Travelling with RPGs

I’m a Traveller Gamer from way back.  My Little Black Books are over 25 years old, and I own most published editions of the rules, and was once-up0n-a-time very involved in the online Traveller community.  For those of you unfamiliar with Traveller, it is one of the earliest, if not the earliest Science Fiction Role-Playing Game published.  Traveller has been around since 1977, and it’s basic campaign, the Third Imperium has gone through a long evolution, some of which was met with a great deal of controversy.  (Mention the Rebellion or Virus in some internet communities, and you could ignite an interstellar incident.)  In fact, Marc Miller is promoting a Kickstarter to produce the Fifth edition of the game.

Traveller has gone dormant several times over 30 plus years of history, the IP and Licenses have been held by many companies.  Some have been more successful in promoting the game than others, but I’ll leave the details to the various champions of the editions.  But what holds my interest in the game is it’s sheer resiliency.  Traveller is a survivor and is super-adaptable.  I’ve played in Traveller Games set in the Third Imperium, in the Long Night, and in home-brewed campaigns which reflect the GM’s own vision of the future.  I’ve played using the Classic Traveller rules, the d20 variant, even HERO System and GURPS Traveller.  Even though a HERO Traveller game set in a Universe adapted from Larry Niven’s Known Space setting is about as far as we can get from Classic Traveller set in the Spinward Marches of the Third Imperium, both campaigns still feel like Traveller games.

Much like my other RPG passion, the HERO System, Traveller has benefited greatly from the rise of the Internet.  Gamers have always been computer-savvy, and Traveller players are even more-so than most.  Even in the aftermath of GDW’s collapse in 1996, Traveller players were able to use the internet to connect with each other and designers and keep the game alive, furthermore, the steady interest in Traveller allowed it’s IP to propagate throughout the tabletop market.

Along with the D&D Next Playtest, I’ll be sharing some tales from my experiences in Traveller.  It’s a long story, going back to the mid-80s, and my high-school games with my close friend Chuck, and the BEST Science-Fiction campaign I played in as a youth.  I still use my Aslan Mercenary Stei’awtliyrl as my handle on the Traveller Message boards.

So, for those of you familiar with Traveller, I present you My Traveller Universe:  First in GEEK CODE!

tc+ mgt tm t20++ t4- th ru+ ge+ 3i c jt au- ls pi+ ta he+ kk- hi+ as++ va++ dr+ so+ zh+ vi+

SuperPheemy’s Traveller Universe:

I set my TU in the Hard Times Era following the Rebellion, but before VIRUS sends most of Charted Space into a full-blown collapse.  In this era, the Third Imperium has suffered a multi-sided civil war for years, and the principal factions have nearly exhausted themselves.  Central authority and control has retreated to zones around faction strongholds less than a sector in area, and in some cases, only a couple of Subsectors.  Escalations of War has resulted in large sections of Imperial space being reduced to a virtual no-mans’-land, open to piracy and anarchy.  The issue over who will rule the Imperium, or even if the Imperium will survive is still unresolved, but no faction has the resources to conduct grand, sweeping strategic military operations anymore.  The War has ground to a ugly, dirty thing conducted by raiders, and spies, and mercenaries.

Megacorporations have filled in some of the gaps left by the ravages of war, but the Economy is in a shambles, and the freighter convoys are prime targets for local Warlords and Faction Admirals alike.  News is almost as valuable as materials, and an independent crew with a jump-capable ship can earn (or steal) a good living playing in the grey areas between warring factions, corporate ambitions, and local systems desperate for goods and information.


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