Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Starter Traveller - Thoughts on Strange New Worlds

Starter Traveller is a game rather different from any other I'm familiar with, and the world building shows that off just as well as the character building system does.  It paints a picture of a galaxy vastly different from the one I expected when I first started reading the rulebook.  For example, I rolled far more Mars sized and smaller planets than Earth sized ones.  I also rolled a whole lot of worlds with technology levels that more closely match those of the 20th century rather than the imperial standard.  Even a world with a class A starport can have a level of technology that most closely matches that of the 1980s.  It also suggests that not all of the worlds be connected in standard communication & trade routes in order to allow exploration by the players.  This seems to strongly imply that the worlds of Traveller, being well apart from the core worlds of the distant Imperium, are either unimportant backwaters, or areas of a falling/fallen/recovering civilization.  It may even be that the core worlds are just as technologically poor, though the suggestions about DMs modifying the dice rolls as desired suggest that may not necessarily be the case.

While most of the discussion of technology seems to revolve around military hardware, it's a natural extension that the rest of the worlds available technology be similarly matched.  It would be interesting to see a world with access to low level technology, except for a specific exception.  For example Ancient Rome with steam technology or the 1400's with radios.  This could easily devolve into a bad star trek episode, which on the other hand could make for a great game, but your mileage may vary.

I'm sure I'll have some more thoughts on this as I continue reading the rule book and the adventures that come with it.  More to come...


  1. I confess I haven't looked at Starter Traveller much, since I have the original game PDFs from FFE (and the Mongoose reboot, and the d20 version from QLI... I like Traveller), but it's World Generation system is far from... accurate? I much more prefer the system in GURPS Space, and basically re-engineer the UWPs from the stuff in GURPS.

  2. Agreed. It's the worlds that don't *quite* make sense that make Traveller what it is. For example, I rolled up a world once that was a 100% water world, 17th Century Tech level and yet had a Class A Starport. The end result was a Pirates of the Spanish Main style world with a fallen Orbital Starport as the only landmass.

    Ah, good times :)