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  #1  
Old June 16th, 2008, 01:43 PM
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Default New Gm Here Which Version Is Necessary 2nd 3rd Or 4th?

I am effectively jumping ship (so to speak) from D&D to Traveller! I need assistance from experienced folks to decide on 2nd, 3rd or 4th Edition GURPS. But first let me burden you with some dull yet necessary background info. I am a thoroughly experienced D&D DM and designer-contributor to the D&D 1st & 2nd Ed games. Nearly three decades, thousands of sessions, tens of thousands of hours and not to mention an equal amount in dollars later I have decided that Swords and Spells have become blasťí. Donít ask me why, but there it is! After a great deal of thought and feelings equivalent to marital infidelity I have concluded that traveler is the RPG for my remaining three decades, lord willing.
Anyway, I have never played GURPs, I GMíd Classic Traveller in 84 & 85 for a while and reflect upon it with fondness. I want my period to be during the 5th Frontier war, no rebellion or VIRUS, (itís an 80ís Cold War superpowers thing). I have gotten myself and my D&D players jazzed up about traveler and the infinite possibilities of gaming it can provide. Although I am quite decided on which Edition of Traveller I want to start off with I am undecided about which GURPS version to start with. I know GW used 2nd Edition, I like sweet and simple rules such as GURPS offers however I am in fear of 3rd or 4th Ed mechanics slowing simple gaming down. Keep in mind I have only just started reading the 2nd Edition Traveller Main Book. I donít have lots of time to read all the Editions but is there just that much more in 3rd Ed or 4th Ed that I will be missing out on? I eagerly await a response from experienced GT.

Last edited by Arthur; June 16th, 2008 at 01:46 PM.. Reason: spelling
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Old June 16th, 2008, 01:58 PM
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Cool 3rd Edition

Or at least that is the Edition of ye old GURPS that I use....

I haven't had a chance to pick up Fourth, so I can only say that I have used Blue Book GURPS (1st Ed.) and 3rd. Though frankly I have found that while I love Traveller and I love GURPS they are not the same game. Mostly I pick up GT for it's art and alternate history.

But that's just my opinion.
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Old June 16th, 2008, 05:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur View Post
I am effectively jumping ship (so to speak) from D&D to Traveller! I need assistance from experienced folks to decide on 2nd, 3rd or 4th Edition GURPS. But first let me burden you with some dull yet necessary background info. I am a thoroughly experienced D&D DM and designer-contributor to the D&D 1st & 2nd Ed games. Nearly three decades, thousands of sessions, tens of thousands of hours and not to mention an equal amount in dollars later I have decided that Swords and Spells have become blasťí. Donít ask me why, but there it is! After a great deal of thought and feelings equivalent to marital infidelity I have concluded that traveler is the RPG for my remaining three decades, lord willing.

Anyway, I have never played GURPs, I GMíd Classic Traveller in 84 & 85 for a while and reflect upon it with fondness. I want my period to be during the 5th Frontier war, no rebellion or VIRUS, (itís an 80ís Cold War superpowers thing). I have gotten myself and my D&D players jazzed up about traveler and the infinite possibilities of gaming it can provide. Although I am quite decided on which Edition of Traveller I want to start off with I am undecided about which GURPS version to start with. I know GW used 2nd Edition, I like sweet and simple rules such as GURPS offers however I am in fear of 3rd or 4th Ed mechanics slowing simple gaming down. Keep in mind I have only just started reading the 2nd Edition Traveller Main Book. I donít have lots of time to read all the Editions but is there just that much more in 3rd Ed or 4th Ed that I will be missing out on? I eagerly await a response from experienced GT.
Sounds alot like what I did, went from AD&D 1e to 3e GURPS and Traveller.

I'm not bothering with 4e since I don't want to learn another game system. Plus all the 3e books are like $9.95 and several GURPS Traveller books are also on PDF format. A searchable god-send !

Couple that with Classic Traveller on CD-rom and suddenly the entire Traveller universe is at my finger tips. To me almost all the Traveller material is good, but since I didn't have the $ or time to collect it all, I stick to what I do have.

I would stick to 3e you can get GURPS Lite 3e for free and set up a typical Traveller adventure and learn the basics of the game system. In the meantime you can also delve into GURPS Basic and learn the more complex steps to combat, skills, weapons, power and so on that you'll incorporate later on once you're more familiar with the system.

