Posts Tagged With: Cybertraveller

LOL, a blast from the past…

So, I’ve pretty much decided that I want to run my Imperium or “Traveller 2200” or “CyberTraveller” game again at some point. This is a non-canon Traveller setting, increasingly more Proto-Traveller in function, that I ran using the CP2020 engine rather than any of the various Traveller rules. I have a particular campaign that I’ve run multiple times explicitly exploring multiple different timelines of the same start at a fixed point in time.

Why is it fixed, no idea, maybe that’s something to explore this time around..?

In any case, due to my computer crash a couple of years ago I lost all of the files that I used to keep for this campaign. What I do have is a flat document box that I have now filled with old paper notes and records from the previous campaigns (the stack sits like 2-3 inches high). It’s definitely been a journey down memory lane with these, and most amusingly I came across my original, CP2020 character/NPC from the very first CP2020 games that I ran.

That brings back some real memories!

But for the new Imperium game, I have to decide what rule engine to use. Previously I’ve used CP2020 because I can run that game in my sleep. For a long period of time that was my primary game/system, and it’s only been in the last few years that I returned to D&D. That said, I like Mongoose Traveller, but I refuse to buy a whole new second edition of it (and it doesn’t really need it) and Traveller 5E, while having some great elements, is basically unplayable as it stands at the moment.

So I am either going to run it using CP2020 or the Cephesus Engine. The Cephesus Engine (CE) is a based on the Traveller ORD, and is mix of Mongoose Traveller (itself a very simplified version of Traveller 5E) and Classic Traveller – stripped of any reference to the Traveller canon and suitable for use with pretty any scifi setting. The nice thing about CE is that I can include things from pretty much any edition of Traveller (save New Era) nd it ports into it pretty much seamlessly. I was also able to legally purchase it in the form of an editable Word document (because it’s an ORD) and can then customize it however I like for my own setting, etc.

Fundamentally, CP2020 is pretty easy and fun, but CE is also pretty easy and fun as well. It would be nice to run a Traveller game actually using a set of Traveller rules again. And the rules reflect a game that it is pretty easy to create whatever sort of character you want – much like CP2020.

Heck, maybe I just want to a play a game that only uses d6..




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(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.


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…



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And now for the morning news…

Yeah, I’ve been busy with work and not paying attention to my long-neglected blog here…

Let’s see here, I pledged to a handful of Kickstarters – the CoC 7th Edition, the Islands of Ignorance Companion, and I’m hopeful that I’ll see my copy of Sense of the Slight-of-Hand-Man soon as well. I *really* want my copy of Pulp Cuthulhu now…

I finally received my copy of the new Traveller along with all of my goodies. As much as I wanted to love it, it’s kind of a trainwreck. Not so much in the rules themselves but in the sheer disorganized mess that the rulebook is. All of the -Makers in there, while I can understand why they are a part of the main rules given the history of Traveller, just add a huge level of confusing bloat given the lack of good organization.

Some of the ideas I really liked, the changes to character generation were actually pretty decent as near as I can tell (again, some of the lack of organization creates some real confusion). I look forward to integrating the new rules as part of my CyberTraveller 2200 campaign – I’ve always integrated Cyberpunk Lifepath with the Traveller Extended Character Generation in some very cool ways.

On a totally different note, I’ve gone around and been poking at the old “Chicago Unseen” setting that my spouse first ran and that we then ended up running together. It was a oWoD mashup based on the Mage game, but as much as we used much of the canon setting we trashed much more, and eventually couldn’t keep using such a cool but almost impossible to use magical system. So what I’ve been doing is looking at the old Witchcraft and Armageddon games first by Myrmidon Press and later by Eden Studios. I’ve had copies of the original rules for awhile now and always thought they would make a decent alternative to the White Wolf rules. I’ve bought things like Dresden Files and Savage Worlds hoping that these would be the solution but as decent as they are I just could quite make then work.

The Unisystem rules really seem to fit the bill, as long as being simple enough to tweak those couple areas that we’d need to manipulate to create a vision of an occult world that fits our own better. Plus, the existence of the multiple power levels available when looking at both games combined is a real benefit. We’d ended up with characters and NPC’s who arguable would have been Avatars and Inheritors (or Enlightened) by the time we gave up on the oWoD rules and it would be nice to have a rules-set that would allow this more easily.

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Long time no see…

Yeah, life did get pretty crazy there for a bit. I don’t think it has really gotten any less crazy, but at this point I’m starting to acclimate…

The AD&D game is on hold, after the switch to the new setting we had a great time starting the Slaver series, pretty much trouncing through A1. But due to the chaos I was basically burned out and when my spouse was ready to take over running a “Cybertraveller” (Cyberpunk 2020 and Traveller mashup) game we had an extra bit of chaos thrown into the works and we had to cancel that plus pretty much all formal group gaming.

For the last few weeks my son and I have been playing in our shared Dark Heresy game. Itself a bit of mashup because it has been combined with the rest of the FFE WH40K games. It is just my son and myself because my spouse and our friends really don’t have much of a desire to play in it’s the dark future setting.

This Friday past we (my son and I) went to see Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters and I was struck by how much the vaguely steampunk setting would work in a low-tech Dark Heresy setting. The witches in the film are excellent examples of Chaos-taint, and the steampunk-esque weapons certainly had a WH40K feel to them.

And that had me thinking.

Why couldn’t the setting of 41st millennium be re-imagined? It doesn’t have to actually be so unrelentingly god-awful and dark, that’s a function of how the Imperium works – and there are certainly plenty of examples of how there is definite scalability to that even in the official universe. So I’ve starting think about how everything could stay the same but at the same time be massively different…

I have a couple of very interesting ideas, and much of it involves delving into the apocrypha of the WH40K setting – not hard because I was playing 40K back in the days of the original Warhammer 40K: Rogue Trader rules. So I’m going to be using this space to talk about this alternative setting, which has it’s start in bright hope of the Great Crusade, before the dark days of the Horus Heresy and the slow descent of the Imperium into madness and chaos…

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