Payn's Ponderings Traveller Settings


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cowpie

Adventurer
I typically use the Spinward Marches circa 1110 as a go to setting, because:
a) I like it -- it's got variety (hi tech developed worlds, low tech backwaters, military and political intrigue, a frontier to explore, and the spinward main.
b) It's easy for one-shots -- Traveller is an alternate game to "try out" for most people I game with, so the ready made setting is convenient
c) I know it well -- this makes it easy to improvise things, like travelling to worlds I have little or no prep for during one-shots.

I have made original settings though. These include a future earth setting, where a Terran Empire has splintered, and numerous successor states are reforming. I set mine in a no-man's land between two larger states, filled with independent worlds, and many client states, including some alien races, who are playing to the two powers off each other, while attempting to maintain their independence.

I've also done a lot of mini-campaigns in limited settings, including: a short campaign on a prison planet, a campaign centered on marooned colonists trying to escape from a "death world", TL9-10 traders plying the sublight spaceways in a Jovian system, a star trek style exploration mission "beyond the frontier", a military wargame where the players made naval crew running a cruiser, and military crew to play when conducting a landing operation, and PCs on a 21st century earth exploration ship to Alpha Centauri waking up centuries past their arrival date, and exploring strange 2001 A Space Odyssey type phenomena.
 

payn

Legend
I've also done a lot of mini-campaigns in limited settings, including: a short campaign on a prison planet, a campaign centered on marooned colonists trying to escape from a "death world", TL9-10 traders plying the sublight spaceways in a Jovian system, a star trek style exploration mission "beyond the frontier", a military wargame where the players made naval crew running a cruiser, and military crew to play when conducting a landing operation, and PCs on a 21st century earth exploration ship to Alpha Centauri waking up centuries past their arrival date, and exploring strange 2001 A Space Odyssey type phenomena.
I've done most of these, but not any military campaign. Not sure why, but armies and navies dont seem to speak to me as something I want to run/play. I am interested in the merc stuff that Mongoose is dropping soon. So, maybe im ready to take a step in that direction.
 

cowpie

Adventurer
In my military game, it was kind of a structured RP "Kriegspiel" which I modeled after the way more complicated RPG "Burning Empires". The PCs were conducting an operation against an enemy forces that functioned as "fronts" from Apocalypse World. The players had scouts they could send out to gather intelligence, play out scenes, then make military moves over the course of operational turns. The enemy had a plan which could react to the players' decisions. RP adventures took place during key events, and the results would affect the success or failure of the overall military campaign. It was hard to run, but fun.
I have done some mercenary one-shots, but those were novelty one-off sessions that put the PCs in situations with unusual sci-fi encounters -- the military operations weren't always the main focus of play. Kind of like a game of Aliens, the PCs are marines, but it's really about the horror/alien situation they're in.
 

payn

Legend
In my military game, it was kind of a structured RP "Kriegspiel" which I modeled after the way more complicated RPG "Burning Empires". The PCs were conducting an operation against an enemy forces that functioned as "fronts" from Apocalypse World. The players had scouts they could send out to gather intelligence, play out scenes, then make military moves over the course of operational turns. The enemy had a plan which could react to the players' decisions. RP adventures took place during key events, and the results would affect the success or failure of the overall military campaign. It was hard to run, but fun.
I have done some mercenary one-shots, but those were novelty one-off sessions that put the PCs in situations with unusual sci-fi encounters -- the military operations weren't always the main focus of play. Kind of like a game of Aliens, the PCs are marines, but it's really about the horror/alien situation they're in.
Nice. Starship battle is not my strongest piece of Traveller referee space. So, I have not gotten into anything more than a trader or two, maybe a few harriers. Usually, frontier SDBs and pirate craft mostly. I like spaceship combat because its a team game for the players, but I dont want to bog down the session for it either.
 

cowpie

Adventurer
Yeah, Traveller Mercenary combat can divert the focus of play more into wargaming that RPing, esp. some of Frank Chadwick's rules sets like Twilight 2000 did, or trying to use Striker to play Traveller miniatures combats. My game had some simplified combat rules that interacted more with the RPing "scenes" that played out, because the players were there for RPing over playing a military simulation (though some were wargamers).
 

dragoner

solisrpg.com
Classic's Mercenary Book 4, has abstract rules for large unit combat. When I was young, we raised a mercenary company, and the ref had us roll up all the 250 troops by hand at the table, the four of us players became very good at rolling up characters.
 


