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Payn's Ponderings Traveller Settings

payn

Legend
Greetings,

This is a second part of a series of posts on Traveller the RPG. The first was on Traveller editions here.

I have long been fascinated by the shear size of the Traveller map. There are so many worlds available the possibilities are endless. Some are very well defined and others not so much. I find this allows for both Imperium style campaigns and homebrew campaigns. In fact, its been said that the intentions was the setting to be both defiend and undefined so folks could make it their own. Thats exactly what I have done in most my experiences. The Imperium is a backdrop, it provides a source of power, politics, and intrigue. Though, most of my campaigns have taken place in what folks may consider "rim space". The frontier is where I can really design adventures and stories for my Travellers to experience.

How about you? Do you make your very own setting? Do you hybrid with the Imperium, Twilight, or third party settings? What has your Traveller journey been like from a setting perspective?

Below is a brief outline of the official Traveller setting and a few others for reference. It is by no means extensive. Feel free to expand on anythign you feel is relevant to discussion around Traveller settings.
Official Traveller Universe. OTU

This is the only Traveller setting I have experience with. Mostly in the frontier sectors Spinward Marches and Trojan Reaches. The Imperium is really just a backdrop to serve as an imperial power to provide conflict and influence during the game. I have not run any games in any major conflicts such as the second civil war or long nights. Brief descriptions of the iterations of the OTU below. Would love to hear about folks experiences, particularly if they got into the setting powers and conflicts specifically.

Classic Traveller 1977:

Establishment of The Third Imperium at the height of its power.

Mega Traveller 1986:

Third Imperium enters the Rebellion or second civil war. Years of war that ends the Imperium and begins a second long night.

Traveller The New Era 1992:

Picking up the pieces after Imperium civil war and A.I. Virus wiped out 10 Trillion lives.

Marc Miller’s Traveller 1996:

Launched Milieu 0, back to early years of the formation of the Third Imperium before Classic Traveller time.

*Launched the 4X (Explore, Expand, Exploit, Exterminate) gaming style for RPGs.

GURPS Traveller 1998:

Alternate Traveller universe where Emperor is never assassinated and second civil war and eventual second long night never happen.

Mongoose Traveller 1E & 2E 2008-present:

Return to classic era Third Imperium like GURPS. Focus on adventure campaigns in Trojan Reaches sector.



Third Party Traveller Settings:

The settings below are third party and/or alternate settings to the OTU. I have not played any of these but I have heard about them online and seen products often in gaming stores. Would love to hear about folks experiences with them and any I missed as well!

Traveller 2300AD 1984?: (Never Played)

Another setting by GDW based on Earth nuking itself silly and then rebuilding and heading for the stars. Lots of transhumanism influence from cyberpunk RPGs of the time.

Twilight Sector 2009: (Never played)

Focus on transhumanism as the people are either mutants or tech enhanced. Very dark and bleak with strong focus on tech in starships and species enhancement.

Orbital 2100 2016: (Never Played)

A low tech setting (TL9) with focus on hard sci-fi. Mimics things like The Expanse better than OTU. Also, designed for use with Cepheus Engine.

Clement Sector 2016?: (Never Played)

Extensive source books set in Milky Way Galaxy. Wormhole connects earth to other parts of the galaxy. Originally tied to Mongoose and Traveller OGL, Clement Sector moved over to Cephus Engine for current publishing.
 

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dragoner

Dying in Chargen
My Solis People of the Sun setting is also an ATU for Cepheus Engine, it 2271 near future, w/3D type star maps of 500 of the closet star systems. Someone who saw it on Gauntlet said: "Probably the most realistic attempt at rpg content I've seen in a while." Makes me happy. :)

Before that I ran another campaign, an ATU/OTU from 2011 to 2016, set in six sectors I made, year 1323 Imperial. I had a few readers that would always thank me, I guess it was sort of like a pre-stream, as a play-by-post, it was called "Beyond The Frontier" and I ran it initially on Obsidian Portal before moving it to its own website.
Beyond the Frontier Campaign.jpg
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
I treat Traveller like a sandbox game and make my own setting. I throw in whatever I’m feeling at the moment. The Alien franchise. Lost in Space. Pitch Black. Firefly. Black Hole. John Carter of Mars. Jupiter Ascending. Valerian and the Super Long Title. Star Frontiers. A more Star Trek-like Scout Service. I treat D&D like a kitchen sink fantasy game, I do kitchen sink sci-fi with Traveller. Whatever sci-fi I feel like exploring gets a planet.
 

payn

Legend
My Solis People of the Sun setting is also an ATU for Cepheus Engine, it 2271 near future, w/3D type star maps of 500 of the closet star systems. Someone who saw it on Gauntlet said: "Probably the most realistic attempt at rpg content I've seen in a while." Makes me happy. :)

Before that I ran another campaign, an ATU/OTU from 2011 to 2016, set in six sectors I made, year 1323 Imperial. I had a few readers that would always thank me, I guess it was sort of like a pre-stream, as a play-by-post, it was called "Beyond The Frontier" and I ran it initially on Obsidian Portal before moving it to its own website. View attachment 146856
Are you still running that website? I'd love to take a look.
 