If your players have 4e and want to get into the latest version then it shouldn't be too much of a jump to switch over to 4e. You should be able to use 3e as a stepping stone to get there.


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Old June 17th, 2008, 10:04 PM
Amra Amra is offline
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If your going to go with an older version of GURPS, I'd suggest GURPS 3e because the GURPS Traveller line is mostly 3e. Some of the 3e books are still available via Warehouse 23 (at very reasonable prices) and all of them should be available eventually as PDF's via e23. If you run GURPS Traveller 3e and get the books you should be good to go for quite some time.

The only available Traveller book for 4e is GURPS Traveller:Interstellar Wars (GT:ISW). It isn't the period that your looking for in your post, but it could support a "cold war" game. The book give you what you need to run a Traveller game during the Interstellar Wars period and is very good in my opinion.

The 4e rules are the only version of GURPS I like, they are the culmination of decades of experience with GURPS - they are very well thought out. GURPS 4e Space, High-Tech, Ultra-Tech and Bio-Tech are also excellent and give you a huge amount of material to use in a Traveller (or any sci-fi) game. GURPS Spaceships 4e is also good, but it probably orphans the spacecraft rules presented in GT:ISW. With GURPS Spaceships out I think it's highly unlikely that any future GURPS Traveller books will use the GT:ISW system. The last possible advantage to 4e for you, if I understand your post correctly and you are a published writer, is that SJG are actively seeking proposals for GURPS Traveller material - see the e23 Wish List.

Lastly, I know you posted that you know what edition of Traveller you want to run, but I would like to add that Classic Traveller (CT) is still available via Far Future Enterprises (in reprints and CD's) which is of course in the Golden Age your speaking of. Mongoose Traveller (MGT), which is a "cleaned-up" take on Classic Traveller (and very compatible), is also set in the CT Golden Age. The reason I mention this is you have CT experience and although I like GURPS, I don't think I would ever describe GURPS as "Sweet and simple rules", but I would describe CT and MGT as such.
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Old June 19th, 2008, 02:45 PM
Britti_Lover Britti_Lover is offline
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D & D 4e is actually a good Fantasy Game. Mongoose Traveller is also a very good SF game.

GURPS is like D & D - but generic. Can be used to play anything - and that includes Traveller.

Gurps 4e is easier to play and learn than 3e - but there is some really good Traveller material for Gurps 3e that's cheap and very usable.

I'd say - get the GURPS 4e core rules and the GURPS Traveller 3e modules and you'll have a fun game and a great time.

Besides - GURPS Lite for 4e is free along with the 4e conversion guide and you can actually play with just those and the GURPS 3e books.

Here is how I play GURPS Traveller 4e:

I use an ATU which is based on the GTIW alternate campaign: Imperials win the Interstellar wars.

Due to Terrian Scientists technology breakthroughs, all GURPS Bio-tech, Ultra-tech, Space, etc, books are cannon material, along with any published Traveller material for any prevous editions (MegaTraveller, Traveller: The New Era, Traveller:2300, etc).

This Imperium behaves exactly like traditional Third Imperium except Jump anywhere, FTL communications and all tech in GURPS available. Terra is known for its part in bringing the Imperium's Tech stagnation to a halt.

Emperior Stephon is at the helm – his family arrived on a captured intact Terra first and got the plans for the jump-3 drive and the meson cannon from the Terrian scientists. Stephon's direct ancestor created a fleet that took over the Imperium and put their family on the Iridium throne.

The Imperium (also: Ziru Sirka and Grand Empire of Stars).

The first major interstellar civilization since the collapse of the Ancients 300,000 years earlier, the Imperium was politically and culturally dominated by humans originating on Vland. The jump drive was discovered on Vland in -9235 (4715 BC); immediately the Vilani discovered a number of interfertile and technologically primitive human races on worlds within 60 parsecs. These were gradually brought to a high-technology state with Vilani help and assimilated into a loose interstellar community bound by trade and common culture.

Eventually, the client races themselves explored beyond the local sphere, contacting and trading with still more races. These new races gained their technology without being assimilated into Vilani culture; the resulting increased friction eventually resulted in a series of wars beginning in about -5400 (880 BC).

