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What does Traveller mean to you?


I wonder if anyone would like to participate in this abstract topic? Simply answer the following questions, give us much detail as you like. There is no 'right' or 'wrong' answer.

1. What does Traveller mean to you? Open-ended.

2. What is the ideal Traveller story/scenario? Reference works of fiction if you like, but what would the themes be?

3. If you could be in the TU, what would you be? What would you do, where would you live, work, play?
1. Traveller to me means the OTU. Golden era, classic LBB. I still can't get used to calling it "CT" - it'll always be just plain Traveller to me. If I played Traveller in another setting, it wouldn't be Traveller. I don't use the rules, anyway (I use RQ3), and if I visit other settings none of the Traveller idiosyncracies like 1-week jumps, big interstellar imperial states, dog/cat/horse/lion/lizard aliens, etc. come along with me. So, for better or worse, if it ain't OTU, it ain't Traveller - to me.

2. Speaking from a referee viewpoint, which is how I normally see these things, there are a few elements. I'm not a power-gamer, so it's got to be small-scale. There must be elements of the setting inherent to the scenario, so that no-one forgets this is an SF game. Advanced technology, alien cultures, strange worlds with tainted atmospheres. Other than that, anything (preferably involving illegal activities) goes. And, of course, it should leave the players no better (though probably no worse) off than when they started. They've got to stay hungry.

3. I'd live on a really pretty planet with no government and zero law level working as a landscape architect. Every day I'd get up, look out of the window, and say to myself, "Nope, no way anything I do is gonna make that more beautiful," and settle down to a bit of gardening. With my TL15 Magnum revolver on my hip, of course. ;)

What, d'you think i'd enjoy crawling through reptile-infested pyramids or driving across a scorched vacuum desert? :eek:
1. I have only ever played Classic Traveller, and like the Bromgrev, to me it is just "Traveller", no classic involved. When I got back into Traveller earlier this year, I read up on the story of the Rebellion and Virus and I must say that I liked it. Maybe that makes me a heretic, but the general story worked for me. I have always been a BIG Poul Anderson fan and his cyclic nature of history really appeals to me. Empires rise and fall, that is history.

The Spinward Marches were home in the OTU.

2. As long as it FEELS like the future, I like playing just about any type of game, although free-lance merchants seemed to be the dominate type of games that I played. During my days in the US Navy, military/Naval campaigns also showed up.

3. I would be a Scout. No doubt about it, moving around, finding new worlds and all that would be the BEST. I tend to play space oriented characters and this is why. It just isn't the future without a Starship of my own...
1. The OTU. The Spinward Marches. Nobles, Vargr, Scout/Couriers, different TL worlds, lethal combat...

2. Normal people caught up in big events.

3. I've always fancied Naval Intelligence...
Originally posted by stofsk:
1. What does Traveller mean to you? Open-ended.

2. What is the ideal Traveller story/scenario? Reference works of fiction if you like, but what would the themes be?

3. If you could be in the TU, what would you be? What would you do, where would you live, work, play?
1. Traveller means to me a little page with a 4x8 hex grid, 2D6 and the rush of having the doors of my imagination thrown wide open. Followed by three days and nights of rolling up a sector and then weaving a story from the results. Almost 29 years ago to the day. Traveller was one of the best Christmas presents I ever got.

2. Sadly or luckily, the OTU never comes to mind, heck IIRC there was no OTU yet when I started and needed a setting. But the OTU does remind me of Asimov's Foundation. In the limited time here (before shopping) MTU was most influenced by the writings, in no particular order, of Frank Herbert, Robert Silverberg, Poul Anderson, Frederick Pohl, Larry Niven and James White. The best modern comparison ti the TU I prefer, at leasst political powerwise and alien density is Babylon 5, humans tough but not the biggest kid on the block, politie mainly defined by species. I'd just not make Earth facist and make the Imperium a little more polyglot and certainly less fuedal/aristocratic.

3. I'd probably have died in character generation.
But Scout would have to be it for the same reasons explained above.
I'm a virtual newbie to Trav, having gotten the LBB reprints late last year. I've been working on my campaign for the past nine months, and finally started running it recently. While I've read some MT and T4 materials, I'm working from LBB1-3 for the most part. Just saying that up front to show where I'm coming from.

