A not-GDW-Third-Imperium setting for Traveller. (The Classic Traveller rules are available for free in the Starter Traveller edition from RPGNow until Dec. 31st, 2013.)
There will be noble houses, psionic-enhancing battle armor, armies marching across worlds and sailing across space, political intrigue, economic warfare with piracy, black ops, and more…
One thing I want to do is steal a couple of pages from King Arthur Pendragon along with the miniatures campaign roots that Traveller grew from and see if the following works:
Every Player Character will be part of a single noble house. Some might be family in the House, others will be soldiers, spies, and sailors within the House Militia. This gives focus for specific goals. “This week this needs to be done…” And how the Players choose to get it done is all on them.
Each Player will have a stable of Characters to draw from. Different characters can/will be parts of different units as we play out different kinds of missions during the larger conflict. When a character dies the Player moves a new Character into play. But this new Character is still part of the larger agenda (the Noble House) and continues and is already invested in the larger struggle.
The idea is to start the characters (much like a OD&D game) as somewhat blank slates — created in a quick and easy character generation process and let their personalities and history develop as the game develops. There is a large world in motion and in play, and how they conduct themselves and how they grow will lead to more options for their personal goals, growing into more politics, romance, empire building, whatever, as they go. But Traveller is rough on human flesh, and like OD&D death is always on the table as an option. The Players will have to be careful with their Characters if they want the to survive.
I’ve just purchased Power Projection: Fleets, which is space battle miniatures game tweaked from Full Thrust to handle Traveller ships (both escort class vessels (like scout ships and merchant vessels) as well as battle class ships). And I’ve downloaded the rules for Stargrunt II and Dirtside II to handle skirmishes and battalion sized battles, respectively. The idea is to switch to the miniatures battles when we get into fights.