Tuesday, July 25, 2006

the mysteries of Traveller

Sometimes I blow past the introductory pages of a roleplaying book, skipping ahead to the "good stuff" (crunchy mechanics, pictures of naked succubi, etc). But sometimes, hidden among descriptions of how to roll dice or lame comparisons to Cops & Robbers, you can find a real gem. Take this paragraph from page one of The Traveller Adventure (1983, Game Designers' Workshop):
This book is presented as a role-playing adventure. Readers assume the fictional identites of the science fiction characters, and--guided by a referee--make their own decisions about pursuing the mysteries they have encountered. All action takes place in the imaginations of the players as they sit around the room, working as a team to solve the riddles put before them.
This would be the first time I've seen solving mysteries listed as the primary activity of a role-playing game. I'm a big fan of slaying dragons and winning treasure, but that's a pretty cool approach. It's a much more intriguing way to look at Traveller than hauling freight for credits or Shadowrun style coporate espionage.