View Full Version : Anyone still play Traveller?

2007-04-22, 01:24 PM
I recently acquired a compilation of the first 8 Traveller books at SALUTE '07 yesterday, not beign old enough to remember it, but having heard of it.

First Impressions: Its ok. The character gen system seems kind of lengthy, but its also kinda nifty. The combat system has a kind of complicated simplicity thats quite refreshing after palying nothing but D&D. One gripe: If the character combat rules are so simple, why are the ship combat rules so complicated? I haven't started on books 4 upqards yet, but why would you join any service other than the Merchant Fleet, or the Scouts, to get your preffered choice of ship?

Also, tha game seems very heavy on the Referee. Really, really heavy.

I also picked up an adventure, From A Cold Grave, which I haven't read yet, due to Convention Fatigue, that I might run as a one-off.

Anyone else got any hints, tips or experiences they'd like to share?

2007-04-22, 05:49 PM
I know a little about Traveller, but haven't played it. I'm looking forward to 5th Edition getting released later this year though.

See http://www.websnark.com/archives/2006/03/gurps_traveller.html if yuo want some good flavor of the game.

Bears With Lasers
2007-04-22, 05:51 PM
I like not dying during character creation, thanks. :P

2007-04-22, 06:35 PM
Does the edition you have contain rules for character advancement? Because the original edition didn't... you played the char you generated, and you liked it.


2007-04-23, 06:11 AM
Ship combat is complicated in T because that's where the heart of the game lay.

And character advancement wasn't vital, because you could improve your ship (at least that's my recollection).

2007-04-23, 11:28 AM
Traveller was an old classic that every so often resurfaces in one form or another. I believe there was a recent d20 version out.

Character gen in the first edition was essentially as advanced as you were going to get. If you decided to retire at 26, with two years of service, then you had 8 years of skill training, which actually was not a whole lot. So you were essentially stuck with the stats you had. On the other hand, considering you could spend 4 years in one of the six "services" (originally there was just Army, Navy, Marines, Scouts, Merchants, and the nebulous 'Other' service) and receive 1-4 skills, it perhaps made a little sense you don't advance much after retirement.

As stated above, character improvement originally was measured mostly in gear, both personal equipment and spaceship improvements. Generally speaking, most who mustered out of the services wouldn't have enough cash for their own expensive laser rifle. Thus, the characters took their various skills and worked freelance. There were other avenues to explore as well. Anti-aging drugs, psionics -- which were illegal in the Traveller universe, and other things could grant the character a few new things to try and add to their repetoire of abilities.

The original game came in little booklets, and they even consolidated some to a box set. Adventures, expansion rules and more were all in small booklets that got to be rather vast in number for a while. Later rules expansions would give a little more leeway towards personal character advancement, as well as different character gen career options, expanded services and more.

Later editions tried to to clean the system up. For example, in 1st edition, skill application for each skill was rarely consistent. I did have the 2nd Edition as well, which created a basic skill application system. But the rules still had omissions, some lack of clarity. One could still play easily and it was overall a decent game. After my parents banned DnD from the household, Traveller became my RPG of choice until later games showed.

2007-04-23, 12:36 PM
I think the randomness of the character gen system might come down a bit harder on my group than other. We have two polar opposites. One guy is an absolute Dice Jesus. He never rolls badly. I once saw him roll 3 18's for a D&D character, right in front of me. He'll end up with some kind of super-human ass-kicking killing machine with a pimped out spaceship and a zillion mega-credits.
Then there's the other guy, who probably won't be able to get a character to survive one term of service, and if he does, will probably have no score above 8, a knife and a spiffy suit as his only possessions. But he'l probably be able to live with it.

^Why did your parents ban D&D from your house? Nevermind, I just guessed.

2007-04-23, 12:51 PM
I dislike Traveller for a couple of reasons.

1)Dying during character gen is not something that endears me to a system...I mean, what's the point? If it were "you get a penalty of some description, due to combat wounds" (like in Mechwarrior 3rd Ed.), that's fine, but rolling your way through several years of service to die and start again? Why?

2)Character Gen in Traveller (again) mostly produces retards. Who, after a lifetime of military service, has no skill beyond basic first aid, basic rifles training and maybe a little bit of leadership training? No-one, that's who. Some people say this is realistic...I say it's far from.

3)Little to no character advancement - one HUGE part of an RPG is improving your character (and not just getting a shiny new piece of kit. Traveller simply doesn't have this.

4)Simplicity - Too much of. I like a simple game, I've enjoyed several games of Advanced Fighting Fantasy, which is pretty darn simple, but Traveller just takes the biscuit. I'd rather play a totally rules-free free-form game than use Travellers slightly bizarre skill system which means that the only things anyone has relative ability in are combat related (everyone is as good a cook as everyone else for example).

5)Complexity - In bizarre places. As others have said, space combat is overly complicated. I much prefer a system that has a single rule set that aplies to every action/scenario (why I like GURPS and MechWarrior).

In short, no, I don't play Traveller. If I want Sci-Fi, I play GURPS or MechWarrior 3rd Ed. (depending on whther I an DM and how much effort I want to put in).

2007-04-23, 01:03 PM
Well, later on they changed the Survival roll from "do you live in character generation?" to whether you serve out a full term or serve a half-term and then are discharged with injuries. The latter made more sense. Nowadays it's amusing to look back at a system where you generate starting stats and are not certain whether you'll survive character generation or not. It makes me chuckle.

1st Edition Traveller was rather crazy like that. It's the senile old grandfather of hard sci-fi RPGs. Most likely, its initial flaws are the reason why later editions of the game, which tend to be vast improvements, never really take off like later editions of games like DnD or more recently, Vampire. If you weren't totally put off by the flaws, it was a fun game, and had an interesting universe.

Granted, when West End put the original Star Wars RPG out, I never gave Traveller a second glance.

2007-04-23, 02:28 PM
1st Edition Traveller was rather crazy like that. It's the senile old grandfather of hard sci-fi RPGs.

Quoted for truth. I have such memories of the sheer insanity of first verison of Traveller. But then, all the RPGs from that period made no blasted sense when compared to what's on sale now. RPGs in mentality were still half wargames at the time, 'roleplaying' as is thought of now didn't really exist yet. The idea of being upset because a character died randomly at some point was still foreign. You rolled up a character. You didn't 'design' one, or 'craft' one, you 'rolled one up'. Purely random chargen was the norm. It's just a character, a collection of random rolls, with only a little more importance than the shoe in Monopoly due to complexity. You can always create another.

The ship-to-ship combat was complex in 1st edition Traveller, because that's what all the Sci-Fi wargamers expected when they went to play. Traveller starship combat was *simplistic* compared to what they were used to. [Star Fleet Battles anyone?] These were people who would play a single battle over *weeks* of real-time. Not game-time, real-time. I played a sci-fi wargame... can't remember what system, now... that took one entire school year to play out a single battle. That was normal. It was expected. Fast combat resolution in order to get on with the 'game' didn't make any sense. The combat *was* the game. Everything else was distraction.

That kind of wargaming and RPGs don't exist anymore, really. There are some die-hard remenants left, but it used to be a massive part of the industry and drove a lot of game design. In a way I'm sad to see it go, because it was a big part of my childhood, but I perfectly understand why it went away.

2007-04-24, 12:13 PM
One problem: I can't actually figure out how you destroy a ship. It has nice descriptions of how you cripple all the systems, but I can't find where how you destroy them.