Starter Traveller (Classic circa 1980's) is free at DTRPG
  • Starter Traveller (Classic circa 1980's) is free at DTRPG


    Classic "Starter Traveller" is currently free at DriveThruRPG. This is an introductory version of the original "die in chargen" Traveller. Tech is as noted "1970's" style -- creator Marc Miller mentioned in conversation that imagining future technology was one of the harder things to do. Traveller is fairly gritty sci-fi like from the movies Alien or Outland.




    This product becomes free periodically, so grab it now, as it may not be free later.

    The download contains a core rulebook, a set of charts, and a book of adventures, making three separate PDFs.

    You can see character generation here with this character generatorI prefer to do character creation by hand, because it's a fun mini-game, but the above generator is also neat to see what characters pop up.

    There is also a Consolidated CT Errata PDF by Don McKinney floating around that is good to have.



    Comments 26 Comments
    1. dragoner's Avatar
      dragoner -
      Huh, my original post was modified by someone, I don't care except that the link to the errata doc is to MegaTraveller, and not Classic.


      Quote Originally Posted by trancejeremy View Post
      Even then though, it was essentially optional. You can just choose to have it be a career ending injury forcing an early exit after only 2 years of the term.

      Anyway, one of the most puzzling things in gaming is why Marc Miller keeps putting out versions of Traveller that almost no one actually wants, when Classic Traveller is still beloved to this day. And it's not like he has modernized it
      Soft option is not dying as per 81 rules, the whole idea of dying in chargen was to gamble terms in service, and the resultant skills, vs living.

      Why are there more iterations of Traveller rules than just about any game? I don't know. T5 is Marc Miller's exegesis on Traveller, and has a lot of good stuff inside, such as how to run adventures which would be good if he wrote these things out as a regular book. Also one can see his style of playing is narrative, freeform, rulings not rules, throw a handful of dice, etc..
    1. Morrus's Avatar
      Morrus -
      Classic "Starter Traveller" is currently free at DriveThruRPG. This is an introductory version of the original "die in chargen" Traveller. Tech is as noted "1970's" style -- creator Marc Miller mentioned in conversation that imagining future technology was one of the harder things to do. Traveller is fairly gritty sci-fi like from the movies Alien or Outland.[PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]


      Name: traveller_starter.jpg ► Views: 1329 ► Size: 70.0 KB


      This product becomes free periodically, so grab it now, as it may not be free later.

      The download contains a core rulebook, a set of charts, and a book of adventures, making three separate PDFs.

      You can see character generation here with this character generatorI prefer to do character creation by hand, because it's a fun mini-game, but the above generator is also neat to see what characters pop up.

      There is also a Consolidated CT Errata PDF by Don McKinney floating around that is good to have.



    1. trancejeremy's Avatar
      trancejeremy -
      Even then though, it was essentially optional. You can just choose to have it be a career ending injury forcing an early exit after only 2 years of the term.

      Anyway, one of the most puzzling things in gaming is why Marc Miller keeps putting out versions of Traveller that almost no one actually wants, when Classic Traveller is still beloved to this day. And it's not like he has modernized it
    1. dragoner's Avatar
      dragoner -
      Quote Originally Posted by Morrus View Post
      I promoted it to an article, as it was a cool bit of news. Unfortunately, somehow all the comments disappeared... sorry about that!
      No problem.
    1. Dave Goff's Avatar
      Dave Goff -
      Haha! I've been thinking about looking up Traveler recently. The main thing I remember about playing back in my ill-spent youth is that my first character died during character creation. After that I decided not to name my characters until after they were finished.

      I'm off to get my copy!
    1. neuronphaser's Avatar
      neuronphaser -
      Quote Originally Posted by trancejeremy View Post
      Even then though, it was essentially optional. You can just choose to have it be a career ending injury forcing an early exit after only 2 years of the term.

      Anyway, one of the most puzzling things in gaming is why Marc Miller keeps putting out versions of Traveller that almost no one actually wants, when Classic Traveller is still beloved to this day. And it's not like he has modernized it
      How compatible are the different versions?

      My guess would be that new editions are generally a great way to drum up interest for a game in general, and in this day and age with access to digital copies of every edition of everything (just about), that helps even the older editions. If the editions are compatible to any degree, that's also a plus; maybe new content can be ported back for all the folks not interested in fully buying into a new edition's changes, but who might be interested in a single add-on ruleset (mechs!) or some new adventures or something.

      /spitballing
    1. Dave Goff's Avatar
      Dave Goff -
      My group at the time thought the die in chargen aspect was hilarious, so we went with it.
      I think it also gets player a bit more used to the idea that character death is part of the game and can actually happen.
    1. dragoner's Avatar
      dragoner -
      Quote Originally Posted by neuronphaser View Post
      How compatible are the different versions?

      My guess would be that new editions are generally a great way to drum up interest for a game in general, and in this day and age with access to digital copies of every edition of everything (just about), that helps even the older editions. If the editions are compatible to any degree, that's also a plus; maybe new content can be ported back for all the folks not interested in fully buying into a new edition's changes, but who might be interested in a single add-on ruleset (mechs!) or some new adventures or something.

