Friday, 9 April 2010

Traveller

As has been mentioned in oodles of other points on the Internet (the Great Mother, at whose Mighty Teats we daily suckle), the starter rules for classic Traveller have been released as a free download from RPGNow. Note that although they're described as "Starter" rules, they're by no means incomplete; these are, to all intents and purposes, the complete original rules plus some material from later editions.

There are also a bunch of supplements available for a couple of bucks each — Randall at RetroRoleplaying has links to some that he thinks (and I would tend to agree) are essentials.

Unfortunately, the PDFs are all just collections of scanned pages — they haven't been OCR'd, and the scanning quality is a bit variable. From what I've seen so far they look as though they're generally readable at least; I haven't tried printing any yet. If I get really enthused, I might try OCRing them myself so that I can reformat them to A5 and get decent-quality printouts for myself, but that will take a bit of effort, and I'm not (yet) sure that I can be bothered.

I always really liked Traveller, though we didn't play it very much back in the day, being mostly focused on AD&D. Most of my sci-fi gaming in more recent years has been in the Hero System, using their excellent Star Hero and Terran Empire supplements, but I adopted several of the tropes popularized by Traveller into my Hero campaign.

I'm also a huge fan of Joss Whedon's Firefly TV series, and the movie Serenity, and have for some time had a growing urge to run a campaign based, if not actually on Serenity, at least in that milieu. Traveller would be a perfect fit for it, I think, as it (as I remember the game) always seemed to concentrate on the seedier underbelly of a shiny technologically-advanced future.

I'm quite looking forward to actually reading the rules for myself, as I never owned a set of my own when we were actually playing the game.



Postscript: I printed the Rules and Charts & Tables booklets digest-size, and they printed out just fine. The text prints a little coarse; it would have been better if it had actually been text rather than a bitmap of some text, but I guess beggars can't be looking gift horses in the glass house. Or something. The originals appear to have been formatted with fairly small type on letter-size pages, so the text is pretty microscopic when shrunk down to digest-sized pages; I won't be reading much of it without my glasses I suspect.