2017-06-30 Traveller Links

Traveller Subsector Generator

Why is classic Traveller the simple generic system that drives adventure? My Favorite SF RPG… talks about all that.

The PCs can’t do everything, of course. The character generation tables offer a limited set of skills, and PCs will only have a few of those per PC. But this means that if the PCs don’t have the skill set available they will have to come up with adventure-driven schemes and shenanigans to keep going: steal the part they need to fix their ship because they don’t know how to fabricate it; get to the professor of ancient languages held against his will on the estate of the noble to translate the alien tablet they found; sneak into the government building using a clever ruse because this group doesn’t have someone with Computer skills; and so on.

Deciphering the Text Foundations of Traveller is a rabbit hole about the literary sources of Traveller.

The creators of CT wanted the anarchic, amoral, and violent adventure of fantasy role playing translated into a science fiction setting.

An excerpt by Paul Czege from a long comment on the article above on a thread by Martin Ralya on Google+:

Travellers in a country that isn’t open for tourism, ex-military guys, characters in Tales of the Quintana Roo, can’t resist someone saying, “Man, you have to see the Erradeca temple ruins! A group of us found a guy who can show us the way.” Ex-military guys are rootless, have time on their hands, a certain confidence and hunger for new experiences, and have skills most other folks don’t have. I think Marc Miller originally designed a game that’s truly about the kinds of characters who love travel and new experiences, like military folks he knew. This closely matches Andre-Driussi’s take. Screw the focus on owning a starship. These characters aren’t about being in space. They’re about experiences on planets. The original focus of the game is why you have stuff like the Traveller’s Aid Society and ship passages that no one ever does anything with. The characters don’t want to own ships. They just want to get from place to place. It’s called Traveller! I’ve thought a lot about why it got drifted to a tramp merchant thing in the first place. I think the answer may be that it’s not easy at all for players to get excited about seeing an alien ruins, or a once-in-a-hundred-years creature migration that has to exist entirely in their imaginations.

Here’s a Classic Traveller Character Generator by Paul Gorman.

I wrote a Traveller Subsector Generator. See the screenshot at the top of this page. Or you can use Text Mapper.

I think you could run a campaign just looking at concept ships all day.

Oh, and if you’d prefer a fantasy game instead, Paul Elliott has Mercator for you.

An Interview with Marc Miller.

Jeff Rients has you covered: Traveller: Where to Start. Basically, one of the old sets. These days, you can also use Mongoose Traveller. As far as I can tell, it’s main benefit is that it has a unified task resolution system. Just roll 2d6, add all the modifiers and get 8 or better. But Jeff says: «I think a single resolution system for all actions is not the right way to run Traveller. Detractors of the original rules like to say that Classic Traveller’s big flaw was lack of unified resolution mechanics. I consider that a feature, not a bug.» I guess it makes it more obvious that the referee sets the difficulty level of all rolls. That works for me.



I think the post you quoted from Martin Ralya gets to what I’ve always felt was the core of the Traveller game.
Instead of characters who work to travel from interesting port to interesting port, in many cases a starship becomes the characters’ new home, which fails to capture the itinerant nature of the setting.
This is fine as far as it goes, and of course people should play the style of game they like, but I think the game is much more interesting when players look to their characters’ backgrounds as a way of dealing with ever-changing circumstances of all types, than as a straitjacket to lock characters into a specific campaign style, be that paramilitary or trading or empire-saving.
Frotz 2017-07-05 14:01 UTC

All I can say is that my Traveller campaign folded. I got charmed by Diaspora and half a year later we switched away from Traveller. Micro management of the wrong kind of things was part of the problem: no body cared about trade and payments, and yet we felt this is what the game is all about.

– Alex Schroeder 2017-07-05 14:28 UTC

I bought The Traveller Book (1982). According to Guide To Classic Traveller: «The Traveller Book consolidated the core rules (Books 1-2-3) into a single 8.5 x 11 book and added additional material on how-to-play the game. It also added the short adventures Shadows (from Double Adventure 1) and Exit Visa. 159 pages hardcover with dust jacket, or softcover.» As my campaign ran using Mongoose Traveller, I am interested in the differences.

Google has some forum threads for me to look at... but they make me tired. I’ll just browse the PDF, now.

– Alex Schroeder 2017-07-10 20:27 UTC

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