Friday, October 23, 2009

Traveller: What version?

A couple days ago Gameblog reader Erin asked "if one were interested in the OTU, but didn't know what version to pick up, what would you recommend?" In case Erin missed it I wanted to point out that donm61873, a.k.a. Don McKinney, a.k.a. my personal Traveller guru and one of the coolest cats I've ever met, provided an answer:
Mongoose Traveller is pretty good... (and I'm not just saying that because my name is in the books) but if you're really interested in the OTU, get the CT and MT CD-ROMs produced by FFE ( The TNE CD is now also available.
I think the Classic Traveller CD-ROM is definitely the correct answer here. For $35 you get one of the best buys in the history of the hobby, both in terms of quality and quantity. The only reason I don't own a copy myself is that I have so much of this stuff already and I'm a cheap bastard. Inevitably I'll want one of the harder to find/more expensive items on the disc and I'll order the dang thing. But before you go and get one I want to offer a couple caveats:

1) Holy crap, that's a lot of game stuff! It would be easy for a newbie to get overwhelmed by the amount of material. Don't fret. Start with The Traveller Book and The Traveller Adventure. I think those two would go a long way to figuring out how much you dig this scene. After those two, the rabbit hole goes about as deep as you could possibly want. There are 60 more books on that disc, and that's not everything ever written for the game. Which brings me to my next point.

2) A lot of Trav people take the idea of Canon very seriously. I am not one of them. While I acknowledge Marc Miller as the Supreme Overlord of All Things Traveller, there's a lot of superfun 3rd party stuff that he no longer considers official. If you get the CD-ROM, you get a horse-choking quantity of official Games Designer Workshop materials, but none of the cool stuff from FASA or the Gamelords or Judges Guild or a whole bunch of other publishers. Much of that junk lacks the polish of GDW or the hardcore wargamer work ethic of the people who worked there, but it's all still a vibrant part of Traveller's colorful publishing history.

Just a couple things to keep in mind.


  1. Huh...maybe I need to pick up the disk as well. But man, that Mongoose core book is SWEET.
    : )

  2. Great recommendation.

    I picked up the Quiklink Interactive reprint of the original three Little Black Books for $12. That's a good deal, but getting all the early Traveller books on CD-ROM for $35 is truly a steal.

  3. Is Starter Traveller on the CD? It is basically an abbreviated version of The Traveller Book so it might be worth looking at first before diving into the larger volume.

    The thing I’d say about the OTU—like I’d say about any published setting—is to not be afraid to make it your own or worry about contradicting something you haven’t read yet. Let the players know that anything they read or know is just rumor and may not apply.

    Personally, I’m a fan of just taking one of the sector books, filling in the blanks yourself, and ignoring almost all the rest of the canon. It gives you a bit of a jump start vs. generating your own subsector, but let’s you create something your own. It’s fun to recruit players into helping fill in the blanks too.

    And that cT CD-ROM has a lot of stuff to support winging it.

  4. Thanks for the posts Jeff I got the two topics for my blog out of it.

    Yes note that is virtually the same as the Traveller Book rules wise.

  5. If I didn't still have all my original books, the reprinted long books, the Japanese editions and pretty much everything else ever made for for the Classic and Mega versions of Traveller, I would snap that CD up in a hot second.

    As it is, it may take me several seconds. Too late. I'm getting it. :P

  6. I was going to recommend Starter Traveller as well. It shows up on ebay every so often, and it only leaves out Drugs and (I think) experience, as compared to the Traveller Book.

    Plus it has the Range Band Space Combat, which people seem to take to easier than the original miniatures system.

    And it comes in a box!

  7. Anonymous11:28 AM

    As a long time Traveller lover and GM, I agree that CT is the best way to go and would consider one of the Short Adventures as a good starting point. My blog has a number of posts recounting a recent CT campaign, which may (or may not) prove useful.

    I also think that the T5 CD-Rom is worth picking up.

  8. Starter Traveller was my first—and for a long time, my only—Traveller product. Which is weird considering that my first regular group played cT. By the time I needed to buy my own books, though, it was the Megatraveller era.

    I was always disappointed with ST because it did lack a couple of things that I really had wished it had. That’s all changed now that I have the BFBs, a select collection of LBBs, and the Traveller Book. Now, ST is perhaps my favorite cT product. I have all the other stuff for the times I need it, but the vast majority of the time ST is all I need at the table.

  9. Jeff... Marc has heard your laments and answered them...

    The first CT Apocrypha CD covers the FASA and Gamelords releases. And I know he's started working on a list of what might go on a second CT Apocrypha CD...

  10. Jeff - thanks so much for the recommendation. I ordered the CT CD-ROM and, because my dedication to Nerdom is strong, I catch myself anticipating it like Christmas morning.


  11. The CD is good value IF you want to work with PDFs. But if you want actual books and paper, and most people do, buy the Mongoose Pocket Traveller and work on from there.. the Classic Traveller CD Rom is still perfect source for Mongoose Traveller.