      /spitballing
      The versions are compatible enough that having this rules set will tell you most of what you need to know about Traveller, different sets add or subtract mechanics or other greebles like for starships, the basic framework of the game is laid out here.

      Per mechs, Traveller isn't a mech setting, there are some, usually called walkers, detailed in the other rules sets. I have a feeling that dedicated mech games would probably do mechs better. Traveller at it's heart is a narrative, character driven game.
    1. neuronphaser's Avatar
      neuronphaser -
      Quote Originally Posted by dragoner View Post
      The versions are compatible enough that having this rules set will tell you most of what you need to know about Traveller, different sets add or subtract mechanics or other greebles like for starships, the basic framework of the game is laid out here.

      Per mechs, Traveller isn't a mech setting, there are some, usually called walkers, detailed in the other rules sets. I have a feeling that dedicated mech games would probably do mechs better. Traveller at it's heart is a narrative, character driven game.
      Gotcha. I wasn't really campaigning for some mech stuff, just thought of it as an example that probably *wasn't* in earlier editions but showed up later, RE: compatibility.

      But good to know. I honestly have no experience with Traveller, so I wasn't sure how much or how little the actual system changed over its many editions.
    1. dragoner's Avatar
      dragoner -
      Quote Originally Posted by neuronphaser View Post
      Gotcha. I wasn't really campaigning for some mech stuff, just thought of it as an example that probably *wasn't* in earlier editions but showed up later, RE: compatibility.

      But good to know. I honestly have no experience with Traveller, so I wasn't sure how much or how little the actual system changed over its many editions.
      Cool. The biggest changes are in how personal combat is done, but for the most part the format for characters stays the same. I guess the flavor of sci-fi can change, where early Traveller like this set supports a more gritty "average person on the grift" style, and the later versions are more heroic "laser sword and cape" style.
    1. jacleg05's Avatar
      jacleg05 -
      I always wondered also, why he seems to keep producing new rulesets, but it seems the he never seems to update the setting. imho

      Maybe he is similar to Gygax. One setting, one set of rules, and really unable to come up with something newer?
    1. dragoner's Avatar
      dragoner -
      Quote Originally Posted by jacleg05 View Post
      I always wondered also, why he seems to keep producing new rulesets, but it seems the he never seems to update the setting. imho

      Maybe he is similar to Gygax. One setting, one set of rules, and really unable to come up with something newer?
      He's coming out with the Galaxiad at some point, which moves the setting forward hundreds of years.

      Nevertheless, if alternate settings are what people want, there are 260+ products on DTRPG for Cepheus Engine, which is Traveller in all but name.
    1. barasawa -
      Quote Originally Posted by dragoner View Post
      Soft option is not dying as per 81 rules, the whole idea of dying in chargen was to gamble terms in service, and the resultant skills, vs living.
      I figure the aging effect were more than enough to gamble with excessive terms.
      Killing the PC before even the 1st second of play is just insulting and a waste of everyones time in my opinion.
      It's even more so since the player will just make another character, which of course just increases the time penalty, time in which we could be playing.

      But hey, some people seem to like that for some reason I can't understand.

      Most of the traveller groups I've played in either ignored it, or used it as a reason to outfit someone with cybernetics or something else like that at the GMs whim/plan. (Functions as an effective limb replacement, basically character fluff)
    1. R_Chance's Avatar
      R_Chance -
      Quote Originally Posted by jacleg05 View Post
      I always wondered also, why he seems to keep producing new rulesets, but it seems the he never seems to update the setting. imho
      Quote Originally Posted by jacleg05 View Post

      Maybe he is similar to Gygax. One setting, one set of rules, and really unable to come up with something newer?

      Traveller is (still) my favorite science fiction RPG. Starting with a boxed set of three little black books didn't hurt

      Original Traveller didn't have a setting per se when it was first printed. The Third Imperium developed as supplements and adventures were printed. I should say it was unveiled as supplements and adventures were published. By the end of the original game it was pretty well established and a number of sets cleaned up the original game (like this one). A different company, Digest Group Productions, produced a task resolution system for GDW and advanced the game picking up the reigns (by license) from GDW. Then came Megatraveller. The rather improbable series of events lead to the Civil War that ended up destroying the Third Imperium. Then came the "Traveller the New Era" rules. a post Third Imperium setting in a collapsed empire (still in the same universe). The game system was changed in significant ways (they were bringing their various RPGs into alignment with each other). And Marc Miller was out of GDW then iirc. "Marc Miller's Traveller" (T4) after the collapse of GDW was by another company (Imperium Games) and returned to a more Traveller like game system and took the setting back into the past; the beginning of the Third Imperium. T5 is actually by Marc Miller (GDW) again. And Mongoose has done a version of Traveller (currently in its 2nd edition) which largely lines up with T5.

      Generally you didn't need a new setting for Traveller. The setting was so large you could plant your flag in some corner of it and run any kind of game you liked. The Aliens were pretty... alien. The technological progression was logical. The universe was open for adventure. Great stuff. And you could always create your own setting Also my digression on setting related to the post I added above this post.