1. To me, it's the game that will let me do anything I want. I can dream up new worlds and have them all fit in my little corner of creation. Everything in the books just clicked with me the first time I read them. I love the various game systems that make up the whole. The entire aesthetic of Traveller is in line with my tastes; I was raised on old D&D/AD&D and FGU games as a kid.

2. As Andrew Boulton says, "Normal people caught up in big events" is the impression of the "archetypal Trav campaign" I get after reading a ton of the books. But I can see scope for just about any s-f conceit. Another reason to love the game; it supports just about any campaign style you like, from small-time rip off artists to free traders to mercenaries and navy admirals. I'm not an OTU guy, btw; I figured those rules in book 3 are there for a reason!

3. I'd probably be a Merchant, seeing as how sales is what I do best in the real world. I love the numbers...buy low, sell high, build up a fleet of my own and spend the rest of my days playing golf on some low-g planetary preserve.
well my beginnings were in 1986, i hosted
2 adventures myself, 1 being the marrooned
one...i had 9 players was quite fun. then
pertty much nothing until 2002, then i
found in a little book store the classic set
NEVER opened...bought it and started designing
my own OTU its only about 30% done though after
4 years. i have LBB 1-7, adv. 1-5, supp. 1-4,6,7
and dbl adv 1-4...


mines only about 48+ (sub-sectors) in size,
its shaped like a spiral arm one,
has 10+ bare bones empires,
and my (sub-sectors) are a tad larger then CT,
its not an "earth" universe either,
i only have about 1700 systems in it.

i also have another one i'd like to make.

i've also the beginnings of a (FREE)short story
i would like to write but its only in outline
form right now, it would take place in the current
CTU...mostly likely trailing near Ithesea?


i was in one online game last year but it died.

now i'm in another hosted by icoshedron
thats quite fun, for me anyways, i play an
annoying little chubby fellow whos an Eng.
thats very noisy.
i'm generally a one
day a week player but sometimes i post a
few times per week...we've really been going
strong this week with 100+ posts from everyone...


i've often thought of it as andre norton
like esp. "the last planet" or pournelles
"janissaries" or resnicks "paradise" or
heinliens "tunnel in the sky" or pohls
"heechee series" or ringworld series by niven.
and of course STOS....

most recently "firefly" is quite like it....


who would i be? very hard to say...
i want to be lonely scout way out
checking out planets on the fringe
but more like as not i'd end up a crimminal
of some kind live'n on the edge probably
a hired assasin...

since there really isnt anymore traveller games
"software" anymore you all might like
VGA Planets....its a colony,minerals,exploration
and conquer game...fairly simple...with
alot of our favorite Sci-fi empires involved
star trek
buck rogers
star wars
the borg...etc...
1. What does Traveller mean to you? Open-ended.

Traveller, is the expression of a desire and a dream of mine that humanity will live and work amongst the stars. It does not mean that all the solutions that plague us on present day Earth will have been transferred to a higher plane but it will mean another step in the human story.

It also represents a certain freedom of the imagination to roam and think of alternative and possible different ways of living and seeing. It is an exploration of what it means to be human by taking the lenses of the alien and placing them over one's eyes for a period of time.

Traveller, is also about a community, these boards or just round the table sharing moments and stories uniting us different individuals in common language of storytelling, adventure and action.

Lastly, Traveller is about the sense of wonder, whenever, I get out the city and stare at the night's sky, I can visualize the cosmos and all of infinity and reflect in the majesty and the beauty of the universe. Traveller, in this way, is heuristic device for sharing that with others.

2. What is the ideal Traveller story/scenario? Reference works of fiction if you like, but what would the themes be?

Adventure and survival, exploring the unknown and coming back to familiar comforts of civilization.

Combined with the alien environment of different worlds and space itself.

The hint of something larger in which we may all play a role in shaping and molding a future of our own making.

