As I mentioned in an earlier post, when the d20 craze first struck the role playing game community, I was very turned off by it. It seemed to me at the time that it was destroying everything different, everything that wasn’t d20. All the game store shelves seemed to be getting buried under d20 material and everything else was disappearing. I wasn’t into D&D at the time, and had no idea how wonderful 3.5 was; I was actually getting even more turned off to this “plague” because of the popularity. I’ve always been the type of person who doesn’t like anything popular just because it’s popular.
When I first saw a d20 version of Traveller, I was aghast. I thought the Mark Miller Masterpiece had been able to avoid the disease and stay true to it’s (admittedly confused) roots. The idea of classes, armor class, hit points and all that jazz invading the Third Imperium made me sick to my stomach.
So of course, me being me I never even bothered to crack the book open and give it a chance. I’m stubborn and sometimes close minded, I’ll admit.
Fooled again. I missed a chance back then to experience something excellent. Four days ago I finally decided look at it, since I was in search of the best available science fiction (hard science or space opera style) role playing game to try to start a new campaign. Since it’s been years since I’d discovered why d20 was so popular (because it’s so good) I read through the T20 core rule book.
And was blown away. The authors of this rulebook, Martin J. Dougherty and Hunter Gordon, are very obviously great fans and admirers of the original Traveller rules, and it really shows in the production and thought put into T20. They’ve managed to incorporate classes into the classic Traveller system of Terms of Service in an ingenious way. However, I do think the attempt to incorporate Prestige classes wasn’t as well done. Even so, the rest of the book is fantastic. Everything you love about Traveller with the solid, long-standing d20 system.
T20 also covered something that wasn’t always well done in previous versions of Traveller: playing alien races. There are a couple of races that I don’t recognize (I’m not super knowledgeable of all things Traveller, unfortunately) but they suit the genre perfectly. I wish there was more info available on using Hivers and PC races, but I’m not heartbroken by it.
If you’ve ever played Traveller but can’t find anyone to play the original system, and at the same time all of your friends are head over heels with D&D or Pathfinder or any other d20 game, go find yourself a copy of T20. You won’t regret it, I promise.