      Oh, Jacleg05, Gygax created another very different RPG (Dangerous Journeys) after he left TSR. Published by GDW and sued out of existence by TSR.
    1. R_Chance's Avatar
      R_Chance -
      Quote Originally Posted by barasawa View Post
      I figure the aging effect were more than enough to gamble with excessive terms.
      Killing the PC before even the 1st second of play is just insulting and a waste of everyones time in my opinion.
      It's even more so since the player will just make another character, which of course just increases the time penalty, time in which we could be playing.

      But hey, some people seem to like that for some reason I can't understand.

      Most of the traveller groups I've played in either ignored it, or used it as a reason to outfit someone with cybernetics or something else like that at the GMs whim/plan. (Functions as an effective limb replacement, basically character fluff)
      Your opinion is noted But a lot of us were fine with character death in generation. You needed to consider that possibility along with character aging and decide if it was worth staying in (character generation) longer. I've seen people ignore one or both and all the characters seem to end up older and highly skilled. With either scoutships or free traders. With death and aging it's a gamble to stay in. And with the one year at a time character generation of supplements like Mercenary and High Guard character generation was a fun mini game by itself.

      *edit* Looking back at this post I should say I'm fine with ignoring death in character generation. We liked it, err... death before starting to play that is, but to each their own. I'm not trying to promote "one true wayism"
    1. dragoner's Avatar
      dragoner -
      Quote Originally Posted by R_Chance View Post
      Your opinion is noted But a lot of us were fine with character death in generation. You needed to consider that possibility along with character aging and decide if it was worth staying in (character generation) longer. I've seen people ignore one or both and all the characters seem to end up older and highly skilled. With either scoutships or free traders. With death and aging it's a gamble to stay in. And with the one year at a time character generation of supplements like Mercenary and High Guard character generation was a fun mini game by itself.

      *edit* Looking back at this post I should say I'm fine with ignoring death in character generation. We liked it, err... death before starting to play that is, but to each their own. I'm not trying to promote "one true wayism"
      If someone wants to ignore death in chargen, that's great, I was just noting that it is there. Personally I don't find it is too bad, and the time lost is minimal, as chargen is quick. It is also a good introduction to the deadliness of the universe in combat. Another thing is that it provides an "out" for a player who is generating a character they aren't feeling. Character generation is quick enough that often people rolled up 2-3 characters at once.

      Using -it as a reason to outfit someone with cybernetics or something else like that is also things I have seen a lot. I've also let people switch careers, and have "points" to improve their stats; Traveller's rules are pretty modular, and easy to hack without wrecking the game. A lot of people play "Classic Traveller" except adopting sections of rules from later versions, part of that modularity I guess:

      Modularity is the degree to which a system's components may be separated and recombined. The term modularity is widely used in studies of technological and organizational systems. Product systems are deemed “modular”, for example, when they can be decomposed into a number of components that may be mixed and matched in a variety of configurations.

      Traveller fits this definition very well, and I have seen it played in a huge variety of ways, from a traditional RPG, tactical combat mini's game, heavy crunch gear porn, to a narrative storygame. An amazing design achievement by Marc Miller.
    1. dragoner's Avatar
      dragoner -
      Fooling around with the character generator, I made this, useful as a PC/NPC, cheers.
      Name: capt emma han.jpg ► Views: 449 ► Size: 376.2 KB
    1. chrisshorb's Avatar
      chrisshorb -
      Quote Originally Posted by R_Chance View Post


      Original Traveller didn't have a setting per se when it was first printed. The Third Imperium developed as supplements and adventures were printed. I should say it was unveiled as supplements and adventures were published. By the end of the original game it was pretty well established and a number of sets cleaned up the original game (like this one). A different company, Digest Group Productions, produced a task resolution system for GDW and advanced the game picking up the reigns (by license) from GDW. Then came Megatraveller. The rather improbable series of events lead to the Civil War that ended up destroying the Third Imperium. Then came the "Traveller the New Era" rules. a post Third Imperium setting in a collapsed empire (still in the same universe). The game system was changed in significant ways (they were bringing their various RPGs into alignment with each other). And Marc Miller was out of GDW then iirc. "Marc Miller's Traveller" (T4) after the collapse of GDW was by another company (Imperium Games) and returned to a more Traveller like game system and took the setting back into the past; the beginning of the Third Imperium. T5 is actually by Marc Miller (GDW) again. And Mongoose has done a version of Traveller (currently in its 2nd edition) which largely lines up with T5.

      GURPS Traveller took the tack that Strephon wasn’t assassinated. Basically retconned out the entire New Era.

      Both Gurps and T20 took the Traveller setting, and plopped it on top of existing systems. To varying results imo.
    1. dragoner's Avatar
      dragoner -
      Also, looking at the Imperium setting, it looks like a lot of ground work for that was laid by Games Workshop, in Adventure 1, The Kinunir.
    1. dragoner's Avatar
      dragoner -
      Here is a further development of the Classic Traveller Character Generator, this time with Supplement 4, Citizens of the Imperium (more careers) added: http://www.batintheattic.com/traveller/
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