As for inspirations, far to many to name, one hand it is like Firefly, another like Star Wars, another like the corpus of Asimov's work on Foundation (although, I tend to agree with people who say he only wrote one work of fiction that and that is the story of the Foundation). Clarke & Harrison, Simak & Straczynski, Swycaffer & Dick all share parts of the universe.

I could never pin it down to just one for the story is always evolving and changing. Whenever, I travel whether is Paris or Peru, I take a bit of what I have felt or experienced and bring it to the table like a ritualized sharing of the bread around a common dinner table. In exchange, I take what the players tell me and make it real for all of us.

3. If you could be in the TU, what would you be? What would you do, where would you live, work, play?

On a tramp trader plying the stars of the Solomani Rim in search of adventure and small fortune. Avoiding Imperial blockades and noisy Solsec agents making a life on the hundreds of worlds, calling a ship a home.

Probably be some sort of ex-military as finances never a strong suit, diplomat to a point, providing the heroic escape by making quick exits.

Play? Amongst the stars. Having people that might provide haven for the weary traveller but rather wishing to be more like Bond or Drake. Never settling when adventure is calling my name.
1. What does Traveller mean to you? Open-ended.

Traveller is a game system with a basic feel. 1 week jumps, regular people with regular motivations, fragile life (no super characters.) Stick to OTU and tweak the rules OR stick to the rules and borrow from OTU to your hearts delight - I'm fine with either.

2. What is the ideal Traveller story/scenario? Reference works of fiction if you like, but what would the themes be?

I prefer a hopful view of the future. Theme similar to Star Trek TOS, Babylon 5, and to a lesser extent Firefly - ie there are evil folks out there that must be dealt with - but honor and good willed action are rewarded. Not a rose colored universe - but not a hopeless one either.

3. If you could be in the TU, what would you be? What would you do, where would you live, work, play?

I'd be a middle class non-travelling professional striving to make my little corner of the world a little better than I found it. Sounds boring but I love my family and find it very rewarding. If I wasn't fortunate enough to have a family - I'd go for being a scout (I love exploring - but not as much as I love my wife and children!)
1) What does it mean to me

Classical "can do" space opera with technology serving humanity. None of the post-humanism or philosophical stuff found in many new "SciFi" stuff.

Coming to Traveller in 1988, for me it includes the MegaTraveller and TNE timelines but not the GT one(1) with me preferring Hard Times or TNE lately. My view is heavily influenced by Nivens "Known Space" and Andersons "Technological Civilisation"(2) with some add-ons from Kenneth Bulmers "Ryder Hook"

I always saw Traveller as a cross-breed of the Roman Empire, late Christian Byzantine and C.S Forrsters Royal Navy. A universe of greys without perfectly good or evil people. Where one mans actions could make a difference and people looked forward and at least some looked outward

It was this pro-technological, pro "conquer new lands" outlook that made Traveller interesting to me from the start.

OTOH I prefer the Gateway Domain or Diaspora to the Spinward Marches since the latter have a slightly "worn out" feeling having too much of everything to me.

2) Ideal scenario

Depends on the group. With very active but peaceful players that "write their own story" I prefer trader scenarios based on the "Niklas van Ryn/Falkayn" stories of Anderson, Cherryls Spacer stories and recently Moons "Vattas War" series. With an more aggressiv-active group it is "Domenic Flandry" style espionage.

With the more reponse-driven groups I prefer military scenarios based on Pournelles "Falkenberg" and Cornwells "Sharps" series or (for a more peaceful group) environment driven scenarios based on Nivens "Ringworld" stories

3) Where would I like to live

Three options. My prime one would be a second or third son of a noble, inheriting a minor title and a steady source of income. After some minor service to the empire (say a tour in daddies huscarls or the system defence fleet, just for the claims of "having served") and some time studying this and that (but nothing useful, maybe not even getting a title) I would roam the stars playing "expert historian" or "great white hunter"

A second one would be part-owner/operator of a decend sized tramp frighter plying the spacelanes in a border region seeking new trade and future

And the third would be researcher in a lab for cutting edge computer systems and robots