aramis erak

Legend
I used the Traveller wiki for my breakdowns.
The Wiki has issues with a bad actor editing. There are still efforts ongoing to undo said person's damage...
Lost Rules only lists the major items. there are many changes not in it.
Nice. Starship battle is not my strongest piece of Traveller referee space. So, I have not gotten into anything more than a trader or two, maybe a few harriers. Usually, frontier SDBs and pirate craft mostly. I like spaceship combat because its a team game for the players, but I dont want to bog down the session for it either.
I recommend using Mayday for ship combat if you want anything vaguely realistic and yet playable on a typical dining table...
 

payn

Legend
The Wiki has issues with a bad actor editing. There are still efforts ongoing to undo said person's damage...
Sure, like any wiki I treat the Traveller wiki as a mere starting point to explore a topic.
I recommend using Mayday for ship combat if you want anything vaguely realistic and yet playable on a typical dining table...
Have not heard of Mayday. I currently use a spreadsheet that I built for both personal and ship combat (TotM). My players seem to really like it, but having a dozen ship combat would test the limits for sure. Though, I have not come to ever needing something for that, yet.
 

aramis erak

Legend
Sure, like any wiki I treat the Traveller wiki as a mere starting point to explore a topic.

Have not heard of Mayday. I currently use a spreadsheet that I built for both personal and ship combat (TotM). My players seem to really like it, but having a dozen ship combat would test the limits for sure. Though, I have not come to ever needing something for that, yet.
Mayday is a boardgame implementation of Book 2. (later editions, including the PDF, include notes for resolving combat with Bk5, as well.) It is pretty nice for missile heavy engagements.
 


Mezuka

Hero
Quick question for folks. What is the average starting distance of your space ship combats?
Sensor distance. If you can't detect it, you can't shoot it. In other words the longest missile range of one or both ships, if the same.
 
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payn

Legend
Sensor distance. If you can't detect it, you can't shoot it. In other words the longest missile range of one or both ships, if the same.
Always? Do you ever have your NPCs or the Travellers go cold, hide behind moons, etc... to try and get the jump on their target?
 

pemerton

Legend
Quick question for folks. What is the average starting distance of your space ship combats?
I have only run two or three of these in a campaign of more than 20 sessions. Going on memory: in one, the PCs arrived out of jump space, and were approaching a world, when a hostile vessel - that had good communication with land-based elements on the world - approached them from its position in orbit on the far side of the world. I would have stipulated the initial engagement distance, probably at a few hundred thousand miles.

The other that I can recall involved the PCs arriving out of jump space in the vicinity of the world and encountering a free trader leaving the world. I think the separation was about 100,000 miles. My recollection is that the PCs launched a missile at the opponent, then disabled it via laser fire, and then waited for the missile to hit it.
 


gamerprinter

Mapper/Publisher
I did play Traveller back in the 1980's using the Rimward Marches for the most part, but never spent more than 9 months playing Traveller specifically, having also played other sci-fi games. However, as with most game systems I ever played, I eventually played in homebrews instead of published settings. I even published some custom deck plans using Traveller RPG ship building rules about 6 years ago. And admittedly, I'm designing and publishing for Starfinder RPG now, my most recent publication, The Planet Builder, is rules to create scientifically viable, entire star systems and their stat block. While somewhat inspired by Traveller planet building rules, it's more detailed and covers entire star systems - stars, planets, belts, trojans, orbits, planetary cores, everything. Using those rules, I'm now building the setting for my Starfinder publications. Because I lean harder sci-fi, even as a developer Starfinder, most of my stuff would fit a Traveller setting. Here's the first of many star systems I am developing for my published setting...

Shown below is a star system map I'm currently working on (potentially the first of 47 possible systems)... because two stars systems have collided, 3 of the outer planets, a gas giant from one system and two large rocky worlds in the other systems has collided creating what is now called the Scarlet Belt, though the illuminated gases will last for a millennia before fully disapating.

gemini-binary-small.jpg
 
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Mezuka

Hero
Always? Do you ever have your NPCs or the Travellers go cold, hide behind moons, etc... to try and get the jump on their target?
A good plan!

That has never happened, so far. I've played Staf Frontiers, Star Wars, Coriolis and now Traveller. My players are generaly very affraid of space combat and usually avoid it at all cost.
 

aramis erak

Legend
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.
He did specify it was a major sci fi RPG he played in College. The most likely candidate is Classic Traveller, since the timeframe was 84-86, and he was in England.

It's worth noting that Traveller can produce an insanely large system - there are 5 stars in the 'Verse. I've had systems up to 6 stars under Bk 6 Scouts.
 

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