Thursday, July 7, 2011

Fall Back - Rise Up!

First, it's good to know that while the destination may be unknown, the journey continues.
Secondly, I've decided to fall back on a tried and true favorite but one I haven't touched in a while. Good ol' Traveller*. Seems I'm not alone. There a quite a few people on a Traveller kick. It was actually ze bulette and others who posted in my comments that really got me thinking I should run Traveller (see, your input can make a difference!). I point out ze bulette in particular because, in addition to having the most colorful hair in the hobby, I've actually seen him comment in a pro-Traveller fashion on many a blog. Way to catch my ADD addled attention ze!

Now when I run Traveller, I tend to go with a variant on the 'Traveller Canon'. I have encountered and read about quite a bit of canon bashing when it comes to Traveller's Third Imperium setting and really I don't know why. I like it. I don't adhere to it one hundred percent but I do let it and it's fictional history inspire my ideas for adventures and possible scenarios.

Basically I keep the fact that there is a Third Imperium, an Emperor, a First and a Second (of sorts) and various events, items, aliens and the like. What they do, how they act, etc. is open to interpretation. What that really means is that if I think it's cool I use it and if I think it's dumb I change it.

One of the things I'm very particular about when I run Traveller is the look of the universe. Unlike many of the grognards, I have players who grew up in the later part of the twentieth century. You know, when we started having color TV, movies and video games. Yeah.

Look I am and always have been an avid reader. I adore my E.E. Smith, Poul Anderson, Larry Niven and A. E. van Vogt books. For most of my players however, mentioning H. Beam Piper is going to have them asking if that's some type of energy weapon.

Stat it how you want to but it's got to have the visual cool of Mass Effect, Halo and...heck, the Japanese editions of Traveller. Damn but those are sweet.

Anyway, my next big concern is the feel and atmosphere of the sector we'll be playing in. I have a list of the canon sectors I like to use (mainly because they have cool looking sector maps I can print out from the internet) and little notes on each that describe their general theme. Some are 'Rough and Tumble Frontier - Outer Space/Wild West' sectors while others might be described as 'Full of Megacorporate Conflict and Intrigue - Cyberpunk Attitude'.

That's all the time I have tonight kids as I really need to get me some shut eye. We'll talk more tomorrow.

Barking Alien

*UPDATE: This was supposed to go up a while ago but I hadn't yet heard back from one of my players. Not sure he is super gung ho to player Traveller. Uh oh. Still talking to him about it. We'll see what happens. Keep you posted.


  1. OK but what flavor of Traveller? Original Recipe? Mega? New Era? T4? GURPS? Personally I've become a big fan of Mongoose but everyone has their own favorite.

    There's more specifying to be done here sir!

  2. LOL.

    Specifying is something I do slowly when designing a campaign. In truth, I leave even the most detailed worlds and universes slightly unspecified on purpose.

    As for edition, I tend to stick with classic, original Traveller mixed with a few things I liked from Mega. I don't use Mega's setting premise however, going slightly more toward GURPS Traveller in that regard (the Emperor was not assassinated, the Imperium didn't shatter).

    I like Mongoose's version...and I don't really care for it that much. I'm not sure why.

    My view of it is similar to my view of the many D&D retroclones and OSR games.

    My original books aren't broken. The classic game didn't suddenly stop working. Why should I buy someone's house rules for Traveller when I can play the original and make my own house rules if need be?

  3. Just managed to catch up with a backlog of blog reading and found this... I was just looking at Mongoose the other day at the FLGS and admiring it (it has a section on robots which aren't included in the half dozen GDW Trav books I own), but in the end I didn't buy it for the same reasons you point out in your last comment here.

    Funny thing is, I think I might actually make devise my own sci-fi S&W variant (or tweak X-Plorers) once we play a Trav scenario or two. As much as I admire various facets of classic Traveller, I keep coming back to to the OS system I was truly brainwashed on.