(1)GT game mechanism is great OTOH and most material except Dulinors accident is canon to me
(2) Unlike my 2300AD that is influenced by Pournelles "Future History"
(1) Traveller, to me, is Space Opera with Fixed Jump Costs for transit, 168±16 hours of jump where nothing can affect you. Small merchantmen moving the paucity of cargo that moves world to world. Self-sufficient worlds, most engineered by the mysterious ancients. Gravitics, Continuous thrust thrusters, Near-C rocks, and Pirates. Traveller is also 6+ stats on a 0-15 scale, with 2-12 being normal for humans in the default 6, combat damage to PC's temporarily reducing attributes, and

2) The ideal scenario doesn't exist. For me, at least, I realize that the ideal scenario differs for each player & referee. I think the following are excellent examples of traveller scenarios: Shadows, Mission on Mithral, Prison Planet, Twilight's peak.

3) Scout mail office person, on alternate desk & flight rotations.
1. What does Traveller mean to you? Open-ended.

I played in CT, and MT. I began GM-ing in TNE, and later now into T20. GT is for me, in their own version of Prince Varian's "I had a horrible dream.." Jump drives with a 160 hour +/- 12hour timelag, not "hyperspace"; Vargr, Hivers, Aslan, Zhodani, Vilani, Solomani, Droyne, and the distant K'Kree (I like my HIVER JOE's Sauce now, please! ); where Piracy, like other sh-t in real life happens due to the time lag and jump commo times hindered by the universal jump-space-time dilation. Asteroid mining, Belters communities, an Imperial navy, an Imperium of tolerance and free trade, and all destroyed by the common denominator of men's greed for ultimate power and unwillingness to seek real reform, save at gunpoint. A Universe with robots, automated machinery, computers & communication devices the size of man's watch, or an armband; personal Laser weaponry with or without a power cable and belt battery ( tech level & price will vary by the discriminating user ); where BPL warhead missiles in salvo can defeat the triple beam laser battery; Where Fighters still matter, just like Big ships over 100ktons; Free Traders have replaced the Tinkers and Romany Gypsies among the stars; Scout Brew can be an advanture with one sip; Scouts and a scout Service; Megacorps and Monopolies forcing the sole entepreneurs to squabble for cargoes like crows after the Lions feast; Everybody wants to make a credit, some are just piss poor at it; some excel at making one man's/ planet's trash their treasure. Now in 1248, Its a 'Verse with AI-Cym sentient beings, smaller states and smaller ship Navies (comparitively), near and distant threats from hostile neighbors, and trying to get others scarred by the Collapse to look up and be less "dirt-sighted". Its still to me a place where one ship, one crew, can affect the lives of millions for the good, the bad, and the ugly.

2. What is the ideal Traveller story/scenario? Reference works of fiction if you like, but what would the themes be?

I Like them all. ;)

3. If you could be in the TU, what would you be?

--A Star Merc.

What would you do, where would you live, work, play?

Hunt and kill Pirates, rogue Vampire sentient ships down, and destroy them.

In my bunk, on our ship.

"Wherever the prey is, there we follow,"..

:eek: Now that's personal, and our group is PG-13 guy!

1. Traveller to me is the Golden Era Official Traveller Universe. It's internally inconsistent, it has attributes that can't be explained rationally, and it is maddenly convulated. In other words, it's just like real life.

Traveller has no FTL comms faster than ships, has limited personal energy weapons, has a distant government with its hand's full elsewhere that you pray never pays attention to you, has both comprehensible and incomprehensible aliens, has technologies we understand, has technologies we don't understand, and has technologies we think are missing. Traveller is ordinary people in extraordinary situations. Most of all, Traveller has possibilities and options.

2 - There is no one perfect Traveller adventure. There are just too many options in the way of emphasis; military, merchant, cops, robbers, explorers, and so forth. It all depends on what the GM and players want.

That being said, CT's The Traveller Adventure comes as close to being a perfect adventure as any adventure can. The players scrounge for cargos, fight a trade, and get caught in a world war while also dealing with bureaucratic red tape and working as lumberjacks. That's right, lumberjacks. And they crew a starship. Quintessential Traveller.

