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Classic Traveller Discussion on the granddaddy of them all, Classic Traveller!

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Old July 13th, 2009, 11:22 PM
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Default Legend of the Horseclans

Remember the old Horseclans series? Now long out of print, they are some excellent fantasy tales. If you're not familiar with them, I'm referring to a series of 20 short novels written by Robert Adams (the last two are anthologies written by various authors).



The Horseclans took us to a very dark, very gritty fantasy world. It's earth, in the far, far future, after a holocaust. The tales are set so far in the future that the past (the time we're living in now) is long forgotten. Men wear armor, ride horses, protect themselves in keeps, and dice each other up with sword and axe.

There are a few, though, who remember that long time in the past. These men are immortal (Highlander-style before Highlander ever existed). In Milo Morai's memory, he carries thoughts of fighting in World War II.

There are other clues as well. From time to time, some post apocalyptic scene will be described: an ancient building still standing; some forgotten cache of tech found, but nobody knows what to do with it, so a cylinder from a revolver, for instance, might be found on a chain swinging around somebody's neck. I remember reading a Horseclans book back when I was in high school, coming to the realization that the army on horseback I was reading was crossing the remains of a local freeway here in Texas called State Highway 288, thinking, "Cool! I know where that is!"

This is a high fantasy, almost no magic world, with immortals and sentient-psionic sabre-toothed cats that mate for life. It's a very dark, gritty, adult set of tales, too. They're not for the squeamish. I also remember following a main character as he tracked a blood trail to a tree, finding the white corpse of a dead young boy up in the branches, having bled out from his anus after escaping the whims of a pedophile warlord. It horrified me, and I've never forgotten that passage to this day.

The magic that exists is really technology used by witches who barely understand the ancient devices. Think: The human army in Battle for the Planet of the Apes.



For the most part, though, these are just sword and sorcery tales without the sorcery. There are no mages or elves or vast underground cities. What there is, is a combination of high fantasy stamped with realism, told in a style that would garner an R rating from the MPA, if not an NC-17.

Most tales don't mention much about technology at all, or anything about the ancient earth. Most are sword & board tales, following a nomadic clan as it slices and dices its way across what used to be the USA.

In my mind's eye, I picture a traditional fantasy atmosphere with an occasional touch of Mad Max or Waterworld thrown in. Maybe even a little bit of The Postman sometimes.

But, mostly, it's men on horses, wearing armor, some using psionics to communicate with the cats, fighting other men on horses, also wearing armor and bearing swords.

The descriptions are fantastic. Very gritty. Bloody. High fantasy.

And, it probably helped the writing that Adams was a medieval armor and weaponsmith enthusiast in real life.







So...what, you're thinking, has this to do with Classic Traveller?

Well, I'll tell ya.

Glad you asked.

It hit me today that Classic Traveller (actually, Wanderer, the fan-made fantasy version of the rules) would be a perfect set of mechanics to use in this intriguing and exciting universe, if one were to game there.

Traveller can deliver the gritty feel of the Horseclans universe. Fights can be bloody and realistic.

If some ancient technology is introduced in the game (say, a pistol is found with some ammunition), nothing need be done to the rules. Use them as-is (and I'd certainly apply the weapon unfamiliarity penalty).

Psionics with the cats? No problem. Traveller's psionic rules would work as if they were designed for that specific reason.

Traveller/Wanderer and The Horseclans are a perfect fit.





It may be worth noting that there was a GURPS edition of The Horseclans published. One could mine it for ideas if one were so inclined to play this game using Classic Traveller rules.







And, here's a link with additional information, if this interests you...

Horseclans wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horseclans



Classic Traveller!

ROCK ON!!

Last edited by Supplement Four; July 13th, 2009 at 11:26 PM..
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Old July 14th, 2009, 03:28 AM
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I've seen it discussed for use with Gamma World (2E).

I also have all 18 novels (I might have the anthologies, but I'm not sure.

I was first introduced to the Horseclans in 1984.
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Old July 14th, 2009, 09:32 AM
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I was totally unfamiliar with it until I purchased GURPS Horseclans back in the day. While I haven't read many of the stories, I do agree it makes for a very interesting gaming universe!
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Old July 14th, 2009, 09:52 AM
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I remember the Horseclans' series from high school. Something about a post-apocalyptic America with a medieval twist. Interesting setting from what I recall.
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Old July 14th, 2009, 09:53 AM
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I would love to see the first novel of these, so I could get it, read it and see if I like it.
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Old July 14th, 2009, 01:53 PM
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I remember borrowing a buddy's copy of the books, then a different friend's copy of the GURPS book... and thinking "If this is the quality of GURPS suppliments, it's time to quit."

The GURPS adaptation is one of the worst in all GURPS (lensman is right about 2nd)...
The rabid adherence to "MUST KEEP POINTS IN LINE WITH OTHER BOOKS" meant you couldn't play a cat with the abilities in the novels with the allotted points... Telepathy was WAY too expensive (matched Horror). Plus the other character issues... it just didn't capture the feel.

In play, it was worse.

Thinking back, Traveller would be better at modelling it, to a point... but you have Milo the Undying, and in Traveller (late-CT, MT) terms, he's got max skills... just give him Int+Edu skill levels and be done with it.
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Old September 22nd, 2010, 12:37 AM
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*A cloaked figure chants over the grave of a long dead thread, "RISE!!!"*

So Will, how would you model the undying for Traveller? Inward Eye as a Awareness talent at psi15 for humans? Or as a "Special" tallent that you only roll for when a character is "Zeroed" in all three physical stats for the first time?
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Old September 22nd, 2010, 01:04 AM
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I just call it a special feature of the character type... and let them heal ANY wound that doesn't send them to negative equal to original on all positives, and don't worry about how it was learnt.

But I'm lazy that way.
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Old September 30th, 2010, 05:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jame View Post
I would love to see the first novel of these, so I could get it, read it and see if I like it.
I got one of them yesterday (I forget which but it was one of the later ones), and tried to read it. Maybe if I ever see the first one I'll try it, but I couldn't get into the one I have, so I'm grateful I got it free.
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Old September 30th, 2010, 10:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jame View Post
I got one of them yesterday (I forget which but it was one of the later ones), and tried to read it. Maybe if I ever see the first one I'll try it, but I couldn't get into the one I have, so I'm grateful I got it free.
They're an acquired taste. I really like them. They're quite gritty, though.

AAMOF, I just found the last one the other day, and now have a complete collection (something like 16 or 18 books, including the two anthologies written by authors other than Adams).

They've got a Thieves World, Conan, dark fantasy vibe to them. If they were written a few decades earlier, they'd be pulp short stories.

Good stuff, if you like that sort of thing.

Although the stories are somewhat episodic, there's enough arc to them that starting at the beginning and reading in order is best.

Which one did you get?
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