(Cyber)Traveller 2200

Not sure if it is going to be Mongoose Traveller or if I’m going to run using CP2020 as the engine -both have arguments in their favor. At the moment I’m having an interesting set of thoughts – if I do run my first conception, the “2200” will be 2200 Imperial (yeah, roughly 1200 years after the 3rd Imperium) and what T5 calls the “Far, Far Future” and roughly Tech Level 19, or maybe 20.

And that brings up a whole other set of discussions about Traveller that I’ve been having in various versions with KT and others – but which also brings ups a whole new term I just came across and that spawned this post.

“Proto-Traveller”

Traveller is a one of the oldest TT RPG’s, it’s been around since 1977 it has had multiple licensed incarnations since then.

There is CT, or Classic Traveller (with a sub-designation for the real grognards between pre- and post-1981 rules sets. Nominally set in 1105 Imperial, it was defined by “The Little Black Books” (LBB) of which there were many, there were also many licensed products by Judges Guild, Paranoia Press, and others – I was always a fan of the those two sets of supplements actually.

There is MT, or MegaTraveller, which is Digest Group Publication’s (DGP) “2nd Edition” of the game, even if it was done by Game Designer’s Workshop (GDW). It is set in the late 1120’s to the backdrop of the Rebellion that occurs in the aftermath of the Emperor’s assassination.

Then there is TNE, or Traveller, the New Era, which is set in the 1200’s, after the cataclysmic “Final War” that trashed Known Space. It was also a major departure in the rule engine and was pretty much despised by the majority of Traveller players – I for one have pretty much always seen it as the reason by GDW went out business. That probably isn’t fair, but that’s the timing. I can’t even call it a 3rd Edition because it is basically a new rules engine.

After the dust cleared from GDW’s demise there were a selection of other versions of Traveller –

Imperium Games made “Mark Miller’s Traveller” (T4), which was set at the dawn of the 3rd Imperium and was a return to the recognizable game engine. Well-supported with rules and supplements, I think it mostly appealed to the Collectors.

The game was also licensed for the Hero system (Traveller Hero or “TH”) d20 system (T20) as well as GURPS (GT) – the GURPS version was noticeable in that it ignored the Rebellion timeline and picked up “as if” the Emperor had never been assassinated. It provides an alternate canon timeline for those players that disliked the Rebellion (and the Virus) which were both pretty well disliked by many grognards (the Virus especially). There is also a GURPS supplement for the Interstellar Wars period (GT:ISW), or the downfall of the 1st Imperium and the rise of the 2nd Imperium.

Continuing the try and meet the desire for Traveller materials, there was also the TNE:1248 set of supplements that discussed the founding of the 4th Imperium and resolved many of the “mysteries” of the setting that had been left in the aftermath of GDW and DGP going out of business.

Finally, there has been Mongoose Traveller (MgT) and Traveller^5 (T5) – Mongoose Traveller returning to the “idea of Traveller essentially being a generic scifi system (though with a coherent sense of tech advancement) and T5 being the “Ultimate Traveller” with a very generic set, badly organized and unindexed, of Traveller rules produced via a rather amazing Kickstarter.

Mongoose has actually produced supplements for not just the 3rd Imperium, but also other settings like Hammer’s Slammers and Judge Dredd (and the 2300 AD setting from GDW that was it’s own rule engine). T5, at this point, has produced little other than the initial Kickstarted offering.

One of the great things about Traveller is that there is a well-developed setting and an amazing amount of canon that spawns multiple engines, and many years of game history. This is one of it’s great strengths and, if I’m honest, one it’s great weaknesses. It is, by any honest admission, really hard for a new player to pick of the game with a grognard and not feel hopelessly out of their depth.

That’s where the idea of “Proto-Traveller” was so fascinating when I came across it. It’s essentially a set of rules for Traveller that is based on a very limited selection of the Classic Traveller line (LBB1-3, Adventures 1-4, and Supplements 1-4, LBB4 is optional but LBB5 is not allowed – at least the ship design would be). One of the effects is that the entire setting for Traveller is a much darker, and much different in flavor from what the 3rd Imperium setting developed into. In many ways it is basically the pre-1981 Classic Traveller rules.

In My Traveller Universe (aka “MTU” as opposed to “OTO” for the Official Traveller Universe) I’ve always stolen liberally from pretty much any source that seemed to work. Warhammer 40K, Babylon 5, Star Wars, the Continuing Time, etc. The Mongoose Traveller engine actually has rules that make this easier, while the very spotty T5 flavortext for the Imperium at least finally gives me a timeframe in which I could set it (and it works for me on a purely “gloss” level it fits my affected “2200” date for the setting”).

But part of what I’m really struggling with is if I want to nuke MTU and essentially reboot it into the 2200 setting or if I want to think about the “Proto-Traveller” setting and see about setting things there…

TTFN!

D.

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