3. I'm a born tourist so I'd want to be a detached duty scout in the Golden Era Marches. That gives me a ship with no mortgage. A scout/courier is near perfect for a lone wanderer, it's both big enough and small enough at the same time. Maintenance and stores are handled for me as long as I sit down every so often and tell some desk jockey about what I've seen and where I've been. I can go where I want, when I want, and with who I want. I can run a little cargo here or fly empty there. Nothing to worry about but bar tabs and the possibility of reactivation.

Of course, in order to reactivate me they'll have to find me first... ;)

Have fun,
1. What does Traveller mean to you? Open-ended.

Tricky. I would be perfectly capable of changing everything (setting, technological assumptions and rules) and still call the end result "Traveller".

Traveller wasn't originally setting specific, and there have been several different sets of rules. I guess it's the technical assumptions that are the most distinctive, but FF&S made it clear that even they can be varied...

Dunno. I guess most of what I would call Traveller involves the OTU, or a setting with similar technological assumptions, played with one or other set of the Traveller rules, with only relatively modest house-rule modifications.

2. What is the ideal Traveller story/scenario? Reference works of fiction if you like, but what would the themes be?

Depends on mood. Mostly fairly intrigue heavy, with little combat. Combat is what you hire gunmen for.

3. If you could be in the TU, what would you be? What would you do, where would you live, work, play?

I would, of course, be a noble (Imperial and planetary). I would be head of a semi-democratic constitutional government, and would also have substantial offworld investments.

I would mostly live on my homeworld, with occasional junkets to nearby worlds on board my 10Kton yacht (escorted by a couple of warships from my planetary navy, naturally).

Workwise, I would mostly be chief bureaucrat and head of the judiciary, with a touch of Commander in Chief. I would also design my own uniforms. ;)

Play? Obviously mostly official functions, with a bit of private time with a few chosen companions.
Originally posted by stofsk:
1. What does Traveller mean to you? Open-ended.
It means classic space opera. It means common man in extraordinary circumstances. It means man has conquered the stars, but the galaxy and universe are still very, very big, and we are very, very small.

It means (as someone else noted) that technology serves man, not the other way around. Nanotechnology is limited and ubiquitous (there is no "gray ooze"). Computers are limited and ossified through millenia of codification and regulations.

It means man is man as we know it. There is no Transhumanism. There are no "ghosts". There is no real AI. There is no "miracle cure". There are no industrial cloning or brain taping. Man is limited; man is mortal; death is final.

Traveller must have jump drive, first and foremost. It also means ubiquitous anti-gravity, and ships with 1G+ acceleration drives. It means shotguns in space, with precious few laser pistols. It means no "blasters", disintegrators, or lightsabers.

Finally, it also means at least some aspects of the OTU. With Vargr, Aslan, many flavors of humans and human cultures. With large feudal star empires.

2. What is the ideal Traveller story/scenario? Reference works of fiction if you like, but what would the themes be?
To me, Quintessential Traveller is the combination of The Traveller Book and The Traveller Adventure. Those two books alone can support adventuring for more than a year. (It launched my group in college for two years, and we didn't even really do the adventure.)

It means things like H Beam Piper and Andre Norton and Asimov.

And, if I am talking to someone new to Traveller, I would tell them to forget all of this stuff and buy GURPS Traveller: Interstellar Wars. It is a great setting in the OTU that is reasonably self-contained, extremely extensible, and very open ended.

3. If you could be in the TU, what would you be? What would you do, where would you live, work, play?
Assuming the CT OTU, then it is a toss-up for me. Either scout or merchant.

My long-time choice would be a ex-scout exploring space in my detached duty scout/courier. This is a wonderful, perfect setup for a group of 1-4 players. Small enough to be ubiquitous, able to go anywhere, limited overhead, no long term obligations, but plenty of hooks and chains the referee can yank and pull as necessary or desired.

My more recent idea involves vagabond free traders using 200-400 dton J2 ship. Again, free enough to go anywhere, but with many more economic ties and obligations. The primary advantage of this is the ability to accomodate larger groups. A 400 dton free trader can easily require 6-12 players or regular NPCs to run.

Hope that all helps.