payn

Legend
I treat Traveller like a sandbox game and make my own setting. I throw in whatever I’m feeling at the moment. The Alien franchise. Lost in Space. Pitch Black. Firefly. Black Hole. John Carter of Mars. Jupiter Ascending. Valerian and the Super Long Title. Star Frontiers. A more Star Trek-like Scout Service. I treat D&D like a kitchen sink fantasy game, I do kitchen sink sci-fi with Traveller. Whatever sci-fi I feel like exploring gets a planet.
I've always felt that Firefly and Babylon 5 are quite easy to do with OTU. Of course, maybe Traveller had some influence on those things :unsure:
 

dragoner

Dying in Chargen
Are you still running that website? I'd love to take a look.
I took it down a year ago, it was called "dragoner's domain" (a play on the name of a Space: 1999 episode Dragon's Domain) it might still be in a way back machine of something, I also have a 360 page setting doc pdf/word docx. I have a new forum up for Solis People of the Sun. It was running that campaign, and the newest one, that people I respected said I should publish it, so here I am. Though in a lot of ways, I just want to get back to running a game or playing as well.
 

dragoner

Dying in Chargen
I treat Traveller like a sandbox game and make my own setting. I throw in whatever I’m feeling at the moment. The Alien franchise. Lost in Space. Pitch Black. Firefly. Black Hole. John Carter of Mars. Jupiter Ascending. Valerian and the Super Long Title. Star Frontiers. A more Star Trek-like Scout Service. I treat D&D like a kitchen sink fantasy game, I do kitchen sink sci-fi with Traveller. Whatever sci-fi I feel like exploring gets a planet.
Ever tried Rifts?

For a few years in the early 80's I ran a Traveller, Space Opera, Gamma World, and Basic/AD&D mash up; of a fallen multi dimensional empire, it was fun sort of kitchen sink setting, like Imperial troops were Sardaukar. Dimensions from Heinlein's Number of the Beast.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Ever tried Rifts?
Yes. I bounced off the system really hard. I also bounced off Savage Worlds really hard. Neat setting though.
For a few years in the early 80's I ran a Traveller, Space Opera, Gamma World, and Basic/AD&D mash up; of a fallen multi dimensional empire, it was fun sort of kitchen sink setting, like Imperial troops were Sardaukar. Dimensions from Heinlein's Number of the Beast.
Sounds fun.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
I've always felt that Firefly and Babylon 5 are quite easy to do with OTU. Of course, maybe Traveller had some influence on those things :unsure:
RPGs did, apparently, have some influence on Firefly - but Whedon never specified exactly which one that I'm aware of. Traveller would be a pretty reasonable candidate though.
 



Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
GURPS also did The Interstellar Wars, set roughly a century in the future when the men of Earth finally reach for the stars ... and find out about half of nearby space is already part of The Imperium.
 


Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
I took it down a year ago, it was called "dragoner's domain" (a play on the name of a Space: 1999 episode Dragon's Domain) it might still be in a way back machine of something, I also have a 360 page setting doc pdf/word docx. I have a new forum up for Solis People of the Sun. It was running that campaign, and the newest one, that people I respected said I should publish it, so here I am. Though in a lot of ways, I just want to get back to running a game or playing as well.
This sounds awesome, are you publishing it already? If yes can you provide a link?
 

dragoner

Dying in Chargen
This sounds awesome, are you publishing it already? If yes can you provide a link?
Yes, this is the new one, I have some other setting books, spacecraft, NPC's/Organizations, and adventures; once those are out, I go back through and use the feedback to make them nicer. I have art already commissioned, I will add it when I re-do the layout. :)

 

pemerton

Legend
Do you make your very own setting? Do you hybrid with the Imperium, Twilight, or third party settings? What has your Traveller journey been like from a setting perspective?

<snip>

Classic Traveller 1977:

Establishment of The Third Imperium at the height of its power.
As I've posted before, I prefer the 1977 to the 1981 or MegaTraveller rules, but use my own variant that includes some post-Book 1 skills, and some rules adapted from later Books, early White Dwarf and my own imagination.

Book 1 implies a setting with nobility (given the Social Standing rules) and I follow that plus ideas from White Dwarf in positing an Imperium with an Imperial Navy, Imperial Marine Corps and Imperial Interstellar Scout Service. Beyond that, I make up my own setting based on my rolls for world creation and my own ideas. I assume that there are Imperial as well as local world officials - Diplomats and Bureaucrats by profession, on the whole - and that individual worlds have Armies, Air Forces/Orbital and Systems Defence, and Wet Navies, but not Navy or Marine characters.

I mostly follow Book 3 on the attitude of the Imperium and most people to psionics, but in my current campaign there is one world where psionics is not uniformally reviled. The PCs undertook their psionic training on an outpost of this world, even while the world itself was under Imperial interdiction.

In our game so far there has been no occasion to speculate about the age of the Imperium, who the Emperor is, etc.
 



pemerton

Legend
(Sidebar - any resources that identify the differences between the two? I have not considered them to be separate enough to like one version over the other)
The changes are documents in this book: Classic Traveller-CT-SS4- The Lost Rules Special Supplement - Game Designers' Workshop (GDW) | Classic Traveller | DriveThruRPG.com

My sense of the 1981 versions is affected by my better knowledge of The Traveller Book than the 3 1981 black books. And in some places I do adopt 1981 conventions (eg rules for minimum power plant number). But overall I prefer the more player-oriented feel of 1977. An examples is the different ways that Streetwise skill is explained:

Book 1 (1977), p 15: The referee should set the throw required to obtain any item specified by the players (for example, the name of an official willing to issue li-censes without hassle = 5+, the location of high quality guns at a low price = 9+)

Book 1 (1981), p 22: After establishing throws for various activities desired by the characters (such as the name of an official willing to issue licenses without hassle: 5+; the location of high quality guns at low prices: 9+)​
 


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