I Pitch Classic Traveller to My Group


My Monday Night Group is in a bit of flux. One player we have been holding a spot for after she finished getting her Legal Librarian degree ended up getting her first job in another city. Another Player has left the country for a few months to shoot a show.

We had just finished up another wonderful campaign of Unknown Armies 3rd edition, tried out Forbidden Lands (a blast!) before these two players bid farewell.

I wanted to keep going with my Lamentations of the Flame Princess campaign, but decided to wait until the Player currently in Budapest gets back.

With that in mind I pitched the four remaining Players in the group three games to keep us happy for the next few months. The games were:

  • King Arthur Pendragon
  • Classic Traveller
  • Sorcerer & Sword (the supplement for Ron Edward’s Sorcerer)

The Players all chose Traveller as the first of their choices. So we’re playing Classic Traveller.

I had sent out an email with a description of each game. Here is the game I sent out for Traveller:

Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 4.22.43 PM

Traveller is Old School/Rules Light. Mostly conversation between Referee and Players, the Referee adjudicating rolls and outcomes on the fly. A lot like Lamentations in that most of what you end up doing is not covered on your character sheet.

The premise is that each of you have served in an mustered out of services of the Third Imperium, which is currently expanding outward and reclaiming worlds after The Long Night.

Many, many light years away, beyond countless parsecs of dead worlds, news has come of another area of civilization, lost for hundreds of years to your people. A new frontier not yet touched by the Third Imperium, and still holding lost wonders and treasures of the Old Empire.

A few expeditions have been launched, a few diplomatic missions, and a noble house has been sent to establish contact. But the peoples of the Old Empire have their own agendas and fights.

Each of you are men and women who have decided that you don’t quite fit in at home in the Third Imperium. And either from wanderlust, a need to know more about the universe, greed, a need to cause trouble, a desire to find a patch of space to rule, a path of vengeance that leads across lights years, or any other strong, emotionally grounded reason, you have decided to travel to this distant patch of space and see what there is to see.

I should make this clear now: Traveller does not have an experience system. You define the goals you want. I provided obstacles and opportunities and we find out what happens. The only thing that is going to matter at the table is what interests you in terms of what you want to get done. You make up a person who

a) feels like a real person and

b) is someone who chooses the life of exploration as established above.

Think in terms of the Western Territories after the Civil War or the Indian Subcontinent during the British Empire. (And all the problematic Colonialism that entails!) Mix this with a mix of worlds, some broken and poor, others still technologically advanced, along with politics, trade disputes, and you’re kind of on track.

Look to movies (and characters from the movies) like The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, The Wild Bunch, Gunga Din, The Man Who Would Be King, as well as the series Firefly, and others for inspiration about the types of people we’re talking about. Where the characters fall on the moral spectrum is up to you all. We can have hard-bitten mercs or romantics searching for lost mysteries of the ancient past… and a mix of types. You decide this.


9 thoughts on “I Pitch Classic Traveller to My Group

  1. In my “Try Traveller” game nights at a local FLGS, Traveller’s “lack” of XPs and levels is the biggest conceptual hurdle new players face. Some of them are never able to quite grok the idea; the legacy/grip of D&D/d20 is simply that huge.

    I’m sure your group won’t have any trouble. Please do post snippets of your sessions.

  2. CK is going to play in the Third Imperium?!? Holy smokes! Could this be the start of a new series now that it *seems* like the “Out of the Box” series has wound to a close?

    • Read it carefully… Sure, the “Imperium” may be “The Third Imperium”, but the setting of play will be outside the Imperium…

      Cool pitch, I’d play in that game…

      • “The premise is that each of you have served in an mustered out of services of the Third Imperium, which is currently expanding outward and reclaiming worlds after The Long Night.”

        That the setting of play would be on the frontier in any event is something I’d totally expect, even if he didn’t pretty much spell that out.

        But I’m with you – I’d play this game in a heartbeat.

      • I’ve grabbed the name “Third Imperium…” because why not! I love the notion of a third rise and fall of humanity’s interstellar civilization.

        But after that… there’s nothing really to connect it to GDW’s Official Traveller Universe. The nobles of the Third Imperium wear crystal masks to hide their emotions when in council, for example. (A small detail a Player tossed out when I asked them about what they thought the Imperium was like.)

        More significantly, however…

        The Third Imperium has very little influence in Old Empire. Details to follow!

      • There’s always a danger in grabbing names and titles from established settings, but sometimes a name is just too cool to pass up on. Or the terms show up in the bits of implied setting that come along with the rules and supplements you choose to use. So my Wine Dark Rift setting is at the edge of an Imperium and PCs have encountered Vargr, but confusing those with the official GDW setting would be a mistake, I might or might not use anything that’s been written up for Vargr.

        I look forward to how this setting develops, especially through actual play.

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