In response to the threat, Vland began tightening its control of its trade sphere, and finally organizing it into a centralized state in -5272 (752 BC). This marked the beginnings of the First Imperium, although there was as yet no emperor. During the thousand year period of the Consolidation Wars, Vland conquered and absorbed its enemies until there were no longer any civilized states on its borders (except for a small portion of the Vargr Extents, isolated from the Imperium by the Windhorn Rift).

The last war ended in -4045 (AD 476), and the Vilani declared the establishment of an interstellar empire to govern all Vilani territory. Known as the Grand Empire of Stars or Ziru Sirka, Vilani dating begins at this point. The Ziru Sirka has now lasted for nearly 5000 years and contains over 38 sectors and over 32,000 worlds.

As long as there was no exterior threat, the Grand Empire was safe; but gradually, despite all efforts, technology leaked across the borders. In -2422 (AD 2099), the Imperium was contacted along its rimward border by the Terrans, who had recently emerged into space. Terran expansionism led to a series of interstellar wars, which ultimately resulted in the Imperial conquest of Terra in the Fourth Interstellar War.

Terra is in a time of rapid technology increases, eventually resulting the invention of the jump-3 drive and the meson cannon. Terra is the tech level leader of the Imperium with its high-tech goods eventually becoming galactic wide. Imperial stagnation comes to a halt and the Imperium begins a rapid incresase in TL eventually ending in TL 12 across the empire. Only some backwater worlds on the edge of the Imperium in the Vargrr Extents are at a lower TL – as low as 9-10. FTL communication and Jump drives that can take you anywhere in the galaxy are in common use. Merchants now use jump-10 hydrogen drives due to the very low cost of operating them.

An Imperial Admiral who is an ancestor to the current Emperor Strephon gets the meson cannon and jump-3 drive plans from the Terrans and outfits an Imperial fleet with the technology. This fleet goes to Vland and stages a coup that puts his family on the Iriduim Throne and begins the Charismatic Emperor line. This line of Emperors has now been ruling the Imperium for over 2,000 years. The Emperor is seen and loved by all in the Imperium and the royal family visits other worlds in the Imperium often.

Wars of conquest have expanded the Imperium to over 32,000 worlds, the Vagrr extents and Solomani Sphere are completely within Imperial space now. Imperial Galactic Rangers keep the peace in the Vagrr Extents because this is where the most low tech worlds are found.

Terra is currently a garden world, TL-12. Terra was allowed home rule 100 years after conquest and became the sector capital 200 years after that. The Current Sector Archduke has a palace on Terra and calls Terra home. Luna is the home port of the major Imperial fleet of the area.

I've ran my own private games of this and ran it at the local conventions - it plays like a dream and the players love the stack of hardbound GURPS 4e books I use to run it. I've noticed that the shelf space taken up by GURPS at the retail level is kinda small lately. Much smaller than in the hey day of third edition GURPS.

Buying at retail does give you the chance to inspect the book prior to purchase. I'd like to see all the core 4th edition hardbounds like Infinite Worlds and Magic stay in print on on retail shelves myself.

Last edited by Britti_Lover; August 28th, 2008 at 09:57 AM.. Reason: Add more information
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Old June 20th, 2008, 08:09 AM
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Jeffr0's advice:

Get GURPS 4e Characters, 4e Campaigns, and 4e Character Builder software for a great smooth running role-playing system. (Don't skimp on the software, though. You do want to get around to playing, right?)

Get the CT Traveller CD for background, cool chargen, original world generation, The Traveller Adventure, Alien Modules, Mayday & Snapshot for 'real' games, etc.

Get GT 2e for your "rosetta stone" to convert from GURPS to CT and back.

For additional spinward marches background, I reccomend, Comstar's Bowman Arm, Flexos & Datrillion system guides, and maybe some of their Golden Age starships stuff (if they've updated them to use High Guard.)

(My favorite Traveller adventure is probably the one that came with the old GURPS Humanx book. But that's another story....)

In your games: don't waste time trying to come up with the perfect space combat and trading rules. Smarter men than you have tried and failed miserably on the playability, play balance, and/or realism sides. Using CT Book 2 is probably sufficient as a loose outline-- but with plenty of role playing, random skill checks, etc. to spice things up.
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Old July 25th, 2008, 10:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffr0 View Post
Jeffr0's advice:

Get GURPS 4e Characters, 4e Campaigns, and 4e Character Builder software for a great smooth running role-playing system. (Don't skimp on the software, though. You do want to get around to playing, right?)
Note that Character Builder is the GURPS 3e software; a different product, Character Assistant, is the official software for GURPS 4e. There is a fan-produced 4e character sheet for Character Builder, but if you want to use 4e and keep things as easy as possible then stick with the official Character Assistant and the official data files for GURPS Interstellar Wars, etc.

