where Jump “doesn’t work right”, and some (possibly mythical) oddballs, including a habitable planet orbiting a brown dwarf, a rogue gas giant moving at high (sublight) speed, a derelict spaceship, and a region of apparently sourceless gravity.

No sourcebook discussing an area of space would be complete without a stellar atlas of the region, and this volume is no exception. Two complete sectors, Corridor and Riftspan Reaches, are presented, rounding out the volume; each sector gets an overview of the sector as a whole, plus subsector-by-subsector listings of the worlds therein, each with a subsector overview and quick profile of the most significant worlds in each subsector. Accompanying this material are inserts and sidebars presenting significant or interesting companies, fauna, vehicles, spacecraft, and starships. (Notable by omission is Reft Sector; this wasn’t included in the Great Rift sourcebook because it gets an entire separate sourcebook of its own.)

A definite buy, but you’ll want to get the entire Great Rift set, not just this book.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Great Rift
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