Rating: 

 

Reviewed by: 

David "MacAttack" McCulloch

 

 

 

TRO: 3025 (original version)

FASA 1986 ISBN 0-931787-84-X

The Blurb:

This publication details a host of BattleMechs, AeroSpace Fighters, Dropships and Conventional Vehicles that have served the Successor States through the Succession War era following the fall of the Star League. 

Details of 55 Mechs, 15 Fighters, 3 LAMs, 4 Dropships and 12 Vehicles, along with their variants, history and notable pilots is contained in this invaluable guide to the battlefield of 3025. 

The Product:

Following the publication of BattleTech (2nd Edition), City Tech and AeroTech, the TRO: 3025 was a godsend to players who wanted a wider range of equipment to play with. Previously all the designs had been "generic", but now equipment unique to each of the Successor States were detailed, along with tantalizing glimpses of the events that shaped the BattleTech universe. 

Each fighting machine was detailed with a design overview, capabilities, battle history, variants and notable warriors who had used it. The equipment was lovingly illustrated in a technical drawing style that gave the TRO: 3025 a unique flavor that set it apart from any other game on the market at the time. 

The Good 

The engrossing detail of this publication is fantastic. More than anything else, this is the product that captured the imagination of so many players and got them playing BattleTech. The imagery of these titanic war machines invoked by the writing was effectively reinforced by the artwork of Duane Loose (Mechs and Vehicles) and David R Deitrick (Aerospace Fighters and Dropships). 

Reading through the TRO you could marvel at the magnificence of the Marauder, wonder at the weapons of the Warhammer, tremble at the terror of the Thunderbolt. 

Ahmm! You get the idea anyway. 

The snippets of background information scattered through the text created a rich tapestry in which to set the game. The fact that the game universe is still rolling along all these years later is a testament to the solid bedrock on which it was built. 

The Bad:

When you set this product down beside some of the later Technical Readouts it shows some of them up in spectacular style. 

The one notable error was that FASA accidentally swapped the pictures for the Ostscout and Ostsol. They swapped the pictures in later printings, but forgot to not swap the stats printed on the page along with the picture - making things even worse! 

Continuity:

Well, FASA blew it. 

It is easy to forgive the occasional slip where some unit or world is mentioned in passing in the text, then a later publication would change their allegiance. Such instances are few and have little impact on the narrative or the game as a whole. 

Where things fall apart is of course with the "Unseen" Mechs that, due to legal issues I will not go into again, FASA can't use their images in their publications. FASA was left with the choice of either redrawing the "Unseen", retaining references to them without using the existing images, or to expunge them from the BattleTech universe (much as the Clans eliminated all references to Clan Wolverine, making them the "Not Named" Clan). 

They went for "Plan B", (retaining references) for some time, even producing a revised 3025 Technical Readout. This bastardized version replaces the "classic" designs with low tech 3025 versions of the Mechs that were first published in the Star League 2750 Technical Readout, accompanied with some absolutely dreadful artwork that clashes with the superior, original work. Whole passages from the text were also hacked out for no discernable reason at the same time.

More recently FASA has apparently embarked on a campaign to totally annihilate all references to the original Mechs and all other designs that did not originate from a FASA employee (switch to "Plan C"). With these "Not Named" Mechs being excluded from the random unit assignment tables and text in the latest Field Manuals all trace of them will soon be eliminated from the "in print" BattleTech Universe.

Conclusion:

A cornerstone product for early BattleTech, this is the Technical Readout by which all others (including the revised edition) are judged, and found wanting. It was through this book more than anything else that the early players came to know the universe of the Successor States.