I’ve Got Traveller On My Mind

For years I wanted to run a proper SciFi game. I’ve made plans for Stars Without Number, but the project never made it to the game table. I tried to write a complete SF RPG for NaGaDeMon last year, but I was unable to finish it. A big part in this was played by the bouts of anxiety and depression I was suffering from for years now.

I’m finally feeling a little better, and I’ve successfully run Numenera for a while now, but I can’t get Traveller from my mind. I’m actually currently playing in a Savage Worlds-powered Traveller game at the moment, but I am also interested in running a Traveller game of my own. I recently mused about this on this very blog. Running a game in a slightly modified OTU (Original Traveller Universe) would certainly be a possibility, but there are so many others.

One of the ideas I had was designing a totally original region of space filled with a couple of pocket empires modelled after Europe shortly after WW1. This could be a very intriguing setting to play in with a lot of politics, intrigue, some spying, and perhaps even a couple of border skirmishes. While the setting would take some inspiration from history, all the common Traveller tropes would remain intact, which definitely makes things easier. But my players are interested in a more exploration-focused campaign, so this might not a great fit.

Recently I picked up the 2300AD Bundle of Holding. 2300AD is an alternate universe for the Mongoose Traveller rules which is set into the 24th century. After a devastating WW3 humanity has slowly started to get back on its feet and made their first steps into interstellar space. It’s a very cool setting with offers countless opportunities for players and GMs.

Chthonian Stars by WildFire is another cool alternative. It’s another setting for Traveller but this time it’s even more close to our times. It’s set in 22nd century and introduces elements from the Cthulhu Mythos to Traveller. And if you don’t like cosmic horror in your SF, just throw out all the Mythos stuff and you got a reasonably hard SF setting.

Alas both 2300AD and Chthonian Stars don’t feature Psionics, which one of my players loves. I could try to shoehorn Psions into those settings or continue looking for something else. At the moment I am still a bit torn. There are so many opportunities but I just can’t make up my mind. What would you do if you were in my shoes?

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

8 thoughts on “I’ve Got Traveller On My Mind”

  1. Have you looked at the various FATE options? You could take bits and pieces from Diaspora, Bulldogs, and Starblazer Adventures, and adapt them to Fate Core. Or take bits and pieces from Mindjammer (which is already Fate Core, in the current edition), just dropping those parts of the setting that don’t work for you.

    If I were to run something space opera, setting wise, it would probably be a mash-up of The Mutant Chronicles, Steven Kent’s Clone series (first book is “Rogue Clone”), Firefly, Spelljammer, and elements taken from the Dune universe.

    1. I am interested in using the Mongoose Traveller rules, so FATE is not option at this point. I also have tried to sell Diaspora to the group I want to play Traveller with and it wasn’t to their liking.

  2. You are suffering from the “kid in a candy store” dilemma, aren’t you?
    So many, many flavours (options) making it but impossible to choose.
    For me that’s one of the major perks of Traveller – it gives you the tools (however crude they might have been), it gives you some prototype and plenty of material to make the game your own.
    But still you have to choose which way to go.
    That’s what makes it a bit complicated…

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