My thoughts echo some of those above: For a fully consistent system set in the Classic Traveller era, stick with GURPS 3e and all the books. But GURPS 4e is a much better system, and all the background material in the 3e books is still completely relevant. The stats for equipment and ships given in GURPS Interstellar Wars, and the weapons from GURPS 4e Characters, can be used in the Golden Age era quite happily if you're more concerned about plot and character than precise conversions of CT original tech. GURPS High-Tech and GURPS Ultra-Tech provide lots more weapons and equipment and you'll find matches for most of what's in CT, and the official Character Assistant data files for those books can be freely downloaded.

And it's actually perfectly possible to play a GURPS 3e scenario under 4e without converting it beforehand. The stats don't work exactly but they're a good enough approximation and you can make stuff up on fly on the rare occasions where you need to.

Plus, you're not going to want to play just Traveller are you...?

GURPS 4e opens an awful lot of doors, and there's getting to be a steady stream of material on e23.

Also, remember that GURPS can be as complex as you want it be. It gets a bad press sometimes but at heart it boils down to rolling 3d6. If you want a game that plays quickly and smoothly then keep combat abstract, with the GM ruling on where the combatants are and what's possible, rather than using the advanced rules with tactical hex maps. Also remember that you don't need to play every second of combat. We drop in and out of combat time as required, interspersed with frantic roleplay as the combatants jockey for position, race to open the blast doors, dash down the Ancient sewer, etc.
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Old July 25th, 2008, 02:00 PM
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To "understand" Traveller and run it with GURPS...

1) Watch Firefly and Serenity
2) Read Piper's Space Viking
3) Get CT Books 1-3 and use it for the broad setting details
4) Design PC's, but make stuff up for everything else
5) If in doubt, resort to Referee fiat for the sake of plot and action
6) Do not try to reconcile background issues and ruleset discrepancies. See #5 again!
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Old July 25th, 2008, 02:08 PM
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Let me take a slightly different track here.

First, if you are just interested in Traveller, I would recommend just getting Mongoose Traveller. It is its own system, and is built to be somewhat generic, but definitely SciFi. It doesn't have to worry about folding in all the other stuff; it just does what it does. Note that the default setting for Mongoose Traveller is 1105 in the Spinward Marches. That is pre-Assassination, pre-Rebellion, pre-Collapse. Pretty much pre-everything.

That said, if you really want GURPS, too, then you need to make a decision. Do you want the classic setting (Third Imperium + Spinward Marches and/or Solomani Rim)? Or do you want the old First Imperium vs. Terran Confederation setting?

If you want the latter, just get the GURPS 4e Basic Books and Interstellar Wars. You are good to go. Then you can add in whatever other 4e options you want as you go along.

If you want the former, then just get the Traveller Sourcebook 2e (for GURPS 3e) and GURPS 3e Lite. That combination, alone, will allow you to run GURPS Traveller. You will be missing a couple adds/disadds, but you can easily live without them. If that setup works for you, then you can easily add in whatever other books you want. Also, this setup should only set you back like $10 for GT2e and $0 for G3e Lite. This is actually the cheapest way to try the game out.

You can indeed run the classic Traveller setting with GURPS 4e, but you will have to convert all of the templates and stuff yourself. (On the other hand, there are several people who have gone before you, so you can probably just crib from them. Check out the SJG Traveller forum for more info on all of that.)
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Old July 25th, 2008, 02:36 PM
Jeffr0 Jeffr0 is offline
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4e 4e 4e 4e!

The details in all the 3e books are a little too fiddly for actual play and don't really need conversion. Even the templates are a little much-- just too much detail.

I say... use CT to roll up characters the classic way. Try to get a sense of the character from that. Then keep an eyeball on the templates (just as a guide) and the conversion rules from GT2e as you loosely translate those CT stats into a 4e character. DON'T get bogged down in the details. Don't worry about doing things "right". You're aiming for a "feel" more than anything else. And certainly don't try to construct a wargame out of all this.

4e is just plain great. Classic Traveller rocks. Yea 4e! Yea Classic Traveller setting!
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