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Best Mental Model


SOC-14 5K
When people sometimes ask me, "What is Traveller like?" I usually answer,

"Have you seen Firefly? There you have 90% of what I am asking you to imagine. In that your characters are not heroes who are going to save the galaxy in every game but work themselves up to being something greater than their individual selves. They are going to get their hands dirty and going to take part in shaping events even if the universe does not care about their existence. They are going have to work for a living by trading, doing odd jobs, just to make ends meet. There is no overarching benevolent force going to take care of them. However, having said that imagine any type of Science Fiction plot, that is Traveller. Whether it means scaling alien peaks under twin suns or diving to the bottom of world griddling oceans or flying a starship in unknown space -Welcome to the universe."

How do others approach it?
A very good point demonstrated by Firefly is the way characters are handled. A big part of the fun of watching Firefly are the interactions between the various colourful characters (crew and "NPCs") - it ranges from creepy (anything with River in most cases), through interesting to outright comical (jayne at his "best").

Each is unique; each is made both memmorable and unique by giving him/her a "hook", that is an interesting concept which could be defined by a word or a short sentence, but which makes the character different from the others AND serves as a "core" for the character to be built around.

Note that "hooks" AREN'T character "types" or "classes" in the RPGs sense - both Jayne, Zoe, River and Mal are, to one extent or the other fighter-types, but each is unique.

So that is a mental model of what an interesting Traveller character is, and of a Free Trader crewed by an unlikely collection of such interesting characters
"Andromeda" in feel rather than scope (in most cases) - 'Bekka Valentine is a very Travelleresque character, and the Eurika Murrow (sp?) is a very Travelleresque ship. Not to mention the use of the term "High Gaurd" for a navy and the fact that Andromeda has a "Long Night" of its own.

I'd say that the Traveller game itself is usually very similar to Firefly, that is, the players typically play the crew of a small freelance starship trading/exploring/mercenery-ing for their living, usually having an effect mostly on the small scale of things. However, it is set against a backdrop more akin to Babylon 5, with huge star-spanning empires, interstellar diplomacy and wars, climatic space-battles and secrets lying on dark, deserted worlds.

Oh, and Babylon 5's President Clarke's regime is a mental model of the Solomani Confederacy (just without the Shadows involvement and the PsiCorps) - totalitarian, militaristic, human-supremacist, anti-alien and opressive - just replace "NightWatch" by "SolSec" and "Political Advisor" by "SolSec Monitor".
i would have to agree "firefly"
the episode with the cattle
sold me on its "traveller" theme...

outland isnt a bad suggestion either
thats the one with sean connery right?...

1 episode of farscape made me think of
traveller its when they went to get
food and came back with nothing but
boxes and boxes of crackers...
Originally posted by flykiller:
"Outland." "Alien." "Aliens."
Those are the first three that come to mind for me as well.
Originally posted by flykiller:
Shotguns in Space.
I like that. Very apropos.
Originally posted by flykiller:
"Outland". "Alien". "Aliens". Shotguns in Space.
That's exactly what Traveller meant to me, too, but then I'm of a certain age ... ;)

I'd say Firefly (or Serenity, which may or may not have had more exposure) is the best model for the current generation, though.